Spotlight on Oddballs: 1995 Jimmy Dean

1995 Jimmy Dean All Time Greats

1995 Jimmy Dean All Time Greats

The 1995 Jimmy Dean set is the 4th year the sausage company produced a set of baseball cards (1991-1995 excluding the 1994 strike year). It would also be its last. The 1995 set was its smallest of its regular sets (1991 had 25 cards, 1992 had 18 cards and 1993 had 28 cards). It was also the first time they produced a set involving retired players as well as having autograph versions of some of those cards (3 of the 6 cards).

The card fronts were border-less with a white framing line just on the inside of the four edges. The top-right (or left) identified the set (a graphic design stating “1995 All Time Greats Collector’s Set” was printed on each card). The bottom left (or right) featured the Jimmy Dean logo with the name of the player below).

The backs of the cards had the same two graphics as the front, both at the top, with the player’s accomplishments and personal information in list form as well as a short baseball biography and career stat-line below. The backs also have a framing line but this time it was in gold.

The cards were not sanctioned by Major League Baseball so all MLB logos were airbrushed away.

Included in specially marked packages of sausages were one plastic-wrapped card from the set as well as an autograph offer form. With $7.00 and two proofs of purchase you could choose one of the three autographed cards (Al Kaline, Billy Williams, or Catfish Hunter).

The autographed cards were the regular cards with the player signature on the front in blue ink. Along with the card itself you also received a Certificate of Authenticity card.

The 1995 Jimmy Dean set was not very popular with collectors and Jimmy Dean stopped producing cards after this set was issued. The set was too small to pose a challenge for collectors. It featured retired players rather than the star players of the time. Even the signature cards, the best part about the set, were mostly ignored. They still sell at the lower range of signature card prices so if you are a fan of any of the three players and are on a limited budget these cards may interest you.

Probably the most enjoyable way to collect this set would be to include it as part of a Jimmy Dean master collection where you would search out all the Jimmy Dean cards from 1991 onward. Where this set has only six cards, nine with the auto cards, the complete Jimmy Dean Collection is 104 cards, a much more challenging pursuit. Here are the sets you would need:

  1. 1991 Jimmy Dean – 25 cards
  2. 1992 Jimmy Dean – 18 cards
  3. 1992 Jimmy Dean Living Legends – 6 cards
  4. 1992 Jimmy Dean Rookie Stars – 9 cards
  5. 1993 Jimmy Dean – 28 cards
  6. 1993 Jimmy Dean Rookies – 9 cards
  7. 1995 Jimmy Dean All Time Greats  – 6 cards (+3 Auto’s)

1995 Jimmy Dean All Time Greats Images:

 

Beckett: A Company Ignorant of its Own History?

Beckett Magazine Covers

Beckett Magazine Covers

What started out as a simple price guide published ten times a year back in 1984 by a statistician named Dr. James Beckett has, over the past 30+ years, grown into a media empire producing multiple magazines, subscription-based online price information, catalog listings, marketplace buying and selling, and sports card and memorabilia grading. Throughout its history Beckett’s publications were considered the Bibles of pricing information. Once the online auction site eBay became the most popular site to buy and sell trading cards, Beckett lost that distinction, but its media empire still is the largest in the hobby.

Dr. James Beckett no longer runs his own creation, selling his name and company to Apprise Media back in 2006. Of the sale (rumored to be in the $20 million range) Beckett stated, “This company has had remarkable growth over the last 20 years, both in print and electronic media,” he said. “I am delighted to hand it over to Apprise Media, which has an excellent track record in growing niche media businesses, both print and interactive. I am very confident that Apprise, working with the Beckett Publications team, will take the company to the next level.”

