Friday, December 11, 2009

1996 Fleer

I'm tired of looking at that picture of the homecoming queen at the top of my blog. Time to do something else, even if it's half-assed.

I really dug the '96 Fleer, even if they don't look all that great. The matte finish was a great idea. But the design couldn't have been any worse than it was. I mean, I'm a minimalist and all when it comes to cards, but good grief. This may have been the plainest set in baseball card history. These make '61 Topps look like '90 Topps. (Ok, they don't, but you get the picture.....)

I never realized how much Clint Sodowsky looks like Michael Biehn. From The Abyss. Yeah, that's right....right about the time his starts wigging out.

The 1996 Fleer Detroit Tigers:
105 Danny Bautista
106 Joe Boever
107 Chad Curtis
108 John Doherty
109 Cecil Fielder
110 John Flaherty
111 Travis Fryman
112 Chris Gomez
113 Bob Higginson
114 Mark Lewis
115 Jose Lima
116 Felipe Lira
117 Brian Maxcy
118 C.J. Nitkowski
119 Phil Plantier
120 Clint Sodowsky
121 Alan Trammell
122 Lou Whitaker

There was a parallel set printed on glossy stock that was the same as the regular set.

There was also an update set:
U33 Kimera Bartee
U34 Mark Lewis
U35 Melvin Nieves
U36 Mark Parent
U37 Eddie Williams
U219 Cecil Fielder ENCORE

I have a couple of inserts, I don't know for sure if that's all there were.

3 Tony Clark

Team Leader
6 Travis Fryman

The number of former and future Padres on that roster is staggering, and it would only get worse.....

Monday, December 7, 2009

Reaffirmation Of Why I Fucking Hate Topps, Part 4

I knew better than to attempt this. That's why I'm madder at myself than I am at Topps. But this is fucking ridiculous. Let me start with who I'm still missing before I really say how I feel about the whole motherfucking deal.

UH20 Justin Masterson RC
UH39 Jose Molina
UH45 Eric Hurley RC
UH57 Ramon Castro
UH63 Eric Brunfeldt
UH78 Dallas Braden
UH81 J.C. Romero
UH108 Shin-Soo Choo
UH144 Robinson Tejada
UH189 Micah Hoffpauir RC
UH201 Travis Denker RC
UH225 Ryan Tucker RC
UH234 Carl Pavano
UH309 John Bowker RC

Now to the punch. I BOUGHT 8 BLASTERS AND A FUCKING HOBBY BOX AND I'M STILL MISSING THIS MANY CARDS. IIRC correctly, each blaster had 80 cards. The hobby box had 360. THAT'S 1,000 CARDS. HOW THE FUCK CAN THAT NOT BE ENOUGH TO COMPLETE A 330 CARD SET???

Ok, I'm done with capital letters for the rest of this post. But shit, that's fucking ridiculous. On top of the 14 cards I'm missing, I got roughly 100 insert cards, the majority of which are crap (see picture above, which by the way is off-centered, has a ding on the corner, and has two serious crimps about an inch from the top, and that's the way it came out of the pack.....) Hell, I got three Millard Fillmore cards for crying out loud!

Out of all those inserts, I only got one Tiger. (The Galarraga jersey card). If anybody is interested in making a trade for any of these insert cards for some Tigers inserts, please respond below. Not knowing this set all that well, I would suppose that the best three inserts I got are a Miguel Tejada jersey card, something called Silk Collection of Andre Ethier (cool card, but if somebody has a Tiger one of these I'll gladly part with this one), and a chrome refractor of Max Ramirez of the Rangers. I'll trade all three. If you collect a certain team, post below which one and I'll tell you what I have for inserts. I'm also interested in finishing the WBC set if you have doubles of those too.

I know. It's my own damn fault. I knew this was going to happen and I let it anyway. But good grief, this is horrible. The best (being sarcastic here...) part is that the 8 blasters were priced at $20 each, and the hobby box was priced at $72. That would've been $232 before the Meijer discount (I got each blaster for $8 and the hobby box for $40, which is still $104). I'm still missing cards. Yeah Topps, It's Upper Deck cards sitting next to yours in the store which is why collectors are unhappy. Go fuck your collective selves.

Monday, November 16, 2009

1996 Bowman's Best

You gotta love a 180 card set from 1996 that's called "Best" and only contains TWO Tigers cards....

The 1996 Bowman's Best Detroit Tigers:
5 Cecil Fielder
69 Travis Fryman

...and Cecil was negligible by 1996......

1996 Bowman

I think there are a couple of new readers around here since I blogged about the last Bowman set so I'll reiterate what it is that I love about Bowman sets. I love looking back at the ineptitude of the Tigers' organization to draft and develop talent. I love getting to a Bowman set in the binder just to count the Tigers that I have no recollection of whatsoever and this year's set is no different. I was living in Memphis in the pre-internet days, and the Bowman set was often how I found about who the Tigers prospects were. In almost all cases, it was never good.....

The 1996 Bowman Detroit Tigers:
100 Cecil Fielder
106 Travis Fryman
138 Luis Garcia
162 Greg Whiteman
164 Tony Clark
182 Cameron Smith
214 Justin Thompson
247 Mike Darr
268 Juan Encarnacion
276 Greg Keagle
352 Raul Casanova
358 Richard Almanzar

Add Garcia, Whiteman, Smith, and Almanzar to the list of Tigers prospects I have no memory of. The only reason I remember Darr is that he was killed years later in a car wreck after being traded to the Padres.

