Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ken Griffey Jr. Bobblehead

Here's my last post of 2011 and with it....the last post of bobblehead month on the Cincinnati Reds Baseball Card Collector blog. What better way to wrap up than with a sure-fire soon to be hall of famer......Ken Griffey Jr. I was so excited when Junior decided to come and play ball in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, injuries led to many disappointing seasons with him on the DL. Anyway, the Reds decided to honor Griffey on May 24, 2005 with his very own nodder. Again the Reds gave out 30,000 of these bobbleheads to fans in attendance. Fans were treated to a great game as the Reds won in extra innings 4-3. Griffey was traded from the Mariners to the Reds on February 12, 2000 for Brett Tomko, Mike Cameron, Antonio Perez, and Jake Meyer. While with Cincinnati, Griffey was a three time all-star (thirteen total) and was the 2005 National League Comeback Player of the Year. I won't mention his other accomplishments (number of Gold Glove, Silver Slugger awards, etc.) since it makes me sad to see what he couldn't completely accomplish in Cincinnati what he did in Seattle. I will say that it was great to see Junior pass 600 Home Runs while he wore a Reds uniform. The Kid will always have a special place in my heart since he too was from Cincinnati and had the sweetest swing I have ever seen.

Joe Morgan Bobblehead

On August 11, 2004 the Reds gave out 30,000 of these bobbleheads to fans attending the game. Those Reds fans in attendance also witnessed the shellacking the Dodgers put on the Reds with a final score of 11-1. I admit that I miss the rivalry Cincinnati had with Los Angeles when the Reds were part of the National League West. In fact, I think it was just as good as the rivalry the Reds have with St. Louis in the central now. Anyway, back to Joe Morgan. Morgan came to the Reds through a trade with Houston on November 29, 1971. In addition to Morgan, the Reds also received Cesar Geronimo, Jack Billingham, Denis Menke and Ed Armbrister for Lee May, Tommy Helms, and Jimmy Stewart who had such a wonderful life. Morgan was a ten time All-Star (eight of those with Cincinnati), a five time Gold Glove winner, two time National League MVP winner and was the 1972 MVP of the All-Star game. In 1990, he was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first year of eligibility.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Frank Robinson Bobblehead

30,000 of these bobbleheads were given out to fans on July 25, 2007 when the Reds hosted the Milwaukee Brewers. The Reds defeated the first place Brewers 7-3 thanks in part to Jeff Keppinger's three RBIs. Robinson is probably my favorite Reds player of the past. When I mean past, I'm talking about the Crosley Field era of the team. He made his major league debut with the Reds on April 17, 1956 when the Reds took on the St. Louis Cardinals. In his nine seasons with the Reds, Robinson was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1956, the National League MVP in 1961 and an eight time All-Star (14 major league total). Prior to the 1966 season, Robinson was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Milt Pappas, Dick Simpson, and Jack Baldschun in what many observes believe to be one of the most lopsided deals in baseball history. Sad to think what might have been if Robinson had been playing with Rose, Perez and Bench! Makes me sad just thinking about it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tony Perez Bobblehead

The Reds handed out 30,000 of these bobbleheads on August 3, 2005 when they took on the Atlanta Braves. The Reds won the game 8-5 over the Braves due to the monster game Adam Dunn had with two home runs and driving in five of Cincinnati's eight runs. Tony made his major league debut with the Reds on July 26, 1964 as the Reds defeated the Pirates by a score of 7-2. He struck out once and walked once in his two plate appearances during the game. Sixteen of his twenty three seasons in the majors were spent with the Reds. As a member of the Big Red Machine, Tony was a seven time All-Star participant and was named the 1967 All-Star Game MVP. After retiring from the field in 1986, Tony briefly managed the Reds for 44 games in 1993 before being fired. In 2000, Perez along with form Reds skipper Sparky Anderson and Red Stockings player Bid McPhee, were elected to the Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sean Casey Bobblehead

