Thursday, July 24, 2014

Complete sets: 2006 Topps Rookie of the Week

It's been a few months since I last posted one of the complete sets sent to me by the legendary BA Benny in his last trade package to me before signing off (and more than a year since that mammoth trade).  Short of content for the moment, I thought it might be fun to look at another set, with this one being much newer than the last.

Today's set is Topps' 2006 Rookie of the Week promotion.  According to BaseballCardPedia (always a wonderful source for more info about sets), "This 25-card set was distributed exclusively through Topps Home Team Advantage dealer network. A new card was available each week, and to acquire that week's card collectors had to purchase a pack of Topps cards from their local HTA dealer.  Each card is a reprint of the player's Topps rookie card, but with a different photo then the original."

The same set/different picture is something Topps had started doing more of around that time, especially with the contemporary Fan Favorites set, which are far superior to the more recent Archives product that focuses on just a couple designs.  The monopolists did a pretty nice job of player selection overall, with its 24 different players (more on that shortly) comprising mostly retired HOFers along with a few modern stars.  As you'll see, nobody in this set will raise any eyebrows in 20 years.

Here's a look at the 25-card set:
The first group starts with Topps Baseball Tebow, Mickey Mantle, naturally, and then another eight Yankees right aft--oh wait, he's the only Yankee in this group of nine!  Wow, that's actually kind of nice.  I think Topps did well to jump all over the different decades instead of making these a lot more predictable and going chronologically.  The alternate photos are pretty good too.  I do have to laugh at the pair of assholes Bonds and Clemens going back-to-back, though. 
First things first--I love that Killer, and the design guys understood the history of the product enough to make his card look great even with alternate images.  The rest of the group sticks to stars from the 60s-80s except for Ichiro, who'll join the other guys in the Hall soon enough.  Of the formerly multiplayer RCs with other players cropped out appearing in this set--Ryan, Ripken, Seaver, Bench, and Schmidt--only Schmidt's card really looks weird after the edit, so that's a plus.  And hey, still no other Yankees so far!
With Jeter's impending retirement, this is another group that will be 100% HOFers very soon--and by the way, I in no way argue against his inclusion here.  My hat's off to Jeter and his excellent career, in addition to being a rare star that never really acted like a douche or got caught in any terrible scandal.  I love the choice of Gibson as well since he really doesn't get enough hobby love nowadays, plus he's one of just four pitchers in this set.  The trio of 83s that went consecutively--Gwynn/Boggs/Sandberg--was a cool outcome, though I'm not sure if it was done on purpose.  And finally, my only real complaint about the set:  a second Mantle card.  Topps, we get it--you're obsessed--but in a set this small, would it KILL you to give us 25 different players?  At least you're consistent in your suckiness.

This is still a fun set to look at once in a while, though, and I'm curious to hear some opinions from those of you interested in enough to comment, so have at it!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday fun: JV Squad

Without anything major to scan and post for a few days, I thought it would be fun to post a page/team's worth of Justin Verlander cards as I'm trying to get everything I have of him scanned.  So here's nine I felt like showing off today:
Justin Verlander 2006 and 2007 Topps Turkey Red
Turkey Red:  it's not just for inserts!  Here's a couple examples of base set versions of Turkey Red from 2006 and 2007.  Both designs are pretty cool, but I generally prefer the newer set because its border looks a lot better to me than the plain gray of the older one.  It's fun to compare the different artistic styles of the images, though.
Justin Verlander 2008 Stadium Club First Day Issue
Stadium Club's last hurrah (until this year's set, though we'll see how that goes) featured one of the brand's best designs while keeping the trademark full-bleed photography.  This is a great image of a smiling Verlander in a Tigers hoodie I totally want.  This insert also keeps up with the set's traditional First Day Issue parallel.
Justin Verlander 2008 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
Justin was indeed a member of Topps' All-Star Rookie Team, and he also took home a Rookie Cup the following year, as this 2007 Chrome White Refractor illustrates.  Considering he went 17-9 and won the AL Rookie of the Year in his first full campaign, the choice was a no-brainer (perfect for Topps, where brains are inversely proportional to the number of redemptions in their products!).
Justin Verlander 2010 Topps Chrome Topps 206 Chrome (#097/999)
Topps had previously done the Chrome thing with another set that featured cards with a reprinted design--Heritage--and that definitely worked well, so I think the 206 thing was a good decision that worked out well.  A Refractor of one of these would definitely look great.
Justin Verlander 2012 Topps Update Gold (#0303/2012)
I was surprised to find a Topps Gold insert of JV that I hadn't scanned--and then I found another!  This one highlights his selection to the 2012 All-Star team, which I'm guessing he'd just as soon forget:  Verlander started and gave up five first-inning runs in the eventual 8-0 drubbing by the NL.
Justin Verlander 2013 Heritage Chrome Purple Refractor
Purple is very low on my list of colors, but I do like the Chrome Refractorness going here otherwise, as I briefly mentioned with the 206 card above.  Purple and green are among the parallel colors I could really do without.
Justin Verlander 2013 Topps Gold (#1174/2013)
Here's the other Gold card I dug out, and I really dig the use of the horizontal photo on this one, which is a textbook case, really.  Better yet, it doesn't suffer from Topps' obsession with extreme close-ups, so you even get a shot of a SS in the background, which I would assume is Jhonny Peralta.  Definitely one of the best photos in JV's collection.
Justin Verlander 2013 Topps Opening Day Stars
This sweet insert just arrived not too long ago in my trade package from Tony of Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards.  It's a nice example that proves that just because a set is "low-end," it doesn't have to have crappy, boring inserts.  The "3D" hologram thing Topps went with works very well, and the concept of highlighting Opening Day starters is a good one.