There was a lame parallel set that replaced the cool 1968ish Topps patterned background with a solid silver metallic one. (That's the Garcia card, which doesn't scan well obviously.)

And So On And So Forth.....

I totally blame Meijer for this. I really do.

Since I've all but finished putting together a Topps Series 2 set, I went back to see what else I could maybe work on. (Despite my claims that I would never again buy a pack of Topps cards. Yes, I am a liar and a hypocrite.)

The natural continuation would be to go ahead and build the 2008 Updates & Highlights set, since one, Meijer has plenty of blasters of these, and two, Topps didn't bother to offer this one as a factory set that I could pick up after spending over $100 trying to complete it (see Topps, 2007...)

So a building I a went!

It didn't help matters any that Meijer has these heavily discounted too. Well, actually it did help matters. These blasters were $19.99 marked down to $11.99. On top of that Meijer is currently discounting all cards 25%, so these are only $8.99. That's not horrible for a box that has 80+ cards and one jersey or bat card per box.

I picked up four blasters of the Updates & Highlights and one of the combo Heritage Update with Updates & Highlights blasters too. The collation of these is even worse than Series 2. Out of the five blasters, I got a total of 305 base cards. Out of that, I got 173 different cards in addition to 132 doubles. Damn near half the cards were doubles, and I'm still only about halfway to completing the set.

Enough bagging on Topps for now though. I think I've complained enough so that I'm starting to sound like a broken record. The funny thing is that there are some great things going on with this series.

I collect a set each year almost as a scrapbook or sorts of that season. Therefore, I dig the subsets a lot, and there are no shortage of them in this series. I really like the All-Star and Highlights cards. I could live without the Home Run Derby cards, as I'm not a fan of the contest itself, but all in all I think this is the best series of the three. And as much as I hate insert cards, I love the WBC insert cards. I like the Year In Review Cards, but would have preferred that they be base cards. What better time to release a 180 card subset than in the final series of the year? The Ring Of Honor cards are ok even if the player selection is not. (Jesse Orosco? Dave Justice? David Cone? Mike Lowell? Thank god I got a Bruce Sutter...)

The political cards are even worse this time around, as there is a First Couples card showing a pic of each President and the First Lady. I would really rail on these, but then I pulled a Tricky Dick card and his smiling face made me laugh so hard that it was impossible to be too upset about these.

It's time for me to go back to blogging about old Tigers team sets for awhile. Which is infinitely more fun than ragging on Topps.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reaffirmation Of Why I Fucking Hate Topps, Part 3

6 more rack packs purchased today x 36 cards = 216 cards - 6 insert cards = 210 base cards.

For those of you following at home, that is now 26 rack packs and a total of 910 base cards.

To build a 330 card set.

26 rack packs that originally had a $4.99 sticker price. ($129.74 in 2008)

26 rack packs that I've only paid $2.39 per pack ($62.14 in 2009)

26 rack packs to finally finish my Series 2 set. Priceless.


Cards I need to finish my 2008 Topps Series 2 set:
472 Shawn Marcum
507 Mark DeRosa
543 Carlos Lee

Unbelievable. I really don't know what else to say. This is 2007 all over again, and I haven't even started on Series 3 yet. I now could've bought the entire factory set for what I've spent trying to build a Series 2 set. That's what I've spent in 2009 too, not what I would've had to spend last year. For that kind of money I could've bought TWO factory sets.

Gee Topps, I wonder why you keep losing customers year after year? Perhaps 50 years of fucking over good paying customers has finally caught up to you. As it should.

If anybody has these three cards and they would like to trade me for the 583 doubles I have, please drop me a line. Before I go and buy more packs.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Reaffirmation Of Why I Fucking Hate Topps, Part 2

20 packs opened total x 36 cards per pack = 720 cards - 20 insert cards = 700 base cards.

There are 330 cards in Series 2.

Cards I need to complete Series 2:
331 Dave Roberts
350 Mark Teixeira
354 Edwin Jackson
360 David Ortiz
375 Fausto Carmona
395 Lance Berkman
407 Johnny Damon
411 Jason Kubel
418 Dioner Navarro
421 Brandon Backe
431 Delwyn Young
436 Joe Blanton
472 Shawn Marcum
473 Joe Maddon
487 Corey Patterson
489 Joakim Soria
507 Mark DeRosa
537 Scott Moore
543 Carlos Lee
558 John Russell
569 Brad Hennessey
593 Randy Wells
594 Mike Morse
604 Wily Mo Peña
607 Ryan Spilborghs
611 Garret Anderson
618 Pat Neshek
621 Denard Span
623 Trey Hillman
636 Rafael Betancourt
638 Juan Pierre

330 cards in Series 2 - 31 cards I'm missing = 299 cards total I have.

700 cards total I bought - 299 cards I have = 401 doubles.

I have 6 cards of Chris Capuano, plus 5 cards of at least another dozen players.

$50 spent on these cards, and I'm still missing 31 to complete the set.

Fuck you Topps, FUCK YOU!

Sadly, I'll shell out another $20 or so tomorrow to buy the last 6-7 packs that Meijer has left. If that doesn't complete the set, then I'll start buying blasters.

And then I'll never buy another pack of Topps cards again. EVER.

I'll wait until the end of summer and buy that fucking factory set.

Thanks Topps. I've been building your sets since 1978. But now that's over with. I'm done trying. Once upon a time, it was a fun night in the RobbyT household to buy a bunch of Topps packs/boxes to sort and put together a set. That time has past.

