Topps Lineage – oddball sets that “didn’t make the cut”

17 09 2011

This wraps up my looks at Topps Lineage – and I must say I’ve been excited to do this post for quite some time now.  I think Topps did a pretty good job picking the inserts they used for Topps Lineage.  As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, my main gripe is that they made the inserts too difficult to come by when that’s what should be driving the product.  Here’s a look at some other sets they may have considered:

Honorable Mention – Topps Rub-offs

These sets were inserted into packs in 1961 and 1966.  The images were reversed, as shown, and you could rub the image off onto a flat surface.

#5 – 1971 Topps Greatest Moments

This 55-card test set has a black-bordered design that borrows from the design of the 1971 set.  The horizontal cards are as “longer” than the standard card, measuring 2-1/2″ x 4-3/4″.  The back is written in newspaper style format, similar to the Topps Giants.  These cards would have been very cool – Topps could have done a “season review” type set.  Since they were a separate test, not an insert, it would have fit very well into the Lineage idea.  But the cards would have been difficult to do in a standard card size, and the Topps Giants were the box topper.  Look for these as your 2020 Heritage box topper!

#4 – 1951 Topps Connie Mack’s All-Stars and 1951 Topps Current All-Stars

These cards were issued in the 1951 “Topps Baseball Candy” packaging which would usually contain one of the 3 possible larger-sized sets (2-1/16″ x 5-1/4″) surrounded on each side by a 2-card red-back panel.  One of these 3 sets was Topps Teams, which were team photos for 9 of the 16 ML teams.  The other two were Connie Mack and Current All-Stars, which are “fold-out” cards similar to the 1964 Topps Stand-Ups.  These were 11-card sets, though 3 of the current All-Stars were only available by writing in to Topps.  Anyways, there’s a bunch this would again have fit in really well with the current and older player theme that Topps has been doing.  Again, though, these cards probably wouldn’t make sense because of the larger size and the fact that Topps did include the Topps Stand-Ups insert cards.

#3 – 1948 Topps Magic Photos

In 1948, Topps issued a small-sized (7/8″ x 1-7/16″) set containing non-sport and sports cards.  This set contained Topps first baseball cards.  The cards are actually developed photos – there are 19 baseball subjects, including a few all-time great Hall-of-Famers.  I’m going with Grover Cleveland here, since I found out in my “300” post that I hadn’t scanned a card of him yet.  This would have been a very cool thing to add, if you ask me.

#2 – 1986-1990 Mini Leaders

These cards were issued for 5 years in the late 1980’s  in their own packs.  These cards measure slightly smaller than the standard cards – depending on the year, this is around 2-1/8″ x 3″.  The sets were  66, 77, or 88 cards and are designed similar to the team leaders cards from the base set that year.  The cards show the league leaders in various statistical categories from the previous years.  Remember when card companies used to do that?  They’d pick a standard for a set and stick to it – not just throw together something like “Great Ones” so they could put Mickey Mantle and 2 different Babe Ruth cards in a set?  Anyways, I’ll digress.  This starts to get where I really think Topps could have done something creative.  The 75 minis measured 2-1/4″ x 3-1/8″, so that’s pretty similar to these cards.  Why not do away with the other parallels and add these cards in.  You could have 1 mini per pack – and they could have done like 10 or 15 cards from each design, for a total of 50 or 75.  I think this would have put a lot more value in the product – regardless of how many relics or autos you have!

Note – Topps is apparently including a throwback to the 1987 leader cards in next year’s base Topps set.  If you ask me, they should have gone with the every 25-year theme of wood grain borders, but this is at least a good tribute there.

#1 – 1965 Topps Embossed

This is my #1 – because I can’t find a good reason not to have put this in here!  If Topps did a throwback of this set and made parallels of gold, silver, bronze, and any other color, I’d probably try to collect them all.  When I was younger, my mom used to take me and my brother out antiquing.  She liked antique copper luster-ware, and we’d go to antique shops every now and then.  Sometimes I would find a few baseball cards here and there, and I remember one time buying a few of these.  These gold cards have a raised relief sculpture-type picture of the player.  American League cards are bordered in blue, National Leaguers in red.  These can actually be found for fairly cheap.  I hope someday Topps does a throwback to this – maybe the 2014 Heritage set will have these in the product somehow.





