Cards I Got From “Diamond Giveaway”… OK, So I’m A Little Behind…

I didn’t know what to write about today, I wasn’t feelin’ the posts I had in my Drafts folder, so I went poking around my unused scans… and that’s when I found images of these cards I’d redeemed from Topps “Diamond Giveaway” promotion back in early 2012.

…And I said “Ah, what the hell.”

Rule #1 with Diamond Giveaway was always “Fill the oldest need possible”, but not everybody was willing to trade their 1963 Duke Snider for my 1991 Milt Thompson. So, Rule #2 was “work towards completing sets which I’m reasonably close to completing”. In this case, I turned a 1983 Bruce Hurst (which I already had) into this Winfield. Naturally, a recent Fairfield repack I got had this card in it… But how was I to know that in 2011?
1986 Topps Dave Winfield
I don’t know why, but I think I appreciate Dave Winfield more now than when he was active… Maybe because as an all-around athlete (drafted in three sports!) he just looks good on a card.

I’m not a fan of the Cardinals or Alex Johnson, but this is easily the best card I got from Diamond Giveaway, and many others agreed with me – I got far more trade offers for this card than for any other.
1967 Topps Alex Johnson
I’m not even 100% sure about what it is that I find appealing, I just know that I look at it and think “Now that’s a baseball card!”

This is “Action” only in the sense that takes place during a game. Doesn’t matter to me, I’m not one to turn down some free-but-not-really-free 1972’s!
1972 Topps George Mitterwald

1980 Topps was another set I worked towards through Diamond Giveaway. I’ve got 99.85% of the 1973 set, complete sets from 1974 to 1978 and again in 1981, and I feel like I should have complete sets from 1979 and 1980 as well. Maybe I should bump up the priority on those two. Like Dave Winfield, 1980 Topps has also grown on me over the years. At the time I thought it was a little too much like a reworked 1974 design, but I think I’ve grown to appreciate it on its own.
1980 Topps Jimmy Sexton
I like Sexton’s belligerent expression in this card. He’s either trying to look bad-ass or he’s angry because he doesn’t like to do Standard Baseball Card Pose #27. “There, I’m doing your stupid pose. Are ya happy? Huh? Are ya?”

I’ve got plenty more Diamond Giveaway cards to share… Maybe they’ll surface on another uninspired Saturday.

1976 SSPC: #278 Reggie Smith

1976 SSPC #278 Reggie Smith Hi, I’m Reggie Smith!  You may remember me from… Being a 7-time All-Star, winning a Gold Glove, playing in four World Series, all while hitting 314 homers and 1,092 RBI over 17 years with the Red Sox, Cardinals, Dodgers and Giants.

In 1976, Reggie Smith… got off to a slow start and in June was traded to the Dodgers for catcher Joe Ferguson and two minor-leaguers.  In 112 games, he batted .253 with 18 homers and 49 RBI.

So… take your time… and tell me… Is it Shea?  Your guess is as good as mine.

Betcha didn’t know… Reggie finished second to Rod Carew in the 1967 A.L. Rookie Of The Year voting.

1976 SSPC #278 Reggie Smith back

The Funny Hats Of ’76!!!!

Yesterday’s post was about America’s bicentennial in 1976.  Something else that happened in 1976 was the National League’s Centennial.  Several teams observed the Centennial in ways which people confused for observing the Bicentennial.

Of course, everybody knows the Pirates wore funny hats…
1977 Topps Jerry Reuss

The Cardinals wore funny hats almost as much as the Pirates…
1977 Topps Al Hrabosky

…and did the Pirates one better by wearing funny helmets to match their funny hats…
1977 Topps Lou Brock

…The National League All-Stars wore funny hats (but not during the game)…
1977 Mets yearbook Photo of 1976 all-stars

…The Mets wore funny hats (but not much, and the only image I could find in my collection was this shot from 1976’s Old Timers’ Day: This is Don Cardwell and Sal Maglie)…
1977 Mets yearbook photo of Don Cardwell and Sal Maglie

The Reds and Phillies and NL umpires also wore funny hats, but I couldn’t find any decent images of them.

…and every team, funny hat or no funny hat, wore a “National League Centennial” patch like Manny Mota has.
1977 Topps Manny Mota

Everybody but the Pirates would abandon the funny hats after the season.  The following year the Pirates would add funny uniforms to go with the funny hats, and would continue to wear those up through the mid-1980’s.

This Is What People Did Before Computers And Photoshop

1991 Topps Vince Coleman Altered…or more to the point, this is what I did in 1991 when I was bored and had an excessive amount of Vince Coleman doubles… I decided to create my own update card using Wite-Out and a blue ball point pen.

