Friday, April 02, 2021

Ralph 316 Says I Got 'Em All!

I am now completely finished with 1959 Topps baseball, one of my all-time favorite sets.  About a week ago, I received the last of the variations - #316 Ralph Lumenti thanks to my #1 trading buddy Stuart.  In September of 2015, I had at least one of each card, but now I have all the variants too.

Ralphie is one of six cards that come with or without a "Traded" or "Optioned" statement on the back.  (Scan is not my actual copy.)  The others are listed below:

321 Bob Giallombardo "Optioned"
322 Harry Hanebrink "Traded"
336 Billy Loes "Traded"
362 Dolan Nichols "Optioned"
416 Haywood Sullivan (Circle around ©, period after U.S.A.)

And there are also three different Warren Spahns (#40) with different birthdates.

I'm not concerned with getting all the white and gray back pairs.  They occur from #199 to #286.  My set is a mixture.

I'm just satisfied with completing such a landmark set.  It's my first one in the 50's.  Next up is '57!

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Online Addition to 2021 Topps Series 1

Well, I guess seven insert sets of the same repetitive reprints or rehashes of old designs just wasn't enough.  Now Topps has come out with more recycling as online exclusives.  Just saw this:

Not really a reprint, but a stamped buyback of a 1984 insert.  Commemorating nothing in particular, it comes with a special 70th anniversary price.  

Is it special shiny technology?  No.

Autograph or game-used relic?  Nope.

Exclusive serial numbered version?  Sorry.

It's just a buyback like the ones in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.  A repeat of something Topps has done several times before, even though they only celebrate anniversaries every ten years or so.  (Well unless you count the 35th anniversary tributes in the last few flagship sets, which are different than Archives, which uses old designs a few at a time, which in turn is different than Heritage which uses the next old design each year.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Lead, Follow, Or Drop The Exclusive Contract

 Maybe I'm just old school, but this is a League Leader card:

In the next decade, they were similar...

And in the 80's...

Not sure what happened in the 90's.  They kinda went away.  Then in 2000, they did this:

OK, not bad.  Change it up a little.  Somewhere they quit featuring pitching victories.  But then we got back to normal.

And swung around to horizontal again...

Now they called 'em "Wins".  Continued on til 2016...

Then this happened.


The card on the right is not a League Leader card.  It's just like the one on the left with an extra title.


Same thing in 2018.  Single player base card with a small text addition.  (The white border is just bad cropping on my part.)


OK, now you're not even using different shots.  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Over.

Skip forward to this year.  Same deal.  

The windup, quick tilt of the camera, the pitch...and an even SMALLER "League Leader" tag.

C'mon Topps.  Go back to something like this.  I put this together in a couple hours.

Oh yeah, and - extra bonus - you can read the text from more than a foot away!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

2021 Topps - Send In The Clones

What's up guys?  How is everyone doing?  

Very quickly, I've still been buying cards online and making a few trades here and there.  I managed to put away about half the huge pile of incoming pasteboard I had on my desk in the last couple weeks.  I've slacked off reading blogs too.  Starting to catch up a little...

Unfortunately, it seems that the romance I was anticipating has fizzled like Oriole playoff hopes.  It's fine though.  Guess ghosting is better than outright rejection...

But anyway, so I saw a two blaster break of 2021 Topps on the IFSportsCards YouTube channel.  Watched a few of Ian's videos, and he's a cool dude.  His tastes are very rookie centric, but that's typical these days.  He's lucky enough to have an adorable wife to share his hobby with, too.  Check them out.

What I saw from the cards 100% confirmed my commitment to cease the collection of the Topps flagship set and switch over to something like Allen & Ginter instead.  I've repeatedly pointed out that the creativity in flagship has been dwindling for years, and all the original ideas show up in the other sets.  That is more evident in 2021 Topps than ever.

Of the ten or so inserts in this set, seven of them are either reprints of particular cards of the past, or use the same design as a previous issue.  That leaves three.  One of those is just big stars in an insert. The other is a blatant repeat of an insert from ten years ago.  The remaining one is the lone original idea.

That lone insert is called Stars In Service.  It highlights the charity work that players do for their communities and humankind.  Trade me for these, please!