These little nodders were given out on June 30, 2004 when the Reds took on the Mets. Cincinnati ended up winning the game 2-0 thanks in part to a Home Run by Dunn and an RBI by Ryan Freel. I miss Freel....he was a player that wasn't afraid to put his body on the line diving into a wall to make a spectacular catch. Very old school player that I wish Cincinnati would have held onto. Anyway, 30,000 of these bobbleheads were handed out to fans at the game...and if you ask me they kinda look like little Oscar statues. Casey made his debut with the Reds in 1998 and during his career and was selected to the National League All-Star team three times. On November 28th of this year, Casey was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame. Kudos to "The Mayor"!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Barry Larkin Bobblehead

On June 28, 2006 the Cincinnati Reds gave out 30,000 of these bobbleheads to fans who came for either a free bobblehead of Cincinnati's best shortstop of all time, or to watch the Reds take on the Kansas City Royals. The Reds ultimately won the game 7-2 with four Reds going yard in the game. This bobblehead is the second given out in 2006 in the Reds "Power of Tradition" series honoring the team's shortstops (Concepcion, Larkin, and Lopez). Barry made his major league debut with the Reds on August 13, 1986 against the San Francisco Giants as a pinch hitter. Larkin spent his entire nineteen major league seasons with Cincinnati where he was a twelve time all-star, won three Gold Glove awards as well as nine Silver Slugger awards and was the recipient of the 1995 National League MVP award. Hopefully Barry will be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this coming year!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dave Concepcion Bobblehead

The Concepcion bobbleheads were given out on August 9, 2006 when the Reds hosted the Cardinals. Reds fans were treated to another dramatic finish when David Ross belted a walk-off homerun off Jason Isringhausen in the bottom of the ninth for an 8-7 Reds victory. Now, back to Concepcion and the bobbleheads. There were 30,000 of these little yes men produced for distribution, and this bobblehead was one in a series of three "Power of Tradition" series showcasing the past and current shortstops for the Reds. The other two in the series were Barry Larkin and Felipe Lopez. As for Concepcion, he made his major league debut with the Reds on April 6, 1970. One of the "Great Eight" of the Reds Big Red Machine, Concepcion was a nine time All-Star, five time Gold-Glove Award winner, and a two time Silver-Slugger Award winner. Why he's not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.....beats me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mega Contest Hosted By The Diamond King!

The Diamond King is hosting a 7 day Mega Contest with lots of cool prizes to choose from check it out here!

Edinson Volquez Bobblehead

These nifty nodders were given out on July 18, 2009 when the Reds were defeated by the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1. Again, there were a total of 30,000 bobbleheads produced for this promotion and like the others that were part of this series, just not enough to go around to all the fans in attendance. The Reds got Volquez (along with Daniel Herrera) in a deal with Texas on December 21, 2007 for outfielder Josh Hamilton (I still think Cincinnati got the short end of the stick with that trade!) Volquez made his Reds debut on April 6, 2008 against the Phillies going 5 and a third innings in an 8-3 win for the Reds. While Volquez had been a reliable starter for Cincinnati since joining the team, this past year was a nightmare for him...and the fans. With 5 wins, 7 losses and a 5.71 ERA, it was his worst season thus far with Cincinnati. Hopefully things will be different in 2012. Finally, here's a pic of all four bobbleheads in the 2009 series put together. Pretty sweet if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Brandon Phillips Bobblehead

DatDudeBP came to the Reds thanks to a trade with Cleveland in April 2006. Phillips was the third Red to join the 30-30 club (behind Eric Davis and Barry Larkin) and is the second second baseman to join the club (behind Alfonso Soriano). He's a two time all-star with three gold glove awards and a silver slugger award. Did I also mention that he hates the St. Louis Cardinals? The Phillips Bobblehead was given away at Great American Ballpark on August 15, 2009 in which the Reds were defeated by the Nationals 10-6. There were a total of 30,000 of these bobbleheads produced and, as mentioned in my previous two posts, was part of a collection of four that when put together showed a backdrop of Great American Ballpark. Phillips is by far one of my most favorite Reds players to watch in the field especially when he's able to accomplish impossible feats such as this. That's just mad skills!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jay Bruce Bobblehead

