Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Outragious Use of Super Glue in 2013 Topps Baseball

These sets I've been purchasing lately are mostly hand-collated.  They're a lot cheaper that way.  But the risk is missing cards, and I got burned with the 2013 Topps baseball set.  Two cards were missing, and are now on my want list.  There was an extra Giancarlo Stanton.  Anybody need it?

As I was sorting this set, I realized that Super Glue is used on a lot of the cards.  I mean it's everywhere.  Most years' sets have some of it here and there, but the 2013 set must hold the record.  Super Glue is used to stick baseballs to about anything you can imagine on these cards.  Here are some examples.

The players use it to stick baseballs to the front of their baseball caps...

to the barrels of their bats...

And to their open gloves...

They're sticking baseballs to their bodies too.
To their fingertips...

cheeks...

chins...

pinkies...  (That's some strong glue there!)

upper arms...

shoulders....

bellies...

Doh! No comment on this one.

elbows...

backs...
 
Fielders are gluing baseballs to the rims of their gloves...

Catchers are gluing baseballs to their chest protectors...

Relief pitchers are sticking baseballs to themselves in the bullpens.

Poor Ben here got two drops of Super Glue, resulting in both his shoulder and hat being stuck to the ball.

The fans in the stands want to be just like the players, so they're using Super Glue too.  They're sticking balls to their shoulders and shins...

more shoulders...

heads and chests...

sides and tops of heads...

cheeks and arm pits...
 
Look around the ballparks.  Baseballs have been glued to...
outfield walls...


foul poles...

scoreboards...

even to the lenses of television cameras...

Oh the painstaking work it must have been to stick each individual ice cube!

I doubt Super Glue can stick to liquids, so this is most likely a perfect timing shot that caught it in mid air.

Super Glue is a registered trademark product.  There should be an R in a circle next to each time it's used in this blog.  I didn't know how to add that in this text editor.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2005-06 Topps Basketball Set

The Christmas sets continue to trickle in.  On Saturday the 2005-06 Topps basketball set arrived in the mail.

Kobe Bryant was still wearing uniform number eight on this card.  I guess he wasn't going 24 hours a day yet.  There was the period of time when the Lakers wore these baby blue uniforms a couple of times a season.  I think they are throwbacks to the 1950's or 1960's.  They matched well with their in-town UCLA Bruins.

Here are a couple of Hall of Famers.  Ironically, I recently watched their induction speeches on YouTube.  Both were unexpected.  Iverson was very humble and appreciative.  Shaq used a lot of colorful language.

Here are a couple of future Hall of Famers.  When I was a little kid I remember Kareem Abdul-Jabbar closing in on Wilt Chamberlain's career scoring record.  I was pretty excited when he finally did it.  Now I'm starting to wonder the same thing about LeBron James as he closes in on Kareem's record.  There was a time when Karl Malone seemed certain to catch Kareem, but then he got hurt and things stopped in a hurry.  I'm a Lakers and Kareem fan, so I'm not rooting for LeBron to do it.  But I don't want the guy to get hurt either.  LeBron's been talking lately about not seeing his kids enough and how he's missing their games and everything.  But I think he sticks it out.  I think he'll break the record.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Hoops Set and a Couple Mid-70's Topps

In my pursuit of mid-70's Topps baseball sets, I picked up a couple cards that had eluded me thus far.
 
I've seen this card many times over the years, but Willie Mays in a Mets uniform still looks very strange to me.  The card is off-centered, but the price was right.  That leaves me 37 cards from having the complete set of 1973.  Most of them are high numbers.  I have something in the works to chip into that number a little bit.
 
The price was right for this Gary Carter rookie, which is in much better condition than for which I thought I would settle.  This was my #9 most wanted baseball card.  That leaves one card left for the 1975 complete set; George Brett of course!
 
I stopped buying complete basketball sets a while ago.  The last one I got was 2003-04 Topps.  It was a good year to get because it contains rookie cards for LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.  Well, I've decided to start those up again.  It looks like I can go with Topps until 2009-10.  And then I don't know what to do for 2010-11.  Any ideas?  Panini Hoops started in 2011-12 and has run every year since, so I'll go after them.
 
Panini Hoops from 2013-14 was available cheap, and arrived the other day.  Here are the big names in the set.
Is it just me, or does LeBron James look more like Alonzo Mourning in this picture?

I don't like it that sportscards have become one licensed brand per sport.  I liked it better when there were lots of sets.  i.e. competition to push the card companies to do a great job or lose market share.  But it is fun to be collecting basketball cards on a larger scale again.  Since 2003-04 it had just been Lakers team sets.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Old Red Sox Cards from 1916

The after-Christmas purchases are starting to arrive.  This week a couple of Red Sox oldies from 1916 came.  1916 was similar to previous years' issues in that the cards could be found with a variety of backs.  Sporting News was probably the most well known.  But there were local companies like Famous and Barr, Standard Biscuit, Weil Baking, and Fleischmann Bakery.  How these small (by today's standards) businesses got on the backs of these cards, I don't know.  But with address, logo, and sometimes a slogan on the back, they were obviously meant as advertisements.