This statement may have been true, but it lost part of its history in the sale. A good example of what I’m talking about occurred recently between me and a Beckett representative. I am in the process of trying to read every Beckett publication involving baseball cards. Buying the back issues online and the most recent magazines from my local sports card dealer. I ran into a snag at the 2008 mark. According to my own memory, and other places I have researched, Beckett combined its four monthly sports card magazines into one. Baseball, Football, Hockey and Basketball became Beckett Sports Card Monthly. Looking on eBay I came across the evidence I needed to be assured this change was true:

eBay's: Beckett Sports Card Monthly, Apr. '08, Issue #277

eBay’s: Beckett Sports Card Monthly, Apr. ’08, Issue #277

As you can see at the top of the magazine it states “New Format.” The numbering also matches up with the Beckett Baseball magazine. This is issue #277 (Apr. ’08). I couldn’t find Issue #276, but Issue #275 of Beckett Baseball is Issue #275 (Feb. ’08):

Beckett Baseball #275 - Feb. '08

Beckett Baseball #275 – Feb. 08

So the numbering moved from Beckett Baseball magazine to Beckett Sports Card Monthly and continued on from there. But wait a second, here is another Beckett Baseball magazine from May of 2009 and it is #43 and another from Dec. ’09 and it is #47:

Beckett Baseball Issues # 43 & 47

Beckett Baseball Issues # 43 & 47

So what is the deal with that? To give the readers some insight, let’s go back in the publication history of Beckett. The baseball magazine was originally called Beckett Monthly, then by issue #7 it changed to Beckett Baseball Card Monthly, It stayed that way until 2003. In May 2003, it changed its name to Beckett Baseball Collector. The numbering stayed sequential. Issue #217 in April was called Baseball Card Monthly, Issue #218 in May was called Baseball Collector. Then in July 2004 (Issue #232) it changed to just Beckett Baseball. It stayed Beckett Baseball until April of 2008, when all four sports monthlies combined to become Beckett Sports Card Monthly and this magazine took over the numbering from the baseball publication.

Logic would dictate that if you combined the baseball magazine with the football, hockey and basketball magazines (for cost-saving purposes), you would discontinue these individual four magazines afterward. But Beckett did not do this. As you can see from the images shown previously, Beckett continued with Beckett Baseball long after Beckett Sports Card Monthly was published. In fact, Beckett Baseball continues on to this day. Here is its latest issue (May 2016, #122):

Beckett Baseball #122 - May '16

Beckett Baseball #122 – May ’16

The only problem with this occurrence is that if Beckett decided to continue with the baseball magazine, why did it advertise that it would be morphed into Beckett Sports Card Monthly? And why would Beckett Sports Card Monthly take over the sequential numbering from Beckett Baseball? Logic would indicate that the Sports Card Monthly should be a new publication with a new numbering starting at #1, no? And Beckett Baseball would continue with its own numbering (#277 and onward)?

Now Beckett did not act logically. Perhaps it realized that its new Sports Card Monthly wouldn’t satisfy baseball card collectors and reversed its decision to eliminate the baseball magazine. Whatever the reason, if Beckett Baseball was not to be discontinued, and it would lose its numbering to Beckett Sports Card Monthly, should it have not started anew with the designation of Issue #1? But no, that wasn’t even logical enough, Beckett Baseball renewed with an unknown numbering. It looks like it became, at first, a bimonthly publication. I could not find an April 2008 issue. The earliest I found was from Oct./.Nov. and it was issue #29:

 

Beckett Baseball #29 - Oct.-Nov. '08

Beckett Baseball #29 – Oct.-Nov. ’08

Since it would be completely asinine to think Beckett decided to just grab a random number out of the air to begin its new numbering system for the renewed Beckett Baseball, the number had to come from somewhere. Since Oct./Nov. 2008 was #29. it would be impossible that if an April 2008 issue existed it would be #1. If we go back from #29, using a bimonthly schedule:

  • Aug./Sep. #28
  • Jun./Jul. #27
  • Apr./May #26

Do these titles exist, or did Beckett Baseball restart at issue #29 in Oct. 2008?

