Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Willie Mays: Topps Living 2020

This summer my father got the Topps Living card for Willie Mays. He got two of them and gave me the extra one. Note: he's knows full-well how I feel about Topps Living in general: it's a horse's ass of a set.  But 1953 is his favorite all-time set and Willies Mays is someone he grew up watching and listening to in the 50s before they dissed NY and moved west. So the card was gratefully received.  

I was too lazy to take it out of the top loader, but it scanned rather nicely nonetheless. I'm not completely taken with the rendition of Mays in this instance, but it isn't terribly awful, like 98.5% (or more) of these cards in this horrific concept set.  It's the second card from it that I have, the first being the Darryl Strawberry card, which was printed this year. I showed it off a while ago

When Fanatics takes over, does Topps Living change its name to Topps Dead?

I don't care for Tatis Jr. I'm not really a Machado fan, but I have to say I'm Team Machado concerning their public dugout thing last weekend. Sorry Padres fans. 

Do you ever get anything out of a player or manager interviews? They have to be one of the biggest wastes of time in modern society. It's all blank, vanilla, boilerplate, cliche crap. It ought to be a drinking game or bingo (or both). I really find listening to them all to be just insufferable. Which is why I generally just try to tune it out when it's on the TV, radio, podcast, etc. 

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Monday, September 20, 2021

Babe Ruth: Topps 70

 What is this trash?

Scanning the card through its thick plastic casing did not turn out well. This is my Epson scanner's way of passing correct judgement on the card in and of itself, as well as of the "Project" itself.

I got this card this summer from my brother as a joke because my Twitter reaction to it was so violently vile and repugnant. In person it's worse than you can possibly fathom, and it's a stain on my baseball card collection, my house, and my life. 

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Friday, September 17, 2021

John Kruk: 2017 Topps Archives Blue Border

In 2017, John Kruk got a Topps Archive card. And what's better than that, you ask? Why, one with a blue border, of course! Once again Topps went with some incongruity. Showing the 1991 design, they feature Kruk in his 1989-1990 uniform. Even the base card for 1991 showed Kruk in his next uniform, number 19. Way go Topps, you fucktards. 

This is the last new John Kruk card I have to show off, so this particular focus of the blog may be silent for a while. 

One of the lamest things I hear in baseball is the "luck" factor as an excuse or reason for this, that, or the other. How do you feel about a player's luck or un-luck? Or a team's? I'm just not a fan of it. In part because I think most of baseball is skill-related. And skill incorporates talent, ability, proficiency, and even inefficiency (i.e. suckitude). This feeds into my dislike of weighted stats, expected stats, predicted stats, and B.S. stats like "Field Independent Pitching" and "Park Factor". I guess in general most, if not all, advanced stats can eff off! Have a nice day.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: 2021 Topps X Sports Illustrated

This is one of my two 2021 cards, so far, for Darryl Strawberry. The other was the Topps Living card. This particular one is something called Topps X Sports Illustrated and reproduces an iconic Sports Illustrated cover featuring a depicted player.  Again, it's no wonder Topps has lost its exclusivity license with Major League Baseball because it's products are just plain bad and uninspired.

This one has a print run of 1,474 and I got it off eBay so didn't come close to paying the retail cost. At the time I received it, it was the 1,002nd unique card in my collection. 

This is the last new Strawberry card that I have to show off! So this feature of my blog may go quiet for a while.

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Monday, September 13, 2021

HOF Rollie Fingers

Rollie Fingers was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1992. It was his second year on the ballot and he went into with fellow pitcher Tom Seaver. He played for seventeen years for three teams Oakland, San Diego, and Milwaukee. He was primarily a relief pitcher in his time in the major leagues, but in 1970 he started 19 games. After 1973, he never started another game. Fingers was an MVP, a Cy Young, a seven-time All-Star, a World Series MVP, won 4 Rolaids Relief awards, and was on three World Series winning teams.

His final Topps base card was this 1986 issue. And as he did not play after 1985, we can see his whole career here. His 1983 stint on the Disabled List saw him miss the entire year. One maybe can wonder if he'd've gone pitching longer without that injury.  