The Texan made his major league debut with the Reds on May 27, 2008 against the Pittsburgh Pirates going 3 for 3 with 2 RBIs in a Reds 9-6 win. In 2010, Bruce hit a walk-off home run on September 28th to clinch the NL Central for the Reds and on October 6th he was the only baserunner allowed during Roy Halladay's no-hitter in the NLDS. This past year, Bruce was selected to his first All-Star game and he became the third youngest Red's player to reach 100 home runs when he did so against the Mets on September 27th in a 5-4 Reds win. The Bruce bobblehead was given out on July 4th of 2009 and is part of the collection series that shows part of a mural of Great American ballpark when combined with the other three bobbleheads in the series (Votto, Phillips, and Volquez). There were a total of 30,000 Bruce bobbleheads given out. Fans that attended the game not only picked up a great bobblehead of Bruce, but also saw the Reds beat the Cardinals 5-2.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Joey Votto Bobblehead

Last year's National League MVP, Joey Votto made his major league debut with the Reds on September 4, 2007 against the New York Mets. He pinch hit and struck out, but that wasn't a sign of things to come. Votto has become one of Cincinnati's most disciplined and consistent hitters. He was second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2008, losing out to Chicago's Geovany Soto. This particular bobblehead is one of a series of four that the Reds released in 2009. The first 30,000 fans to show up on Saturday May 9th to watch the Reds take on the Cardinals were fortunate enough to take one of these home. Unfortunately, if they stuck around for the complete game, Cincinnati fans would have left heartbroken watching the Reds lose to the Cards in 10. Shouldn't have that problem now that Pujols left St. Louis! Woo-Hoo!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Contest Winnings from Plaschke

Last week I was the proud winner of a contest at Plaschke, Thy Sweater is Argyle. And what did I get.....some very sweet cards. Greg sent me the Bosh relic card, the gently used vintage cards from 61 and 68, the Danny Peoples autograph card, and a ton of Cincinnati Reds cards. To say that I was thrilled with the package would be an understatement. A lot of the reds cards I have plans for sending them out for TTM autographs, which I'll start on in the next week or two. But my favorite card from the lot would have to be....a 1990 Leaf Todd Benzinger card. I had this set way back when I started collecting and, like so many, got rid of the set when I left the hobby. So, with my return to the hobby I've decided to build the set once more. I love the 1990 Leaf set and Benzinger was not only the Red who made the final out of the 1990 World Series, but also graduated from the same high school I did on the outskirts of Cincinnati. Thanks Greg for the awesome cards!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Joe Nuxhall Bobblehead

This Nuxhall nodder was given out on April 21, 2004 to the first 40,000 fans. Talk about limited production!!! Nuxhall pitched his first major league game for the Reds on June 10, 1944 at the ripe young age of 15 years, 10 months, 11 days. After retiring from baseball, Nuxhall became a broadcaster for the Reds beginning in 1967 and continued to do so for 40 years. This is probably my most favorite bobblehead of my collection because it depicts the young Nuxhall in the classic 1940s era Reds uniform. While I never saw Nuxy play ball, I did have the privileged of listening to him announce Reds games with Marty Brennaman while growing up on the outskirts of Cincinnati. Truly a classy guy!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tom Browning Bobblehead

On September 16, 2008 the Reds gave out 30,000 of these bobbleheads to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the only perfect game thrown in Red's history by Tom Browning. Browning debuted with the Reds on September 9, 1984 and won 15 games for the Reds in 1990 when they went wire to wire to ultimately end up as World Champions. Browning is currently the pitching coach for the Dayton Dragons, the Reds Class A minor league team. Browning was also at this year's Red's Fest, which unfortunately I was unable to attend. Oh well, maybe next year.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pete Rose Bobblehead

December is bobblehead month here at Redscardcollector and what better way to start out bobblehead month with none other than Mr. Red himself....Pete Rose. 40,000 of these nodders were passed out on September 23, 2002 at a charity softball event held at Cinergy Field that featured many players from the Big Red Machine, as well as other celebrity players including Steve Garvey and Ozzie Smith. The pose for the bobblehead was based off of Rose pointing upward from first base immediately after his 4,192nd hit to pass Ty Cobb as the all time Hit King. So I guess you could say that this wasn't an official Red's bobblehead since it was given out at a charity event at Cinergy and since Rose has been banned from baseball for life...but I still think it's a great bobblehead.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