The theme this year is 70 Years of Topps.  (Still remember the 65th anniversary foil stamping on buybacks?  Topps 60?  Yeah, anniversaries are fine, but it's almost too easy to do it every five years or so.)  The "here's another card of your favorite big stars" insert is Topps Platinum Players Die Cuts.  25 (hey kudos for keeping it under 100) superstars against a vaguely number shaped cutout.  The photos are cut off by the die cut edges.  Woo...

The only other "non-player" insert set is The History of Topps.  Which is not to be confused with the "History of Topps" from 2011.  Or actually, it is, because five out of the ten cards in each set are the EXACT SAME.  Here are the checklists:

2011 Topps - History of Topps
HOT-1 Topps Is Founded By The Shorin Family          
HOT-2 1951 - First Cards Are Sold          
HOT-3 1952 - Sy Berger Creates The First Complete Set    
HOT-4 1957 - Topps Sets The Card Size Standard          
HOT-5 1972 - Topps Goes Public          
HOT-6 1974 - First Topps Traded Set          
HOT-7 1989 - Topps Reintroduces Bowman          
HOT-8 1994 - Topps Moves From Brooklyn to NYC          
HOT-9 2007 - Eisner & Co. Buy In To Topps          
HOT-10 2009 - Topps Receives MLB Exclusive 

2021 Topps - The History of Topps
HOT-1 Topps is Founded by the Shorin Family          
HOT-2 First Baseball Playing Cards Are Sold          
HOT-3 Sy Berger Creates the First Complete Set   
HOT-4 First Topps All-Rookie Team          
HOT-5 Garbage Pail Kids Introduced          
HOT-6 Topps Re-Introduces Bowman          
HOT-7 Topps receives MLB exclusive  
HOT-8 Topps Digital Apps Launched          
HOT-9 Topps Now Introduced          
HOT-10 Project 2020 Takes Off 

Updated for Garbage Pail Kids (???), Topps BUNT (dead), Topps Now (which was it's own insert set already), and Project 2020.

EVERYTHING ELSE that isn't a relic or autograph is a repeat of a past design or a chronicle of past cards - mostly rookie cards that you've seen a million times.  And yes, according to the Database, they are going to do Archives and Heritage again this year!  These inserts could make up half of those two sets, which would make room for some of that "innovation" that Topps promised would come with their exclusive contracts. 

1951 box toppers - (Archives)  Today's stars in the '51 Current All-Stars design

1952 redux - (Heritage)  Today's stars in the '52 design (again)

1986 anniv. tribute - (Archives)  Today's stars in the '86 design on it's 35th anniversary.

70 Years Of Topps Baseball - (Archives)  Today's stars in each of Topps designs from '51 to 2021 that will dilute Archives for years to come.  At least they put Robin Yount in the '72 design so they wouldn't duplicate one current guy in this year's Heritage.  There will still be three or four of the same ones used in Archives.   *Sigh*.

Iconic Card manu patches - Reprints of the same old rookie cards in fabric patches with blank backs.  (Dangit, I guess I want this Palmer and Bo Jackson.)

Topps Double Headers - Reprints the fronts of the first and last card of star players on the same card.  And they have the 70th logo on the front too.  So you better hope your dealers sort their inserts, because unless you're holding the checklists, you'll have to check the backs of all the 70 Years stamped reprints and these to make sure which set they go with.  (Need this Palmer too.)  Most of the rookie cards are also among the patches above.

Topps Through The Years - Reprints base up to high end cards of star players.  Well, this is kinda new - not only reprinting the regular ones you see like Cal Ripken, whose '82 Traded makes its third appearance as an insert in 2021, but now reprinting autographed mojo hits so you poor people can see what they looked like since you can't afford the real thing. 

That's it.  There are no other insert offerings to Topps Flagship.  They're all reproductions or used designs.

Oh and as for the base design....

There's a border....ok....the 70th logo, like on most of the inserts logos are always good....Totally unreadable name and position in a bar that's way too small....the honeycomb pattern from 2016 parallels.....and these multi-tone blue hockey sticks that protrude into the heads of the players in horizontal photos.....

Yeah, I'm out...

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Happy Holidays

 Wishing you all the best for the Christmas season and a return to normalcy sometime in 2021!

I've been a ghost on the blogs since about September, and haven't even been reading much in the last month.  Still have most of the cards that came in during that time on the desk as well.  But I haven't quit completely.  Just been a tumultuous time for me.  Started a new romance, but it's been tough to get time together, so I'm hoping for more opportunities soon.  Then I'll get back to all the other things I enjoy too.  See you then!