Contrast And Compare: 1980 Topps & Burger King Jerry Koosman

I got a 1980 Burger King Jerry Koosman in a semi-recent COMC shopping binge as part of my attempt to get the “variations” of the late 1970’s/late 1980’s Topps sets.  The 1980 Burger King Pitch, Hit And Run set was largely the same design as 1980 Topps, and most of the cards share the same photos with the Topps equivalent.  I’m collecting the Burger King cards that have a photo which is different from the 1980 Topps card.

In this particular case, I was a little disappointed when I actually got the card… Not because it was anything other than I’d expected, but because of expectations that were completely my own doing.

It’s easier to show you… Here’s the Topps Koosman…
1980 Topps Jerry Koosman

…and here’s the BK Koosman…
1980 Burger King Jerry Koosman

I had the BK card on my wantlist because I’d seen it listed as a different photo, but it wasn’t until I had the BK card in my possession and went to scan both that I realized how similar the two photos are.

Oh, well. Different is different.

The 2014 Heritage Matt Wieters That Never Was, Plus Other Orioles Customs

As I’m sure most of you know, Matt Wieters doesn’t have a contract with Topps. As a result, he doesn’t get into Heritage or the base Topps set or Stadium Club or anything that allows him to show a flash of Oriole logo (or even orange in most cases).

So, as usual, I’ve taken the law into my own hands…
2014 TSR Schmeritage Matt Wieters

With the absence of Andrew Miller from 2014 Update, I strongly suspect that he should be added to Wieters and Ichiro on the list of “Guys without Topps contracts”. He hasn’t appeared on a card since 2010, and it’s not like he doesn’t deserve at least an Update card. I thought about creating a Heritage card for him as well, but I’ve already spent too much time…

Awwwww, what the hell.
2014 Schmeritage Andrew Miller
There. I hope you’re all satisfied. :-)

Getting back to the mainstream of this post, I had a number of Orioles customs from my TSR set that I wanted to share now that the Orioles are taking down the bunting, packing up their stuff and going their separate ways. It was a disappointing end to the season, but we shouldn’t lose perspective on it… It’s still better to lose the ALCS than to be looking up at the Yankees and Red Sox (and Rays and Jays) at the end of the season.

Here are some postseason cards that I don’t love, but I created a “2014 Highlights” template, and dammit, I’m going to use it!
2014 TSR #751 O's Clinch East

2014 TSR #760 O's Sweep Tigers

Matt Wieters also gets a card in my custom TSR set…
2014 TSR #790 Matt Wieters
In case you were wondering, I’ve already created and posted an Andrew Miller card for this set. You can see it by clicking on the “Galleries Of Custom Cards” tab up top.

Where would the Orioles be without Buck?
2014 TSR MC-5 Buck Showalter

I like Ubaldo Jimenez, but he hasn’t been quite the pitcher the Orioles were hoping for.
2014 TSR #662 Ubaldo Jimenez
…But I do like the way this custom came out.  I’m a sucker for any card with a nice shot of Camden Yards in the background, even when I create the card and I’m the one who put Camden Yards in the background.

I’ll confess, every once in a while I’ll see a pitcher with “CHEN” on the back of his jersey, I’ll think of Bruce Chen instead of Wei-Yin Chen.
2014 TSR #720 Wei-Yin Chen
I miss Bruce Chen’s bad jokes that got played on the Camden Yards scoreboard.

Wei-Yin Chen, the guy who’s actually on the card I’m featuring, was one of the Orioles best pitchers this year, going 16-6… He did have a rough postseason, though.

I had to make sure that I got Nick Markakis (a.k.a. Mar-KickAss, a.k.a. Mark Nickakis) into this set, because I have a fear – hopefully unfounded – that the O’s will decline the option on Nick’s contract and he’ll end up elsewhere next year.
2014 TSR #675 Nick Markakis
Of course, if that happens and Nick ends up with the Mets, that wouldn’t be so bad…

I know a lot of Orioles fans took to Nelson Cruz this year, but give me J.J. Hardy any time.
2014 TSR #193 JJ Hardy

David Lough was new to the team this year and I enjoyed watching him play, even if it was as a 4th or 5th outfielder.
2014 TSR #514 David Lough

I should’ve done more of these Pointless Pairings cards… and some horizontal cards… and more highlights cards…
2014 TSR PP-1 Chris Khris Davis
Oh, well. As The Shlabotnik Report’s team of graphic designers feverishly work on the 2015 set, I’ll make sure that they put more of an effort to hash out those designs up front.

