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How many variations are in Topps Heritage?

I picked up a couple of hanger boxers last night at Target (even though I said I wouldn’t), and was happy to pull a Max Scherzer Black Chrome Refractor.

Scherzer Refractor

Since I’m not a Scherzer fan, or a Nationals fan, or a “oooh shiny card” fan, I immediately scanned and went to eBay to sell. (Starting bid $5, or BIN $14.99.)

It’s an obvious variation. But then there are some other variations that are not-so-obvious. Like the photo variations. And color variations. And gum stain variations. So I need to find a good, reliable checklist and sit down with my new cards and figure out which ones might be eBayable. That sounds like work to me, and this is a hobby. I don’t like mixing work and hobby. I’m so conflicted.

I have six cards listed at the moment, including Stephen Piscotty “New Age Performers,” Matt Kemp and David Price SPs, Bryce Harper “Stand-Up,” and Starling Marte/Andrew McCutchen “Pitt Power,” all with a BIN option. I may add more before the day is over, but I have other things to do first.

I did get a couple of cards I’m not selling, too…

Bruuuuuuuuuuuce

Everyone’s favorite right fielder that no one wants, Jay Bruce.

Reds

Reds team card featuring Billy Hamilton, Eugenio Suarez, and the dearly departed Todd Frazier.

And I know others have complained, and now it’s my turn. WHY, TOPPS, WHY DID YOU DO THIS???

Reds back

These are not Cincinnati Reds cards. If you’re going to be stupid and issue checklists in this fashion, then you should have Fleer-ordered the set by team.

The Card Chop Swap

I recently sent some Dale Murphy and Atlanta Braves cards to Steve of The Card Chop, and he responded with a package of Reds cards. Always happy to receive an envelope full of Reds, especially when I need every single one…

VottoPhilllips

Let’s start with this Joey Votto/Brandon Phillips “Back to Back” card from the new 2016 Topps flagship. I like this card. A lot of people are hating on this particular insert set, and while it’s not the most fantastic card ever, I still like it. Plus, Topps was smart by using two players that were pretty much guaranteed to still be on the Reds roster when the season opens. As opposed to this guy…

Chapman

…who will be sitting out the first thirty games serving a domestic violence suspension. I’m not sure how much the Reds will actually miss Aroldis Chapman this year, since he is a closer and expected to save games. The Reds probably won’t have very many games to save.

Bruce

And then there is this guy, who was almost a Blue Jay last week. Jay Bruce has been the subject of trade rumors since the All-Star break last year, and I still would not be surprised to see him in another city for opening day. He has a big contract that Cincinnati would love to get rid of, despite being one of the league leaders in homers and RBI just a few years ago…

Bruce

Bruce

Speaking of league leaders…

Hamilton

…when is Billy Hamilton going to get on base enough to lead the league in stolen bases?

Keeping with the league leaders theme…

Harang

Aaron Harang had the most strikeouts in 2006. That kinda blows my mind. He’s still looking for a job this spring, after finishing the 2015 season in Philadelphia. Another former Reds pitcher…

Arroyo

…is trying to rejoin his former skipper Dusty Baker in Washington. Bronson Arroyo considered returning to the Reds, but settled for a minor-league deal with DC.

Steve sent over a slew of 2006 Topps Reds that I didn’t have yet.

Reds

Ross

David Ross announced that 2016 would be his last season in the bigs, and Jason Heyward gave him a pretty “suite” retirement gift.

Phillips

Brandon Phillips is the only player from the 2006 Reds team that is still in Cincinnati in 2016. 2006 was before Votto and before Bruce. One of the players on that roster is now deceased. It seems like an eternity ago, when Ken Griffey and Adam Dunn still roamed the outfield at Great American Ballpark.

Steve sent several other 2006 Topps Reds, but I don’t remember half of them. I did want to show one other card in the package, going way back to 1995…

Larkin

Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, punched out of a Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine. I loved the 90s.

I said I wasn’t going to buy any 2016 Topps packs

But I’m a weak, weak man.

