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


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.


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!


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.


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…

Short Term Stops

I was just reading Nick’s amazing post, and I had a few anecdotes to share about the players as a Twinkie fan.

Steve Carlton whom during the Twins meeting with President Ronald Reagan had his photo taken candidly, and was mistakenly identified as a Secret Service member. Oops.

Joe Crede’s aunt was very enthusiastic to denounce the Twins. I was traveling through Chicago a several years before Crede joined the Twins and the security gate attendant made it her mission to inform me that my Twins hat was trash, and that her nephew plays third base for the White Sox and that they’re just the greatest. This was before they had won their World Series in 2005 so I’m not sure where she got that impression. :).

Former interim-GM of the Cubs Randy Bush played for the Twins starting in 1982 and retiring in 1993 – all with the Twins. However, he’s not the only front office/manager the Twins had on our 1987 World Series championship team. Shortly before spring training ended the Twins cut, released, or demoted Ron Gardenhire, Ron Washington, AND Billy Beane. Woof. Semi-related, one of these is at the top of my chase list:

Chip Hale, Chili Davis’ … Chip and Chili dish!

Finally of the players they wrote about, how fun is Quinton McCracken’s name to say?

If I were to add any Short Term Stops, I’d include:

  1. Pat Borders – who in 19 games contributed .286/.302/.381 with four doubles and five RBI in 2004,
  2. Terry Mulholland – although 88 games mostly in relief isn’t really a minor role, Terry mopped up Twins messes in 2004 and 2005.
  3. Vic Wertz – once robbed by Willie Mays, Vic finished up his career with 35 games for the Twins in 1963.
  4. Rick Dempsey – who flourished with the Orioles after floundering with the Twins and Yankees. Rick was a cup of coffee call up for the Twins each year from 1969 to 1972. In 41 games, Rick’s .227/.320/.273 hitting and Glenn Borgmann(and eventually Butch Wynegar) becoming a mainstay made Dempsey expendable to the Twins brass. Four similar years with the Yankees(Twins received Danny Walton’s light hitting in trade – .176/.272/.302) later, and the Orioles snatched up their mainstay catcher and 1983 World Series MVP(.385/.467/.923, four doubles, one home run). I’m sure the Phillies would’ve preferred in hindsight to have traded with us nine years prior!

Unsolved Mysteries

This post is semi-inspired by the recent one by Dub(here), because after failing to fall asleep at a “normal” time I read through his post and found we share a lot in common –  not a surprise. While he’s got about 10 years on me, age is only a number with shared hobbies. I too am an oddball, and my Twatter #CollectFam would be the first to agree with that assessment. I’m not a coffee drinker as I’d much rather have juice, water, or a diet pepsi/coke. We moved away from Minnesota years ago, but after ten or so years in Texas, there’s nothing I want more than a good snow storm. At the same time, I enjoy a good summer swim. I enjoy a one of one hit just as much as an unnumbered base card. I dislike colored/numbered parallels, but don’t even get me started on 1989-1992 Donruss’ mostly printing variations.

As far as sets, I’m one of maybe three people who like 1991 Fleer’s bright yellow design because it’s hard to forget that BRIGHT color even though I was four at the time. When I hit high school, I could only buy a blaster or two with my allowance and paychecks a year, but after graduation I started collecting in earnest around 2008. Another set that gets a lot of hate in the collect-a-sphere, I particularly like the fun, curvy 2008 Topps set. I’m a bit of an insomniac and definitely not the only hobby’s night owl. I found sorting cards and creating checklists put my brain at ease – all the easier to fall asleep.

As of late however, we’ve been using Amazon Prime’s streaming to watch Unsolved Mysteries as we drift off asleep. In particular the Robert Stack episodes. I love that they’ve kept up in updating the stories where possible, the narrator’s tone is pretty dull(in a Ben Stein way) and deadpan, and while some of the stories are particularly gruesome they’re not nightmare inducing. Perfect mood for sleepy times.

Which got me to thinking, what cardboard unsolved mysteries would make an episode? I’ve got a few in mind that could easily be solved, and who knows maybe you could help solve these mysteries. :D.

So say for example, I’m going through a set and I notice a pattern where teams are sorted together(Fleer especially known for doing this in the early years), and then occasionally they would sort even further alphabetically by city name(or even by league first!) – whereby Atlanta would have the first x players, then Baltimore would follow, then Boston, etc. But who decided on this pattern? Why does Topps seemingly throw everyone into a random number generator, excluding the ’00s, the ’25s/’50s/’75s, the ‘0s, etc. I’m sure there’s a method to their madness but these are things I stay up wondering late at night.

