Monday, October 25, 2010
The first of a two part series called "Things Topps tried to revive in the 80's that would not catch on until years later....."
Here a couple of months back I came across a website that had a lot of cheap wax boxes from the 80's. I remember messing with these a little bit way back when, but I don't think I ever collected full sets. Since the boxes are cheaper now than they were then I went ahead and picked up a box from each year. Hell, a box of these are about the same price as one rack pack of 2010 cards and these were chock full of HOF.
I'm on a quest to collect all of the 80's oddball stuff and these rank up there among the best. An obvious throwback to the '75 minis, as the name suggests this set is composed of the the statistical leaders of varying years. They are smallish sets (66 cards the first year, 77 cards the following two years) and Topps produced these for 5 years before giving up on them. As per usual with Topps, distribution within each box is awful. I got two of some guys and seven of some others. But I got a complete set out of each box and that's all I was after. Even though the design is minimal, I really think that's a positive thing coming from the 80's.
There's a mostly great representation of Tigers in these sets, Walt Terrell notwithstanding (Walt ranked tied for fourth in shutouts in 1985 with 3, hence his inclusion). Anyways.....
The 1986 Topps Mini-League Leaders Detroit Tigers:
13 Darrell Evans
14 Jack Morris
15 Lance Parrish
16 Walt Terrell
The 1987 Topps Mini-League Leaders Detroit Tigers:
53 Kirk Gibson
54 Willie Hernandez
55 Jack Morris
56 Alan Trammell
The 1988 Topps Mini-League Leaders Detroit Tigers:
10 Darrell Evans
11 Jack Morris
12 Alan Trammell
13 Lou Whitaker
Nowadays the tobacco card inserts that are roughly the same size are pretty popular. They are much harder to get of course, but these cards are available for a fraction of the cost and are pretty cool sets. It's a shame these never really caught on, but it seems like none of the oddball wax products that came out in the 80's were that popular.
Monday, October 4, 2010
It's been a slow summer blogging about Tigers cards. The Tigers collapse after the All-Star break put a damper on the baseball season, but it did not put a damper on collecting. Overall it was a good year of collecting, with many hits and just a few misses. I have fully incorporated something old and something new as collecting tools this summer, as well as made some decisions on what I will and won't be collecting from now on. Hopefully I can tie everything up into one well written essay on my card collecting experience in 2010, but chances are I will just end up with several empty beer cans. In either case that'll be good enough for me.....
First off: The death of the Topps base set. I finally finished off my 2010 Topps base set about a week after the factory sets hit the stores. Sadly, this will be the last year I put together the base set by hand. It just doesn't make sense anymore. I probably dropped a couple of bills on packs and boxes this year. I still came up about 20 cards short of the set, while ending up with a couple hundred crappy inserts that I don't give a damn about. I was able to flip most of the inserts on ebay, but the whole process is far too cumbersome to continue anymore. In 2011 and beyond, I will just wait until August and pick up a factory set for a fraction of the price that I spend on trying to put one together myself. (And this year I would've gotten a Strasburg RC, plus variations of Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch. I may still end up buying that set before it's all over with....)
I have been pretty outspoken in my disdain for the plethora of inserts that riddle the Topps base set. But one cool discovery led to another, which led to me really never wanting to pick up a pack of Topps base cards again. The local card show circuit.
I found a cool website this summer that lists quite a few card shows across the country by state. It turns out that I live about 10 minutes away from both Bloomingdale and Schaumburg, which between the two have a show almost every Sunday afternoon. Since I found the link, I have been to just about every one of them. They're not huge, ranging anywhere from 5 to 15 dealers a show, but I've come to know a few of the dealers from my frequent attendance and it's been fun to actually talk to guys who do this as a weekend hobby.