Thanks for the memories, fuckers......

Reaffirmation Of Why I Fucking Hate Topps, Part 1

Ok, so my long (14 months) self-imposed pack buying boycott came to a crashing halt Saturday afternoon. I totally blame Meijer for pricing these so low that I just couldn't say no. But I did, and I'm still just as mad as I was 14 months ago. This looks like a great place for me to bitch awhile as well as pontificate about the state of the hobby in general.

The packs that got me were the 2008 Topps Series 2 baseball. I already had a set of Series 1 that I put together by buying somebody else's leftovers but I never got around to picking up a Series 2 set. I was hoping to wait a couple of years and just find a good deal on one of those Tiger versions of the factory sets. But these cards were too discounted for me to pass up.

These were the jumbo packs of 36 cards that were priced at $4.99 when they came out. Meijer had them marked down to $2.99, with an additional sale of 20% off all cards, bringing the final total down to $2.39 a pack. I shuffled my feet for awhile, looked down at the ground, and then held my breath as I picked up 10 packs and checked out at the register.

Perhaps ready to give Topps a second chance, I eagerly opened the packs when I got home. Some good, some bad, but mostly the feeling I had afterwards that I was wasting my time and money trying to collect a fucking Topps base set.

The good and the bad are sort of related. I absolutely hate insert cards. That's because so many of them are piss poor I don't get who the hell would be interested in them. The Topps Stars are among the worst inserts ever. (Even though I did get one of .26...) The Year In Review cards are a cool concept, but a 180 card insert set spread across three series? Really?

The one that chaps my ass most of all is the card of FDR and Herbert Hoover. Where did this marriage come from? I didn't read FDR's biography hoping there were five pages about Hank Greenberg in there somewhere! Not only do I not give a rat's ass about political cards, but these are printed on cheaper stock then the unnumbered checklists. Seriously, the Toppstown game cards that come in every pack are nicer than these.

Ok, I'm done with that rant. Now for the good. I like these jumbo packs because you only get one insert per pack. In a pack that only has 6 cards that makes it virtually impossible to build a set. But in a pack that has 36 cards, that's a ratio I can take of having to write off a card that's not part of the set.

That left 350 cards to try and build a 330 card set. Not since mid 80's Fleer could you pull something like that off, so I was prepared that I wasn't going to get the whole set. But how many different cards did I get?

Two hundred and twenty one. That's right I got almost exactly two-thirds of the set. That's ridiculous. Knowing just enough about probability as I do, that means I would likely have to buy another 10 packs to have a realistic shot of finishing this set. And that's where I really get juiced.

Yeah, I only paid $23.99 for these 10 packs. With tax it was a hair over $25. Which means that I'm going to have to shell out another $25 to try and complete this set. That's $50 for one fucking series of Topps if I'm lucky. That's outrageous, and that's not as bad as it could be. These were originally $5 packs of cards. Last year you would have had to shell out $100 to try and complete this series. HEY TOPPS, NO WONDER YOU ARE LOSING LONGTIME CUSTOMERS LEFT AND RIGHT!!!

Well, I'm almost finished with my second beer and now I'm done ranting. Yes, my sucker ass went and bought 10 more packs today that I need to open, so I'll have more to bitch about later. (And while I'm scanning a few cards, I opened the first card and got a card of Abe Lincoln. If anybody has some Tigers inserts they'd be willing to trade for these crappy political cards, like Abe Lincoln, I'm all ears. Get it? All ears? I'm done.)

Friday, October 16, 2009

2008 RobbyT Cards

2008 was my first year living in Chicago and I was able to go out and catch a bunch of Tigers games. I went to 7 games here against the White Sox, as well as trips to New York and Detroit. I also started blogging for the first time in '08, so the Tigers' last place finish notwithstanding, it was a great baseball season for me.

This was my biggest set to date, checking in at 73 cards. I really like the look of the base cards, but I'll admit I mailed it in on the Highlights, Down On The Farm, and Negro Leagues Tribute Cards. The cards of Ordonez and Verlander are my favorites, as I was at both of the games pictured. The Ordonez pic was from my only trip to Yankee Stadium. The Verlander pic was from a cold, rainy, nasty Saturday afternoon game against the White Sox early in the season that I went to with a bunch of great friends (the game where Gavin Floyd took a no-hitter into the 8th inning).

