Monday, October 8, 2018

Playing Around With A New TCDB Feature

If you're a blogger who has their collection on the Trading Card Database, there's a new feature that may prove useful. Recently the Admin of the site installed a random card feature, where you can have a random card selected from your collection. The first time I used this feature, this was the card it chose:

2017 Topps #8a Jose Berrios

Ironically, this was the very first card I ever featured on this blog! How funny is that? You can also pick a random card from your favorite team or set.

It a fun little time killer. Personally, it'll help with a new feature I've been contemplating. I've been toying with the idea of a variation of the "6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game. The plan is to connect a random card to a card of Red Sox player Mookie Betts ("6 Degrees of Mookie!"). The added wrinkle is that the connecting players must also appear as teammates in a baseball card set. (Trust me, it's not as easy as it sounds!)

Let me give you an example. Using the TCDB random card generator, I pulled up this card of former Springfield nuclear power plant worker/now also former Angels skipper Mike Scioscia:

1985 Topps #549 Mike Scioscia

Looking at other Dodgers in the 1985 Topps set, I found one player I knew would also later play for the Red Sox, and was able to create this link:

Teammates in the 1985 Topps set
#549 Mike Scioscia
#85 Mike Marshall

Now that I have my Red Sox player, the other degrees fall into place:

Teammates in the 1991 Topps set
#356 Mike Marshall
#70 Ellis Burks


Teammates in the 2004 Topps World Champions Boston Red Sox set
#28 Ellis Burks
#29 David Ortiz


Teammates in the 2015 Topps set
#500 David Ortiz
#389 Mookie Betts (FS)

So, Mike Scioscia has 4 degrees of cardboard separation to Mookie Betts! Just for fun, I'm going to go to Basebal Reference's Oracle page and see what a non-cardboard connection would look like:

Oracle can do it in 3 steps, but I wouldn't have been able to match that. Mike Morgan wasn't a Dodger until 1989, so I would have needed a step in between to connect them. Also, he was a Twin for only half a season, and his appearance on cards in a Twins uniform is limited to two sets - 1998 Upper Deck and 1998 Pacific Online, neither of which has A.J. Pierzynski on the Twins. (Funny enough, David Ortiz was a Twin in those sets, so I could have still made that connection!)

I figure with most of these I'll need one more step than Oracle.  Most connections are made by journeyman relievers/bench players who don't get a lot of cardboard love. We'll see! Tune in next time...


  1. The TCDB random card generator is a cool function. Hmm it might help me for some of my random blog posts, except I like to use scans of my own cards for my blog not online database samples. It would take me a long time to find some of my cards in my collection for posts like that. Hmm need to think more about it.

  2. Looking forward to the 6 Degrees experiment!

  3. This sounds awesome! If I had more access to my completed sets, I'd totally give this a shot myself. Can't wait to see more of these.