Pack Animal: 2014 Topps Update! Yippee!

Things have gotten busy for me again, so I welcome posts which more or less write themselves… and thanks to the card aisle at my local Target, I have been provided just such a thing in the form of packs of 2014 Topps Update!  Huzzah!

…But one can get only so excited, it’s Topps Update. Third verse, same as the first.
2014 Topps Update Steve Tolleson

You get rookies…
2014 Topps Update James Jones

All-Star cards…
2014 Topps Update Felix Hernandez AS

Season highlights which may or may not be laughable years from now…
2014 Topps Update Juse Abreu debut
I mean, if there had been an update set in 1980, and if it had a card that featured “Joe Charboneau Debuts In MLB”, what would you think of that now?

2014 Topps Update Justin Turner

Guys that make you wonder how it is that you don’t already have a card of this guy…
2014 Topps Update Zelous Wheeler

Updated players who are no longer with the team to which they’ve been “updated”…
2014 Topps Update Chris Young

New inserts that have a theme that is not readily apparent from one card…
2014 Topps Update All-Star Game Access Mike Trout
…I mean, what is going on in this photo? Is Mike Trout partaking in a “dizzy bat race”?

Stupid die-cut mini inserts…
2014 Topps Update 1989 Mini Jason Heyward
…I made a gutteral noise of dismay tinged with a little disgust when I pulled this. Bleah.

Nicer inserts that may or may not be new, I’m not sure because I bought a factory set of 2014 Topps…
2014 Topps Update Power Players Max Scherzer
…This looks better in person. Shiny & colorful, it is…

Jacob deGrom! Woo-hoo!
2014 Topps Update Jacob deGrom

This last card amused me in ways that – well, it reminded me of a particular scene in the Beatles movie “Help!”, after an attempt to sacrifice Ringo, where the evil villain played by Leo McKern holds out his hand with his ring finger bent back to make it look like it’s gone… You’ll hopefully get what I’m referencing, or just shake your head and move on.
2014 Topps Update David Ross
Excuse me, but if David Ross is to be sacrificed to the dread Kaili, why is he not painted red?

After I had tossed the wrappers into the trash, it occurred to me that I should’ve scanned them so that you know what to look for when you drop everything and run out to the store. The wrappers are dark, they’ve got Masahiro Tanaka on them. ‘Nuff said.

Are We Not Stars…? 1980 Topps Blue Jays Future Stars

…Answering the age-old question, “Who are these guys?”
1980 Topps Jays Future Stars Edge Kelly Wilborn

Claude Lee “Butch” Edge

…was the Brewers’ first round draft pick (6th overall) in 1974.  He rose to AAA by 1976 and was selected in the A.L. Expansion Draft by the Blue Jays.  He got called up in August of 1979 and had nine starts over the remainder of the season, including a complete game 3-2 win over the Orioles on 9/12.

Butch was released by the Jays on 4/2/80 – guess they didn’t see him as a “future star”.

Dale Patrick “Pat” Kelly

…was drafted by the Angels and traded to the Jays in December, 1977.  His MLB career consists of 3 games with the Jays in 1980, but he would continue to play professionally until 1987.  He would play for the Senior League (SPBA) in the late 1980’s.  Kelly is a long-time scout and minor league manager, having most recently managed the Bakersfield Blaze in 2014.

Pat Kelly is the father of Casey Kelly, the Red Sox’ 1st round pick in 2008.  Casey was sent to the Padres in the Adrian Gonzalez trade, pitched 8 games for the Padres, lost the 2013 season to Tommy John and pitched some in the minors in 2014.