2016 Topps

At least I turned my weakness into a nice little game with the family. Our first pack wars of 2016 commenced after Bible study tonight as we sat around the kitchen table. Each of us took two packs, picked two teams, two players, and three card numbers. If you pull a card on your list, you get three points. If someone else pulls a card on your list, you get one point. Inserts also counted for three points apiece. After the first round of two packs, the top two scorers opened the last two packs in the box.

Here are some of my favorite cards from the box, starting with the Reds second baseman (who they desperately tried to unload this offseason) and right fielder (who was also mentioned in trade rumors), Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce

BP

Bruuuuuuuce

I’m not overly impressed with the cards, as I have mentioned elsewhere, and the backs are boring. But I thought the fact on the back of Bruce’s card was somewhat interesting:

Bruuuuuuce

I don’t think Jay will be joining Johnny Bench, Frank Robinson, or Tony Perez in Cooperstown.

I also got a Reds insert, which is super duper cool…

ONeill

I don’t remember Paul O’Neill pitching, but sure enough…

ONeill

Those are the only Reds cards I pulled, and that’s why it’s the only box I’ll be buying. It’s tough being a team collector who loves opening packs. The value just isn’t there at all. But I did pull several other cards that I liked, including a couple of Salvador Perez cards, an Anthony Rizzo/Kris Bryant insert, Warren Spahn, Babe Ruth, Andre Dawson, Randy Johnson, Josh Donaldson, and Giancarlo Stanton.

Perez

Perez

Rizzo Bryant

Spahn

Ruth

Dawson

Johnson

Donaldson

Stanton

And the “MLB Debut Medallion” that I pulled was Joe Mauer. I’m not a non-fan of Mauer, so I’m not entirely disappointed with this pull, and since there are no Reds on the checklist in series 1, I could have done a lot worse. That said, if anyone has a Reds manurelic from an older set, or if you want to make another offer for the Mauer coin, shoot me an e-mail.

Mauer

I plan to send out some of the other cards that I don’t want to keep to team collectors, so if you’re not already on my PWE list, send me an e-mail with your name, address, and what team you collect. If you want to reciprocate with some Reds, that would be great, but not necessary. What goes around comes around eventually in the baseball card blogosphere.

Oh, and if you’re wondering who won our pack war, it wasn’t me…

pack wars

Reds cards from a ChiSox fan

Reds

I love getting cards in the mail. Jeff over at 2 by 3 Heroes loves sending cards in the mail. (The converse of both of those statements is true as well, by the way.)

Jeff recently sent over a nice handful of 2015 Reds that I did not yet have. I don’t have my wantlist fully updated for 2015 yet, so I may have missed out on some A&G and Stadium Club, but I’m very happy with what I did get. In addition to all those cards above, Jeff also sent an Archives Jay Bruce

Bruuuuuuuuce

Future Star/All-Star Rookie Billy Hamilton

Speedy Hamilton

(combining both the “Future Stars” designation and the All-Star Rookie cup on the card confuses my junk wax era brain. You’re one or the other, you can’t be both!)

And Home Run Derby Champion Todd Frazier

Frazier

I absolutely love this card. If I could only keep one 2015 card, this would probably be it.

Thank you for the Redlegs, Jeff! Hope you have a fantastic Christmas!

I will be sending out my own “Christmas cards” soon, so if you haven’t already told me your address and favorite team, send me an e-mail with that information.

2015 Reds, 1990 Score style: Jay Bruce (Highlights #12)

Jay Bruce 1000 career hits

On Monday, Jay Bruce added his name to a short list: players who have smacked 200 home runs and collected 1000 hits while wearing a Cincinnati Reds uniform. Hall of Famers Johnny Bench (389/2048), Frank Robinson (324/1673), and Tony Perez (287/1934) top the list, while Reds legends Ted Kluszewski (251/1499) and George Foster (244/1276) sit comfortably ahead of the right fielder on the Reds all-time home runs list. Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. were both within 100 hits of the milestone, while Barry Larkin retired just two home runs shy and Vada Pinson was 14 homers short. Joey Votto will likely join the group next year (unless he goes on a tear and rounds the bases ten more times this season), and Brandon Phillips may add his name to the list eventually, but today is Jay Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce’s day.

