Monday, July 19, 2021

Modern Monday - still a Diamond King

I recently bought a small lot of Padres cards on eBay. It was an assortment of parallels from a number of sets and it included some base cards from the Panini Diamond Kings set released this year. I already had a 2021 Diamond Kings insert featuring Tony, but I didn't have his base card. I do now.

Card Number 708: Panini Diamond Kings, 2021; #30

It's a fairly normal Diamond Kings card front. Nothing too complicated. It has a nice finish on the card front; a sort of matt canvassy effect.

The cardback is a bit plain, with some purple prose in the write up. I grew up in a religious family and am used to the phrase "The Lord giveth; the Lord taketh away". It's amusing to see the same thing said about Tony.

We established last time I reviewed a Diamond Kings card that the characters next to the copyright notice are Chinese. I'm waiting for the day when Tony appears on a card written in one of the Asian languages. Topps have done some Japanese cards before but Tony wasn't included. I'd love to be able to add that to the French and Spanish language cards I've got already.

Total: 708 cards

Sunday, July 18, 2021

One card only - parallel persistence

Last week when I blogged about this year's Stadium Club card of Tony, I mentioned how Marc had also offered me a copy of the card, which I declined. However, a couple of days later Marc messaged me asking if I had the 'red foil parallel' version. And I didn't. 

So, a big thank you to Marc for his persistence in offering me cards!

Card Number 707: Topps Stadium Club red foil parallel, 2021; #24

The only difference between this card and the base card is the red foil Stadium Club logo and Tony's name in red foil too. 

This is one of 17 parallel sets that are available in this year's Stadium Club release. I have a theory that somewhere in the multiverse is a parallel universe where Topps only release one version of their cards.

The back is the same as the base card. I have already discussed the factoids.

This time around I noticed the one line stats box. I really approve of that on a card of a retired player. It's all the information that's needed.

Thanks again, Marc!

Total: 707 cards

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Reusing photos raises questions...

No new cards today, but something that's stood out to me. As I've acquired more cards I have started noticing the same photos being reused. Recently I was hunting for a blog post to check something, and I found the post with the Fleer Tony Gwynn Commemorative cards from 1991. I noticed something I hadn't picked up on before.

This is one of the cards - #5 in the insert set.

It wasn't the front that caught my eye. It was the back.

I had just been flicking through my Topps binder looking at cards from 2021, which I why I noticed this connection.

That is the Topps Archives insert from 2021 Series One. And that is the exact same photo that was used on the back of the Fleer card in 1991 - except it's not close-cropped.

So, what does this mean? Have Topps acquired the photos that Fleer used in the past? This may explain why so many cards that give me a feeling of deja vu give me a feeling of deja vu! Except, I've only ever been looking at Topps cards to find where the photos are originally used. I will need to be looking in my Fleer binder from now on.

I doubt this is a ground-breaking revelation, but I felt a bit stunned when I discovered it. Maybe other bloggers would be able to shed some more light on the situation?

Monday, July 12, 2021

Another addition to the family card binder

The other card from Brian, that I mentioned yesterday, was from the 1991 Topps set. If it looks pack fresh, that's because it is. Brian opened a box of packs to try and build the set.

Topps, 1991; #99 - Chris Gwynn

This was Chris's second Topps card. His Topps rookie card was the previous year. However he appeared in both the Fleer and Upper Deck sets in 1989, and in the Score Major League Baseball set in 1988. He shared a rookie card in the Fleer 1988 set with Peter Smith of the Braves. He also had some minor league cards around the same time, as he moved up and down from AAA to the Major Leagues for a couple of seasons. 

As can be seen from the stats on the back, 1990 was his breakthrough year and he played 101 games for the Dodgers, the team that he and his brothers went to watch when they were growing up.

This is the first card of Chris in Dodgers uniform that I have acquired. He soon moved to the Royals, and then finished his career with the Padres. His final season was in 1996, so his major league career was relatively brief. 

You'll see that Tony gets a mention on the cardback. This is several years after Chris first got a mention on the back of one of Tony's cards, back in 1985. 

Nine years in the Major Leagues is a decent career, even though Chris is eclipsed by his brother's achievements. Chris did have one honour that Tony never won - an Olympic silver medal. He represented Team USA at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. I imagine there are a very short list of sportsmen who competed at an Olympics in their home city and then went on to play professional support for their home city team as well.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

One card only - metal manufactured relic

Brian sent me today's card. It's a "manufactured relic", which is basically a chunk of metal embedded in some 2mm thick foamboard.

Card Number 706: Topps 70th Anniversary Logo Patch, 2021; #T70P-TG

The metal logo rather dominates the card. These were included in blaster boxes of Topps Series 2, as a bonus item along with the packs. 

The back is fairly plain, manly explaining the nature of the card. This is quite helpful information as it has the year, card type and the set name on. I'm actually surprised Topps have been this helpful. Usually they bury the details or leave it up to the collector to hunt the card down on Trading Card Database.

Manufactured relics like this aren't everyone's cup of tea, but, hey, it's a new Tony Gwynn card for the collection and I am never going to say no to one of those. 

Brian is better known among UK collectors for busting lots of junk wax. He also sent me another card that's 30 years older than this one. I'll be posting about it tomorrow.

Total: 706 cards

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Still a member of the Club

I don't personally open a lot of new product. Fortunately I know people who do. People like Gawain (Mr Cuban Baseball in the UK) who is my reliable source for brand new Tony Gwynn cards. Today's card arrived last week from the Cuban Museum in Surrey, and as ever, I'm hugely grateful. (I also want to say thanks to Marc who got in touch a few days after this card arrived to say he had a copy if I wanted it. I feel blessed to be on so many people's radar.)

