Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fun and (video) games

Since I haven't received any cards in a while (ok, it's been a few days, but you get used to getting cards every other day), though I am waiting for a few trade packages, an Ebay order (yeah yeah, I know, I tried to stay away from ebay, but it's just a couple of relics with a very low shipping fee) and my monthly boxes order (selecting cards on comc or justcommons is fun, but busting packs is even better).
Hold on, that sentence is way too long and going nowhere.
Let's start again.

I don't have any cards to show here, so I'll write more about my wonderful life. I hope you don't mind.
Really ?
Great !

In France, you can't just hold a garage or yard sale. It's against the law. People can, however, gather their junk nobody could want in their right mind,  and take it to a given place on a given date on a given table. It's what we call a 'vide-grenier'. Litteraly it means 'empty your attic'. Which would explain a lot if only it were litteral. Anyway, in 1994 I must have been bored enough to attend one of these (ok, I was actually hoping to score a few cheap Cds. Remember those ? People used to pay for them). At some point, a video game box caught my eye. It was a baseball game. I had no idea such games were available to the European market. Even on the newer video games systems, we don't get baseball games (except The Bigs). Looks like they don't want to pout out a product that will only sell a few dozen copies (if that), even though it would make me happy. You selfish fools.

I paid $5 for it. It took me forever to install it on my PC as some of the floppy disks (yes, you heard me right, floppy disks) were damaged, but I managed to do it.
Turns out it was only a demo.
I had access to only 2 teams : the Giants and the Cubs.
I could only play 3 innings.

It allowed me to better understand the rules and pitch selection. If I saw it today, the pixels would probably be as big as the Upper Deck logo and it would make me epileptic, but I'd still love it. And I'd be happy to reunite with the Giants lineup (yeah, you could only play AGAINST the Cubs) of 93. I don't remember the name of the game though. Maybe Hardball.

I do think though that modern games or way too realistic and would've frustrated me at the time. Or I would've gone crazy and become a professional baseball player thanks to virtual semi-reality.

Maybe it's not too late.
I'll watch The Rookie again and ponder all that...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Some Trade Bait Update and Ramblings

Well, today I sent out 4 packages to fellow bloggers (you know who you are), and I'm proud to say that I created a trade bait page and that I've been working on my wantlist .

I'm really embracing that whole blogosphere thing, I feel fulfilled.

I'm staying away from ebay and bought some really cool stuff off Comc (including a real beat up '52 card. But it's still a '52 card, so yeepee).

But right now, I'm still trying to figure out how they managed to go from about 1 000 new Blue Jays cards per year at the end of the 90s to 1 600 in 2003, 2 100 in 2004, 2 800 in 2005 before saying uh oh, ok, maybe it's a little overboard here, let's cut back 30% and progressively go down to 90s numbers.
And you'd think that having just one license would calm things down, but nope, we're back to close to 2 000 since 2011. It's a parallels frenzy. The good news is that I can live without the parallels. Especially Bowman's. That should make my life easier. But looking at those checklists from 2003/2007 just make my head spin.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

TMNT anagram

One of the major disadvantages of living outside of the US is the fact that you can't be a part of the TTM world. For a very simple reason : I can't get US stamps here. Actually, who knows, maybe now you can print them out yourself ? I'll have to look into this.

When I was young and impressionable, I had no idea what an SASE was, and I figured that if I asked very nicely, my favorite players would send autographs to me. On their own time. With their own money (or maybe let the organization foot the bill, who knows). So I sent cute little letters saying hi, my name is Kevin, I live in France, I think you're great, could you send me a signed photo please ?

I didn't send too many of them, because I didn't want to bother too many players. I figured their time was precious, and actually so was mine. I sent one to Patrick Ewing and another to Kevin Johnson. Maybe there were others, but I forgot about them. My subconscious doesn't handle rejection well.

