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My first complete set

I started acquiring baseball cards in 1985.

I started collecting baseball cards in 1986. The first packs I remember opening were 1986 Topps. I received some cards here and there in 1985 but didn’t really know what I was doing at all. In 1986, though, that all changed. Not only did I open packs, but I also traded with friends. I read box scores. I researched card prices in Beckett. I became a fanatic. Finding Reds cards of Eric Davis, Tony Perez, Mario Soto, Dave Parker, and Buddy Bell became an obsession.

Bell 1986 Topps

My parents gave me the complete factory set of 1986 Topps ordered from the JC Penney at Christmas, and I was over the moon. Seven hundred ninety-two pristine, gem mint baseball cards. This was before the era of graded cards, and I knew little about printing defects or off-centering. All I knew was that I had the complete factory set in the yellow box.

Rose special

Pete Rose was likely a big reason for my initial interest in baseball. In 1985 he was chasing Ty Cobb‘s all-time hits record and every Cincinnati news outlet covered the milestone. He was a Cincinnati kid, he epitomized the value of hustle and hard work. Topps honored Rose with a special subset in the 1986 base set. The legend was featured on card #1, while cards #2-7 showed all of Pete’s base cards through the years. Topps also featured him as a manager on a separate card (#741), featuring a checklist of all the 1986 Topps Reds cards on the back. And then there was the Record Breaker” (#206).

That’s nine different cards of one player. Complete insanity at the time. Also completely worth it to honor such a legend. Bear in mind this was a couple of years before the whispers of gambling and betting on baseball. To Reds fans, Pete Rose could do no wrong.

There is one other card Topps produced for Rose in conjunction with their standard set, but it was not a part of the complete factory set. Rather, you had to be one of the last kids buying a pack at the convenience store to get this card.

1986 Topps Pete  Rose box bottom

The box bottom cards were not easy to come by. Most stores, after selling all the packs, would pitch the box in the trash. If you knew about the special cards you could cut out then you could ask for the box but if it wasn’t close to empty, most store clerks would deny your request. It was difficult to cut the cards out properly because of the thickness of the box and the fear of getting caught with Mom’s good scissors.

There may not have been a lot of great rookie cards in the 1986 Topps set, but it will always hold a special place in my collection and in my heart.

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The Moeller Show

Twice a year, a card show is hosted in the Moeller High School gymnasium. Moeller is the alma mater of two Baseball Hall of Famers, Barry Larkin and Ken Griffey Jr. I attended this show for the first time in November, 2008, and got my first Dave Parker autograph. I’m not sure why it took me a decade to go back, but last weekend my youngest son and I hit the show. No autographs this time around, just cards on the cheap, such as these Reds legends for a quarter each…

1985 Circle K baseball cards

Rose

Junior

Seaver no-hitter

Groh

Frank Robinson, Pete Rose, Junior Griffey, Tom Seaver, and Heinie Groh, thank you very much.

I also got a quartet of Gypsies for a quarter each as well…

2018 GQ

If I had more wall space, I would love to add some Heroes of Yesterday artwork by Steve Douglas to my collection. But I’m not going to buy something and let it collect dust in my closet, when it could be enjoyed by someone else hanging on their wall. But Mr. Douglas was giving out business cards which featured artwork as well, and I took one featuring Chris Sabo

Heroes of Yesterday

If you have a mancave and want to add a little originality to the walls, check out Heroes of Yesterday for some pretty cool pieces.

Of course, I grabbed a handful of non-Reds cards also. From Gypsy Queen, I scored Zack Cozart and Chris Archer for ten cents each…

2018 GQ

And Magic Johnson for a quarter…

Magic

And the entire 1989 Pro Set Football Final Update series…21 cards…for a quarter…

1989 Pro Set

I really miss Pro Set. I miss the fun NFL. I hope the XFL lives up to the hype and restores my interest in football.

I’m not going to wait another ten years to go back to the Moeller Show, but I don’t think I’ll wait until the last day to go, either. A lot of dealers had already packed up and left, and I’m sure those who remained were picked through pretty thoroughly before I got there. It was still fun, though, and I was happy with the cards I added to my collection.

BREAKING: Pete Rose to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame

Rose

In a surprise announcement this morning, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced that he has reviewed the case of Pete Rose and decided to reinstate Cincinnati’s favorite son. “Yes, Mr. Rose did bet on baseball games, and he has spent thirty years regretting it. I met with him, discussed how we can move forward. I also met with the board of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and they were in complete agreement that Rose should be immortalized in the museum. They will forego the customary voting process and induct Mr. Rose this summer with Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, Chipper Jones, Trevor Hoffman, Alan Trammell, and Jack Morris.”

Jeff Idelson, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, added to Manfred’s statement, “After further review, we have determined the actions of former commissioner Bud Selig damaged our national pastime to a greater extent than Pete Rose. The only way to make it up to the all-time hits leader is to permanently ban Mr. Selig from the Hall of Fame. His photograph will be posted at the ticket booth and he will be denied entry to our grand museum.” In an effort to save money, the Hall of Fame said that they would be removing the plaque of Bud Selig, melting it down and recycling it to make Rose’s 2018 plaque.

