Friday, November 29, 2019

First Impressions - 2019 Topps Holiday

I don't really go for cards that are just rifts of the base set. I don't get overly excited by Opening Day or Chrome. I haven't bought a single bag of Utz potato chips. Making a small change to the base set and calling in a new set of its own just doesn't do it for me. The Topps Holiday sets fell into this category as well. Until this year at least. Topps made bolder changes that really give the cards a whimsical feel. As soon as I saw these cards on other blogs, I knew I would have to see for myself.

#HW170 Yoan Moncada

The honor of the first card goes to Former Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada. As you can see, the holly border is a big eye-catching difference from the standard set look. The white snowy garland works much better when it's used as a compliment to the green and red Christmas motif.

#HW80 Scott Kingery
#HW34 Austin Meadows
#HW180 Noah Syndergaard
#HW190 Corbin Martin (RC)
#HW11 Ryan Pressly
#HW174 Corey Seager
#HW171 Brendan Rodgers
#HW87 Albert Pujols

Topps has some fun with the Holiday set by giving us Christmas themed variations. Some variations are more obvious, like the presents on Albert's card.

#HW8 Juan Soto (ASR)
#HW75 Zack Wheeler
#HW79 Matthew Beaty
#HW185 Joey Gallo
#HW121 Brandon Brennan (RC)
#HW30 Clayton Kershaw

Poor Clayton must be on the naughty list this year. He's still getting cards of him with his zipper down, even after it's been fixed in other sets!

#HW191 Luis Arraez (RC) (Snowflake parallel)
#HW116 Elvis Andrus
#HW4 Adam Jones
#HW102 Miguel Sano
#HW199 Masahiro Tanaka
#HW139 C.C. Sabathia
#HW66 Griffin Canning
#HW26 Anthony Rizzo
#HW3 Nate Lowe (RC)
#HW164 Kirby Yates
#HW78 Justin Smoak (Snowflake parallel)
#HW41 Max Muncy
#HW55 Josh Bell
#HW113 Ozzie Albies
#HW104 Renato Nunez
#HW91 Brad Hand
#HW154 Chris Sale

The first Red Sox card is ironically the guy the Red Sox traded Yoan Moncada for! I don't think either team will regret that trade!

#HW172 Shaun Anderson (RC)
#HW84 Eric Hosmer
#HW189 Cavan Biggio (RC)
#HW64 Willson Contreras

This SP has a more subtle variation. I had to look twice to catch the garland along the wall!

#HW100 Jason Heyward
#HW192 Bryce Harper
#HW58 Cole Hamels

Topps missed a golden opportunity by not printing his name as "Coal" - how funny would that have been?

#HW123 Xander Bogaerts
#HW134 Yasmani Grandal
#HW57 Matt Chapman
#HW28 D.J. LeMahieu
#HW60 Blake Snell
#HW29 Mookie Betts

Not that I'm biased or anything, but this is easily my favorite variation so far. I wonder if Mookie hates untangling strings of lights as much as I do?

#HW186 Jorge Alfaro (ASR)
#HW63 Ryne Harper
#HW152 Aaron Nola
#HW45 Byron Buxton
#HW32 Jose Abreu
#HW47 Jake Arrieta
#HW145 Kolten Wong
#HW71 Pete Alonso (RC)

Here's what the backs look like. Same as the base set, but continuing with the holly border and Christmas color scheme.

#HW175 Gary Sanchez
#HW161 Aroldis Chapman (Snowflake parallel)
#HW111 Edwin Encarnacion
#HW82 Trea Turner
#HW17 Billy Hamilton
#HW120 Tim Beckham
#HW1 Trevor Bauer
#HW191 Luis Arraez (RC)
#HW179 Tyler O'Neill
#HW78 Justin Smoak
#HW33 Shohei Ohtani
#HW132 Bryan Reynolds (Snowflake parallel)

Every pack comes with either a variation card or one of these Snowflake parallels. It's not easy to see on a computer, but it's sparkly. I'm not a fan of glitter, but it works well with the card, especially the thin line of sparkles they use along the curvature of the border.