Another card world quandary – where did the bubble gum/stickers go? I’m not entirely too unsure that the waning attraction for the next generation of collectors isn’t because of these missing from packs nowadays. Lawd knows they kept my interest in the early 90s. Being able to bleed Twins/Vikings fandom on my trapper keeper was the ultimate in third grade cool. Or cringe. You decide. In the same way that Unsolved Mysteries had UPDATES to their stories, I’ve got a bit of one of my own.

How many seasons can the Twins disappoint me?
*sigh* bad joke.

But honestly, the resolved ‘case’ – are the small market teams getting a bad ‘rub’? That is, as I asked at Topps’ Q&A session – through a few sets this year(namely Museum Collection, Bowman, Bowman Platinum….) it seemed Topps unfairly represented the top teams versus the “fly over” country. Now, I understand you’ve gotta be able to sell the products you put out, and this year especially the rookie crops for those big market teams are exceptional with Aaron Judge, Andrew Ben Nintendo, Cody Bellinger, etc. So for your rookie focused sets, I understand you’ll have more of them than say a Colorado Rockies 7th rounder relief pitcher. However, in the case of Bowman for example the base card breakdown is essentially:


Prospects Base(1-150)

Chrome Prospects Base(1-150)

Now “technically” the prospect and chrome “parallel” aren’t part of the base set. They’re “inserts” or “subsets”. At the very least Topps included Nick Gordon, Stephen Gonsalves, Kohl Stewart, Alex Kiriloff, Tyler Jay, and Fernando Romero in those sets. However, they’ll probably never make a binder for now because my current binders are all base sets. So where’s the snub? Well, in the 100 card base set there’s 0 Twins. This is the part of Bowman where you’ll have “veterans” included – so the likes of Ichiro, Felix Hernandez, Evan Longoria, and yes usually Miguel Sano, Joe Mauer, and Brian Dozier. We’re the only team without a single card, and moreso 2017 is the first year the Twins franchise hasn’t had a single Bowman card since 1948 – the initial 48 card print set!

Now, sure maybe that’s a fluke and an oversight. Shirley the Twins were the only team not to have a card in that one set, and only that one set? But I did all the math and brought the receipts to the manager. Virtually every set Topps released had a ‘base’ set to boot:

With the exception of World Baseball Classic teams, and the Expos these are the few teams that were skipped in 2017 releases:

Archives Snapshots(50) – Tigers, Blue Jays, Rays, Rangers, Reds, Marlins, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Giants.
Bowman(100) – Twins.
Bowman Hitek(56) – Diamondbacks, Giants.
Museum Collection(100) – Twins, Rays.
Platinum(100) – Twins.
Triple Threads(100) – Phillies.
Tier One(90) – Rays, Phillies, Diamondbacks.

Now I hate to beat a dead horse, and I’m no mathematician…. but 100 cards divided by 30 teams … equals 3(rounded), right? Duh.

…Just like the episodes of Unsolved Mysteries, sometimes the updates weren’t happily ever after stories. What are your #Collect mysteries?

1998 Fleer Tradition

If the previous post wasn’t an indicator, I’m a fan of oddities – whether they’re statistics nobody else would waste hours on, or if it’s ‘alternative’ medias. I like quirky music covers such as this song, and this album… Hell, at our wedding, our first dance was to an acoustic rendition of this Foo Fighters classic. I love reading and watching through “true ghost/UFO/government cover-up” stories – they make good fodder to nod asleep. I’m a big fan of going thrift store shopping for furniture/appliances because the particle board conglomerate gets enough money.

What I’m saying is, I’m a sucker for things out of the ordinary. But I’m also a collector of all sorts(duh) – coins, cards, Nintendo, etc. But when you can combine oddities, and one of my collections?

Damn right you’ve got my interest. At a recent card show, I picked up a retail pack of 1998 Fleer Tradition, with 10 or so cards. I forgot all about them until I was filtering through a junk box and found them again. Now, there’s not much value to be found in the set with the key rookies being Magglio Ordonez, Mike Lowell, and arguably Kevin Millwood. Don’t go rushing to the ATM so to speak. However, as you’ll notice in the images below, there’s something off about the vertical edges. They line up with each other:

So of the ten card pack, four were cut from the same set of sheets – if not the exact same sheet. Interestingly Garrett Anderson seems to have been on the edge of the sheet – which didn’t come out as clear on the scanner so here’s a few from my phone:

Here’s the back images of the four:

Notice Bubba Trammell’s arm in Darin Erstad’s bottom left corner. That’s how I noticed these in the first place. However, in addition to these four, there was another that had a clipping of another card:

Tom Goodwin’s running to first, however there’s two infields visible on the right edge. Into the oddities binder these go. :). With 10 total cards, half were mis-cut – sweet – it’s only a shame none of them were Twins cards. Who knows, maybe Tom Goodwin’s missing link was Terry Steinbach, David Ortiz, or Marty Cordova… that’s an Unsolved Mystery for another day.

