First cards.

In my original post, I organized all of Topps’ #1 cards in a spreadsheet after cataloging all of Topps base cards in a spreadsheet. Some were Hall of Fame players, some were league leaders cards, some were repeated a few times. Once I finished with Topps, I added all the base sets of Bowman, Donruss, Fleer, Leaf, O-Pee-Chee, Pacific, Pinnacle, Score, Sportflics, and Upper Deck with every year, set, card number, player, and teams. I’ve organized them below by company then year. Below that, I totaled each company’s total of #1s, and each team’s #1s. If you make it to the bottom, I’ll be surprised. =D. Here’s the spreadsheet link.

Bowman:

1948 Bill Elliott Braves
1949 Vernon Bickford Braves
1950 Mel Parnell Red Sox
1951 Whitey Ford Yankees
1952 Yogi Berra Yankees
1953 Gus Bell Reds
1953 Davey Williams Giants
1954 Phil Rizzuto Yankees
1955 Hoyt Wilhelm Giants
1989 Oswald Peraza Orioles
1990 Tommy Greene Braves
1991 Rod Carew Twins
1992 Ivan Rodriguez Rangers
1993 Glenn Davis Orioles
1994 Joe Carter Blue Jays
1995 Billy Wagner Astros
1996 Cal Ripken Orioles
1997 Derek Jeter Yankees
1998 Nomar Garciaparra Red Sox
1999 Ben Grieve Athletics
2000 Vladimir Guerrero Expos
2001 Jason Giambi Athletics
2002 Adam Dunn Reds
2003 Garret Anderson Angels
2004 Garret Anderson Angels
2005 Gavin Floyd Phillies
2006 Nick Swisher Athletics
2007 Hanley Ramirez Marlins
2008 Ryan Braun Brewers
2009 David Wright Mets
2010 Ryan Braun Brewers
2011 Buster Posey Giants
2012 Derek Jeter Yankees
2013 Adam Jones Orioles
2014 Derek Jeter Yankees
2015 Clayton Kershaw Dodgers
2016 Mike Trout Angels
2017 Kris Bryant Cubs

Donruss:

1981 Ozzie Smith Padres
1982 Pete Rose Phillies
1983 Fernando Valenzuela Dodgers
1984 Robin Yount Brewers
1985 Ryne Sandberg Cubs
1986 Kirk Gibson Tigers
1987 Wally Joyner Angels
1988 Mark McGwire Athletics
1989 Mike Greenwell Red Sox
1990 Bo Jackson Royals
1991 Dave Stieb Blue Jays
1992 Mark Wohlers Braves
1993 Craig Lefferts Orioles
1994 Nolan Ryan Rangers
1995 David Justice Braves
1996 Frank Thomas White Sox
1997 Juan Gonzalez Rangers
1998 Paul Molitor Twins
2001 Alex Rodriguez Rangers
2002 Alex Rodriguez Rangers
2003 Vladimir Guerrero Expos
2004 Derek Jeter Yankees
2005 Garret Anderson Angels
2014 Paul Goldschmidt Diamondbacks
2015 Paul Goldschmidt Diamondbacks
2016 A.J. Pollock Diamondbacks
2017 Paul Goldschmidt Diamondbacks

Fleer:

1959 Ted Williams Red Sox
1960 Nap Lajoie Indians
1961 Frank Baker Athletics
1961 Zach Wheat Dodgers
1961 Ty Cobb Tigers
1963 Steve Barber Orioles
1981 Pete Rose Phillies
1982 Dusty Baker Dodgers
1983 Joaquin Andujar Cardinals
1984 Mike Boddicker Orioles
1985 Doug Bair Tigers
1986 Steve Balboni Royals
1987 Rick Aguilera Mets
1988 Keith Atherton Twins
1989 Don Baylor Athletics
1990 Lance Blankenship Athletics
1991 Troy Afenir Athletics
1992 Brady Anderson Orioles
1993 Steve Avery Braves
1994 Brady Anderson Orioles
1995 Brady Anderson Orioles
1996 Manny Alexander Orioles
1997 Roberto Alomar Orioles
2002 Darin Erstad Angels
2006 Adam Kennedy Angels
2007 Chad Cordero Nationals

Leaf:

1949 Joe Dimaggio Yankees
1960 Luis Aparicio White Sox
1986 Kirk Gibson Tigers
1987 Wally Joyner Angels
1988 Mark McGwire Athletics
1990 Leaf Inc. MLB
1991 Leaf Inc. MLB
1992 Jim Abbott Angels
1993 Ben McDonald Orioles
1994 Cal Ripken Orioles
1995 Frank Thomas White Sox
1996 John Smoltz Braves
1997 Wade Boggs Yankees
1998 Rusty Greer Rangers
2002 Tim Salmon Angels
2003 Brad Fullmer Angels
2004 Darin Erstad Angels
2005 Bartolo Colon Angels

O-Pee-Chee:

1965 Brooks Robinson Orioles
1965 Tony Oliva Twins
1965 Elston Howard Yankees
1966 Willie Mays Giants
1967 Brooks Robinson Orioles
1967 Frank Robinson Orioles
1967 Hank Bauer Orioles
1968 Tony Gonzalez Phillies
1968 Matty Alou Pirates
1968 Roberto Clemente Pirates
1969 Danny Cater Athletics
1969 Carl Yastrzemski Red Sox
1969 Tony Oliva Twins
1970 World Champions Mets
1970 World Champions Orioles
1971 World Series Champions Orioles
1971 World Series Champions Reds
1972 World Champions Orioles
1972 World Champions Pirates
1973 Hank Aaron Braves
1973 Willie Mays Mets
1973 Babe Ruth Yankees
1974 Hank Aaron Braves
1975 Hank Aaron Braves
1976 Hank Aaron Brewers
1977 Bill Madlock Cubs
1977 George Brett Royals
1978 Dave Parker Pirates
1978 Rod Carew Twins
1979 Lee May Orioles
1980 Craig Swan Mets
1981 Frank Pastore Reds
1982 Dan Spillner Indians
1983 Rusty Staub Mets
1984 Pascual Perez Braves
1985 Tom Seaver White Sox
1986 Pete Rose Reds
1987 Ken Oberkfell Braves
1988 Chris James Phillies
1989 Brook Jacoby Indians
1990 Nolan Ryan Rangers
1991 Nolan Ryan Rangers
1992 Nolan Ryan Rangers
1993 Jim Abbott Yankees
1994 Paul Molitor Blue Jays
2009 Melvin Mora Orioles

