Cardpocalypse Like Sugar

Sweet! Tim from Cardpocalypse held some weekly Cardpocalypse contests during the month of May and I won a very nice relic card from his last “Anything Goes” contest. Tim also sent a dozen way cool Topps inserts that went a long way towards satisfying my craving for Topps flagship inserts. I’ll show the insert cards first and save the dessert (relic card) for last. First up is a couple of nice 2018 Topps inserts.

2018 Topps Salute #TS-22, 2018 Topps 1983 Topps #83-82
2018 Topps Salute #TS-22, 2018 Topps 1983 Topps #83-82
2020 Topps Decades' Best #DB-3, #DB-8, #DB-34, #DB-40
2020 Topps Decades' Best #DB-3, #DB-8, #DB-34, #DB-40

Here are four cards from one of the best insert card designs Topps has put out in recent years. The photos are fairly fresh (to me at least) but maybe a little bit overprocessed. This design is really eye-catching and works well in the overall borderless design.

But as much as I like this Decades’ Best insert set, something still looks off to me. It’s not readily apparent on the Fergie Jenkins card but if you look closely at the other three cards, you can see a dark gray drop shadow imposed just to the left of the player’s body. That is a little bit disconcerting to me but not a dealbreaker. Perhaps some may think it enhances the photo’s impact but I think it’s unnecessary and takes away slightly from the essence of the decade being evoked. But like I said, it’s not a dealbreaker.

More 2020 Topps insert goodness! I’m really surprised Tim included some Home Run Challenge cards in the envelope. These cards have the potential to win you some nice additional cards from Topps that are fairly rare. As you may know, it’s easy to enter this Topps online contest. After registering with Topps and entering the card’s code, you predict a date that the player pictured will hit a home run. If your player comes through for you, then you win a special serial-numbered version of the card. Last year I had only two of these HRC cards but I did win a special serial-numbered Gary Sanchez card, so that was nice.

Needless to say, this year will be different. There will be much fewer (if any) MLB games in which to predict a home run. I wouldn’t be surprised then if special 2020 HRC cards are awarded, then they will be more highly sought after than those of other years.

2020 Topps Home Run Challenge #HRC-3, #HRC-26, #HRC-30, 2020 Topps Choice #TC-11
2020 Topps Home Run Challenge #HRC-3, #HRC-26, #HRC-30, 2020 Topps Choice #TC-11
2020 Topps Decades' Next #DN-14, #DN-2, 2019 Topps Update All-Star Stitches Relics #ASSR-WM

The Topps Decade’s Next insert set may be a bit bland to some, considering that the design’s main colors are black, white and gold foil. But in my opinion it is still pretty distinctive and doesn’t seem to copy any previous Topps flagship design. The use of gold foil and it’s texture are big plusses for this set. As I mentioned in my review of 2020 Topps, Pleasure and Pain (A Review of 2020 Topps Series 1), I think Topps should try using this gold foil on the Topps Gold cards (which are serial-numbered to 2020).

And last but not least is the 2019 Topps Update All-Start Stitches Whit Merrifield card I won from Tim’s contest. Topps usually does a really good job with the design of these All-Star Stitches sets. The 2004 and 2016 designs immediately come to mind. The 2020 All-Stitches design is definitely right up there with them.

Topps got a nice head start on this design with MLB’s 2019 All-Star logo which incorporates a guitar (given that the 2019 All-Star game was held in Cleveland–home of the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame). Topps added a guitar neck and a stylized silhouette of the Cleveland skyline for the nameplate. It all adds up to a very pleasing look for this traditional relic set.

Rather surprisingly, Topps has announced in May that there will be a 2020 Topps Update product. Much like the 2020 MLB season, it remains to be seen if it will actually happen.

A rousing Stadium Fantasium standing ovation goes out to Tim and his Cardpocalypse blog for sending these great cards over to the Stadium Fantasium collection–thanks Tim!

Contest plug: As of this writing, thirteen players are still needed to sign up for the Big Fun Game at Johnny’s Trading Spot. Check it out if you haven’t played before.

Question of the Day:

Seeing as the 2020 MLB All-Star game at Dodger Stadium has been cancelled, do you think Topps will still somehow manage to put an All-Star Stitches relic set in 2020 Topps Update?

Stay tuned…

The Tide is High(ly Subjective and Completely Arbritrary)

Note from Highly Subjective and Completely and Complete Arbitrary

One part of the fantastic current wave of hobby blog giveaways are the great cards offered by Brian at Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary (or HSACA for short). Brian did his version of Free Stuff Friday for 20 weeks(!), starting in February of this year and did his last one on June 19th. I picked up the two Topps cards pictured on the right from Brian’s Free Card Friday #1.