#HW12 Nick Anderson
#HW87 Albert Pujols
#HW90 Hyun-Jin Ryu
#HW177 Luke Voit
#HW88 Pablo Sandoval
#HW27 Giancarlo Stanton
#HW67 Max Kepler
#HW7 J.D. Hammer (RC)
#HW77 Patrick Corbin
#HW9 Alex Verdugo
#HW110  Anthony Rendon
#HW99 Will Smith (RC)
#HW133 Jose Berrios
#HW61 Orlando Arcia
#HW46 Hunter Pence
#HW168 Cole Tucker
#HW127 J.D. Martinez
#HW43 Keston Hiura
#HW137 Jacob deGrom
#WHR-FL Francisco Lindor (Relics insert)

Every box comes with either a relic or autograph. Although this relic is pretty bland, it's nicely "packaged"!

#HW117 Amed Rosario
#HW15 Edwin Diaz
#HW29 Mookie Betts

As I have mentioned, this set has a whimsical feel to it that I really enjoy. The set is only 200 cards, and has few inserts/parallels diluting it. I could see myself buying another box of this. That may be all it takes for me to decide and complete this set too! Good job, Topps! See what's possible when you give us actual borders?

Thursday, November 28, 2019

TCDB Trade Recap: Cards From Portland, OR

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm beyond ready to enjoy a fantastic dinner with family and friends. I have much to be thankful for, including when it comes to trades!

Today's trade recap comes from a TCDB member named Barry. Barry helped me whittle down my 1981 Topps set needs with a few cards, including the last Red Sox card from the set I needed!

Barry also sent some modern cards, mainly from this year:

The Brock Holt rookie was actually a replacement for another agreed upon card. After agreeing to the trade, Barry realized he had given away one of the cards, and offered up a replacement. I think this is the first real "blip" I've had with trading on the TCDB, but it was never a big issue due to good communication between us. These things happen, and how Barry handled it told me more about what a good trade partner he is than any of the previous smooth trades I've completed thus far.

Thanks again for the trade Barry!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Repack Haiku #130 (Cody Bellinger)

Rookie of the Year
Most Valuable Player
Good start to career!

2017 Leaf Retail Exclusive
#02 Cody Bellinger

Not too shabby for only being 24 years old!

Monday, November 25, 2019

All-Time Red Sox/Expos Lineup

A few weeks ago I created my all-time team of players who have played for both the Red Sox and World Champion Nationals. Because I see the Washington team as a separate entity than their Montreal predecessors, I limited myself to only those players to done the curly W. Fifteen years of existence did not give me much to work with. Many viewers commented on how much different the team could have been had I included Expos players too. I knew of 4 Hall of Famers off the top of my head, so I decided to go ahead and give the Expos their proper due. Here's my team:

Catcher: Tim Blackwell

1976 SSPC #415 Tim Blackwell
1983 Topps #57 Tim Blackwell

Granted, if I was truly trying to make the best lineup possible, I could have should have gone with Tim McCarver. In my defense, how could I not add the awesome mustache of Mr. Blackwell?

1st Baseman: Tony Perez

1981 Topps #575 Tony Perez
1978 Topps #15 Tony Perez

The first Hall of Famer in the lineup, Perez went from the Big Red Machine to spending 3 seasons with each of these teams.

2nd Baseman:Mike Lansing

2001 Pacific #66 Mike Lansing
1993 Leaf #464 Mike Lansing

Mike Lansing was a solid regular for 9 years, debuting with Montreal in 1993.

Shortstop: Orlando Cabrera

2005 Donruss #126 Orlando Cabrera
2002 Topps #710 Orlando Cabrera (GG)

Cabrera is possibly the most famous Red Sox player to only spend a half-season with the team. His Gold Glove defense softened the blow of trading away Nomar Garciaparra as the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004.