Pacific:

1993 Rafael Belliard Braves
1994 Steve Avery Braves
1995 Steve Avery Braves
1996 Steve Avery Braves
1997 Garret Anderson Angels
1998 Luis Alicea Angels
1999 Garret Anderson Angels
2000 Garret Anderson Angels
2001 Garret Anderson Angels

Pinnacle:

1992 Frank Thomas White Sox
1993 Gary Sheffield Padres
1994 Frank Thomas White Sox
1995 Jeff Bagwell Astros
1996 Greg Maddux Braves
1997 Cecil Fielder Yankees
1998 Tony Gwynn Padres
2013 Aroldis Chapman Reds

Score:

1988 Don Mattingly Yankees
1989 Jose Canseco Athletics
1990 Don Mattingly Yankees
1991 Jose Canseco Athletics
1992 Ken Griffey Jr. Mariners
1993 Ken Griffey Jr. Mariners
1994 Barry Bonds Giants
1995 Frank Thomas White Sox
1996 Will Clark Rangers
1997 Jeff Bagwell Astros
1998 Andruw Jones Braves

Sportflics:

1986 George Brett Royals
1987 Don Mattingly Yankees
1988 Don Mattingly Yankees
1989 Jose Canseco Athletics
1990 Kevin Mitchell Giants
1995 Ken Griffey Jr. Mariners
1996 Wade Boggs Yankees

Topps:

For posterity’s sake.

1951 Eddie Yost Senators
1951 Yogi Berra Yankees
1952 Andy Pafko Dodgers
1953 Jackie Robinson Dodgers
1954 Ted Williams Red Sox
1955 Dusty Rhodes Giants
1956 William Harridge MLB
1957 Ted Williams Red Sox
1958 Ted Williams Red Sox
1959 Ford Frick MLB
1960 Early Wynn White Sox
1961 Dick Groat Pirates
1962 Roger Maris Yankees
1963 Hank Aaron Braves
1963 Bill White Cardinals
1963 Stan Musial Cardinals
1963 Tommy Davis Dodgers
1963 Frank Robinson Reds
1964 Dick Ellsworth Cubs
1964 Sandy Koufax Dodgers
1964 Bob Friend Pirates
1965 Brooks Robinson Orioles
1965 Frank Howard Senators
1965 Tony Oliva Twins
1966 Willie Mays Giants
1967 Brooks Robinson Orioles
1967 Frank Robinson Orioles
1967 Hank Bauer Orioles
1968 Tony Gonzalez Phillies
1968 Bob Clemente Pirates
1968 Matty Alou Pirates
1969 Danny Cater Athletics
1969 Carl Yastrzemski Red Sox
1969 Tony Oliva Twins
1970 World Champs Mets
1971 World Champions Orioles
1972 World Champions Pirates
1973 Hank Aaron Braves
1973 Willie Mays Mets
1973 Babe Ruth Yankees
1974 Hank Aaron Braves
1975 Hank Aaron Braves
1976 Hank Aaron Brewers
1977 Bill Madlock Cubs
1977 George Brett Royals
1978 Lou Brock Cardinals
1979 Dave Parker Pirates
1979 Rod Carew Twins
1980 Lou Brock Cardinals
1980 Carl Yastrzemski Red Sox
1981 Bill Buckner Cubs
1981 George Brett Royals
1982 Steve Carlton Phillies
1983 Tony Armas Athletics
1984 Steve Carlton Phillies
1985 Carlton Fisk White Sox
1986 Pete Rose Reds
1987 Roger Clemens Red Sox
1988 Vince Coleman Cardinals
1989 George Bell Blue Jays
1990 Nolan Ryan Rangers
1991 Nolan Ryan Rangers
1992 Nolan Ryan Rangers
1993 Robin Yount Brewers
1994 Mike Piazza Dodgers
1995 Frank Thomas White Sox
1996 Tony Gwynn Padres
1997 Barry Bonds Giants
1998 Tony Gwynn Padres
1999 Roger Clemens Blue Jays
2000 Mark McGwire Cardinals
2001 Cal Ripken Jr. Orioles
2002 Pedro Martinez Red Sox
2003 Alex Rodriguez Rangers
2004 Jim Thome Phillies
2005 Alex Rodriguez Yankees
2006 Alex Rodriguez Yankees
2007 John Lackey Angels
2008 Alex Rodriguez Yankees
2009 Alex Rodriguez Yankees
2010 Prince Fielder Brewers
2011 Ryan Braun Brewers
2012 Ryan Braun Brewers
2013 Bryce Harper Nationals
2014 Mike Trout Angels
2015 Derek Jeter Yankees
2016 Mike Trout Angels
2017 Kris Bryant Cubs

Upper Deck:

1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Mariners
1990 Star Rookies Checklist MLB
1991 Star Rookies Checklist MLB
1992 Ryan Klesko Braves
1992 Jim Thome Indians
1993 Tim Salmon Angels
1994 Brian Anderson Angels
1995 Ruben Rivera Yankees
1996 Cal Ripken Jr. Orioles
1997 Jackie Robinson Dodgers
1998 Tino Martinez Yankees
1999 Troy Glaus Angels
2000 Rick Ankiel Cardinals
2001 Jeff DaVanon Angels
2002 Mark Prior Cubs
2003 John Lackey Angels
2004 Dontrelle Willis Marlins
2005 Casey Kotchman Angels
2006 Adam Kennedy Angels
2007 Doug Slaten Diamondbacks
2008 Joe Saunders Angels
2009 Randy Johnson Diamondbacks
2010 Star Rookies Checklist MLB

Company:

Across the 11 brands listed below, there were a total of 268 sets, with 301 total players represented. Cards with multiple players on the front(league leaders, grouped rookies) count multiple times, once for each individual player.

