Biggie Biggie!

Back when I still lived on Long Island, I was on a bowling team with an older woman named Olivia.  Olivia had a very bubbly personality and I have no doubt that she had been a cheerleader in high school, because at key moments of a game, she’d say encouraging things like “Big frame, Joe!  Biggie Biggie!”  I haven’t seen nor heard about Olivia in years, but “Biggie Biggie!” still pops in my head at certain times.

I had one of those moments at a recent card show when I saw a table with a sign that said “All items on table:  $1”.  Most of what was on the table was junk, but off on the right hand side I saw an oversized 1970 Topps Super card staring back at me, and in my head Olivia gave her rally cry: “Biggie biggie!”

I’ve recently become enamored with both Baseball and Football Supers, so I will gladly take any Supers I need for a buck.  I’m not terribly concerned about condition, and with the rounded corners and thick cardboard of the Supers, you really have to do something egregiously bad to inflict any significant damage.

The card on top of the small stack was a 1970 Jim Wynn, which I gladly grabbed.
1970 Topps Super Jim Wynn
Even if I weren’t buying up any cheap Supers I find, I have a soft spot for Jim Wynn as he’s the first Major Leaguer I’d ever met in person.

Underneath Wynn was a bit of a surprise…
1970 Topps Super Bob Gibson
Bob Gibson?  Vintage Bob Gibson?  A nice-looking vintage Bob Gibson?  FOR A BUCK?  What’s wrong with it?  Had the card been glued to the wall and the card’s reverse remains stuck to that very same wall?  Is there a 45-year-old slab of gum adhered to the back – fuzzy, black and evolving into a sentient life form?  Has the card been dipped in a vat of weaponized anthrax?

I turned it over to look, saw this…
1970 Topps Super Bob Gibson back
…and said “Magic Marker?  That’s it?!?  Pfffffft.  Like I care”.  Of all the sins committed against cardboard, writing on the edges of the back is the sin least deserving of penance.  Indeed, there is nothing I like better than a child who loved his cards enough to brand them as his own… and made them affordable to me these many years later.

I got a third 1970 Super at the same show (but not at the same table)… A lovely card of Mel Stottlemyre at the original Yankee Stadium.
1970 Topps Super Mel Stottlemyre

I don’t know what it is about this card, but it just has that “larger than life” look about …  I guess it’s the blue skies, the glimpse of the Yankee Stadium frieze, the serene, confident expression of Mel Stottlemyre.  It just proclaims “This is a baseball card made by people who know how to make baseball cards”.

I’ve got to say, 1970 Topps Super Baseball is my favorite set at the moment…

Well, along with 1970 Topps Super Football…

…And 1971 Super Baseball…

…And the 1968 Topps game insert…

…And 1966 Topps Batman “Black Bat”…

…And 1964 Topps Giant…

…And 1976 Kellogg’s…

…And 1961 Topps Sports Cars…


Pack Animal! — 2013 Topps Update

A lot of you consider Topps Update to be SSDW – “Same Stuff, Different Wrapper”.  For others it means updated base cards, different subsets and a couple of different inserts.

…And for bloggers, it means a day of not having to think about what to write… and that made the impromptu, hasty trip to Target completely worthwhile.

For those who haven’t seen these in the store yet, this is what the wrapper looks like.
2013 Topps Update Wrapper
Unfortunately, Matt Harvey here is as close as I got to getting a Met, but I did get some Orioles.

Topps likes to load the Update set with rookie cards, like promising Orioles rookie Henry Urrutia.
2013 Topps Update Henry Urrutia
I’ve seen Urrutia play in AA, I’ve seen him play in the majors, and I’m still not sure how to pronounce his last name. Oo-roo-TEE-ah? Oo-ROO-tee-ah? I certainly can’t count on the Orioles announcers, who never met a Latino whose name they didn’t mangle. I tried going to, the official Spanish-language MLB site, but my meager Spanish knowledge – thanks to a former co-worker I know more “bad words” than anything  – prevented me from navigating the site to find out if there should be accent marks over any part of his last name.


Along with rookie cards, we also have rookie debut cards, which allows Topps to get more Rookie Card logos in there… even though I wouldn’t think that anybody considers these to be rookie cards.
2013 Topps Update Gerrit Cole
The “Rookie Debut” text looks black in this scan, but it’s silver foil.

A new insert also seems to focus on rookies…
2013 Topps Update Franchise Forerunners Miller Gibson

There’s also the usual cluttery subsets of All-Stars and Home Run Derby participants. This card confused me briefly because I didn’t see the All-Star logo on the card, but it gets lost in Darvish’s jersey.
2013 Topps Update Yu Darvish AS

You may have heard that the Update series is introducing 1971 Minis rather than extending the 1972 minis of the regular set.
2013 Topps Update 1971 Mini Stan Musial
I will now officially declare that minis have jumped the shark.

I generally don’t care for minis, but last year’s 1987 minis were OK. This year’s 1972 were “meh”, and when I saw this card I declared it “stupid”.

…Out loud, but it’s OK because I was sitting in my car in the Target parking lot.

Something about these minis just diminishes the 1971 design, one of my favorite designs of the 1970’s… and when 1971 Topps are diminished, aren’t we all diminished a little bit?

Yeah, I don’t like minis.

One last thing I ran across in my packs — there are also traded players!
2013 Topps Update Bud Norris
I know!!!!!

Remember when the set was called the “Traded” set?  Yeah, that was awesome…

So, yeah, that pretty much covers what I found.  I also got a couple of parallels, a “Chasing History” insert and a “Making Their Mark” insert, none of which I deemed worthy of scanning.

I’ll be buying more of this, but as is always the case with Topps Update, I’m really just looking for the base cards that do what the wrapper says they do – update the base set.  I want rookies I don’t already have, I want players in new uniforms. I can do without the clutter, except when its for a player I collect.

Shoot, what do I write about today? Lessee… What happened on July 17th?

Ty Cobb passed away on 7/17/61. The card below is part of the countdown towards my complete 1973 set… let’s call it #10.

On 7/17/74, Cesar Geronimo became Bob Gibson’s 3000 career strikeout victim. Even when posing for a Topps photographer, Gibson looks pretty freakin’ menacing.

Wally Whitehurst made his major league debut on 7/17/89.

Why?  What’s the significance?  I DON’T KNOW!!!!