Thinking Too Much About 2019 Topps Heritage

I am, for the most part, happy with 2019 Heritage. Just thought I’d get that out of the way.

I bought a blaster on the way home yesterday, and spent much longer than I should have going through the cards, noticing things and comparing one set to another.

This post is something of a sequel to a similar post from last year; I’m going to slice and dice the 2019 design and made some observations which people will hopefully find interesting.

I’ll start with some general observations and then move into some more esoteric stuff.

First off, they generally did a good job of replicating the design.  They got the font right for the script (Koffee, for those of you keeping score at home), plus they didn’t fall into the bad habit of assuming that all of the team names fall on the right-hand side of the card.  I also like that they included some 1970’s-like head shots.

It looks like the first 132 cards in Heritage mimic the 1st series of 1970 and don’t have the little white “|” mark between the player name and position.  (I think of that character as a “pipe”, but that might be more about my Unix experience than anything else).

This next card – and I didn’t mean to start off with two Nationals, that’s just the way it shook out – shows a card with the ‘pipe’, and also illustrates the biggest problem I have with this year’s Heritage (although it’s one I can live with). If you look at 1970 Topps cards, the left edge of the player’s name is aligned with the left thin white border and the right edge of the position is aligned with the right white border. Not so with Heritage, although it’s only noticeable with shorter names.

Here’s a direct comparison; Tiant is, of course, from 1970 Topps

I was a bit relieved to find that this is more jarring in scans than in-hand.

Before I get off of Yan Gomes, one of the reasons I featured this card here is because the photoshopping makes him look sort of two-dimensional… Like a life-sized cardboard cutout of Gomes was put on the field and photographed… only they shot the cutout at a slight angle.

Like in prior years, the card numbers often line up team-by-team with cards from the original set. Maybe it’s just because I looked at it closer this time around, but it seems like it happens a lot more in 2019. For what it’s worth, Nationals cards generally line up with Senators cards, not Expos cards. Similarly, Mariners and Pilots are in sync (but the Brewers Rookie Stars I got lined up with a Pilots Rookie Stars).

Yan Gomes shares a card number with 1970’s Ray Fosse, who was the Indians’ All Star catcher. Up until this past November 30th, Gomes was the Indians’ All Star catcher, but a trade to Washington threw the two sets a little out of alignment.

The trade which sent Robinson Cano to the Mets had a similar effect; Cano is card #323, which matches up with Seattle Pilot Wayne Comer… but Cano is no longer in Seattle.

Let’s get into some fun stuff. The Pat Neshek card which echoes the 1970 Lowell Palmer card has gotten a lot of attention:

Both of these are card #252, by the way.

Neshek’s card is not the only homage in the 2019 set. Met Todd Frazier is shown signing autographs like 1970’s Bud Harrelson.

These two cards don’t share a card number because Bud is #634 in the 1970 set and #634 won’t be used in Heritage until the “High Numbers” set comes out.

There’s a more subtle tribute which requires a little background; most of the team names in 1970 Topps are black, white, red or yellow, but there are a handful of cards where the team name is green or blue.

I was really hoping there’d be a “green team” card in 2019 Heritage, and they didn’t let me down.  The Andrew Cashner card echoes Dick Hall reasonably well (both are card #182).

There could be more tributes like these in 2019 Heritage, I’m only showing what I pulled in my blaster.

One thing of great interest about the All-Star subset, and something I hadn’t noticed until I saw it pointed out elsewhere, is that the cards say “The Sporting News” like the originals!  No more “Topps News” headers!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

They also did a pretty good job of replicating the backs of the All-Star cards. Here’s the back of the Marichal…

…And here’s Arenado:

Before I get into some borderline-obsessive details about the Heritage cards, I’d like to talk about the inserts.

…Mainly about how few there are. Topps bumped up the odds of pulling anything this year, so I was surprised at how few inserts I got. Out of 72 cards in the blaster, I got 66 non-short-printed base cards. This is kind of a mixed bag for me; I’m largely interested in the just the base cards, but I’m also left feeling that I paid $20 and I got largely base cards, which goes against how I’ve been conditioned to feel over the past 20 or so years.

The only insert I got which is worth mentioning is this New Age Performers card of Walker Buehler:

I like how the design is a riff on the 1967 Topps Football design…

1967 Topps - [Base] #103 - Daryle Lamonica - Courtesy of

1967 Topps – [Base] #103 – Daryle Lamonica – Courtesy of

…But it makes me wonder why they didn’t use this design for 2016 Heritage which used the 1967 baseball design.

I’m going to wrap up with some “1970 vs. 2019” comparisons.