2011 Lineage Autos and Relics

16 09 2011

Here’s a brief description of each of the relics and autos available in Topps’ 2011 Lineage product.  As always, odds shown are for hobby packs.

Relics

1975 Mini Relics – 99 cards (1:24 overall; 1:28 to 1:6,500)

Many of the 75 mini parallels have a version with a piece of game-used memorabilia in the lower left corner.  These cards are noticeably thicker than the regular ’75 minis.  As with many other products, the of the Gypsy Queen relics and autographs are inserted based on a tiered system – this time into 3 tiers. You’re guaranteed 1 relic per box, so Tier A is much easier.  Tier B isn’t quite as tough as the third “Ruth” tier, as 1:331.

****Added note:  There is one card that I’ve found where the relic picture did not match the mini picture.  This would be Reggie Jackson.  They have Mr. October in his Yankee pinstripes on his regular card (and regular 75 mini), but his Oakland green and yellow for the relic.  I’ve looked up just about every player who could have this happen, and he’s the only one.

I like Reggie better in the A’s, but it also makes me want to get the damn card…

1975 Mini Relics Canary – 99 cards (1:747; #/10 – hobby only)

There’s canary diamond version of each relic card numbered out of 10.  I got a Jay Bruce – let’s see how it scans.

Not bad, except the edges seem to miss when scanning the minis.

Topps Giants Relics – 20 cards (#/64)

Each of the Topps Giants hobby box topper cards has a relic version that’s numbered out of 64 in honor of the 1964 set.  If you do the math, this comes 1 per 24 boxes, or just about 1 per 2.5 cases.

Autographs

Autographed Reprints – 74 cards (1:24 overall, 1:38 to 1:1,810)

Autographed Reprints Canary– 74 cards (#/10 – hobby only)

These are reprints of old Topps cards, with an emphasis on cards from the 1952 set.  Some of these were packed out as redemptions.

As I mentioned, most of them are 1952 cards.  However, there are a few that are newer.  Here’s the players I could determine have newer cards:

2010 – Andrew McCutchen, Daniel Hudson,

2009 – Pablo Sandoval

2008 – Fausto Carmona

2007 – Ian Kinsler

2001 – Roy Halladay

1992 – John Smoltz, Roberto Alomar

1990 – Nolan Ryan

1967 – Fergie Jenkins

1965 – Sandy Koufax

1960 – Stan Musial

Unsure – Hank Aaron, Joe Morgan (these are exchanges that I’m not sure were ever filled by Topps)

1952 Autographs – 22 cards (1:24 overall, 1:38 to 1:397)

1952 Autographs Canary– 22 cards (#/10 – hobby only)

These autographed cards are sticker autos of current players on the 1952 design.  The canary version of the 96 available autographed cards are packed out at a combined total of 1:771

60th Anniversary relics and autos

60th Anniversary Jumbo Relics – 25 cards (1:1,190; #/25 – hobby only)

60th Anniversary Jumbo Patches – 25 cards (1:5,923; #/5 – hobby only)

These relics were made to honor Topps’ 60th Anniversary.  I kind of think these weren’t originally intended for Lineage – they don’t have the Lineage logo anywhere on the product, just the Topps Diamond Anniversary logo.  These are only included in hobby packs, and there are 2 versions – one with a really large jersey piece #’d out of 25 and another with a really large jersey patch #’d out of 5.

60th Anniversary Autograph – 3 cards (1:4,115; #/60)

This is a continuity set from other Topps releases throughout the year.  One of the 3 cards is signed by Sy Berger, the “father of the modern baseball card” who co-designed 1952 Topps.

60th Anniversary Diamond Ring redemption – 10 cards (1:74,045 – hobby only)

From the odds, there are 10 of things out there.  This is a redemption card for one of the Topps hobby rings.  You could also win one on the Topps Diamond site if you dug up a Mantle ring and got the other 59 rings.  This one sold for just over 400 bucks on eBay.





