it sure looks like the back of a 1989 topps baseball card with steve carlton's complete career stats, including his horrendous numbers with the defending world champion 1988 minnesota twins. much to my chagrin (because i am a big fan and collector of 'final tribute' cards) all of the card manufacturers whiffed on carlton in 1989. or so i thought.
here's the complete back of the card in question:
yes, topps did make a card of lefty in 1989, but they did not feature him as a twin. rather, the front shows him as a cardinal, as he was in 1967
still, the card meets the criteria i have laid out - issued the year following his final season, and with his complete career stats on the back. i will happily add this card to my final tribute binder.
now for a more traditional final tribute - one that i was surprised to find missing from my binder recently. that would be the 1975 topps ron santo card
that is strange for a couple of reasons right off the bat. his complete stats on the back are marred by that last line that seems out of place
but the card fits right in with my final tribute collection.
no sooner had i posted an update to my topps dodger autograph project (hat tip to the lost collector who inspired me to do this a few years ago with his similar yankees endeavor - here is his latest update) than i received a couple more new cards to add to the tally. in a nutshell, the project was an attempt to have a card from each topps flagship sent signed (for free, ideally) without repeating a player.
i haven't considered traded or update sets crucial to the success of the project, but if i have them, i add them to the list. mark hendrickson signed and returned his 2006 topps update & highlights card
which featured that florida fog that was on a lot of tampa bay devil ray cards in '06.
fast forward 10 years later, and topps put out another card with some fog on it (although manufactured weather this time).
as you can see, mike bolsinger signed and returned his 2016 topps update card. i sent it to him c/o the blue jays' spring training home.
the biggest add, or actually update, to my project was sending out and getting back this 1954 topps card
i had previously paid for my 1954 topps entry (billy herman), but finally got around to sending a request to thompson. he flew under my radar until a year or two ago when i saw a success pop up on sports card forum with a scan of his card attached.
there's no chance of replacing the 1951 topps on the list below, but i did finally come to my senses and pick up a second 1955 topps ed roebuck to send for a ttm try. if successful, i'll make roebuck my 1955 entry and move don zimmer to 1963, since the gerbil signed that card for me gratis. stay tuned on that one...
here's the updated tally of the project:
1951 topps - preacher roe (purchased)
1952 topps - rocky bridges
1953 topps - bobby morgan
1954 topps - billy herman (purchased) charlie thompson
1955 topps - don zimmer (purchased)
1956 topps - randy jackson
1957 topps - carl erskine
1958 topps - joe pignatano
1959 topps - fred kipp
1960 topps - chuck essegian
1961 topps - bob aspromonte
1962 topps - norm sherry
1963 topps - ed roebuck
1964 topps - ken mcmullen
1965 topps - dick tracewski
1966 topps - john kennedy
1967 topps - phil regan
1968 topps - jim campanis
1969 topps - jeff torborg
1970 topps - al mcbean
1971 topps - sandy vance
1972 topps - manny mota
1973 topps - wes parker
1974 topps - claude osteen
1974 topps traded - jim wynn
1975 topps - ron cey
1975 topps mini - joe ferguson
1976 topps - bill russell
1976 topps traded - dusty baker
1977 topps - steve garvey
1978 topps - dave lopes
1979 topps - charlie hough
1980 topps - jerry reuss
1981 topps - doug rau
1981 topps traded - ken landreaux
1982 topps - dave goltz
1982 topps traded - jose morales
1983 topps - ron roenicke
1983 topps traded - rafael landestoy
1984 topps - fernando valenzuela
1984 topps traded - mike vail
1985 topps - burt hooton
1985 topps traded - mariano duncan
1986 topps - enos cabell
1986 topps traded - franklin stubbs
1987 topps - steve sax
1987 topps traded - matt young
1988 topps - len matuszek
1988 topps traded - jay howell
1989 topps - mickey hatcher
1990 topps - kal daniels
1990 topps traded - juan samuel
1991 topps - tim belcher
1992 topps - roger mcdowell
1993 topps - dave hansen
1993 topps traded - tim wallach
1994 topps - jody reed
1995 topps - chris gwynn
1996 topps - todd hollandsworth
1997 topps - brett butler
1998 topps - greg gagne
1999 topps - jose vizcaino
2000 topps - jeff shaw
2001 topps - chan ho park
2002 topps - andy ashby
2002 topps traded - joel hanrahan
2003 topps - jim tracy
2003 topps traded - ron coomer
2004 topps - edwin jackson
2004 topps traded - milton bradley
2005 topps - chad billingsley
2005 topps update & highlights - jason phillips
2006 topps - bill mueller
2006 topps update & highlights - mark hendrickson
2007 topps - james loney
2007 topps update & highlights - andy laroche
2008 topps - delwyn young
2008 topps update & highlights - casey blake
2009 topps - matt kemp
2009 topps update & highlights - brad ausmus
2010 topps - juan pierre
2010 topps update & highlights - ronnie belliard
2011 topps - hong-chih kuo
2011 topps update & highlights - matt guerrier
2012 topps - nathan eovaldi
2012 topps update & highlights - matt treanor
2013 topps - randy choate
2013 topps update - clayton kershaw
2014 topps - ricky nolasco
2014 topps update - scott van slyke
2015 topps update - brett anderson
2016 topps update - mike bolsinger
as always, thanks to these players who sign through the mail. i'm still hoping that one of the 2015 and 2016 flagship cards i've sent out will make their way back to me.