2017 Topps Salute #S-37
2017 Topps Salute #S-37
2019 Topps Gold #615
2019 Topps Gold #615
2018 Topps 1983 #83-18
2018 Topps 1983 #83-18

While surfing through Brians’s want lists, I saw that he had listed a few 1969 Topps baseball needs. I don’t really have much that other people need but I did happen to have a near mint duplicate of a ’69 Topps Rico Carty (Braves). You can see the card on Brian’s “Free Trade Agreements” post. I think Brian was pretty happy to get this card because he sent me four extra cards from my want list. Included were these two 2018 Topps inserts (Nolan Ryan and José Altuve).

2018 Topps Salute #TS-7
2018 Topps Salute #TS-7
2018 Topps Heritage #422 (short print)
2018 Topps Heritage #422 (short print)
2018 Topps Heritage #479 (short print)
2018 Topps Heritage #479 (short print)

Also included were these two 2018 Topps Heritage short prints. I’m happy to report that these two Heritage cards helped me complete the White Sox and Reds portions of my 2018 Heritage base set. After updating my want list, I see that I’m getting really close to completing this set–not an easy task considering that this set (including Heritage High Numbers) has 125 short print cards.

The terrific-looking cards pictured on the right were chosen from Brian’s Free Stuff Friday #15 back in the middle of May. As recently as 2018, I did not care much for parallels. I really don’t have the time to collect endless sets of parallels. (I’m only making an exception for the 1992 Topps Gold Winners and 1993 Topps Gold sets.)

Like many Topps flagship baseball card collectors, I have a number of various gold, black, emerald, cognac, and diamond parallels from past flagship sets. I never really knew what to do with these but I didn’t want to trade them either.

So now that I’m slowly getting my cards inventoried and putting them in binders, I finally figured out how to fit parallels into my collection. I’ve always organized my cards in boxes by teams–not numerical order. The cards in my binders will be organized by teams also. The thing I don’t like is that the last card of one team may end up right next to the first card of the next team. I prefer that the next team start on the next page. So I use the parallels to fill in the spaces. Thus, the Jesus Montero Emerald Foil card will go next to his regular base card.

To me, the great thing about adding various parallels to the binders is that in most cases they have the same number as the base card and add variety to a nine-pocket page. So now parallels have a purpose in my set binders and I don’t need to collect an entire parallel set. So any given binder of mine can show golds, camo, Independence Day and other parallels right next to its corresponding base card. I could even end up with a rainbow of a player in some set binders.

2012 Topps Golden Moments #GM-6, 2013 Topps Emerald Foil #459, 2019 Topps Rainbow Foil #307
2012 Topps Golden Moments #GM-6, 2013 Topps Emerald Foil #459, 2019 Topps Rainbow Foil #307

So Brian’s Free Stuff Friday #16 post appeared on May 22nd and I chose the cards pictured on the right. The cards arrived the following Thursday. The next day, Brian posted Free Stuff Friday #17 and mentioned that his local post office “is out of commission, and may or may not have had fire damage in the wake of demonstrations…”. Well that’s certainly something to be concerned about.

1982 Fleer #631
1982 Fleer #631
2015 Topps Rainbow Foil #260
2015 Topps Rainbow Foil #260

Then the next day I saw a picture on Facebook of a burned out brick building. It was Brian’s post office. The building’s signage even had the same zip code as Brian’s return address on the PWE Brian had sent. That was a bit jarring.

But that didn’t stop Brian from posting his weekly Free Stuff Friday posts. Brian kept sailing ahead and in Free Stuff Friday #20, I picked up these three cards. All three are very nice cards but the Bob Gibson card is the one that really caught my attention. That’s because a couple of months ago, I picked up 11 other assorted Mound Dominance cards along with a few hundred other cards from baseballcardstore.ca. Mound Dominance is a 15-card insert set and I think it may now be near-complete. However, it will probably be some time before I can dig up the one I already have to know which ones I still need.

And so we honor Brian with a hearty Stadium Fantasium standing ovation for his generosity.

1996 Topps #205, 2012 Topps Mound Marvels #MD-6, 2018 Topps Salute Series 2 #S-77
1996 Topps #205, 2012 Topps Mound Marvels #MD-6, 2018 Topps Salute Series 2 #S-77

So do you aggressively pursue short printed and or parallel cards?

Stay tuned…

Gratitude (to A Cracked Bat)

Mail day from A Cracked Bat

First off, I’d like to give a big thanks and Stadium Fantasium standing ovation to Julie over at A Cracked Bat. For quite a while now Julie has been periodically giving away cards via her blog’s Pick Pockets page. She always offers a huge selection of cards to choose from and I was lucky enough to snag these beauties:

2020 Topps Heritage New Age Performers insert #NAP-13, 2017 Topps 5 Tool inserts #5T-10 & #5T-34, 2017 Topps Archives #201, 2000 Opening Day 2K #OD20, 1990 Fleer Action Series Team Stickers Minnesota Twins
2020 Topps Heritage New Age Performers insert #NAP-13, 2017 Topps 5 Tool inserts #5T-10 & #5T-34, 2017 Topps Archives #201, 2000 Opening Day 2K #OD20, 1990 Fleer Action Series Team Stickers Minnesota Twins
2020 Topps Heritage New Age Performers insert #NAP-13, 2017 Topps 5 Tool inserts #5T-10 & #5T-34, 2017 Topps Archives #201, 2000 Opening Day 2K #OD20, 1990 Fleer Action Series Team Stickers Minnesota Twins
2020 Topps Heritage New Age Performers insert #NAP-13, 2017 Topps 5 Tool inserts #5T-10 & #5T-34, 2017 Topps Archives #201, 2000 Opening Day 2K #OD20, 1990 Fleer Action Series Team Stickers Minnesota Twins

Fun Fact: I actually once briefly met HOFer Bert Blyleven back around 1994 (give or take a year). At the time, I was working at the Pond of Anaheim (now known as the Honda Center) and Bert was there to watch a Mighty Ducks hockey game. Bert had retired from the California Angels after the 1992 season. I remember being so happy with myself recognizing him in street clothes. And he was so nice too. Although I’ve been in the presence of a few other HOFers, I think Bert is the only baseball HOFer I’ve ever spoken to.

Thanks again to Julie for these inserts and borderline vintage base cards–much, much appreciated. It’s great how some cards can bring back some nice memories.

Do you have any cards of players/celebrities you have encountered?

Stay tuned…

(National Baseball Card) Day Tripper

2019 Topps of the Class Greats Gold TCG-23
2019 Topps of the Class Greats Gold TCG-23

Most group breakers offer spots in group breaks of cases or boxes of baseball cards. Fellow blogger Kerry of Cards on Cards held a rather unusual group break back in the middle of May. Rather than breaking cases or boxes of cards, Kerry offered up spots in a bunch of 2019 Topps of the Class packs. These 5-card packs were originally distrubuted by card shops to kids who brought in their report cards. Apparently some shops had extra packs.

2019 Topps of the Class Greats Gold TCG-23 (back)
2019 Topps of the Class Greats Gold TCG-23 (back)

Some packs even had a serial-numbered insert card inside. So I signed up for Kerry’s group break and was lucky enough to claim the Dodgers. Even luckier, I came away with the only insert card of the break (the Clayton Kershaw card above #’d 252/299). Of the four Dodgers featured in the base set I got two of them (Kerry also sent a bonus 2019 Allen & Ginter insert #BSS-34 Kershaw):

2019 Topps of the Class TC-45
2019 Topps of the Class TC-45
2019 Topps of the Class TC-48
2019 Topps of the Class TC-48
2019 Topps Allen & Ginter BSS-34
2019 Topps Allen & Ginter BSS-34

Well, you certainly can’t go wrong with Cody Bellinger and Walker Buehler. The other two Dodger base cards that I did not get are Clayton Kershaw and Cory Seager. As you may have noticed, the base card design is based on the 2019 Topps Big League design. Of course the product logo and numbering have been changed. Looks like I just may have to go try to complete this set.

But the fun at Kerry’s blog doesn’t end there. Kerry has also been hosting Free Stuff Fridays, too. Kerry has not only offered up some great cards but also hobby magazine card panels/sheets and even entire boxed traded sets. So a couple weeks ago, I saw that he was offering some more Topps of the Class, a few 2018 National Baseball Card Day and a Topps flagship insert. Of course I had to take him up on these:

2019 Topps Update 1984 Topps Baseball Blue #84-47, 2019 Topps of the Class TC-4 & TC-84, 2018 National Baseball Card Day #12, 19 & 23
2019 Topps Update 1984 Topps Baseball Blue #84-47, 2019 Topps of the Class TC-4 & TC-84, 2018 National Baseball Card Day #12, 19 & 23

A big thank you and a big Stadium Fantasium standing ovation go out to Kerry. So far I’ve got about a half-dozen cards from Kerry’s want lists set aside for him. As soon as I find a couple more, they will be sent on their way to Kerry’s mailbox. I’ve updated a couple of my want lists and will add want lists soon of the sets mentioned above.

Speaking of National Baseball Card Day, Topps has announced details of the 2020 National Baseball Card Day promotion. On Saturday August 8th, customers at participating hobby shops will receive one free pack of cards. Additional bonus cards of Peter Alonso (Week 1) and Yordan Alvarez (Week 2) will be available with an additional $10 purchase. Around this same time, Target and Walmart stores will also be selling 2020 Topps Chrome hanger boxes with a free pack of NBCD cards inside.

In past years, Topps would also distribute packs of team-specific NBCD cards at MLB games across the country. So far it is not clear if we will see that this year. The Topps announcement does have a “Topps NBCD MLB Stadium Giveaway Dates” link but as of this writing, it links to a list of 2019 dates. (Somebody’s trippin’.)

I do like Topps NBCD cards and it’s likely I’ll go after this set too.

Will you be trying to obtain 2020 National Baseball Card Day cards in August?

Stay tuned…