Monday, July 28, 2014

Allen and Ginter 2014 - The Complete Set

Along with the flagship brand, the only other complete set I buy each year is Allen and Ginter.  I've had my set for a few days now and it has been safely added to the sheets and binder.

Here are a few random thoughts of my on the 2014 version:

  • As usual, the team with the most cards would be the Yankees, who netted 24 players.  For you math majors, that is 6.8% of the set for a team that makes up 3.3% of the league.
  • On the flip side, the team that was on the short end of the stick was the Twins, with only three cards.
  • Because many of the shots are posed, Ginter usually offers a good look at the players' tattoos.  Here are a few I picked out

Topps keeps putting horizontal cards into Ginter and they continue to look out of place

This card of Sandy Koufax would be nice looking in other sets, but notice how the card has a non-Ginter look to it.  On all of the vertical cards, there is a lightly colored cloud surrounding the person's head.  On the horizontal card, there is no cloud.  The actual backround is used instead.  It just doesn't look right.

  • The set has its usual eclectic collection of "champions."

I don't think Judah Friedlander would have a chance to show up in any other sports related set.  He doesn't seem like much of an athlete but I did enjoy him on 30 Rock.

Is this what you think of when you hear "Gilligan"?  I don't.

If Topps was going to make a Gilligan card, doesn't it have to look... this??

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 12,638 Cubs cards from 92 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1978 SSPC #250 Steve Ontiveros  I always thought that Steve Ontiveros looked like he wanted to tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree.

Anyone else have the same thought?  Tony Steve missed half the 1978 season because of surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder.  He played in only 82 games and hit .243.

1980s: 1988 Fleer Glossy #428 Paul Noce  He was included in Fleer's 1988 set because played in 70 games for the Cubs in 1987.  But he didn't make the team coming out of spring training in 1988 and in July was traded to the Expos.  He didn't surface in the majors until a one game stint with the 1990 Reds, his final MLB appearance.

1990s: 1997 Team Issued #13 Turk Wendell  The Cubs gave away 10,000 sets of these cards on August 7.  They beat the Giants that day 6-3 in front of 24,510 fans.  Wendell did not pitch in the game.  If he had, it would have been his last appearance as a Cub.  He was traded to the Mets on August 8.

2000s: 2008 Bowman #122 Aramis Ramirez  Isn't it cute the way Aramis makes the little circle for the dots in the i's of his name?  It looks like that must be a signature he used early in his career...

....he got a little lazier later on.

2010s: 2012 Topps #114 Matt Garza  The picture on the card is from June 27, 2011.

The Cubs beat the Rockies 7-3 as Garza picked up the win going 7 1/3 innings, allowing 3 earned runs while striking out six.  The win gave him a record of 4-6.  He finished the season with an even 10-10 record and a nice ERA of 3.32.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mini Billy Ginter Collection

Normally I'd call this a rainbow, but it doesn't have a whole lot of color.  Rainbow it's not; collection it is.

Four of the players I collect were in this year's Ginter set.  With three of the four, I'm just settling for a mini card, to go with the base card that is already in the team set.....Ernie, Ryno, and Andre....I'm looking at you.  Sorry boys.

Yes, I'm playing favorites, but I can do that with my all-time favorite player.  That's what "favorite" means!

With Billy, I didn't just settle for one mini card, I got six different versions.

Like I said, there's not much color here.  These are (top row left to right) base mini, A&G back, A&G no number back, and (bottom row) A&G red flag, red border, and black border.

Four of the six have and identical front, which makes the "rainbow" even more boring.  And if you were a skeptic, you may think that I just made four copies of one front and don't even have the three A&G special back cards.

For you, I have this....

the backsides.  The top row is the base, black border, and red border (/33) The three A&G backs are on the bottom, with the number version, the no number, and the red flag, which is hand numbered /25.  The no number is supposed to be /50 but there is nothing on the card to indicate that.

The minis that I don't have are the wood version and the printing plates, which are all 1/1.  The cyan printing plate is on Ebay right now with a BIN of $59.99.  I like Billy Williams, but not that much.

Friday, July 25, 2014

2014 Ginter Cubs Extras and Relics

It seems that a couple years ago Ginter went relic crazy.  In 2010 I had five Cubs relic cards.  In 2011 it was even worse, with twelve Cubs relic cards....yes, 12!  2012 didn't bring much relief, with "only" ten relics.  Things finally calmed down last year as I had to pick up just five.

Moving on to this year, it got really easy.  Only one Cub player has a relic card, Anthony Rizzo.  There were however, two version, the framed mini and the full sized relic.  With only two to chase, I went ahead and got them both.

Topp even used different pictures on both relics and his base card; three cards, three different pictures.  How unusual for them to take the extra step.

I also picked up the three Cubs that have cards in the 100-card insert set Pastime's Pastimes.


Topps included Mr. Cub and the usual two of Castro and Rizzo.  And look, the Rizzo picture is another different one.  Four Ginter cards, four pictures....a new record for Topps!

There is one more Cubs card I picked up, though it is a bit of a head-scratcher.