Bowman – 1948-1955;1989-2017 38
Donruss – 1981-1998;2001-2005;2014-Present 27
Fleer – 1959;1961;1963;1981-1997;2002;2006-2007 26
Leaf – 1949;1960;1985-1988;1990-1998;2002-2005 18
O-Pee-Chee – 1965-1994;2009 46
Pacific – 1993-2001 9
Pinnacle – 1992-1998;2013 8
Score – 1988-1998 11
Sportflics – 1986-1990;1995-1996 7
Topps – 1951-2017 88
Upper Deck – 1989-2010 23

Team:

Players may be duplicated, they’re listed once for brevity.

Orioles – Oswald Peraza, Glenn Davis, Cal Ripken Jr., Adam Jones, Craig Lefferts, Steve Barber, Mike Boddicker, Brady Anderson, Manny Alexander, Roberto Alomar, Ben McDonald, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Hank Bauer, 1969 World Series, 1970 World Series Champions, Lee May, Melvin Mora 30
Angels – Garret Anderson, Mike Trout, Wally Joyner, Darin Erstad, Adam Kennedy, Jim Abbott, Tim Salmon, Brad Fullmer, Bartolo Colon, Luis Alicea, John Lackey, Brian Anderson, Troy Glaus, Jeff DaVanon, Casey Kotchman, Joe Saunders 29
Yankees – Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Derek Jeter, Joe DiMaggio, Wade Boggs, Elston Howard, Babe Ruth, Cecil Fielder, Don Mattingly, Roger Maris, Ruben Rivera, Tino Martinez 28
Braves – Bill Elliot, Vernon Bickford, Tommy Greene, Mark Wohlers, David Justice, Steve Avery, John Smoltz, Hank Aaron, Pascual Perez, Ken Oberkfell, Rafael Belliard, Greg Maddux, Andrew Jones, Ryan Klesko 23
Athletics – Ben Grieve, Jason Giambi, Nick Swisher, Mark McGwire, Frank Baker, Don Baylor, Lance Blankenship, Troy Afenir, Danny Cater, Jose Canseco, Tony Armas 15
Rangers – Ivan Rodriguez, Nolan Ryan, Juan Gonzalez, Alex Rodriguez, Rusty Greer, Will Clark 14
Red Sox – Mel Parnell, Nomar Garciaparra, Mike Greenwell, Carl Yastrezemski, Ted Williams, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez 12
Pirates – Matty Alou, Roberto Clemente, Dave Parker, Dick Groat, Bob Friend, 1971 World Series Champions 10
White Sox – Frank Thomas, Luis Aparicio, Tom Seaver, Early Wynn, Carlton Fisk 10
Dodgers – Clayton Kershaw, Fernando Valenzuela, Zach Wheat, Dusty Baker, Andy Pafko, Jackie Robinson, Tommy Davis, Sandy Koufax, Mike Piazza 10
Brewers – Ryan Braun, Robin Yount, Hank Aaron, Prince Fielder 9
Giants – Davey Williams, Hoyt Wilhelm, Buster Posey, Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Kevin Mitchell, Dusty Rhodes 9
Phillies – Gavin Floyd, Pete Rose, Tony Gonzalez, Chris James, Steve Carlton, Jim Thome 9
Twins – Rod Carew, Paul Molitor, Keith Atherton, Tony Oliva 9
Cardinals – Joaquin Andujar, Bill White, Stan Musial, Lou Brock, Vince Coleman, Mark McGwire, Rick Ankiel 8
Cubs – Kris Bryant, Ryne Sandberg, Bill Madlock, Dick Ellsworth, Bill Buckner, Mark Prior 8
Mets – David Wright, Rick Aguilera, Willie Mays, Craig Swan, Rusty Staub, 1969 World Series Champions(Topps), 1969 World Series Champions(O-Pee-Chee) 8
Reds – Gus Bell, Adam Dunn, Frank Pastore, Pete Rose, Aroldis Chapman, Frank Robinson, 1970 World Series 8
MLB – William Harridge, Ford Frick, Leaf Inc., Star Rookies Checklists 7
Diamondbacks – Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, Doug Slaten, Randy Johnson 6
Royals – Bo Jackson, Steve Balboni, George Brett 6
Blue Jays – Joe Carter, Dave Stieb, Paul Molitor, George Bell, Roger Clemens 5
Padres – Ozzie Smith, Gary Sheffield, Tony Gwynn 5
Mariners – Ken Griffey Jr. 4
Indians – Nap Lajoie, Dan Spillner, Brook Jacoby, Jim Thome 4
Tigers – Kirk Gibson, Ty Cobb, Doug Blair 4
Astros – Billy Wagner, Jeff Bagwell 3
Expos – Vladimir Guerrero 2
Marlins – Hanley Ramirez, Dontrelle Willis 2
Nationals – Chad Cordero, Bryce Harper 2
Senators – Eddie Yost, Frank Howard 2
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2017 Panini Chronicles

Panini’s Chronicles, which released around Thanksgiving, can be found in retail and hobby sets. Here I’ll be demo-ing a retail box. A spendy risk with only four packs, and twenty cards for 20$, but I took my chances and was rewarded.

Pack One: Chris Archer, Pete Rose, Yonder Alonso, Scott Schebler #/999, Mitch Haniger Absolute Rookies Blue retail parallel.

 

Card back.