One day, I received an evenloppe with the Suns logo on it. I was so excited I still remember that day, 22 years later. Enclosed were a team schedule and a signed photo of Kevin Johnson. At least, I thought it was signed. It took me a couple of hours to figure out it was a facsimile.
BUT STILL. They answered me. They opened my cute little letter, screened it, never gave it to KJ (that's ok, I understand), wrote down my address and sent me a fan package. Good enough for me.
Following this, I sent out pocket schedule requests to a few teams, and most would also include stickers and other goodies. I loved those enveloppes. I wonder if they still do that kind of thing ?

Then I learned about the whole SASE process. When I went to the US in 93 and 94, I took home a bunch of .50ct stamps, good enough to send back a signed card right to my doorstep. So here I was again, behind my desk, writing my cute little letters, this time to baseball players. Hi, my name is Kevin, we don't have any baseball here but I follow your games through the boxscores I read in the international newspaper, please sign my card, it would make me so happy I could sing for you.

I don't remember how many letters I sent out, neither to whom. Not that many, because those stamps were precious, I had to choose carefully and not waste them on just any player. I got a couple back. They really made my day.
One was of Tim Raines, but I gave it to a friend of mine because he was going through a rough time and I knew he really liked that player (yeah, I'm a generous guy with a heart of gold). The other was of Pat Listach.

Those are part of the great memories I have from my obsessive collecting days. But I'm over it now.
Yeah, right...so how about those stamps ?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

let's trade for 70s

As the Blue Jays are eliminated from any sort of post season contention, and as I am right now watching their pretty much meaningless game against Seattle (who are all but eliminated), it seems fitting to receive a semi-surprise package from Richard at http://torontobluejayscollection.blogspot.ca . He read on my blog that I only had one card from the 77 set, and instantly offered to send some out for me, from his own stack of duplicates. Let the record show that Tony, from the great blog off hiatus baseball cards, offered to send some out too, but was beaten to it by a small margin. I feel like a princess right now. It's pretty nice.

I'm a newbie on the block, but one thing I've learned from that great blogosphere community, is that you always get more than what was originally planned. I guess it's a unwritten rule and that's it's really all about making the other guy (or girl, of course, but I'm a princess right now, remember?) happy and just have fun with the hobby. It's only cardboard after all. So of course I didn't only get cards from the 77 set, I also had some from 78 and 80, filling most of my needs from those years. The 78 ones were actually the very first ones I ever saw, and I must say I love them. Now I won't hate on 2014 Donruss so much, knowing where they got part of their inspiration from (nah, they're still very ugly cards).
Included were also a few Delgados and Wells, which are always a nice addition.

When I collected semi-heavily in the early 90s, I was only into, well, 90s stuff. So it's great to see some much older cards from the pre-ridicoulous era, with all their flaws and approximities (can you hear me, first year Fleer ?). I need more cards from the 70s. Those Keloggs sets look amazing.

Anyway, thanks a lot Richard, and who knows, maybe there'll be better pitching and less injuries next year. We never know.

 I won't lie, I don't know much about those players. I do have a book on the history of the Blue Jays, from their creation in 1977 to their first World Series win in 1992. Haven't read it in 20 years. Maybe it's time...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Baseball in France : a clumsy love story

Since you guys collect baseball cards, chances are you follow baseball closely. Maybe you even collect cards because you played ball as a kid, and the hobby was a natural extension of your love of the game.
For me, it was the other way around. I started getting interested in baseball BECAUSE I collected cards. I know, it sounds strange. And it is. As I explained in my very first post here, I learned about the sport by looking at the backs of cards, and then by reading biographies. Stats are one thing, but the rules can be very confusing. Especially since, in France, there is no sport that even remotely looks like baseball.

It's quite simple : baseball does not exist here. No pee wee leagues, no leagues whatsoever actually, not even softball. Ok, that's not really true, I'm just saying this to emphasize. But still, there are only 200 clubs in France, and 10 000 people play the sport (there are 66 M people in France, about five times less than in the US). It could be worse, there are only 350 curling players in the country. But there're 2M people who play soccer in a league.