For every mystery, there is somewhere, somewhere, who knows the truth. Perhaps that someone is watching. Perhaps… it’s you. Next time I’ll tackle a separate personal collection Unsolved Mystery “update”.

P.s. – Set your clocks back an hour, it’s that time of year folks. :D.

Triple Mail Day

I stopped by the parents earlier this week to find that I’d had three packages waiting for me. In this post, I’ll cover Shane‘s plentiful #Twins, and Nick‘s returned decorated blank spacer. :D.

1979 Kellogg’s #27 Geoff Zahn.

Things to do: Check my Twins checklist, and send me something from it. The Kellogg’s card above, and the following card were both listed there, and now are added into a binder and removed. :).

1976 Hostess #73 Larry Hisle.

Check out that spring training swinging pose. He probably should’ve been miming a home run, not what looks like a grounder to second base. You do you, Larry.

1988 “Ballpark Cards” Cape League  #15 Chuck Knoblauch.

Ahh yes, minor league cards from the 80s/90s. I’ve never seen this one, but Chuck was still a sophomore at Texas A&M here. Chuck gets a lot of hate, especially in 2001, but he serves as a cameo in my favorite baseball joke:

So did you hear Chuck Knoblauch went to Cuba?



Yeah, the government sent him there to overthrow the government.

Not the only time he’d make questionable decisions…however, for a certain World Series title I’m forever grateful.

T206, Heritage Minors, Fleer Glossy, UK Minis.

Part of the reason for this delayed post, so many minis to scan! I’ve completed the Twins Score run, but I’ll always cherish Kirby Puckett dupes!

A few All Time Fan Favorites a predecessor to today’s Archives set pictured here. Dougie Baseball #/2001 – the first year Topps produced #/d parallels – love ’em or hate ’em. I said it then and I’ll say it now, that Kennys Vargas card is perhaps the best photo used in any card set that year. Most definitely in Heritage that year.

Another one of Topps’ oddities, 2007 Topps had red letter parallels(Joe Nathan/Matt Garza) in Series One, Series Two, and Updates/Highlights.

Bowman, Archives, 1970 Topps Bill Rigney.

Not quite Topps Fan Favorites, but a few Twins fan favs in this scan. Justin Morneau, and  Gary Gaetti especially.

Oof. Rough scan for those 2007 Topps/Updates. If you make your way to Target Field, I cannot recommend Tony O’s – get a cuban sandwich you’ll thank me later. :). Sure Kevin Slowey is sporting what looks like a spring training uni, but I wish they’d return to the road gray ‘Minnesota’ uniforms. Kasota Gold be damned!

Seriously, if the Wild’s green(2009-20162017) home sweaters didn’t exist the Twins old road ‘Minnesota’ would be my favorite style ever. I’m still not sure how the Wild had those gorgeous green sweaters, while trotting out the “Christmas” road jerseys – the best and worse in the league on one team… With hockey season in full swing(and last night’s lamp lighter against Carey Price(!!!) – I’m sure more hockey will seep into posts like this in the future. :).

A mix of new and old. Mauer, Arcia, and Dozier are the only three here that remain with the team. Scott Erickson of course, probably best known for this game

In this scan I tried to lump together some variation hunting. 1990 Fleer cards either have or don’t have a period after the A in U.S.A. at the bottom. As well, there’s also a ‘PRINTED IN CANADA’ version not pictured that I haven’t found any of yet. 1990 Topps Traded’s back card stock is different between the factory set and retail packs – one with a Topps Tiffany-ish bright back, and the pictured dull darker version. 1991 Upper Deck’s home plate shaped foil stamp has five different variations, but this one is the default 1991 UD. FINALLY, 1991 Donruss falls into the 1989-1992 Donruss “Leaf INC/INC.” parallel of which the Rich Garces is a ‘without period’ version.

That’s not the clearest scan, but in person the Lenny Webster card is clearly mis-printed. I talked with resident Twitter print specialist Nick and we speculated that the magenta plate was misaligned in the printing process. Willie Banks for reference. Woo! Another for the Twins error/misprint/oddities binder! Moreso these were both Topps Gold editions!

A tale of two different prospects. One a bust, another a rising star. Nearly missed the numbering on Miguel Sano’s Series One card as I only looked at the front and didn’t see the coloring difference. Numbered Rod Carew out of 50.

A good bunch of Fleer insert madness from the 1980s here. Byron Buxton’s Bunt and Harmon Killebrew’s Donruss will go to my set binders as I pulled the Twins for the team binders.

Hometown Heroes may be my favorite set in 2013. It gets a lot of the hate that 1991 Fleer gets for it’s bright yellow front/back – some deserved – I just loved the concept and athletes represented.