Thaddeaus Inglehart “Ted” Wilborn

…Was a Yankees prospect who was lost to the Blue Jays in the 1978 Rule V draft, played 22 games with the Jays in 1979, and was traded back to the Yankees after the 1979 season.  He appeared in 8 games for the Yankees in 1980, and that was his MLB career.. Made it to The Show at 20, finished at 21.  The argument has been made that he was rushed and it screwed up his career.

…Right Back Where I Started From…

Interestingly enough, both Butch Edge and Ted Wilborn played high school baseball in Sacramento, CA… Although I couldn’t find any information on whether they played each other at any point (there’s roughly 2 years between them). Wilborn went to McClatchy HS, which has also produced Larry Bowa, Nick Johnson and Vance Worley. Edge went to El Camino Fundamental HS, which produced Derrek Lee.

Pat Kelly was from California as well, but he was from Santa Maria, CA.  Santa Maria High’s claim to fame is former pitcher Bryn Smith.

Closest to being a star

Pat Kelly is a baseball “lifer”, has the most interesting background, was on more than one Topps card (1979 Blue Jays Prospects) and is the only guy on this card that actually played for the Blue Jays after this card came out…  but in terms of “closest to stardom” I think I’ll go with the guy who was the first round draft pick, a starter for a month and a half, and pitched a complete game — Butch Edge.

Other 2014 Topps Cards I Found Interesting

A week or so ago I shared my Top 10 2014 Topps cards;  Today I’m going to share the cards that weren’t what I’d consider “Top 10″, but were interesting for other reasons.

I like this shot because it could represent a lot of things, ranging from “Aw, hell YEAH!” to “Are you freakin’ kidding me?” to “Oh, my toe bone!”
2014 Topps Brandon Phillips

The more the Braves throw back to these Atlanta Crackers uniforms, the more I’m digging them.  Somebody in the majors needs to get some drop shadows going!
2014 Topps Freddie Freeman

I have a major problem with this card.  It’s a cool shot, but there are at least 10 Phillies in this photo, there are 7 faces visible, and Freddy Galvis’ face ain’t one of them.
2014 Topps Freddy Galvis
Put it this way;  if the FBI issued a wanted poster for Freddy Galvis, and they used this picture, then Freddy would still be at large.  “Sorry, sir, we simply haven’t seen any guys wearing “Galvis 13″ on their back.”

A cool action shot that fell just outside the Top 10.
2014 Topps Juan Uribe

I like this photo, but I also like Mark DeRosa, so I’m a little biased.  Back when having pitchers throw footballs was a thing – wasn’t it Tom House, pitching coach of the Rangers who started that?  Anyway, back when that was a thing, you’d see cards like this at least a couple of times a year.  Now it’s been a while since a football has shown up on a baseball card.
2014 Topps Mark DeRosa
…And this is where you all leave comments along the lines of “Hey, ya big dummy, what about these other 200 cards involving footballs which came out over the past year?”

I know this is photoshopped and all, but could they have found a worse picture of Prince Fielder?  The man looks like he’s auditioning for the role of “Mr. Stay-Puft” in the Ghostbusters reboot.
2014 Topps Prince Fielder

Finley-era Athletics throwbacks!  This photo would’ve been awesome on a 1969 design.
2014 Topps Yoenis Cespedes

This card made me laugh because of a custom I made for my 2013 set…
2014 Topps Yunel Escobar

Apparently Yunel Escobar likes to do a lot of pointing at cameras.
2013 TSR #146 - Yunel Escobar
…but I was there first, so I’m going to feel smug about that.

Weigh-In #50

Posting a quarterly update on my progress in organizing and purging helps me in a number of ways. It gives me an opportunity to look at the big picture, and helps with both motivation (if I do well) and guilt (if I don’t). I know it’s not the most exciting post, but I’ve added arbitrarily-chosen cards from my collection, and more importantly, you won’t see another post like this until January.