The 2009 RobbyT Detroit Tigers:
1 Denny Bautista
2 Yorman Bazardo
3 Francis Beltran
4 Jeremy Bonderman
5 Eddie Bonine
6 Miguel Cabrera
7 Brent Clevlen
8 Francisco Cruceta
9 Freddy Dolsi
10 Jeff Farnsworth
11 Casey Fossum
12 Armando Galarraga
13 Freddy Garcia
14 Gary Glover
15 Curtis Granderson
16 Jason Grilli
17 Carlos Guillen
18 Mike Hessman
19 Mike Holliman
20 Brandon Inge
21 Jacque Jones
22 Todd Jones
23 Matt Joyce
24 Chris Lambert
25 Gene Lamont
26 Jeff Larish
27 Jim Leyland
28 Aquilino Lopez
29 Zach Miner
30 Magglio Ordonez
31 Placido Polanco
32 Ryan Raburn
33 Wilkin Ramirez
34 Clay Rapada
35 Edgar Renteria
36 Nate Robertson
37 Fernando Rodney
38 Ivan Rodriguez
39 Kenny Rogers
40 Dusty Ryan
41 Ramon Santiago
42 Dane Sardinha
43 Bobby Seay
44 Gary Sheffield
45 Marcus Thames
46 Clete Thomas
47 Justin Verlander
48 Dontrelle Willis
49 Joel Zumaya
50 Highlights Dontrelle Willis
51 Highlights Curtis Granderson
52 Highlights Carlos Guillen
53 Highlights Todd Jones
54 Highlights Miss America
55 Highlights Tigers Meeting
56 Highlights Tigers Win
57 Highlights Adopt A Hottie
58 Highlights Mickey Lolich
59 Highlights Booblehead
60 Highlights Carlos Guillen All-Star
61 Highlights Jim Leyland All-Star
62 Highlights Farewell Tiger Stadium
63 Highlights Magglio Ordonez
64 Highlights Placido Polance
65 Highlights Ozzie Virgil
66 Highlights Mike Hessman
67 Highlights Gary Sheffield
68 Down On The Farm Ryan Perry
69 Down On The Farm Rick Procello
70 Down On The Farm Ryan Strieby
71 Down On The Farm Dontrelle Willis
72 Highlights Todd Jones
73 Negro League Tribute Bobby Seay

It was a great year for me as a collector. I went to 4 card shows here including the National. I also bought my last pack of cards in September, making it over a year now since I've bought any packs/boxes. I had a lot of fun at the card shows picking up old Tigers cards that I didn't have before. I also bought alot of oddball 80's stuff that I enjoyed collecting when I was a teenager: Topps Stickers, Fleer 44 Card Box Sets, and Donruss Action All-Stars.

Monday, October 12, 2009

25 Years Ago Today

It was on this night 25 years ago that a 15 year old RobbyT went to the greatest game I have ever seen in my life, Game 3 of the 1984 World Series. My brother and I pitched together the money we'd made from cutting grass that summer and sent in for tickets the day it was announced in the paper that they were going on sale. A couple of weeks later we'd scored four tickets to Game 3 of the ALCS and four tickets to Game A of the World Series. (Which would've been Game 1 had the Cubs just beat the Padres, but alas, it wasn't meant to be....)

I still remember October 12, 1984 like it was yesterday. I could hardly sit through school that day I was so excited. I remember us parking on one of the side streets in the Corktown neighborhood and the huge crowd of people lining up outside the stadium. It's an overused cliché by announcers, but for the first time I understood what they meant by "the electricity in the stadium." It truly was electric.

I took my little cheap ass Kodak 110 camera to the game, but we were so far away I couldn't get any good pics. The only decent one I got was before the game when Sparky, Dick Williams, and the umpires were walking around going over the ground rules of Tiger Stadium.

I remember screaming at the top of my lungs as Marty Castillo's HR sailed over the left field wall. I also remember Chet Lemon making a catch off of a Terry Kennedy shot right at the warning track in dead center that would have been a HR in any other park in baseball. We sat about 10 rows back.

Oddly, my most vivid memory to this day is from the ride home, when the news came on the radio at the top of the hour with the broadcast that the Tigers had beaten the Padres 5-2 to take a two games to one lead in the 1984 World Series. I didn't know what surreal meant when I was 15, but when I learned what it meant, I knew I had experienced it in that moment.

Hard to believe it's been 25 years. That was such a special summer in my life. Ah, what I wouldn't give to be 15 for one more summer.

Bless You Boys.

Bless You.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The New Blog

I've started a new blog which is solely dedicated to RobbyT Cards. I didn't want to "soil" this blog by posting cards of other teams here and since I've now got two full season's worth I thought it was time to start getting some of them out there.

I'll be posting my cards from 2008 and 2009 over there for the next few months. I'll debut the 2010 cards sometime around Opening Day.

Please check it out and enjoy!

P.S. Pictured here is a 2009 RobbyT Justin Verlander. Once the season ends I'll do an entry here on the entire team set.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

1996 Topps Gallery

Ok, last one of the night I promise. But it's felt good to get back into the rhythm of sitting down and blogging. I've been pretty busy for awhile, but I am hoping to get back to a somewhat more regular pace blogging about long forgotten Tigers cards and players. I know, I've said it before, but last year I really started picking up the pace around this time, so I'm sure I can do it again this year too.

I've admitted before, I love bagging on Topps but that I'll give credit where it's due. This is one of those times.

This is a pretty nice looking set. The concept was right on, even if the execution was a little off. The idea of cards with paintings was not new, but the added matte effect of the background was new. Too bad Topps didn't think to add that effect to the player so that it doesn't look like the background was photoshopped, but they would. The Gallery cards in years to come would be among the best issues Topps released.

The 1996 Topps Gallery Detroit Tigers:
32 Travis Fryman
85 Chad Curtis
123 Chris Gomez
138 Tony Clark
160 Cecil Fielder

1996 Topps Chrome

I imagine it went something like this:



Topps Guy #1: You know what? (Unwraps tuna salad sandwich and smells it)

Topps Guy #2: What? (Picks his nose)

Topps Guy #1: You know how those Finest cards are one of our most popular sets? (Talking with a big glob of mayo stuck to his mustache)

Topps Guy #2: Yes. (Notices tomato soup has dripped on his shirt and tries to wipe it off)

Topps Guy #1: Well maybe we could make another set just like them, but instead just use the design of our base set? That way we really wouldn't have to put any extra work into them. (Wipes off glob of mayo with his bare hand and wipes his hand on his jeans)

Topps Guy #2: Ok. (Wipes booger behind ear)

The 1996 Topps Chrome Detroit Tigers:
60 Travis Fryman
157 Cecil Fielder

1996 Topps Finest

The mediocrity of Topps Finest continued in '96 with a slight twist. This was their first issue that was numbered by Calculus majors. There were three different types of cards in the base set, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. These were not parallels, but actual separate cards. Then from these, the backgrounds were then again divided up into subsets such as "Prodigies" or "Franchise" just to name a few. Each card therefore had two numbers. It's number in the base set, and it's number in the subset.