One aspect of the originals which I didn’t expect to be duplicated were the differences in the font used for teams with shorter names.  In the original they used different fonts based on the space available with each photo, as you can see here (plus Cardinals and Yankees got shortened to “Cards” and “Yanks” on some of the cards).

This wasn’t done in 2019 Heritage, which isn’t surprising.  What’s interesting, though, is that Heritage seemed to go with the “fatter” font on most/all of the Mets cards, but went with the narrower font for the Reds and Cubs.

Heritage did something interesting and very subtle with the circles used for the card numbers.  On the originals, there was overlap between the yellow and blue ink to make for a darker outline.  Whether or not this was intentional, it was fairly inconsistent between cards.

This is the card number from Luis Tiant’s card, and the image is lighter than the original.

Here’s a card number from Heritage, and you can see that there’s a similar effect going on;  however, the shadowing seems to be identical between the various Heritage cards.

Like last year – and maybe Heritage sets before that, I never checked – the design of the Heritage card is slightly smaller than the original, even while they’re both standard-sized cards, something I find a bit odd.  Here’s a example where I took a 1970 Gary Nolan and a 2019 Steve Cishek, aligned the images by the top left corner and did some “cross-sections” to highlight the differences.

I also went and compared the text from a 1970 Steve Hamilton card to the text from the 2019 Steve Cishek card, just to be able to compare “Steve vs. Steve” and “Pitcher vs. Pitcher”.

Because the ‘frame’ around the photo and the text on the card are smaller than the original, it allows for more empty space on the card, which throws off the illusion a little bit.  I find it interesting because I would think – and this is just amateur blogger guy talking here, when the chips are down I know nothing from nothing – but I would think that there isn’t any technical or centering reasons for having a wider border on the card.  I mean, wouldn’t lasers and automation and all that fun stuff make it so the centering could be more exact with the same bordersize?  I don’t know, I’m just spitballing here.

Just like last year, I’d like to thank you for reading through my long ramblings about Heritage.  Maybe I think too much for my own good… Some people say so. Other people say “No, no… The fact is you don’t think as much as you could.”



Looking Back On 2018, Forward To 2019 (Weigh-In #61)

I’m not usually one for writing about goals, and I guess the fact that this isn’t getting posted until February says a lot.  In general, my goals for the past few years have been “Have fun” and “Streamline my collection”.

One thing I have been relatively good at is keeping track of my progress, and that has made me all too aware that there hasn’t been a lot of “progress”.  I need to revisit my objectives because getting rid of a hundred cards here and there out of a collection that’s north of 80,000 cards is not getting the job done.

So here’s what is going to happen in this post… I’m going to look back at 2018 in the form of one of my “weigh-in” posts, listing cards coming and going, as well as the money I’ve spent.  After that, I’m going to float a few ideas I’ve had about kicking my streamlining process up a notch or two.

It’s a long post, but I know some of you will find it interesting, and if you don’t… well, I’ll be back tomorrow with some custom cards.

To give this a little visual appeal and to whet everybody’s appetite for 2019 Topps Heritage, I’ve scattered some images of 1970 Topps cards… like this one!

Side note about 2019 Heritage:  One thing I wonder about with this upcoming set is how much thought they’ll put into the color of the team name on each card.  I’m of the opinion that the people doing 1970 Topps did give a fair amount of thought towards colors based on the pictures involved and what background the name would be in front of… for example, the yellow “SENATORS” works nicely against the dark background.  Anyway, just a thought.

On to the numbers.

Changes since the last weigh-in (from 9/2/2018 to 12/31/2018):
Net change in the collection: +771 (827 added, 56 removed)
I made the mistake of checking to see when this number was last negative (meaning that more cards were removed than added): It was over four years ago. (*sigh*)

Net change to the # of cards in the house: +1045 (1257 in, 212 out)
The last time this number was negative was two years ago… not *quite* as depressing. One thing that affected me this year is that we were not able to give out cards at Halloween, and I also did not take those accumulated cards to Goodwill.

Totals for 2018:
Net change in the collection: +2,298 (2,451 added, 153 removed)
Net change to the # of cards in the house: +4,398 (5,103 in, 705 out)

Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 12,395
Net change to the collection, to date: +4,309
Again… I keep saying I want to streamline my collection, but this “Net change” number has not been negative since late 2016.

Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 50,294

Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -19,177
This number was -26,404 back in early 2015.

Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 64,175
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 14,630

…which means I’ve got at least 78,805 cards in my collection

Money spent on cards

Money spent on cards since September 2nd (this does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc) $225.07

Money spent on cards in 2018: $948.31 (which averages out to $79.03/month). This is much more than my monthly average for 2017 ($43.63/mo). I didn’t track my spending before 2017.