3rd Baseman: Larry Parrish

1989 Topps #354 Larry Parrish
1976 Topps #141 Larry Parrish (ASR, RC)

This two time All-Star finished his career as a mid-season acquisition by Boston in 1988. Pretty cool when I can show off a player's rookie card and sunset card here!

Left Fielder:Cliff Floyd

2003 Topps Heritage #82 Cliff Floyd
1992 Score #801 Cliff Floyd (RC)

Floyd was another half-season rental for Boston, who acquired the former All-Star at the trade deadline in 2002.

Center Fielder:Andre Dawson

1994 Collector's Choice #412 Andre Dawson
1984 Topps - Glossy All-Stars
#18 Andre Dawson

The only time this Hall of Famer spent in the American League was the two years he spent with Boston as their designated hitter.

Right Fielder:Carl Everett

2000 Topps #267 Carl Everett
2004 Topps #566 Carl Everett

Fun fact: Between 1993 and 2003, "Jurassic Carl" switched teams 5 times. He was traded every single time. He was a talented hitter but his personality made it hard for him to establish himself with any one team.

Starting Pitcher: Pedro Martinez

2000 Fleer Tradition
#437 Pedro Martinez (AW)
1997 Ultra #232 Pedro Martinez

Baseball Reference states that an 8 WAR season is an MVP level season. Pedro hit that mark 4 times, including an amazing 11.7 WAR in 2000. Many people felt he should have won the MVP award over Ivan Rodriguez in 1999, but that 5th place finish for 2000 MVP is equally egregious.

Closer: Jeff Reardon

1992 Donruss - Update
#U-9 Jeff Reardon (HL)
1986 Leaf #214 Jeff Reardon (CG)

Lee Smith may be a Hall of Famer, but his impact in Boston and Montreal was fairly minimal. I chose to honor a man both cities remember fondly!

Manager: Dick Williams

1968 Topps #87 Dick Williams (MGR)
1977 O-Pee-Chee #108 Dick Williams (MGR)

Since I omitted an obvious Hall of Famer at closer, I'll make up for it by showcasing a Hall of Fame Manager! Williams of course lead the "Impossible Dream" Red Sox in 1967!

This is a much more solid lineup, and it's no stretch to say that if I made by Nationals/Red Sox team include this franchise, it would have consisted of all Expos players and looked just like this.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Build A Lineup

I saw this floating around the internet awhile back, and since I could use a nice blog filler today, let's make out a lineup!

So we got $33 to spend on 11 spots, an average of $3 each. If we use the $3 players as a baseline, this is where we can start off with:

1987 Topps - Glossy All-Stars
#15 Wade Boggs

C - Buster Posey
1B - Jeff Bagwell
2B - Chase Utley
SS - Derek Jeter
3B - Wade Boggs
LF - Manny Ramirez
CF- Carlos Beltran
RF - Mookie Betts
DH - Edgar Martinez
SP - Roger Clemens
CL - Billy Wagner
Total Spent: $33 ($0 remaining)

Not bad at all! 3 Hall of Famers, 2 guys who would be if not for PED issues, a certain inductee in next year's class, and a bunch of guys with strong Hall cases. This line up would win a lot of games, but what fun would it be if we stopped here? If we can find a few $1 and $2 guys we can live with, then we can upgrade elsewhere. Right off the bat, I see 3 spots where lower dollar guys would be as good if not better than who I have now.

2B - Robinson Cano ($2)
SP - Pedro Martinez ($2)
CL - Craig Kimbrel ($1)

Who put Chase Utley above Robinson Cano? Cano is a no-brainer upgrade at a lower cost. Kimbrel seems like a worthy swap for Wagner, and for only a buck! I picked Pedro over Clemens because Pedro dominated during the steroid era, and in a league of super players, I think that would be an important factor. That gives me $4 dollars to upgrade on. Since I'm upgrading, I might as well procure arguably the best player on here, Mike Trout. I'll also upgrade LF and take the greatest leadoff hitter in history, Rickey Henderson.

