2014 TSR: Here A Brandon, There A Brandon…

…everywhere a Brandon Brandon…

I was reading some game summaries the other day, and the description of the Giants-Dodgers game played this past Tuesday night impressed me with the overwhelming Brandon-osity of the game.

With the Dodgers leading 2-1 in the 9th, Brandon Belt…
2014 TSR #186 Brandon Belt
…doubled home Angel Pagan to tie the game up at 2.

In the 12th inning, Brandon Crawford…
2014 TSR #187 Brandon Crawford

…Singled against Brandon League…
2014 TSR #188 Brandon League

…Crawford advanced to second on a ground out by Brandon Hicks…
2014 TSR #189 Brandon Hicks

…And then Crawford moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Hector Sanchez… whose name is not Brandon, although they might want to call him Brandon to keep it clear.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some Mets and Orioles customs, and maybe something else thrown in….

Stuff: Weird Peavy, High #’s, PC’s and Bad Ovie

At the beginning of the week, I started compiling a post made up of small “post-ettes”, for use when I needed something to post with minimal effort.

I wasn’t originally planning on needing it this week… but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

This has got to be one of the odder action shots I’ve seen on a recent card…
2013 Topps Jake Peavy

I recently went to a card show, and I went extra early to allow myself time to go through some dime boxes. Whenever I go through dime boxes of recent cards, I always keep an eye out for cards of players who might be unrepresented or underrepresented in my Current Rosters binders… Cards like this:
2012 Topps Heritage Hi# Henry Rodriguez
I didn’t think twice about this card until a couple of days later when I was updating my inventory, turned the card over and saw an “H” in front of the card number. A 2012 Heritage high number? In a dime box? Weren’t there only 1,000 of these printed? I know it’s Henry Rodriguez, but still… Does this count as a dime box success?

A few weeks ago I talked about Arquimedes Caminero… You may remember he’s the Marlins pitcher who was named after Greek mathematicians Archimedes and Euclid, and who combined with three other pitchers to no-hit the Yankees during Spring Training.

I recently pulled this card out of a Heritage pack:
2014 Topps Heritage Caminero - Johnson
…the start of a new player collection!

Yeah, he’s a Marlin, but I won’t hold that against him.  They say this cat Arquimedes is a bad mother-
Shut yo’ mouth!
But I’m talkin’ ’bout Ariquimedes!
Then we can dig it!

He’s a complicated man, but nobody understands him but Shlabotnik…

Finally, I’d like to share something about the Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin that made my jaw drop…

…only not in a good way.

Since my most recent hockey cards are from the 1990′s, you’ll have to make do with this 1982-83 Topps sticker of former Capital Ryan Walter.
1982-83 Topps Hockey Stickers Ryan Walter

Ovechkin lead the NHL in goals scored during this just-concluded regular season; he scored 51 goals, a nice respectable number. He also lead the league in Power Play Goals and in shots taken… He usually leads the league in shots taken.

…But there was one category where he was just a tiny little bit behind the leaders. His plus/minus for the season was -35…
…and he ranks 884th in the league.
It’s not last in the league, but it’s pretty damn close.

I knew he was something of a one-dimensional player, but holy crap, that’s awful.

Update: About 30 minutes after I posted this, I found out it was post #800. Yay!

The Road To Hell: Cards From 1975 Topps Football

I’ve always got the intention to follow-up on posts that I say I’m going to follow up on, but you know what they say about good intentions. Last September I was sharing some of my 1975 Topps Football set, and I keep meaning to share more, but unfortunately when it comes to this blog, I’ve often got the attention span of a 3 year old.

Anyway, this is all a long-winded way of saying “Here are more cards from 1975 Topps Football”.

