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Thursday, June 28, 2007

All Star Ballot part 2

Well, you have about 4 hours left to stuff those ballots, Here's part two of my All Star Baseball Card ballot. Two Daves, a Robin and a Rod.

NL Second Baseman: Dave Lopes

What, you expected this guy? Not on my ballot. Davey gets my vote, even though 1981 might have been his worst year in the bigs. Still made the all star team though!

AL Second Baseman: Rod Carew

Ha! I cheated! That's not a 1976 card that's from an archive set! Well it was either that or have Joe Rudi as the representative from the 76ers. This way he can play second where he belongs instead of having to man first in an Angels uni. Besides, there was no way Rod wouldn't make my ballot. Dude is immortalized on both Sure Shot by the Beastie Boys and Adam Sandler's Hannukah Song. Urban myth or not, Rod's alleged conversion to Judaism makes him the MLB's version of Walter Sobchak. No rolling on Shabbos!

NL Shortstop: Dave Concepcion

Hey, he won the All Star Game MVP once, why not again? Dave is one of the many players ignored in Hall of Fame voting during the Steroid era that will eventually be put in the Hall of fame by a revamped Veteran's committee. You know, once they get this guy the hell out of there so there is no more cock-blocking of deserving candidates.

AL Shortstop: Robin Yount

The pride of Milwaukee, Yount gets the nod at short for the Junior Circuit. Too bad he was just an awesome player who went out and did his job well, I can't think of anything snarky to say about him at all. Well, other than the fact that he looks a lot like Sam the Eagle in that picture. Robin almost got zapped by the 1976 mess, I was very close to putting Bert Campaneris in his place. For fun, all you conspiracy theorists out there interested in the statistical anomalies of the steroid era should check out the home run totals from 1970 for Bert. I'm not casting any aspersions now, I'm just saying it goes to show what talent and a small sample size can do...

Honorable Mentions:

1983 Manny Trillo
1981 Paul Molitor
1975 Larry Bowa
1976 Bert Campaneris

Up next: Hall of Famers at the Hot corner, and other various ungulates.


The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta are giving away a free Infectious Diseases trading card set at their visitor center. The set includes veterans Rabies, Anthrax and Tuberculosis; Up and comers HIV, SARS and Ebola; and features the long awaited rookie card of Cryptosporidiosis. Sadly, the "protect the children" crowd have forced changes to the set, resulting in a rare variation where Anthrax's photo got swapped from a woman's rotting eyeball to a more genteel dead zebra. Even so, apparently the set is very popular among the middle-school crowd, and the CDC is having problems keeping them in stock. If you aren't able to grab a set of your own, you can download the PDF here and print them up yourself! A Bleeding Ulcer trading card is just what I need to complete my Atlanta Hawks Draft Pick collection.

Series 2 will reportedly feature food borne illnesses. Can we dare to hope for an official 1997 NBA Finals Michael Jordan Game-Used barf relic card??

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


OK, ok, I admit it, I haven't filled out my All Star Ballot yet. I'll get to it, I promise! Besides, the voting doesn't look good for my Braves anyway, what with Chipper covered in boo-boos, Andruw under the Mendoza line and Smoltzie lobbing grenades about the clubhouse.

To help me continue to avoid doing my civic duty (seriously though, have you tried going on mlb.com using dialup? Even if I started loading the page now, the voting would be over by the time all the video finished downloading) I will instead fill out my ballot for the All Star Baseball Card All Stars. My ballot only has players from 1958-1983, mainly because I also procrastinated on getting this post ready and I don't have time to scrounge through 25 more years of sets in my collection looking for All Star cards. In the time honored MLB spirit of fairness, I'll also try to vote for at least one card from each year with an All Star subset so everyone gets represented. Well all of them except 1961, 'cause I don't have any 1961 All Stars. Stupid expensive high series.