There are 30 baseball fields in all of France. That's one in every 20 000 square mile. Not ideal for a pick up game.
There has never been a baseball game on TV. Ever. There was an All star game in the late 80s, but not on national TV (the equivalent of HBO for us). Football, hockey and basketball aren't a problem, you can catch a game from time to time. But baseball ? Forget it. You have a bigger chance of seeing a darts competition.

The last time I held a bat was in 1994, and I really miss it. I used to play many sports, even though my favorite was basketball, and I'd spend countless hours on the playground near my place, come rain or snow. But I have no idea if I'm even good at baseball. It seems right up my alley, but I'd probably look real clumsy in a batting cage.

I did play catch a few years ago with my very good friend Rich. He was scouted by the Yankees when he was 16, was going to be Derek Jeter (same age, same position on the field), but injured his shoulder badly. So he became an artist instead. And a very good at that. But that's beside the point. The point is that he told me to take the catcher's position and to be ready, because he'd show me how big leaders throw a ball. And he did show me. It's been years, but I can still feel the sting on my palm. Maybe I'm not ready for the game after all...

On a side note, my friend threw the first pitch at the Dodgers- Cubs game last saturday. He says it was the greatest day in his life, and that's saying a lot, because he's lived some crazy things. But when you see his face on the video he posted, you can only believe him.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A lesson in French (cards) History

And then there was light…

Those here are the very first basketball cards issued for the French market. They were given out during the Mc Donald’s Open  in Paris, in 1991. Magic and the Lakers were in town  (along with a few other European clubs) for the annual event. It was held 9 times, between 87 and 99, and each time it’s the American team that won.  1991 was the year I started following basketball very closely. By that I mean that I was absolutely obsessed with the game. I won’t get into details, but let’s just say I was a teenager. And you know how teenagers can be…Only the Finals were on TV, so forget about any other kind of footage, and the only images would be photos from specialized magazines. Having spent a year in New York, I was naturally a Knicks fan. Still am. It can be challenging at times, but I’m used to it.

Anyway, enough about that, let’s talk about cards.

I wasn’t at that Lakers game. But a good friend of mine was. He even had an extra ticket. He told me the following day that he didn’t want to bother me, as he got them at the very last minute and was affraid that calling my place at 8pm to go to Paris (I live 70 miles away) would be a hassle. I think I forgot to blink for at least a couple of minutes after he told me this. And then I probably yelled. I was 14. I could’ve seen Magic play. I could’ve seen NBA players. I could’ve died after that.
Because he felt so guilty, he gave me the goodies they gave away. Including those Upper Deck cards. The design was familiar to me, as I’d already opened a full box of 91-92 Upper Deck, but as you can notice, there are no stats at the back and a blurb written in french.

A couple of years would pass before cardboard would hit the streets of France again. 1993 was the height of popularity for the NBA in France. Jordan was spectacular and not wearing cleats and the Dream Team had left heads spinning a year before that. That’s when Mc Donald’s issued a card set. Again with the 91-92 design and actually the same photos, except there are the 92-93 stats on the back and the logo is without the familiar year on it.

Even though we got it 2 years after the US, that Shawn Kemp picture still looked amazing (US version on the left)

But the major breakthrough came when Upper Deck released an entire set for 92-93 cards (except they were issued in 93 here).  You could buy them where magazines and tobacco are sold (yeah, that’s the French way). I don’t remember how much a pack cost, but I just know that quantities were limited and that the guy at the counter wouldn’t let me buy a whole box, as he had never heard of that and only believed a few packs could be bought at once. Clueless…The cards were the exact replica of the US set, except that they didn’t make any inserts. Instead, they added it to the base cards checklist. So naturally, the numbering is also different. They also have a more glossy finish to them than their US counterparts.

I went to the US that summer, and card dealers just went crazy over European UD. The same sets existed in other languages (spanish and Italian, I seem to recall, maybe German), but no pricing was available for any of those. The US market just knew that they were difficult to find because only available in Europe, and not everybody had a paypal friend to ask him to send some packs over. I had the good idea to bring a little stack with me, including that card :

If you collected basketball cards in 1992, then you remember that this card was only available through redemption, as Shaq was a little late to sign his contract (so was Jim Jackson, but strangely enough, it didn’t have the same impact). Everybody went after the Zo Mourning RC, but the true star was of course Shaq. Too bad I only had one of those, as I traded it for a $50 numbered set of Patrick Ewing Star cards. It was good to be French at that time.