I still have lots to scan, but for now you can see all 47 cards I've scanned in Verlander's PC album right here.  Watch for more of these posts in the future, especially when I have nothing else to post about!

Friday, July 18, 2014

2014 trade package #19: Sports Cards From the Dollar Store sends me some J-eh V

Canadian blogger and generous trader extraordinaire Doug of Sports Cards From the Dollar Store sent me another action-packed trade package recently, and I'm finally getting around to showing off the goods!

As always, (and I mean always, which is great for me!) the best loot can be seen over at TMM, but that's not to say that the couple cards I have to show off over here are chopped liver:
Justin Verlander 2014 Panini Prizm Chasing the Hall
Continue to count me in as a fan of Panini's Prizm.  Maybe not an avid fan, but they've produced some fun sets and clearly deserve an MLB license.  This chromy-type insert does a reasonable job of hiding the lack of logos, as is sometimes the case, and it brings to mind the question of what JV's ultimate legacy will be in the game.  He's obviously fallen off his elite pace in the last couple years, but that might just be a bump in the road for a future HOFer.  As of this post he sits at an impressive 145 wins in his 10th season (eight and a half full seasons), with a Rookie of the Year award, the 2011 AL Cy Young AND MVP awards, two no-hitters, and six All-Star nods to his name.
Justin Verlander 2014 Topps Gold (#1938/2014)
Trades like these are great for me because I really don't like buying new Topps products anymore, but that doesn't mean there aren't cards I want to pick up, like the ubiquitous Gold parallels of my favorite players including Verlander.  This is a classic insert that should never, never go away no matter how many stupid colored parallels Topps comes up with.

Thanks again, Doug, for our eighth trade I've had to show off on this here blog!  This Tiger fan appreciates all the packages you've sent across the bridge (or through the tunnel if you prefer), and I'm happy to say that I've already started picking things up for a return.  Readers, dig out your O-Pee-Chee cards and remember them fondly, then head over to Sports Cards From the Dollar Store tonight!

Monday, July 14, 2014

7-13-14 card show report: diamond deals

I hadn't been to a card show since April, but yesterday the thought of flipping through some cards in-person was enough to draw me to the redneck haven that is Gibraltar Trade Center in Taylor, Michigan, before they close up for good.  Example of said redneckness:  a bumper sticker that says "Jean Claude Damn Van."  Oh you....

Anyway, I managed to get out of the place having spent a reasonable $31 over two purchase:
-$20 at a table full of $1 and $2 cards (mostly hits!), including 14 of the former and three of the latter
-$11 at one that included quarter and $0.50 boxes, plus some other hits as priced

I'll be showing off nine of my pickups on this blog and the other 10 on TMM this evening.  The rest of my purchases came in the form of trade bait that'll be out in the mail pretty soon, so some of you should watch your mailboxes with baited breath.

