Tuesday, August 12, 2014

1983 Topps All-Star Collector's Edition insert set #1-40

In 1983, Topps released its first of 8 consecutive All-Star Collector's Edition insert sets (Topps Glossy Send-Ins).  Could this set actually represent the first glossy cards ever released by Topps?  I'm not really sure about that, but do people still even use the term "glossy" in reference baseball cards these days?  Everything is glossy, and so is this set.     

Placed at the back of my 1983 Topps set binder consisting of a total of 792 base cards and 132 traded cards, the 40-card Topps Glossy Send-in set makes a nice addition to my otherwise complete set.  I counted a total of 16 Hall-of-Famers in this set: C.Yastrzemski, R.Yount, M.Schmidt, D.Winfield, R.Gossage, C.Fisk, G.Carter, J.Palmer, R.Carew, N.Ryan, R.Henderson, G.Brett, S.Carlton, R.Jackson, E.Murray, and B.Sutter. 

There are also cards for other superstars like: P.Rose, D.Concepcion, F.Valenzuela, D.Murphy, and D.Baker.  More than half of the cards in this set are certainly winners.

The All-Star Game Commemorative insert sets would not be released until the following year in 1984, while the Rookies Commemorative insert sets would not be released for another 4 years in 1987.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Non-Waiver Trade Deadline: J.Lackey, A.Craig, & J.Kelly

...Another big trade occurring before the non-waiver deadline on July 31st, was the dealing of John Lackey along with minor leaguer Cory Littrell and cash to the St. Louis Cardinals.  Lackey is 35 (almost 36) years old, having played in the majors since 2002.  He moved to Boston as a free agent before the start of the 2010 season, and helped the Red Sox win their 3rd World Series last year. 

In just 2 starts with the Cardinals, Lackey is 1-1 with a 8.25 ERA and 7 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched.   

Allen Craig has hit one Double in just 4 AB's with his new Red Sox team. 

Craig just turned 30 last month, and had been with the Cardinals since 2010.

The youngest of the bunch, 26-year old Joe Kelly has started only one game for Boston since the trade, leaving with a no decision, a 1.29 ERA, and 2 strikouts in 7 innings of work.

Kelly has been in the majors since 2012.

If you haven't noticed, I don't have the 2014 Topps baseball card set yet.  The only 2014 Topps card that I currently own is Mariano Rivera.  Once I obtain the set, I will use 2014 cards for current updates.

1987 Topps '86 Rookies Commemorative insert set #1-22

The Topps Rookies Commemorative sets (or Topps Glossy Rookies) were only released for five years between 1987-1991.  Like the Topps All-Star Game Commemorative sets (or Topps Glossy All-Stars), these cards were represented by the year prior to their release.  The Glossy Rookies could be found in Topps Jumbo Packs containing 101 cards each.     

Like the Glossy All-Stars, that could be found in Topps Rack Packs containing 49 cards each, I didn't collect any of these Glossy Rookies in 1987.  Why?  Well, for one, I could barely afford the 40 cents it cost to purchase a 17-card wax pack as a 10-year old in 1987.  There's no way that I was going to be buying 101-card jumbo packs.  It never even crossed my mind.

Looking back, it sure would've taken quite a number of Jumbo packs (22 if you're lucky) to complete one of these Glossy Rookies sets.  That's 2200 Topps base cards and 22 Glossy Rookies cards, which is almost enough base cards to complete the 1987 Topps set three times over, if once again, you're very lucky. 

This understanding now brings me to the conclusion that Topps Glossy Rookies sets should be selling for a whole lot more than the current market demands--but they're not.  A set like this might cost you $6 right now online. 

 The Topps Glossy Rookies sets mirrored the size of the Glossy All-Stars' 22 cards for the first 3 years of their production between 1987-1989.  In 1990 and 1991, the Glossy Rookies sets would increase in size to 33 cards.  That's a whole lot of jumbo packs.

The key cards in this set seem to be the Rafael Palmeiro and Will Clark.  Other notables include Wally Joyner, Ruben Sierra, and Jose Canseco.  