Upper Deck would reiterate the experiment with their 93-94 set, and then it would be Collector’s Choice for the next couple of years. It’s easy to tell a French set from a US set, even though the cards are the same, as the copyright differs, along with the text, that’s bilingual.

Fleer jumped on the bandwagon with their 94-95 set, but wouldn’t make it that easy on collectors, as it’s much more difficult to tell which is which. Sometimes the colour of the splashing thing on the front differs. But what gives it away is the numbering at the back and the copyright. 94 for the US, 95 for France. But it’s still a pain when you’re trying to sort out your cards 16 years after and everything is mixed up…

And meanwhile, Panini were still doing their stickers thing and being their ugly selves

I don’t really remember what happened after that. I lost interest and I’m pretty sure Upper Deck did too. I seem to remember that Fleer followed their effort with the 95-96 set, but I’m not even sure (there are some Fleer European cards on Comc for that year, so there’s a hint). It was still fun to be able to actually go to a store and buy some packs of cards. Even though there was only one choice (or two with Fleer). The experiment was a success and a lot of people collected those. But it was too little too late, and card shops didn’t start popping  just like that . Ah well.

At least I could own fantastic cards such as that one. That even back then, by the 90’s standards was already….how could I put it…dubious. Yeah, let’s say dubious.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pee Wee's Secret word of the day

Pfew, finally I sorted out all my duplicates.
I wonder if the organizing ever stops (not that I mind, it’s one of the things I love about the hobby : constantly finding ways to arrange and rearrange all those cards in neat little piles. Yet, my fridge is a complete mess and there’re clothes all over my bedroom floor. Go figure). One thing’s for sure : it was a necessity if I wanted to be able to get some cards out to fellow bloggers. Nothing fancy, just base cards, but your  want lists are specific enough that I should be able to find something for a few of you out there., whose needs I have identified.

I’m also starting to document every Blue Jays card I own, just in case some of you don’t mind sending out cards overseas and you feel like sparing your Toronto cards.

I wonder what my next step will be.
I definitely do not have the energy to enter all my cards into Zistle (or Beckett organize, but Beckett doesn’t allow you to export your collection, so blah), nor do I find it even remotely possible to try and find out what exists in terms of Blue Jays cards. How do team collectors do it ? Do you look in an Almanac of sorts ? Do you just look at every checklist possible ? Do you patiently write down the results in comc or Beckett with the team’s filter on ?

I suppose I’ll have to have a trade bait section. And find out what constitutes trade bait, exactly (GU/AU/SER ?).

So, yeah, if you have any organizing techniques as far as trades go, I’m all ears !

Saturday, September 20, 2014


In order to send out some blind packages to fellow bloggers, I first need to sort out my duplicates. I don't have that many (about 5 000), but it still takes time (and space).

I don't know if it's fun or if it's a hassle, but I'm glad I'm finally tackling that issue.

Still 3 000 cards to go...

Now guess which one is the Blue Jays stack...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

06 'pps

The last of the boxes I received a few days ago was a 2006 Topps rack box.
Inserted in each pack were vintage Topps cards.
Oooooooh vintage !  That’s a good thing, as I don’t have any cards from the 50s and 60s, so come to papa.
Let’s see…oh ok, so in 2006, vintage means 1990, 1983 and 1982.

I doubt they included any key rookies (Ripken, Sandberg, Gwynn, Boggs), but it did allow me to have my first Sutton, Rose and Carew cards. I wonder if kids in 2006 could possibly be excited by those cards. I hope so. Maybe they’ll want to grow mustaches after that.
There was a Griffey in there. Not the right one, but close enough.

Apparently, the creative team for inserts at Topps decided to go on strike. They designed one card for each idea they had, and then called it a day. That’s how you end up with the almost exact same front for those Mantle cards that document all of his HRs. They had to be careful and make sure the number on the upper left hand changed each time, so that took probably a couple of minutes.

