Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Darryl Strawberry 2018 Topps High Tek

I was curious about these 2018 Topps High Tek cards. I wish they had spell Tek as Tech. Tek, for me, is Jason Varitek. Maybe he designed them? They come in four different patterns and are on some kind of transparent material (plastic?).  I was struggling to figure out which pattern was which but fortunately found it from the wonderful Cardboard Connection.

Pattern 1

Pattern 2

Pattern 3

Pattern 4

I've decided to rename the patterns. Pattern 1, 2, 3, 4... those are boring names.

The first pattern is a super highway.
The second pattern is a template for and ugly sweater.
The third pattern are yield signs.
The fourth pattern is Pac-Man, clearly.

The card front looks "cool" enough I guess. For about .50 cents each I'm not complaining but I am not sure I'll go after any more in other sets. I presume, at least, Topps does this a lot? I'm not sure why they bothered putting text on the back. The font is so flipping small my 45-year-old eyes couldn't read it before I scanned them. The top line is a career best; I guess a composite of all his highest numbers from whatever season. Lame. The bottom line is career totals. They use Baseball Reference WAR for the WAR number.

Which number do you prefer for WAR? Baseball Reference or the other one? If there was one agreed upon WAR number I'd still not like it, but I'd be much less critical of it. By much less I mean I would still largely find it mostly stupid.

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Monday, April 27, 2020

HOF Andre Dawson

Andre Dawson is in the Hall of Fame though some question it. Look at all the red on the back of his card! (His Baseball Reference page shows more impressive league leading statistics.) 

This specimen is the 1996 Topps base card, his last after 21 years in the major leagues with the Expos, Cubs, Red Sox, and... the Marlins?!?!?! 

Dawson was a Rookie of the Year and a MVP who also was voted to 8 All-Star games, won 8 gold gloves, and 4 Silver Sluggers. 

Is Dawson best known for his career, or this:


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Friday, April 24, 2020

John Kruk: O PEE CHEE's

Well, I found a small gap in my John Kruk collection and filled the void on one fell swoop. Rather than do a single post for each card, I thought I'd show them all off together as a unit. That void was in some O-Pee-Chee representation.

First up is the 1987 OPC sticker featuring, also, Mickey Hatcher.

Next up is 1988 OPC sticker with Trammell on the back. The wrong player is in the Hall of Fame.

The 1989 OPC sticker with two players. The Tigers Mike Henneman and the Cubs Shawon Dunston.

Now for some real cards. 1990.

1992 with the pretty card back.

And 1993 Premier. This is a great action card of Kruk rounding third base. I'm willing to bet good money he wasn't in the act of tagging up at second base and attempting to score.

I'm sure I asked this before but what they hell does O-Pee-Chee even mean? It's Canadian but it sounds like a Native American tribe or something. Maybe I'll Google it.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Darryl Strawberry: 1993 Metz Baking

This is the 1993 Metz Baking card that I got from Beau One Million Cubs (also on Twitter) in December 2019. I've just had an backlog of cards to post which is in part intentional (I have so few I have to space them out), but Beau's gift was inadvertently lost in the shuffle of blog post drafts. But, obviously, I found it!

Not a massive fan either of airbrushed cards or art cards; but for this one at least the art is an actual likeness to Darryl Strawberry. And weirdly though there is no logo on the hat, the full team name is listed in the name/team banner. The card front design is simple and attractive. The back is basic but readable. I'm grateful to have it.

It's ironic the bakery is called Metz!

Thanks Beau!

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Monday, April 20, 2020

HOF Cal Ripken, Jr.

I saw more Orioles games growing up than I did any other baseball team. So I'm sure I saw a lot of Cal Ripken Jr. A lifelong Orioles player, he epitomized durability and dedication. Looking at the back of the card, you can easily see the seasons in which the Orioles had a rain delay that wasn't made up (1985, 1988, and 1990) as well as the seasons (1994 and 1995) that were shortened due to the strike. I can honestly say the strike had little effect on me because in those years I do not think I was as into baseball. I was in the middle of college and had other things on my mind. And during the summer it was all about summer school (because I was a three sport athlete in college I took a slightly lighter course load and made up for it in the summer) and/or working.