We'll start off with the Skippers:

The Old Perfessor manages the American League, while the Nationals are led by a man who got fired by the Braves for having the nerve to lose to the Dodgers in a three game playoff in 1959. After finishing in first place for three straight years. Yes, the same Braves that didn't win another playoff game for 32 years.

NL Catcher: 1960 Del Crandall

What? Not Johnny Bench, you say? Well this is my ballot and I can stuff it with Braves if I wish. Besides, Crandall was an 8 time All Star with 4 Gold Gloves, not too shabby. Besides, Del has something Johnny doesn't:

A Jack Davis illustration on the back of his card! That beats the hell out of the Baseball Bunch any day.

AL Catcher: 1979 Carlton Fisk

Pudge! This was the easiest decision on the AL side. Especially since Yogi doean't have an All star card.

Honorable Mentions:
1962 Johhny Roseboro
1958 Sherm Lollar

Up next: Middle infielders

Monday, June 25, 2007

Card of the Week

Or the month, depending on when I get my act together and post something new.

Cardboard Junkie's inaugural card of the week is the card I've been wanting since I first saw the Distinguished Service insert set in Series 1 Topps, Warren Spahn.

Baseball's winningest lefty almost ended up with a lifetime record of 0-0. After a cup of coffee with the Braves in 1942, Spahn entered the military into an engineering unit. Spahn's unit was involved in the Battle of The Bulge and was instrumental in keeping the Ludendorff Bridge up long enough for US troops to cross it into Germany. The Bridge collapsed after several German efforts to destroy the bridge, killing 28 engineers. Spahn narrowly avoided this fate and was awarded a battlefield commission. Spahn returned to the Braves in 1946 to begin a 19 year run with the team. Spahn would anchor the Braves' pitching staff and lead the team to 3 world series appearances including a victory over the Yankees in 1957.

Friday, June 22, 2007

More thoughts about Series Two

Now that's I've busted open a few more (ok, a LOT more) packs of Topps series two, here is some more of my thoughts toward the set.

The variation cards are kind of neat, and I like that they are actually obtainable unlike the Wal-Mart variations from series 1. However it would be nice if Topps would let us know what cards had variations for once. Maybe with a press release or heck, even on the checklist.

Since Topps won't tell ya, I will:
411 Jason Bay - no signature
437 Paul LoDuca - no signature
481 Jim Thome - no signature
630 Daisuke Matsuzaka English front - no signature
630 Daisuke Matsuzaka Japanese front with signature
630 Daisuke Matsuzaka Japanese front - no signature
634 Alex Gordon - no signature
660 Yadier Molina - no signature

Even with 3 different variations, I still can't pull a Dice-K to save my life. Plus I'm convinced the Bonds card is a figment of my fevered imagination.

We finally get Alex Gordon's RC (which I also can't pull). In my perfect world, Topps would take all those 2006 Gordon cards they had to yank from packs and insert them into this set. Then I could finally fill in that hole in my 2006 set. Sure, Keith Olbermann would take a bath on the ones he bought up, but he's getting good ratings right now, he can afford it.

Seriously, that one card missing from series one bugs me. I'm tempted to take the scans I saved from Beckett's online article and print one up on my color printer just to complete the set. I would have done it already if the printer ink cartridges weren't more expensive than the actual card.

The 1st edition parallel is useless. The only reason I can think of for its continued existence is that Topps already paid for the die to stamp the logo onto the cards, so they're going to use it as long as they can. Kind of like how Pacific dropped a million bucks on the Pacific Crown Die-cut machine and then had to have Die Cut Crown cards in every set they produced until they folded.

The Hit Parade inserts look like the love child of 1996 Topps Pro-Files and Fleer Lumberjacks inserts. I'm also convinced that the Stars insert set is actually surplus from an old MVP or Pros and Prospects set that they bought off of Upper Deck.

The Opening Day set is completely irrelevant, unless you are a hard core collector of a certain team. Even then, 14/15ths of the set is irrelevant to that particular collector.