Whichever is true where did that numbering come from? For those who have a good memory back in the 2000’s they might remember another baseball magazine that Beckett published. It was called Beckett Baseball Card Plus. Perhaps Beckett Baseball Card Plus was discontinued and Beckett Baseball took over its numbering? It was a bimonthly magazine after all and its numbering, if memory serves me correctly, was in the 20’s or 30’s at the time. Looking around online I found an issue for sale from 2007 (Apr./May 2007). It was #29:

Beckett Baseball Card Plus #29 - Apr.-May 2007

Beckett Baseball Card Plus #29 – Apr.-May 2007

If Beckett Baseball Card Plus was numbered 29 in Apr./May 2007, it obviously couldn’t also be #29 and be Beckett Baseball in Oct./Nov. 2008. But just for accuracy’s sake, the image I found for the Oct./Nov. 2008 issue #29 of Beckett Baseball was not extremely clear. Here is an image of the bar code and you can judge for yourself:

Bar code of Beckett Baseball #29 - Oct.-Nov. '08

Bar code of Beckett Baseball #29 – Oct.-Nov. ’08

Perhaps it is numbered 39 instead of 29? If it is 39 then the numbering could match up. If the Apr./May 2007 issue of Beckett Baseball Card Plus was #29 then:

  • Jun./Jul. 2007 #30
  • Aug./Sep. 2007 #31
  • Oct./Nov. 2007 #32
  • Dec./Jan. 2008 #33
  • Feb./Mar. 2008 #34
  • Apr./May 2008 #35
  • Jun./Jul. 2008 #36
  • Aug./Sep. 2008 #37
  • Oct./Nov. 2008 #38

Now we are getting closer. But the progression shows Oct./Nov. as #38 not #39.

This is as far as I could go and it left a bunch of questions unanswered. Where did the Beckett Baseball numbering come from, was it from Beckett Baseball Card Plus? How many issues of Beckett Baseball Card Plus were published? When did Beckett Baseball become a bimonthly magazine, and when did it return to a monthly magazine again? I am trying to find all the baseball-related Beckett’s so this information is essential. If I have this information, I will know when I am finished the collection without missing any titles.

The best way to find this information is to go to its source. I emailed Beckett, a man named Chris, and I asked about the numbering of their magazines. He passed me over to a customer service representative named Shawn. Shawn responded to my query thus:

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting Beckett.

This e-mail is in regards to your request for all sports card listing.

I apologize however we do not have the information of what cards, sets are going to be printed in Magazine however I can help you with special offers for Magazines.

I can provide you 1 year Baseball Magazine in just $44.95 (12 Issues/year), 2 year Baseball Magazine in just $74.95 (24 Issues/ 2 year), 3 year Baseball Magazine in just $99.95 (36 Issues/ 3 Year).

I can provide you 1 Year Sports Card Monthly Magazine in just $44.95 (12 Issues/year), 2 year Sports Card Monthly Magazine in just $74.95 (24 Issues/ 2 year), 3 year Sports Card monthly Magazine in just $99.95 (36 Issues/ 3 Year).

You can use Promotion Code RG. (Period is a part of the promotion code) if you purchase online from Beckett and you may get some additional benefits.

Please let me know which term you would like to get & I will help you with it.

Any feedback you have for Beckett will be appreciated. Feel free to write back to us or call us on the toll free number mentioned below.
Thanks,
Shawn Michael
Beckett Media
Customer Service Team
Contact No: 855-777-2325

Obviously there was something lost in the translation. I did not want information on cards,, sets etc. but issue runs and numbering. So I replied:

Hi Shawn,

I think you may need to read my email again. I wasn’t asking about cards or sets. I was asking if you or someone else at Beckett knows the print runs of the follow magazines as per dates and numbering: Beckett Baseball Card Monthly, Beckett Sports Card Monthly, Becket Baseball and Beckett Baseball Card Plus. These four magazines have a confusing numbering and dating system starting in 2008. I”m wondering if you can remove that confusion. I already buy Becketts at my local sports card dealer so I don”t need a subscription.

