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.

Through The Years With Octavio Dotel

Octavio Dotel officially announced his retirement yesterday, bringing a close to a career that saw him pitch 15 years with 13 teams.

I thought it would be fun to do a career retrospective, so I’m going to largely shut up and let the cardboard (and customs) do the talking… I’ve got some notes at the bottom for those who are interested in my inane ramblings.

In the Mets’ farm system…

1999 Blueline Binghamton Mets Octavio Dotel

1998 Blueline Norfolk Tides Octavio Dotel

New York Mets:  1999 (19 games)

1999 Upper Deck Victory Octavio Dotel

Houston Astros: 2000 – 2004

2002 Topps Total Octavio Dotel

Oakland Athletics:  2004 – 2005

2005 Donruss Octavio Dotel

New York Yankees:  2006 (14 games)

2006 Topps Octavio Dotel

Kansas City Royals:  2007 (24 games)

2007 Topps Octavio Dotel

Atlanta Braves:  2007 (9 games)

2007 Topps Update Octavio Dotel

Chicago White Sox:  2008 – 2009

2009 Upper Deck First Edition [???] #325 - Octavio Dotel - Courtesy of COMC.com

2009 Upper Deck First Edition [???] #325 – Octavio Dotel – Courtesy of COMC.com

see note #1

Pittsburgh Pirates:  2010 (41 games)

2014 TSR 2010 Do-Over Octavio Dotel Pirates
See Note #2

Los Angeles Dodgers:  2010 (19 games)

2010 Topps Update Series #US-159 - Octavio Dotel - Courtesy of COMC.com

2010 Topps Update Series #US-159 – Octavio Dotel – Courtesy of COMC.com

See note #1 again

Colorado Rockies:  2010 (8 games)

2014 TSR 2010 Do-Over Octavio Dotel Rockies
See note #3

Toronto Blue Jays:  2011 (36 games)

2011 Topps Diamond Edition Octavio Dotel

St. Louis Cardinals:  2011 (29 games)

2011 Topps Update Octavio Dotel

Detroit Tigers:  2012 – 2013

2013 Topps Octavio Dotel

Dominican Republic, 2013 World Baseball Classic

2014 TSR 2013 Do-Over Octavio Dotel Dominicana
See note #4

#1 – As you can guess, I’ve got some gaps in my Octavio Dotel collection. He’s not so much a “player I collect” for me as much as “A former Met that I like well enough to acquire and hang on to his cards”. Thanks to COMC.com for the images.

#2 – I don’t know if there are any cards that show Octavio Dotel with the Pirates, so I had to make a custom. This is officially a “2010 Do-Over” insert in my 2014 TSR set. The design is a cleaned-up version of my 2010 custom set, which was my first original design and had never been published until now.

#3 – Here’s another “2010 Do-Over” insert. Not only could I not find a card that represents Dotel’s nine games with the Rockies, but I couldn’t even find a decent photo. This is a White Sox “Photo Day” image with a Rockies cap logo superimposed. I normally wouldn’t leave a studio background like this, but I’ve already spent way too much time on this post.

#4 – Anyone who’s read my blog for at least a year will recognize last year’s TSR design, here making an encore performance as a “2013 Do-Over” insert.

Coming Down the Home Stretch, Custom-wise

This is going to be the next-to-last post featuring my 2013 TSR custom set, and I’m going to let the customs speak for themselves…

No, wait, there’s one card I want to say something about… I couldn’t resist the opportunity to give the photo for this custom the patented “Topps tilt”.

2013 TSR #681 - Curtis Granderson

OK, now I’m going to let the rest of these customs speak for themselves…

2013 TSR #722 - Matt Carpenter

2013 TSR #751 - Zack Cozart

2013 TSR #146 - Yunel Escobar

Using My Fantasy Team As An Excuse To Make Customs, Part 2

Fantasy-wise, Greg Holland was the biggest surprise for me in 2013. I drafted him before the season, but admittedly didn’t know much about him other than he’d been named the the Royals closer during the 2012 season.
2013 TSR #756 - Greg Holland

He ended up with 47 saves, a 1.21 ERA, a 0.866 WHIP and 13.8 K’s per 9 innings – all very impressive numbers.

When doing a Image Google to find a photo of Greg Holland, I somehow ended up with the same image as was used on this Simon & Gintfunkel card:
2013 Gintfunkel Gloria Estefan

When I clicked on the link provided, I ended up on a page full of HTML and no reference to who this singer in the photo was, nor what she had to do with Greg Holland. I did ultimately find out that it’s Gloria Estefan; why she came up in a search on Greg Holland remains a mystery to me.

