Sunday, September 30, 2018

Frankenset Page 22

Whoever said time flies sure wasn't kidding. Unbelievably, today is the 162nd and last regular season game for every MLB team.

Going into the last full day of baseball seems so surreal to me. It doesn't seem like Opening Day was all that long ago as I remember the first game of the season all too well. The blowing of a 4-0 lead by the Red Sox in Tampa Bay despite a memorable inside-the-park home run by Eduardo Nunez.

Additionally, the last game of the season will be made all the more exciting by the division races that will hopefully be settled today. The Cubs and Brewers are tied atop the NL Central while the Dodgers and Rockies are tied for first in the NL West. If one or both of these divisions are tied after today, a one-game playoff will be needed to determine the champion, and that's something that would be incredibly exciting to see.

I'm leaving in a couple hours to go to the final regular season Red Sox game of the year. They take on the Yankees at 3:00 with Rick Porcello facing a Yankees pitcher TBD (they pulled Severino out of the start today as he is likely to start the Wild Card game for New York on Wednesday. 

In the meantime, I have the next page of my frankenset ready to show off. It's the 22nd page of the set, including cards 190-198.

#190 2016 Topps Opening Day Billy Hamilton
For defensive juggernauts like Billy Hamilton, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Kevin Kiermaier, there's no reason why their Flagship and Opening Day base cards shouldn't include images like this. For all the great catches these guys have made, there's really no shortage of available images to use.

#191 2003 Topps Heritage Cliff Lee
Although I don't have too many cards from the set in my collection, 2003 Topps Heritage was one of the better Heritage sets just in terms of how well they recreated the intricate 1954 Topps design. It ranks near 2005 Heritage (1956) and 2009 (1960) as one of the more difficult sets to recreate, and Topps did a superb job.

#192 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Yunel Escobar
I'm not a big fan of how his arms and sleeves appear to be dissolving in this image, but I do like the simplicity of the early years of Allen & Ginter, 2006-2008. Even if it was hard to differentiate the sets, they helped A&G become the popular set is it today by setting the brand up for success in future years.

#193 2001 Fleer Platinum Royce Clayton
We may not see a lot of these nowadays, but mid-swing shots of hitters are actually quite common in the 2001 Fleer Platinum set. Additionally, the 2001 Fleer Platinum set is also relatively present in my frankenset, easily occupying 3-5 spaces already in the set thus far. This one stands out to me especially because of the black and white theme across the entire card.

#194 2006 Topps Heritage Randy Winn
Topps Heritage has made its 2nd appearance on this page of the frankenset. Only this time, it's the 2006 Topps Heritage set representing the 1957 Topps design that's being represented. With such a simple set like 1957 Topps, the only thing Topps really had to do was choose photos that would work well as full-bleed images, and they did exactly that in what turned out to be a very polished Heritage set.

#195 1991 Leaf Karl Rhodes
The Wrigley Field ivy background was more than enough for me to select this card to make it into the frankenset. I didn't need to know anything else about the card or see any other contenders for the #195 spot. The ivy was more than enough to secure the spot for Karl Rhodes' 1991 Leaf card.

#196 1990 Topps Gerald Young
I don't usually say this, but I'm not a huge fan of card #196 in the set, which is unfortunate because I selected each and every card of the 666 cards in my frankenset out of many other available options. My only guess is that I didn't have very strong options for spot #196, because Gerald Young's card is kind of meh to me.

#197 2006 Fleer Tradition Gary Sheffield Black and White Parallel
I don't think black and white could've worked any better on a card than it did for Gary Sheffield here. The black and white image does the classic Yankee pinstripes justice while the yellow and light blue works surprisingly well with the black and white majority of the card, and so does the Yankees cap in the bottom left corner.

#198 2017 Topps Gypsy Queen Noah Syndergaard
If a Noah Syndergaard card doesn't show Thor's long hair blowing in the wind, is it really a Noah Syndergaard card? It really seems like every single card of his is focused on his long hair, or at least makes a point of getting us to notice it, and the 2017 Topps Gypsy Queen card is no exception.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Top 5 Cards; Vladimir Guerrero

A fan favorite player for the Expos and Angels, Vladimir Guerrero is one of my favorite players of all-time, and I'm fairly certain he's the favorite of many other card collectors and fellow bloggers. That's part of what made me so happy to see him get voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on his 2nd year on the ballot a few months ago, having received 92.9% of votes.