If you are confused about what I mean by numbering and dating, the magazines all have them. For example Beckett Baseball Monthly came out in 1984. #1 was in November 1984. #2 was in December of 1984 and it continues numerically up to sometime in 2008 when the numbering transfers over to Beckett Sports Card Monthly. But when it switched over it wasn’t called Beckett Baseball Card Monthly anymore it was called Beckett Baseball. But Beckett Baseball continued afterward on a bimonthly schedule (I think) but its numbering went from the high 200s to the 40s. So if it became the 40th number where are the earlier 39 issues? Were they from Beckett Baseball Card Plus? It’s all very confusing.

What do you do when u r confused? You go directly to the source and ask them hoping they think enough of your loyalty and business over the years to find the answers to your question.

I am in the process of collecting all the back issues I am missing and it is hard to do when you don’t know what magazines are numbered or dated.

So I reiterate can you or one of your colleagues tell me the print runs of the follow magazines as per dates and numbering: Beckett Baseball Card Monthly, Beckett Sports Card Monthly, Becket Baseball and Beckett Baseball Card Plus.

Thank you and I look forward to your response,

Scott

Shawn’s reply:

Thank you for contacting Beckett.

This e-mail is in regards to your query with the query for the print run of the Magazines.

I apologize however we do not have the information on the print run of the specific Magazines.

Any feedback you have for Beckett will be appreciated. Feel free to write back to us or call us on the toll free number mentioned below.

Hmm, I couldn’t believe they didn’t have this information. They are Beckett correct? They are the ones who published these magazines correct?

To be fair, Shawn obviously is there to sell subscription and answer subscription-related questions, not answer historical questions about the magazines he is representing. I decided to see if he would pass me on to someone else who could answer my questions. I emailed him this response:

Hi Shawn,

Can you point me in the direction of someone who would know?

Shawn answered:

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting Beckett.

This e-mail is in regards to your query with the query for the print run of the Magazines.

We have forwarded this to our concern team and they will check if it is possible to help you with the print run of Magazine.

Any feedback you have for Beckett will be appreciated. Feel free to write back to us or call us on the toll free number mentioned below.

From there I waited, and waited, and waited. I sent an email to inquire what was happening with my query:

Hi Shawn

I’m wondering if there is any update as to when my query will be answered as it has been over three weeks since you stated you forwarded my query to the concern team. I have not had any response since then.

After a couple more week waiting, I received this reply from Shawn:

Dear Customer,

Thank you for contacting Beckett.

This e-mail is in regards to your query with the query for the print run of the Magazines.

I apologize however we do not have the information on the print run of the Magazines.

Any feedback you have for Beckett will be appreciated. Feel free to write back to us or call us on the toll free number mentioned below.

As a purchaser of Beckett publications for over 30 years, I was disappointed I didn’t get an answer. Also, it raises the question, If Beckett itself doesn’t have anyone working for it who knows its history, what does that tell you about its corporate culture. Does it care about it’s history? Does it think its presence in the sports collecting world for more than three decades is of any importance? Does it actually care for its long time collectors of its magazine? Most collectors I talk with don’t have much good to say about Beckett anymore. Its pricing online, and its paper price guides are thought irrelevant when collectors can see up to the minute sales of cards on eBay.

But there is no arguing Beckett’s historical importance in the hobby. I continue to buy the magazine (Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly) from my local card shop. Not because it has anything that I couldn’t find online for free no less, but because it was an important part of my early collecting experience and I want to continue to support it (the print magazines, not the online presence which I believe is not worth the money).

I guess I will now be in the dark as to what I need to find to complete my Beckett collection. It’s sad but I now feel like it might not be worth it anymore.

If you wish to see my progress in the collection of the magazines just choose Beckett Baseball Card Monthly from the menu items at the top of the page or click here.