2015 Topps #510 Mike Trout (AW)

C - Buster Posey - $3
1B - Jeff Bagwell - $3
2B - Robinson Cano - $2
SS - Derek Jeter - $3
3B - Wade Boggs - $3
LF - Rickey Henderson - $4
CF- Mike Trout - $5
RF - Mookie Betts - $3
DH - Edgar Martinez - $3
SP - Pedro Martinez - $2
CL - Craig Kimbrel - $1
Total Spent: $32 ($1 remaining)

There are 6 spots I haven't touched yet. Of those, C concerns me most. I'd ideally like to upgrade to I-Rod, but to do that I need another $1 somewhere. Jeter and Larkin have amazingly close resumes, so I don't think I'll lose much going with Larkin. That'll give me enough to afford Rodriguez.

1992 Pinnacle #156 Ivan Rodriguez

C - Ivan Rodriguez - $5
1B - Jeff Bagwell - $3
2B - Robinson Cano - $2
SS - Barry Larkin - $2
3B - Wade Boggs - $3
LF - Rickey Henderson - $4
CF- Mike Trout - $5
RF - Mookie Betts - $3
DH - Edgar Martinez - $3
SP - Pedro Martinez - $2
CL - Craig Kimbrel - $1
Total Spent: $33 ($0 remaining)

I'm not going to lie, I like this lineup a lot. Every one of my position players has won at least one Gold Glove, but they are primarily known for their offense. I've got speed, I've got power, I've got guys with great on-base skills. Yeah, I'll take my lineup over anyone else's!

Who do you got?

Thursday, November 21, 2019

TCDB Trade Recap: Cards From Fishers, IN

A small trade today, from a TCDB member named Will:

I miss when the Red Sox outfielders did their "Win-Dance-Repeat" routines after wins. It was so much fun to see what they came up with. However, my favorite card here has to be the fantastic photo on Brock Holt's card.

Thank for the trade, Will!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Repack Haiku #129 (Adam Eaton)

In first World Series
Hit two jacks against Astros
Helped team earn those rings 

2018 Topps Heritage #255 Adam Eaton

Strasburg may won World Series MVP, but you have to think Eaton was on the short list of contenders. He had at least one hit and one RBI in each of Washington's 4 wins!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Time Travel Trading Update #36

Last month, I put four cards on the proverbial chopping block. No one wanted them, so they have been pulled from the trade stack and joined the rest of the 1973 Topps cards in my collection.

It wasn't a complete loss, however! I managed two more trades, and now there's a dozen new cards to tempt you with! Will there be anything you need for your collection? Read on!

The first trade came via the TCDB. A Pirates fan named David offered up some great cards for some of the Pittsburgh-centric cards in the stack.

Starting off with a couple of newer cards:

As well as some vintage, including the rookie card of Indians legend Rocky Colavito!

David also included a Carolina Hurricanes pocket schedule as filler/protection. I know some people collect these, so I figured I might as well put it up too!

Gavin at Baseball Card Breakdown also made a trade for a short stack of 1976 cards. In return, I got a few more classic 1972 cards. Anyone want a vintage card of Hall Of Famer Sparky Anderson?

Thanks for the trades David and Gavin!

I've got one more trade currently in the works. That trade will put me at 48 completed Time Travel trades! I'd like to get to 50 before the end of the year! I'll need your help to do it though! Help me keep this project going! Comment below or send me a trade offer through the TCDB (My handle there is Kep75).

