Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Corn Chips and Cheese

Despite being off of work this week, I have been unbelievably busy this week. I've been doctoring a sick horse and volunteering at the horse show grounds around the corner from me, helping them get ready for their big show over Labor Day weekend. Not much time for posting, but I do need to acknowledge a package that arrived in the mail today from the estimable Nachos Grande.

I had a few Series 2 sparklies and some inserts he needed and he was able to cut my Series 2 want list from 14 cards down to 6. I am not going to show all 8 cards, but I did notice that there was a number of cards with pitchers making faces as they threw. So, I'll show them:

Thanks, Nacho. Since I am at the point that buying more packs of Series 2 cards only nets me more doubles, any trade that fills in slots in the binder is awesome.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Random 10

I really don't have anything card-related to post today, but have taken the week off as a honey-do staycation, so I'm going to recycle an old (and probably overdone) blog meme, the Random 10. So, I am setting iTunes on random play and see what comes up. Where there is a video available, the title will be a link to it.

1. Over the Top by Motorhead
2. New York by Sex Pistols
3. Since I've Been Loving You by Led Zeppelin
4. Is That You? by Buddy Miller
5. Union House Branch by Alison Krauss and Union Station*
6. Whiskey Lullaby by Alison Krauss and Brad Paisley
7. Black and Blue by Louis Armstrong
8. I see Red by Split Enz
9. Are You Running? by Jerry Harrison
10. Roll Me Away by Bob Seger

* Okay, so the video isn't actually Alison Krauss and Union Station. But, it does feature AKUS member Jerry Douglas, who is a virtuoso on the dobro.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Platypus of Trading Cards

There is an old joke that says the platypus is a duck designed by a committee. That is what came to mind as I sorted through some blasters of Topps Lineage. There were a lot of good ideas in the set, but were thrown together and executed poorly. Let me share my thoughts on both the base set and the inserts/parallels.


The Lineage base set is a 200 card set mixing modern players and greats from the past, with a 10 card All-Rookie card subset. It is similar to Topps flagship product in terms of the type of card stock used and design. The main differentiation I see is that the card back is text only where flagship is text and statistics.

And that is exactly what I see as the main weakness of Lineage is that it isn't differentiated enough from the flagship product. It could very well be a design for flagship. If Topps had posted that design as what will be used for 2012 flagship, it wouldn't surprise anyone.

The use of a All-RC subset was a nice idea, except it led to some oddities in the checklist. For example:

Andruw Jones has been a solid major league player during his career and has acquitted himself well this year as a fourth outfielder and platoon DH for the Yankees. But, with a limited set size, I am not sure he should have two cards. The All-RC card should have been enough. Similarly, with only 200 cards, I am not sure I would have done this either:

Lineage has a number of different parallel inserts. There are refractor, Diamond Platinum (recycled from flagship), and 1975 style mini cards for all 200 base cards.

There are also shorter insert set rookie cards, Spanish language, cloth stickers, 3D, and standup cards:

I think there is really too much going on here. There is really no reason each product they produce needs rookie subsets, particularly given that Bowman focuses on rookies and prospects. Other than that, each of these insert sets have merit. The stand up cards would make a nice insert set in the flagship product. The Spanish language, 3D, and cloth stickers have the potential to be excellent stand-alone products. Indeed, if I was Topps, I would think that the "Venezuelan" cards would be an excellent product targetted at a growing market that has strong ties to MLB.

But, having them all thrown into the mix with Lineage really shows a loss of focus. Topps just threw a bunch of stuff at the wall, hoping something will stick.


I don't really have alot to say about the relics and autographs in Lineage as I have not got very many. Indeed, I only got one autograph.

I will say that the 1975 mini-relics are underwhelming. They certainly don't do anything for me, but that could just be me and my collecting priorities. I looked on EBay and they aren't selling at very high prices. I would have to believe that this may mean that I am not necessarily alone in my ambivalence towards these cards.


In my opinion, the Lineage concept is a clunker of a set. It tries to do too much and fails to do any of it well. If I was in Topps product management, I would have probably done the following:

  1. Skipped putting contemporary players in the set since they are in just about every other set anyways, and focused solely on the greats from the past. Perhaps, making it a set of the Hall of Famers.

  2. Make the base set 300-400 cards in size.

  3. Spun the Spanish language product off into it's own product. Probably also would make the cloth stickers a stand-alone product.

  4. Not included any insert sets that had already been done in another product (I'm looking at you, Diamond Platinum!)

  5. Limit the set to one or two inserts. The 3D cards and standups would be the best candidates.

  6. Completely skip the rookie cards and, if you absolutely had to have them, not use a card design from the junk wax era.

  7. Skip the 1975 mini relics.

So that is all I have to say about that.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

And the Winner Is...


As I should complete my 1977 set early in September, I was fishing around for the next set to start on. I was planning to just start keep working my way backwards and do 1976 next, but at the show two weekends ago, I was offered a deal on a 1971 starter set. It was a fairly large binder with almost all of the lower number sets (card 523 and below) for $300 and the guy threw in a really nice Nolan Ryan, which books at $150. I didn't have the cash at the time, and really needed to consult with She Who Must Be Obeyed first anyways. So, I walked at the time.

