Thursday, April 30, 2015

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen

Given a choice of spending money on Topps Gypsy Queen and Topps Allen and Ginter, I'll spend more on A&G. That said, I gotta have some so I generally buy a blaster and a value pack (to get the white framed cards).

I was pretty disappointed in the card selection I got. Paying 45 cents/card I'd expect to see more big name players in the box. I'd have liked to have seem more cards like Bryce Harper and less like Mookie Betts. Also, there were no Phillies and only 1 Astro in the 54 base cards I got.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen #155 Troy Tulowitzki
This is the 5th year for Gypsy Queen and there are some notable changes. The front borders which up to now have been a beige or light green color are dark brown this year. The photo cutout has a peculiar key-hole shape. The backs are a light gray same as last year. The first 4 years were some shade of yellow. The backs and fronts are a bit less ornate than last year. I've always sort of liked Gypsy Queen and sort of like this year as well.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen #55 Robinson Cano
A big change this year is in the number of posed photographs. In past years I've seen 2-4 posed shots. this year, more than half of the cards feature posed photos.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen #127 Dee Gordon
And many of these posed photos remind me of Topps Turkey Red cards.

There is the usually assortment of mini-cards, one per pack. I pulled on serial numbered mini.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen Mini Silver #119 Clayton Kershaw
The mini silver parallels are numbered to 199.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen #324 Bruce Sutter
Cards numbered 301-350 are short prints inserted 1 in 8 packs. That should work out to one per blaster. 1 in 8 packs works out to 1 in 48 cards so the short print count must be about 2% of the normal print run.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen Framed White #2 Hank Aaron
This is one of the white framed parallels. Only 100 cards from the set have the paper frames parallels (bronze, black or white). The white framed cards are only available in the retail 3-pack value packs. For some reason neither nor lists these cards as part of the set.

Of the numerous insert cards I got three.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen Walk-Off Winners Alex Gordon
What's more exciting than a walk-off home run?

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen The Queen's Throwbacks Rougned Odor
Can you believe that this guy's nickname is "Stinky"?

2015  Topps Gypsy Queen Pillars of the Community Yadier Molina
I have two problems with this card. For one thing, I don't believe that the definition of "Pillar of the Community" is "he hit .300+ in four straight seasons". Molina does have a charitable foundation which raises money for kinds with cancer in Puerto Rico. That's an activity which leads to being a pillar of the community. A look at Molina's stats shows that this isn't even true. Molina has hit .300+ in 4 of his 12 years, 3 of those years in a row. There were two years of sub-.300 hitting between his 1st and 2nd year of performing this feat. Maybe they mean he has hit .300 in four seasons in a row while batting in St. Louis but that's a pretty liberal reading of the back of the card.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Baseball Players and Technology

I'm getting into the home stretch of my evolution study so it's time for another break.

The technology of baseball hasn't changed much over the year. The basic ball-bat-glove has been with us forever, with improvements over the years.  But there's more than just baseball technology around the ballpark.

1988 Topps #74 Tommy Lasorda
Golf carts, in one guise or another, are often used to bring in a relief pitcher. I'm guessing Tommy was used to be driven around in style at spring training.

1992 Upper Deck #78 Jim Abbott
Jim, while apparently visiting his old dorm room at the University of Michigan.

1993 Upper Deck #173 Doug Jones
Doug taking home movies at the ball park. I don't think that's the Astrodome however.

1994 Collector's Choice #240 Cal Ripken, Jr.
Cal ordering pizza from the dugout with a giant cordless phone.

1994 Pinnacle #100 Ken Griffey Jr.
Ken was willing to show his 35mm vacation slides anywhere anytime.

1994 Pinnacle #157 Ryan Klesko
Ryan getting some tips in case his on-field career doesn't last.

1995 Collector’s Choice Special Edition #38 Craig Biggio
Craig filling in while the cameraman takes a bathroom break.

1997 Donruss #191 Brett Butler
Another giant phone. People must have had bigger pockets then.

1997 Upper Deck #49 Charles Nagy
Charles getting in some work at spring training.

1998 Stadium Club #284 Sean Berry
One of the original Astro 'Killer Bs". I didn't think bees could fly in the rain.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Baseball Card Evolution - 1995 (Jeff Bagwell)

See my post Capewood's Theory of Baseball Card Evolution here.