The Mets had signed Coleman as a free agent after the 1990 season, but he wouldn’t appear as a Met on a baseball card until later in the year when sets like Stadium Club, Leaf and Studio came out.

I’m obviously biased, but considering what I was working with, this custom didn’t come out half bad.

The SSPC set: 1975 or 1976?

One thing that’s bugged me for a long time, and especially since I bought my haul of SSPC cards, is what to call the main 630-card set. Is it 1975 SSPC or 1976 SSPC? As Shawn Spencer on “Psych” would say, “I’ve heard it both ways”.

I think a lot of people use the 1975 copyright on the back as the basis for calling it “1975 SSPC”. In addition, the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards refers to it as “1975 SSPC”, and I’ve run across prominent auction houses selling the cards as “1975 SSPC”.

On the other side of the debate are COMC and BaseballCardPedia, which both list it as a 1976 set. Everything I’ve seen regarding the selling of the set indicates that it went on the market in 1976. The card backs reference the past 1975 season, the upcoming 1976 season and in some cases had been updated to reflect offseason player movement. Wouldn’t that indicate that it’s a 1976 set?

As I was sorting through my cards, my interest was further piqued when I ran across this Joe Lovitto card:

1976 SSPC #271 Joe Lovitto

I noticed that it listed him as a New York Met, something which caught my attention for two reasons…

First off, I didn’t remember him being with the Mets… and as it turns out, the Mets traded for him in December, 1975 and released him towards the end of Spring Training, so he never played in a regular season game for them.

The second reason it caught my attention was because card back included something else of interest:
1976 SSPC #271 Joe Lovitto back

It starts right off by saying he was traded on 12/12/75.  That’s a much later update than you’d see in the Topps set, but right in line with some of the 1976 Topps Traded cards.

As I kept going through my cards I tried to find later transactions, but most of what I found was from December 9th through the 12th.  Some online thingamajiggery revealed that 12/12/75 was a Friday… A bunch of transactions all at once and concluding on a Friday?  Sounds like that was the week of the Winter Meetings.

Then I had another idea; I’d go to, look up transactions starting in December, 1975 and see how far the transactions go before one fails to be acknowledged on an SSPC card back.

After December 12th, there’s a bit of a gap, which is understandable. Back to business, preparing for the Holidays and all that.

Then I found this deal…
December 22, 1975: The St. Louis Cardinals traded Mick Kelleher to the Chicago Cubs for Vic Harris.

I found that I have a Vic Harris card…
1976 SSPC #321 Vic Harris

…and this is very notable in that,  unlike the other cards, the trade is acknowledged with an O-Pee-Chee-like line at the top:
1976 SSPC #321 Vic Harris back

Verrrry interesting.  Looks pretty last-minute to me.

Finally, I ran across this deal…
January 9, 1976: The New York Mets traded Jerry Cram to the Kansas City Royals

I’d started looking for Mets as soon as I started going through my cards, so I knew I had Jerry Cram.
1976 SSPC #559 Jerry Cram

…and the back of that card doesn’t acknowledge his Kansas City Royalty.
1976 SSPC #559 Jerry Cram back

Just to review… (he said, as he looked pensively out the window) … A trade on 12/22/75 was mentioned, but a trade on 1/9/76 was not… Clearly, this set was “put to bed” very late in 1975, if not actually in 1976. The cards may have been printed in 1975, but there would’ve been very little time to ship any out before the end of 1975.

At this point what really started to bother me is why anyone would think that the people selling SSPC would have called it a 1975 set.  Calling a set “1975” and selling it in 1976 is not just poor marketing, that’s plain ol’ stupid. If I introduced a 2012 set now, would you buy it?  The only way I can see “1975” happening is if it was intended all along to be a document of the just-passed season… but if you were doing that, you wouldn’t update it for offseason trades.

At this point I’d convinced myself that it was a 1976 set… but I had to do my due diligence, I’ve been burned on things like that before.

So I kept flipping through books for this, Googling for that, when I had a small epiphany; there were several smaller sets generated before the main set came out, and one of those was a promo set. If a small set of cards were made to promote an upcoming set, wouldn’t those promos include the set year on them?

Well, DUH.

I don’t have any of the promos, but I borrowed an image from COMC.

1976 SSPC Promos #6 - Tom Seaver - Courtesy of

1976 SSPC Promos #6 – Tom Seaver – Courtesy of

…and there you go. A promotional card for the set says that it’s a 1976 set. Wish I thought of that up front.

But that’s neither here nor there. What’s important is that from this point on, this set shall be referred to on this blog as the 1976 SSPC set.


Aw, Man! I Want A Fairfield Repack, Too!!!

I’ve been seeing a bunch of posts lately for repacks, and it lit a fire within me.


