Friday, September 23, 2016

who edits these things?

the cons of topps now have been well documented - price, subject selection, mailing method, etc. there was even a lawsuit filed due to erroneous text on the proof being corrected in production.  i've purchased all of the dodger cards offered so far, most at a discount from the $9.99 price so not from topps directly, and i have no substantial complaints, as it is my choice to purchase these things.  as such, part of my afternoon ritual has become checking their website to see if a dodger card was produced, and as a result i have seen all of the cards offered this year.

while there have been a few topps now cards that have given me the itch to compose a post, one recent card finally tipped the scales. it was this one, one of many gary sanchez cards that have been produced since the yankee catcher was called up
as you can see, sanchez is being feted for being the second fastest of all-time to reach 16 home runs.  ok. now, whether or not you feel that this is an achievement worthy of a topps now card is not the point. the card is made.  being a fan of the history of the game, i was intrigued enough to find out who the fastest to 16 home runs was.  so, i took a look at the back of the card.
the good folks at topps feel that it is more important for me to know that sanchez hit his home run in a nationally televised game than which immortal slugger owns the record.  they also fail to tell me by what measure sanchez became the seond fastest to this arbitraty plateau.  they mention it was his second at-bat of the game, and that it came in the third inning, but that's it.  so, i am left to my own devices to find this information.

now, i remember seeing a note earlier in sanchez's run that only george scott and trevor story had reached the 10 home run mark faster than sanchez. so, perhaps one of them got to 16 quicker.  a check of baseball reference tells me that it is not so, as scott hit his 16th in his 57th game, and story hit his in his 55th game. sanchez has only played in 47 games.  this, of course, assumes that it is games played that is the measure being used.  and it could be, or it could be at bats, as the guy who hit 16 home runs in fewer at bats than sanchez (who took 156 at bats to get there) was wally berger. berger took somewhere between 145 and 148 at bats and 41 games to get to 16 for the 1930 boston braves, so he has sanchez beat on both counts.

i am left to ask, would it have been so tough to at least mention berger? the reason topps gives for creating this card begs for the rest of the story, but topps didn't bother.  if they didn't want to mention berger, why not just say that sanchez reached 16 home runs faster than any other yankee.

this past wednesday, there were four topps now cards related to milestone sort of accomplishments (plus one walk-off card), and on two of the four cards, topps does mention either the person whose record was eclipsed (dave kingman used to hold the record for most home runs in a final season - now it's david ortiz - and ichiro was the last guy to have 200 or more hits in 3 straight season before jose altuve accomplished that feat during this season). good job, topps. one of the other cards features mookie betts and nomar garciaparra, and notes that nomar is the only other player to reach 200 hits, 30 homers, 40 doubles, and 20 steals in an age-23 or younger season.  that is an acceptable amount of information, even though the card mentions that there are five other players to achieve the feat regardless of age, but does not name them.  the fourth card, however, falls short, as it tells me that trey mancini is the second orioles player to homer in his debut in the last 50 years. great. who is the other oriole to do that, topps?  well, to quote dough boy, "they either don't know, don't show, or don't care" to provide that information.  thanks to the interwebs, i have learned that it was jonathan schoop in 2013, so mancini was the first oriole to do it in three years. wow.

i mentioned up above that there were some other cards that got me thinking about posting, and one of them was joe mauer's recent card celebrating a walk-off hit of his over the indians.  here's the back
i had thought that topps would have fixed this, but it looks like they've kept mauer as a catcher even though he hasn't played behind the plate since 2013.

the season is almost over, and i will continue to buy the dodger topps now cards (including their special postseason set that will go live as soon as they clinch the division), but i am really looking forward to/hoping for a vin scully card.  it really needs to happen, and i hope that he grants the use of his likeness to make it happen. then, it will just be up to topps to get the text right.


  1. I definitely think some of these milestones are a stretch just to sell cards to us Redsox,Yankees, Dodgers and Cubs collectors. I've picked up all the Sox cards this year. Won't do it next year. Will pick and choose.

    1. agreed. i don't plan to purchase any next year unless there is a monumental event achieved by a dodger.