But the real reason he's in the Hall is, obviously, his mustache. He has the highest MAR (Mustache Above Replacement) in baseball history. 

This is the final last base Topps card for a HOFer that I have to show off at the moment. So this portion of the blog will be silent for a while.  

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Friday, September 10, 2021

John Kruk: 20-- Topps Allen & Ginter's

Thank goodness the front of the card tells you this is 2013.  And which is it? Allen & Ginter's Topps or Topps' Allen & Ginter? Does it even matter? It's essentially the Pandemical "blursday" of baseball cards.

Depicted here is Kruk in his 1989-1990 jersey number 11. He's better known for wearing 29. Way to go Topps! Or Allen & Ginter's! 

Remember those scenes in How I Met Your Mother...when the guys were drunk at the bar and were all like "Hey! We should start a band?"  I think that's what Fanatics is doing with its hostile card takeover. They were watching the trading card boom during the pandemic and were pissed off, like a lot of us, that they couldn't get cards in Target any longer and were like, "Dudes, we should start a card company!" And someone else was like "Yea, we should!" And someone else was like "Hey man I sleeping with someone in Manfred's inner circle I can totally hook you up. Want some Roman?" And meanwhile, Eisner's in the port-a-potty with his pants down when it gets lifted up for collection...

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Wednesday, September 8, 2021

"HOF" Ted Simmons

Today Ted Simmons was inducted into the Hall of Fame. To celebrate, I thought I'd show off his last Topps card: 1988 Topps.  He looks terrible in this post-swing photograph. His stats are so tiny. 

Somehow time, and the farkakte Veterans Committee, made Ted Simmons a Hall of Famer. 

Simmons played 21 seasons for three teams: St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Atlanta at the end, where players went to have their careers die at the time---I mean, to be a mentor to younger players. He won a silver slugger award. A. Singular. He was an eight-time All-Star, who played largely against guys like Jonathan Bench; and he earned MVP votes in 7 sevens (1/3 of his career). His highest finishes where 6th in 1975 and 9th in 1977. On the basic stats, he led the league in just three categories: Grounded into Double Plays and Intentional Walks (twice, and probably to get to the pitcher to set up a double play). Way to go!

Not feeling this. Congrats?

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Monday, September 6, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: 2020 Topps X Super 70s

Hey! Let's mash up a bunch of different 70s design elements and slap a 1980s baseball image in there and suckers will buy 'em up.

This set would have been better to me if it stayed in its lane, bro...just have 70s stars.  Do a separate one for the 80s. And the 90s.  What Topps loses when they pull crap like this is not only their licensing monopoly (ha ha, though the monopoly is transferring to Fanatics) is the authenticity of what the product is trying to do. Some people, for example, get excited seeing Mike Trout on 1984 Topps designs. That's great for you, but it's simply not for me. I'm much happier seeing Mike Schmidt or Nolan Ryan in this 90 card set than Christian Yelich, Ty Cobb, or, yes, Darryl Strawberry. 

But, yet again, I feel like I'm a hypocrite for acquiring the card. Though, I got it way cheaper than it was offered for, I think. Phew.

The checklist is bizarre.  The last 20-something are all current players, but a smattering of current players (a smattering in this instance is five) appear within the first 67 cards, too. I realize it might take about a half a day's worth of work, but why not arrange these sets by MLB start date? End with the current players? Or do it in reverse order to be cute? 

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Friday, September 3, 2021

John Kruk: 2012 Upper Deck Goodwin Mini Green

Most John Kruk cards are just as beautiful as the Mona Lisa. This captures a post-playing career Kruk at around the time he was the M.V.A. (Most Valuable Analyst) for ESPN's Baseball Tonight. 

This is a green mini parallel card which features a green border on the front as well as a tobacco card-esque advert for "Lady Luck" on the back.

