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.