Monday, October 15, 2018

what's black and white and branca all over?

with the dodgers playing a western division tiebreaker on the first of the month, there was some attention given to their previous tiebreaker appearances. when that happens, one cannot help but think of ralph branca.

i recently picked up my first 1953 bowman black & white dodger card, and it was ralph branca's card
only two more (preacher roe and billy cox) for the full team set!

note that this streamlined and very short post took about five minutes to scan, crop, and edit.  five minutes is really not a lot of time!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

topps dusts off the 1978 design! sort of.

i was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon one of the recent topps on demand releases a couple of weeks ago.  these are the sets that are offered for sale online only 'while supplies last'. they are different in that regard from topps now sets, and even topps throwback thursday sets, as i understand it.  this particular set is called "inspired by '78", and features a modified 1978 topps design.

i didn't know about this in time to order a set from topps, so i went to ebay and picked up the two dodgers in the base set - clayton kershaw
and walker buehler
you can see that the big difference here is the full bleed photo.  other modifications include the elimination of the position ball and the smaller type for the player names.  the full bleed effect on the borders makes me think of natgeo.

the backs of these on demand sets are known for their uselessness
the text here seems disingenuous.  if the 1978 topps is such a classic design in topps' eyes, why has it been so sparingly used in fan favorite and archives sets? if the 40th anniversary is worth celebrating, why has the 35th anniversary of 1983 topps dominated the flagship sets?

while the '78 design has been largely absent this decade, it wasn't always this way.  one of the most famous basketball cards used the same design. yes, i'm talking about the 1980 topps larry bird/dr. j/magic johnson card
 in 1981, topps used the team name font on their squirt issue
and on the backs of their super home team cards
 and then there was 1982 cracker jack, which was a sort of mash-up of 1978 and 1979 topps
topps later resurrected the design for some of the early 2000's fan favorite sets. i think the most recent occurrence of the design being used was the reimagining of eddie murray's rookie card as a future stars that never were in 2014, which i featured in a post related to my quest for a 1978 topps master set.

i wound up purchasing a "full" 35-card issue on ebay.  this includes the complete 30-card base set, plus two numbered parallel cards, one 4-in-1 rookie card, one "then and now" card, and one "tfamous flashback" card.  those last three cards are from "insert" sets of varying sizes, so it would take quite a few set purchases to put together a truly full set.  autographs were seeded 1:2 sets, but i got shut out.

i did do ok with one of my numbered parallels - it was the blue (#/50) version of buehler's card
but the other was a purple (#/75) paul goldschmidt.
i did ok with my 4-in-1 rookie card - devers and torres, plus 2
but obviously would have preferred the one with buehler (and ohtani), or the one with alex verdugo (and soto and acuna).

my then & now card, modeled after the manager cards in the 1978 set, features dale murphy and ozzie albies
(shout out to giovanni who has been making some 1978 topps then & now cards for quite some time) there are no dodgers in this insert set, but a don sutton/walker buehler card would have made sense.

the last card in my purchase was the "famous flashback".  these are cards featuring players from the past, most of whom were in the 1978 set.  no steve garvey, or any other dodger in this set, but some nice players like rod carew, carl yastrzemski, eddie murray, jim rice, etc.  my card was joe morgan
it's not everyday that a card features someone wearing a skirt.  getty says that this is a photo of little joe taking bp at shea stadium, but that doesn't help me id the woman watching the reds pregame prep.

maybe the 2,040 sets issued with this 1978 inspired design will spark some ideas at topps, and we'll see more of the original design in next year's archives.  it would be a shame to have to wait until 2027 heritage.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

i've got their backs

i was pleasantly surprised to learn that there was another card release featuring steve garvey in 2018.  i didn't know what to expect when i first saw the checklist for leaf's in the game used sports set, but i think they did pretty well for an unlicensed issue.