1957 Topps

I love these cards, even though they're expensive and they don't have all the design elements that I normally look for when critiquing a set. The 1957 Topps set just screams old. The photography, the white border, the gray backs with red ink...classic. Although I only have one Reds card from this set, that being Frank Robinson, I'll make sure that changes after the first of the year. Today's cards just can't stack up to the sets of the 50s, 60s, or even 70s that Topps produced. Sure, today's sets are gloss heavy on premium cardboard using thousands of shades of ink colors with numerous parallels that encompass all the colors of the rainbow, they just don't have the flavor of the old sets. On a different note, I'm taking a break talking about Topps sets for a while, mostly since I've covered everything with the exception of some sets from the 50s and two from the 60s. I feel that I can really review a set unless I have at least one card from that year forever encapsulated within my collection. So, until I pick up some vintage cards from those sets I'll be talking about something else. That's where I need your help. Not sure if I should talk about Reds bobblehead stadium giveaways that I'm collecting or the different autographs from past and present Reds I've acquired through the mail (which currently number 125+) So let me know what you would like to see.

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 card...it 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 strike...it 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 run....it 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 http://www.ebay.com/itm/CINCINNATI-REDS-KEN-GRIFFEY-JR-600-HR-ENQUIRER-6-10-08-/300316968944?pt=US_Baseball_Fan_Shop&hash=item45ec4947f0. 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

Monday, October 31, 2011

2010 Topps

I like the cards Topps released in 2010. Although they're not my favorite of the decade, that honor goes to 2011, it's still a decent design even though it's not perfect. Everything I like about baseball cards is on this product: great photos, team name, player name, position, nice white border. The backs are even nice too with the portrait photos, the Cincinnati "C" and nice balance with blurbs and player stats. If there's one thing I don't like about the cards, it's that Topps took up a little too much room on the front with their tunnel wall graphics... at least that's what it looks like to me. I think it would have looked much better if it had been translucent instead of a solid color to show more photography, but hey... that's my opinion. Not only that, but I would love to see Topps put team mascots and ballpark photos in their base product instead leaving the mascots in Opening Day. I'm no fan of Opening Day, but I do love those mascot cards :) Back to 2010. Favorite card would have to be Scott Rolen. I like Rolen. He's a great veteran to have on the team, and I'll forgive him for his stint in St. Louis. It'll be a shame when he decides to retire.

Friday, October 28, 2011

1993 Topps

1993 was the last year that I collected baseball cards until I decided to start back up in the fall of 2001. A lot of things contributed to my baseball card collecting hiatus: too much product on the market, the prices for a pack of cards continually rising, getting ready to start college. Up until that time I had strictly collected Topps sets and this year was no different. Yet, when I decided to dive back into the hobby I decided to heed the advice of many collectors and collect only what I liked, nothing more...nothing less. Anyway, I digress. I liked the 1993 Topps design. White border, great photography, and decent graphics at the bottom where the player name was listed. The back of the cards weren't too shabby either. Although I liked the back of the 1992 Topps cards with their photo of the team's stadium, the color photo of the player was a nice change. My only gripe with this set is that there's no team logo or player position on the front of the card. I like my Reds logo of the 90s, not just plain text on the bottom that says "REDS". I just think logos look nicer!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another pickup for the Man Cave

So I made another purchase for the man cave yesterday. I was able to snag a panoramic print of Great American Ball Park and I should be receiving it in the mail within the week! Now all I need are a few more prints, a couple of pennants, and another autographed jersey and I should be all set. On another note, it's hard to imagine that the 2011 baseball season is coming to an end (hopefully tonight - GO RANGERS!) and for a season that was to hold much promise for the Reds, it just wasn't the case. But I'm curious to know from my readers... is there anything that happened this baseball season that makes it more memorable than any other? Curious about your thoughts.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

1997 Topps

The 1990s were a disappointment I think for Topps, and nothing says disappointment like 1997. If 1996 wasn't bad enough then Topps just had to make sure 1997 was a washout as well. I don't know if it was just the massive glut of cards that were on the market at the time that lead many manufacturers releasing product hoping to sell a couple of packs to whomever, or perhaps it was the lingering effect of the 1994 strike that made them not care about what they released. Whatever the case, I'm glad that I went on card collecting hiatus from 1994 to 2001 and missed many of these dismal releases. There's just so much wrong with the 1997 Topps set that I don't know where to start. I wasn't too impressed with the photos The ghosted green border just doesn't do it for me. It's almost like the photo's border was bleached by the sun and caused fading. Not only that, but you also have a lack of information on the card front. Just the player name and a team logo. Where's the position Topps? I will say that I think the back of the card looks better than the front. I like how Topps used the light green and yellow boxes for the player stats and info. Sure it looks like a lot of grass on the back, but what's baseball without grass? Favorite Reds card from 1997 - Reggie Sanders. I liked Reggie for the short time he wore a Reds uniform. He was a great outfielder and a nice complement to other Reds other outfielders of the early 90s (Paul O'Neil, Eric Davis, Billy Hatcher, and Roberto Kelly to name a few).