When it comes to fantasy baseball, I pride myself on my ability to pick up impact rookies during the season. Last year it was Mike Trout; this year, I picked up a couple of kids you may have heard of…
2013 TSR #669 - Yasiel Puig

I won’t deny that Puig’s had a an impressive season and may well have turned the Dodgers’ season around, but when it comes to the NL Rookie Of The Year award, my money’s on this guy:

2013 TSR #702 - Jose Fernandez

Before recapping some of Fernandez’ achievements, I will remind you that all of this was with a very bad team that lost 100 games…

He had a 12-6 record, which means he got nearly 20% of the Marlins’ wins but only 6% of the losses. He also had a 2.19 ERA (2nd in MLB), 0.979 WHIP (4th in MLB), .182 Batting Average Allowed (1st in MLB) and 187 K’s in 172.1 innings.

Most other years, Puig is a shoo-in… but I have to think that Jose Fernandez takes home the hardware.

Using My Fantasy Team As An Excuse To Make Customs

I had a really good season in my points league;  I wish I could tell you that I won, but I didn’t.  Had a “knock ’em out, drag ’em out” fight with another team and I lost by 14 points… Just to make clear how razor-thin this margin is, the actual totals from the league was 8,187 to 8,173… Close enough to give me thoughts like “If I hadn’t started Ricky Nolasco when he got shelled, I would’ve won…”

Once again, done dirty by the Dodgers.

As a way to begin wrapping up my 2013 TSR set, and as a way to pay tribute to this almost-team, I present customs of some of my better fantasy players.

We’ll start with my #1 pick (3rd overall), your MVP and mine, Miguel Cabrera!

Cabrera lead the majors in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, and was second to Chris Davis in homers and RBI.
2013 TSR #700 - Miguel Cabrera
Not surprisingly, Cabrera earned the most points of any position player on my team. It is nice for a #1 pick to actually pan out.

Joey Votto batted .304/24/73, lead the majors with 135 walks and was second in MLB in on-base percentage.
2013 TSR #720 - Joey Votto

Dustin Pedroia was tied with Cabrera for 2nd in the A.L. in hits. He batted .301/9/84.
2013 TSR #730 - Dustin Pedroia

Yu Darvish went 13-9, 2.83 and was the ace of my virtual rotation – at least in terms of total points earned.  He lead the Majors in K’s and was second to Jose Fernandez in batting-average-against.
2013 TSR #742 - Yu Darvish

I will be back with more customs before I’m through;  if nothing else, I intend to get at least one custom for every team, and I’m not there yet.

After Bud Selig Steps Down And I Become Commissioner…

You know what?  I don’t think I’m supposed to say anything about my taking over from Bud in January, 2015… But what the heck.  I trust you guys, and I know you won’t say anything to anybody… Let’s just keep this between us… our own little blogospherical secret.

Even though I’ve got 15 months before I take over, I’m starting to take notes of things to change.  I got one idea on Saturday when I saw highlights of that day’s Angels-Rangers game.

It’s easier to show you than to explain;  Here, take a look at this custom I made…
2013 TSR #669 - Elvis Andrus

You may ask “Why is Elvis Andrus attempting to slide past his teammate?” Because – despite the red helmet and the red jersey, Chris Iannetta is not his teammate, he’s on the Angels.  The Rangers were wearing red jerseys, red caps and white pants, and the Angels were wearing red jerseys, red caps and grey pants.  It’s perfectly obvious which team is which, right? Shaaaaaa, right.

Every other major sport has requirements about some sort of color contrast between teams, and I’m going to bring MLB in line with that.  The home team declares their uni choices before the beginning of a series, and the visiting team has to pick out clearly different uniforms.  I haven’t yet worked out the specific definition of “clearly different”, but I’ve got some time to hash that out.

…and as long as we’re talking about the Angels’ red jerseys – no more red numbers on a red jersey.  There has to be a minimum contrast between numbers and jerseys.  If I’m sitting in the upper deck, I need to be able to read the uni numers, otherwise what’s the point of having uniform numbers except for the Yankees to retire them?

I’ll be sharing  more plans for my Commissionership here in this blog, but if any of you have suggestions – and I know you do – leave me a comment, or write your own post about it and leave me a link.  I’d love to know what you’re thinking.

As long as I’m here, let’s take a look at a couple of more customs, shall we?  I’d like to have posted at least one custom for every team, so I’ll just throw out a couple of more here…

Hisashi Iwakuma put together a nice season, going 14-6, 2.66 with a .220 Batting Average Against and a 1.01 WHIP for the 71-90 Mariners. His ERA, BAA and WHIP were all among the top 10 in the Majors.
2013 TSR #761 - Hisashi Iwakuma

I stole the red/yellow/grey color combination from 1974 Topps Indians cards, and I have to say, I really like the way it looks. I’ll probably do something similar for my 2014 TSR customs (although not necessarily for the Indians).
2013 TSR #675 - Michael Bourn

My Customs Are So “Old School” That Even My Quality Control is “Old School”

There’s a weird part of my brain that kinda misses miscut cards… You really haven’t seen anything like that in the last 10 years, and it’s sort of a shame.