Stupid I know. I will not attempt to list both numbers here (especially since my source for checklists did not number both and I do not own all these cards), but I can provide the G, S, or B designation.

The 1996 Topps Finest Detroit Tigers:
S84 Cecil Fielder
S127 C. J. Nitkowski
B138 Phil Nevin
B152 Travis Fryman
B172 Chad Curtis
S223 Kimera Bartee
G290 Cecil Fielder
B336 Justin Thompson
B344 Cecil Fielder
B356 Tony Clark

There were also the refractor parallels of each card too. Yippee!

1996 Stadium Club

I was one of those folks who went out and bought all the new Beatles reissues last month. I already had all their stuff on iTunes that I'd acquired from here and there over the years, but I'd never actually owned any of their stuff, so I decided what the hell, they're remastered and each has a nice little documentary and booklet included.

I've managed to plow through about half of them now. I'll grab one and listen to it for 2-3 days on my commute. So far my clear favorite is Revolver, followed by Rubber Soul and Please Please Me. It has certainly been a worthwhile purchase in that it's getting me into The Beatles in a way I never had before. I would listen to the songs when they came on shuffle, and I know the hits, but actually listening to the album several times repeatedly and then reading wiki and watching the mini-documentaries on each cd has really been enjoyable.

The 1996 Stadium Club Tigers:
21 Chad Curtis
42 Tony Clark
60 Phil Nevin
84 Sean Bergman
95 Cecil Fielder
145 Chris Gomez
234 Bobby Higginson
302 Felipe Lira
337 Alan Trammell
397 John Flaherty
431 Travis Fryman
445 Steve Rodriguez
170 Bobby Higginson

The "shark's tooth necklace" set. These are awful. These are Stadium Club. I guess there was some sort of parallel set that was a game card that you could fill in the back and send away for a chance to win something. Long story short, I have the Bronze version of Chad Curtis's card.

I have a couple other insert cards too. Whoa boy.

Bash & Burn
9 Chad Curtis

Power Packed
8 Cecil Fielder

After several days of listening to Let It Be, I listened to Let It Be...Naked, which was the original album before Phil Spector doctored it up. Trust me on this one. Don't buy the Phil Spector version. Go get the Naked version. Much better. The Long And Winding Road on the Naked album is fantastic.

1996 Topps

So the Tigers are up by 2 games with 3 games to play. The 2009 season is coming down to the wire and it's nail biting time for Tigers fans. What better time than to look back at 1996 Topps?

This Tigers team was one of the worst teams of all time. Just look at that list of players below. 109 losses. Team batting average of .253. Team ERA of 6.38. No, that's not a typo. 6.38!

Topps pretty much mailed it in that year too. At around 450 cards, this was their smallest base set since the 50's. There was nothing special about the design. There was nothing special about the player selection of Tigers either (although I guess that's not really Topps' fault....). There was nothing special about 1996 period.

The 1996 Topps Detroit Tigers:
42 Sean Bergman
71 Felipe Lira
98 Bobby Higginson
134 Chris Gomez
190 Travis Fryman
202 Chad Curtis
244 Brian Powell
291 John Flaherty
337 Tony Clark
348 Phil Nevin
366 Jose Lima
393 Cecil Fielder
398 C. J. Nitkowski
425 Daryle Ward
429 Clint Sodowsky
431 Brandon Reed

Add Brian Powell and Brandon Reed to the list of Tigers I absolutely have no recollection of. I wish I could add Sean Bergman to that list too.

I have a single insert card from a set called ProFiles by Kirby Puckett. The back of the card features "Insights" about the player by Kirby. It sounds cheekier than it actually is. There's a nice little story by Kirby about Big Daddy hitting a HR over the 440 sign at Tiger Stadium. Sorta cool I guess.

AL-04 Cecil Fielder

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2007 RobbyT Cards

Just to make it perfectly clear, even though I love to bag on the card companies when they make a crappy looking card, don't think for one second that I'm not afraid to judge myself in the same fashion.

These flat out suck.

The bad part is I don't really know how it happened. It just sort of did. I had a design, then started tweaking it a little bit here, and then a little bit there, and next thing you know......I ended up with this crap. But at least I never sold them 6 for a $1 and had 14 different variations of the Neifi Perez card....