Bowman - Stage 6

After 1994, Bowman abandoned full bleed printing.

Donruss - Stage 6
One of my favorite Donruss designs of the 1990s

Fleer - Stage 6
One of the most bizarre sets of the 1990s.

Score - Stage 4
Another odd looking set but I sort of like it.

Topps - Stage 5
I always liked the "Diamond Vision" photo on the back.

Upper Deck - Stage 6
Upper Deck's peak design year.

Monday, April 27, 2015

1993 Select/Upper Deck photo sharing

Last week I featured a 1994 Bowman Ryan Klesko card which had a photo from the same play on the front and back of the card.

Here's a 1993 Select Chuck Knoblauch card.

The front of the card shows who I believe is Lee Stevens of the Angels, sliding into second base. Knoblauch appears to have already made a tag, so this is probably a steal attempt. Stevens only made 5 steal attempts in 1992 (when he was with the Angels) and was successful only once. It looks like a steal attempt but is probably a force out.

The back of the card shows Mike Bordick of the Angels in what is probably a force out after a feet first slide into second. It also looks like a potential dislocated shoulder.

This card is clearly not another example of what I was showing on the 1994 Klesko card. This is even something better. Here's Knowblauch's 1993 Upper Deck card.

The front has the same play as the back of the Select card. The photos must have been taken within mere seconds of each other so two photographers had to be involved since the angles are different. The back is the same play as the front of the Select card, probably taken by the same photographer as the Select card. Does this photo make it look more likely that it was a steal attempt to you? It does to me.

Although I can't think of any examples off the top of my head, I'm pretty sure I've seen cards like this involving one play on two cards, but I think those were cards from the same manufacturer. I think it's amazing that Pinnacle (the publisher of Select) and Upper Deck would pick photos from the same 2 plays for their Knoblauch cards.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Baseball Card Evolution - 1994

See my post Capewood's Theory of Baseball Card Evolution here.

Bowman - Stage 6
 Bowman's only year a full Stage 6. It's got the back photo, the foil, the gloss and the full bleed printing.

Donruss - Stage 6
Donruss was also at Stage 6, but not as nice a card as Bowman. The name on the front is hard to read and there are not enough stats on the back.

Fleer - Stage 5
Fleer is another year from Stage 6, but this is a nice design with an uncluttered front.

Score - Stage 4
The fronts featured good photographs and the backs are nice but that horrid dark blue border on the front ruined this set.

Topps Stage 4
The front is a bit more cluttered than the Score but it's much more colorful and bright. I always liked the backs of this set as well.

Upper Deck - Stage 6
Pretty good except for that goofy elongated insert photo on the front.

Since I seem to have most of the mainstream 1994 Eckersley cards, I'll show the rest that I have. There were a lot of card issues in 1994. The Eckersley cards I'm missing are Bowman's Best (7), Finest (7), Upper Deck Fun Pack (4), Leaf (6), Pacific (6), Select (6), SP (6), and Studio (6).

Collector’s Choice - Stage 4
This is the first year for Collector’s Choice. It looks very much like 1993 Upper Deck.

Flair - Stage 7
Fleer's attempt at a super premium card like Topps Finest. Printed on thicker card stock, with full bleed printing, gold foil and super high gloss, all on the front and the back.

Pinnacle - Stage 6
Pinnacle, in their 3rd year, jumped right from Stage 3 to Stage 6 with this pretty good effort. This is their best Stage 6 card as future years would be heavily lathered with gold foil.

Stadium Club - Stadium Club
Stadium Club started in 1991 already at Stage 6. There were some design changes for 1994, most notably going from gold foil to red foil but it remained the great brand it had been.

Triple Play - Stage 6-
This Donruss product started in 1992 mainly trying to appeal to kids. It moved to full bleed printing in this, it's final year of it's original run, but didn't incorporate foil. So it's not quite Stage 6.

Ultra - Stage 6
Ultra, Fleer's first attempt at a premium card, started in 1991 as a Stage 3 card, but jumped to Stage 6 in 1992. In these early days of Ultra, they always had 3 photos on the back. For some reason, the foil logo on this Eckersley card is sideways, as though this was a horizontal card rather than vertical.