One thing I’m going to do in 2019 is get a little more “granular” in tracking my retail spending.  The last two years, if I went into Target and bought $10 worth of Topps packs and $20 worth of Heritage packs, I would’ve listed the total spent as $30.  In 2019, I’ll put them each on a separate line in my spreadsheet.

Size of my MS Access card database:
A few years ago I created an Access database and began tracking my collection in there. There’s quite a bit of work involved in keeping it up-to-date, so I like to satisfy my own curiosity by finding out how much information is currently in my database.

My database currently contains 892 set definitions (up 91 from the last weigh-in) and 222,961 card definitions (up 18,398 from the last weigh-in).

It’s important to point out that this is merely the number of sets and cards which are represented within my database; for example, although I have no cards from 1949 Bowman, it represents 1 set definition and 240 card definitions.

This is one of the few numbers I’m happy about here; I added a crap-ton of data to my database over the past three months.

…And now, on to the forward-looking, navel-gazing, “What am I gonna do now?” section.

One thing I’ve come to realize is that for me to make any progress in streamlining my collection, I need to determine what SHOULDN’T be in my collection just as much as what should. Here are some general goal-like statements I made for myself, maybe some of you will find these somewhat thought-provoking.

I need to back-burner some projects.
Having a “Plan B” is good for when a particular project runs into roadblocks, but my problem right now is that I’ve also got Plans C, D, E, F, G and H. The end result is that I’m just flailing about without making real progress on anything.

I’m going to cut back on retail – but in what way I’m not sure.
A significant part of the fun of this hobby comes from ripping packs, and I’ve come to enjoy ripping a few after a particularly crap day at work… But I’m all too aware that buying retail is far from cost effective, especially when I’m growing less and less interested in the inserts. I may consider other options for Heritage and leaving the retail pack-busting for the lower-end sets like Big League and Opening Day.

Quick pause for another 1970 card

I need to put more thought towards what I want my collection to be.
Just saying “I want to streamline my collection” hasn’t been enough for me, I need to do some navel-gazing about what specifically should be included in my collection… but not just “keep this set, ditch this set”, but more of a “mission statement” of what I want my collection to be.

I need to put more thought towards what I should move away from.
This is kind of the opposite of the prior goal; I’m feeling the need to define what should fall *outside* of the collection. For example, I kinda-sorta collect Francisco Lindor, and I only collect Fauxbacco cards like Allen & Ginter or Gypsy Queen under certain circumstances… So maybe I should draw the line and say that two kinda-sortas adds up to one “Yeah, no”?

I need to rethink some of the conventions involved in collecting.
I’ve already done this with set collecting to a large degree; for newer sets, I collect what I want from within a set and don’t let things get defined by what the manufacturer says a set is. If I love a set enough to want to collect it all, then great. Otherwise, I generally can do without the “League Leaders”, “Rookie Debut”, “Home Run Derby” and combo cards which clutter Topps Series 1, 2 and Update.

I’ve lately started to reconsider the definition of team collecting. I’ve always been a Mets collector; however, I’ve been looking at this one card, a 2006 Bowman Prospects Cory Ragsdale. Ragsdale never made it to The Show, I’ve never seen him play, I don’t remember much about him, I have no personal or emotional connection to him, but he’s in my collection because Bowman listed him as a Met.  Is that a good enough reason? As the Magic 8 Ball might say, “Outlook not so good”.

Without going into great detail, I’m also giving a number of inserts and parallels the side eye.

Another quick pause for a 1970 card

A semi-nuclear option:  “Forget” The 1990’s.

I’ve sure you’ve all seen movies which have been cleaned up for television and had characters nonsensically yelling “Forget You!” and “Yeah?  Well, forget you too!” at each other.

I have to admit that there have been more than one occasion that I’ve looked at my collection, saw where most of the ‘bloat’ lies, and (after my internal ‘Network Censor’ kicks in) said “Aw, forget the Nineties”.  This is a decade that, with all honestly, gives me the most agita of any in my collection.

For starters, much of the decade involved, for me, more disposable income than obligations… so I bough a lot of cards… a LOTTA lotta cards.

But honestly… and I’m sorry, I know many of you love the 1990’s… it’s not a decade I look back at with a lot of fondness.  Card manufacturers were playing games of “LOOK AT ME!” One-upsmanship, with the result being me often saying “Ugh, do I *have* to look at you?”

BTW, this applies to the uniforms of the day as well, with teams like the Brewers visually grabbing you by the front of your shirt, shaking you and saying “I’m retro, dammit!  FRIGGIN’ NEO-TRADITIONAL!!!”

…And then there’s the whole debacle of 1994…

Long story short, I don’t know that I would ever go so far as to pitch all my cards from that decade, but there are days when it wouldn’t take much to get me to box up all of the nineties cards which aren’t from beloved sets and haul them off to Goodwill.

