Sunday, June 17, 2018

are you not embarrassed, topps?

last year i noted that i was embarassed to be buying topps product that seemed to lack basic quality control when it came to the copy on the cards.  then there was the legal battle over an erroneous topps now card that was corrected between the purchase and the shipping of the card, not to mention a number of textual errors that have been identified on other topps now cards.  wrigley wax recently pointed out the crappy job topps did with the back of brandon morrow's living set card, and then i found this in a pack of 2018 topps series 2:
that's the back of scott kazmir's card.  i don't mind that he has a card even though he hasn't thrown a pitch since 2016, but i just wish topps would review their writing. i don't know exactly how card backs are created, but i would imagine that should be a standard text cell for when a player misses a season. what exactly does "did not player - injured" mean, anyway?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

that escalated quickly

i have always liked the cards that link the past to the present like the donruss passing the torch cards from the 90s, and so i was interested in seeing the 'past and present' cards offered up by panini in their 2018 diamond kings set.

i actually opened a few packs and found a mickey mantle/mike trout card, as well as a craig biggio/jose altuve card.  i had assumed that any dodger card would be gil hodges (a diamond kings favorite) or perhaps eric karros (from one roy to another) and cody bellinger, but was holding out hope that steve garvey would get the call.  instead, panini went with adrian gonzalez.
this is akin to a wally pipp/lou gehrig card as bellinger took the first base position directly from gonzalez in 2017 when the latter went on the disabled list.  through last friday, both of these guys were batting .239 on the season, but bellinger seemed to be breaking out with a surge in power.  and then at the end of the week, the mets released gonzalez.

gonzalez was the dodgers' first baseman for about 5 years, replacing james loney who had served for about the same time.  loney's reign had ended a patchwork group of first basemen that followed the departure of the aforementioned karros.  they may not share a card, but bellinger may be able to give karros a run for his money, both in terms of longevity as a dodger first baseman and in career los angeles dodger home runs.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

more 2018 dodger stadium card giveaways!

the dodger stadium baseball card giveaways continued in may with the 1970s and 1980s being featured.  the header card of the '70s set is as close as i will get to a card of the infield, unfortunately.
don sutton was the known dodger legend to be featured in the '70s set
but it was a surprise to me that the same six current players who were featured in the '50s/'60s set were again featured in the '70s set
i had guessed that the '80s set would include tommy lasorda or fernando valenzuela or orel hershiser.  tommy got a shout out on the '70s header card, and fernando and the bulldog were mentioned on the header for the '80s set
but in the end, it was tommy who got the legends card
along with the same current players
topps is making up for lost time with the chris taylor cards.

i found it interesting that topps used the 1985 design for this set for a couple of reasons.  first, they used the 1965 design for the first giveaway. 1965 was a big year for the dodgers as they beat the twins in the world series.  the dodgers didn't win any of the three fall classics they were in during the 1970s, but the use of the 1977 design coincided with one of their nl championships, so it seemed to make sense that way.  1985 was an odd choice given that the dodgers won world championships in both 1981 and 1988, never mind the fact that they lost the nlcs to the cardinals in '85 after being up two games to none.

the '90s set is issued tonight, and i understand that the 1994 design is being used.  the dodgers were in first when the strike hit that year, so who knows what might have happened.  as far as the legend in this set, i will guess mike piazza, but the dodgers haven't really embraced his hall of fame-ness since he was inducted as a met.  we'll see...

Monday, June 11, 2018

the joy and ease (and repetition) of completing a couple of team sets

when team sets are individually packaged, it makes completing them nice and easy.

case in point, the topps factory sealed team sets that have been around for over a decade now.  i used to do a yearly comparison between the flagship team set and that truncated team set, but haven't done one since the truncated 2016 post, and have again decided to forego it this year.  instead, here are four cards from the factory team set - cody bellinger, clayton kershaw, corey seager, and justin turner.
we've seen three of these four images before - the bellinger and kershaw in series 1, and the turner in opening day.  we haven't seen seager's flagship card yet, but he was in opening day with a different photo.  i like the seager card quite a bit, even though he is in pnc park and not dodger stadium.  

i chose those four cards because those four players are also included in the topps national league standout factory set.  here are the cards from that set - also a complete team set as it were.
here, the kershaw and seager cards are different, although they both use the same image as was used in opening day. now that topps is using different photos for some base opening day cards, maybe they will get back to more variety in the factory team sets.

series 2 comes out this week, and with my series 1 team set already complete, i'll be looking forward to knocking that one out as well even though i've likely seen many of the images already.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

a double dipping i did not expect to see

here is a card of matt kemp from 2014.
and here is a card of matt kemp from 2015.
kemp was my favorite player during his dodger tenure.  i was disappointed when he was traded to the padres, and i kept track of his performance even though we both moved on.  things bottomed out for kemp last season in atlanta with a negative war, and it seemed that he was destined for a dh job in oakland or tampa bay.

so, i was as surprised as anyone when the dodgers re-acquired kemp in a salary swap with the braves.  they tried to flip him and found no takers.  to kemp's credit, he saw the writing on the wall and did what he could to earn a roster spot.  now, thanks to his resurgence, i get to root for him in dodger blue and acquire cards like this 2018 topps gypsy queen issue.
kemp is the reigning nl player of the week, and is currently leading the league with a .344 average to go along with a 1.7 war.  he's on track for his highest war since 2011 - the year he posted an 8.0 war and finished second in the mvp voting to ryan braun.  as fate would have it, braun's name was thrown about as a possible dodger acquisition in the last year or so, but he's hitting .229 and playing at replacement level for the brew crew right now which makes the return of matt kemp all the more enjoyable.

here's to many more matt kemp dodger cards, hopefully with gaudy stats on the back!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

even john sutton suttons!

he is no relation to hall of famer don sutton as far as i can tell, but former twins pitcher (and member of the 1980 ogden a's) john sutton strikes a familiar pose on his 1980 tcma card,
although he went for right knee down/right arm on top which is not quite the style of the master.

suttons of the world, unite!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

i need a couple more cards of mo'

rick monday has the fewest post-dodger career cards among his starting lineup teammates from the team of my youth.  i am excluding cards that feature him as an athletic or a cub as he was a member of those franchises prior to becoming a dodger and so i don't collect cards of mo' in those uniforms.

there was a time, however, following his retirement after the 1984 season and prior to his joining the dodger broadcasting team in 1993 that monday lent his voice to the padres.  it is really great that cards exist of this brief moment in time...
that would be a 1991 padres coke card. since it has been signed by the guy whose home run in the 1981 nlcs was a defining moment of my elementary school days, i am still in need of an unsigned version.  here's the back
with the requisite mention of his being the first player ever drafted into mlb.

there is also a similar 1990 card that would complete my small post-dodger monday collection - here's the complete list.  monday is not my favorite play by play guy, but i can tolerate.