Kruk is amazing. All the above being said, Goodwin Champions is just as ugly as Allen & Ginter and Gypsy Queen. And that opinion is me both being polite and holding back.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: 2020 Topps X Pete Alonso ?*&^%&)^%$@

Darryl Strawberry got this thing called "Topps X Pete Alonso" card in 2020. Pete Alonso is one of the most over-rated players in Baseball Today and I'm not sure why he is getting special Topps treatment, but this 20-card "set" might be the reason why MLB is ditching Topps in favor of Fanatics. Strawberry was in the five-card "Franchise Favorites" insert set. There are 21 other insert sets. Ludicrous.

The card back is awful and boring and it might've been better if it was blank. 

What a stupid ugly card, clearly designed by an 11-year-old using Photoshop. But, at .18 or .25 cents..., it got me one closer to 1,000. 

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Monday, August 30, 2021

Teammates in the Hall of Mediocre!

This blog post features a couple of guys that are now enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame and that were teammates for a while for the Tigers of Detroit: Jack Morris and Alan Trammell. Both players were not deemed worth enough to be voted in by the BBWAA within the time frame of allowance after they retired in, respectively, 1994 and 1996. 

Jack Morris' last Topps card was on the beautiful-fronted 1993 Topps. It's a wonderful photograph, too. The back is a bit "meh" for me. But the back is where his stats are. Morris was a five-time All-Star, a World Series MVP, and a three-time World Series winner. Morris played 18 years and four four different uniforms (Detroit, Toronto, Minnesota, and Cleveland). He earned some MVP votes & Cy Young votes, but was never truly competitive in either award category. Not a Hall of Famer... though he did lead the league in six seasons in Wild Pitches. Way to go! 

Alan Tramme's last base Topps card was 1995. I don't care for the design; and it's nearly impossible to read his name plate on the front. The "screen" look on the back is awful, too. Alan Trammell is unequivocally not a Hall of Famer. Like Morris he was  World Series MVP. He was a six-time All-Star, won four Gold Gloves, and three Silver Sluggers. He earned MVP votes in seven seasons, finishing second in 1987.  He played his entire career with Detroit, which is admirable. 

Both players are Hall of Mediocre. 

How do you feel about the Mets and ThumbsDownGate?

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Friday, August 27, 2021

John Kruk: 2006 cards

Two 2006 Fleer cards for John Kruk this week. Wahoo! The first up is "Greats of the Game" "Decade Greats". Kruk is representin' the 90s, word.s

And then we have just a standard "Greats of the Game" card. This one has full stats, whereas the above focuses, obviously, on his 1990s stats.

Are you with me that because Tatis, Jr., has missed too much time that he shouldn't even be considered for NL MVP?

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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: Some 2020 cards

Hey! What's new with you?

This is an "On Demand Mini" card for Darryl Strawberry that's the exact same as one of the cards I showed off last week. I should have shown it off then, but I forgot that I had it. 

So because it might be boring to see a very similar card two weeks in a row, I'll also show this 2020 card as well. Topps Turkey Red. Even though it's grey with little to no red at all. I think this was my first foray into Turkey Red's. I don't find I care for them very much. Fine for the actual old cards. They are beautiful. But this just feels like a lazy, cheap, cash grab. At .18 cents, though, I "won the trade". Even though I still probably over-paid for it. 

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Monday, August 23, 2021

HOF: Carl Yastrzemski

This week I'm showcasing the last Topps base card for Boston Red Sox great, and Hall of Famer Carl "Yaz" Yastrzremski. Yesterday was his birthday! I think I spelled that right? And I'm even looking at the card on the screen and I still cannot be sure. Do you think there is a harder to spell surname in baseball history? 

Yaz went in to the Hall of Fame in 1989, on his first ballot, receiving 94.6% of the vote. (He went in with Johnny Bench. Not a bad class at all.  Yaz played 23 years in baseball, including 119 games in 1983, but yet again was not issued with a 1984 Topps base card. Such a shame. In his career he was an MVP (1967), won the Triple Crown (also in 1967), was an 18-time All-Star, won three batting titles, seven Gold Gloves, and was the MVP of an All-Star Game, too. 

A solid career and a no-doubt Hall of Famer. 