Friday, October 21, 2011

1996 Topps

One word for this set... UNINSPIRING! To say that I'm not a fan of this set would be an understatement. Hate is a strong word, so I'll just say I greatly dislike what Topps released in 1996. The photos are nice, don't get me wrong, but the photos are also part of the problem. Namely, I think Topps was lazy for using the same photo of the player's face superimposed at the bottom of the card. Seriously?! How hard would it have been to just use a different photo instead of the exact same thing! The foil is a nice touch for the front of the card, but what's up with the big orange home plate on the back of the card? Last time I checked, home plates were white and not fuzzy! Such a disappointment. As for a card favorite, if I had to choose it would be Jose Rijo. Sure, Larkin was and still is my favorite Reds player from the 80s to when he retired, but Rijo was an awesome pitcher for the Reds especially in the 1990 World Series. This card takes me back to those glory days of 1990 when everything was right in the world of Reds baseball.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

1998 Topps

Out of all the sets Topps produced in the 1990s, this would have to be my favorite. So many reasons for that include the gold border on the card, which Topps seems to be resurrecting again next year, excellent photography, and the use of the team's logo on the front and back as backgrounds for the player name and stats. My only gripe I have for this set is the small size. Sure, baseball was still hurting from the strike of 1994, but to have a set with so few players was like taking something away from the fans that were still loyal to the sport and not necessarily to the players themselves. My favorite card in the set would have to be the Pete Rose Jr. card. Even though he didn't have the career his father had, it's still cool to have a Rose card in the collection even if it is his son's. I'm hoping to add his autograph to my collection one day as well!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Talk About An Autograph Collection

I saw this video this morning about a Florida man who holds the Guinness Book of World Records for most autographed baseballs (4000+). Talk about an impressive collection.

Monday, October 17, 2011

1970 Topps

This is probably my least favorite set Topps released in the 1970s. The gray border just seemed kind of gloomy on a baseball card. Almost like a rain out on opening day. Very dull, drab, uninspiring. Not only that but the team name on the front of the card in big block letters just doesn't do anything for me. What irks me most with this set is the fact that two of the Reds best players at the time (Pete Rose and Johnny Bench) were high-number cards. I don't understand the mentality of placing stars toward the tail end of a set unless it's to produce demand for the product. I do like the player blurbs and cartoons on the back of the cards, but that's not saying much. If I had to choose a favorite from this set it would be the Tony Perez card. Looks like he's ready to club someone with the barrel of his bat. I also like that it shows Crosley Field in the background. Although I wasn't around to witness a game there, so much history in a field long gone. I wonder what it would be like to go see the Reds of today play at Crosley Field of yesterday? One can only wonder.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

2003 Topps

This was a nice change up for Topps. I don't remember a baseball card having a blue border before 2003, but then again, I'd forget my own head if it weren't attached to my body. The blue was a nice follow up to the gold border Topps used in their base set the year before. The player portrait on the bottom of the card harkens back to previous Topps sets (most notably 1963, 1983 and 1984) and to have it placed in a baseball infield was very ingenious in my own opinion. I think Topps also did a great job placing all the information I look for on the front of a card (player name, position, team logo) without it looking too gaudy and crowded. Photography was nice and my favorite card would have to be the Larkin. Although it captures the captain at the twilight of his career, it shows a nice fielding shot of him. The Reds were sporting my favorite jersey at the time with the cutoff sleeves and pinstripes for a retro 50s look and feel so that just adds to my likability of the card. Well done Topps.