2011 Lineage parallel sets

15 09 2011

The 2011 Lineage product has quite a few parallel sets.  I already covered the ’75 minis in my last Lineage post – but there are 4 other parallels – all standard-size – in the product.  There are two versions of the Diamond sparkly type – Platinum Diamond (“silver sparkly) and Canary Diamond (1/1 gold sparkly).  There is also a completely unnecessary parallel called Diamond Anniversary that looks kind of like a refractor.  Finally, Topps also included 4 different printers’ plates of each base card.  Odds below are for hobby packs, except where noted.  I’m going after each of the Reds parallels that aren’t numbered.

1975 minis – 200 cards (1:4)

As mentioned – I covered the 1975 minis in my last post.

Platinum Diamond – 200 cards (1:4)

Canary Diamond – 200 cards (1:3,702; #/1 hobby only)

These are the “gold sparklies”.

Diamond Anniversary – 200 cards (1:4)

Printing Plates – 200 cards (1:925; #/1 – hobby only)

Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow





Redeeming Topps Lineage Finale – comparing 75 mini sets

12 09 2011

75 mini – 200 cards (1:6)

The last comparison I’ll do for Topps Lineage is the 1975 mini parallel set.  The 1975 mini set was a full, 660-card miniature parallel of the base 1975 set, and the Lineage version is a full parallel of the 200-card 2011 Lineage base set.   There are 18 players who have base cards in both sets (note, I didn’t include players who only had the MVP subset – Mantle, Koufax, Musial, J. Robinson, Campanella would be included if I had).

Before I get to players in both sets – this father-son tandem also accomplishes the task – The Alomar family. Sandy and baseball’s newest Hall-of-Famer, Roberto.

***************

Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Carlton Fisk, Mike Schmidt, Nolan Ryan, Willie McCovey, Reggie Jackson, Joe Morgan, Brooks Robinson, Al Kaline (HL), Hank Aaron, Thurman Munson, Johnny Bench, Fergie Jenkins, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Frank Robinson, Bert Blyleven

***************





Redeeming Topps Lineage #7 – comparing Topps 3-D

11 09 2011

Topps 3-D – 25 cards (1:12)

Topps 3-D Lineagraph – 25 cards (Black – 1:446, #/99; Red – 1:30,873, #/1)

My 2nd to last comparison for Topps Lineage is my favorite of the standard insert sets in this product – the Topps 3-D set.  The 1968 3-D test set consisted of about 12 cards, and is an extremely rare find.  The current year set has 25 cards, all of whom are current players.  Of note – the two notable players from the ’68 set that I passed on below are Mel Stottlemyre and Rusty Staub. 

One thing Topps did that was a kind of neat throwback – the Lineagraph versions have the phrase: “This is an experimental LINEAGRAPH not intended to for release.  To be Returned to: The Topps Company 1 Whitehall St. New York, NY 10004″.  This is a throwback to some of the “proofs” of these cards that had this written on the back, with a different address and the term “XOGRAPH”.  Also, the player name and position are not included on the front of the Lineagraph cards.

I’ll try to primarily use cards that I’ve pulled from the Lineage product and am thus able to scan myself.  The most notable card in the 1968 set is that of Roberto Clemente, whose career was tragically cut short due to a plane crash en route to his Puerto Rico after the 1972 season.  The 2011 Lineage set has a different MVP-caliber outfielder whose career will be shorter than it should have been – this one on the front-end.  It’s good to see that Hamilton has come back, and it’s even better to see him start to turn his game back up a notch the last few weeks after an injury-plagued first half of 2011.

The other Hall-of-Famer in the 1968 set is Big Red Machine RBI-man Tony Perez.  This was pretty early in Tony’s career – 1967 had been his first year playing every day for the Reds.  He did make the All-Star team that year and in 1968, so he was certainly a player on the rise.  I don’t have it yet, so this is an ebay-swiped scan of the current big RBI-man at first base for the Reds in the early stages of his career.  That would, of course, be reigning NL MVP Joey Votto.