Twenty Years Ago and the Chase for Wagner

McNall-Gretzky T206 Wagner card

McNall-Gretzky T206 Wagner card

Anyone who collected baseball cards back in the mid-90’s should remember Wallmart’s big sports card promotion that included the possibility of winning the McNall/Gretzky T206 Honus Wagner card.

The promotion, called the “Greatest Trading Card Giveaway of All Time,” included the Wagner card as well as other important cards in the hobby. Up for grabs were cards of Gordie Howe (’51-52 Parkhurst #66), Joe Namath (’65 Topps #122), Knute Rockne (’33 Sport King #35), (Mickey Mantle (’53 Topps #82) and George Mikan (’48 Bowman #69) and many others.

Sponsored by Upper Deck, Leaf, Fleer, Skybox and Topps, the idea sprung from the brain of Harold Anderson of Treat Entertainment who purchased the Wagner card for $500,000.00 from Gretzky in 1995. Anderson approached Wallmart and the five major card companies and the promotion was born. All collectors had to do to enter the contest was to request an official entry card, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to “World’s Most Valuable Card Entry Card Request,” P.O. Box 11838, St. Paul, MN 55111 by January 1, 1996 or enter a Wallmart store and buy the specially marked 2-for-$1 trading card packs and fill out the contest card and send it away.

"Greatest Trading Card Giveaway of All Time" Ad Poster

“Greatest Trading Card Giveaway of All Time” Ad Poster

The promotion lasted five months from Oct. of 1995 to Feb. of 1996. Each month there would be a draw in each of the four sports, October was Hockey, November was Basketball, December was Baseball and January was Football. On Wagner’s birthday, February 24th, the draw for his card took place.

Patricia Gibbs was the final winner of the Wagner card which she put up for auction almost immediately after winning (she couldn’t afford the taxes on the card). Christie’s auctioned the card off to Michael Gidwitz for $641,500.00.

There was mixed feelings in the hobby at the time about this promotion. Many card shop owners thought it would draw business away from their shops and get collectors accustomed to buying their cards at big department stores like Wallmart. Others took a different view thinking that the promotion would bring thousands of more people into the hobby as the contest would introduce them to a fun pastime. Either way you had difficulty ignoring the phenomenon. Personally, I liked the idea that for once there was a chance a normal Joe, rather than a star hockey player or owner, or other well-to-do collector would have a chance to own some of the great cards in the hobby. It is a bit frustrating when a hobby meant for kids transforms into a hobby that reserves the best cards to the exclusivity of those collectors with hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend.

 

2016 Topps Now

Two Topps Now Examples

Two Topps Now Examples

Topps Now is the latest marketing strategy by the grandfather of baseball card producers and is something every collector needs to pay attention to. For those who do not know what Topps Now is here is the rundown taken from the Topps website:

Imagine your favorite player throwing a no-hitter, and then getting a card of that special moment the very next day! Starting April 4, baseball fans everywhere will get the opportunity to do so.

The Topps Company is proud to introduce TOPPS NOW, a Topps.com-exclusive product that will depict the greatest moments and milestones from the 2016 Major League Baseball season almost as soon as they happen. The physical cards will be available the very next day to purchase through Topps.com, but for just 24 hours, and will not be available for purchase again.

“TOPPS NOW was inspired by input from our passionate baseball fans,” said Clay Luraschi, Topps ’Vice President of Product Development. “Magical moments will be captured on baseball cards the very next day, giving fans everywhere a chance to own a piece of history almost immediately.”

The first two cards in the TOPPS NOW set include Francisco Liriano (card. No. 1) and the Kansas City Royals (card No. 2).

TOPPS NOW cards will depict great achievements and performances throughout the 2016 season. If a player hits four home runs in a game or has a walk-off home run, baseball fans can expect to see those cards in the TOPPS NOW set the next day. TOPPS NOW combines the magic of baseball cards with the timeliness of a special moment to get cards into the hands of baseball fans and collectors in a way that has never been done before.