So, that’s all I have for today…

Do any of you have any suggestions or thoughts that might help a fellow collector who’s down on his luck?  (To quote Humphrey Bogart from whatever movie it is where he said something like that… or maybe it’s just the Looney Tunes parody of Humphrey Bogart that said it).


70 and 83 from 5… (Tool Collector)

I was recently graced with a padded envelope from CommishBob, whose The Five Tool Collector blog is regular reading for me, and whose tweets about his many retirement activities make me very jealous (but that’s another story).

Bob sent me a number of cards to aid me in my chase —

No, no, “chase” is not the right word for it… In my *casual pursuit* of the 1970 and 1983 Topps sets.  I’m currently too lacking in focus to truly chase anything, much less vintage or semi-vintage sets.

I have my doubts as to whether my budget will allow me to ever complete 1970 Topps (looking at you, high #’ed Nolan Ryan), but I’m perfectly happy to keep after it and see how far I can get.

Bob sent me two cards which end in ‘0’ plus one which ends with ’25’, so you know right away that these are no mere commons.

I’ll start off with the HOFer, Gaylord Perry.

In 1970, Perry had 23 wins and 5 shutouts and finished a distant second to Bob Gibson in Cy Young voting.

1970 saw Tony Oliva lead the league in hits for the 5th (and final) time, and lead the league in doubles for the 4th (and final) time.

Oliva is one of those guys where I’m mildly surprised that he’s not a HOFer (He peaked at 47.3% in 1988). He was a 3-time batting champ, 8-time All-Star and the 1964 AL Rookie of the Year

Bobby Bonds has the card which ends with 25, possibly because he’d lead the NL with 120 runs in 1969.

Bonds was still a young stud at the time, 24 years old in 1970 and a year away from his first All-Star appearance.

With these two famous Giants in hand, I started to ponder whether I’d already hurdled the major obstacles towards a 1970 Giants team set… and then I said “Oh… Willie Mays. Never mind”.

Before we get to the cards from the other casual pursuit, let us cleanse the palate with two cards which were not off a wantlist but nevertheless greatly appreciated.

This card is from… (takes a deep breath)… The 1998 Fleer Sports Illustrated World Series Fever set.

The 1986 Mets were the greatest Mets team of my baseball lifetime, and I appreciate any cardboard representation of that team… especially MOOKIE!!!  I have to admit, I can’t help liking Mookie Betts just because he’s another Mookie (although Betts is a Mookie that Red Sox fans would like).

Like most baseball card collectors, I always enjoy adding a Don Mossi card to my collection.

This is the sixth Mossi in my collection. I have to admit, I sometimes feel guilty for singling out Don Mossi because of his unique appearance, but I’ll blame early childhood exposure to “The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubblegum Book” for setting me down this path (and making the 1952 Topps Gus Zernial card a white whale for me).

OK, moving on… After getting a few of the 1983 Tribute cards in packs of 2018 Topps this year, it’s frankly kind of nice to get some real 1983’s which I need.

1983 saw the Baltimore Orioles win a World Championship… At that point in my life, the Orioles were just another team… although I will admit that I was rooting against the Phillies that year (but not against Tug McGraw… never against Tug himself).

Bob sent me both halves of the Orioles left field platoon that got them to the 1979 and 1983 World Series…

John Lowenstein…

…and Gary Roenicke

I loved these Super Veteran cards back in 1983; I wonder how well something like that would work now.

I would think that a subset which included guys like Bartolo Colon, Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera and Ichiro would be a pretty darn cool.

Double shot of Bruce Sutter… well as Larry Bowa, looking strange in a Cubs uniform…

…Even while these non-glossy, printed-on-grey-cardboard 1983 cards look so *right* when compared to their 2018 counterparts.  I just can’t help it, I’m old school at heart.

As always, I have to send many thanks to Bob for the very enjoyable package!  I’m relieved that one of Bob’s latest projects is something I may be able to contribute to, and a return package is in the works.

Everybody’s On Vacation So I’ll Do Weigh-In #60 While Nobody’s Looking

1970 Topps images are used throughout this post…1970 Topps cards like this one!

…But the post is not about 1970 Topps, these cards are just window dressing.

What this post is about is this:  It’s an ongoing goal of mine to streamline my collection, to get rid of the clutter and leave just the cards that I love, either individually or as a part of some greater project which I love.

I find that posting updates on the organizing and streamlining of my collection gives me a look at the big picture, keeps me honest and helps with motivation and/or guilt.

As has been the case the last few times, there’s plenty of guilt here.  Lots of cards coming in, few cards going out.  I’m dedicating the next four months toward organizing, which should lead to de-cluttering.