For a lot of reasons, I really enjoy collecting Vlad Guerrero more than many other players. For starters, I love chasing down Expos cards and he certainly has a fair share of Expos cards to look for given the 8 years he spent in Montreal. Additionally, he also played at the perfect time if you're looking for the sheer number of cards of a player.

The first 4 player collections I ever started were (Catfish Hunter, Duke Snider, Harmon Killebrew, and Ivan Rodriguez), and Vladimir Guerrero's player collection was formed pretty soon after. Since then, it's grown into one of my largest player collections and currently sits at 163 total cards from his days with the Expos, Angels, Rangers, and Orioles.

It was one of the toughest ones yet, but I was able to narrow down 163 cards to a top 5 that consists only of Expos cards, something I did not intend to do, but frankly, it's the way it should be. 

#5 2007 Topps Finest Rookie Finest Moments Blue Refractor
Usually, I have a card or two that immediately comes to mind when I think about a certain player collection. In the case of Vladimir Guerrero, a play of whom I have over 150 cards, this is the one that instantly comes to mind along with his 2011 Bowman card on the Baltimore Orioles. Maybe it's the fact that it's one of my numbered cards of Vlad (numbered to 299 on the back) or maybe it's the design that peaked my interest. Truth be told, I really like the Rookie Finest Moments cards from 2007 and think this card is an excellent example of what's out there for cards of Vladdy.

#4 2000 Topps Stadium Club Chrome True Colors
I think of all baseball cards, I have the strongest liking and interest in shiny cards. From today's Topps Chrome set to the first Bowman's Best cards produced in the 90's, chrome cards have never failed to captivate my interest and Guerrero's True Colors insert from 2000 Topps Stadium Club Chrome affirms exactly what I like about these cards. I'm a big fan of how unique these cards are in addition to how the Stadium Club Chrome brand has evolved into part of the regular Stadium Club set we see today.

#3 1998 Donruss Collections Leaf
Just in case you're tired of seeing chrome cards, and I wouldn't blame you, this is the last one of the post. I always try not to do too much of one thing on a blog post, but I had a hard time choosing one of these 3 chrome cards not to include especially the 1998 Donruss Collections card. I genuinely don't know why more card sets aren't made using black borders or backgrounds like this one is. Not only does it help the rest of the card pop, but it looks awesome in general. Add to it a chrome cardstock and you have the recipe for a successful baseball card.

#2 2002 Upper Deck SP Authentic
One of the best compliments you can give to an image on a baseball card is to say that the picture is "Stadium Club quality." To me, no card of the 163 Vladimir Guerrero cards I have screams Stadium Club more than his 2002 Upper Deck SP Authentic base card. and this included Multiple base cards from the Stadium Club set. The image of Vlad in the on-deck circle is one that I really wish I had seen in a card with a full-bled image, not just a picture taking up half the baseball card. Regardless, the perfect photo was enough to catapult this card all the way to the #2 spot, falling just short of only 1 card.

#1 1999 Topps Gallery
One of my newest Vladdy cards that I brought back with me from The National, Guerrero's 1999 Topps Gallery card combines everything I like into 1. I love the Stadium Club pictures, this one in particular. The simple background of classic turf and dirt works extremely well as does the dark background likely due to shadows since it's clearly a day game. Finally, the perfect timing of the picture and the ability for the picture to take up all the space it needs makes for a near perfect card. It's as if it takes all the good elements of the #2 card and simply elevates them to another whole level.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Completed For Real This Time

*Before I start, I just wanted to let you all know that Blogger isn't letting me reply to comments. Don't worry, I'm seeing them it's just not letting me say anything in response.*

If you've seen the recaps that I posted nearly 2 months ago, you'll notice that one of my biggest accomplishments from The National was completing the 1975 Topps set, or so I thought.

When I was putting away the 1975 cards a few weeks ago, I noticed that I didn't have card #660 which I thought was Dave Lopes. Turns out, I confused 1975 with 1976 when taking cards off my want list, and I ended up thinking card #660 in 1975 Topps was Lopes when that was the reality for the 1976 Topps set.

While there were no issues with 1976, I was bummed to find out that I was, in fact, still a card short of completing 1975 Topps. So, I went directly onto Sportlots to find out who exactly card #660 in 1975 Topps was. Low and behold, it was Hank Aaron and the card was one I was extremely unfamiliar with. 