TOPPS NOW adds to an already great portfolio of Topps’ Major League Baseball-exclusive cards with a new card design. In addition, at the end of each card’s selling window, Topps will announce the number of cards that will be printed for each card.

Fans can also let Topps know every night what they think should be on a TOPPS NOW card through Topps’ social media accounts utilizing the hashtag #TOPPSNOW.

Now that you have the basics, you might respond, Hey! that’s great I am going to join up for this new card distribution method.” Or, perhaps you are uninterested, “Ten bucks for one card, what the hell is Topps thinking?”

2016 Topps Now Francisco Liriano

2016 Topps Now Francisco Liriano

Either way, one thing you can’t do is ignore it. Why do I say that? For a few reasons. The first is that Topps considers all these cards to be eligible for rookie card status. For those who don’t much pay attention to RC’s anymore (like me) and much prefer the first card of a player, then this might not cause much of an effect. Most player’s first cards come much earlier than when the player first achieves an appearance in the major leagues. But some do slip through the cracks, not many, but some. And those players, along with all other players who gain a Topps Now card in their rookie debut season will be considered as an RC by the company with the RC logo printed on the card.

For hobbyists who collect RC’s, this could complicate matters substantially. If rookies playing in 2016 make an impact to an extent that Topps make a card for them in Topps Now, and if that rookie did not get treatment in the sets issued in 2016, meaning he will not be on a regular issue card until 2017 then those 2017 cards which would have become RC’s may not technically be RC’s anymore. Even if they still become RC’s they might not be desirable to RC collectors as the Topps Now RC card, issued the year previous, might become the desired RC card.

With the development mentioned above, it could lead to extreme scarcity for RC cards, especially for 2016 if Topps Now cards stay at the print runs now being shown (between 500 to 1400 of each card). With such small print runs, these RC’s could become the next chase collectable for RC seekers who haven’t joined the program. Already (as of Apr. 14th, 2016) there are RCs of the following players in Topps Now: Trevor Brown, Trevor Story, Tyler White, Kenta Maeda and Nomar Mazara. Of the fifteen cards printed so far, seven show RC cards. With print runs under 2000 you can see how these cards are going to become quite desirable if these rookies make more and more of an impact in the future.

2016 Topps Now KC Royals

2016 Topps Now KC Royals

A second reason to pay attention is for those hobbyists who are player collectors. If you are a player collector who desires one of every card of a favorite player, then Topps Now might be something you will need to join in on. Although presently the non RC cards that have hit eBay have been in the $9.99 price range (the original selling price through Topps) it might not stay that way as more and more collectors get wind of this new card distribution method. Player collectors of Chris Davis, Addison Russell, Albert Pujols, Brandon Crawford, David Ortiz, Francisco Liriano, and Bryce Harper have Topps Now cards they might want to collect. Even team collectors have a Kansas City team card in Topps Now that they might want to add to their collection.

Whether Topps Now will catch on to a large extent remains to be seen. It might be a interesting blip in 2016, or it might be continue on into the future becoming a desired area of collecting by baseball hobbyists. At $9.99 a card, I will pass on it myself. I’ll let you decide on what is best for your collecting needs.

 

Collecting Challenge, 1952 Bowman, Post Four

1952 Bowman #4 Robin Roberts

1952 Bowman #4 Robin Roberts

The next Bowman card that I ordered from COMC came in. It continues my purchases of the more sought after Hall of Fame players in the set as I wait until another bulk purchase of the commons shows up on eBay or various other auction sites.

Last time I picked up the Dodger great Pee Wee Reese, this time I moved to the pitching mound and grabbed the Phillies great Robin Roberts. It’s in better shape than the Reese card and I only paid $16.75. Numbered four in the set, it leaves only Yogi Berra and Minnie Minoso remaining to finished the first ten cards in the set.

It also moves the total cards I now have to 147 (147/252 58.33%).