Same thing with that US Constitution insert. I wonder if Benjamin Franklin is considered a star or a semi-star.

I don’t mean to be overly sarcastic or negative, but come on….I’m all in favor of on-card autographs, but why did they create only half a card ? It does leave a nice big space for the autograph, but this is very wrong. Maybe it’s the light green. I don’t know.

Good, now we’re getting somewhere…a little shiny, but nice design, plus  3 out of 4 are players I really like (and Bagwell and Griffey always make it to the binder). But wait….hold on…

Ok, so they decided not to make different card backs for each player, save for their name appearing. Very well. Once again, half a card should be largely enough.

The cards from the base set are actually ok. The usual Topps photography with some nice moments. But the thing that strikes me the most is the fact that the back of the cards are filled with stats and info. Go figure…maybe they were just tired after all that effort and deserved some time off. I’m sorry Topps, I won’t make fun anymore.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The very first

We all remember our first (the alcohol level will just mandate how clear the memory is).

I’m sure it won’t mind (yes, it’s an « it »), but I will now show you a picture of MY first. The one that made me a man in the collecting world at the age of 11.

As you can see, it’s seen better days. A now very common card from the height of the junk era, but in 1989, it was beautiful and crisp and it caught my eye, as it was just lying there, on the ground, in the streets of Forrest Hills, as I was walking to the subway on my way to school (yes, I spent a year in NY when I was 11). It would be another 5 years before I’d see an actual baseball game or start collecting baseball cards, but I can’t help but think this was a sign. I cherished that card. I kept it even though I had no idea what everything at the back meant, or what those stats were, but I knew each and every number on there.

It could’ve been worse as far as player selection goes. Todd Worrell was after all great during his first years in the majors. ROY, saved 30 plus games in his first three seasons and pitched in the post-season (and that was before Wild cards) and was an 88 All Star.
And the moment I picked up his card, he got injured (ok, so I don’t remember the exact date I found it, but I’m sure it’s connected !) and it took him years to recover. Actually, he recovered when I started collecting baseball cards full time as if my life depended on it, around 1994. Coincidence ? I don’t think so. And Night Owl probably has a whole bunch of his Dodgers cards to prove it.

The reason why it’s in such a bad shape is because I’ve been carrying it in my wallet for the past 20 years. Not as glamorous as Bob Costas’ Mantle card, but it’s still very important to me. As first times should always be.

How about you ? what card was your very first ?

Sunday, September 14, 2014


On a completely unrelated (to cards anyway) note, I got that this summer.

Nice boxset.

Makes you want to buy vintage.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Inserts mania

I won an ebay auction the other day for some Blue Jays inserts. All 110 of them were listed, so I knew what I was getting (no more blind dates with forgettable cards).
I'm starting to get familiar with a lot of base sets from the past 15 years, but I'm still seeing a lot of cards for the first time, especially when it comes to inserts and parallels. I have to admit that I jump up and down a little higher when I get a serial numbered card, even if it's out of 2000. Makes me feel a tiny bit special, knowing that I share that card with just some happy few (happy few who are more than happy to put them on ebay, hoping for a jumpy foreign (usually Canadian) guy to bid on those still overproduced cards).

I'm just not used to serial numbers. Back in the day, you were more than thrilled to pull an Elite insert from 94  Donruss packs. And they were numbered to 10 000...And now, everyone and his grandmother has a printing plate in his collection (maybe one day my grandma and me will have one...).

I still scratch my head over parallels. It takes me forever to make researches and look them up online or in my Beckett issue. It's only when trading with the Dutch card guy that I saw that those A&G minis had different backs. I don't quite see the point yet, but who knows, I might come to embrace them.

Talk about taking a concept to a whole new level...this is actually my very first 92 Topps gold. The 93 is my favorite parallel set ever (with electric diamond), and I like the black one. But even my scanner can't begin to comprehend what is up with all that glitter and foil and whatever you might call all that glossy glistening. I'm pretty sure I can blind someone with them, I'll have to be careful.