 Currently, I have my Topps Rookies Commemorative insert set placed into my '87T binder at the very back (after the 60-card Glossy Send-ins set and the 22-card Glossy All-Stars set).

Friday, August 8, 2014

1990 Topps All-Star Collector's Edition insert set #1-60

     Generally listed in most price guides as the "Topps Glossy Send-In" set, these All-Star Collector's Edition sets were released for eight consecutive years between 1983-1990.  Although I 'm referring to these cards as insert sets, they were actually redemption sets that could be redeemed in groups of 10 cards by sending in a number of redemption cards by mail (in addition to a shipping fee).  The redemption cards were found in Topps wax packs during the years that these All-Star Collector's Edition cards were available.   

The All-Star Collector's Edition sets contained 40 cards each between 1983-1985, and then 60 cards each between 1986-1990.  These sets are not to be confused with the 22-card Topps All-Star Game Commemorative insert sets (or Topps Glossy All-Star insert sets) found in rack packs between 1984-1991.

Of the 60 cards in this set, 36 of the player names really stand out to me: Ryne Sandberg, Nolan Ryan, Dave Stewart, Barry Larkin, Darryl Strawberry, Steve Sax, Gary Sheffield, Don Mattingly, Bret Saberhagen, Robin Yount, Ozzie Smith, Ken Griffey Jr., Wade Boggs, Dwight Gooden, Eric Davis, Ruben Sierra, Roberto Alomar, Jose Canseco, Joe Carter, Mike Scioscia, Julio Franco, Tim Raines, Rickey Henderson, Bob Geren, Andre Dawson, Mark McGwire, Bo Jackson, Carlton Fisk, Kirby Puckett, Cal Ripken, Will Clark, Dennis Eckersley, Craig Biggio, Fred McGriff, Tony Gwynn, and Omar Vizquel.

My 1990 Topps baseball card set is now stacked with 792 base cards, 152 debut cards, 132 traded cards, 60 send-in inserts, 22 all-star inserts, and 33 rookie inserts for a grand total of 1,191 cards.

I think that I read somewhere that these sets were manufactured at 1% of the production rate of the base cards.  The card backs on these sets don't identify much information, which is probably why I didn't pay much attention to them growing up.  Now, looking through my set binders, I'm glad that I have them.  If you're serious about collecting the greatly under-appreciated Topps sets released between the late-'80s and early-'90s, you might want to think about picking up the Glossy insert sets to go along with it.  These sets still come at a low cost, and many of these players are now entering the Hall-of-Fame. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

1984 Topps '83 All-Star Game Commemorative insert set #1-22

What is this?  Insert cards on my 20th-Century Topps Baseball blog?  I didn't collect any of these insert cards in the '80s because they weren't included in the wax packs where I compiled my cards from.  I would often see other people with these type of insert cards in the '80s, but no one ever seemed to be seriously interested in them.  Everyone I knew collected base cards.  Imagine that. 

Anyways, it seems very difficult for modern era baseball card collectors to ignore insert cards.  Believe me; I tried.  It all started with the acquisition of all those post-1992 Topps factory sets I compiled, all of which include some type of extra bonus card packs.  When I entered back into this hobby after a 10-year hiatus in the summer of 2001, I found many of these bonus insert cards to be a nuisance.  Initially, I had no idea what to do with them.  My complete sets all went into binder pages along with my Traded/Update sets, while most of the extras were just sold off. 

I kept many of the mid-to-late '90s Topps factory set bonus reprints for players like Mantle, Mays, Clemente, Ryan, and Aaron.  Those, I would integrate into my vintage sets as a filler until an original can be found to replace them.  Afterward, I would then sell off the reprint.  I guess that this post is marking the start of my "giving in" to collecting some of these insert cards--especially those that represent my initial era of card collecting in the '80s.

Basically, there were 3 major type of insert sets manufactured by Topps between 1983-1991: Glossy Send-Ins ('83-'90), Glossy All-Stars ('84-'91), and Glossy Rookies ('87-'91).  The primary focus of this particular post is on the Glossy All-Star Game Commemorative Sets that were manufactured between 1984-1991.  This was the first of those Glossy All-Star sets, and were found individually inserted into rack packs of 1984 Topps baseball cards.

