Wednesday, November 30, 2011

1978 Topps

The 1978 Topps set is a decent set Topps released, not as great as 1977, but still a nice design at least. I like the cursive lettering for the team name and the baseball in the top right corner of the card depicting the player position. The back of the cards are also decent with the orange color for the cardboard. If I have one gripe with the set it's that the photography is completely atrocious! Most of the player cards I've noticed are portrait cards showing nothing but head shots in the dugout or just staring at something while they're on the field. Not many action shots, which is a real disappointment in my opinion. So, if I had to choose my favorite would be Rose. He was always a gritty player and although he's not on the field on the card, his determination is captured perfectly in the photo. Pure Charlie Hustle.

Monday, November 28, 2011

1994 Topps

1994 was the first year I decided to get out of the hobby since I started back in 1986. Due to so many products, rising prices, the players made for the perfect storm for turning me away from baseball cards for eight years. Of course my wife hopes that I'll go on hiatus again, but that's not likely to happen anytime soon. So, 1994 Topps. Another dull and less than stellar year for the Topps company. I don't really understand the design element regarding the photos on the front. Not sure if that's suppose to be home plate or not, but it doesn't work for me. No team image on the front....shame on you Topps! The player names and fielding position on the front of the cards are very small....almost nonexistent. The photography is ok. I like many of the cards depicting pitchers the best, but the Barry Larkin card is a nice change with the shades. Either than that, not too impressed. Sorry 1994 Topps, just not feeling the love.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

1952 Topps

What to say about something that's been talked about for over a half a century? The 1952 Topps set was a game changer, much like Upper Deck in 1989. But I think where Topps came out on top compared to their competitor 37 years later is that they changed the card world in ways that reverberated even to this day. The team logo on the front of the card, player name and facsimile autograph, player blurb as well as stats on the back of the card, sweet color photography/painting style. Although Bowman, Leaf, Play Ball, Goudey, Cracker Jack and the previous card companies had some of these aspects in their product, Topps was able to put everything together. This wasn't a home was a grand slam! I'm hoping that someday I'll have my 1952 Topps Reds Team set completed, but those high numbers are going to put a hurt on my wallet. Favorite card from 1952 Topps... Ted Kluszewski. Look at those cannons! They're ginormous! And the Crosley Field stands in the background, that's timeless and classy. Nothing screams baseball cards more than 1952 Topps.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

1966 Topps

This is probably one of my least favorite sets Topps released in the 60s. I'm not saying I hate the set. In fact, I like the clean design and nice photography...especially the photos of the old ballparks that have long been torn down. I guess, compared to the 1965 Topps set, or even the 1968 Topps set, this one is just uninspiring. I never expect perfection from Topps and I know that there will be hit and miss years for them. I guess 1966 was just one of those miss years. My favorite card from the 1966 Topps set would have to be the Rose. Sure, it's a classic batting stance photo that's all too commonplace even for today. But to me the real beauty of the card is the background. Seeing Crosley field as the backdrop is just amazing. I know the stadiums of today try to replicate the look and field of the ballparks of ages past, but they just fall a bit short. Granted I wouldn't trade Riverfront Stadium for Great American Ballpark, but I might trade Great American for Crosley Field if only for a moment.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Jumping the Shark

According to the internet's repository of useless facts and knowledge "Wikipedia"...Jumping the shark is an idiom used to describe the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery. So I thought to myself, why can't this be true to sports cards products that a company manufactures? As I wrap up my set of 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen, which happens to be one of my most favorite sets of all time, I heard a few weeks back that Topps would release a 2012 set of Gypsy Queen. That of course got me very excited and I had to start reading about what would be included in next year's release. Base cards and short prints....expected. On card autographs.....sweet! Relics and pennies......meh, ok. Gypsy Kings.....what?! I thought it was a little absurd for Topps to release cards of "Gypsy Queens" in this years set, but to have "Gypsy Kings" next year in a product that called Gypsy Queen...that's just plain stupid. Worse off, why would Topps make the Gypsy Kings a fictitious baseball team from the 1800s? Really?! So, my nomination for Gypsy Queen jumping the shark would have to be 2012. Sad really that it was only a year after it was first introduced. Curious to know if anyone else has any opinions on when a set Jumped the Shark.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

1999 Topps

Yesterday I was talking about the 2001 Topps set and mentioned 1999 in the post, so I decided to follow it up today with an analysis of the 1999 Topps set. Where 2000 Topps had a silver border, Topps decided to do a gold border the prior year. Not much text on the front of the card and the team logos are missing in action. The design reminds me of the old 1951/52 Bowman cards with their simplicity of showing as much of the picture as possible while leaving as much verbiage confined to the back of the card as possible. While I don't hate the 1999 Topps set, I'm not a big fan of the set either. My favorite card from this set would have to be the Dunn rookie card. I like the fact that he's just sitting there on the bleachers holding his bats while staring at the camera. It's almost like he stepped out of a cornfield with a bunch a dead ballplayers in Iowa or perhaps waiting to hear from Crash Davis what baseball is all about. Kinda brings a tear to you eye doesn't it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2001 Topps

2001 Topps was an interesting year. Where there was a silver border the year before, now we have....turquoise? Not sure I follow since the 1999 Topps set had a gold border, but maybe there's some sort of patters (Gold, Silver, Turquoise....I'm not seeing it). I do like the 50 year anniversary in gold foil at the top of the cards and Topps did another great job with picking great photos to put on their cards. Finally, those team logos really stand out...maybe because of the turquoise border! So, favorite card from this set would have to be Adam Dunn. I liked this guy when he was with the Reds. Not because of his defense (which was greatly lacking) but because he had pure power when he hit the ball...something he didn't do much of in Chicago this past year, or so I hear. Watching him crush a home run in a Reds uniform, now that was something to see.