His 1983 season was epic. He won the MVP. He won a second MVP in 1991. How many players can boast being elected to 19 consecutive All-Star games? That's impressive. 

This is his Topps 2001 baseball card. Why they gave him number 1 isn't a shocking decision; but I would have been more impressed if they issued him card 8.

At any rate. A no-brainer Hall of Famer. Right? I'm not sure if it'll surprise you or not, but I did not care much for Cal Ripken, Jr. 

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Friday, April 17, 2020

John Kruk Topps Micros & Archives

Topps Micro are kind of fun. Kind of annoying, too. They scan worth shit and look terrible as digital surrogates. Maybe I should have scanned them at 1200dpi? Would it matter?  

(This post has a "real" 1992 Kruk in it.)

Micro for 1992 (above) is a shame especially because the card back is so beautiful. It's just too small in this format.

Below is the Micro card for 1993. I'm ok with it being smaller because I don't care much for the back; though I do like the design on the front of the card.

(Here is a "real" 1993 Kruk, from 1993.)

Because they scanned so crappy, I decided to include this 2012 Topps Archives SP of John Kruk. To show off what a nice looking 1993 style card looks and scans like. Take that, Micro!

In the above card, Kruk is clearly beating the pants off the Mets. The catcher is so ashamed at his bad game calling he cannot even show his face.

When you go for variations? Do you go for SPs? Or do you go all out for SSPs?

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

HOF Jeff Bagwell

Jeff Bagwell, the one that got away from the Red Sox, is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. (In case you didn't realize it, the Astros won that trade. The Red Sox got something called Larry Andersen.) The thing I like the best about him is that he stayed with the Astros his whole career once he started in 1991. I really like that. 

I was just looking at his first major baseball cards and none of them was remotely familiar. Sadly for me, much of his career--which came to a close in 2005--was during a period I wasn't so into baseball. Though I started to get back into it in 1998-2000 after a six or so year hiatus, I knew of him but didn't pay him much attention.  

His accolades included a Rookie of the Year, a MVP, some All-Star games and Silver Slugger awards.

This is Bagwell's last Topps base card from the 2006 set. 

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Monday, April 13, 2020

Darryl Strawberry: Where's the logo?

This is my 400th boring blog post! 

The nostalgic in me made me do it. Plus, adding it to my cards in Sportlots maximized a higher rate of shipping for some other cards it came with. Panini/Donruss pulled my heart strings with this one, but I'm a little disappointed they didn't color match the original blue of there iconic 1986 design.

They've clearly airbrushed some on this card, removing any trace of orange in the stripe down the rib cage of the jersey and legs of his pants. But they kept the orange on the batting glove and wrist bands.

The back of the card, too, harkens back to a decade more than three decades ago. But they put so little effort into it that, well, it's really disappointing. It's almost a Toppsian effort at laziness. Let's see...Let's go to his Baseball Reference page, copy the line of career totals, paste, and voila! Card back! 

The full caps, too, in the paragraph below it is also a bit much. Stop shouting! But then once you get past the shouting you are presented with some 1980s-style interesting content on the player. Bravo to that. 

The Lost Collector sent me a Random Act of Strawberry by sending me the Orange Holo parallel of the above card. He included another logo-less Strawberry card: 1990 Post. Logo-less cards of Strawberry are like strawberries, the fruit, without seeds. But still I'm grateful that AJ thought of me at all. 

Thanks AJ!

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Saturday, April 11, 2020

10 Things I Hate About ...

Everyone else is doing it so I will too!

Things you probably like that I don't... I've organized them into a couple sections...

Baseball in General

1. The DH
Just get back to playing baseball and let the fat, older, otherwise-talent-less players go back to the minor leagues or just retire.

2. The Dodgers & the Red Sox
This doesn't need any explanation.

3. "Pace of Play"
Bitching about the length of games. If you love the sport you should be fine with the way it's played.