The first show I attended was a pretty good sized one. It was there that I noticed at least a half dozen tables covered with Topps base cards and inserts. At almost every table I saw the inserts weren't priced any higher than the base cards (10¢ each). It completely makes sense since there are so many inserts. The thing I really like about it though is that if there is ever a cool insert set that I like, I can likely pick it up for next to nothing.
Given that I have come to loathe inserts, it only reasons that this year Topps would put out an insert set that is totally cool, and that's the Vintage Legends. They have taken 25 HOF players and put them on cards from years that they weren't originally on. (The Ty Cobb pictured above, Nolan Ryan on a '52, George Sisler on an '88, Jackie Robinson on a '76, etc.) The concept is not new by any means, but these look outstanding, and I was able to get almost all of them for 10¢ each.
I was able to finish my set of Vintage Legends from a website I found called Sportlots. I'm sure this is not new to a lot of people, but for set builders and team collectors like me, it is solid gold! I have absolutely fallen in love with this site for having the hard to find commons needed to finish my old sets. There must be millions of cards listed with the majority of them selling for 18¢ each. I am surprised at the quality of cards you can get for that price. I pretty much assembled all the base cards for 2006 and 2007 Topps Heritage Tigers for that price. I finished out the Vintage Legends set as well. And....I finished out a set that I never thought I would.....
2010 Topps Heritage! (Well, sorta.....) This was my first year to try and put a Topps Heritage set together. I was still 100 something cards short when I hit the card show circuit, but within a month I'd completed the base set. (There's the catch...) I do however have 40 something of the 75 SP cards and every time I place an order on Sportlots I try and pick up one or two more. Hopefully I can finish off the entire set before the 2011 cards come out next year.
I've really enjoyed collecting Heritage this year and I plan on this being the set that I will collect by hand going forward. It's always the best looking set of the year, it's not overloaded with lousy insert cards, for the most part the insert cards included are ok, and it's not a huge set to put together vs. the cost involved to assemble it. I probably have spent three bills to get what I have, but it sure seems like I have a lot more to show for it than I do with the Topps base set.
As for the rest of it.....it's been a slow summer for new stuff. The Allen & Ginter and T206 cards do nothing for me. Hell, they look like the same cards every year. Same with Finest. The National Chicle cards were ok, but nothing to write home about. I dig the Pro Debut cards (where the hell is the Jacob Turner card?) but their player selection is atrocious. The only Tiger with a remote chance of being something someday is Casper Wells, and he's already been featured on a Bowman card. I sort of get the feeling that this set is Bowman's illegitimate brother, primarily made up of the leftover minor leaguers who weren't good enough for inclusion in Bowman.
Speaking of Bowman, I have noticed a trend that really pisses me off, has pissed me off for some time, and yet nobody has been able to give me a reasonable explanation for it. The RC logo. I have noticed many dealers selling cards with the RC logo at a premium, despite that fact that none of these cards are true rookie cards!!! I refuse to pay $1 for an 2010 Austin Jackson RC that is not a RC. Even worse is asking a dealer why it's priced more and he looks you in the face and tells you it's a RC. C'mon guys. Let's cut it with this stupid fucking logo that is nothing more than a tool for card buyers to get ripped off.
As for Upper Deck, I can't say I will miss their mediocre product, but I dug last year's O-Pee-Chee and I'm disappointed that it won't be continued. I hate that Topps has the monopoly on the baseball card market, but if they continue like they did this year of only releasing a product every 4-6 week I could learn to live with it.
I am anxiously awaiting the release of the Updates & Highlights series this month. I'm looking forward to the cards of Boesch, Rhymes, Wells, Oliver, Valverde, Raburn, Kelly, St. Pierre, Peralta, Galarraga, and Avila, just to name a few.
One last note before I wrap it up. I spent a whole week this summer dividing up about 15,000 doubles into teams, so if there are any team collectors out there looking to deal, please drop me a line. I broke up several factory sets to take Tigers cards out of, so there are many complete team sets of stuff included.
Happy collecting everybody! (Only 4 empty beer cans......)