1973 Topps

I'm not much of a fan of the 1973 Topps set. Maybe it's because it looks cheap due to the little player graphics on the front of the card. Or maybe it has to do with the orange and black pairing of color on the card back that reminds me of a Halloween nightmare! Sure, you can argue that this set contains the Big Red Machine prior to their reach of Everest in the 75-76 season, but there's just too much bad vibes this set gives off. I make it a point to collect all subsets that have any affiliation with the Reds and that includes rookie, all star, and world series subsets. Looking at the 1972 World Series subset Topps included in the 1973 run is just horrid! One man basically destroyed the Reds in the 72 series... Gene Tenace! Gene Tenace of all people! Not Reggie Jackson or Rollie Fingers or Bert Campaneris or Vida Blue. Gene Tenace!!! Anyway, the only card I do care for in the 1973 set is the Johnny Bench card. I love how Johnny's heading for the dugout to try and catch a popup! Very cool photo! Johnny Bench = Like! Gene Tenace = DISLIKE!

Friday, October 7, 2011

2002 Topps

2002 was the year I decided to get back into the hobby. After taking a hiatus of nine years, the collecting bug hit me again after I moved from Cincinnati to Cleveland and I found a local card shop in Brunswick. I had no idea what I missed being away from the hobby for so long. All the product, inserts, relic cards, autographs... it just blew my mind. With so much out there I was tempted to start collecting Upper Deck since I briefly dabbled with them in 1990 by buying a ton of packs from a long gone hobby shop in Cincinnati. But in the end I stayed with Topps since the pack prices were affordable and I like the design of the card. The gold border was something I hadn't seen before on a standard base issue. The photography and team logos were so sweet compared to the early 1990s, when I left the hobby. But what really did it for me in 2002 was seeing Griffey's Topps card. Being a Reds fan, it was something I thought I would never see. The hometown hero sporting the same threads his dad did a few decades earlier. The sweet swing the kid always had. So many things Topps did right with this set and it helped to rekindle a passion for a hobby that I once thought too old to be a part of.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

1976 Topps

My last post I talked about the 1975 Topps set and the Big Red Machine's victory over the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. I decided to follow it up and talk about the 1976 Topps set. Not as appealing as the 1975 Topps set... and the photos are a bit sketch. The white border is ok, but I hate the cheesy all star that makes it's reappearance in this set on the bottom corner. But what's lacking in eye candy is more than made up with the player cards in this set. Again, the Big Red Machine is represented well in this set and I would have to say the Bench card is my favorite. Least favorite though would have to be the Joe Morgan card. What's up with the hands under the arms? Is he nervous? Kinda reminds me of Mary Catherine Gallagher when she gets nervous.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

1975 Topps

With the playoffs in full swing, I decided to write about one of the greatest teams to take the field... The Big Red Machine. Sure, I'm not old enough to remember them playing baseball, but I have seen the highlights, read the books, and listened to countless stories from others how they were a force to be reckoned with. Carlton Fisk can have his game six home run. Doesn't matter much since Cincinnati won game 7 and the series. I like the 1975 Topps cards. The two tone border was a nice change up for Topps. I also like the player facsimile autographs on the front of the card and the 3-D rendering of the team names at the top of the card. The little all-star stars on the bottom are a little cheesy, but that's something I can overlook. I guess the main reason I like this set is because it features the Big Red Machine in their prime. Rose, Bench, Morgan, Perez, Griffey, Concepcion, Foster, and Geronimo! It doesn't get much better than that.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hey, there's a contest!

There's a bracket contest going on over at The Great Orioles Autograph Project. Check it out to win some great stuff!

2000 Topps

Ok, so it's not white... but it is silver! It's also the first year card that Griffey is in a Reds uniform. Sure, things didn't quite pan out the way they should have when he left Seattle to come home to Cincinnati, but we were lucky enough to have one of the games greatest players grace us with his presence for a little while when he wasn't on the DL. Topps did a decent job with this set. I like the photography they used for both the front and back of the cards. The team logo and player's name at the bottom of the card, along with the team color that's used as an accent is a nice touch. Out of all the cards in the 2000 Topps set, my favorite would have to be the Griffey. Sure, I might be biased, but I love the way he's about to snag a fly ball over his shoulder Willie Mays style. Very cool!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

1984 Topps

So I decided to do a little housekeeping today to see what Topps sets I've already written a review for and found out that there was only one 1980s set remaining on my review list...so here it is. I like the 1984 Topps set. Maybe because it looks similar to the 1983 and 1963 Topps sets with the big action photo and tiny photo on the bottom front of the card. Again, white borders, as with most Topps sets and a nice blue color used on the background of the back of the card. I also like how they put the team logo on the back of the card as well. Nice touch. While the 1984 Topps set isn't on the same grade as the 1984 Donruss set, it's no red-headed step child either. But at least in 1984 we saw a glimpse of the competition yet to come in the late 1980s.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I just bought me a ballpark!

