2016 TSR: Alex Rodriguez In Carbonite

OK, so the first custom takes a little bit of explaining.

This past Friday, I was looking at a blogroll when I saw a post from The Lost Collector titled “Goodbye, Alex”, but my brain interpreted the accompanying thumbnail as a picture of Han Solo frozen in Carbonite (from The Empire Strikes Back, for those non-Star Wars people out there).

What on earth does A-Rod have to do with Han Solo in Carbonite?

As it turns out, the post was a very nice tribute to A-Rod, and the thumbnail was of a 2015 Topps “Etched In History” insert, a medallion-y card that has nothing to do with Han Solo or being frozen in Carbonite.  You can read the post and see the card here.

I was going to leave a comment on the post about my misconception, but I wasn’t sure it fit the tone of the post… So I figured I’d say something here.

Then I got wondering if there has ever been a Star Wars card set with a “Carbonite” insert.  Seems like a natural to me.

Then my brain just went the rest of the way and I said “I should just do an Alex Rodriguez In Carbonite insert for the heck of it”.

So I did.
2016 TSR Carbonite #1 - Alex Rodriguez
The backstory I invented for this insert is that A-Rod’s agent had him frozen just in case the Marlins or some other team comes calling.

This next custom insert was not planned in advanced, but seems too good to pass up. It seems that William Shatner is in Boston this weekend for that city’s Comic Con, and while there he threw out the first pitch.
2016 TSR CFP-11 William Shatner
I would like to point out that Shatner is 85 years old, but threw the ball over the plate. Yes, he was standing in front of the mound, but… 85 years old!

I hope I still have a pulse at 85.

Among the other celebrity guests at Boston Comic Con (which ends today, so you’ve likely already missed them) are/were John Barrowman, Gillian Anderson, Jenna Coleman, Karen Gillan and Elizabeth Henstridge.

Jumping back to Mr. Rodriguez, his departure contributed to a new wave of rookies in the Yankees lineup.  In yesterday’s game, Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge both hit homers in their first MLB at-bats;  this is the first time this has happened in MLB history, and the homers came back-to-back, no less.
2016 TSR #267 - Aaron Judge
Judge is a big boy… 6’7″, 275 lbs. He’s also wearing #99, which I love. Hey if all the good numbers are retired, why settle for a number in the 40’s or 50’s? Go for the gusto and grab that #99!

I like Mark Melancon, so it saddens me to see him in a Nationals uniform.
2016 TSR #329 - Mark Melancon traded
The Nats don’t have the best track record with closers, at least not lately.  Last year they jettisoned Drew Storen for Jonathan Papelbon… but you could at least blame that on Matt Williams’ questionable handling of relievers.  This year, the Nats dumped Papelbon for Mark Melancon.  Who will Melancon get dumped for in 2017?

As I mentioned earlier this week, Jay Bruce came to the Mets at the expense of Shlabotnik-favorite prospect Dilson Herrera.  After two weeks, Jay Bruce has done very little to make me feel better about this trade.
2016 TSR #327 - Jay Bruce Traded
In 11 games with the Mets, Bruce…

G’day, Bruce!

…Bruce has batted .159 with 2 homers, 3 runs and 5 RBI, with no doubles or triples.  In  his defense, I can’t help but wonder if this team has brought him down rather than the intended objective of his bringing the team up.

Last week I’d mentioned that the Astros threw back to 1986, but I didn’t have time to make a custom. I couldn’t let those rainbow throwbacks go to waste, so…
2016 TSRchives 86T-8 Alex Bregman
Bregman wins bonus points for the stirrups.

The Rangers also wore mid-1980’s road uniforms… but honestly, those uniforms are so uninteresting that I couldn’t bring myself to make a custom of those.

As long as we’re talking about achievements in Major League debuts, I have a last-minute addition…
2016 TSR #268 - Gabriel Ynoa
Mets pitcher Gabriel Ynoa earned the win in his Major League debut last night by pitching a perfect 11th inning with two K’s before the Mets won in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the 11th.

Ynoa was the first Mets pitcher to get a win in his MLB debut since Kenny Greer in 1993.

…And this Mets fan of 40+ years said “Who?”

I felt better after I looked up Mr. Greer.  His debut came on September 29th, two weeks after being acquired from the Yankees, and it was his only regular season appearance for the Mets.  Greer pitched a perfect 17th inning with two K’s – sound familiar? – as the Mets beat the Cardinals 1-0.

I found only one card of Mr. Greer in my collection.
1994 Fleer ProCards Kenny Greer
As far as I can tell, he never made it into any nationally-issued sets.  He’d pitch 8 games of relief for the Giants in 1995, and that was the end of his MLB career.

For Mets fans in 1993, there was good news and bad news about that game.

Good news:  That 1-0 win was the second game of a 6-game winning streak to end the season.

Bad news:  The Mets had already lost 103 games.

At any rate, I managed to find it in me to forgive myself for not remembering a pitcher who’s only Mets appearance came in the 17th inning of a late September game during a season where the Mets lost 103 games.


We’ve got a new Topps Now card with the biggest print run; Ichiro’s 3000th hit card sold 11,550 copies. While it’s a great accomplishment to have a card of, if it had been a a flagship insert which had a press run of 11,550 cards, how much would you pay for that? Naturally, you don’t know the print run before you buy a Topps Now card, but it just seems to underline that Topps has gotten themselves into something good.

There’s also a lowest print run on the books since the last time I checked (and it’s apparently been a while since I checked): Card 257, “Chase d’Arnaud breaks 0-0 tie with two out, walk-off single”. This highlight happened on 7/17 and the print run was just 180. Chase d’Arnaud fans are getting their money’s worth out of that one!