 

Boog Powell won an MVP for the 1970 World Champion Orioles.  He had his 3 best seasons (1966, 1969 and 1970) in the 4 pennant-winning seasons his Orioles had (the other being their loss to Clemente’s Pirates in 1971).  Similar to Perez, who never led the league in a statistical category, Powell had only one “black number” – he led the AL in slugging in 1964.  He hit 339 homers and knocked in nearly 1200 runners, and is one of the great Orioles in history.  Today, you can get a pretty good barbecue sandwich from “Boog’s BBQ” on Eutaw Street inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  Ryan Howard is a slugging first-baseman with an MVP award on his resume as well, and most importantly for this comparison – he can be seen all over your TV for his Subway commercials.

The last player I’ll cover is one of the most influential players in history.  Following in the footsteps of Monte Ward from the 1880’s, Flood is one of the most pivotal athletes in the battle between players and owners.  Flood was an excellent player who put together 7 seasons with over 170 hits and helped St. Louis to 3 pennants and 2 World Series titles.  But his fame came from challenging the reserve clause after he was traded from the Cardinals to Philadelphia.  He sat out a year and sued MLB, with the case eventually ending in the Supreme Court.  He didn’t win, but his case signaled the beginning of the end of the reserve clause and was one factor in the creation of free agency in Major League Baseball.  I’ll show him next to Mark Teixeira, who has done fairly well for himself with this Free Agency thing.





Redeeming Topps Lineage #6 – Topps Rookies

10 09 2011

Topps Rookies – 19 cards (1:6)

I’m skipping over another chronological set comparison from Topps Lineage so I can come back to cover my favorite 2 last.  So next up is Topps Rookies from the late 80’s / early 90’s.  This set came out each year in Jumbo Packs from 1987-1991, and had an almost identical design as the Topps All-Star Glossy set that had come out a few years earlier.  The set was 22 cards in the 80’s and 33 cards in ’90 and ’91.  The current year set is numbered 1-20, however it has only 19 cards as card #15 was not printed.  While the earlier sets contained rookies from the previous year, this year’s set contains players who are rookies in the 2011 season.  What’s interesting – now that we’re into the last month of the season, a few of the key Rookie of the Year candidates are missing.  Two of the leading AL candidates, Mark Trumbo and Ivan Nova, are not in the set.  In the senior circuit, the likely top 2 candidates are included, but other candidates like Dillon Gee, Vance Worley are not included.  Unfortunately, 2010 was a better season for rookies, so maybe Topps should have gone with the “prior year” approach in the 80’s.

I’m skipping over Michael Pineda, Chris Sale and Aroldis Chapman – all of whom are having decent rookie seasons (Chapman’s numbers are better than you think – especially if you discount a stretch where he just couldn’t get the ball over the plate).  Here are the most impressive rookie campaigns from these guys:

They don’t throw from the same side, and Al wasn’t that good until the 1995 season, but I like the comparison between Jeremy Hellickson and Leiter.  Leiter was never going to lead the league in strikeouts – though he could get you out that way – Hellickson’s numbers seem the same.  Leiter was featured here in the 1989 set, as he was just over the 50 inning rookie qualifying minimum in 1988.  However, he didn’t stay on a Major League roster until helping the Blue Jays to the 1993 World Championship, where he was the winning pitcher in game 1 and was on the hill for the 7th and 8th innings of the decisive game 6.  1995 was his first full season as a starter, and Leiter went 11-11 with  a 3.64 ERA for the Blue Jays.  He then went on to win his 2nd World Series with the Marlins and play in one for the Mets in 2000.  Hellickson’s WHIP numbers are actually a little better – he strikes out a few less guys than Leiter but walks fewer as well.  He’s currently 11-10 with a 3.01 ERA in 24 starts.  The Rays look like they’re out of the race – though you never know – and Hellickson probably won’t pitch too many more innings in his first full season.

