Category Archives: baseball cards

“Fixing” 2018 Topps

I have gone on record regarding my opinion of 2018 Topps. Really, the past three years of Topps cards have been disappointing. I don’t like change, and these cards have changed so much it’s disturbing.

There are a lot of effects that simulate television graphics—which would look cool as an insert set, but not for the base card. The lack of borders bothers me (and always will). So I decided to fire up Photoshop and “fix” Topps’ flagship issue this year. It’s a very rough draft, but I have added a border and edited the graphic-heavy name plates. I also tilted the Reds’ logo, because I don’t like cutting off the wishbone like Topps did, and nudged the name to the right so it’s not hiding behind the waterslide. Here is version 2.0:

Arroyo

I chose Bronson Arroyo as the featured player since he has retired, and Topps will likely not fawn over him like they do Derek Jeter. The dude was a workhorse until leaving Cincinnati, and once he got hurt in Arizona, he just couldn’t bounce back. I wish him the best in whatever his future holds, whether it is baseball-related or music-related or hey-let’s-go-fishing-because-I’m-retired-and-I-made-so-much-stinking-money-I-never-have-to-work-another-day-in-my-life-related.

Now, the waterslide is an issue in the above mock-up. By tilting the logo and scooting it to the right so the entire wishbone is visible, it reveals much more of the waterslide. I tried some hack editing and made it look even worse, so decided to remove it all together in version 3.0:

Arroyo

And then, after removing the waterslide, I decided the logo could be re-straightened. So, here is version 4.0:

Arroyo

I’m not crazy about any of these versions really, but I like it better (though it is in very rough form) than what Topps released. I would love to see a real graphic designer get a hold of it and fix the issues.

Sometimes, though, some things are just too broke to fix.

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Feast your eyes on this magnificent card

Votto

This phenomenal Joey Votto baseball card comes from the special “silver packs” available when you purchased a box of cards from a hobby shop. Or, if you don’t want to roll the dice and maybe get a player you like in that four-card silver pack, you can wait for them to hit the secondary market on eBay or COMC. I chose eBay because of a relatively low price and free shipping on this card. Ain’t it a wonder?

Look at those socks, man! LOVE IT. There should be an insert set dedicated to the great sock-wearers of the game.

And then there was one…

Topps Series 1 has been on the shelves for just over a week. I couldn’t resist the urge to buy a couple of the hanger boxes (but I should have), and pulled three Reds cards from those packs. Despite not purchasing any more at the store, I’m only one card away from completing the base Reds set already…

2018 Topps Reds cards

Thanks to Tony of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards and PK of Baseball Every Night, the only card I lack is Billy Hamilton (and the pesky SP version, but I’m not counting that towards the base set). PK even hooked me up with the sweet Joey Votto Opening Day insert.

Votto Opening Day

Votto Opening Day

I’ve never heard anyone use the term “lidlifter” before. I will definitely have to start working that into conversation.

I’m very thankful for my baseball card blogging and Tweeting friends. Follow Tony on Twitter at @OffHiatusBBC and PK at @pksteinberg!

I miss Riverfront Stadium

I know it’s silly to miss the “cookie cutter” era of baseball stadiums, but I grew up with Riverfront Stadium, fell in love with baseball at Riverfront Stadium, and I long for the innocence I experienced at Riverfront Stadium. Fortunately, we have baseball cards like this one…

Browning

There is Tom Browning, tipping his cap to the crowd, celebrating the first perfect game in Cincinnati Reds history. I’m guessing this was a staged shot, since you can see Luis Quinones warming up n the background. But it’s still a nice card, and you can see a bit of Riverfront Stadium behind Mr. Perfect.

And then there is this card…

Hammond

Chris Hammond never amounted to much with the Reds, but you can clearly see a couple of the different colored seats behind him. The lowest level, barely visible here because there were few in the outfield, were blue seats. Then there were green seats, which are nearly filled behind Hammond. Above are yellow, and then the cheapo seats, the red seats. The least expensive seats in the park were the “Top 6” rows of the red section. I remember only cost $3.50 per ticket, but even the more expensive seats were reasonable. I don’t think they had $2500 seats back in those pure times.

I miss Riverfront Stadium so much I mistakenly, absent-mindedly call the Reds’ current home Riverfront sometimes. I know it’s Great American Ballpark. But I prefer Riverfront. And I always will.

A one in a million trader

I don’t post the cards I receive in the mail very often anymore on here. I usually post them to Twitter then put them in the stack to be sorted. I think I will change that, because this blog needs some lovin’. So here is a trade recently completely with Beau of the One Million Cubs Project, who I met via Twitter (@onemillioncubs). I sent him a handful of Cubbies recently, and he loaded me up with Reds and Reggies.

Reggie Jackson is one of the non-Reds players that I collect, and Beau hit a few holes in my collection here. I don’t have an official wantlist, but I believe there are at least four cards in this lot that I didn’t previously have.