Pack Two: Mike Schmidt, Charlie Blackmon, Odubel Herrera, Scott Schebler #/999, Guillermo Heredia Rated Rookies.

Pack Three: Carlos Correa, Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison, Josh Harrison, Max Scherzer red prizm.


Pack Four: Trevor Story, Dee Gordon, Ryan Braun, Cody Bellinger Rated Rookie, Paul Konerko #/99 relic!

Closeup of Paul Konerko, #94/99.

I’ve got another one of these to post as well, and I just finished cataloging every major set released by the major brands so expect a updated #1s post.

Surprises

In the lead up to the holiday season, my parents got several packages that were ours without knowing what the contents were inside. How could they know whether they were a present for the wife or myself, or if it was part of a secret santa exchange? They can’t, but when they mentioned that I had a bubble mailer from a “Fedor?” – I knew it was from Twitter.

Some time back I held a contest celebrating my crossing the 2,000 followers on twitter. I only had a few entrants, and decided to giveaway something to each person. With each package I included a blank dupe card with instructions to decorate, draw, sign, whatever – and return. Well I nearly forgot about those when this package showed up.

So when I got to the parents house one day last week, I was surprised to say the least. Not that I had one returned finally, but with all the other cards included! Check these out!

A mixture of new and old. Rookie and veteran. A strong start. Then there’s this double sided, double featured Jose Berrios/Tyler Jay Bowman Chrome(that I made into a gif), and a Bowman Scouts Top 100 Max Kepler:

I’m not sure how two pitchers would “Turn Two” but I get what they were going for in the set. The German import, Max Kepler’s made a name for himself in the Twins lineup batting .243/.312/.425 last year with 19 home runs and 32 doubles. Speaking of veterans:

Manager, and light hitting 2B/3B in his playing days, Frank Quilici became a fan favorite for his interactions with said fans. As well, this 1973 Topps card is the “rarer” non-solid background in the coaches area. Can almost make up the palm trees at the Twins spring training facility. Besides, how can you not love those ’70s sideburns?

Including a PC card? Definitely a plus in my book. Not too many people opened the limited run Leaf Memories, and I swear I’ve got most of the Eades print run.

Finally, they included the requested card with what I assume is an homage to Homer At The Bat. If only all surprises were this well prepared! Signing off for now, but revel in the below artwork from Ryan:

 

 

COMC mailday.

These were meant to be posted around Christmas, but you’ll excuse me if I was a little pre-occupied. =/. 2017 hasn’t been the kindest with regards to my shoulder. But let’s focus on happy thoughts, a COMC shipment! I’d spent a few hours discussing COMC miscut/misprinted cards with Nick, and stumbled upon a few that I just had to have, see below:

Danny Santana’s missing a name on his rookie card, while Paul Sorrento had centering issues top/bottom at the cutter, and while these are an issue – I’m still not sure what the hell happened to the poor Johns – Costello and Shelby being double printed on this 1989 Upper Deck stood out as a card I HAD to have in my collection.

Nick Punto, and Jamey Carroll are the definition of Ron Gardenhire’s “piranhas“-era “The Twins Way“. A term given to us by the White Sox manager at the time, Ozzie Guillen for our ability to load the bases and small ball our way to runs, as if nipping at your heels like piranhas. Both were small ball contributors with multiple decent gloves around the infield. Both missing a little something here. Carroll’s name is missing – a foil error, with Nick Punto’s seemingly having a double pass of black foil? Meanwhile, Wayne Nordhagen’s APBA card here is everything right with APBA cards: 1) my hometown 2) confusing to the unfamiliar 3) right player, right card. :D.

The above Tony Oliva from 1989’s Topps looks like any other, but upon closer examination of the back you’d find why I picked up a junk wax Topps. Setting both my Twitter username, and the fact that I long ago completed the base team set aside – is a team set really complete without an obvious error card? Especially one that’s been corrected? I think not, see below:

If you ignore the centering issues with the brighter card, the difference should be obvious. The version with the missing copyright and year is the rarer error(say that twice…) and the one I’ll have in my next COMC mail day. =D.

In the meantime, check out these COMC storage facility “relics”:

I would assume that when preparing packages, they scan these and are supposed to remove before assembling the shipment. Maybe they’re for internal tracking? Who knows? The world may never know…

#comc, #danny-santana, #jamey-carroll, #john-costello, #john-shelby, #mail-day, #nick-punto, #paul-sorrento, #tony-oliva, #wayne-nordhagen

Trades

I often stop by the parents house once or twice a week, and while my parents are great, I also love seeing bubble mailers waiting for me! Recently I had a few packages which I’ll break down across a post or two.

The above cards came from user @EEFFL on Twitter. I’ll admit my lysdexia has always confused me how many E’s and F’s are in his username(3 E’s?) – but Twitter’s autocomplete feature is a godsend. :D. I traded off a Diamond Kings Luis Severino for the above Jose Berrios auto from 2015 Bowman Platinum and Miguel Sano from 2017 Updates #/50. I’m not talented enough in Gimp to know how to fix that distortion/saturation, but my scanner did that card no justice. #ThanksParallels.

 

The other bubble mailer that was waiting came as a bit of a surprise from one of the hobby’s bestGreg. I sent him a mound of 80s Dodgers LAPD issued “cards” – more like post cards, as well as a few things I picked up for him at this past year’s National. In return he sent these:

Things to send: Allen & Ginter minis. I never know if I need these or not, one of these days I’ll get more organized with them. -_-. An update, I believe Delmon is currently crushing baseballs in Australia’s ABL.

A mish-mash of parallels and inserts here.

Those blue parallels from Topps Bunt shouldn’t be too hard to complete a team set – they’re one per pack this year.

The year Winfield’s Stadium Club was issued there were several yellow/red name plate parallels whether intentional or not. I’ll have to check my binder on this one as well.