Scratch that. 92 Leaf Black gold is definitely my favorite parallel set. So elegant AND badass at the same time.

On the other hand, did they really need to make a parallel set of Topps total ? The other three are Refractors. They sure are shiny. Roy deserves to be extra shiny. The Turkey Red is even serial numbered, btw *drool*.

I really like those triple fold inserts. The minis are nice too, with a whole bunch of different very confusing backs.

I already had a couple of those, and I've always been fascinated by them. Embossed plastic cards made to ressemble credit cards. What's not to love ? Always nice to be reminded that you'll never own a platinum card...

I do not know what that Bowman card is. A retro/Future insert ? I didn't know there was a McDonald's/Donruss MVP set, but I love it already. It's actually a great base design.

Maybe, just maybe did Upper Deck go a little over the top with their silver foil supply there. Maybe. The jury is still out.

And finally, the mandatory GU and relic. It took me a few seconds to realize that the Delgado one was a GU card. Took me a while to find the picture of Delgado alltogether...nice card though. Discreet, but nice. The frame on that A&G is God ugly, but I really like the fact that you can actually touch the wood (yeah yeah, I know...that's what she said).

So all in all, a nice package (yeah yeah, I know...). I shall now look at all my serial numbered cards and see if there's a secret code I can decypher.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

96 Stadium Club roundup

Let's see what was inside that box of 96 series 1 Stadium Club :

Stadium Club is my favorite brand with Upper Deck. From day one, they brought impeccable photography and some unique shots. You paid a little more, but you had nice glossy cards, full bleed with a simple design. An instant winner. In 1993 they were at the top of their game, but the 96 set is real nice too.

I'm not sure what they tried to do with their inserts, though. I guess it's simply not their thing (even though in basket ball, the Beam Team insert is one of the best ever).

Those Extreme player cards were very confusing at the time. It was Topps' version of Predictor, but with their own rating system. And good luck finding out who won what. While looking at the back of the cards (yes, I look at the back of cards, even those), I noticed something I'd never seen before. "Canadian residents must also include the answer to this skill testing question :" and then you have several numbers to crunch (96 / 6 + 64 x 3 , or 27 x 6 + 50 / 4 - 13). There's obviously a legal reason to that, but I really wonder what it is. Were they trying to avoid Canadian bots ?

1996 was the year card companies comemorated Mickey Mantle. Which is fine by me. I even bought those 1996 Topps mini cereal boxes because I thought they looked great on paper (remember, I can only mail order, I can't just go buy a product in a tore). The Prime Cuts is actually not that bad. I'm just disappointed I got Palmeiro (even though he was a great player, don't get me wrong), considering the rest of the lineup for that insert appealed way more to me (there was a Griffey in there, for example). I like the Power streak one, mainly because it's so bad.

I selected a few of my favorites from the base set :

You have players sliding and others jumping (and nice Molitor cameo). Stadium Club loves the double play.

More players sliding or jumping head first (I used to like Royce Clayton a lot. My kind of player)

Players just being cool. Kirby Puckett should be in my PC. And not just because he had such a great sounding name.

Players running and pointing (Jay Bell was also a favorite of mine)

Didn't anyone at Stadium Club realize that those fronts are impossible to read ? The typo on top of another typo, with that blue...very confusing. This could be my neighbour, for all I know. If he wore cleats and a Reds uniform and put up MVP numbers. But still.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dear Topps

I usually wait at least a year before I buy some packs for a very simple reason : it’s much cheaper. Yeah I know, I’m a genius. But a lot of 12 Topps series 1 rack packs were on sale for $22, so I figured I’d forget my rule for once. I already had the complete Blue Jays team set (without the SPs), so I was just looking for nice cards and fun inserts.
The one thing I got, though, was terrible collation. The rack packs yielded 432 cards, and 176 of those were duplicates. I only got 195 different base set cards. I can tolerate a 25% duplicates rate, but 40% is just way too high. I think Topps is just testing my patience. Or telling me to stop whining and buy a Hobby box next time (I know that the collation on A&G’s is horrible, but is it the same with flagship boxes ?).
I knew about variations, but I thought they were only cards with all new photography. Apparently, this year they added  the sparkle element (I think they did it before).  A sparkle here, a sparkle there, and there you go, another kind of parallel card, just in case there were’nt enough already to chase. I like the idea of variations with different photos. Sparkles are just a pain to look out for. But maybe I’m just bitter because all my duplicates had no sparkle in them. I should write directly to Topps HQ.