Changes since the last weigh-in (from 5/1/2018 to 9/1/2018):
Net change in the collection: +993 (1011 added, 18 removed)
Net change to the # of cards in the house: +1954 (2122 in, 168 out)

Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 12,339
Net change to the collection, to date: +3,538

Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 50,082
Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -20,222

Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 61,578

Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 14,478

…which means I’ve got at least 76,056 cards in my collection

Money spent on cards

Money spent on cards since the last weigh-in (this does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc)  $319.59

Money spent year-to-date:  $723.24 (which averages out to $90.41/month).  This is over twice as month as my monthly average for 2017 ($43.63/mo).  I didn’t track my spending before 2017.

Size of my MS Access card database:
A few years ago I created an Access database and began tracking my collection in there.  There’s quite a bit of work involved in keeping it up-to-date, so I like to satisfy my own curiosity and find out how much set and card information is currently in my database.

My database currently contains 801 set definitions (up 27 from the last weigh-in) and 204,563 card definitions (up 9672 from the last weigh-in).

It’s important to point out that this is merely the number of sets and cards which are represented within my database; for example, although I have no cards from 1949 Bowman, it represents 1 set definition and 240 card definitions.

Since we’re talking about Weigh-in’s and given the recent passing of the Queen of Soul, I thought I’d feature “The Weight” by Aretha Franklin.  I just found out that Duane Allman plays lead guitar on this.  In the words of Mel Allen, “How about that?!?”

Fast Five: Seattle Pilots

I was already behind in just about everything hobby-related I’m trying to do, and just to complicate things further, I got my Black Friday shipment from COMC two days ago… You’ll see those before too long, but for now it’s five arbitrarily-chosen cards featuring everybody’s favorite one-and-done franchise, the Seattle Pilots.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Pilots, here’s a quickie-quick history:  They were a 1969 expansion team which had financial difficulties which got so bad that the team was entertaining offers from groups in Milwaukee and Dallas.  Towards the end of Spring Training the team was sold and became the Milwaukee Brewers.  Because of the last-minute nature of the move, the team appears in the 1970 Topps set as the Pilots, even though every 1970 regular season game was played as the Brewers.

Diego Segui is famous for having been the only player to suit up for both the Seattle Pilots and the Seattle Mariners. He pitched for three ‘extinct’ teams: The Pilots, the Kansas City Athletics and the Washington Senators.

Although this 1970 card shows Segui with the Pilots, he wasn’t among those who made the move to Milwaukee; he had been traded to the A’s in December, 1969 and would lead the league in 1970 with a 2.56 ERA.

Jerry McNertney spent 11 years in the White Sox organization before being taken by the Pilots in the expansion draft.  I’m thinking those black and red shin guards he’s strapping on are White Sox leftovers, and this photo is from 1969 Spring Training (I think the fairly basic “PILOTS” jersey is another indication of that)

By my own quickie research, McNertney was one of only three players to appear in both 1969 and 1970 Topps in a Pilots uniform (rather than airbrushed, capless or with another team). The other two were Marty Pattin and John Kennedy.

1970 Topps Super card! Tommy Harper lead the league in both stolen bases and caught stealing in 1969.

He also put in time at 2nd, 3rd and all three outfield positions. In 1970 with the Brewers, he’d make his only all-star team.

Ted Kubiak never played for the Pilots in a regular season game, only in 1970 Spring Training. He came to the team in the trade that sent Diego Segui to Oakland.

In 1970, Kubiak played 158 games splitting time between second and short for the Brewers.  After stops with the Cardinals and Rangers, he’d make his way back to Oakland and appear in the postseason in 1972 and 1973.

Joe Schultz was the manager of the Pilots in the 1969 season, but he would be replaced by Dave Bristol for the 1970 season.

Schultz would be a coach with the Royals and Tigers, and in 1973 would manage the Tigers for 28 games after Billy Martin was fired. One of these days I’m going to figure out just how many people there have been who held the job title “Interim manager after Billy Martin was fired”.

I Really Hate That I Don’t Hate These Dodgers

You’ve got to understand one thing… In 40-plus years of following baseball, I’ve never liked the Dodgers.  At all.

I’m not even sure how or why it began.  At the very beginning, of course, I didn’t hate anybody or any team.  Baseball was a wonderful new universe I’d just discovered, everybody was varying degrees of awesome.

(Oh, and before I get too far into this… All of the cards in this post are fairly recent acquisitions which have nothin’ to do with nothin’ other than they feature Dodgers)

When the time came that I started to form negative reactions to teams, the Yankees and Dodgers were the first.  I started out liking the Yankees – local team, yay! – but got turned off when they got arrogant, free-spending and replaced favorite Yanks with poopyheads like Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin.