The 2007 RobbyT Detroit Tigers:
1 Jeremy Bonderman
2 Tim Byrdak
3 Jose Capellan
4 Sean Casey
5 Eulogio De La Cruz
6 Chad Durbin
7 Gorkys Hernandez
8 Curtis Granderson
9 Jason Grilli
10 Carlos Guillen
11 Mike Hessman
12 Omar Infante
13 Brandon Inge
14 Todd Jones
15 Jair Jurrjens
16 Wil Ledezma
17 Jim Leyland
18 Aquilino Lopez
19 Mike Maroth
20 Cameron Maybin
21 Macay McBride
22 Jose Mesa
23 Andrew Miller
24 Zach Miner
25 Craig Monroe
26 Magglio Ordonez
27 Neifi Perez
28 Timo Perez
29 Placido Polanco
30 Mike Rabelo
31 Ryan Raburn
32 Nate Robertson
33 Fernando Rodney
34 Ivan Rodriguez
35 Kenny Rogers
36 Ramon Santiago
37 Bobby Seay
38 Gary Sheffield
39 Jordan Tata
40 Marcus Thames
41 Virgil Vasquez
42 Justin Verlander
43 Joel Zumaya
44 Tigers Special Ernie Harwell
45 Tigers Special Al Kaline
46 Tigers Highlights Justin Verlander No-Hitter
47 Tigers Highlights Maybin & Hernandez Futures Game
48 Tigers Highlights Neifi Perez
49 Tigers Highlights Rod Allen
50 Tigers Special Paws
51 Gene Lamont
52 Lloyd McClendon
53 Remember When Cecil Fielder
54 Remember When Alan Trammell

Yeah, these are easily the least favorite of mine from the 4 years I have made cards. I expanded the set to 54, and it's nice to see some cards of some guys who made brief appearances with us, but I'm not a big fan of this set. It looks too much like '89 Pro Set football gone horribly wrong.

I do like the Kaline card though. I doubt there was another one of him that year in uniform. (At the All-Star Game in San Francisco as an honorary captain) If my buddy Ed goes back to fantasy camp in 2010 I think this will be the card I pass along to see if he can get it autographed for me. I've never had one of my cards autographed before, and this would certainly be the one I would want to have autographed.

I wish I had more to write about these so I could post a lot more of them, but I don't. At least this last line will let me leave one more that's another personal favorite....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dear Mr. Eisner

By now I'm sure you've had time to let the dust settle a little bit from the announcement that Topps will be the exclusive manufacturer of major league baseball cards in 2010 and beyond. So let's take this time to have a friendly little chat.

You see, I'm one of the adult collectors that your company ran off two years ago. No, I wasn't one of the crybabies who stopped collecting because they felt their cards "weren't worth" anything. I'm also not one of the morons who couldn't discern a box of Topps cards from a box of Upper Deck cards when I was shopping at Target. And I'm damn sure not one of the losers who blog solely to let others know what I've pulled from a pack of baseball cards, or even worse make a youtube video of it for Christ's sake.

I am one of the guys who collects for the love of the hobby. I am one of the guys who loves sitting down on Saturday afternoons and opening a box of cards while watching a baseball game, then writing down the missing cards I need to complete a set and trying to get those cards by trading with friends or splurging on a few more packs or maybe even another box. Unfortunately, I haven't been that guy for two years now, and it falls directly on the shoulders of your company.

I've told my story a time or two on the blogs, but never before have I had your ear, so I'll tell it again. (BTW, what lovely ears you have. Oh c'mon, you didn't think I wasn't going to slip in a Mickey Mouse pun or two somewhere in here, did you?)

In 2007, I spent approximately $400 buying boxes and packs of Topps Series 1, Series 2, and the Update/Highlights series. And what exactly did that get me? Well it got me 10 cards short of a complete set, that's what it fucking got me. I did however get a boatload of Kenji Johjima insert cards (check it out sometime, there were like 35 different Johjima insert cards...) as well as a dozen or so Joe DiMaggio insert cards THAT ALL LOOKED EXACTLY THE SAME!!! Talk about a Mickey Mouse operation.....(ok, I'm done with the mouse jokes...)

Well that was pretty much all it took for me to give up putting sets together, something I started doing as a 9 year old kid in 1978. Why on earth would I want to drop that kind of cash to put together one set? Hell, why did I? Especially if I can wait until August and pick up a factory set at Target for $50? After 2007 I quit trying to put together sets, which led to me qutting buying boxes, which ultimately led me to quit buying packs. It'll be one year next month since I bought a pack of cards and opened them.

I know you're a busy guy, so I'll try to keep it brief. I'm only going to ask one thing of you. It's not even a big thing.

Please see to it that the Topps base set returns to being an affordable and collectible product.

That's not too much to ask is it?

By affordable, I mean lets stop this 6 cards for a $1 nonsense. I work in printing. You should feel ashamed for ripping people off like that. 12-15 cards is more than a reasonable amount for a pack of cards that costs a buck. It ought to be a crime to go pick up $20 in packs of cards and not even get 100 base cards by the time you subtract doubles and inserts.

By collectible, I mean stop it with the enormous amount of of inserts, short prints, variations, gimmick cards, etc. that flood the Topps base set every year and make it impossible to finish a set. Once upon a time Topps cards sold for the simple reason that they were the best. Now that you've got no competition, you've kinda won that title back by default. How about acting like it now? Produce a great looking set with great players, subsets, and rookie cards and let that be the reason why people want to buy it.

Now I'm not asking for you to revamp all your products. There are always going to be folks who invest simply hoping to pull an expensive card out of a pack and brag about it to all their friends. There are always going to be folks who can't sleep at night until they've hunted down every possible insert and variation to complete a master set. There are always going to be folks who blog about what they got out of a pack of cards. (Neither one of us can help these clowns, but I couldn't resist the temptation to bag on them twice!) The best part is you've already got plenty of products to keep all these people happy.

But how about just returning the base set to the collectors who purely love the fun of collecting?