The biggest power numbers by a rookie this season are being put up by  Mark Trumbo, but just behind him is JP Arencibia.  JP has 20 homers and 64 RBI, though he’s only hitting .221 and has 112 strikeouts.  At catcher, those are still some decent numbers – and he’s caught almost 80% of Toronto’s games.  Todd Zeile had a similar start – hitting .244/15/57.  If Arencibia can match Todd’s career, Toronto should be happy – Zeile ended with over 2000 hits, 250 HR and 1,000 RBI.

The easiest comparison on this list was Craig Kimbrel, who will end the season with the All-time rookie saves record, which was set by Todd Worrell in his rookie season of 1986 (36) Worrell’s record had since been broken by Kaz Ishii and Neftali Feliz.  Kimbrel is currently tied at 40 with Feliz’s record from last season; he surpassed Worrell to set the NL mark on August 18th.  Kimbrel is certainly a big factor in the Braves’ success this season.

My guess is that Kimbrel will win the Rookie of the Year award, but Braves rookie Freddie Freeman has certainly been the most celebrated rookie on the team.  Freeman has manned 1st base in 95% of the Braves games this year – and fared very well.  He’s hitting .291 and is on pace to have over 150 hits, 30 doubles, plus 20 homers, and end with around 80 runs and RBI.  His statistics remind me of the potential Frank Thomas had – though Thomas had a better batting eye.





Redeeming Topps Lineage #5 – comparing Topps Cloth Stickers

9 09 2011

Cloth Stickers – 50 cards (1:12)

The next comparison for Topps Lineage is in the 1970’s.  Specifically, the Cloth Stickers insert is supposed to pay tribute to the 1972 set, but since the design on the front is the same as the Lineage base set – it’s really doing so for any of the years of Cloth Stickers – 1970, 1972, 1976, or 1977.  The 1972 test set was a basically a printing sheet of cloth sticker cards that was never released to the public.  The 2011 Lineage is a 50-card monster set with both retired and current players.

From the 1970 set, there are two guys who have a card in the 2011 Lineage set.  The first one is Nolan Ryan – who is on a card depicting his save in the 1969 World Series.  I’ll show the Ryan card here – he was a reliever just getting started in the ’69 season, with a wild arm and a lot of potential.  Note – I couldn’t actually find a picture of the cloth sticker, so I just went with a picture of the 1970 card.  A view of the young and the old Ryan Express.  Boog Powell, Willie McCovey, Phil Niekro and Juan Marichal also have cards in the 1970 test set (according to the Standard Catalog).

From the 1972 set, there is just one player who is in both sets.  Hank Aaron is all over Lineage and the sets it pays homage to – he seems to be in every current year insert set, and the old sets are all right in his career span.  The 72 Cloth set shows him toward the end of his career, this time with the Atlanta Braves, while the photo in the Lineage set is when the Braves were still in Milwaukee.

I’m not doing the comparison for 1976 – there were only two cards created in this test set, in an attempt to set up for the main set the next year.

Finally, my favorite comparison is that of the 1977 cloth sticker set.  I picked Tom Seaver for this one – his Reds picture is the one they put in the cloth sticker insert, but I thought comparing the ’77 Cloth Sticker to Seaver’s other base card from this year’s Lineage set was the more interesting look!





Redeeming Topps Lineage #4 – comparing Topps Giants

8 09 2011

Topps Giants – 20 cards (1 topper per hobby box)

The next comparison for Topps Lineage is still in 1964.  This time, I’ll take a quick look at the Topps Giants set.  The larger cards were issued as a 60-card set in their own packs in 1964, while cards from the 2011 20-card set were included as box toppers in Lineage.  All 20 cards in the 2011 set are current players.

From 2 boxes of Lineage, I of course pulled 2 of these cards – Ryan Braun and Albert Pujols.  Braun is in his 5th year in the majors and is one of the rising stars in the league.  He won the Rookie of the Year in 2007 in a close battle over Troy Tulowitzki, leading the league in slugging.  He’s made the All-Star team every year since, and is again leading the NL in slugging.  I thought the best comparison from the 1964 set was Carl Yastrzemski.  In 1964, Yaz was in his 4th season in the majors.  He didn’t win the Rookie of the Year in 1961, but did start off well with over 150 hits.  He had a great 1963 season – winning the batting title and leading the AL in hits, doubles, walks and OBP – impressive to lead in both walks and hits is impressive.  Yaz is the last player to win the triple crown – winning it in 1967, and Braun would be right up there as one of the most likely players to win a triple crown in the future.