Don’t you go screwing with Alan Page, cause if you do, he’s gonna mess you up.
1975 Topps Football Alan Page

…and if he doesn’t mess you up, his friend Otis will take great pleasure in messing you up.
1975 Topps Football All-Pro DTs

This was not a card I had as a kid, but if it were then it would’ve been one of my favorites… cool action shots like this pretty durn rare in 1975.
1975 Topps Football Doug Kotar
Assuming that this is a photo from 1974 – which could be a pretty safe assumption because it’s the only year in the several years before this that the Giants had a quarterback who wore #12 – and if that #77 in the background is a Dallas Cowboy and not a Detroit Lion, then this looks like an October 27th loss to the Cowboys at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, CT (where the Giants played their home games that year).  The quarterback appears to be backup Jim Del Gaizo, who came in late in the game.

I’ve never tried this type of thing for football before and I couldn’t find a #77 on the Cowboys or the Lions (not on pro-football-reference.com, anyway) so please feel free to poke holes in my research. It could’ve been a preseason game, in which case all of my conjecture is probably crap.

My apologies to Billy Parks, but this card always made us laugh when we were kids.
1975 Topps Football Billy Parks
We thought it hilarious that he looked like Harpo Marx. …Well, he does, kinda. Stick a beat-up top hat on him, give him a horn…

When I was a kid, George Blanda was some unspeakably old guy on my football cards.
1975 Topps Football George Blanda
George Blanda was 48 when this card came out.

I just turned 48 a few months ago.


Although it does depress me that “1975 me” would consider “2014 me” to be really old, there’s another way of looking at this.

I’m 48 and I suffer after spending a weekend doing yardwork.

George Blanda at 48 was playing in the NFL.


So, George… I hope I wasn’t out of line with that “unspeakably old” crack…

That Which Was Wrongly Thought Complete, Let It Truly Be Whole

Back in December, I made a horrifying discovery. Well, horrifying to me, anyway…  And it actually ended up being three horrifying discoveries.

You see, back in my younger days, I collected a run of complete sets from 1974 to 1978… or so I thought.  Apparently my inventory methods were something less than industry standards at the time, because I recently found that I was one short on the 1974 set, 3 short on 1976 and 1 short on the 1977 set.  Thankfully, my 1975 and 1978 sets have maintained their completeness over the years.

I recently went to a card show, and the primary mission was to complete those three sets I had already believed to be complete.  For a grand total of $3 I bought all five of the cards I need, I have three complete sets and can sleep better at night.

This card didn’t look familiar to me, so I may never have had a complete 1974 set.
1974 Topps Fred Norman
What’s funny is that this card completes the 1974 set and the 1974 master set.  Over the past couple of years I’d finished off all the variations and “Washington Nat’l Lea” cards and team checklists without realizing that I didn’t really have a complete set to start with.

I’m almost positive I’d had this card before, but Lord knows where it went.
1977 Topps Ed Bane

This card doesn’t seem all that familiar to me…
1976 Topps Mike Norris

…nor does this, but they’re such generic 1970′s cards that it’s hard to tell for sure.
1976 Topps Pepe Mangual

At a buck, this was my big purchase of the lot:
1976 Topps NL RBI Leaders
It’s one thing to be missing an Expos outfielder, but you’d think I would’ve noticed a distinct lack of a league leader card… but that speaks volumes about my collection’s organization.

While I was a bit upset and annoyed that I was missing cards, I have to admit it was fun looking for them at the show.  I hadn’t added to my 1976 or 1977 Topps sets in over 35 years.

What do you suppose the odds are that the next Fairfield repack I buy will have one of these cards in it?



Don’t Bother Looking At This – Weigh-In #48

Posting my progress in organizing and purging helps with both motivation (if I do well) and guilt (if I don’t).  I used to update my numbers weekly, but now I’m good with doing this quarterly.  You won’t see another post like this until July.

I know this isn’t the most exciting subject, so to spice things up a tiny bit, I’ve included some cards I’ve gotten in my last two 100-card repacks.