..But the Dodgers?  The disdain just fell into place, I’ve never really been sure why.

I didn’t get it at home;  I lived in a New York Rangers household where all of the sports animosity was directed towards the Islanders, Flyers and Bruins.

Maybe I picked up on lingering regional resentment at the team which broke the hearts of Brooklynites (many of whom had become my suburban neighbors) not 20 years prior.

Maybe it was just the whole New York – Los Angeles rivalry.

Don’t know why for sure, all I know is that “1976 me” didn’t like the Dodgers, and nothing has ever changed that… especially in 1988 when those friggin’ Bums beat my Mets in the NLCS.

So when the Dodgers took the division this year, I was completely prepared to hate on the Dodgers…

…Until I realized that I like their general style of play, and looked over one of the postseason starting lineups and realized that there wasn’t anybody starting who merited anything approaching hate.

I’ve been a Justin Turner fan since he was with the Mets.  I love the guy, I certainly can’t hate on him.

Turner’s partner in being MVP of the NLCS, Chris Taylor, is another guy I like… I just appreciate the general “Where’d this guy come from?” season he had.

Curtis Granderson hasn’t played much, but he’s another well-liked former Met.

Rich Hill only pitched in 14 games as an Oriole, but something about him made me latch on to him a little bit.

Charlie Culberson, who went 5-for-11 with a triple in the NLCS, is a guy I’d seen a few times in the minors a number of years ago, so he’s one of my “I saw him back when” guys.

Yu Darvish is a deadline pickup, he’s not Dodger-y enough to dislike, plus I’ve always had a soft spot for Japanese players.  Kenta Maeda gets a similar pro-Japanese pass.

Austin Barnes?  I know almost nothing about the guy and he has almost no cardboard, so I was amazed to find out he’d been in 102 regular season games and was one of the top 10 Dodgers in terms of WAR.

Had Cody Bellinger had his outstanding rookie season last year or next year, I’d be saying “ENOUGH with this guy”… but in this case he has the good fortune to be overshadowed hype-wise by Aaron Judge.

When I went through the Dodgers roster from top to bottom, the only two guys who I could muster up a decent “BAH!” for were Yasiel Puig (who admittedly seems to have toned down the showboating which made me dislike him) and former Phillie Chase Utley (In the immortal words of Homer Simpson… “Chase Utley?  Why would I want to do that?”)

So congratulations, Dodgers fans… For what could be the first time ever, I won’t be upset if your team wins it all.

…But I’m still rooting for the Astros.

A Bunch Of 1970’s, Both Baseball And Football

I’ve not the time, energy nor inspiration to do anything involved today, so I’m just going to share a small number of baseball and football cards from 1970, all of which came from the show I went to in July.

Whether or not I’m working on the 1970 Topps set – perpetually accumulating, never committing – I cannot resist the siren call of the All-Star Rookie Trophy.

FWIW, this card is mis-scanned, not miscut.

Felix Millan was a Met when I was first a baseball fan, and my friends and I would choking up on our Wiffle Bats, imitating the very thing Felix shows us here.

This 7th Series card has been something of a white whale for me

Here’s a front and back view of a 1970 Spider Lockhart.  I never set out to collect Lockhart, but I get his cards whenever I run across them because when I was a kid I thought Spider Lockhart was one of the coolest names in the league.  For any would-be Spider collectors, his non-Topps cards (Philadelphia, Kellogg’s, Sunoco) list him by his given name (Carl).

I’m including this Gary Ross card to bring attention to the cool Padres stirrups, which don’t appear on cards very often.

With the acquisition of this Grant Jackson card, I’ve officially completed Series 1 of 1970 Topps. Yay, me.

Here’s one for my Steelers collection. Ben McGee was a defensive lineman for the Steelers from 1964 to 1972… so he got into two playoff games in 1972. He also returned an interception for a touchdown in 1967.

Wrapping up with a 7th Series Larry Haney. Haney was an original Seattle Pilot in 1969, but was traded to Oakland that June.

I’m sure this has been addressed somewhere, but Haney seems to have suited up for this photo with whatever is available.  He’s got Gene Tenace’s glove, the cap is one they stopped using after 1969 – in 1970 the cap had a yellow bill and “A’s” instead of “A” – and if I’m not mistaken, the sleeveless “OAKLAND” jersey was only worn in 1968, so Haney should never have worn it.  Maybe this is 1970 spring training and the players wore older uniforms.

Catch-Up Week, Pt. 2: 1970 Topps From A Card Show

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been making a “fun run” at 1972 Topps.  I completed several of the lower series, worked my way up, and now I find myself needing only High #’s and semi-high-numbered HOFers. This is where it comes back to “fun” part… I’m not super-serious about completing 1972, and at the moment the chase is more chore than fun, so I’m putting it on the back burner for the near future.