Pujols deserves another all-time great comparison – I’ll go with Willie Mays here.  Pujols is in his 11th year, and his first 10 were quite possibly the best first 10 of any hitter in history.  If you compare the wins-above-replacement stat for a player’s first 10 years, he’s second behind Ted Williams and ahead of the likes of Mantle, Cobb.  Mays ranks 4th on that list, just behind Mantle, and he’d be 3rd if not for the fact that the Korean War forced him into playing only 34 games in his sophomore season.  Pujols hit over .300-30-100 in all of those first 10 seasons – the only player to do so.  He won the ROY in 2001 garnered MVP votes every single year, winning the award 3 times, and incredibly has had 8 years in the top 3.  Like Mays, Pujols has won all three triple crown statistics, and he’s working on his 3rd straight home run crown.  Though he’s in danger of his first sub-.300 season this year, Pujols has turned it around in the second half and could end up there.  Mays was in his 13th season in 1964 and had won the ROY, won 1 of his 2 MVPs, and had earned MVP votes every year since he came back from the Korean War.  The Mays card is actually an SP in the ’64 set.





Redeeming Topps Lineage #3 – comparing Topps Stand Ups

5 09 2011

Topps Stand Ups – 25 cards (1:12)

The next comparison for Topps Lineage is still in the 1960’s – 1964, specifically.  The Topps Stand Up set was an oddball set of die-cut cards that could be folded to stand the player image up in 3-dimensional fashion.  There are 20 current players in the 2011 set, 5 of whom are retired players.  Let’s compare the 2011 version to the old version of the same player – I’ll do this at some level for each of these insert sets.  The ’64 card is on the left, the 2011 Lineage version on the right.

First up is Hank Aaron.  In 1964, Aaron had a very good year, but it wasn’t the best by the lofty standard he’d set.  After leading the league with 44 HR and 130 RBI in 1963, ’64 was the only season between 1955 and 1973 where Aaron didn’t slug 25 home runs (he hit 24).  This was mostly due to minor injuries – Hammerin’ Hank did hit .328 and slugged over .500 to make his 10th straight All-Star team and earn 14th place in the National League’s MVP voting.  The Braves were part of a 5-team pennant race, behind an aging Eddie Mathews and a young Joe Torre, but they finished 5 games behind the eventual World Champion Cardinals.  Aaron wasn’t done, though – he averaged 37 home runs over the next 9 years, from age of 31 to 40.

Topps other big signing for its 2011 products was Sandy Koufax.  In 1964, Koufax was in the midst of what may have been the greatest 4-year pitching stretch in MLB history.  Koufax pitched his third no-hitter on June 4th.  He faced the minimum that day – Dick Allen reached base via a free pass but was then caught stealing.  This was the only season where Sandy didn’t win the Cy Young award between 1963 and 1966, but he did place third in the voting and led the league with a 1.74 ERA and .792 winning percentage (19-5).  He probably would have won the award, however he was shut down in mid-August due to arthritis in his pitching shoulder.  He’d pitch through pain over the next two years to finish up an incredible stretch, but his career was over at the end of the 1966 World Series.

The most valuable card in both the old and the new set belongs to the Commerce Comet.  Mickey Mantle was on the downside of his career in the mid-60’s, but he bounced back from an injury-plagued 1964 season to have one last great season in 1964.  Mantle finished 2nd in the MVP voting to Brooks Robinson, hitting 35 home runs and driving in 111.  He led the league with an OBP of .423 and an OPS of over a thousand.  He hit his 450th home run in 1964, smacked his 2,000th hit, and led the Yankees to the 12th pennant of his career.  They lost to the Cardinals in 7 games, but not at the fault of the Mick – he hit .333 in the series with 3 HR, to end his WS career with an incredible record of 18 homers.