Monday, November 14, 2011

1969 Topps

Is there anyone else out there that thinks the 1969 Topps set was just a rehash of the 68 set with just a white border?! I know that Topps has a tendency to reuse design elements from previous years, but it's pretty bold to do so consecutive years in a row. Just wish they could have been a little more creative, that's all. I like the salmon colored backs....reminds me so much of the 1986 Topps set and my introduction into collecting Reds baseball cards. I also like the fact that anytime you can get Rose, Bench and Perez in the same year, then it's a win win for me. I like looking at the old cards from years past. Sure they're not loaded with chrome, high gloss, fancy stock or parallels, they do contain the history of the game. Our childhood heroes staring at us from a piece of cardboard that can bring back memories long forgotten in the hustle and bustle of today.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

2009 Topps

Not a big fan of 2009 Topps. The design is much to be lacking. Sure it has a cool home plate graphic at the bottom with the team's logo nicely inserted within it, but that's about it. Too much black at the bottom where they list the player's name, position and team. I think they could have and should have done a better job with that aspect of the card. For whatever reason, it's that big black mess at the bottom that just ruins the card for me. I like the dot matrix pattern that Topps uses on the top left and bottom right of the card. Is it me or does this set look eerily similar to this years Topps Lineage?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Another Print for the Man Cave

So I scored another print for my Cincinnati Reds Man Cave yesterday. I was able to pick up this panorama of Cinergy Field (which will go nicely with the panorama of Great American Ballpark I purchased a few weeks ago). I'm still keeping an eye out for a Cincinnati Enquirer Griffey HR 600 newspaper that I can pick up for a lot less than this I'm also looking to score a couple of Reds pennants as well. But my most ambitious purchase will be a seat from Crosley Field to go with my stadium seats from Cinergy Field.

Monday, November 7, 2011

2005 Topps

One of the last Griffey cards to feature him in a Red's uniform. Although he was prone to injury when he was in Cincinnati, he was still one of my most favorite players to watch. Amazing athletic abilities and the sweetest swing I've ever seen. I like the 2005 Topps set. I think it's a nice balance of information and photography on the front. Topps did a great job ensuring that the photos weren't buried underneath the logos and text. The white border kept the design crisp and clean. Very conservative! I also like the fact that Topps decided to include the Sporting News cards that graced their sets of the 50s and 60s. A nice touch to a past era when card collecting was so much simpler. If I had one complaint about the 2005 Topps set, it's the fact that the team name is included twice on the front of the card....along the bottom and running down the left side of the card. That's a bit of redundancy that they could have and should have avoided.

Friday, November 4, 2011

1979 Topps

1979 was a sad year for the Reds. With the departure of Tony Perez a few years before and now Rose in 79, the era of the Big Red Machine was drawing to a close. Sure, the Reds still had Bench and Morgan as well as the addition of Terrific Tom, but it just wasn't the same. As for the cards Topps released in 1979, they were decent. Not the greatest by a long shot, but also not the worst they produced. I like the design of the 1979 Topps cards, but not as much as the 1977 set. The green and black backs are nice, but it can be a little difficult reading the stats at times. What I like most about this set is that it still features Pete in a Reds uniform...although he had already moved on to Philly at this time. This is by far my most favorite card in the set. Why... because it shows Pete doing what he always did best on the field... slapping the ball for a hit. I'm just glad he decided to return to the Queen City in 1985 for his final charge at Cobb's record.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

1989 Upper Deck

Not much to say about what's already been said about this set. It WAS a game changer for the hobby with it's sleek design, quality stock, hologram, and full color photography on both the front and back of the card. I remember when this set was released back in 1989 the sticker shock of $1.00 for a pack of cards. I was completely blown away. I thought to myself "There's no way I'm spending a buck on a pack of cards when I can get a couple of packs of Topps for that price!" Of course, the following year I didn't hesitate to hop on the Upper Deck bandwagon when my mom would bring me home packs of the stuff from the grocery store when the Reds were on fire and heading for the World Series. I like the 1989 Upper Deck set, don't get me wrong. In fact I think it's probably one of the best sets ever produced. However, looking back at the evolution of baseball cards these past two decades, a lot has changed and in a way I see it as innocence lost. We've gone from the standard card from 1957 through 1988 to a premium card in 1989 to super premium cards joining the scene in 1993. We've had inserts and parallels and 1 of somethings. All this so that we can have one card produced with all the colors of the rainbow. We've cut up uniforms, shaved bats, sliced apart seats from historic stadiums to put those little pieces on cards and dub them as "relics". I feel as though artifacts of our pastime have been cannibalized by the card companies just to make a buck. I just don't get it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011