I know you've talked about returning the hobby to the kids, and I'm all for it. I'd just like to take this time to point that you've lost a lot of the adults over the past few years too. The adults with really good jobs, who like to spend money on little pieces of cardboard. How about doing something to get us back too?



P.S. I've enclosed a 2008 RobbyT Placido Polanco and a 2009 RobbyT Alex Avila rookie card just for you. Since I quit buying cards I just started focusing on making my own. What do you think?

In no way am I trying to influence you to give me the job of restoring the Topps brand back to prestige it once held. But if you think I'm the man, then I'm willing to give it a shot.....

Monday, July 20, 2009

2009 Upper Deck

What? Me blogging about new cards? After I've derided the cardmakers time and time again and vowed not to buy any more packs or boxes? 

Don't worry. I've held true to my vow up to this point. I met a great dealer at my first show in Chicago last year who busts open cases upon cases of cards. I talked to him for a bit at that show and asked him if he wouldn't mind pulling out a team set plus any miscellaneous inserts of Tigers from the stuff he opened. He said he'd be glad to and a great relationship has come of it. He usually makes it to a show here to Chicago about three times a year. I'll go and pick up my cards and chit-chat with him and his dad for awhile and the whole arrangement works out well for everybody.

Well he wasn't able to make the show last week, so instead he mailed me the latest batch of Tigers that he had saved up for me. I've been putting off blogging about any 2009 cards because I have so few of them since I am NOT buying any packs anymore, but with the big package that came in today I thought it might be fun to review something current, especially with all the time I've been spending on 90's cards around here.

So I'll start with this 2009 Upper Deck release. There are so many good things about this set that I like. These are great looking cards, the inserts look great too, this is one of the biggest team sets I have seen in a long time, I got a Clete Thomas AU Insert, all around these are just absolutely fantastic. 

As I do when I get new cards, I catalog them so that can I print out a sheet of paper of what I'm missing (there always seems to be a missing a card or two) so that when I go to my next show I don't have to lug around a bunch of binders. But as I was cataloging these this evening I noticed something that literally floored me.


What the fuck is the deal with that?!? $erou$ly? You've got to be kidding me! was bad enough when Topp$ did it in their 2007 $et (Gary Sheffield and Mike Rabelo) but there are quite a few of them here. I count FIVE players that were duplicated, and damn if one of them isn't Sheffield, who didn't even make the team out of Spring Training! Gerald Laird only shows up on the front of one of the team checklist cards. There are no cards of Ryan Raburn, Fu-Te Ni, Brandon Lyon, Matt Treanor, Dusty Ryan, or Jeff Larish. What could possibly be the reason for this? 

Ok, I can understand that there are no cards of those guys because I'm sure there is little demand for them. But they did issue cards of Zach Miner, Bobby Seay, Freddy Dolsi, Chris Lambert, and Todd Jones, so it's not like they didn't already issue some low demand cards. So then why make duplicates of other guys and then end up with a set that checks in at over 1,000 cards? If I was trying to build an entire set I would be pissed. Especially with the price of packs these days. I guess little has changed in the last year. Both card companies are still out to fuck as many people over and take as much money from them as they possibly can. It's a shame too. This is a nice set. There was absolutely no reason for this.

The 2009 Upper Deck Detroit Tigers:
125 Armando Galarraga
126 Miguel Cabrera
127 Placido Polanco
128 Edgar Renteria
129 Carlos Guillen
130 Gary Sheffield
131 Curtis Granderson
132 Marcus Thames
133 Magglio Ordonez
134 Jeremy Boonderman
135 Dontrelle Willis
136 Kenny Rogers
137 Justin Verlander
138 Nate Robertson
139 Todd Jones
140 Joel Zumaya
428 Chris Lambert
437 Team Leaders
495 Team Checklist
633 Fernando Rodney
634 Justin Verlander
635 Bobby Seay
636 Clete Thomas
637 Placido Polanco
638 Ramon Santiago
639 Adam Everett
640 Gary Sheffield
641 Curtis Granderson
642 Freddy Dolsi
643 Magglio Ordonez
644 Zach Miner
645 Brandon Inge
945 Rick Porcello
995 Team Checklist
1006 Ryan Perry

It's a shame to be disappointed in this set, because there are some great looking inserts too. (These are probably not all the inserts, just the ones I did a limited amount of research on.)

O-Pee-Chee Preview
OPC-15 Magglio Ordonez

O-Pee-Chee Insert
OPC-37 Magglio Ordonez

Stars of the Game
GG-MC Miguel Cabrera

SQ-19 Miguel Cabrera
SQ-36 Justin Verlander

INK-CT Clete Thomas AUTO

Needless to say, I'm glad I haven't caved in on my vow not to buy any more packs of cards and pissed away money in the wind trying to complete sets that can't be completed without spending hundreds of dollars. But now I'm contemplating giving it up altogether and just sticking to making my own......instead of letting the card companies continue to stick it to me.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

2006 RobbyT Cards

Ladies and Gentleman, my first very own card set. 

It all started with me making a trip up to Comerica Park from Memphis for a Labor Day weekend series against the Angels in 2006. Nothing monumental happened during the trip with regards to my future as an aspiring baseball card designer. Well, nothing that I was cognizant of at the time anyway. 

Upon returning home after the weekend, I was perusing the game pics on the Detroit News website when I came across this photo of Curtis Granderson. I was at the game when he made that catch and and soon as I saw the picture my first thought was, "Wouldn't that look great on a baseball card?" And so the seeds were sewn.