Instead, I decided to make a fun run at its two predecessors. I recently realized that the only thing which  stood between me and a complete 1st series of 1971 was a checklist, so at the show I went to in October, I knocked that tiny little goal off my list…
That’s all you’re going to see of 1971, I was just determined to get this checklist into a post somewhere.

Far more progress was made on the 1970 fun run, which is mainly what I’m sharing today.

One card I’ve long desired but couldn’t find at the desired price point is the Thurman Munson rookie.  I’d always had a deep respect for Munson, and his tragic death is very much a “Where were you when…” Moment.
But what of Dave McDonald, who shares this rookie card with Thurman Munson? He played 9 games for the Yankees as a September call-up in 1969 while wearing #55 (back before the Yankees had retired 63 numbers). He was traded to the Expos, traded to the Giants for Ron Hunt, and sold back to the Expos before having two cups of coffee with the Expos in 1971.  He’d spend the rest of his career in with the AAA teams of the Expos and Mets. This looks like it may have been his only card.

Charlie Metro (real name Moreskonich) was a baseball lifer… an outfielder for the Tigers and A’s, he would later manage the Cubs and Royals.
Metro replaced original KC manager Joe Gordon, who decided not to return after one season. Metro didn’t last as long as that; he got fired in his first season with a 19-33 record.

Charlie was from the delightfully named town of Nanty Glo, PA… A town I “immortalized” on a Simon & Gintfunkel custom three years ago.
2013 Gintfunkel Stop Sign

Gene Mauch managed the 1969 Expos to a 52-110 record and didn’t get fired. His team improved to 73-89 in his second season, a pretty durn impressive improvement.
Mauch was never out of work very long as a manager… The Phillies fired him, the Expos hired him. The Expos fired him, the Twins hired him. The Twins fired him, the Angels hired him… And best of all, the Angels fired him and then later hired him back.

And, as you can see above, he knew exactly where Topps should place the team name on his card.

I’m a day late for “Two-fer Tuesday”, but I’ve still got a double shot of Santo. I got the Santo All-Star card, a 4th series need…
…and an N.L. RBI leaders card which is 1st series.
The 1969 RBI race was pretty tight… McCovey had 126, Santo 123, Perez 122.

Let’s wrap up with the rookie card that won’t have to get into the “What happened to the other guy” backstory… One that features Vida Blue and Gene Tenace.

Both were key parts of the A’s dynasty of the early-to-mid 1970’s, both made at least one all-star team and both had long, distinguished careers.

I’ll wrap up with something I hadn’t realized: Gene Tenace was born Fiore Gino Tennaci.


Weigh-In #54: Profound Shame And Five 1970 Topps Commons

It’s been 8 months since I’ve done one of these posts, so I should explain what this is about.  (The 1970 Topps Commons are here to give the post some visual appeal; they have nothing at all to do with the text.)

Much like weight-loss programs will have you weigh-in on a regular basis to keep track of your progress, I find that posting updates on the organizing and streamlining of my collection 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).

1970 Topps New York Yankees Team

I used to be good about posting these on a regular basis, although I went from weekly (nobody cared) to monthly (still too often) and by 2014 I was posting quarterly, which worked well. In 2015 I started off with a February post (slightly more than quarterly) and then I didn’t post another weigh-in until that September. I got back on a quarterly basis… for one more post, and then I fell off the wagon again. I’ve frankly postponed this post for a couple of months just because I’m embarrassed at how little progress I’ve made.

1970 Topps Ike Brown
Ike Brown played every position but pitcher, catcher and center field during his 6-year career with the Tigers.

And that’s the crux of the whole thing… My objective is to streamline my collection, but it keeps growing. Some of it is from unexpected opportunity, like the 50 cheap wax packs I bought a month ago, but much of it is just lack of focus.

So, in other words, I need to be better about posting these.  I need more shame.

1970 Topps Syd O'Brien
Syd O’Brien had been traded to the White Sox the previous December, and played multiple infield positions for four different teams over four years.

Anyway, on to the data.  “In the house” means a card is located within Shlabotnik World Headquarters;  “In the collection” means that a card has been logged in my database and resides within an appropriate binder or box.  “In the collection” excludes doubles and cards that I haven’t done anything with.

The numbers here reflect changes since January 5th, 2016.

Net change in the collection since 1/5/2016: +1,626 (1,752 added, 126 purged)

Net change to the # of cards in the house since 1/5/2016: +1,315 (1,357 in, 42 out)

The best that can be said about the above numbers is that the collection has grown faster than the number of cards in the house… meaning that I’ve been better about getting older acquisitions into my database.