I like the 1953 design on the Mickey Mantle Story cards. Of course if Topps put out a "Great Moments in Welsh Chartered Accountancy" set with the '53 design I'd probably buy it, so maybe I'm not the best one to judge these things.

As I feared, the Joe D Streak before the Streak cards are all the same except for the number. The actual Streak cards have the date, opponent, pitcher and type of hit though. The design is very attractive as well. This would be a good set for any DiMaggio fans out there that couldn't afford the hit streak set from Play Ball that came out a few years ago.

The Generation Now inserts initially irritated me. Too many damn cards, and why did Topps need another 'count down the stats' insert set? But now that I look at it if you ignored the numbers and focused on just collecting one of each the players it's not a bad little set. It does have a good player selection as far as up and coming players are concerned, and collecting one of each (or all of one if you're the player collector type) would be much easier on your sanity than trying to track down all 394 in the set.

Finally, the Wal-Mart 120 years of baseball card history set is probably my favorite insert set in quite some time. I love old obscure cards and this set seems to have them all. Dice-K on an old Japanese card design is brilliant and it doesn't get better than Manny's big noggin on a 1938 Goudey card. I'm looking forward to Updates and Highlights when they will have to start really scraping the bottom of the barrel for vintage card designs.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

28 Packs Later

Apparently some strange things are afoot in the blogosphere today. I blew it off as some kind of viral marketing for a new zombie flick and picked up a few more packs of series 2 from the local addiction enabler.

To my horror I realized it was all true. Zombies are indeed among us. HERE IS PROOF:

Run! Run for the hills with the children before it's too late!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Series 2 is here

Went to the card shop not expecting to find much and lo and behold Topps Series 2 is out! Fearful that they may have photoshopped Joe DiMaggio and Rudy Guiliani into the background of the Kei Igawa rookie, I got a few packs before the price skyrocketed. Here is my take from 5 packs:

Pack 1
553 Ramon Martinez
598 Arizona Diamondbacks
604 San Diego Padres
331 Kelly Johnson
424 Dan Haren
DS25 Ted Williams Distinguished Service
345r Joe Borowski
534r Terrmel Sledge
429 Carlos Zambrano
391 Kelvim Escobar

Not a bad pack, a couple of stars, a Brave and Teddy Ballgame. The team cards are complete with walls o' doom again. I don't understand why they can't just sign the batboys to a contract. Maybe it violates the new Rookie Card agreement.

Pack 2
617 Ned Yost
599 Kansas City Royals
594 Angels
344 Kenji Johjima
518 Esteban Loaiza
JDSF28 Joe Dimaggio
394r Aaron Hill
421r Melky Cabrera
536 Tom Gorzelanny
451 Bobby Jenks
Checklist 2 of 3

I know the Royals' payroll is low, but this is ridiculous. The Joe D card is neat, but the blurb on the reverse references the 49th game. Hopefully this isn't the Josh Gibson set redux with the fronts and backs all being the exact same save the number. The Mantle cards at least give a little info like the date, score and pitcher who gave up the homer. The checklist card has some interesting tidbits. Looks like Spahn finally gets a distinguished service card. Too bad there are only 10 cards in the subset. Thankfully Topps finally gave up and didn't list every single Joe D and ARod continuity card. Pretty much one whole side of the checklist is all Generation Now cards though.

Pack 3
635 Juan Lara RC
629 Levale Speigner RC
494 Orlando Hudson
356 Curtis Granderson
GN281 Russell Martin Triple #3
444r Josh Beckett
646r Devern Hansack RC
406 Ryan Madson
428 So Taguchi
429 Carlos Zambrano

First double of series 2 and it only took me 3 packs. At least it's Zambrano. Carlos will hopefully cost the Yankees so much money this offseason they won't have enough left to sign Andruw Jones away from the Bravos. The Generation Now card is quite frankly, ridiculous. Triples?? Are you serious? Do we really need a trading card commemorating triples by a catcher? Finally, the artsy fartsy wrinkly red background on every single Red Sox card since the update set is really starting to bug me. Maybe Upper Deck does need to gobble them up if they insist on using Olan Mills as their house photographer.

