For those of you that haven’t heard, Series 1 of 2015 Topps will have 350 cards instead of the standard-of-late 330 cards… That would seem to mean 40 extra cards in the base set, 60 altogether if they extend this to the Update set.
More likely than not, Topps will use the extra cards for “A Tribute To Derek Jeter’s Greatest Stand-up Doubles” or “Topps All-Time Team Of Guys Named Bryce, Yasiel or Clayton”.
…But if I were in charge…
…And I’m still waiting on that Nigerian Prince to send me my money so that I can complete my purchase of Topps…
…But if I were in charge, those extra cards would go towards established players who, through no fault of their own, are cardboardless. Think of the pain and suffering their families go through when they have to admit “Yes, my father/brother/uncle/nephew/cousin is a major league player, has been for years, but I can’t show you a recent baseball card because he doesn’t have one”.
Until the day that Topps can get their act together and resolve this on a more permanent and ongoing basis, I’m going to put a band-aid on this injustice and feature some of these players in my 2014 TSR custom set.
The first player I’d give a card to is one I’ve already shown a custom for…
Andrew Miller, Pitcher, Baltimore Orioles
Last nationally-distributed card to the best of my knowledge, feel free to correct me (LNDCTTBOMKFFTCM): 2010 Topps, Heritage & Upper Deck.
Andrew Miller has appeared in 177 games since appearing on cardboard, including 63 games this year split between the Red Sox and Orioles. He doesn’t have the flashier numbers like wins or saves, but consider these numbers he’s put up this year: 0.873 WHIP, 14.1 K’s per 9 innings, 2.13 ERA.
If this guy doesn’t get a card next year (or in this year’s Update), it will be a grave miscarriage of justice.
Dan Otero, Pitcher, Oakland Athletics
LNDCTTBOMKFFTCM: Dan Otero has NEVER appeared in a nationally distributed set, or at least none that I can find. No Bowman. No Pro Debut. No Heritage Minor League. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Bupkis.
Dan Otero was a 21st round draft pick of the Giants, and had a couple of cups of coffee in San Francisco in 2012. Towards the end of 2013 Spring Training, the Giants lost him on waivers to the Yankees. The Yankees immediately put him back on waivers, and lost him to the Athletics the next day. Last year, Dan Otero appeared in 33 games, had a 2-0 record with a 1.38 ERA and a 1.231 WHIP. He also appeared in 4 games of the ALDS against the Tigers, pitching 5.2 shutout innings. This year, he’s appeared in 60 games, has an 8-1 record and a 2.15 ERA.
Chris Stewart, Catcher, Pittsburgh Pirates
LNDCTTBOMKFFTCM: 2007 Fleer, Topps & UD
On paper, Chris Stewart has 8 years of Major League experience… OK, yeah, from 2006 to 2010 he had 26 total games under his belt, but from 2011 to this year he’s appeared in 271 games. I’ll admit, part of my motivation is just that I’m tired of looking at his 2007 Topps card in my Current Roster Binders.
John Baker, Catcher, Chicago Cubs
LNDCTTBOMKFFTCM: 2010 Topps Update
John is a man of incredible symmetry, at least as of this morning. Check out his Games Played totals for the past four years:
2011 – 16 games
2012 – 63 games
2013 – 16 games
2014 – 63 games
If nothing else, John Baker deserves a card for being the winning pitcher in the longest game in Cubs history… It was a 16-inning game that took 6:27 to play. He pitched the top of the 16th and, in the bottom of the inning, would get a walk and score the winning run.
I’ll admit, I keep confusing John Baker with Jeff Baker, who also had played for the Cubs. Jeff is the guy on the 2012 Topps Card signing a replica of the Wrigley Field sign for a bearded Cubs fan in a floppy hat.
Ramiro Pena, Infielder, Atlanta Braves
LNDCTTBOMKFFTCM: 2010 Upper Deck
Ramiro Peña is a former Yankees prospect who was very likely overhyped because… well, he was a Yankees prospect. He’s spent the last two years as a utility infielder with the Braves, getting in 50 games last year and 70 this year.
Wil Nieves, Catcher, Philadelphia Phillies
LNDCTTBOMKFFTCM: 2010 Upper Deck
Nieves might be something of a stretch for candidacy in this group… He has appeared in 151 games since his last cardboard appearance, but that’s over 4 years, and he’s appeared in only 28 this year. But over those 151 games, he’s batted .275 with 24 doubles, and that’s not too shabby, so he stays.
Joaquin Arias, Infielder, San Francisco Giants
LNDCTTBOMKFFTCM: 2009 Upper Deck
I’m going to wrap this up with a player whose lack of baseball cardage definitely falls into the “Crimes Against Humanity” category. Over the past three years with the Giants, Arias has appeared in 309 games, scored 61 runs, drove in 64 more and batted .261. Barring an injury, Arias will have appeared in 100+ games for three years in a row… so why the heck hasn’t this guy been on a baseball card since 2009?
Trivia time: Arias was the “Player To Be Named Later” that the Rangers got in the trade that sent Alex Rodriguez to the Yankees.
OK, boys and girls, it’s audience participation time!
Has anybody on your favorite team been criminally ignored by Topps?
In the meantime, I have to admit, I screwed up while making this post… I created a custom for a guy I hadn’t realized had not pitched in the Majors this year and is not on a 40-man roster.
…But I’d already made the custom and uploaded it, so here it is… Enjoy, all you Manny Corpas fans out there.