The numbers here reflect changes since January 1st…

1976 Topps Rick Waits

Net change in the collection since 1/1/14: -358 (782 added, 1140 purged – I  need to work on the purging some more)

Total # of cards purged from the collection to date: 8,533

2012 Topps Update Matt Harvey

Net change to the # of cards in the house since 1/1: +1,024 (1499 in, 475 out… I went to a card show for the first time in quite a while and… well… I bought a lot of stuff)

Total # of cards which have left the house to date: 33,775

1989 Score John Smoltz
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 48,300

Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 16,920

…which means I’ve got at least 65,220 cards in my collection.

1997 Upper Deck Pete Schourek


2014 TSR – Four New Base Cards, Plus Two Inserts!

Ten games into the season, there’s a Yankee who’s batting .387, has 6 doubles and 7 RBI, and yet I’m happy about it.

2014 TSR #177 Yangervis Solarte

Yangervis Solarte has the kind of story I’m just a sucker for.  He had been a non-roster invitee, a minor league free agent with 8 years of experience, and he turned a hot spring into a utility role on the Yankees.  After an injury to Mark Teixiera moved Kelly Johnson over to first, Solarte took over playing third base and has been raising eyebrows over the past two weeks.

He’s the first Yankee since Joe DiMaggio to get multiple hits in each of his first three Major League starts

Oh, and he’s also the nephew of Ronny Cedeño.

Met custom of the week

I believe that “apprehensive” would be the proper word to describe how I felt when I heard that the Mets had signed Jose Valverde… but I have to admit, he hasn’t been bad so far.

…emphasis on “so far”.

2014 TSR #140 Jose Valverde

Oriole Custom of the week

I was considerably more excited about the Orioles obtaining Steve Lombardozzi towards the end of Spring Training.
2014 TSR #161 Steve Lombardozzi
I’ve liked Lombardozzi for a while now, but I’m not entirely sure why… Is it because of his former Major Leaguer father, also named Steve? The last name that arches down around his uniform number? A certain ‘je ne sais quoi’?

I don’t know, I just go with it.

Dude Needs a card!

I don’t know what bothers me more… the fact that Tony Watson’s only nationally-distributed card seems to be a 2011 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects card, or the fact that I wasn’t aware of him until recently.

2014 TSR #38 Tony Watson

I’ll start with the headline about Tony Watson:  Up until the other day, he had a 24-inning scoreless streak that dated back to last season.  Last year, he made 67 appearances for the Pirates;  in 2012, he made 68.  Even in 2011, when he got called up during the season, he had 43 appearances.  The guy’s got over 180 Major League appearances and doesn’t have a proper rookie card?  C’mon, Topps!  Dude needs a card!!!!


And finally, in preparation for next week’s virtual release of virtual Series 2 wax packs in virtual retail big box stores like VirtuWal-Mart, here are a couple of sneak peeks of “Throwback” inserts.

2014 TSR TB-74A Aaron Harang

The Braves wore 1974 throwbacks as part of the Hank Aaron 715 commemoration the other day, so it seemed only right to make make 1974 customs.
2014 TSR TB-74B Andrelton Simmons

Hey, Topps Archive product managers… are you taking notes???

1976 SSPC #165 – Buck Martinez (Royals)

1976 SSPC #165 Buck Martinez

Buck Martinez… Was a defensively-oriented catcher who played 17 seasons in the Majors and also managed the Blue Jays for a season and a half, but he’s better known by many as a TV analyst.

In 1976, Buck Martinez… was the Royals’ starting catcher and batted .228 and 5 homers and 34 RBI.  In October he made his only postseason appearance, starting in all five games, batting .333 with 4 RBI.  The Yankees beat the Royals 3 games to 2.

Shea-o-meter: It’s Shea.
Shea:  39
Pretty sure it’s Shea:  7
Can’t tell:  7
Not Shea:  5

Betcha didn’t know… on 8/29/79, Buck pitched an inning of relief in a game that would end as an 18-8 loss to the Brewers.  Buck allowed a walk, a double and a run in the 9th inning of that game.

1976 SSPC #165 Buck Martinez back