Pack 4
638 Cesar Jimenez
603 Los Angeles Dodgers of Anaheim
596 Texas Rangers
515 Josh Phelps
556 John Patterson
OD15 Opening Day - Giants vs Padres
612r Ozzie Guillen
615r Lou Piniella
538 Wily Mo Pena
370 Troy Glaus

This pack made me seriously reconsider my decision to collect cards instead of coins when I was a kid. Troy Glaus in a Jays uni does not a successful pack make. I haven't decided yet if the Opening day design is pretty or ugly. No wait, it's just pretty ugly. Foil stipes? Um, no thanks. I did get a chuckle out of the red parallel cards though. I'll take batshit insane managers for 1000, Alex. Daily Double!!

Pack 5
644 Jared Burton RC
624 Jeremy Brown
399 James Shields
TP18 Gary Sheffield Trading Places
GN274 Delmon Young Multi Hit Game #10
527r Randy Winn
505r Jose Bautista
382 Kevin Millwood
458 J.J. Hardy

Ok, this pack makes me feel better. Two inserts and actual star players. The Burton rookie has more glamour shot wankery, but at least they used neutral colors on this one. A pastoral winter backdrop would look nice for series 3. Gen Now highlights Delmon's multi-hit games. I will not rest until I pull a Generation Now Pete Orr Defensive Replacement insert. The Trading Places insert set is a nice idea, but damn if poor Sheff doesn't look forlorn. One card shows the transition from "I'm the king of the world" to "What the hell just happened to me" quite clearly. Maybe it dawned on him that he's going into the Hall of Fame with a Marlins cap now.

Bonus Card of the Week: FF21 Trevor Hoffman
On the week of his 500th save no less. Nice.

All in all, typical series 2 Topps, too many team cards and the inserts are a little less thrilling, but hey, you dropped all that money on series 1 chasing that Jeter so you might as well complete the set. Look on the bright side, at least it's not 5 bucks a pack like Upper Deck!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

RIP Clete

The best fielding third baseman you never heard of.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Yummy Retro Goodness

Dammit, Upper Deck may actually get a good chunk of my money this year.

Via Stale Gum, it looks like Allen & Ginter gets a sequel, Turkey Red will keep on going and Upper Deck will jump into the fray with a Goudey themed set.

Allen & Ginter looks like it will be a winner again, hopefully prices will stay sane long enough for me to have a real shot at a set this time. It killed me last year when my local Target got 5 more Box Blasters in after it had been long gone for a few weeks and I had the proverbial moth flying out of my wallet. Alas, with Official Ken Jennings Costco Shirt Relics, I'm certain we'll be looking at 15 dollar packs within days of release. Turkey Red will probably be the product they ship in late November during the "season's over, but we can't put out a 2008 set till February" dead period. I wonder if it will be the set Topps dumps late season rookies in since it looks like they thoroughly murdered Bowman Heritage last year. I'm rooting for a '53 Rookie set myself.

The Goudey set intrigues me, it looks like UD is going to attempt to make it somewhat affordable for us bottom feeders so it can compete with Topps. Hopefully it will be released in retail boxes as well so it will still be available when the hobby prices go through the roof. I've already seen it online preorder for $150 a box. Ugh! I need to scrounge around for a sell sheet, this could be a truly awesome set if done correctly. Considering butt-ugly Origins in a $90 tin is a big reason why I gave up collecting Upper Deck products, this is a step in the right direction.

Ya see, this is why we need at least two companies fighting it out in the industry. We don't need one giant ToppsUpperFleerDeck crapping out a handful of lame base sets and a dozen $100+ gambler products with a guaranteed snippet of a utility infielder's jersey and the auto of a prospect who will never make it past AA per tin. Hopefully if (when) UD gobbles up Topps into its vortex of suck, Donruss will have time to lobby to get its license back.