Reggie

Then there were the Reds. From Eric Davis to Tucker Barnhart to Pete Rose to Mario Soto, Beau scattered the selections throughout several eras of Cincinnati baseball.

Reds

And he sent over a few 2014 Allen & Ginters, which I don’t even have on my wantlists yet! I need to change that soon. I got a Joe Morgan, Frank Robinson, and a mini Billy Hamilton rooooooookie card…

BHAM

And it’s always cool to get an autograph, even if you’ve never heard of the guy. Tanner Rainey was a second round draft pick in 2015 and split last year between Dayton and Pensacola, so he’s not a washout yet. Hope this guy can get to the bigs and help out the Reds…they sure need it on the mound.

Rainey

Eric Davis is another guy I collect everything of, whether Reds or not. It’s hard to find a Reds card of Davis I don’t have (though there are a handful), but when you send me Dodgers and Tigers and Orioles and Cardinals cards…there’s a good chance I don’t have it yet. Like Reggie, I don’t have a wantlist up yet, but maybe I’ll be able to change that this summer? (HAHA yeah right)

Davis

But what is this? Yes, it IS a Reds card of #44 I didn’t already have! From Baseball Cards Magazine…

Davis

Beau posted this and several more Reds from Baseball Cards Magazine, and I knew I had to ask if they could be included in the trade. Fortunately no one else had spoken up yet. If you need any of the non-Reds from the panels, let me know and they are yours (except for Darryl Strawberry, he’s already spoken for). The other Reds besides Davis were Barry Larkin, Randy Myers, Scott Scudder, Rosario Rodriguez, and Joe Oliver (sharing a card with John Wetteland of the Dodgers)…

Larkin

Myers

Scudder

Oliver

All of those came on uncut panels with other players, but they will be freed and bindered at some point.

Thanks Beau for an awesome trade!

My first 2018 Topps Reds card is…

Scooter

Second baseman Scooter Gennett! This one makes me happy because second base has been a sore spot for me for a few years now. Not a fan of Scooter’s predecessor, I’m happy that there is a different guy playing to the right of Joey Votto in the Reds infield.

Now on to the card itself…

I was not a fan of the 2018 Topps design when I first saw it. Several other collectors said they changed their minds when they had them in hand, but…nope. I still don’t like it. The design itself is not awful, but I think Topps should shoot for more than “not bad.” My main beef is the lack of borders. Second is hiding the first letter of the player’s name under the waterslide. What’s the point?

And then, when you flip it over…

Scooter

The name isn’t hidden at all, showing that it doesn’t have to be hidden on the front!

The empty space to the right of the social media box and write-up doesn’t bother me as much as most, but it would probably look better centered on the card rather than all the way to the left. The lack of stats on the back doesn’t bother me either; that’s what baseball-reference.com is for, right?

So after opening two 72-card hangers, I’m not buying any more packs this year from Topps. Only three Reds out of 144 cards…not great. I did get two Aaron Judge cards, though!

So send me your Reds, I’ll send you your favorite team. Drop me an e-mail and let me know what team you collect…I love doing blind trades!

Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Trevor Hoffman

Hoffman

One of the biggest questions of the 2018 Hall of Fame class was Trevor Hoffman. The debate rages on the value of relief pitchers, but Hoffman proved himself over a long 18-year career that he was worthy of serious Cooperstown consideration and the BBWAA deemed him worthy of the honor in 2018. His 601 saves rank him second to Mariano Rivera on the all-time list. However, the JAWS system ranks him the 21st best reliever in history, behind a bunch of guys I’ve never even heard of.

Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Jim Thome

Thome

How times have changed. When Harmon Killebrew retired in 1975, he was fourth on the all-time home runs list behind Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Willie Mays. Yet, it took the BBWAA four years to decide he was worthy of Cooperstown. Jim Thome‘s 612 home runs put him eighth on the all-time list, but he flew right into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe Thome is a Hall of Famer…I just question the sanity of the voters in the 1980s who kept Killebrew waiting so long.

Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Vladimir Guerrero

Vladimir

In his first year on the ballot, Vladimir Guerrero received 71.7% of the vote, missing induction by 15 votes. This year, there was no doubt that the Dominican-born great would be inducted. A nine-time All-Star, Guerrero became a star in Montreal, and a superstar in Anaheim, winning the 2004 AL MVP as he helped the Angels to the playoffs. He finished in the top ten in MVP voting five other times.

Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Chipper Jones

Chipper

Chipper Jones was the offensive anchor for the Braves during the 1990s and 2000s, playing third base and left field for the most dominant National League team of the era. The 1999 NL MVP was selected to eight All-Star teams in his career, and is ranked sixth among all third basemen by the JAWS system. Jones is only the second #1 draft pick to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, following Ken Griffey in 2016.

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