The numbers here reflect changes since July 5th…

Net change in the collection since 7/5/14: -785 (1066 added, 1851 purged)
In terms of quantity, the biggest addition was a 2014 Topps baseball factory set. The biggest subtractions involved purging cards from 1988 Fleer, 1989 Topps, 1990 Fleer and 1991 Line Drive Pre-Rookie.

1971 Topps Dick McAuliffe

Total # of cards purged from the collection to date: 10,430

Net change to the # of cards in the house since 7/5/14: +862 (2195 in, 1333 out)
The general idea is to get the number of cards in the house going down, but I’m not concerned because part of this is timing;  I’ve got a large amount of cards ready to leave the house, and I could’ve waited until after those are gone, but I wanted to stick to the “every quarter” format I’ve fallen in to.

1975 Topps Earl Williams

Total # of cards which have left the house to date: 35,108

Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 49,364

1987 Mother's Claudell Washington

Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 17,623

…which means I’ve got at least 66,987 cards in my collection.
2014 Topps Olympics Hilary Knight

Huh? Whuzzat? Hockey’s Back? Oh, Well, Here Are Some Hockey Cards I Got 6 Months Ago

I went to a show last spring and while I was at the table of one of my favorite dealers, I decided to go through the “Hockey bargain bin”.  Ever since I finished my 1975 Football set, I’ve been turning to 1970’s hockey as my main non-baseball sideline…  This is despite the fact that I’ve largely regarded the NHL with disdain since they shut the game down for an entire year.  That’s OK, I get NCAA hockey on one of my cable channels, that does me just fine when I need a fix.

I started thinking about sharing these during the summer and said “Eh, might as well wait until hockey starts again”.  And hockey has started again.  So here we go…

Despite growing up on Long Island, I am not now, nor have I ever been a fan of the New York Islanders. They spent their first few years of their existence as “That other team” in the New York market, but four Stanley Cups quickly generated a bunch of smug, “1940”-chanting bandwagon fans.

That being said, there are some 1970’s Islanders who I look back on with some amount of fondness, mainly guys who played during the “That other team” period.

Lorne Henning ranks behind Lorne Greene and Lorne Michaels in the list of “All-Time Great Lornes”… But he did win a couple of cups with the Islanders.
1973-74 OPC Hockey Lorne Henning

Bobby Nystrom is another guy who bridged the gap between the “Other Team” and “Smug Fan Magnet” eras. Nystrom was born in Stockholm and moved to Canada when he was four. I didn’t know that.
1974-75 Topps Hockey Bob Nystrom

Jean Potvin eventually fell into the shadow of his HOFer younger brother Denis.
1974-75 Topps Hockey Jean Potvin

Just like I’ve never been an Islanders fan, I’ve also never been a Rangers fan… not exactly. My father was a die-hard fan of the Blueshirts, but for various reasons I never connected with the team as a whole… but there are a significant number of Rangers that I have fond memories of, and those are the guys I tend to collect.

Rod Gilbert was the first Ranger to have his number retired.
1976-77 Topps Hockey Rod Gilbert

Jean Ratelle was the first Ranger to score 100 points in a season.
1972-73 Topps Hockey Jean Ratelle AS

Needless to say, I also was not a Flyers fan, not if I wanted to stay in the house owned by my Ranger-loving father. I mainly bought this because I’m considering making a run at the 1977/78 Topps hockey set…
1977-78 Topps Hockey Bobby Clarke

…as well as the Glossy insert cards from that same year.  Even though they were issued in the same packs, I’m not entering them into the same “complete the set?” debate.
1977-78 Topps Hockey Glossy Richard Martin
This is Richard Martin of the Sabres, by the way.

Jude Drouin was an Islander when I first started following hockey. More importantly, this is one of the few 1971/72 Hockey cards in my collection.
1971-72 Topps Hockey Jude Drouin

Carol Vadnais would later be a NY Ranger. This photo makes him look like… well, let’s just say he doesn’t look his best.
1972-73 Topps Hockey Carol Vadnais

I’m not entirely sure why I bought this card.  Probably just because it was cheap, 1970’s, hockey and I like the Atlanta Flames uniforms.
1973-74  OPC Hockey Jacques Richard