Here's the baseball stuff I scored, all of which came from the quarter and $0.50 boxes:
Paul Foytack 1960 Topps
Wow, a 1960 Topps card of a Tiger I've heard of for just $0.50?  SHUT UP AND TAKE MY QUARTERS.  This isn't exactly in terrible condition either.  It's not like I'm long on very vintage baseball stuff right now, much less Tigers, so this was a cool find.
Les Cain-Dave Campbell 1969 Topps RC
Speaking of vintage Tigers, how about two of them, multiplayer RC-style?  Cain pitched in parts of four seasons with Detroit, and interestingly enough, his #1 similarity score on Baseball-Reference is current A's pitcher Tommy Milone.  Campbell, who was naturally nicknamed "Soup," was actually a Michigan alum who appeared in parts of eight seasons, mostly with the Padres after he was shipped to San Diego in a deal that brought Joe Niekro to the Tigers.  I may just start a player collection for him!
Larry Bowa 1970 Topps RC
Phillies fans will surely recognize the guy on the bottom as Bowa played in the City of Brotherly Love for 12 of his 16 years, then managed the team for four of his six in that role.  That merits his inclusion as a significant rookie in my baseball RC collection.
Norm Cash 1974 Topps
I was getting close to the magic number of 12 $0.50 cards (12/$5 being the deal) when I dug this up and decided it should come home with me.  "Stormin'" Norman Cash was a well known Tigers slugger and '68 champ, so getting a vintage issue of him is fun.
Bill Madlock 1974 Topps RC
Here's a guy I know Matt likes to collect, although on his RC he appears with the Cubs instead of the Bucs; I suppose those with dyslexia might not see the difference.  Mad Dog was actually drafted by the Senators/Rangers, then traded by Texas to the Cubbies in a deal for Fergie Jenkins.  Madlock is probably best known for his seven years with the Pirates.
Tim Raines 1981 Topps RC
Today's final multiplayer RC features 808 base-stealer Tim Raines, known best for his seasons with the Expos and White Sox.  He and Lou Brock are each other's #1 Baseball-Reference similarity score player, but you can decide for yourself if you think he belongs.
Bill Freehan 2006 Greats of the Game Copper (#022/299)
My 75th Freehan card for his PC is this purdy Copper Parallel from another of Fleer's excellent entries in the Greats of the Game series.  I was shocked to find it at the show since I don't think I'd ever seen one for sale, not that they're particularly rare.
Ken Griffey Jr. 2012 Topps Mega Boxes Exclusive Chrome Refractor
And why shouldn't I nab a Griffey Refractor while I'm flipping through rows and rows of cards?  I don't have very many newer inserts of Junior, so I thought this would be a fun pickup.
Cal Ripken Jr. 1995 Studio Gold
Ditto this Ripken insert from the credit card-like '95 Studio set, which I'm still cool with, apparently more than others.  There really wasn't much of Cal to choose from, so I took what I could get, but even with a better selection I would've nabbed this.

Don't forget to head over to TMM to see my other scores, and again, some of you should expect a fun card or three in the mail soon!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

2014 trade package #18: these Tigers are Off Hiatus

I was fortunate to receive still another fantastic trade package as a result of my giveaway, and this one arrived from a trader that was new to me:  Tony L. of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards.  Tony grabbed my extra 1999 Topps baseball Series II set and Prince Fielder player lot, and for his effort he landed the 2008 UD baseball fat pack blaster.  He posted a few highlights last Wednesday.

The Brewers fan in Georgia was nice enough to send me stuff of MY favorite baseball team in return, and boy did he hit the high notes:
Up first is a trio of Alex Avila parallels, including Emerald and Gold from last year's Topps.  I'm still a fan of the low average/plus power catcher so I really like these.  Next is a group of six (out of nine!) cards of your back-to-back MVP, including another Topps Gold, which is still a favorite of mine.  Everything has him in a Tigers uni, which is a plus (but isn't required for me).