Well, a little replica of one anyway. One of the things I miss about living in Cincinnati is the fact that whenever there's a giveaway at the ballpark, the only way for me to pick it up is to either get a ticket to the game and drive four hours down I-71 or go to ebay and buy it from someone else. Option one I only use sparingly if it's a game I really want to see since I limit myself to going to watch a game at a ballpark only a couple of times a year. I was very happy to finally snag this on ebay over the weekend since I've always wanted to add this to my memorabilia collection. I still have a few bobbleheads and a seat from Crosley Field to pick up, but after that, it's strictly cards from that point forward. Stadium giveaways are so sweet!

Friday, September 23, 2011

1989 Topps

Gluttony! That's the first word that comes to my mind when I think about 1989. Why? Because it was the ramping up of the hobby. With the introduction of Upper Deck to the scene, things in the baseball card world would not be the same and we would be inundated with a plethora of selection from high end stock cards to inserts, short prints, game used memorabilia, to who knows what else in the years that followed. I'm a simple man and in 1989 I stuck with collecting Topps because I had done so in the past... and spending a dollar for a pack of cards from Upper Deck was a whole lot of crazy to me. I like the 89 Topps set because of a number of reasons: the white border, the curved name plate and photos, the deep colors on the card back. Overall, I think it was a big improvement over the 1988 Topps set. This was the final year for a Topps card for Pete Rose. It was also the year prior to the Reds going Wire to Wire in the 1990 season. While there are a number of Reds cards I like from this year, such as Barry Larkin and Eric Davis, the Chris Sabo card would have to be my all time favorite of this set. The way he's chucking his bat as he heads to first while tracking the ball through his signature glasses is just so sweet! It doesn't get much better than that.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Something New for the Man Cave

I'm always looking for new items to add to my man cave. Although I don't know when I'll have it completed, I'll have more than enough stuff for it when it's all said and done. In addition to displaying my Reds card collection and memorabilia, I plan on using some prints, newspapers and panoramic photos. I stumbled on this print a few days ago and I've decided to add it to the cave. It's a print by Legendary Graphics called "Evolution of the Ballpark". They have different prints to choose from so obviously I'll be snagging the Reds print. This should look sweet between the panoramic photos of Riverfront Stadium and Great American Ball Park. Sure... it's not baseball cards, but it's the next best thing.

Monday, September 19, 2011

1963 Topps

I finally finished my 1963 Topps Reds team set this past weekend. This was not an easy set to put together, but I'm happy to finally knock that off my wantlist. While most would think the Pete Rose rookie would be the most difficult card to get...not me. It was this one! Who would have thought that a Wally Post card could cause so much problems. For me it was about finding one is great condition since my mentality when collecting these older cards is to find a card I'll be happy with and not one that I'm just content having. That basically means an ex card or better, and while it does get pricey, it's well worth it for me. So now I have the complete run of Topps Reds team sets from 1963 to present. Next up... 1962 and 1961!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Everyone has a favorite

Everyone has a favorite baseball card. Could be because it's worth so much or maybe because it's not worth anything at all. Maybe it's how the card was obtained, either from saving for a long time or a fantastic trade with one of our friends. For me, my favorite baseball card is the 1986 Topps Pete Rose #1. Growing up near Cincinnati I had just started getting into baseball and following the Reds in 1986 and it was the year I received my first pack of baseball cards from my mom. She picked them up on the way home from some hole in the wall mom and pop convenient store for 35 cents. That's right 35 cents! When I opened that pack about halfway through the pack I was greeted by Pete. Sure, the cards only worth about a buck today, but the memories that card brings back every time I look at it makes this card priceless to me. So...what's your favorite card?