There still seems to be a lot of confusion with online listings representing these sets by the year identified at the top of the card.  In this case, the 1984 Topps All-Star Game Commemorative set actually identifies players from the '83 All-Star Game.  If you look at the copyright symbol at the bottom of the card back, the answer will become apparent.  These are 1984 Topps cards, and represent the first of 8 consecutive All-Star Game Commemorative insert sets manufactured by Topps.

They all consisted of a total of 22 cards each.  The set is split into 11 cards for each league: 9 position players, 1 manager, and 1 honorable mention/captain.  The honorable mention cards in this set are Carl Yastrzemski and Johnny Bench, who both retired during the 1983 season.  Later versions of this set included honorable mention/captain players who had retire much earlier. 

Of course, this insert set cannot be effectively integrated into my base/traded set, so I have included it at the end of my binder after the checklist cards.  I compared this set with the 22-card All-Star subsets commonly included in Topps base sets during the '80s, and found little correlation.  Some of the position players match, and some don't.

There will soon be a 40-card Glossy Send-In insert set to complement this 22-cards Glossy All-Star Game Commemorative insert set. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Non-Waiver Trade Deadline: D.Price, D.Smyly, & A.Jackson

Perhaps the biggest trade on Non-Waiver Deadline Day occurred with David Price going to the Tigers in a 3-way deal that sent Drew Smyly to the Rays and Austin Jackson to the Mariners.  At 108 games into the 2014 season, Price is leading the American League in Games Started (23), Innings Pitched (170.2), Batters Faced (689), and Strikeouts (189). 

Price is already a 4-time All-Star with a Cy Young award under his belt and just into his 7th major league season.  It doesn't hurt that he also has 4 years of post season experience with two World Series starts in 2008. 

Smyly is a young pitcher with only 280 innings over his past 3 seasons with the Tigers.

Smyly brings 2 years of postseason experience to the Rays.

Austin Jackson just might be what the Mariners need to take the 2nd Wild Card spot away in the American League.  He was the runner-up for the A.L. Rookie of the Year award in 2010 with the Tigers, and in just his 5th major league season, has already posted some impressive numbers.

Jackson comes to the ballpark to play, or should I say, work.  During his first four seasons, Jackson has averaged 576 AB's, and is on pace to exceed that.  Jackson is on pace for about 38 Doubles this year, which would give him a 5-year career average of over 30.  He's already led the league twice with double-digit Triples figures during the past four years, and scores an average of almost 100 Runs a season.   He has been used almost exclusively as a centerfielder with the Tigers, and currently maintains a .990 average career fielding pct.  Jackson has made the postseason during 3 of his 4 years in the majors. 

Non-Waiver Trade Deadline: Y.Cespedes, J.Lester, & J.Gomes

One of the first big trades to beat the non-waiver deadline yesterday was the surprise move of Yoenis Cespedes to Boston.  After winning two consecutive HR derby titles and making an outstanding throw from from the outfield to get out runner, Howie Kendrick of the Angels, at homeplate earlier this season, Cespedes will now be in a Red Sox uniform.

Cespedes was a runner-up in A.L. Rookie of the Year voting for 2012, making his first All-Star appearance this season.  He brings the Red Sox a 3-season average of 22 HR's, 24 Doubles, and an OPS of .788 according to current statistics on Baseball-Reference.  He currently leads the league in Assists as an OF.

In return, the Athletics aquired Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes.  Lester is a 3-time All-Star that's averaged over 200 innings per season since he began pitching regularly during his third season as a Boston Starter in 2008. 

Lester also brings 4 years of postseason experience, including 2 World Series championships with an overall 2.11 ERA in 76.2 postseason innings pitched.

...Gomes is a former Athletics player that's originally from California.  He brings 3 years of postseason experience to an Oakland ballclub that is primed for a 2014 postseason appearance as a team with the current best record in baseball. 

Gomes currently has a career OPS of .781.