I had to go to Target anyway, so I went through the repacks they had on hand… Unfortunately, the ones they had made no promises of vintage, just 5 rookie cards. Whoop-dee-doop-dee-doo.

Didn’t matter, I needed a fix. Into the cart it went, and into my blog it goes…

The particular repack I bought was one I picked out because of this Jason Bay card I didn’t recognize… and it turned out to be a 2007 Topps Wal-Mart insert. Despite his less-than-stellar time with the Mets, I like Jason Bay and hope he turns it around with the Mariners.
2007 Topps Wal-Mart Jason Bay

Just like most Fairfield repacks, I got some 1980’s Topps glossies… Usually my favorite part. Unfortunately, this time around the only one I needed was this Clemens…
1987 Topps Glossy All Star Roger Clemens
…and naturally, I ended up with two of these. Sigh.

I like the late-1980’s parking lot in the background.  I believe that’s a big ol’ Cadillac just over Clemens’ shoulder.  It’s too bad it’s not a pink Cadillac, crushed velvet seats, ridin’ in the back, oozin’ down the street, wavin’ to the girls, feelin’ outta sight, spendin’ all my money on a Saturday night, honey I just wonder what it feels like in the back of your pink Cadillac… pink Cadillac…

Huh?  Whuh?  Oh, sorry, drifted away for a minute…

Woo-hoo! I got Bipped! I think that’s almost becoming a point of honor…
1992 Upper Deck Bip Roberts

Huh. I didn’t know Star did a Keith Hernandez set… I’ve got a couple of other player-specific Star sets, but I don’t recall running across Keith before.
1987 Star Keith Hernandez Post Season Stats
The problem with doing these player-specific sets in the colors of the player’s current team is that you get bad combos like a Cardinals uniform framed with Mets orange. This would’ve been a nicer card with different colors… but it’s Star, it’s only going to get but so nice… I’ll just distract myself by admiring Keith’s stirrups.

I got a number of 2010 cards, including this Aaron Laffey. Laffey was on the Mets earlier this month, and I didn’t have a single card of his. Last week the Mets put him on waivers and he was claimed by the Blue Jays… and NOW I have a card of Aaron Laffey. Ain’t that just…
2010 Topps Aaron Laffey
In case you hadn’t noticed, the Blue Jays will put a waiver claim on ANYBODY. Don’t believe me? Keep an eye on the transactions column… seems like half the guys who go through waivers get claimed by the Jays, even if the Jays then turn around and DFA the guy.

No, I don’t understand it.

…and for what it’s worth, the Jays did turn around and DFA Aaron Laffey.

Among the promised rookies I got were a 2005 Bazooka Melky Cabrera (which seems to actually have some value), a couple of uninteresting 2010 rookies and this 2007 TriStar David Price, which is at least shiny even if it is kinda ugly.
2007 TriStar Prospects Plus David Price

Not one of the better repacks I’ve gotten, but still $4 worth of entertainment.

…And for the record, 36 cards went straight from the repack into the recycling bin… Just doing my part to keep America safe from Junk Wax.

Hostess Card Of The Week: 1975 Bake McBride

1975 Hostess Bake McBrideToday is Bake McBride’s 63rd birthday.  Arnold Ray “Bake” McBride was the 1974 Rookie Of the Year after batting .309 with 30 stolen bases in 150 games for the Cardinals. He was an All-Star in 1976, played in the 1980 World Series with the Phillies and finished his career with a .299 average.  He ranks 24th among the Phillies all-time batting average leaders (.292).

The photo on the card is obviously a Spring Training shot, and I’m guessing the building in the background is a hotel (my hunch says Hilton).  At first I thought the guys doing something on the ground were from the grounds crew, but it looks like they’re wearing Cardinal uniforms so I have no idea what they’re doing.

I featured Bake McBride’s rookie card in the Hostess Card Of The Week post from two weeks ago, only in that post I was focusing in part on one of his card mates, Rich Bladt, who had been traded along with Elliott Maddox, who was the subject of that week’s card:

1974 Topps Rookie Outfielders #601
My prediction for the Super Bowl (Not that I’ll be watching…):
Niners 24, Ravens 21.
At this point I’m going to revive a “feature” that may not be thrilling to many (or any) of you, but when my great uncle Beauregard was on his deathbed, I promised him that I would carry on with this….

Yes, it’s time for Weigh-in #45, this time we’re tracking my progress since 12/2/12.  I find that it making my progress a matter of public record helps to motivate (or shame) me, even if nobody reads them.  This time around, I feel good about what’s going on.