H.B. Leonard was better known as Dutch.  His name is familiar to me because he was on this 1979 Topps card from my youth.
 
He got on this card because of his 0.96 ERA in 1914.  Leonard was the starting pitcher in one game apiece in the 1915 and 1916 World Series with the Red Sox, winning them both.  He missed out on the famous 1918 World Series championship due to leaving the team mid-season in order to avoid the WWI draft.  He was traded to the New York Yankees before the 1919 season. But due to a salary dispute, and ticking the team owner off, he was moved to the Detroit Tigers and never pitched for the Yankees.  An interesting fact about Leonard; when he died in 1952, he left behind a record collection of 150,000 discs and an estate worth $2.1 million.
 
Mr. Lewis here has seen his better days.  But for this old a card, I'm willing to accept a lesser condition.  Lewis was in that same trade to the Yankees as Dutch Leonard.  He won World Series championships with the Red Sox in 1912, 1915, and 1916.  And also like Leonard, he missed out on the 1918 World Series.  He served in World War I and missed the entire season.  Some interesting facts about Lewis; he lived until 91 years of age, dying the same year the Leonard card above was released.  He had no known relatives at the time of his death, and was buried in an unmarked grave.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

What Baseball and the Tour de France Should Have in Common

I'm a big fan of the Tour de France.  I guess it started in French class in high school when we got to watch a video of the previous year's race.  Like baseball, even more so, cycling has been tainted the past 30 years by its athletes using performance enhancing drugs.  Here's a trivia question for you.  Who won the Tour de France in 1999?  How about in 2002?  In 2005?  The answer is nobody.  In every year from 1999 through 2005 Lance Armstrong stood on the podium in Paris as the winner.  But about five years ago when all his performance enhancing drug use became public, he was stripped of those titles.  So why didn't they declare the winner to the be the second place finishers those years?  Because they too had used PED's.  How about the third place finishers?  Same.  What about the 100th place finishers.  Still the same.  Because there weren't any participants in those years' Tours who were thought to be clean, they decided not to give the title to anybody.  So for seven straight years the 2,000+ mile race was held and the history books record no winners.  That doesn't look good for the sport.  But they didn't lower their standards.


If you're still with me, this is where I'll draw the parallel to baseball.  I hear and read a lot of people who are willing to induct known PED users into the baseball Hall of Fame.  Everybody was doing it, so we must lower the standard, the sentiment goes.  And to that I ask, do we really?  If keeping steroid users out of the Hall means we have fewer inductees for the next few years, I'm fine with that.  It will go down as part of the story of baseball's history, just as it has with cycling.


My prediction is that Bonds and Clemens will eventually get in.  And then the floodgates will open.  I even think that McGwire will get in some day via a veteran's committee.
 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

HOF Candidates in 2012 Topps

Piggybacking on yesterday's post, the 2012 Topps set was also represented by several of this year's Hall of Fame candidates.  I purposely held off commenting on a couple players yesterday because they fall into a unique category in these discussions, infielders but not first basemen.  When you discuss the Hall worthiness of second basemen, shortstops, and third basemen, an interesting thing happens.  Suddenly, the discussion isn't about being one of the all-time great baseball players.  It's now about being one of the best at their position.  Now we're in the territory of increased WAR talk and factoring current representation already in the Hall for their position.  I understand the rationale.  A player who hits 45 HR with 120 RBI as a second baseman is more important to the team than an outfielder who does.  Why?  Because second basemen who can do that are harder to find than outfielders who can.  But consider this.  There's an underlying assumption in that way of thinking which I've never heard brought up before.  Without realizing it, that thought implies that baseball players are fielders who also have to hit.  Is that true?  Or is it the other way around?  Instead, are baseball players hitters who also have to field?  I honestly don't have an answer to this.  Until I do, I'm not inclined to admit lesser hitters into the Hall based on the position they play.

Luckily, Chipper Jones makes this a moot point.  His career numbers are fantastic across the board.  An easy Yes vote from me.

And then there's Scott Rolen.  At first glance, he's an obvious No, right?  I mean, did you ever watch him play and think, there's one of the best to ever play the game?  I don't think very many have.  It's when you bring positional bias and WAR (a flawed statistic) into play that he even enters the conversation.  Hopefully, I can address WAR in a future post.  Rolen had nice career numbers, but not Hall worthy. 

Andrew Jones is in the discussion based on his defense and power.  He batting average was really low, and he didn't even get 2,000 career hits.  There's got to be a basement level for some of the important counting stats, and 2,000 hits is one for me.  His defense was stellar, though.  But considering you have a chance to impact the game's score every time you bat, but rarely when you're in the field, I weigh hitting a lot more.  Jones is a No vote for me.
Here's another card of Johan Santana.  He had the goods, that's for sure.  He just didn't have much longevity.

Manny Ramirez never played a game for the Oakland A's, but here he is in an A's uniform nonetheless.
Jim Thome played 30 games for Philadelphia in his final season.  He also played a few for Baltimore, but the Phillies get his card.