2016 Topps Update hobby box – hits. Or. The hit.

19 03 2017

When you buy a Topps HTA Jumbo box, you get 3 hits.  When you buy a hobby box, you pretty much know you’re gonna get 1 and it’s most likely gonna be a jersey card.  You get what you pay for, so to speak.

This box was a prime example of that.

Just one card to show off here, because for Topps 2016 Update I only got the hobby box.  As my interest in baseball cards has gone from craze to haze, I’ve got to go with the cheaper option.  I pulled an All-Star Stitches card, which is a set I’m collecting from the 2015 Topps set.

Obviously a jersey card of a moderate star doesn’t set my world on fire.  But I’ll say, this particular set is always well-done.  This card is no different.





2016 Topps Update hobby – inserts

18 03 2017

Topps actually did pretty well with 2016 Update – not too many insert sets and only 1 felt completely unnecessary.  Do I wish it was more like the mid-90’s with just a few?  Sure but from this aspect this was a fun box.

First off.  No Berger’s Best.  Yay!  That was a dumb insert set because it had just been done so much.  But I’ll start with the set they just didn’t need to do.  It’s just not particularly interesting.  I think it’s supposed to be “these guys are good hitters and they wear Franklin batting gloves”.  It’s not bad.  But it’s also not some great, memorable design and I view it as “unnecessary”.

As always, I start with my least favorite and move up to the best.  The rest I think are interesting, at a minimum.  Topps continued an insert from series 2 and did Ichiro’s trip to 3,000.  It’s a bit of a weird set.  The 2nd to last card is #2,989.  The last card is #3,000.  I didn’t get the last one.

Updated Note:  After reading the backs a bit more, the advertising for Franklin on the back of the card this set is a damn shame.

The rest of the 3 inserts were all very good (but not great) to me.  These Topps Fire inserts are an idea taken from another program and I think look really cool.

First Pitch is back from series 1 & 2 (and from 2015).  I want Topps to keeps this coming.  I said it in series 2: Craig Sager threw out the first pitch at Wrigley the other day and he’d be a good addition.

I want to say “For the win”, but unfortunately Sager lost his battle with cancer.  He fought like nobody before, accepting some levels of treatment that had really never been done before.  It’s hard to see this card and not be sad.  I’m actually becoming a bigger NBA fan than MLB (blasphemy) and I’ll miss him.  But glad he got to do the Cubs first pitch because he was always a big Cubs fan.

Last is 3,000 hit club.

Cool set.  Really cool set. But not great because I know #1 (among others) aren’t included and it’s not in either chronological or total hit order.





2016 Topps Update Hobby box – parallels

16 03 2017

Here’s my parallel cards from the Hobby box I bought for Topps series 1. I got a few interesting cards, though I didn’t stag anything too crazy.  The rainbow foil cards are 2016’s common, non-color inserts. I got 4 of those.

Topps Gold is the one that comes back every year, though 2016 was the first full bleed design, so it gets the honeycomb treatment.  The Corey Seager is a pretty good pull.

And I got 2 different “rarer” parallels.  First is the negative cards.  These are cool and seem to work really well with the design.  It’s hard to see who that is, but it’s a guy named Jameson Taillon who seems like a decent pitching prospect for the Buccos.

And I got a Topps Black insert of catcher Wilson Ramos.

Hope everyone is enjoying the March Madness!





2016 Topps Update Hobby box – base cards

8 03 2017

Pushing forward with my 2016 Topps Update box break.  I did subsets a couple of days ago.  Today is regular old base cards.  I haven’t gone through to see how much of the set I got quite yet, I just picked out cards I liked or thought were notable.

Topps Update was first known for 2 things – rookie cards.  There are a few notable rookies in here, though less than I expected.  Maybe time will tell.  Maybe Topps just gets a bunch of guys into series 2 these days.

Topps Update, which as any person with true wisdom knows used to be called “Topps Traded” also features guys who were traded.  Some were traded (or signed as free agents) before the season…

…others were traded in the midst of the 2016 season.

Finally, like any good set, I feel the need to go through and pick out my favorite pictures.  These are my faves of this iteration (though the Trumbo above may be one I like the best).

That’s all for now – inserts are up next.





2016 Topps Update Hobby box – subsets

6 03 2017

I bought this box back when it came out, but finally now got around to opening it!  2016 Topps Update.  I haven’t opened a new box in a long while, so this was fun.  This is the first of 2 posts about the base cards.  I’m always intrigued by what Topps is going to include for the subsets in Update.

I’ll start off with the one they always do (at least of late).  This represents all-stars from the 2016 game in San Diego.  A bunch of interesting cards here.  Ortiz played in his last game and was a sort-of guest of honor.  Hosmer won the game MVP award.  Kershaw just looks funny in Padre colors.  And Fernandez is notable for an unfortunate reason – it was weird to pull his card.

The other cards all seemed like really cool photos.

They also have cards of the Home Run Derby.  Here’s the current winner and the (at the time) defending champ.

Another subset they have this year is the Rookie Debut.  This has been a “sneaky” way to get another card of younger stars that Topps can slap a “RC” logo on.  Interesting they put Schwarber on here despite the fact his debut was in 2015.