2015 Reds, 1990 Score style: Jay Bruce (Highlights #10)

Jay Bruce hits 200th career home run

Jay Bruce connected for his 200th career home run last night against the San Diego Padres.

2015 Reds, 1990 Score style: Jay Bruce

004 Jay Bruce

One of the keys to a successful 2015 for the Reds is a healthy Jay Bruce. The star right fielder played injured much of last year, batting only .217 with 18 homers and 66 RBI. His -1.1 WAR was quite a disappointment after a solid 4.9 campaign in 2013. With a healthy Bruce, a speedy Billy Hamilton, and the added presence of Marlon Byrd in left field, the Reds should upset many pre-season predictions and compete in 2015.

Antiquing for baseball cards and more

Rose Bench etc

I picked up a nine-pocket page of baseball cards at the Antique Mall yesterday. At least six of those cards (pictured above) I did not already have in my collection. Two of them (the Pete Rose cards) I have never even seen before. The Johnny Bench card comes from the 1976 SSPC set, while the Redsfest cards are variations on cards I already owned. In 2008, baseball cards were given away at Redsfest at various booths, but they did not have the sponosrs’ logos on the cards like these do. I’m not sure if there are variations for all nine cards, or just Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, and Joey Votto. In any case, I was happy to add the cards to my collection.

Starting Lineup

My wife also spied a couple of Starting Lineup figures for me—one of my favorite players, Chris Sabo, and Nasty Boy Rob Dibble—and the price was right to add them to my collection as well. I will be breaking them free of their packaging as soon as I get my mancave cleaned up a little bit, and put them on display with the rest of my SLU collection.

Antique Malls are awesome for finding deals on baseball cards and memorabilia.

Jay Bruce to the Padres?

Jay Bruce photoshopped into a Padres hat

That’s the rumor. Jay Bruce is reportedly on the trading block, and the San Diego Padres are one of the teams showing interest. I will not be happy if #32 is playing anywhere other than Cincinnati next year, and creating another hole in the outfield just doesn’t make sense. I can’t help but wonder how Mick the Jay Bruce Fan feels about this.

(P.S. – I can’t believe I beat Joe Shlabotnik to this one either.)

Cards in the mail from THE Tim Wallach fan

Robinson

Whenever I come across a Tim Wallach baseball card, I know what to do with it. No, not throw it away. Just because it’s not “worth anything” to me, doesn’t mean it’s not worth something to someone else…especially this guy. I’ve sent Mr. Stackhouse a few PWEs and he’s good about sending some Reds back my way, even though I never ask for them. (Speaking of sending cards out, I need to get rid of a few more non-Wallach cards. See the bottom of the post for info on how you can help out.)

Bench

This package was full of awesome Reds cards that I didn’t have, including three Johnny Bench issues. One was an insert from the current Topps release, 50 Years of the Draft.

Votto

These red-bordered cards look really good with Reds players on them, especially Reds players who might end up in the Hall of Fame someday like Joey Votto. Maybe they don’t work for the Padres or Giants, but they absolutely do work for red-themed teams. Perhaps Topps should consider using team colors instead of a white border in the future?

Cueto

Alright, so the colored borders don’t always work. 1964 isn’t supposed to look like this. But I always enjoy adding Johnny Cueto cards to my collection.

Bruce

This Jay Bruce is the first of the 1971 minis I have received. I really like them, and the smaller size doesn’t bother me at all like it does other bloggers.

There were a lot of other great cards in the package, from Jack Hannahan to Eric Davis to Chris Sabo to Dave Parker. Thanks for the cards, Mr. Stackhouse!

Now for sending out other non-Wallach cards, if you would like to be added to my list of bloggers to send stuff to, drop me an e-mail with your favorite team and/or player and your address. As finances allow, I would like to start to whittle down my non-Reds collection via PWE send-outs. Even if you think you’re already on my list, send me your details again just to be sure. I won’t mind.

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