so, i've sent out a few ttm requests over the past couple of months - mostly having to do with my attempt to get 1978 topps team cards and set checklists signed - and i've had some good success. i'll show more signed cards i've received lately in a future post, but there was one success that i had to showcase sooner rather than later:
i had noticed some successes popping up with brooks robinson, and so i gave it a shot. it took only about a week with no fee! simply awesome.
sadly, this is the only card brooks robinson had in the 1978 topps set, and it doesn't come close to qualifying as a final tribute, but it's been an important card for me as a fan of the game. i've liked robinson for a few reasons, even though he retired just as i began following the game. first, there is the name. i think that a 'plural' first name is unique and cool, and one of the reasons that i also have an affinity for rogers hornsby. second, it was his 1971 topps world series card that launched my tatooine mini collection in 1978 when my brother and i saw it in our local card and comic shop. third, buying packs in 1978, i saw this card and immediately wanted to know more about robinson's career, and as an extension, baseball's past.
this card helped me understand that there was history to be appreciated with the game of baseball. of course, when i asked my dad about robinson, he started with the 1966 world series which made me like brooks a little less.
this was an awesome success, and i am very happy to have this card signed in my collection. thanks brooks!
i used to do a post each year comparing dodger cards from the topps flagship and team factory sets. i didn't do that last year, and in fact, just recently picked up the 2016 topps dodger 17 card set.
the factory sets had lost their luster for me after a couple of years without a stadium card or manager card, and just one or two photo variants. however, the price i paid for the 2016 set was low enought where i figured it made sense to pick it up and have another corey seager rookie card in my collection.
i decided not to compare every card as most are the same between the two sets. instead, i'll just show the ones that are different. i will list the full checklist, however, starting with
lad-1 clayton kershaw
lad-2 carl crawford
lad-3 joc pederson
flagship (on the left) identified joc as a 'future star', while the team set just lets him be. the result is a differently cropped photo.
lad-4 yasmani grandal
see what i wrote about joc? ditto for grandal.
lad-5 adrian gonzalez
lad-6 frankie montas
so here's a decent variation. for flagship, topps photoshopped montas from white sox duds (in detroit, i believe) into the dodger, um, home grays? at least they got the red number in there. for the factory set, topps used a photo from the same game, but correctly photoshopped 'los angeles' text onto the gray jersey and added the pant piping. but then forgot about the red number. as it turns out, montas never pitched in the bigs for the dodgers due to injury and then on account of his being traded to the a's in the rich hill deal.
lad-7 chase utley
lad-8 corey seager
lad-9 justin turner
lad-10 andre ethier
lad-11 yasiel puig
lad-12 hyun-jin ryu
lad-13 kenley jansen
lad-14 brett anderson
lad-15 scott kazmir
kazmir's flagship card came along in series 2, with a photo of him from spring training wearing the 'd' hat. topps couldn't wait for that photo for the factory set, so they photoshopped him into the away uniform, but without the red number.
lad-16 alex wood
lad-17 scott van slyke
and that's it. four variations, but really only two. it would be great if topps went back to adding a unique player or subject to the factory set, like dodger stadium or dave roberts or even farmer john. unfortunately, i took a look at the checklist for the 2017 factory set, and it's similar to this one. and, with no free agent additions as part of the checklist, i'm guessing there won't be any variations. i'm not sure that will be enough to keep me away, however, so stay tuned...
the last time panini did a nicknames based set, they went with 'senator' for steve garvey. that was in 2012, and in 2016, they decided to go with another of his nicknames, 'mr. clean'.