Sano seems to be getting shafted by my scanner, but in this case the name does look as blacked out in hand as it does on the scanner bed. Parallel of some sort I’ll never research – beautiful photo though! #ThanksSooz.

Who doesn’t love a little H? No, not the drug. Or the wrestler. Heritage! I believe Nunez and Suzuki are from hi-series H. *shrug* What I do know is the Brian Dozier below is from Opening Day.

I tuned out Topps after buying team sets for S1/S2 this year otherwise I find Opening Day a fun break each year.

 These fall under that same criteria where if I could find them locally this year, and I weren’t tuning out Topps, Update is a fun set to finish as a spiritual Series 3. Strangely that Sano turned out better than it’s #/d version.

Topps’ 75th, from ’75, featuring Steve Braun! The washed out top team name/photo border adds a little extra flair to one of Greg’s favorite sets. Topps stamp be damned.

Finally, when I sent the LAPD cards, I asked Greg to decorate a blank card for my #TheHobby binder. He obliged with this owl, what else?

Nightmare fuel? Great sketching? You decide. :D. Two more bubble mailer packages to follow, including my #SuperMomSecretSanta4!

Topps’ singles.

When I have time, I’m quickly compiling the checklists of all the major sets in a Google Sheets page. I dumped all of Topps, and I’m slowly entering the other companies(currently in 1993). But today, I was curious who the best cards to have been issued #1. Using BBREF’s WAR, I created four categories. Since these cards would’ve been issued at or near the beginning of a season, I decided to use that as a cut off – both the season prior to being selected, and the actual season selected. But that’s really only the tale of two seasons, so I also found the cumulative WAR prior to the #1 season, and their WAR afterwards(including the season). So with those four categories in mind, let’s look at a few trends I found…

Double printed

In 1951 Topps printed two main series dubbed ‘red backs’ and ‘blue backs’ because of their differing back colors. Thank you Captain Obvious. As such, two cards share #1 that year. It’s obvious who had the better career when you look at the stats.

Year Player WAR for season prior to #1. WAR for season selected #1. Total WAR prior to #1. Total WAR after #1. Cumulative WAR.
1951 Eddie Yost
(red back)
4.0 4.0 4.5 29.7 34.2
1951 Yogi Berra
(blue back)
5.6 4.8 12.4 47.1 59.5

Yogi Berra(blue) entered 1951 with 12.4 career bWAR, having posted 5.6 WAR the prior season, adding another 4.8 WAR in 1951. He’d finish with 47.1. His son would later play 11 seasons totaling up 5.4 total WAR, and a 1979 World Series title.

Eddie Yost(red) entered 1951 with 4.5 WAR, mostly from the previous season’s 4 WAR. After 1950, he’d post 29.7 to finish his career with 34.2 bWAR. The Walking Man(six times leading the league in walks between 1950 and 1960) is NOT(if his daughter is to be believed!!!) directly related to the other Yost(Ned) to play in the majors, despite the obvious assumption one could make based of years played and name alone.

Leaders and champions

Several years Topps featured league leaders from the previous year(usually average, home runs, RBIs for hitters; wins, ERA, and strikeouts for pitchers). A few of those years line up with card #1: 1963-65, 1968-69, 1977, 1979 and finally in 1981. For 1973, Topps’ #1 matched Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays …for some reason or another. :). As well as league leaders, there were a few years Topps celebrated the previous year’s World Series champions with card #1: 1967, 1970-1972, and two years where the first card was the MLB/AL Commissioner – 1956(William Harridge), 1959(Ford C. Frick).

 

Year Player WAR for season prior to #1. WAR for season selected #1. Total WAR prior to #1. Total WAR after #1. Cumulative WAR.
1963 Tommy Davis 6.0 3.9 8.9 11.5 20.4
1963 Frank Robinson 8.7 4.8 46.1 61.1 107.2
1963 Stan Musial 3.6 1.3 126.8 1.3 128.1
1963 Bill White 4.3 6.0 14.6 24 38.6
1963 Hank Aaron 8.5 9.1 64.4 78.2 142.6
1964 Sandy Koufax 10.7 7.4 27.4 25.8 53.2
1964 Dick Ellsworth 10.2 1.6 16.0 7.3 23.3
1964 Bob Friend 5.8 3.5 42.1 4.9 47.0
1965 Tony Oliva 6.8 5.4 7.1 35.9 43.0
1965 Frank Robinson 7.9 5.1 58.8 48.4 107.2
1965 Frank Howard 1.2 2.3 10.9 26.7 37.6
1968 Roberto Clemente 8.9 8.1 61.4 33.1 94.5
1968 Matty Alou 3.9 5.3 8.3 14.9 23.2
1968 Tony Gonzalez 5.4 -0.6 24.2 2.9 27.1
1969 Carl Yastrzemski 10.5 5.5 47.7 48.4 96.1
1969 Danny Cater 2.0 0.5 5.5 5 10.5
1969 Tony Oliva 3.8 5.1 26.8 16.2 43.0
1973 Hank Aaron 3.9 4.7 135.4 7.2 142.6
1973 Willie Mays 1.6 0.0 156.2 0.0 156.2
1973 Babe Ruth 0.2(1935) Retired in 1935. 162.9 0.2 163.1
 1977 George Brett  7.5 7.6 14.5 73.9 88.4
 1977 Bill Madlock 4.3 1.1 12.7 25.3 38.0
 1979 Dave Parker  7.0 6.7 25.7 14.2 39.9
 1979 Rod Carew 4.9 2.6 63.7 17.4 81.1
 1981  George Brett  9.4 3.3 45.5 42.9 88.4
 1981 Bill Buckner 1.5 1.2 11.9 2.9 14.8

A few flash in the pan type players(Cater, Ellsworth, etc.), as well as several Hall of Fame players, though 1973 obviously takes the cake here.