Without wasting any time, I placed an order for a card listed in VG-EX condition and got it shipped to be for less than half the price of a blaster box. As you can see, the major flaw of this card is how poorly cut it is, but it's overall in fairly good condition otherwise.

Not only is this Aaron's first Topps card with the Brewers, but I'm pretty certain it's also his first card ever where he's listed as a DH. I assume joining the Brewers at the age of 41 meant that he'd have to take the DH spot in order to keep him healthy and not risk anything happening. His 2 years with the Brewers were a sign of how much he truly regressed by the mid-1970's. He hit .232 in over 700 at-bats with the Brewers before retiring after the 1976 season.

Also, can you believe the fun fact listed at the top of this card? Seriously, I had absolutely no clue Ernie Banks and O.J. Simpson were cousins. As it turns out, they're actually 2nd cousins after I searched it up online. Who knew?

Anyway, this is it for 1975. I went through the binder after realizing that I didn't have the final card. Even though I thought I completed it back in Cleveland, it is official now. I have completed the 1975 Topps set.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

My 100-Card Player Collections

I've spent many of my collecting years focusing on player collections with them being my primary focus over the last 4 years or so. In addition to being the pride of my collection, they include some of my most valuable cards, make up a great deal of my entire card collection, and have seen rapid growth over the last few years.

As a result, I decided to inventory all of my player collections a couple months ago with a simple goal of knowing the total of each PC at any time and knowing what cards I have for when I'm buying online or trading with fellow bloggers or viewers. 

A couple of weeks ago, I finished cataloging all the player collections and needless to say, it was quite an accomplishment. The list of players I collect certainly isn't small, so it's no wonder it took so long. Anyway, with the inventory complete, all that I have to do from now on is constantly update the player collections as I purchase new cards which won't be a problem whatsoever. 

Most importantly, with the inventory complete and official, I can finally turn my attention towards a post I've wanted to do forever, but not until the numbers were official. A post containing all my player collections that have reached the 100-card milestone, starting with the ones that only recently made it in and working our way up to the heavy hitters that surpassed this number a while ago.

I present to you what I have been working towards for months now. My 100-card player collections in a complete list.

Mike Schmidt; 102 cards

Tom Glavine; 102 cards

Brooks Robinson; 103 cards

Joey Votto; 105 cards
Hank Aaron; 107 cards

Cal Ripken Jr.; 112 cards

Craig Kimbrel; 113 cards

Carl Yastrzemski; 114 cards

Hanley Ramirez; 116 cards

Carlton Fisk; 117 cards

Ivan Rodriguez; 120 cards

Alex Rodriguez; 127 cards

George Brett; 127 cards

Chipper Jones; 128 cards

Reggie Jackson; 128 cards

Johnny Bench; 129 cards

Albert Pujols; 130 cards

Roger Clemens; 134 cards

Ichiro; 152 cards

Wade Boggs; 152 cards

Andre Dawson; 155 cards

Babe Ruth; 157 cards

Randy Johnson; 160 cards

Vladimir Guerrero; 163 cards

Ryne Sandberg; 164 cards

Ken Griffey Jr.; 166 cards

Pedro Martinez; 168 cards

Rickey Henderson; 181 cards

David Ortiz; 188 cards

Greg Maddux; 219 cards

Manny Ramirez; 224 cards

Nolan Ryan; 441 cards
Wow, that sure went on for way longer than I originally thought it would.

In case you didn't count all of them, the grand total of 100-card player collections is 32. That's right, 32 different players that have crossed that milestone, proving that they are at the very top of my player collection tiers with Nolan Ryan, Manny Ramirez, and Greg Maddux earning the spots at the very top by being my only 3 200-card player collections. Not to mention the fact that Nolan Ryan truly dominated with 441 total cards.

Of the 32 names, certain ones definitely stuck out to me. Joey Votto is the only current player on the list though Ichiro did cross the 100-card milestone before retiring. Babe Ruth was another surprising name, but that's likely due to the blaster of 2016 Leaf Babe Ruth Collection I purchased that delivered 100 cards of The Bambino.

More so than anything, I'm proud of this list. These 32 players are some of my favorites to ever play the game, and clearly, my favorite players to collect as well. Considering that PC's make up a lot of my collection and are what I'm mainly focused on nowadays, it definitely feels good to have such a superb group of players at the 100-card mark.