Card Number 705: Topps Stadium Club, 2021; #24

I'm never going to criticise a picture of Tony in a brown Padres uniform. Particularly when it's a photo I haven't seen a whole bunch of times before. The Padres are back in brown now (and the uniforms look lovely), but I wish they would bring that colourway helmet back as well.

Some photo re-use on the back. This is a cropped version of the photo used on the 2020 Topps flagship short print card

That third sentence is worth scrutiny. The highest career average of any player in the "Expansion Era", which according to Topps started the year after Tony was born. Why not just say during his lifetime, eh? Basically, there was no better consistent hitter in the 20 years before Tony got drafted, during his 20 year career, or in the 20 years since he retired.

Greg Maddux famously swore about the fact he could never strike Tony out. I didn't realise Tony had a similar record against Pedro Martinez as well. (Although, to be honest, 139 plate appearances against both pitchers combined feels a bit low.)

With stats like this, thought, it's easy to see why Tony still has a place in the Stadium Club. Long may that continue.

Total: 705 cards

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Shining Star from a box of Bazooka gum

According to Baseballcardpedia, this range of cards were shipped at the rate of one per box of Bazooka gum. That seems the exact opposite to Topps normal cards, which had a ratio of lots of cards to one stick of gum.

Card Number 704: Topps Bazooka, 1989; #13

Although this is billed as a starter set, no other Bazooka branded cards were released that year. It was just the 22 cards that were inserted into boxes of gum.

The cardback is fairly standard - stats box, factoid and some bio data.

I like the Bazooka logo used as a watermark behind the stats box. That livens up the cardback a surprising amount.

This concludes the contents of the eBay package. Next up, a card that is brand, brand new.

Total: 704 cards

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Lets gloss over the dullness

I'm on to the last remnants of the most recent joblot of cards from eBay. I think all the cards I've posted from this parcel have been 'oddities' in some way and these are no different.

If you have ever opened a junk wax era packet of Topps cards you will have found some little promotional cards that you could collect and send away for more cards. These mailaway cards were advertised as "glossy", and, while they definitely had a slight shine to them, they just weren't very interesting.

Card Number 701: Topps All-Star Collector's Edition, 1987; #2

I am fairly certain this photo was taken at the same time as the All Star card in the flagship set for 1987. Compare the background and also Tony's right sleeve with the white undershirt sticking out.

The back is very boring.

These cards could be bought in six small units or ordered as one big set of sixty. It does make me wonder if some of those sets were more popular than others if kids couldn't afford the full set in one go.

Card Number 702: Topps All-Star Collector's Edition, 1988; #38

This is another familiar-looking photo, but I can't find the card it reminds me of. It's possible that I just have a lot of cards where Tony looks like this.

The back is equally as dull.

Card Number 703: Topps All-Star Collector's Edition, 1989; #58

Again, this is a deja vu photo. It's very similar to the photo used on Tony's base card in 1988.

However, I think this might be from a different game because the fans in the background look different and there also seems to be different equipment on the bench of the dug-out in the background.

All I can say about the cardback is at least Topps varied the colours they used each year.

I wonder what the kids who sent off their pocket money and tokens to Topps thought of these cards when they arrived in the mail. I hope they felt they were getting their money's worth. The photos are nice and big, but the cardbacks are beyond boring.

Total: 703 cards

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Karefully Kut Kraft (Kard #700)

In terms of milestone cards on this blog, this is probably the kookiest.

Card Number 700: Kraft Home Plate Heroes, 1987; #44

This card was originally part of food packaging - most likely a famous Mac'n'Cheese packet. The original Kraft Dinner, as serenaded by Barenaked Ladies in their song, If I Had a Million Dollars. Back in 1987, someone very carefully cut along the dotted lines and voila, created a baseball card!

This card image was licensed from the Player's Association rather than Major League Baseball, through Michael Schechter Associates, who specialised in this sort of promotional material. The lack of a Major League Baseball licence explains why Tony's hat is heavily airbrushed. 

The cardback is... well, it would have been the inside of the box.

I think that scan might be upside down. How coud you tell?

Kraft printed two players on each box, but mixed and matched them a bit, so pairings exist of Tony with a few other players, including George Brett from the Royals and Jim Rice from the Red Sox. I'm sure someone is trying to collect all the different pairings of all the cards. There are 122 listed on Trading Card Database. 

So, although you would know which players you were getting when you picked up the box, it wouldn't be as easy as just looking for two players you didn't already have. You might end up having to buy a dupe of one player to get the other one you didn't already have. That was a bit of marketing kunning from Kraft, there.

As you have probably guessed, I am a fan of oddball cards like these. In one way they recapture the essential essence of trading cards - even down to being part of the packaging that would usually get thrown away. (The first cigarette cards were printed on the cardboard stiffeners inserted to prevent the packets from getting crushed. How many ended up in the bin?) Great care has been taken to preserve something that is quite literally garbage. One person's trash is another's treasure... quite literally. 

For comparison purposes here are the other milestone cards on my blog.

#100 - DonRuss "Tony Gwynn Tribute", 2015; #4 (June 2020)

#200 - Topps, 2000; #468 (July 2020)

#300 - Pinnacle. 1996; #336 (August 2020)

#394 (my blogging target) - Topps, 1985 All Star Card; #717 (October 2020)

#400 - Pacific Invincible Seismic Force (running photo variant), 1999; #16 (October 2020)

#500 - Topps Rookie of the Week, 2006; #22 (November 2020)

#600 - Topps Power Boosters, 1996; #1 (February 2021)

Total: 700 cards