In this scan we have the last three Miggys, including a pair of Minis (1987- and 1972-style).  Slugger Hank Greenberg was no turkey, but that's a spiffy Turkey Red.  He's joined by a couple colorful recent Topps parallels of current Tigers Torii Hunter (who's hitting again!) and Jose Iglesias (who's hopefully on the mend).  New-old leadoff hitter A-Jax is honored for his running ability next to another Emerald, this time All-Star V-Mart, and finally his fellow Venezuelan Magglio.
This scan could be titled "60% of the Tigers' 2014 rotation (and Pudge)."  Career year-having Porcello leads off next to former catcher Rodriguez, and newer acquisition Sanchez bookends Pudge.  2014 All-Star Max Scherzer shows up in a couple issues before (former) ace JV is seen on four of SIX MANY VERLANDERS.
Here's the other two JVs, plus a cool insert of Rob Brantly (sent to Florida in the Sanchez/Infante deal last year), and a 2014 Purple Bowman of prospect Melvin Mercedes (who's currently at AAA Toledo so I may see him in-person soon).  Lastly is a quartet of 1987 Fleer Minis of four of the most important '84 champ Tigers!

Thanks for an excellent first trade, Tony, and I look forward to doing it again!  Readers, don't ever think about taking a break from reading his blog--head over to Off Hiatus Baseball Cards as soon as you read this.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

2014 trade package #17: Mr. Fuji manages to send me some great Tigers

I sent Mark over at the Chronicles of Fuji a fun little PWE a few weeks ago, and in typically generous fashion he sent me a nice response in the form of some of my favorite Tigers (and Prince Fielder):
In just nine cards, Fuji was able to touch on four different eras in the team's history:  pre-WWI (Cobb), the 1980s (Tram), the 90s (Cecil Fielder) and the 2000s on (the rest).  This is a fun bunch of players, and I'm a fan of every guy shown here except for Prince Fielder, who I'm sure isn't getting fatter by the minute as he sits out the rest of the season with a neck injury.  Mark even paid tribute to both namesakes of this here blog in Granderson and Verlander, with a pair of cards each.
Fuji also threw in a fun WBC relic of former Tigers pitcher Fu-Te Ni, a Taiwanese free agent who was with the team for 58 games in 2009-10.

Thanks as always for being a great trader, Fuji--let's do it again soon!  The few of you who aren't already following him should get over to the Chronicles of Fuji, and the rest of you should consider this a reminder to catch his post from today, which is an interesting look at the unwritten rules of card shows.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

2014 trade package #16: Bengals Walk the Plank

I'd say it's about time we heard from Matt over at Bob Walk the Plank again, and fortunately he obliged with yet another trade package a week or so ago.  Matt included a note mentioning he was "on a Tigers hot streak" which is kind of like saying Clayton Kershaw isn't allowing very many runs these days.  He's become one of my top trade sources for Tigers hits, and that continued into this package, as you'll see here:
Card #1 is this 2010 Bowman autograph of former prospect Zach Simons.  A 2005 second-round pitcher originally with the Rockies, Simons was in Detroit's system from 2008-2011, making it as high as AAA Toledo before heading to a couple Marlins affiliates, then ultimately back with Colorado.  I haven't decided if I'll hold onto this just yet, so it may be available in a trade, but I do have to say that the guy has a cool signature!
Second is this very thick, high-end base card of starter Rick Porcello from 2009 Topps Sterling.  The border's a bit too exaggerated, but the shiny image is very cool, as is the serial-numbering, and this one has the bonus of being #50/50.  The back notes that Porcello was the first AL pitcher to win at least 14 games in a season before turning 21 since HOFer Bert Blyleven did it way back in '71.  Rick went 14-9 in both his rookie season of 2009 as well as 2011, and 14 wins has remained his career high, although he already sits at 11-4 this year before the All-Star break!  It's fun to see a young guy really start to put it together like this, especially one as talented as Porcello, and I'll happily continue to collect his stuff while I can reasonably afford it.
Alex Avila 2014 Panini Prizm Prizm Signatures auto
My favorite card of today's trio is this Avila autograph from 2014 Panini Prizm.  Sometimes Panini is successful at producing a great looking card that's unaffected by the lack of logos, and this is a great example as you get a beautiful shot of Alex wearing the tools of ignorance excellence.  I don't think the photo needed to be limited to half of the card, but I do like the image used, and Alex's signature looks great.  This is actually my first autograph of the backstop to go along with three jersey relics and now has a place of honor in my Tigers PC.

Thanks as always for a fun blind trade, Matt, and I look forward to more now that you're back on the mend.  Readers, if you're not already doing so, get in contact with Matt if you like working with generous traders, and check out Bob Walk the Plank while you're at it!