Confession - You have no idea how close I came to putting ALL the Chippers in the Frankenset. The one I wanted to put in most was the '57 design, but it turns out I didn't actually have it. So the '52 had to do. The bottom row of this one filled in almost instantly, leaving me to struggle with filling out the rest of the page.
Card #46 - Joel Zumaya
I've never played Guitar Hero. Too scared. That'll mess up your arm something fierce. Oh wait, no, throwing balls-out on every single pitch ever will mess up your arm. It sure did work in 2006 though.
#47 - Adrian Beltre
This guy has been playing abso-freaking-lutely forEVER and he's still only 34. I remember seeing rookie inserts for Adrian all over the dang place in the late '90s and he's still producing. I still think of Adrian as a Dodger most of the time. He had that crazy 48-homer year for the Dodgers in 2004 but did you know he came in third to Miggy and Trout in the AL MVP voting last year? I know 34 years old now is a lot different from 34 years old a decade ago but Adrian's starting to creep into some elite territory.
#48 - Zach Day
A National. Ugh, I hate Nationals. Why couldn't this card have had him as an Expo. He actually pitched decently as an Expo. I blame Bud Selig.
#49 Doug Davis
Cancer survivor who plugged away with that left arm of his for a long time. Doug pitched for AAA Omaha last year but I'm not sure if he made any clubs for 2013. I can't pick him up in my fantasy league so Doug may have retired.
#50 Juan Cruz
I attracted Juan Cruz insert cards like a magnet in the early aughts and ended up pulling three or four pretty good ones out of packs when we was a Cub. Then the Cubs traded Juan to the Braves were he had a fantastic season out of the bullpen. He then got flipped to the A's for Tim Hudson and I completely forgot about Juan Cruz. He was released by the Pirates in August last year and I can't find him on any other roster. I'll always have that handful of Cubbie Cruz inserts stashed away in a box of Braves cards though.
#51 - Chad Cordero
ARGH Nationals. At least Cordero was a legit pitcher unlike Day. Made an All-Star team and everything! I don't know where the heck Topps gets some of their photographs though. Did the photographer ask Chad to do his best Larry Sellers impersonation?
#52 - Chipper Jones
While I am very sad that Chipper is not playing third for Atlanta anymore holy fraking crap is it fun seeing him tweet a bunch of crazy crap during Braves games like the rest of us slobs.
#53 - Miguel Cabrera
All right stat geeks, I'm gonna say this once and only once and if you just don't get it then I can't help you. Mike Trout had an awesome year in 2012. An incredible year. An All-Timer year. People are going to be talking about his rookie season decades from now. Here's the thing though: Miguel Cabrera also had an incredible year in 2012. AND he did something that no other player has done in my LIFETIME and I ain't no spring chicken. Something that has been considered one of the greatest individual achievements possible in the sport for over a CENTURY. AND he's been performing at a very high level in the majors for a DECADE. MVP? Miguel Cabrera has paid his dues. He EARNED that shit. Mike Trout earned the Rookie of the Year and will very likely earn his own MVP if not multiple MVPs if he stays healthy. Cabrera over Trout will probably end up being a great topic of baseball discussion for years to come, like the Joe DiMaggio/Ted Williams MVP battles. But if certain devotees of the WAR keep acting like Miggy over Trout was a travesty worse than Terry Pendleton over Barry Bonds or Marty Marion over Stan Musial then people are going to completely tune you and your formulas out. There is more to baseball than just numbers. Just throwing that out there.
#54 - Mo Vaughn
Is is just me or has every big slugger who jumped ship and signed a big deal with another team immediately gotten zapped by the baseball gods for their disloyalty? Trades like Frank Robinson or Mark McGwire don't count. I'm sure someone out there signed a massive contract for a team other than the team they are most associated with and had success but I'm drawing a blank. And then there's poor Mo Vaughn, struck down by the lack of a guardrail in his prime. And THEN the poor guy got traded to the Mets. The baseball gods may have been a little extra cruel in this case.
I'd like to take a moment to thank all of the sensible stat geeks out there for being sensible. Thank you, sensible stat geeks. You know who you are.