I have had a career in printing for the last twenty years with fifteen of those years spent in desktop publishing. I worked in layout programs such as Quark and InDesign on a daily basis, so building a baseball card was certainly no challenge from a technical standpoint. All I needed to do was collect the photographs and place them into a design of my own. Unfortunately my desktop publishing experience didn't translate into me being a top flight graphic designer/artist. But I think I was able to use that to my benefit here, as it forced me to come up with a crisp, clean, and simple design, which regular readers of this blog know generally translates into me liking a set. 

I like to think this set pays a lot of homage to one of my favorite card sets of all time, 1981 Fleer. I don't think this is the best set I've ever designed in the four years I have been doing this, but as the first it will always be pretty special to me. It adds to the coolness for me that I was putting this set together during the fantastic post-season run of 2006. In fact, the little mug shots in the bottom corner were not in the original design, but before the post-season started, the Free Press made these available as downloadable masks that you could print off. So I downloaded all the faces, made a few tweaks, and voila! A set was born.

The 2006 RobbyT Detroit Tigers:
1 Jeremy Bonderman
2 Sean Casey
3 Alexis Gomez
4 Curtis Granderson
5 Jason Grilli
6 Carlos Guillen
7 Omar Infante
8 Brandon Inge
9 Todd Jones
10 Wilfredo Ledezma
11 Jim Leyland
12 Zach Miner
13 Craig Monroe
14 Magglio Ordonez
15 Neifi Perez
16 Placido Polanco
17 Nate Robertson
18 Fernando Rodney
19 Ivan Rodriguez
20 Kenny Rogers
21 Ramon Santiago
22 Marcus Thames
23 Justin Verlander
24 Jamie Walker
25 Vance Wilson
26 Joel Zumaya
27 Tigers Future Stars: Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller
28 Tigers Future Stars: Brent Clevlen and Kevin Hooper
29 Tigers First Basemen: Chris Shelton and Matt Stairs
30 Tigers Hurlers: Chad Durbin and Mike Maroth
31 Tigers Specials: Gene Lamont
32 Tigers Specials: Dave Dombrowski
33 Tigers Specials: Mike Illitch and Ivan Rodriguez
34 Tigers Specials: Jim Leyland
35 Tigers Specials: Dmitri Young
36 Tigers Specials: Ernie Harwell

The downside about using the mask photos though was that there weren't masks for everybody that I'd already made cards for. So I decided to make up my own Specials cards with a nod towards the Fleer Specials of the 80's. Some are rookies, some recap events and the season, and some feature guys like the GM and owner who normally wouldn't get their own cards.

One final thing of note. When I was a kid starting out collecting cards, I never knew they were "classified" by dates. I just knew that there were baseball cards for different seasons, but I had no idea that they were labeled by the year of issue, and not the year that they recapped. I still get confused to this day when I am thinking about Topps sets from '76-'80. When I first designed this set, I referred to it as my 2007 set, but that never set right with me. The photos are from 2006, it was designed in 2006, and technically it was issued in 2006. So I have decided to call it my 2006 set. Being the designer does have it's privileges.....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Reader Mailbag

So I should probably answer a few emails from the handful of readers that read this blog. 

First off, I'd like to say thanks to the folks who follow along here. I know I've been slacking this year, but it ain't easy plowing through these crappy 90's baseball cards.

So what have I been doing with myself these days? Mostly vacationing and following the Tigers around the midwest for the last month. But I should get to these emails and maybe that would answer a lot of questions.

RobbyT, you used to give us updates on all the games you went to last year. Why haven't you done so. C. Clark, East Lansing, MI.

Well Chris, I apologize for that, but I've been to so many games this year that I haven't had time to list them all. I will do so here.

4-10 Twins 12, White Sox 5
4-17 Cubs 8, Cards 7
5-7 White Sox 6, Tigers 0
5-29 Cubs 2, Dodgers 1
6-8 White Sox 6, Tigers 1
6-10 Tigers 2, White Sox 1 (Happy Birthday DT!)
6-12 Tigers 3, Pirates 1 (Happy Birthday to me!)
6-13 Pirates 9, Tigers 3
6-14 Pirates 6, Tigers 3
6-16 Cardinals 11, Tigers 2
6-17 Cardinals 4, Tigers 3
6-18 Tigers 6, Cardinals 3
7-3 Tigers 11, Twins 9 (yes, the 16 inning game, and yes, I stayed for all of it...)
7-4 Twins 4, Tigers 3
7-12 Cardinals 4, Cubs 2
As you can see Chris, I've been plenty busy this year watching games. Thanks for asking.

Next question.

RobbyT, you have promised us for years that you would tell us the whole story behind your designing your own baseball cards. J. Roy, South Portland, ME

J., I promise that will be my next blog entry. I promise. The 2006 RobbyT Cards will be the next thing you will read about. Especially with this being the third anniversary. 

Next question.

RobbyT, are you going to get back to to blogging with the frequency you used to? It's fun to hear your take on cards with the printing and baseball back ground that you have. RobbyT, Oak Park, IL

Thank you my friend for the kind words. As we both know there will be a lot of hard work ahead to get through the next 13 years of Tigers baseball cards. But I know we can do it, er, I can do it. 

RobbyT, were you really driving that truck in your picture? B. Reynolds, Cincinnati OH.

What do you think?

Thanks for the mail my friends.