Honoring careers

Despite never having been #1 previously in a Topps set, Derek Jeter was 2015’s representative honoring the Yankee Captain’s career – who retired in 2014. This wasn’t the first time however, as in 1980 Topps chose to honor the career of Lou Brock.

Year Player WAR for season prior to #1. WAR for season selected #1. Total WAR prior to #1. Total WAR after #1. Cumulative WAR.
1980 Lou Brock 0.7(1979) 0(Retired). 45.2 0(Retired). 45.2
2015 Derek Jeter 0.2(2014) 0(Retired). 71.8 0(Retired). 71.8

Do you favor stolen bases? Lou Brock held the stolen base record until Rickey Henderson came along. Nothing against Brock’s two World Series titles, but Jeter has a few of his own. As much as this Twins fan hates to admit, Jeter had arguably the better career between the two. Jeter however wasn’t a part of arguably the worst trade in MLB history.

Player AB R H HR RBI SB Chances E FLD% OPS
Jeter(SS) 11195 1923 3465 260 1311 358 10679 254 0.976 0.817
Brock(LF) 10332 1610 3023 149 900 938 4732 196 0.959 0.753

Broken Records

Having moved on from league leader cards, Topps sets in the 1980s through the early 1990s had a tendency to feature record breakers or “highlights”. Featuring players who broke this or that record – either for a season, or a single game record – Topps had you covered.

Year Player WAR for season prior to #1. WAR for season selected #1. Total WAR prior to #1. Total WAR after #1. Cumulative WAR.
1982 Steve Carlton 5.5 5.5 73.0 11.1 84.1
1983 Tony Armas 2.2 -0.9 13.4 2.3 15.7
1984 Steve Carlton 5.5 2.3 84.0 0.1 84.1
1985 Carlton Fisk 1.5 3.3 51.3 17 68.3
1987 Roger Clemens 8.9 9.4 13.5 125.9 139.4
1988 Vince Coleman 2.8 0.8 6.4 5.8 12.2
1989 George Bell 0.8 3.0 17.1 2.8 19.9

1982 Topps celebrated Steve Carlton’s breaking of Bob Gibson’s NL strikeout record.
1983 Topps featured Tony Armas’ single game feat of 11 putouts.
1984 again featured Steve Carlton, this time for winning his 300th game, and momentarily holding the all-time strikeout record.
1985 Topps had a Carlton, but not that one. This time Carlton Fisk’s 25 inning affair behind the plate was pictured, having broke the previous record by one inning shared by many catchers.
1987 Topps’ wood grain set was led off by Roger Clemens’ 20 strikeouts in one game was the record broken. A feat he’d tie a decade later in 1996, and matched by Kerry Wood(1998), Max Scherzer(2016), and Randy Johnson(2001, though the game went 11 innings – Johnson pulled after 9).
1988 Topps displayed Vince Coleman’s third consecutive 100 stolen base season.
1989 Topps chose George Bell to lead off the set with his three home runs on 1988’s opening day. I’d argue that’s maybe the most appropriate way to celebrate that record day. Since matched by Dmitri Young, and Tuffy Rhodes.

Recidivism

Taking out all of those featured so far, there’s a few players who have been on several Topps card #1 spots. Despite his swapping between Bowman and Topps, Ted Williams was the first repeat offender owning the 1st slot in 1954, and 1957. Alex Rodriguez made a name for himself in the 2000s for his huge contracts, rumored PED usage, as well as on-field play. I suppose. Hank Aaron and Nolan Ryan owning several #1s near the end of their career feels like Topps poking and prodding them to retire, especially Nolan Ryan. At least with this group, they’re all worthy of owning that first slot for their respective years.

Year Player WAR for season prior to #1. WAR for season selected #1. Total WAR prior to #1. Total WAR after #1. Cumulative WAR.
1954 Ted Williams 2.0 7.8 86.0 37.1 123.1
1957 Ted Williams 6.0 9.7 106.7 16.4 123.1
1958 Ted Williams 9.7 4.0 116.3 6.8 123.1
1974 Hank Aaron 4.7 2.1 140.1 2.5 142.6
1975 Hank Aaron 2.1 0.0 142.1 0.5 142.6
1976 Hank Aaron 0.0 0.4 142.2 0.4 142.6
1990 Nolan Ryan 5.1 3.6 73.7 10.2 83.9
1991 Nolan Ryan 3.6 5.2 77.3 6.6 83.9
1992 Nolan Ryan 5.2 2.0 82.5 1.4 83.9
1996 Tony Gwynn 2.3 2.3 58.0 10.8 68.8
1998 Tony Gwynn 4.3 1.6 64.5 4.3 68.8
2003 Alex Rodriguez 8.8 8.4 55.2 62.5 117.7
2005 Alex Rodriguez 7.6 9.4 71.1 46.6 117.7
2006 Alex Rodriguez 9.4 4.5 80.5 37.2 117.7
2008 Alex Rodriguez 9.4 6.8 94.3 23.4 117.7
2009 Alex Rodriguez 6.8 4.1 101.1 16.6 117.7

Active leaders

Year Player WAR for season prior to #1. WAR for season selected #1. Total WAR prior to #1. Total WAR after #1. Cumulative WAR.
2007 John Lackey 4.7 6.3 13.4 24.6 38.0
2011 Ryan Braun 5.7 7.8 18.4 27.2 45.6
2012 Ryan Braun 7.8 7.0 26.2 19.4 45.6
2013 Bryce Harper 5.1 3.7 5.1 21 26.1
2014 Mike Trout 9.3 7.9 20.7 34.5 55.2
2016 Mike Trout 9.4 10.5 37.9 17.3 55.2
2017 Kris Bryant 7.7 6.1 13.6 6.1 19.7

John Lackey, and Ryan Braun(‘roids) aside, you won’t hear many arguments that Trout, Harper, and Bryant are the faces of the next generation of MLB players. I find it surprising Mike(err…Giancarlo) Stanton hasn’t been first, but maybe after this season’s All-Star, MVP, and 59 home run(!!!) season he’ll finally get that honor in 2018 Topps. Go vote now! Bracing for the inevitable Aaron Judge #1 announcement….