The Time Travel Trade Stack:

2018 Topps
#502 Xander Bogaerts

2017-1018 Pocket Schedule
Carolina Hurricanes

2017 Bowman
#12 Trea Turner

2016 Topps Heritage 
#215 John Jaso

2015 Topps Allen & Ginter 
#119 Paul Scheer 

2008-09 O-Pee-Chee (hockey)
#128 Tim Thomas

1998 Score
#68 Scott Rolen
#74 Mark McLemore

1994 Sportflics
#113 Pete Harnisch

1993 Classic Draft Picks (basketball)
#33 Will Flemons
#67 Bennie Seltzer

1992 Fleer Ultra
#594 Dave Righetti

1991 Upper Deck
#778 Dave Righetti

1990-91 Hoops (basketball)
#168 Glen Rice (RC)

1990 Upper Deck
#626 Frank Viola

1990 Pro Set - Theme Art (football)
#10 Super Bowl X Pittsburgh Steelers / Dallas Cowboys 

1989 Fleer
#29 Bob Welch

1989 Score
#495 Larry Parrish

1986 Topps
#5 Rose Special '75-'78
#6 Rose Special '79-'82
 #401 Fernando Valenzuela (Turn Back The Clock)

1985 Donruss #557
Mark Langston (RC)

1985 Topps
#694 Joe Carter

1982 Donruss
#NNO Checklist 545-653

1982 O-Pee-Chee E.T. The Extraterrestrial (non-sport)
#15 Among Elliott's Toys

1981 Topps 
#100 Rod Carew (AS) 
#210 Jim Palmer

1980 Topps
#2 Willie McCovey (HL)
#143 Bruce Bochte
#157 Willie Wilson
#290 Steve Garvey (AS)
#605 Terry Forster
#671 A's Future Stars

1979 Topps
#25 Steve Carlton
#130 Bob Watson
#214 Boston Red Sox (TC) 
#465 Reggie Smith
#680 Carlton Fisk (AS)
1978 Donruss KISS (2nd Series) (non-sport)
#99 Paul Stanley - PENDING!

1978 Topps
#295 Bill Lee
#373 Jim Willoughby
#424 Boston Red Sox (TC)
#482 Rick Miller
#706 Rookie 1st Baseman (Cage/Cox/Putnam/Revering) 

1976 Topps
#70 Roy Smalley/Roy Smalley Jr. (FS)
#78 Cecil Cooper

1975 Topps
#310 '74 Victory Leaders
#378 Derrel Thomas
#402 Bob Tolan

1974 Topps
#38 Don Kessinger
#67 Tommy Helms
#107 Alex Johnson
#141 Pat Bourque
#158 Jack Billingham
#158 Jack Billingham
#227 Mike Lum 
#349 John Vukovich 
#372 Ken Reitz
#572 Enzo Hernandez
#638 Ken Sanders
#660 Larry Dierker

1974 Topps - Team Checklists
#NNO Montreal Expos

1974 Topps Traded
#458T Jim Ray
#496T Tom Murphy

1973-74 O-Pee-Chee (hockey)
#53 Richard Lemieux

1973 Topps
#29 Tony Taylor 
#30 Tug McGraw
#68 1972 Leading Firemen (Carroll/Lyle)
#75 Vada Pinson
#79 Jim Willoughby (RC)
#80 Tony Oliva
#85 Ted Simmons
#116 Ralph Houk (MGR)
#145 Bobby Bonds
#225 Albert Oliver
#230 Joe Morgan
#232 Ken Singleton
#240 Bobby Murcer
#258 Tommy John
#325 Boog Powell
#329 Ed Kranepool
#365 Rico Petrocelli
#368 Bill Buckner

1972-73 Topps (hockey)
#8 Stanley Cup Trophy

1972 Topps
#43 Rick Wise
#163 Tug McGraw
#197 Johnny Briggs
#231 Casey Cox
#239 Tom Timmermann
#358 Sparky Anderson (MGR)
#363 Ron Klimkowski
#373 John Mayberry
#438 Maury Wills (IA)

1971 Topps
#16 Ken Singleton (RC)
#63 AL 1970 RBI Leaders (Howard/Conigliaro/Powell)
#71 AL 1970 Strikeout Leaders (McDowell/Lolich/Johnson)
#90 Joe Pepitone
#95 Luis Tiant
#105 Tony Conigliaro
#146 Ralph Houk (MGR)
#183 Gil Hodges (MGR) - PENDING!
#195 AL Playoffs Game 1 - Powell Muscles Twins!
#208 Billy Martin (MGR)
#270 Rico Carty
#328 World Series Game 2 - Bufird Goes 2-4 (WS)
#374 Clete Boyer
#374 Clete Boyer
#388 Al Oliver