1970 Topps Mike Wegener
Mike Wegener was drafted from the Phillies in the 1968 N.L. expansion draft, and he went 8-20 over his two years with the Expos.  On July 18th, 1970 he gave up Willie Mays’ 3000th hit.

In the below figures, “to date” means since I started tracking this stuff on 10/16/2011.

Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 11,826

Net change to the collection, to date: -161
This is the worst this number’s been since 2012, is a source of great shame, and will change by the next weigh-in (early January).

Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 44,869

Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -23,907

Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 53,910 (an increase of 2,248)

Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 16,890

…which means I’ve got at least 70,800 cards in my collection

1970 Topps Ken Rudolph
Unlike the other position players in this post, Ken Rudolph played just 3 games at a position other than what his card lists; he played 3 games in left field during his 1969 rookie season.  He was a backup catcher for the Cubs and Cardinals, did two stints with the Giants and played 11 games for the Orioles.

Last-minute ShlabotNote:

Good news for Orioles fans!  Belated news, but still good news!

In researching something card-related but not blog-related, I stumbled across a Beckett article from July 1st that indicates that Orioles catcher Matt Wieters has finally signed with Topps. For those who weren’t aware, Wieters has never been on a pack-issued Topps card, and his cardboard history is relatively spotty.  The only 2016 card I could find is a Panini Immaculate relic card.

With Wieters, Ichiro and Andrew Miller all in the fold, I don’t know of any players who can’t appear on a Topps card in 2017… At least nobody major.

…And now I can stop making faux Heritage cards for Wieters (not that I’ve done one since 2015, anyway)
2014 TSR Schmeritage Matt Wieters

Four From 1970

Back in the days before I started this blog, I considered myself a set collector, even though the evidence in front of me (a long string of partially-completed sets) said otherwise.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve come to realize that I don’t really collect with completion as the goal, I collect with satisfaction as the goal.  If it’s a set I really love and to which I have an emotional attachment, like 1973 Topps, then I won’t be satisfied until I have all of the cards.

Other sets have a lower satisfaction threshold… For example, on certain sets just completing my team sets and player collections is good enough for me.  There are also sets to which I say (to paraphrase the famous Bob Mankoff cartoon), “How about none?  Does none work for you?”

One particular level of satisfaction that I’m increasingly finding myself pursuing is to collect until I’m satisfied that I’ve gotten every card from the set that fits into my budget.  I’m currently working on that with 1972 Topps, and I’m pondering making a run for a 1979/80 Topps/OPC Hockey frankenset of every card *except* for the Wayne Gretzky rookie which would never be worth to me whatever I spent on it, and even if my long lost Uncle Thaddeus were to bequeath me a Gretzky rookie in his will, I’d sell/trade it for other cards I want more.  But anyway…

I’ve never entertained the thought of collecting the entire 1970 Topps baseball set… well, not since I was a kid and was determined to collect every baseball card there ever was…  but that hasn’t stopped me from buying something like one or two hundred 1970 cards over the past couple of years.  This is very much a “collect ’em until I’m satisfied that I’ve gotten every card I can fit in my budget” set.

So the point of all this is that I’ve acquired a bunch of 1970 Topps baseball, and I’m going to get back to sharing them.

A miscut card with some kind of sticker up top. Gotta love it.
1970 Topps Pat Corrales
Pat Corrales played 9 years in the majors but never played more than 63 games. He did make the 1965 Topps All-Star Rookie team, and as backup catchers tend to do, he later managed the Phillies and Indians.

Few people know that Conan O’Brien pitched for the Twins…
1970 Topps Jim Kaat
In 1966 Jim Kaat lead the league with (takes deep breath) 25 wins, 41 starts, 19 complete games, 304.2 innings pitched, 1227 batters faced, 271 hits (that one’s a bad thing) and most interesting, 1.6 walks per 9 innings and 3.73 K’s per walk. He was also a Gold Glove, an All-Star and finished 5th in MVP voting (but no Cy Young votes). Kaat also won 16 consecutive Gold Gloves.

Byron Browne’s card caught my eye because he looks like some random friendly guy that they put on a baseball card.
1970 Topps Byron Browne
He was (obviously) new to the Phillies in 1970, having come over from St. Louis in the infamous Curt Flood deal. In 1966 he was a Topps All-Star Rookie and he had good power but struck out a lot (leading the league with 143 K’s in 1966).

Tom Terrific, fresh off the Mets’ World Championship!
1970 Topps Tom Seaver
In 1970 Seaver was still only 25, had an 18-12 record for the 83-79 Mets and lead the league in ERA (2.82) and K’s (283).

For the record, I’m going to make this a semi-regular feature… and probably mix in similar posts with 1972 cards (which I’ve also acquired a fair chunk of).