Collecting Challenge, 1952 Bowman, Post Three

Collecting Challenge, 1952 Bowman, Post Five

 

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five Ungraded cards

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five Ungraded cards

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five Graded cards

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five Graded cards

I received my latest cards from COMC and eBay today (shown above). With these cards I finished the wall of all the cards from 2016-2014. I still need a few graded cards for storage, but for the wall it’s all done. The five cards I added to the wall to complete 2016-2014 are:

  1. 1987 Donruss Greg Maddux RC #36
  2. 1988 Score Tom Glavine RC #638
  3. 1990 Bowman Frank Thomas RC #320
  4. 1990 Topps Frank Thomas RC #414
  5. 1962 Topps Joe Torre RC #218

With the completion of 2016-2014 I can now move on to the next three years (2013-2011). Here are the inductees and the cards I will pursue:

2013

Hank O’Day

Hank O’Day was a Pitcher / Umpire / Manager back in the late 1800’s early 1900’s. He was voted in by the Veterans Committee as an umpire. As he was a pitcher originally he does have cards in the a few of the early pre-1900 sets (1887 N172 Old Judge and the 1889 Hartley Studio Cabinet set (see below)):

Pre-1900 Hank O'Day Cards

These cards rarely are seen for purchase and when they have shown up at various auction sites they usually command over $1000.00. As triple digit priced cards are above my pay grade, I will have to search elsewhere of an O’Day card. In 1994, the Conlon Collection pictured Hank O’Day so it will be that card I will pursue.

  1. 1994 Conlon Collection Hank O’Day #1201

Jacob Ruppert

Ruppert was the owner of the New York Yankees from 1915 until his death in 1939. He was voted in by the Veterans Committee as an Executive. He was never a ballplayer so he didn’t have any cards for that purpose. Once he entered the Hall the card companies began producing cards of the man. I personally liked his 2013 Panini Golden Age card (you gotta love the top hat) so I chose it as the card to add.

  1. 2013 Panini Golden Age Jacob Ruppert #29

Deacon White

Mr. White was a catcher from the pre-1900s who also played third base. Like Hank O’Day, he has cards back in the pre-1900 days that are out of reach for most collectors both for rarity and price.

Since these cards are out of my price range I decided to look for an alternative. The one that caught my eye was in the 2012 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions set. The image on the card copied the one on the 1888-89 Old Judge card which I liked so I chose it to add.

  1. 2012 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Deacon White #182

2012

Barry Larkin

Larkin’s first cards came out in 1987. Donruss, Fleer and Topps all had a card for the Red’s shortstop.

  1. 1987 Donruss Barry Larkin RC #492
  2. 1987 Fleer Barry Larkin RC #204
  3. 1987 Topps Barry Larkin RC #648

Ron Santo

Santo did not gain enough votes from the Writers so he had to wait until the Veterans Committee voted him in. He has only one first card from Topps back in 1961.

  1. 1961 Topps Ron Santo RC #35

2011

Roberto Alomar

Alomar’s first cards came out in 1988 but everyone except Donruss waited until their year-end Rookie/Traded sets to include him. Therefore he has only two first cards, the Donruss card, and Donruss’ Canadian counterpart Leaf.

  1. 1988 Donruss Roberto Alomar RC #34
  2. 1988 Leaf Roberto Alomar RC #34

Bert Blyleven

Blyleven reached the hall after being on the ballot since 1998 (14 years). His first cards came out in 1971 in Topps and O-Pee-Chee.

  1. 1971 O-Pee-Chee Bert Blyleven RC #26
  2. 1971 Topps Bert Blyleven RC #26

Pat Gillick

Gillick went in as an executive for his work on bringing the Blue Jays two World Series titles back in the 90s.  He never played major league baseball so it wasn’t until his induction that baseball cards started to appear of him. One of the more attractive cards put out of the man was in the 2014 Panini Hall of Fame Signatures set so I decided on that one to be added to the wall.