Among the insert sets is one called Fields of Yore.   You would assume that the cards feature ballparks from the past now gone.  And it does.  The checklist includes Ebbets Field, Cleveland Municipal, Griffith Stadium, Metropolitan Stadium, the original but renovated Yankee Stadium, Tiger Stadium, Sportsmans Park, the Astrodome, and Shea Stadium.  They are all stadiums or yore, and all but the Astrodome are gone.

So why the heck is Wrigley Field on the checklist.  It's still being used!! It not an apartment complex (Ebbets), a football stadium (Cleveland Municipal), a hospital (Griffith), a mall (The Met), a park (Yankee Stadium), an empty lot (Tiger Stadium), a Boys and Girls Club field (Sportsman), or a parking lot (Shea).  It's a ballpark...a still in use by a major league team ballpark!!

The picture on the card is from

Opening Day, 2012.  I'm not one to consider 2012 to be "Yore," do you?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ginter 2014 Cubs!

After a downer of a post yesterday, I'm got much more exciting things to share today...Ginter!!

As usual, I placed an order with super case-breaker Brentandbecca, and as usual, he delivered the goods on time and as promised.  My order included the Cubs team set, the Cubs in the Pastime's Pastimes insert set, and one complete set of the base and SPs.  I've got complete sets of Ginter going back to their first set in 2006 and I plan to keep adding a set each year.

As far as the Cubs go, they netted 10 cards on the 350 card checklist. When you subtract the approximately 50 non-baseball people that were included, having ten cards is spot on.

Since the Cubs are still in rebuilding mode, five of the ten Cubs were retired players.


It's nice to see Billy Williams included again and it's even nicer that Topps didn's use that picture of him at the Polo Grounds that's shown up on so many of his recent cards.  This picture is from one of his last two years with the Cubs, 1973 or 1974.  It's a picture that hasn't been used too often by Topps.

This is the only example I have of it in my collection.

The other players were all safe choices, Banks, Dawson, Jenkins, and Sandberg.  Still no Ron Santo--I wonder if we will ever see a new card for him.

The picure of Fergie should look familiar since it was used...

...on his 2014 Archives set.

As far as the current players, only three of the five are still with the team.


Samardzija was traded and Olt and all his 84 strikeout in 212 plate appearances were sent to Iowa.

Junior Lake is the team's new strikeout machine...hopefully he will be joining Olt in Iowa soon.


That just leaves the two All Stars, Castro and Rizzo.

And no Darwin Barney  :(

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bye-Bye Barney

It was a sad day at the Wrigley Wax World Headquarters yesterday when the news came that the Cubs designated Darwin Barney for assignment, ending his tenure as a Chicago Cub.

Anyone interested in buying 190 cards?

I started my Barney collection back in April, 2011.  After a late season call-up in 2010, a hot spring landed him not just a spot on the roster, but a spot in the starting line-up.  I was interested in starting a player collection, I liked the way he played, and he was a kinda under the radar guy.  My Barney collection was born.

He was NL Rookie of the Month in April, 2011---I looked like a genius.  He tailed off a bit towards the end of the year, but had a decent season---I still was looking pretty good.  Though his bat starting sinking, his glove in 2012 was red hot...golden actually, as he tied the ML record for errorless games and won the Gold Glove---I had attached myself to a star for years to come.

And 2013 his bat turned into a wet noodle.  His glove wasn't enough to keep him in the lineup and the Cubs started looking at other options.  This season, though his average was up, well, .230 isn't going to cut it.  He went on a paternity leave and the Cubs called up Arismendy Alcantara.  Alcantara got off to a great start, and Barney was out.  I don't know what they named the new baby, but they should consider renaming it Wally, as in Wally Pipp.

With all the highly touted infield prospects in the Cubs system, I knew that Darwin's time with the Cubs was numbered.  I just didn't think it would happen this quickly and that he would just be DFA'ed.

My Barney collection now stands at 190 cards.  I don't think that he'll be included in any of the other sets to be released this year, so I guess that means that I'm done.  I'm not really interested in getting cards of him with another team if he does get picked up by someone.

It's been fun chasing all his cards, but it's also gotten a bit tiring.  There were just too many parallels with some of the sets.  I enjoyed the player collector experience but I really think that I'll just stick to being a team collector.

So here is what the 190 card Darwin Barney collection looks like.  I've got them in order by year, then brand name.  You may notice several fronts are identical---that's because the backs may be different.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Keep the Protective Coating?

Among the many packages awaiting me after vacation were several filled with Finest cards.  I've started sorting and scanning, but have a couple questions.

First, it seems that from 1995 through 1999 Topps put a protective coating sticker on each card.

What have you done with it...kept it on or taken it off?  I'm inclined to rip it off since the cards will be stored in a binder.  I'm also not worried about the resale value of the card.

Question two:  were Finest cards prone to bowing?  I've had a tough time scanning many of them because they are bowed.  I know that there were some bowing issues with Chrome a couple years back.  Was this an issue with Finest, too, or did I just get some bad cards.

Just a quick post's back to the scanner.