i'm not sure if proctor & gamble is aware of this, but i do know that garvey bears no resemblance to their mr. clean. their guy has more of a mike holmes from 'holmes on holmes' look,
and he's got his magic eraser ready.
garvey has signed cards as 'popeye' - a nickname he received due to his forearms, the aforementioned 'senator', and now 'mr. clean', although he did not inscribe the card with that last one as he did with the first two. i'm guessing it is not his favorite nickname due to the fact that it is often cited in order to juxtapose his image with the reality of his post-career relationships. despite all that, it's another 2016 panini product that i am happy to have in my collection.
i was pretty excited back in 2001 when i first read about topps tribute. knowing that the set would focus on retired numbers, and knowing that the padres had only two numbers that qualified, i thought it was a pretty good bet that steve garvey would be included in the set. spoiler alert: he was not. dave winfield (whose number 31 had just been retired in april of 2001) beat out garvey and randy jones to represent the padres, while most of the dodgers with retired numbers were included (no jim gilliam or sandy koufax, unfortunately).
still, there were some number 6 cards in the set, including stan the man musial
it's been a fifteen year journey for me, but i am down to needing only two cards from the set - ernie banks and willie mays. i would appreciate any help in finishing off this set.
for a long time (21 years to be exact), garvey's number 6 was unofficially retired by the dodgers, waiting for his enshrinement in cooperstown so that it could be officially retired as is the team's tradition. a funny thing happened on the way to immortality, and when it became apparent that garvey would not be elected by the writers to cooperstown, number 6 fell back into rotation. jolbert cabrera, in 2003, was the first to wear it post-garvey, and many have followed - brent mayne, jason grabowski, kenny lofton, tony abreu, aaron miles, joe torre, jerry hairston, darwin barney, and now, charlie culberson.
there's culberson on a 2016 topps now card celebrating his division-clinching, walk-off home run last september, with his 6 fully visible.
fernando's number 34 still sits in mothballs, and i wish the franchise would pull the trigger on retiring it officially even though fernando isn't a hall of famer. other than that, and barring some revelation (that should occur, in my opinion) about manny mota's number 11, i would guess that the next number to be retired by the dodgers will be 22. clayton kershaw should pass 2000 strikeouts this season (and then some), and he is certainly on track to get at least a thousand more. while it doesn't show his number very well, here is the 'bonus' topps now card
i received last fall after buying the postseason team set. as a bonus, i thought at the time that it would likely be the only card to feature carlos ruiz as a dodger, but he's in flaghsip as a dodger,
even though he was traded to the mariners last november leaving what i consider to be terry forster's number up for grabs.
matt at bob walk the plank sent his half of our most recent trade a few weeks back, and the cards he sent reduced my want list for the 2016 topps allen & ginter numbers game insert set to just 23 cards. (i was trying to fold in some modified schoolhouse rock lyrics here, but am giving up). coincidentally, one of the cards he sent me was don mattingly's, which celebrates his number which happened to be 23.
so, how many cards did matt eliminate from my quest? eric hosmer knows the number.
yes, 35 cards put quite a dent in my want list, but there are still opportunities to help me out!
thanks to matt, i also own 2 2016 topps framed cards, and they have both come from him. first was a yasiel puig card, and now this j.p. howell card
these are thick and heavy and ultimately have no reason to exist, but such is our lot as team collectors.
matt has also sent a few panini cards my way recently, and the two that were part of this package were pretty nice. first, a ross stripling auto from 2016 panini national treasure
and a mike piazza bat relic from the same set.
the absence of logos is obvious on stripling's card, but panini could and should put out a set of catchers in their gear and the lamentations about no logos would be minimal.
thanks matt! i'll kick off our next round of trading very shortly...
i was reminded today that topps is living in the past, and on the east coast.
yes, clayton kershaw and corey seager and mike trout are topps darlings, but how do you explain the 2017 opening day incredible eats insert set that includes three foods from fenway park, but does not include the world famous farmer john eastern corn fed pork dodger dog?!?!?!
the rockies "foot long hot dog" is featured (covered in a bunch of crap), but no dodger dog. no cool-a-coo either. no roger owens throwing peanut bags around. no food west of denver, as far as i can tell, and i know from experience that the mariners serve some tasty fare. the braves' new stadium that has not yet served any food is represented by a box of popcorn that i could buy at the grocery store. what group of uneducated hacks decides on these insert checklists?