Sort of.
2013 TSR #175 - Jose Reyes miscut

Truth is, I just felt like making a miscut custom, and as long as I’m making one I figured I’d use it to feature one of the players I collect… Well, I would collect his Mets cards even if only because he was a Met, but I really enjoy watching him play even if it’s on another team in another league and in another country.  At least I don’t have to see him in a Marlins uniform anymore.

Koji Uehara is another guy who falls into the “Guy who used to be on one of my teams but I still like him after he’s gone”. I really wish the O’s had picked him up after he became a free agent, but I guess I’ll have to remain satisfied that they got Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter for Koji. I’m glad he’s doing well, and I’ll continue to root for him, as long as it doesn’t adversely affect the Mets or Orioles.

2013 TSR #708 - Koji Uehara

I don’t really know much about Adam Ottavino, but he earned a little bit of my appreciation when I found out his uniform number is zero. There’s something about a player who’s willing to wear zero that just appeals to me…

2013 TSR #699 - Adam Ottavino

…well, for the most part. I was disappointed when Brian Wilson started wearing double-zero, because I’m really sick of The Beard, not to mention the guy attached to it.

Congratulations And A Custom to Ryno

Yesterday the Phillies changed Ryne Sandberg’s job title from “Interim Manager” to “Manager”. I’m happy for Ryno, and I wish him…


…a moderate amount of success in his new job.

Let’s not get carried away, I’m a Mets fan and he’s managing the Phillies.
2013 TSR #786 - Ryne Sandberg

To further add to the celebration, here’s a glossy card I recently pulled out of a Fairfield repack.
1987 Topps All-Star Glossy Ryne Sandberg
Until I get a current card (or figure out a way to print out my customs in color), this card is occupying the Phillies’ manager’s slot in my NL East “40-man roster” binder.

I’m thinking that’s a blurry Leon Durham on deck.  Anybody care to confirm or deny that?

Cardboard Justice For Donnie!

If someone’s got 8 years of major league experience behind them, you’d think they’d be on a baseball card, right?

What about a guy who’s been in over 275 games?  Topps must have a bunch of cards of him, wouldn’t you think?

But what if that guy has been in 275 games stretched out over 8 years?

Well… in that case…

Donnie Murphy is a 30-year-old utility infielder with the Cubs. He was drafted by the Royals in 2002, made his Major League debut 2 years later. He’s been with the Royals, A’s, Marlins and Cubs over 8 seasons, but has never appeared in more than 52 games in any given season. This year, he’s set a career high in plate appearances and home runs, and is having a pretty decent run with the Cubbies.

.. But I’ve looked in numerous places and it seems like this 2002 Bowman Draft Picks card and its parallels are his sole appearance on Nationally-distributed cardboard.

2002 Bowman Draft #BDP75 - Don Murphy RC (Rookie Card) - Courtesy of COMC.com

2002 Bowman Draft #BDP75 – Don Murphy RC (Rookie Card) – Courtesy of COMC.com

I got curious about him the other day when I was bringing my neglected “Current Rosters” binders up to date and had to insert a placeholder card for Donnie Murphy.  I said to myself “This guy’s been around for years, I can’t believe I don’t have a card for him yet.”

…So, I went looking on COMC and eBay and Zistle, and searched my own database, and all I could come up with was the one card.

Meanwhile there are guys who never got out of A-ball who have multiple base cards and inserts.  I’m telling you, there ain’t no justice.

So come on, Topps! You gave Adam Greenberg a card, what about Donnie Murphy?  I know it’s too late for this year’s Update set, but maybe you can see your way clear to giving him a 2014 card?

I’ll even kick off the festivities by giving him one of my own cards:
2013 TSR #691 - Donnie Murphy

Oh, and by the way… That 2002 Bowman card above? If you click on the photo, it’ll probably take you to a COMC page that says the card is sold out. That’s ’cause I bought it. World’s smallest PC!

This Weirds ME Out, And I’m Not Even A Twins Fan

Justin Morneau in a Pirates uniform? Say it ain’t so!!!
2013 TSR #750 - Justin Morneau

I know he’s going to be a free agent at the end of the year and for all we know he could be wearing an Astros cap next year, but for now this is just… odd.  Extremely odd.

For what it’s worth – and it’s not worth very much at all – Morneau is the first card from the 6th and final series of 2013 TSR cards.  As one of the biggest names traded before the 8/31 deadline, he gets the semi-coveted card #750.  I gave some thought to putting some sort of “TRADED” banner on the card, but I wasn’t sure how I’d want to implement one, so I just let it slide.

While I was preparing this card, I found that I had two unpublished custom cards that had been sitting in my folder for a month or two… and strangely enough, the two cards are for a Twin and a Pirate.

2013 TSR #222 - Pedro Florimon

These both fell into the category of “Oh, I gotta use that photo”.

2013 TSR #478 - Russell Marti

This card is a cool action shot and it features Eric Young, Jr., who is one of the finalists for “My Favorite Met of 2013”.