Best of the rest

Andy Pafko gets an honorary nod as leading off the first full set Topps produced. Jackie Robinson was MLB and Topps’ first African American player. Roger Maris’ 61 home runs in ’61 obviously influenced his spot. Yastrzemski, Rose, and Yount all featured near the end of their careers, while Piazza, Thomas, and Bonds were establishing theirs in their own right. If only Prince Fielder could have stayed healthy, what might’ve been…

Year Player WAR for season prior to #1. WAR for season selected #1. Total WAR prior to #1. Total WAR after #1. Cumulative WAR.
1952 Andy Pafko 1.8 3.2 29.0 7.7 36.7
1953 Jackie Robinson 8.5 7.0 43.7 17.8 61.5
1955 Dusty Rhodes 2.6 1.7 3.9 -0.4 3.5
1960 Early Wynn 2.8 2.5 45.0 6.6 51.6
1961 Dick Groat 6.2 2.0 17.5 19.2 36.7
1962 Roger Maris 6.9 3.7 20.3 17.9 38.2
1966 Willie Mays 11.2 9.0 120.3 35.9 156.2
1978 Lou Brock -0.9 -1.9 46.3 -1.1 45.2
1980 Carl Yastrzemski 2.3 0.8 93.7 2.4 96.1
1986 Pete Rose 0.6 -0.9 80.0 -0.9 79.1
1993 Robin Yount 1.6 2.1 74.9 2.1 77.0
1994 Mike Piazza 7.0 3.6(strike season) 7.1 52.3 59.4
1995 Frank Thomas 6.3(strike season) 5.3 28.8 44.9 73.7
1997 Barry Bonds 9.6 8.2 83.4 79 162.4
1999 Roger Clemens 8.2 2.9 101.4 38 139.4
2000 Mark McGwire 5.2 4.2 57.5 4.5 62.0
2001 Cal Ripken Jr. 1.4 -0.6 96.1 -0.6 95.5
2002 Pedro Martinez 5.1 6.5 57.1 28.9 86.0
2004 Jim Thome 4.7 3.2 52.0 20.9 72.9
2010 Prince Fielder 6.3 1.5 10.7 13.1 23.8

SO, I don’t see how you could argue any of these #1s are undeserving. A testament to Topps that they’ve all been decent picks. No Brien Taylor’s here. I won’t dump everything, but here’s the best and worst for each category, starting with:

Lowest/Highest WAR for the season prior to being featured on #1:

1978 Lou Brock -0.9 -1.9 46.3 -1.1 45.2
1966 Willie Mays 11.2 9.0 120.3 35.9 156.2

Lowest/Highest WAR for the season featured on #1:

1978 Lou Brock -0.9 -1.9 46.3 -1.1 45.2
2016 Mike Trout 9.4 10.5 37.9 17.3 55.2

Lowest/Highest Career Cumulative WAR prior to #1:

1955 Dusty Rhodes 2.6 1.7 3.9 -0.4 3.5
1973 Babe Ruth 0.2 0.0 162.9 0.2 163.1

Lowest/Highest Career Cumulative WAR after #1:

1978 Lou Brock -0.9 -1.9 46.3 -1.1 45.2
1987 Roger Clemens 8.9 9.4 13.5 125.9 139.4

Lowest/Highest Career Cumulative WAR:

1955 Dusty Rhodes 2.6 1.7 3.9 -0.4 3.5
1973 Babe Ruth 0.2 0.0 162.9 0.2 163.1

 

Let me know who your favorites are in the comments. :). Might run through Donruss, Fleer, Et. Al. when finished adding them.

1952 Topps Ads

Sometimes I struggle to find topics worthy of posting, but occasionally something strikes that itch and I can’t let go of it until I’ve researched everything about the topic. This is one of those posts. I saw this tweet by Vintage Baseball, and I instantly love everything about it. The fielder’s gloves placed near the back, the child mannequin, the Dodgers and Yankees pennants – presumedly the Giants are on the far left just curled out of view – everything speaks to that specific time and place. 1952 in the Bronx, not far from Topps’ headquarters.

Math 1: A New Frontier.

What we wouldn’t give to have a DeLorean to travel back in time and purchase all of these packs(or you can check this single pack opening). Since we can’t though, let’s do a little math and see if would even be worth our time. I count 11 rows across the front of the display, and at least three rows deep, stacked four or so boxes high. So:

11 boxes across * 3 boxes deep * 4 boxes high = 132 boxes.
132 boxes * 24 packs = 3,168 packs(~15,840 cards!).
3,168 packs * .05 cents = 158.40$.

If you were to save that 158.40$ in a piggy bank, having never spent it, never deposited it(no interest, not a wise idea mind you…), AND without inflation you could make a 70% offer for this SINGLE wrapper currently on ebay. Doubt they accept that. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the same 158.40$ in 1952, would have the same buying power today as 1,485.61. Quite a pretty penny back in the day! Moreso, if you were to have bought all of those packs, and resisted the urge to find the likes of Johnny Pesky, Phil Rizzuto, Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Sain, and of course Andy Pafko… if this auction is any indication, you would probably be a millionaire tens of times over. Here’s a few closeup pictures of what individual packs would’ve looked like in color that were originally posted here.

F. W. Woolworth Co.

At the bottom of that image above, it mentions that this display is at a F.W. Woolworth’s store, specifically the Fordham Rd. store. If that caption is to be believed, then I also believe this is that same store circa 1950(Elect Joseph P. Durkin, primary April, 2, 1950 if my eyes don’t deceive me…). The unique building facade at the top gives away it’s current location on Fordham Rd. Viewable on Google Maps here. The much longer designed “lined” columns(there’s one on either the left or right of the Durkin” sign) can even help you center the building to it’s current day location. Some things never change, even with time.