i dutifully have been using my topps coupons that were in my series 1 blaster, and so i picked up two packs of opening day today. i saw this card
in the first pack, and was super excited to find the dodger dog insert. a quick trip to cardboard connection told me that i was sol. i was already disappointed that the dodgers weren't featured in one of the other opening day insert sets (opening day at the ballpark) since they opened last season on the road in san diego. i was hoping for a nice dodger stadium shot on one of those cards, but no dice. the only redeeming thing i've seen so far is that the oakland a's were featured with their memorials to tony phillips and dave henderson showing, so i'll be tracking down one of those cards.
anyway, is that even food that is celebrated on that card up there? i am not sure.
one of the other inserts i pulled was this russell martin superstar celebration card
i thought this was pretty cool, actually, as i recalled a martin walk-off winner last year. i was not at the game (i went the next day), but i was in toronto that day. or so i thought. i turned the card over to confirm my recollection of that weekend in the yyz, and i was off by a millenia.
yes, that game was played, according to topps, in the year 1016.
i suppose that this could be a super short print date error variation, but even if that's the case it's ridiculous. i've never been more embarrassed to be buying this stuff than i am today. anybody want a series 2 coupon?
ben franklin was a wise man, but even he could not foretell the simple joy of trading baseball cards with a fellow collector. jon at a penny sleeve for your thoughts and i have traded a few times now, and the latest package he sent was something special. however, before i get too deep into this post, head over to jon's blog and enter his (premature) 200th post contest!
on to the cards! jon was kind enough to find three 1957 topps cards for my slow-going set build
the color on these is fantastic - especially the stone card. and, is it just me or do others feel like the kansas city a's cards in this set are the most readily available? kind of like rays cards today, i suppose.
jon also sent over some yasiel puig inserts, like this 2014 topps gypsy queen n174 card
this 2015 panini prizm fireworks card
and this 2015 topps heritage chrome card
jon also found and sent this 2016 topps stadium club zach lee gold parallel auto card
which is awesome (au-some?). unfortunately, topps has had a penchant in recent years for choosing the prospect(s) that the dodgers trade away for inclusion in their sets. lee is now with the padres after the dodgers traded him to the mariners last season, and based on that correlation between cards and trades, i don't expect ross stripling to be a dodger for much longer.
thanks jon, and congrats on approaching 200 posts!
i am guessing that there are no baseball card shows in slovakia, but there are monthly (and it looks like there are now, once again, two and sometimes three) card shows in the twin cities. i went to the more established show in early february for two reasons. one, i wanted to look for some cards for a couple of folks out there, and two, i wanted former twin tom johnson to sign a 1978 topps card for me. and he did!
i had been aware that johnson was going to be signing at the show for a while, but i had thought that he had already signed for me through the mail. after talking with another collector at twins fest in late january, however, i realized that it was likely not the case. so, when i got home from twins fest, i checked my binder and sure enough, there was no tom johnson.
so, what was the reason that had me doubting a ttm success? well, the other collector told me that johnson travels a lot doing ministry type work. so, after he signed my card, i asked johnson about his work. he said that he has established a boys and girls club type facility in slovakia, giving youngsters there a chance to hang out and play sports. he handed me a business card, too.
bratislava is the country's capital, near the austrian border. i didn't think to ask what his connection to slovakia was, but it's a pretty cool thing regardless.
i picked up a number of other cards at the show, including a big stack of 2017 rediscover topps buybacks for a great price and some other stuff to send to some frequent trading partners, but the only other cards i've scanned are for me. like this 2010 bowman erick aybar orange parallel card,
and these 2017 topps cards - addison russell,
and dustin pedroia (1987 30th anniversary insert),
all for the double play binder.
i was disappointed to not find the 2017 topps salute sandy koufax card which had been added to my nefarious nine, but it was otherwise a good show with a lot of dealers.
jim gilliam spent two years playing for the dodger triple-a affiliate in montreal. that's in canada, or quebec, at least (those crazy separatists!). i recently received a fantastically conditioned 1960 topps jim gilliam card
from captain canuck, defender of baseball card collecting in the prairie provinces. there were four cards in the pwe that i received from the self-proclaimed waxaholic, but they were four glorious cards that tell a story of our fine continent.
in addition to the gilliam card, there were two 1977 o-pee-chee cards. now, everyone knows all about o-pee-chee cards (thanks in some part to my blog, i hope), and the brighter backs associated with our northern neighbors' cards are an increasingly welcome sight for my aging eyes. here's ron cey's 1977 o-pee-chee card back:
with a native american on it!
the other o-pee-chee card was the dave lopes/bill north league leaders card, and here is its back:
it's slightly miscut, with some of the grass that should be on the bottom of the card leaking onto the top of the card, but otherwise very clean. and yes, don baylor once stole 52 bases.