Net change in the collection: -1,311 (since 12/2: 557 added, 1585 purged)

Net change to the # of cards in the house: -8,904 (since 12/2: 530 in, 66 out)

Total # of cards which have left the house: 13,688

Number of cards tracked in my Access database: 20,418 (up from 4,740… I’m very happy with the organization that accompanies this surge)

Pack Animal! 2012 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects

I’ll freely admit it:  Bowman products confuse the heck out of me.

It wasn’t until this year that I realized that Bowman Chrome has different cards than Bowman.  I’d thought they were just Chrome-y versions of the Bowman cards.

And numbering… there are cards with numbers, and those prefixed with BDP, BDPP, BDPDPBPDPBPBP and so on.  …Not to mention that Bowman has a #42 card which is different from the Bowman Chrome #42 card, and both are different from the Bowman DP&P #42 card, but they all  have the same card design… How the hell am I supposed to keep all this stuff straight?

You know what?  I don’t give a flying “Future”, it’s all far more effort than it’s worth to me.  Let’s just rip into this pack of DP&P and look at some cards.  I’ll bet some of them are SHINY.

Joseph Almaraz is from San Antonio, was a 28th round pick and played in the Gulf Coast League in 2012.
2012 Bowman DP&P Joseph Almaraz

Marcus Stroman seems familiar to me, but I’m not sure why… In looking him up I found out that, like me, he’s from Long Island and not what you’d call tall.  He’s also the first-ever 1st round draft pick out of Duke University, and Baseball America recently listed him as the #7 Blue Jays prospect.  For what it’s worth, he was #7 before the Jays traded a bunch of prospects to the Marlins, and he’ll probably move up more if/when the R.A. Dickey trade goes through.
2012 Bowman DP&P Marcus Stroman

This is the big hit in the pack… it’s a Blue Refractor, numbered 11/250.  Kole Calhoun was the Angels’ 2011 Minor League Player Of The Year, and appeared in 21 Major League games in 2012.
2012 Bowman DP&P Chrome Kole Calhoun

The guys in these packs are so generic to me that I hadn’t realized until after I’d scanned these cards that I had the regular and Chrome versions of the same Andre Martinez card in this pack.  Even though I don’t prefer shiny cards, I like the Chrome version better, if only because the player’s name is larger and legible.  Those tiny foil letters are a pain in the arse to read.

2012 Bowman DP&P Andre Martinez 2012 Bowman DP&P Chrome Andrre Martinez

I searched on Andre Martinez and found that he recently launched a new Fresco Bath collection, giving new Luxury design ideas for small bathrooms… but I think that’s the wrong Andre Martinez.  OK, here we go….  Andre Martinez was the 6th round pick of the Twins in 2012.

This pack was completely an impulse buy.  My friendly neighborhood comic store had some packs; I don’t normally buy anything beyond comics there, but everybody that works there is very nice and knows me by name, so I try to “throw ’em a frickin’ bone” every now and then.  I hadn’t planned on buying any packs of DP&P, and this pack didn’t inspire any future purchases.

Radical Stuff: Cardinals Unveil Alternate Uniform

2012-13 Hot Stove #6 Trevor RosenthalThe Cardinals have a classic uniform, and they know not to mess with it too much. So, when I first heard about how they’d introduced new home alternates to be worn for Saturday home games, I was a bit apprehensive, hoping it wouldn’t be an awful bright red jersey like the ones used by the Braves and Red Sox.

I needn’t have worried.

The new jersey is cream colored (which is kind of hard to see in this image) and a sort of “Fauxback”. It’s based on a 1930’s Cardinals road jersey, but that was only used as inspiration… this jersey is not meant to duplicate that uniform.

I have to say, this is one of the nicer alts in the Majors. I would definitely buy one if I were a Cardinals fan. I think it might actually look a little better as a “off the rack” jersey; I’m not sure the number on the front doesn’t detract from it a tiny bit.

The one thing I will say is that this jersey makes it 16 teams – more than half – which have placket piping on at least one of their jerseys.

Other changes introduced by the Cardinals:

  • The navy blue cap is now an alternate, not a road cap.
  • The TV numbers on the front are slightly smaller than they used to be.
  • The chain-stitched “Birds On A Bat” logo is supposed to be more detailed, but I haven’t seen any images which illustrate that.

Entertainment & Sports Programming Network

I like this card just for the early ESPN microphone.  I also noticed something…

The ESPN reporter holding the microphone is a woman!  Yay!

She’s got a ring on her finger.  Aw.

But that was 30 years ago, she might be available by now!  Yay!

Since the photo is 30 years old, she’s at least in her early 50’s… Whether or not that’s an “aw” for you probably depends on how old you are (among other things).

I did some quick research to attempt to figure out whose hand it is, but got nowhere.  If anybody feels inclined to research this, knock yourselves out.

We know it’s not Erin Andrews, she was 4 years old when the photo was taken.