using the backs of jerseys works for me, and the first card i picked up was this 'classic rivals' card that focuses on the 1977 world series
i've said many times that the 1977 fall classic is my first real memory of actually sitting down and watching baseball as a dodger fan, so this card is a nice homage to the beginning of my fandom.  it's not perfect - the garvey jersey shown is an away gray, but the patch used comes from a home white, and that's a fake reggie jackson jersey shown (no names on the back of yankee jerseys!) with a swatch from an angels jersey instead of yankee pinstripes.  still, i love that ron cey's red number 10 patch is represented, and i really do like this card.

garvey (and the penguin) also show up on a different 'classic rivals' card - this one focused on the 1978 pennant chase card with division rival members of the big red machine in pete rose and johnny bench.
i do not know why leaf went with photos of rose and bench, but it does detract a bit from the card's aesthetic.  1978 was the first full year of my dodger fandom, and the first year that i fully collected cards, so again, it's a great connection for me to see that season referenced on cardboard.

this set is a multi-sport release (similar to the 2002-03 upper deck superstars) and so there is some cross referencing based on cities.  this is the los angeles city of champions card (the purple parallel, anyway)
that features garvey and fernando valenzuela, along with laker legends kareem, kobe, and shaq, plus jonathan quick of the kings.  it is strange to think that the kings are the most recent champions in the city of angels.  also, to me, 32 for the kings is kelly hrudey but his tenure in los angeles didn't include a stanley cup championship so he doesn't get any play on these cards.

last but not least, garvey gets a spot on one of the multi-mvp 'mvp 8s' cards
man, these are the players of the teams of my youth. i was really pleased to see a focus on teams and players from the late 1970's and early 80's. if only don baylor and dale murphy could have found their way on to the card, too.

these are a great addition to my steve garvey collection and i think a good example of unlicensed relic cards done pretty well.

Monday, September 24, 2018

hall of confusion

back in july of 2016, i sent a ttm request to former dodger toby hall. i included one of his 2006 topps update and highlight cards - it may well be the only card showing him as a dodger - and hoped for the best.  just over twenty-six months later, i received this:
that is clearly not the card i sent. rather, it is a 2002 bowman heritage (black box version). 

this is not the first time that i've had such a mixup (rick dempsey is the other), and while i do appreciate the return of a card, i'd rather it be the one showing hall with the dodgers.  if you, or anyone you know, mistakenly received a 2006 topps update card from toby, and would rather have a 2002 bowman heritage card instead, please let me know!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

wonder twin powers, activate!

form of: 
a superfluous parallel of a common base card that is collected by no one!

ok, so it's not exactly how zan and jayna did it on the super friends, but this card made me think of them.

seriously, does anyone "need" this 2018 topps ken giles rainbow foil parallel?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

somewhat significantly, steve signed stickers

how many stickers should steve sign, should steve sign stickers?  a lot, apparently, as panini has included the nl iron man in a large number of their recent releases.  they've certainly been the primary source for "signed" steve garvey cards lately, and their latest example comes in the form of autographed cards in the 2018 donruss optic release.  

parallels of this release abound, and i've picked up just the regular version and the blue version
which is numbered to 20
plus the red version
numbered to 15
and also the gold version
numbered to 10
i'm not tracking the jersey number notation as a variation (i have done so in the past), as i am figuring that panini is just pulling from sticker inventory and not purposefully looking for notations.  i have no way of knowing what kind of sticker quantity panini has on their hands, but i do know that as long as there is a supply of stickers, there will be more signed cards.

Monday, September 17, 2018

in support of catfishing

i don't really fish, and i certainly don't condone the luring of anyone into a relationship by way of a fictional online personality, but i do wholly support more cards of jim 'catfish' hunter, especially when they show him dealing in dodger stadium
that card may be my favorite from 2018 topps archives.  it features a photo of hunter from game 5 of the 1977 world series (the only day world series game in which hunter pitched at dodger stadium), and the only way it could be better is if it were featured on a 1978 topps design.

hunter was one of the first non-dodger players that i started a pc of, which is weird to think about now since my first awareness of him was him pitching against the dodgers in the world series.

i found another postseason dodger stadium photo on cardboard recently - on a 2016 topps stadium club lucas duda card
hard to believe that the mets won two postseason series (including the nlds against the dodgers) just three seasons ago.