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Friday, August 20, 2021

John Kruk: 2005 Donruss Champions Impressions

John Kruk got this 2005 Donruss Champions Impressions card. But the card back spends an awful lot of time and attention on Jim Thome. Which is unfair as Kruk was a far superior and likable player. Thome just flitted around on too many teams. In fact if you look at Kruk's six years with the Phillies and Thome's four years, you'll have to agree with me Kruk was a better producer. And not just in stolen bases. 

The text on this back highlight's Kruk's No 29 jersey as being a great seller and his awesome 1991 season, yet the image depicted here shows Kruk in the number 11 jersey, which he wore in 1989-1990. Weird.  Topps-esque.

The back of the card. What a mess. I cannot stress how much I loathe the distorting "Career Highs" stats line. Maybe it's something that might be interesting to see in a snapshot? What his highest numbers are in these important statistical categories? Do you like it? 

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PS: Dear Luke Voit,  

Shut up. I'm really glad you lead the league in home runs in 2020. That's great for you. But please consider why the Yankees went out and got Anthony Rizzo as there are two major reasons for it.

A) They didn't want the Red Sox to get him. 
B) You've largely stunk this year for the most part, and, you have had several stints on the injury list.  

So I find it suspect how, seemingly suddenly, that since the Yankees traded for Rizzo you've been healthy. 

Baseball Every Night

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Darryl Strawberry: Some 2020 cards

This week we have two 2020 Topps cards for Darryl Strawberry. The first is the Stadium Club insert "Power Zone" which partially did not scan well. 

And then a 35th Anniversary 1985 style from the Topps set. The colors here are crisp; the photograph really lovely; but the text on the back is nearly impossible to read. This is a similar shot to the real, original 1985 Topps card for Strawberry

Frustratingly, the original is much easier to read than this version. How could they not have gotten the coloring of the card and font not to match? That is, of course, a rhetorical question. Everything you wonder about Topps, these days, is a rhetorical question.

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Monday, August 16, 2021

HOFers Lou Brock & Jim Hunter

1979 Topps was the last base card issue for two Hall of Famers: Lou Brock and Jim "Catfish" Hunter. Both of these card are beautiful, from Brock's mock turtleneck & classic Cardinals sitting on bats logo to Hunter's Spring Training shot, with an absolute vastness of land, air, and space behind him. Just stunning.

Lou Brock went in on his first ballot in 1985, receiving 79.7% of the vote. Brock was a six-time All-Star and a two-time World Series winner in his nineteen year career. He received MVP votes in 10 of his seasons, finishing as high as second in 1974 (behind Steven Garvey). Looking at the back of his card, I had not really realized he was on the Cubs when he broke into the big leagues. Brock had two consecutive four-year stints leading the league in stolen bases; and he finished his career with 38 more SBs than RsBI. 

Jim Hunter went into the HOF in 1987, two years after Brock. It was his third ballot and he squeaked in with 76.3% of the vote. He won a Cy Young, an ERA title, five World Series and was an eight time All-Star in his 15 year career. He played for the Kansas City  and Oakland Athletics  and then went to the Yankees. He had a cycle of Cy Young finishes in four consecutive years finishing 4th, 3rd, 1st, and 2nd. And he earned MVP votes in five straight seasons. His peak years seemed to have been 1971 to 1976.  

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Friday, August 13, 2021

John Kruk: 1995 Cards

Red Foley issued the below sticker/card in 1995 for John Kruk and Lenny Dykstra. I guess he was off "Len" and back to Lenny? These two guys were clutch players for the Phillies in the early 1990s. Dykstra even finished as the bridesmaid in the 1993 MVP, the year in which Kruk finished 16th (but should've have won it because of his mullet, naturally). 

The following two Kruk cards are from Stadium Club. The top card is the "Members Only" issue. 

And this one has a special "World Series" stamp. Though in 1994 the Phillies---tied for 2nd in the NL East with the Mets and 21 games out of first place---were decidedly not in the World Series. 

Take your lead from the back of this card and "Do the Kruk." Tweet your pictures to me @pksteinberg!

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