Anyway, you’ve all seen the base cards 1000 times, so I’ll just focus on the inserts.

Fairly easy to land, but I do like the way they look, even though the other cards will make fun of them in their oversized 9 pocket sleeves. And any Clemente on cardboard is good to have (and Kershaw, obviously)

Here come the parallels ! The Bogaerts is actually a nice pull, as far as the Topps base set goes. I also think they did a good job on that green.

Kind of boring, but inevitable (and they seem to come in pairs, just in case we didn't get the message the first time). And a good way to add cards of Cespedes and Trout. The good thing about getting so many duplicates is that you can compare cards :

Maybe they're anticipating the graded card craze of 2046 and are off-centering text on purpose (bottom right) ? They are creating a Cespedes shortage of perfect cards ! So clever. I'll buy 100 of them right now.

I....hum...yeah....nah...blah. Next.

They already did Super veteran subsets in the past, but I just think it's a mean insert. They're basically telling those players that hey, you're not getting any younger, time flies, you're a SUPER veteran now, not just an ordinary veteran. Just look at how young you looked 14 years ago. Shocker huh ? Don't get too cozy in the locker room.

Another Trout...(I'm making fun of Topps putting some Trout everywhere, but in the 90s I was really happy to see Griffey on any and every insert possible). Those inserts actually look ok, and Bo Jackson is in my PC, and Aaron would be if I had much more money and was into vintage.

So there you go. Ordinary cards from an ordinary set, with good moments and good overall photography on the base set. I just want Topps to replace those 176 duplicates with 176 well centered Cespedes cards. I'm sure they'll agree to it.

Dear Topps...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Monty Burns

I usually do not buy complete sets. I don’t see the point.  I do make exceptions for boxed sets that look nice and for cards that appeal to me and that are way too expensive to buy a pack or a box of.
It’s the case with the 2005 SP Legendary cuts complete base set (90 cards). I’m glad they remembered that there were all those legendary players who were just begging to get back on cardboard and collectors who didn’t necessarily smoke 100 years ago. Those cards look nice enough, very elegant, and the lineup is close to perfect (not a single Blue Jay player (there is Molitor, but in a Brewers uniform), but I won’t hold it against Upper Deck), but I just wish the backs of the cards were more detailed. I’m not familiar yet with the products that exist with old timers in them, I’ll have to do my homework and see which ones are the coolest.

I scanned the Gary Carter card so my good friend Rich (hey there) could see it and be jealous.
Now the real question is, how do I organize it ? Do I put them in a binder or do I leave them in a box to look at from time to time ? Or I take out my favorite players and leave the rest in a box. So many questions. So little time and space.

Also in that category of boxed sets is the 1994 Upper Deck American Epic set. Man did they get it right. I'm deeply in love with those cards. Same as I was with the documentary when I first saw it on tv (our equivalent of the Discovery Channel, I suppose) in 1994. It aired during the summer, at 1 pm every day, and I'd never miss it. I even taped all of it. How long is it, 18, 20 hours ? It helped me a lot to expand my knowledge about vintage baseball and the players that made the History of the game. But the real question remains : how could this set have been made in 1994 and no one told me about it ?? No foil, no gloss, just full bleed pictures with a year, a name and the UD logo. Nothing fancy, nothing over the top, just some nice B&W photos of past greats (and one of Michael Jordan. It was 1994 after all). The people at Upper Deck even nailed the backs on those cards, with nice blurbs and nice stat choices.
I'll cherrish it.
I might even sleep with it.
If I ever manage to find sleep again.
I'll let you know.