After talking with my wife we decided that it could be my birthday present, even though my birthday is in November. So, I tracked the guy back down and closed the deal. The binder arrived in the mail last week and I've worked through it, noting what cards are in there and which will need upgrading.

I am on the fence whether this was a good deal or not. Overall, there is a fair amount of nice cards here, although if I had built this set from scratch card-by-card, I probably would have skipped a number of these cards. But, building a 752 card set one-by-one is a big effort, and getting a running start is a good thing. Especially considering that this set was issued in series and the high number cards, even commons, are fairly pricy. So, how do I start off?

  1. 564 unique cards from the 752 card set, of which I'd like to upgrade 105

  2. 496 out of 523 of the lower numbered series, of which I'd like to upgrade 87

  3. 38 cards out of the 100 card 6th series, of which 8 need upgraded

  4. 30 cards out of the 129 card 7th series, of which 10 need upgraded

A fair amount of the stars are there, including the aforementioned Nolan Ryan, Thurman Munson, Pete Rose, and Hank Aaron. So, let's look at a few of my favorites.

It isn't in bad shape, but I did add it to my upgrade list. It isn't a huge priority, given how expensive this card is, but I think I would like a nicer version.

The centering isn't great on this card, but it is not nearly as bad as it looks. It is more an artifact of a scanner issue. I like the action shots in this set, most of which appear to have been taken in New York. Not surprising, since that is where Topps is based.

I don't get this. No question, Ryan was one of the all time greats. But, I am not convinced that his 1971 card should be the most valuable in the set. I would have thought Roberto Clemente's would be, given that it is also a high number card. Sometimes, I get the feeling that Ryan cards have been artificially inflated, not unlike Mickey Mantle cards. Discuss.

Alou was traded to the Yankees early in the season. Some collector meticulously noted the transaction on his card.

Another New York based action shot. I believe that is Ron Woods sliding.

Art looks like he is about to be HBP.

And, last but not least, the subject of my one player collection, Paul Blair.

The next big local show will be in October. With 1977 out of the way by then, I should be able to focus on 1971.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Who? Who? Night Owl, That's Who

So, I recently traded some Topps Lineage with Night Owl. You know the drill. I get rid of some Dodgers, he gets rid of some Yankees.

A-Rod. One of the key parts of the Yankee offense, though they have been playing just fine when he was on the DL recently. Eduardo Nunez filled in adequately at the plate, although his defense has been troubling at times.


CC! I saw a funny joke earlier in the year about CC being an innings eater, but I'll be darned if I can find it again to insert here. Make up your own.

Mr. October. Game 6 of the 1978 World Series is still one of my fondest childhood memories.

Fuzzy Mark Teixeira. Still hitting for power, but his average is not so good this year. The way he waves the bat around while waiting for the pitch kinda drives me nuts. But he is there, and I am here, so it isn't like anyone should listen to me.

The Iron Horse.

Poor Donny Baseball. He is probably the only recent former player that has fallen further than Lenny Dykstra.

Normally, I would be annoyed at someone sending me a Red Sock. But, it just so happens this is one of the 2011 Heritage short prints I still needed. So all is forgiven.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Card Show Haul - Leftovers

This is second to last post for what I bought at the show the weekend before last. The last will be about the next set I intend to work, on after I finish off 1977. That will probably go up over the weekend. If I can get it done, I have a post for tomorrow regarding a trade package I got in the mail yesterday.

So here are the few loose odds and ends from the show haul:

Another SP Etched in Time. I had previously picked up the Satchel Paige from this series and now added Ty Cobb. If rumors are true, I better not put them next to each other in my miscellaneous binder.

Not sure why, I just like the Kellogg's 3D cards.

I actually bought two 1973 Clemente's at the show. This was the first and is in decent condition, although the corners show a fair amount of wear. The second had alot better corners, but had a small surface crease and a pen mark on the back.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Card Show Haul - 1956, Part 2

This post was supposed to be of the Hall of Famers amongst my 1956 card purchases, but as you will soon see, I made a mistake.

For some reason, I thought Rosen was in the Hall of Fame. He isn't, but since I have the picture uploaded, might as well post it.

The red dot isn't there ironically. One of the sellers I bought from uses different color dots to indicate pricing. Normally, they are on the penny sleeve. But, for whatever reason, the dot actually got on this card. It has since been successfully removed.

So, there you have it. Napkin Doon, over at The Adventures of Napkin Doon has been good enough to put in some bids for me on some 1956 commons being auctioned off at his LCS. With any luck, I'll have a few more to show soon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Card Show Haul - 1956, Part 1

So, here are the 1956 commons and minor stars that I bought at the show the weekend before last.

I swear, the fish was thiiiiiiis big.

Vic appears to be a little shy in the action picture.

Ignore the blade of grass on the scan.

Coming tomorrow: the Hall of Famers.