Mad Men.

However, my curiosity wasn’t dimmed with just that. No, no, I had to figure out who were featured on the ad samples. Thankfully I have a 1985 copy of “Topps: The Complete Picture Collection” handy. With introductions by Willie Mays and Sy Berger, the book features pictures of every card issued from 1951’s red and blue backs through 1985’s base set conclusion #720 Rick Sutcliffe. There’s a small write-up of each year’s events, highlighted prior to that year’s set pictures. As well there’s also statistical info of every player pictured in the back of the book.  Definitely one of my favorite second hand pickups, at a fraction(~15$) of the original cost(79.99)! Without further ado though, I’ll refer to each ad piece as follows – top left, top right, and bottom.

Panel 1 – Top Left, 4×4:

  • Top – Jim Russell, Dodgers(51); Don Mueller, Giants(52); Chris Van Cuyk, Dodgers(53); and Leo Kiely, Red Sox(54).
  • Top Middle – Tookie Gilbert, Giants(61); Chuck Stobbs, White Sox(62); Howie Pollet, Pirates(63); Roy Sievers, Browns(64).
  • Bottom Middle – Tom Upton, Senators(71); Karl Olson, Red Sox(72); William Werle, Pirates(73); Andy Hansen, Phillies(74).
  • Bottom – Gus Zernial, Athletics(31); Eddie Robinson, White Sox(32); Warren Spahn, Braves(33); Elmer Valo, Athletics(34).

The Warren Spahn was the first one identified as spotted by Nick. Gus Zernial followed. I hadn’t clued in yet that they were in numerical order until I started identifying the others on this sheet. Of particular help were Andy Hansen’s post-pitching pose, the horizontal Roy Sievers, and Leo Kiely’s side facing portrait. Again the Topps photo book helped line up the others once one of them had been figured out – all the card front images on the same page helps a ton when researching these ad pieces!

Panel 2 – Top Right, 4×4:

  • Top – Ray Boone, Indians(55); Tommy Glaviano, Cardinals(56); Ed Lopat, Yankees(57); Bob Mahoney, Browns(58).
  • Top Middle – Enos Slaughter, Cardinals(65); Preacher Roe, Dodgers(66); Allie Reynolds, Yankees(67); Cliff Chambers, Cardinals(68).
  • Bottom Middle – Wes Westrum, Giants(75); Eddie Stanky, Cardinals(76); Bob Kennedy, Indians(77); Ellis Kinder, Red Sox(78).
  • Bottom – Hank Sauer, Cubs(35); Gil Hodges, Dodgers(36); Duke Snider, Dodgers(37); Wally Westlake, Cardinals(38).

This one was partially obscured by the Yankees pennant, but the card most obscured actually helped identify that line’s cards. The bat in almost the direct top right corner of the card gave away Hank Sauer. Enos Slaughter’s bat on shoulder pose was equally helpful in identifying his card. By this point I had figured out what the Topps advertising group had done with the sheets by sequentially numbering them. This made searching for images horizontal or vertical easier looking four cards in a row, or some division thereof much easier. With Hank Sauer’s card I noticed they actually continued the numbering from the first sheet. Where #31-34 was on the bottom row of the top left sheet, the top right sheet’s bottom row continued #35-38. Thus, the two top ad pieces are #51-58, below them #61-68, the third row #71-78, with #31-38 on the bottom.

Panel 3 – Bottom, 4×2:

  • Top – Chris Van Cuyk, Dodgers(53), and Leo Kiely, Red Sox(54), Ray Boone, Indians(55), Tommy Glaviano, Cardinals(56).
  • Bottom – Howie Pollet, Pirates(63), Roy Sievers, Browns(64), Enos Slaughter, Cardinals(65), Preacher Roe, Dodgers(66).

Interestingly, I noticed while typing Enos Slaughter’s name again, they cut these two rows down the middle of two of the above ad sheets. I wonder if a smaller, similar half sheet exists with #51-52, #61-64; and #57-58, #67-68.

Math 2: The Math Strikes Back.

All of these of course belong to 1952 Topps’ first series of “picture card” – card numbered #1-80. I’m going to assume that the boxes as such were at the least first series subjects. PSA’s price guide lists PSA 5 commons for this range as 40$, mid-range 7s being listed at 255$, and 9s at 1,450$! Using the math above, a single PSA 7 of those ~15,840 cards pictured would more than recoup your initial 158 dollars and 40 cents!

Teams.

I wasn’t too surprised that several were marketed towards the New York location with all the World Series appearances the Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants wracked up in those days. The Bronx’ Yankees were in the midst of their fourth consecutive(five overall!) championship at the beginning of the 1952 season. The Dodgers breaking the color barrier with Jackie Robinson just six years prior and the Yankees nemesis in the 1952 World Series. As well Manhattan’s New York Giants with Willie Mays, Bobby Thompson’s sudden fame having represented Brooklyn in the 1951 Series. Discounting the duplicate bottom row, here’s the team breakdown of those pictured:

Philadelphia Athletics: 2
Boston Braves: 1
St. Louis Browns: 2
St. Louis Cardinals: 5
Chicago Cubs: 1
Brooklyn Dodgers: 5
New York Giants: 3
Cleveland Indians: 2
Philadelphia Phillies: 1
Pittsburgh Pirates: 2
Boston Red Sox: 3
Washington Senators: 2
New York Yankees: 2.

I’m not sure what the Tigers or Reds did to be left off, however they’re the only two of sixteen missing. However, the “cold war” attitudes regarding the “red scare” and McCarthyism may explain the Reds missing ad representation.

Finis.

So there’s our historical trip through a Woolworth’s in presumably the early 1952 season. My curiosity sated adequately with almost all avenues explored with what little info is presented in the black and white image above, now I need to find something to follow this post up with…