I think this is new, at least from what I remember – but some guys who are more from the prospect list is a Rookie Combos subset.

There’s also a regular “Combos” subset as well.  I always enjoy the corny names in any given year that Topps does this.  However, I wish they differentiated the design from the base set for these.

Last but not least, here’s the highlight subset.  This showcases the somewhat-controversial professional hit record, tying the single game strikeout record, a no-hitter.  And of course.  Bartolo Colon hitting a dinger!





Completed set – 2000 Topps

2 02 2017

Back in February I finished up the 2000 Topps set.  I’ve now completed the base set for everything from 1980 through 2000!

Info about my set:

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How I put the set together:

234 cards from the series 1 hobby box

239 cards from the series 2 retail box

3 cards from trades

2 cards from Beckett Marketplace

Card that completed my set:  #225 – Pedro Martinez PSH (purchased from Beckett Marketplace last February)

2000 Topps PSH - front

Set composition:  478 cards (394 individual ML player cards*, 16 Prospects, 19 Draft Picks, 1 Tribute, 7 League Leaders, 10 Season Highlights, 7 Postseason Highlights, 14 20th Century Best, 10 Magic Moments)

*The 394 individual player cards include 10 All-Star Rookies

Representation of ’99 MLB season:

Out of the 394 player cards, 3 players featured did not play in the 1999 season.  Andres Galarraga found out in Spring Training that he had a tumor in his back and had to take a season off for treatment.  Kerry Wood had Tommy John surgery, derailing what seemed like a potential HOF career.  And Moises Alou tore his ACL in the preseason.

Additionally, 14 of the players in the 3-player Prospect subset actually made it to the majors in 1999.

That leads to 405 players.  The 405 players represent 33.5% out of the 1,209 players who played in MLB in 1999.

Earliest active player from this set:  #44 – Hank Aaron, #104 – Rickey Henderson (active players)

2000-topps-rickey-henderson

There are again two answers to this – Henderson is again the earliest active player.  Rickey made his debut by playing both games of a doubleheader on June 24, 1979 – naturally he stole a base in his first game.

2000 Topps TRIB - front

Aaron is the earliest (and only) retired player – featured for the 25th anniversary of his record-breaking homer.

I’m not going to do last active, because there’s just still too many at this point.  It’s worth noting, Bartolo Colon and Matt Belisle are two guys I know would be on the list.

Player with the most cards in the set:  Mark McGwire – 7 cards.  Big Mac was much celebrated in this set.

Mark McGwire – #1, #232 / #469 (20th Century Best), #236 (Memorable Moments), #456 (Season Highlights), #462 / #463 (League Leaders)

2000-topps-mcgwire-most-cards

First Card and the Hundreds:  #1 – Mark McGwire, #100 – Alex Rodriguez, #200 – Jose Canseco, #300 – Mike Piazza, #400 – Ken Griffey Jr.

2000-topps-1st-card-hundreds

Highest book value:  #451 – Barry Zito RC / Ben Sheets RC

2000 Topps DP - front

Not the greatest rookie card class, though it’s better than the previous year, and it would become much improved in 2001.  That said, a future Cy Young winner and another 4-time All-Star was worth noting.

Most notable card: #400 – Ken Griffey Jr.

2000 Topps Oversize s2 box Griffey

Hank Aaron’s tribute card was fairly notable, but honestly, Topps had been doing tribute cards since 1986 (maybe longer).  And unlike the previous year, Topps wasn’t paying tribute to Sosa or McGwire smashing the Roger Maris HR record.  I may be jaded, but I think the biggest story of 2000 was Ken Griffey Jr. getting traded to the Reds.  This is a really nice card that seems to be from Spring Training or batting practice.  Getting Griffey in the most updated uniform at this point was something worth pointing out.

Best card (my opinion): #85 – Barry Larkin

2000-topps-larkin

So many things right with this card.  The MLB logo in the background makes the color pop.  It’s Barry Larkin, a Hall of Famer, throwing out Barry Bonds.  You see how he’s dodging the slide.  It’s beautiful.

Second best card (also my opinion): #425 – Greg Maddux

2000-topps-maddux

While this set has a bunch of nice photos, there was a clear distinction for me between the top 2 and the rest.  Maddux bunting.  You can see the “Aaron 715” patch on his jersey.  So awesome.  This card could have been #1, but the Klesko and Larry Walker cards (which I’d put #3 and #4 in this set) are far behind these top 2.

Best subset card: #225 – Pedro Martinez PSH

2000 Topps PSH - front

If Griffey going to the Reds was the biggest story from early 2000, Pedro’s performance in the ALDS was the biggest story in late 1999.  His relief performance against the Indians is etched in my memory.  I remember watching it downstairs in the social room of my fraternity house.  All my Tribe fan friends were despondent.  The Red Sox didn’t move on any further – the ALDS win was their peak that year.  But it has always seemed more memorable than the Yanks’ win over Boston in the next round or their win over Atlanta in the World Series.