the last card of the trade was this 2014 topps 75th anniversary buyback of vic davalillo
davalillo was famously (at least to us dodger fans) plucked from the mexican league during the 1977 season, and wound up getting one of most memorable pinch-hits in dodger history (but not the most, obviously). davalillo came up to bat for lance rautzhan with two outs and nobody on base in game 3 of the 1977 nlcs. the dodgers were trailing 5-3, and were on the verge of falling behind in the series two games to one. davalillo bunted for a hit, and the game winning rally was on. and then reggie jackson destroyed my dreams.
so there you have it - a great trade between canada and the us, featuring cards with ties to both countries plus mexico. as long as there are adam laroche cards to be uncovered (along with various other braves and hockey folks), i will support free trades like this one. thanks captain!
last week i received a few ttm request returns, one of which i'll show here. new cub brett anderson signed and returned the 2015 topps update card that i had sent him just over a year ago.
this also allows me to fill a spot in my topps dodger autograph project for 2015 topps update. as you might recall, i tried to secure at least one signed dodger card (ideally freely obtained through the mail) for each topps flagship set, starting with the 1951 red/blue backs, without repeating a player. i don't officially consider update sets to be a part of the project, but i note them if i have them. speaking of update, i received a 2014 topps update scott van slyke card signed by mr. svs himself
sometime last year, so i've added that to the collection as well. here's the updated tally of the project: 1951 topps - preacher roe (purchased) 1952 topps - rocky bridges 1953 topps - bobby morgan 1954 topps - billy herman (purchased) 1955 topps - don zimmer (purchased) 1956 topps - randy jackson 1957 topps - carl erskine 1958 topps - joe pignatano 1959 topps - fred kipp 1960 topps - chuck essegian 1961 topps - bob aspromonte 1962 topps - norm sherry 1963 topps - ed roebuck 1964 topps - ken mcmullen 1965 topps - dick tracewski 1966 topps - john kennedy 1967 topps - phil regan 1968 topps - jim campanis 1969 topps - jeff torborg 1970 topps - al mcbean 1971 topps - sandy vance 1972 topps - manny mota 1973 topps - wes parker 1974 topps - claude osteen 1974 topps traded - jim wynn 1975 topps - ron cey 1975 topps mini - joe ferguson 1976 topps - bill russell 1976 topps traded - dusty baker 1977 topps - steve garvey 1978 topps - dave lopes 1979 topps - charlie hough 1980 topps - jerry reuss 1981 topps - doug rau 1981 topps traded - ken landreaux 1982 topps - dave goltz 1982 topps traded - jose morales 1983 topps - ron roenicke 1983 topps traded - rafael landestoy 1984 topps - fernando valenzuela 1984 topps traded - mike vail 1985 topps - burt hooton 1985 topps traded - mariano duncan 1986 topps - enos cabell 1986 topps traded - franklin stubbs 1987 topps - steve sax 1987 topps traded - matt young 1988 topps - len matuszek 1988 topps traded - jay howell 1989 topps - mickey hatcher 1990 topps - kal daniels 1990 topps traded - juan samuel 1991 topps - tim belcher 1992 topps - roger mcdowell 1993 topps - dave hansen 1993 topps traded - tim wallach 1994 topps - jody reed 1995 topps - chris gwynn 1996 topps - todd hollandsworth 1997 topps - brett butler 1998 topps - greg gagne 1999 topps - jose vizcaino 2000 topps - jeff shaw 2001 topps - chan ho park 2002 topps - andy ashby 2002 topps traded - joel hanrahan 2003 topps - jim tracy 2003 topps traded - ron coomer 2004 topps - edwin jackson 2004 topps traded - milton bradley 2005 topps - chad billingsley 2005 topps update & highlights - jason phillips 2006 topps - bill mueller 2007 topps - james loney 2007 topps update & highlights - andy laroche 2008 topps - delwyn young 2008 topps update & highlights - casey blake 2009 topps - matt kemp 2009 topps update & highlights - brad ausmus 2010 topps - juan pierre 2010 topps update & highlights - ronnie belliard 2011 topps - hong-chih kuo 2011 topps update & highlights - matt guerrier 2012 topps - nathan eovaldi 2012 topps update & highlights - matt treanor 2013 topps - randy choate 2013 topps update - clayton kershaw 2014 topps - ricky nolasco 2014 topps update - scott van slyke 2015 topps - 2015 topps update - brett anderson i'm holding out hope for one of the few 2015 flagship cards i've sent out to be returned. we'll see. thanks brett and scott!