As mentioned, Mantle lost that 1964 MVP vote to Brooks Robinson.  The greatest defensive third-baseman of all-time was deserving of his only MVP trophy after having the best offensive season of his career.  Robinson hit .317, smashed 28 home runs, and knocked in a league 118 RBI – all the best marks of his career.  He also had is only season slugging above .500, and won his 5th consecutive Gold Glove (he would win 10 more until he stopped playing full-time in 1976).  The Orioles and White Sox gave the Yankees all they could handle in 1964 – the O’s won 97 games but finished 3rd, just 2 games behind the Bronx Bombers.  Robinson would get his chance – his Orioles won the 1966 World Series behind a triple crown season by another Robinson, and Brooks won the 1970 WS MVP by hitting .429 and robbing the Big Red Machine of hit after hit.

To round out the other 5 is another dominant hurler from the 1960’s – Juan Marichal.  Along with Koufax, the Dominican Dandy is the only post-war pitcher with multiple 25-win seasons (both have 3).  Marichal was overshadowed by Bob Gibson and Koufax, but he was one of the great pitchers of the 1960’s – he never won a Cy Young award, but did win more games than any other pitcher in that decade.  In 1964, Marichal won 21 games and led the league with 22 complete games.  He made his 3rd of 9 all-star teams, and struck out over 200 batters for the 2nd time in his career.





Redeeming Topps Lineage #2 – Topps Venezuelan

4 09 2011

Topps Venezuelan – 25 cards (1:12)

Continuing on with my comparisons for Topps Lineage – after the All-Star Rookie team, I’m going to go chronologically.  Topps Venezuelan was first issued in 1959 and continued on in some format in the 1970’s.  The sets from 1959, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966 and 1968 are parallels of the first few series of Topps cards from the same year.  The 1967 set features 3 groupings – first, Venezuelan Winter League players, next, retired American baseball All-Stars, and last, active American baseball players in a similar design and the same photos as the base Topps set.

The 2011 Topps Venezuelan set from Lineage is a 25-card set comprised completely of current players.  The fronts look the same as the regular set, with spanish writing on the back instead of the english on the regular card. there is one player included in the current year’s Lineage set.  That would be 2010 Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners.  I’d have loved to show the Hernandez next to the Concepcion pre-rookie from 1967, but I can’t find a picture of it anywhere.  So, instead, here’s one of the two cards added to the 1962 Venezuelan set (which I’ve shown before on this site) – that of Hall-of-Famer Luis Aparicio.  One of 2 Venezuelan born players in 1962 Topps Venezuelan next to the only Venezuelan born player in 2011 Topps Lineage Venezuelan.

I’ve got to say, I’m a little disappointed in Topps creativity here.   In addition to Hernandez, there are a ton of Venezuelan-born players in the game today, including the current dean of baseball (Omar Vizquel), a Home Run Derby champ (Bobby Abreu), the all-time single season save leader (Francisco Rodriguez), a 2-time Cy Young winner (Johan Santana), 2 MVP runner-ups (Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez).  I haven’t yet mentioned Victor Martinez, Carlos Zambrano, Freddy Garcia or a host of the others out of 23 current All-Stars!

I found a good picture comparing the difference in fronts from the Venezuelan Topps 1967 set alongside the regular version.  Brooks Robinson – I could pick an Oriole or a 3rd baseman to compare him to from this year’s set.  No Orioles included, so Ryan Zimmerman seemed the best option – same position, 30 miles away from where Brooks used to play it.  But I don’t have Ryan Zimmerman for this year’s Venezuelan set, so… I’ll just go with a future HOF-er whose spanish-writing card I do have, Ichiro.

Finally, here’s another good comparison of the 1967 set, both front and back.  Mr. Jeter just passed Mr. Mantle on the list of games played for the Bronx Bombers – so here’s the front and back of both guys cards.  After not even covering it in my previous post on Topps Venezuelan cards, the ’67 set seems the best to compare to this year’s Lineage insert – because the card backs are completely different from the regular set, and the fronts are slightly different too.  Topps could have gone with the full-bleed option for this year to differentiate the insert set.  And how cool would it have been if they had included some “Retirado” cards!