Favorite action photo: #85 – Barry Larkin

2000-topps-larkin

I think it’s the pure best action shot in this set.  And it’s 2 HOF-caliber players.  And the main subject is a Red.  Which is why it gets 3 scans in this post.

Favorite non-action photo: #1 – Mark McGwire

2000 Topps - front

I cheated a little bit here.  Which may make the selection of McGwire appropriate (zing)!  This is a set that focuses on action shots.  I could have taken one of the series 2 portrait shots of guy in their new uniforms (Mike Hampton is trying his best to look dreamy in his new Metropolitan uniform).  But I decided this is clearly after a McGwire home run, it’s card #1, and he’s not in the field of play so it definitely doesn’t seem to be an action photo.  So it wins the award.

My Favorite Reds card:  #85 – Barry Larkin

2000-topps-larkin

If I think it’s the best card in the set – I obviously think it’s the best Reds card in the set.

Other Notable Cards:  Here are a few more cards I loved from this set.  The Walker and Klesko cards stand out to me.

2000-topps-other-notable





2015 All-Star Stitches #37: Todd Frazier

29 01 2017

This is the last one of these for a while.  But it’s the favorite one I bought on the COMC Black Friday sale.

As a reminder, I went to the All-Star game and Home Run Derby in Cincinnati.  So I’m collecting this All-Star Stitches set!  These cards that have swatches from the Monday practice festivities.

This is the 37th card toward this set.

2015-topps-update-all-star-stitch-todd-frazier

Card number:  STIT-TF

Player:  Rod Frazier

How I got the card:  COMC in December (Black Friday)

Position:  Third Base

How he made the roster:  Frazier was voted in by the fans to start at third in front of hometown Cincinnati.

This was his 2nd All-Star selection.

First half stat line:  .284/25/57, .585 SLG

Home Run Derby:  Frazier was the 2-seed in the derby for the 25 homers he had as of July 7th.  In what was probably the coolest sporting event I’ve personally been to, he electrified the hometown crowd and took home the victory.

He took out 2-time champion Prince Fielder, 14-13, in the first round.

All-Star game:  0-3.  Unfortunately, Frazier couldn’t bring the hometown fans to their feet two days a row.  He grounded out three times.

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

STIT-AB A.J. Burnett – Pittsburgh Pirates
STIT-AC Aroldis Chapman – Cincinnati Reds
STIT-AE Alcides Escobar – Kansas City Royals
STIT-AGN Adrian Gonzalez – Los Angeles Dodgers
STIT-AJ Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles
STIT-AM Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
STIT-APO A.J. Pollock – Arizona Diamondbacks
STIT-APU Albert Pujols – Los Angeles Angels
STIT-AR Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs
STIT-BB Brad Boxberger – Tampa Bay Rays
STIT-BC Brandon Crawford – San Francisco Giants
STIT-BD Brian Dozier – Minnesota Twins
STIT-BG Brett Gardner – New York Yankees
STIT-BHA Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals
STIT-BHO Brock Holt – Boston Red Sox
STIT-BP Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
STIT-CA Chris Archer – Tampa Bay Rays
STIT-CK Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
STIT-CM Carlos Martinez – St. Louis Cardinals
STIT-CS Chris Sale – Chicago White Sox
STIT-DB Dellin Betances – New York Yankees
STIT-DK Dallas Keuchel – Houston Astros
STIT-DL DJ LeMahieu – Colorado Rockies
STIT-DO Darren O’Day – Baltimore Orioles
STIT-DP David Price – Detroit Tigers
STIT-FH Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners
STIT-GC Gerrit Cole – Pittsburgh Pirates
STIT-GP Glen Perkins – Minnesota Twins
STIT-JA Jose Altuve – Houston Astros
STIT-JDE Jacob deGrom – New York Mets
STIT-JDO Josh Donaldson – Toronto Blue Jays
STIT-JK Jason Kipnis – Cleveland Indians
STIT-JM J.D. Martinez – Detroit Tigers
STIT-JPA Joe Panik – San Francisco Giants
STIT-JPD Joc Pederson – Los Angeles Dodgers
STIT-JPE Jhonny Peralta – St. Louis Cardinals
STIT-JU Justin Upton – San Diego Padres
STIT-KB Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs
STIT-KH Kelvin Herrera – Kansas City Royals
STIT-LC Lorenzo Cain – Kansas City Royals
STIT-MB Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco Giants
STIT-MMA Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles
STIT-MME Mark Melancon – Pittsburgh Pirates
STIT-MTE Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees
STIT-MTR Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels
STIT-NA Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies
STIT-NC Nelson Cruz – Seattle Mariners
STIT-PF Prince Fielder – Texas Rangers
STIT-PG Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks
STIT-RM Russell Martin – Toronto Blue Jays
STIT-SM Shelby Miller – Atlanta Braves
STIT-SP Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
STIT-SV Stephen Vogt – Oakland Athletics
STIT-TF Todd Frazier – Cincinnati Reds
STIT-TT Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies
STIT-WD Wade Davis – Kansas City Royals
STIT-YG Yasmani Grandal – Los Angeles Dodgers
STIT-YM Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals
STIT-ZB Zach Britton – Baltimore Orioles
STIT-ZG Zack Greinke – Los Angeles Dodgers