1971 Topps (football)
#22 Ken Avery (RC)
#110 Floyd Little (AS)

1970 Red Rose and Blue Ribbon North American Wildlife In Danger (non-sport)
#32 Polar Bear

1970 Topps
#47 Bob Miller
#390 Willie Davis

1969 Topps
#66 Orioles Rookies
#131 Chris Cannizarro 
#139 Andy Kosco
#182 Bill Rigney (MGR)

1969 Topps (football)
#73 Bennie McRae
#115 Randy Johnson 
#154 Sam Baker
#175 Joe Morrison

1968 Topps
#4 1967 AL RBI Leaders (Yastrzemski/Killebrew/Robinson)
#7 1967 NL ERA Leaders (Niekro/Bunning/Short)
#44 Frank Kostro
#181 Jerry Zimmerman
#309 Ken Henderson
#348 Larry Colton/Dick Thoenen
#449 Gene Oliver
#519 Jerry Stephenson 

1967 Philadelphia (football)
#109 New York Giants (TC)

1967 Topps
#366 Andy Kosco

1966 Topps
#154 Chuck Hiller

1966 Philadelphia (football)
#104 Rams vs. Browns

1965 Topps
#17 Johnny Romano
#27 Dick Bertell
#86 Les Narum
#87 Nelson Mathews
#108 Don Mincher
#111 Lee Thomas
#178 Dalton Jones
#307 Barry Latman

1965 Philadelphia (football)
#193 John Paluck

1964 Philadelphia (football)
#172 Ken Gray (RC)

1964 Topps
#18 Billy O'Dell
#45 Milt Pappas
#92 Steve Ridzik
#341 Jim Roland 

1964 Topps - Coins 
#7 Frank Malzone

1963 Topps
#155 Bill Stafford

1961 Topps
#32 Ray Sadecki
#38 Bob Lillis
#96 Billy O'Dell
#258 Jack Sanford
#267 Norm Siebern
#399 Cliff Cook (RC) 

1960 Topps
#138 Art Mahaffey (RC, RS)
#186 Dave Sisler 
#289 Willie Jones
#414 Don Williams (RC)

1959 Topps
#298 Tex Clevenger
#424 Ken Aspromonte
#424 Ken Aspromonte 

1959 Topps (football)
#80 Joe Perry

1958 Topps Zorro (non-sport)
#83 Rude Awakening

1957 Topps
#212 Rocky Colavito (RC)
#235 Tom Poholsky
#249 Dave Pope
#371 Bob Lennon
#406 Bob Hale

1956 Topps
#21 Joe Collins
#103 Willie Miranda (white back)
#156 Johnny Antonelli

1956 Topps Flags of the World (non-sport)
#70 Jordan

1955 Bowman
#25 Minnie Minoso
#208 Ed Fitzgerald

1954 Bowman
#16 Jim Wilson
#73 Don Mueller

1952 Bowman
#57 Clyde Vollmer

1938 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America Tenth Series (J9-6) (non-sport)
#2 Black-throated Green Warbler

1922 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America Third Series (J7) (non-sport)
#7 Prothonotary Warbler

1915 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America First Series (J5)  (non-sport)
#1 Quail

The Time Travel Trading Project is simple in concept. I started out with a random pack of 2018 Topps Series 1 baseball cards. My aim was to trade every card in that pack for something older. Each card I receive in turn is then made available for trade, with the goal to get the oldest card I can get.

Number of trades completed: 47 (1 pending!)
Unique trading partners: 29

Number of cards mailed out: 139
Year of oldest card mailed out: 1956

Number of cards received: 306
Year of oldest card received: 1915