Could they not find a different pose for David Ortiz? I forgot how similar the 2001 and 2002 cards were…. More 1990 Topps darkened backs pictured as well, this should finish off what I need for Traded dark backs. I hope…. Roy Smalley may have been forced out to the evil empire, but what’s not to love about an early Donruss ‘Star Stickers’?

Speaking of, check out that John Castino! Frank Viola, Tom Brunansky, Bert Blyleven recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of the 1987 World Series title. In some ways, I’d have loved to be old enough to enjoy those two titles(1 month, 4 years old) – but I’ve read enough stories and have watched the games on DVD. One of these years they’ll make it back there… if we can ever beat the Damn Yankees. :(.

…and finally Shane added these two Twins hits and battery mates Nick Blackburn #/799 from SP Authentic, and Joe Mauer in Allen & Ginter’s framed mini.

I’m gathering this is a project Nick worked on in ‘Jersey? Either way, this’ll be the first ‘relic’ added to the #Collect binder. Stay tuned for part two with the other package. :).

With our powers combined…

No, I’m not Captain Planet. However I am a Captain level spreadsheet user, so that’s gotta count for something, right? I’ve kept up with recent releases in their spreadsheets – (Topps, Panini) – namely Topps Update, Topps Limited, Bowman Hitek, Topps Archives Snapshots, and Panini Contenders Draft Picks. However, I recently found how to add everything together and combine teams and players. Some might find the top ten surprising. For Topps’ players:

Kris Bryant 258
Mike Trout 240
Carlos Correa 230
Noah Syndergaard 218
Bryce Harper 208
Manny Machado 200
Corey Seager 196
Francisco Lindor 193
Anthony Rizzo 192
Clayton Kershaw 180

…and here’s Panini’s most represented players:

Yoan Moncada 43
Mike Trout 37
Andrew Benintendi 34
Kris Bryant 34
Corey Seager 33
Dansby Swanson 32
Ken Griffey Jr. 32
Aaron Judge 28
Alex Bregman 28
Alex Reyes 28

Of course, I did the same with teams, because I’m a data masochist apparently… Topps, with World Baseball Classic on the right:

Cubs 1428 USA 41
Red Sox 1399 Japan 38
Yankees 1269 Dominican Republic 23
Dodgers 1208 Venezuela 23
Astros 1122 Puerto Rico 19
Mets 1113 Netherlands 8
Cardinals 877 Italy 3
Braves 869 Mexico 3
Indians 755
Rockies 745
Orioles 738
Nationals 721
Mariners 698
Tigers 663
Pirates 660
Athletics 625
White Sox 622
Giants 610
Reds 595
Blue Jays 570
Rangers 527
Angels 517
Phillies 502
Royals 485
Marlins 457
Brewers 440
Twins 429
Padres 390
Diamondbacks 385
Rays 367
Expos 40

…and Panini* with an asterisk, as they’ve got the Team USA license there’s an extra chart. :D.

Yankees 290 Collegiate 391
Cubs 253 18U 236
Red Sox 240 14U 141
Cardinals 180 15U 120
Dodgers 179 17U 117
Pirates 168 USA 3
White Sox 165 16U 1
Astros 162
Rockies 139
Indians 137
Mets 134
Athletics 117
Nationals 114
Padres 112
Rangers 110
Braves 109
Orioles 108
Mariners 104
Tigers 96
Phillies 90
Reds 89
Angels 88
Blue Jays 85
Twins 85
Giants 83
Brewers 82
Royals 77
Diamondbacks 71
Marlins 53
Rays 45
Expos 14

Combine them, you say? What am I some kind of trained code monkey? *sigh* Fine. :P. Players:

Kris Bryant 292
Mike Trout 277
Carlos Correa 239
Noah Syndergaard 233
Corey Seager 229
Bryce Harper 224
Manny Machado 222
Francisco Lindor 216
Anthony Rizzo 213
Jose Altuve 201

Not much changes here, as Panini had practically the same distribution of teams, they just produced less(~3800 vs. ~22,000). Combined teams:

Cubs 1681
Red Sox 1639
Yankees 1559
Dodgers 1387
Astros 1284
Mets 1247
Cardinals 1057
Braves 978
Indians 892
Rockies 884
Orioles 846
Nationals 835
Pirates 828
Mariners 802
White Sox 787
Tigers 759
Athletics 742
Giants 693
Reds 684
Blue Jays 655
Rangers 637
Angels 605
Phillies 592
Royals 562
Brewers 522
Twins 514
Marlins 510
Padres 502
Diamondbacks 456
Rays 412
Expos 54

So there, I’m not sure what to do with this, but the data is yours!