  1. 2014 Panini Hall of Fame Signatures Pat Gillick #47

In total that is twelve cards for the years 2013-2011 that will be collected and added to the wall. I purchased the Gillick, White, and Ruppert cards which came in the latest deliveries from COMC and eBay. I bought the Topps Blyleven card a few months ago, the Donruss Alomar card and the Topps Larkin card I’ve had for over a decade. That leaves six remaining to find and purchase. Once that is done I can move on to 2010 and beyond.

Here is the latest picture of the wall:

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five the Wall

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five the Wall

If you would like to see all the cards I have collected, both graded and ungraded, and the price I paid for each just go to the menu at the top left of each page (The Hall of Fame Table) or click here.

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Four

2016 Topps Buybacks: An Exercise in Stupidity

2016 Topps Buyback cards

2016 Topps Buyback cards

With 2016 in full swing, and much of this year’s product already on the shelves of dealers and department store chains, including Topps flagship product, you probably have come across some of this year’s Topps Buyback cards.

This is Topps 65th Anniversary and it is reflected on all of the Buyback cards in various lines of Topps product.

Topps, after realizing that just inserting random cards from years past, was an asinine gimmick, decided to stamp the cards with an insignia. Which to most collectors, including myself, is even worse.

If Topps ever wanted Buyback cards to make any sense they would purchase only those cards that are popular with collectors. Forget the 1987 Topps commons and insert a 1956 Topps Mickey Mantle, Forget an ’86 common and put in a 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson. Most of all, and I can’t emphasize this enough, don’t stamp the card!

When Topps stamps a card it doesn’t create a new card, it degrades a vintage card. Just as if you accidentally spilled some ink on the card, a Topps 65th Anniversary stamp on a vintage card makes it less desirable and drops it in grade. If you had a 1983 Topps Tony Gwynn rookie card in its original form, and a second one with the stamp which would you want? The answer is a no-brainer, why would I want a damaged Gwynn card?

To further the stupidity, this year Topps has decided to not only stamp the buyback cards but make them tiered with the stamps changing color. Although no specific numbers were given Topps did explain the color scheme itself. It is the following:

  • Black – Standard
  • Red – Limited
  • Blue – Rare
  • Silver – Scarce
  • Gold – one of ones (1/1)

Topps also included signature cards in the mix. The signature cards would be the exception to this whole 65th Anniversary debacle as they become similar to cards signed by players at the ballpark with proof of authenticity.

Returning to the tiered color scheme, WTF is Topps thinking this will accomplish? There are only so many times that Topps can think their customers are idiots before it will affect their sales. If most collectors think that stamped buybacks are just damaged cards, what will changing the color of the object of the damage do? Absolutely nothing.

Perhaps Topps needs someone to give them a much-needed piece of advice. I can be that someone…

Dear Topps,

I would like to inform you, as a representative of your concerned customer base, that your 2016 Topps Buyback promotion for your 65th Anniversary is embarrassing. You should rethink your priorities, fire or at least reprimand the people in your marketing department who thought up this scheme, and return to promotions that actually make sense.

If you do decide to continue with buyback promotions then do it correctly. There are only two kinds of buybacks that your customers are interested in. The first are cards that have significance in the hobby. Get us excited with RC’s of Hall of Famers or at least star players. Who of your loyal patrons would be upset pulling a RC of Roberto Clemente or even more recent and less expensive inductees like Paul Molitor or Wade Boggs. Thurman Munson or Alan Trammell would be a couple of non-Hall players that RC’s would be fun to pull from Topps packs of 2016. But don’t stamp them. Keep them in their original form. Every one you stamp creates one less collectible card.

The second kind of buybacks that are acceptable are the signature cards. You did it last year with the Topps Heritage Signature cards, you can keep up the good work. Perhaps put a slabbed signature in random boxes, or even just a redemption card in random packs so that cheaters don’t go looking for those boxes that seem a bit heavier that the others. Just don’t put signatures on the important rookie cards. Leave the important cards alone.

Thank you,

Your ever loyal customer,

The Ignorant Itellectual