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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!

Happy Reds birthday, Pete Rose!

Charlie Hustle

April 14, 1941

He is the man with the most hits, the most at-bats, the most times on base, the most games played. Pete Rose is a Cincinnati institution. Sure, it took him more plate appearances than Ty Cobb to reach the all-time hits mark, but Charlie Hustle still batted over .300 for his career. The number 4256 may never be toppled.

Fun Cards Submissions: Topps Now Pete Rose

Rose

A lot of people made a big deal of Ichiro Suzuki “passing” Pete Rose with his 4257nd hit earlier this month. They combined Ichiro’s professional Japanese League numbers with his big league totals, but ignored the fact that Rose had another 427 hits in the minor leagues, which is also professional. The Lifetime Topps Project did an interesting breakdown of players with more than 4000 professional hits, including not only regular season play in the majors and minors, but also postseason and All-Star appearances. One name stood out more than Rose, Ichiro, Ty Cobb, and Derek Jeter to me: Jigger Statz. Sounds like a guy that The Infinite Baseball Card Set should profile.

I am not denying that Ichiro’s accomplishment is a big deal. It is! But he is not the professional hit king. Pete Rose is, and probably always will be. Unless Ichiro sticks around for a few more years, which I highly doubt, he will not pass Rose’s professional regular-season mark of 4683.

Rose

TWJ contributor Patrick sent over a couple of great “fun cards” to remind us all that Pete Rose is still the Hit King, and with the Reds Hall of Fame induction happening this weekend, there is no more appropriate time to post them here. I see Ron Robinson, Tony Perez, Dave Parker, and Max Venable in that shot. Can you identify anyone else?

Ichiro’s achievement was commemorated by The Shlabotnik Report recently.

2016 TWJ pre-season baseball cards are here!

I know you have been waiting with bated breath, anxious to see the all-new 2016 TWJ cards. The “base” cards will begin appearing on Opening Day at TWJ cards on tumblr. In the meantime, we are releasing a special, limited-edition “pre-season” set, featuring several All-Stars throughout the history of baseball! Each day, at least one new card will be posted at 8 pm (Eastern time) at TWJ cards on tumblr. Starting…now. Wanna bet who is on the first 2016 TWJ pre-season card? (click “more” below to find out!)

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Fun Cards Submissions: 2016 Topps Pete Rose

2016 ROSE 3

With the announcement that the Reds were inducting Pete Rose into the team’s Hall of Fame this summer, I suggested to TWJ contributor Patrick that he create a 2016 Topps version of Charlie Hustle to commemorate the event. He not only came through; Patrick went above and beyond the call of duty and made two 2016 Topps style cards for the Hit King.

2016 ROSE 4

Rose was and still is an icon in the Queen City, beloved by the majority of Reds fans. I realize not everyone outside of Cincinnati feels the same way about him; I just think they’re jealous that they’ve never had such a competitor on their favorite team.

Only one man has donned uniform #14 since Rose retired, and that was his son in 1997. The Reds are officially retiring the number this year, and it will never be regularly worn by another player.

Thanks for the quick turnaround on the suggestion, Patrick, and for sharing them with TWJ readers!

Pete Rose announced for Reds Hall of Fame induction

Rose

Pete Rose to be inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame during 2016 Reds HOF Induction Weekend, June 24-26.

A press conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. today at Great American Ball Park featuring Reds President and CEO Bob Castellini, Pete Rose and Reds Hall of Fame & Museum Executive Director Rick Walls. Additional information will be announced at that time. Watch the press conference live at http://atmlb.com/1U8BWFx

“Inducting Pete into the Reds Hall of Fame will be a defining moment in the 147-year history of this storied franchise,” said Bob Castellini. “He is one of the greatest players to ever wear a Reds uniform and it will be an unforgettable experience watching him being honored as such.”
Rose was selected as the sole inductee for the class of 2016 by the Reds Hall of Fame Board of Directors.

“Pete Rose’s on-field achievements and impact on the Reds and its fan base are unquestionable and worthy of induction into the Reds Hall of Fame,” said Rick Walls. “We look forward to this summer where, in front of his fans and with his teammates, ‘Charlie Hustle’ will be recognized for his contributions to the rich and distinguished history of the Reds.”

Rose

2015 Reds, 1990 Score style: “Franchise Four” Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Barry Larkin, Pete Rose

Alright, so technically these are not 2015 Reds…but it is certainly a 2015 highlight for this dismal Reds season. Announced before the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati on Tuesday, Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Barry Larkin, along with should-be Hall of Famer Pete Rose, took the field to a thunderous ovation as the Franchise Four of the Cincinnati Reds.

Bench

Morgan

Larkin

Rose

I was fortunate enough to be in attendance for Tuesday’s festivities. I have to say, if you ever get a chance to attend the MLB All-Star Game, it is worth it. I had an amazing night.

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