4. Advanced Stats
Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

5. Night Games at the weekend
Need more daytime baseball, in general, but particularly at the weekend. That is, when there are baseball games being played...

Baseball Cards

6. Diamond Kings & "artist" cards
Diamond Kings are largely hideous, and the what Topps is doing for Project 2020 is tacky. Topps Living, too, is heinous.

7. Variations
I have some. Sure. But they are stupid. So I'm partially a hypocrite.

8. Airbrushed/logo-less, unlicensed cards
If Donruss or Panini or whatever it's actually called are so anxious to produce baseball cards, pay for the right to show team names, jerseys, hats, etc because your product looks cheap.

9. SPs and SSPs
Like logo-less cards, we're bound to have some of these in our collections, but in general I'm just simply not a fan. Doing this begets Pack Searchers.

10. The modern set
Topps needs to get back to printing cards for all, or as close to as many as possible, of current players playing the game of baseball. Having a 700 card set might be fine but so many players are excluded because of their bilking nostalgia for all its worth. Put the historic players in your non-flagship sets! 30 teams with a roster of 25 players means 750 cards. This year the rosters were set to bump to 26, pushing the total players (at a minimum) to 780. Or if you have to include older, retired players, could you vary it up a bit? Enough of Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson, etc. I understand why they do this, but there have been tons of stars in the game. Bring back some attention to Dave Kingman, Tony Perez, Gil Hodges and, hell, even Chris Sabo!

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Friday, April 10, 2020

I'm not name calling: Two John Kruk White Whales

Minor league cards don't really interest me but because my PC's have so few of them...I kind of want them. I had two of the four John Kruk minor league cards: one was an eBay splurge with a coupon and the other was in a Christmas Secret Santa gift from Brian at Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary. Both from 1984.

Those two aforementioned 1984 cards were included in a four card lot on eBay that also included Kruk's 1983 and 1985 minor league cards. It was a Buy It Now or make an offer. I don't get greedy with the offers. I don't believe in low-balling someone. Based on the ridiculous COMC prices for ungraded Kruk cards, I thought the $30 price tag was fair. That's $7.50 a card. But the shipping was heinous at $8. So I threw out an offer of $25 with $5 for shipping, bringing it to $30. It was accepted. And these fellows are now mine.

Probably some people have better white whales: a Jackie Robinson card or something. I'd still really like the TCMA Darryl Strawberry cards. Maybe one day.

Did I do alright? Does anyone need Kruk's 1984 cards with the Las Vegas Stars? Happy to trade or consider a cash transaction.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

1987 Action All-Stars

What looks like Rob Broder. Smells like Rob Broder. And might or might not be a Rob Broder? Just about any card printed in the mid-to-late 80s with just about the minimum thought put into card design or text on the back. 

I'm surprised this card isn't listed as an error more often considering Strawberry's bat belongs to number 81.

These cards! Ugh. One thing I can say I like about them is that the photographs are different than what you otherwise normally see. Especially now with the the same image used on base and the 6 gazillion parallels Topps produces.

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Monday, April 6, 2020

HOF Ken Griffey Jr.

When I think of George Kenneth "Ken" Griffey, Jr., I think about a baseball player---one of the few---who lives up to expectations from the start to the end of his career. He was injury plagued for a few seasons which undoubtedly took some stats away from him. But... Just imagine! 

Normally you say "Just imagine" about players like Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden who had different demons than injury... but just imagine if Griffey was healthier in those five or so shortened seasons! He started and ended his storied career in Seattle, playing also for the Reds and kind of, just like Johm Kruk, the White Sox. 

This card is his 2010 Topps card. He played in 33 games in 2010 but was not issued with a 2011 Topps base card. Griffey Jr. was an MVP of the league and of an All-Star Game, a 13-time All-Star, won 10 Gold Gloves, a 7-time Silver Slugger. He was a class act. 

Looking at the card back, he was a league leader in very few things and even then, for just a small set of years, from 1994 to 1999. But overall his 22 years were very productive. 

Sadly, Griffey only appeared in four postseasons series in three years. This is practically Mike Trout postseason drought territory.

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