Thursday, August 27, 2020

2021 Topps sell sheets and a preview of the backs

Well, this is the post you've been waiting for, and the one I've been wanting to do for a while now. The one where I do a mock up of the 2021 Topps back design. While I've been wanting to do it for a while, it looks like Topps has beat me to it, and has also released a few more sell sheets. I'll save the one with the back till the end. Let's take a look.
You might have to zoom in on these to get a better look. It looks like they did take my idea of doing a Cyberstats reincarnation for the 2021 set. I like how they stayed true to the look of the '95 set, and it will be nice to get a little foil on a card. I think I'm going to go for the whole set of these. I just hope the Yankee$ didn't win the title in the sim.

 Now these aren't my cup of tea. I've never been a fan of Topps Now, and do we really need to see a picture of some dude going grocery shopping or getting his oil changed or taking a shower? A littel unneccessary, Topps.
 This is an interesting concept. I think I would collect as many of these cards as I could in hopes of getting a winning number. What worries me is how if there were zero games played, would their even be a 2022 Topps set to recieve a free pack from? Well played, Topps. I wish they would've added some special bonus logo stamp if you pulled the World Series winning teams' card with the correct number of games.
 Now these cards are another insert that I would just trash. I never liked the Topps Project 2020 to begin with. Too many lame artists and too few with actual talent. I am impressed that it looks like they got some better talent coming for the 2021 set. Let's hope that Joey can beat Keith Shore for the love of all things good.
Now here's what I am talking about! The backs! It was pretty similar to what I would've figured. More social media crap, less real stats, no full career stats, crap bio section, and easier to tell if you got the money card (I mean SP). Not very good, but do we even have a choice?

Well, I didn't get to make my version of a 2021 Topps back, but maybe I'll be quicker for the 2022 set.
Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Me and the Negro Leagues

This past week has been a little crazy. I had planned on finishing a few posts that had been saved as drafts, had planned on mowing the lawn on Thursday when I had a day off from work, and had planned on doing some more ‘93 Topps customs. Well, we found out on Monday that my sons day care would be closed on Thursday and Friday as they got ready to open up for the fall School schedule, so that kind of threw the mowing lawn on Thursday out of the window as I would be watching him. So I ended up somehow doing that Tuesday afternoon between a Florida thunderstorm and 90 degree heat, and between that, a printing project, and recording some music for our church online service, I just didn’t have the time to get to any of the posts I had planned. I also found out that the Negro Leagues we’re celebrating their anniversary, so I decided to put the drafted posts on the back burner again and talk about them.
Growing up, I’ve heard of the Negro Leagues, but didn’t know very much about them besides some of the bigger names like Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige, and Josh Gibson. Part of that is due to the fact that Topps didn’t issue cards until 1951, 4 years after Jackie Robinson made his debut. I also feel that growing up, it just wasn’t covered in depth in baseball books that I read. I read a few baseball history books and a few biographies, but most talked about current stars or guys in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. The Internet was just in its infancy, so not too much there either. Perhaps maybe if Topps made a Negro League history set, it would’ve helped me learn more.
I thought Josh Gibson was something of a folk hero with stories of his power. I thought Cool Papa Bell was faster that Ricky Henderson and that Satchel Paige was one cool pitcher and unique dude. But aside from those guys and a few other big names, I couldn’t tell you much else. That will hopefully help you excuse my ignorance when I explain what happened in 1999.
I went to Spring Training games in Florida every year since 1992 or so. After the 1998 season, I really wanted to see Mark McGwire play in person. There were about 3 teams that trained in my area, so I had a halfway decent shot. Lakeland, my hometown and also where Detroit trained, didn’t play them. Winter Haven, about 30 minutes away, was where the Indians trained, and they didn’t play St. Louis that spring, so my last chance was the Royals in Baseball City. I’m not really sure if the town was called Baseball City, but it was about 35 minutes away from me, just off of exit 55 on I-4. They were playing the Cardinals that spring, and somehow, my dad and I got tickets.
Had I been a little older, I would’ve perused the internet and found out the entire rosters for each team and brought cards of everyone along to get autographs. I don’t remember if had non-roster invitees listed then, but I definitely missed out on getting my ‘94 Stadium Club card of Steve Scarsone autographed before the game. He did, however sign my ‘95 Fleer Ultra checklist. I usually brought checklists along for players to sign if I didn’t have a card. That’s what kind of makes the main part of the story so strange.
So I was homeschooled then, so the fact that the game was on a Thursday at 1 wasn’t that big of a deal. We got there, and made it to the game sometime between the end of BP and the start of the game. McGwire wasn’t there (I don’t think I ever saw him live), but JD Drew was, and everyone was going bonkers trying to get his autograph. I missed him, but I didn’t have any cards of him, so he would’ve ended up on the checklist. Right before the anthem, we went back to our seats, and I noticed people getting the autograph of an older gentleman sitting in the home plate box seats. Being an autograph collector, I knew I needed to go down there and at least see who it was.
Someone mentioned the name, but I didn’t recognize him, but he seemed really important. Important enough not to get the autograph on a checklist, but on my ticket stub. The man signed it, but seemed a little annoyed to be signing so close to the anthem. After getting his autograph, something told me to shake his hand. That doesn’t happen often. I stretched out my hand and he shook it. I remember thinking that his hand felt dry and cracked and flaky. Fitting, as I would later find out, since he had endured years of hardships and from all of the hard work he had put in during his career. We sat down, missed out on a George Brett autograph, got Fernando Tatis, Sr. on the checklist, and saw Willie McGee down a bud light on the bus and give a fan the ‘thumbs up’. I think I also missed out on JD Drew, but that doesn’t matter. I got a legend on the ticket stub. The guy on the stub?
Mr. John ‘Buck’ O’Neil.
I didn’t know who he was at the time, but later to realize how great the man was. He was instrumental in getting the Negro League Museum started, and helped preserve so much of their history. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. More than a businessman like Marvin Miller or Steinbrenner. He was a true baseball man, and even though he didn’t get to play in the Majors, he wasn’t bitter, but did what he could for the game, becoming a coach and scout. It’s a shame he didn’t get in when he was alive. He contributed a lot to the game, and should be in because of that. 
While I’m still probably rusty on my Negro League history, but reading some of the blogs I follow helps, and there are some new card sets out that document the players. I hope to learn more about the leagues and add more cards of their players to my collection. It’s unfortunate that the league ever had to exist, but we are lucky that it gave us the chance to see such greats play, and we are lucky to have Mr. O’Neil to help with the museum and preserve the history. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Friday, August 7, 2020

BBA: Make 2021 Topps Better

A few days ago, Cards that Never Were submitted a Blog Bat-Around encouraging readers to make 2021 Topps better. While I don't mind how the design came out, I decided to give it a try. My card has been almost 20 years in the making, as I came up with the whole diamond picture box in the corner thing sometime in high school and have revised things over the years.

There are the 2 together so you can compare.
This design I came up with used to have the postition at the top corner in a small diamond shape, and the logo was just above where the one is now. I had the idea to notate someone who was an all-star where the yellow strip at the bottom was, and I changed it out to put the position there as well as the team logo. You can see some (really basic) earlier editions of this card at the Custom Card Blog.

I hope you enjoy this take on 2021 Topps. I feel it is still similar enough to the original design with the slashiness of the design.
Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

2021 Topps Rob Manfred

For the past 3 years or so, I have been trying to see how close to the top of Google's seach engines I can get when I type in "20-whatever Topps" by doing a custom Rob Manfred Topps card the day (or day after) the next years' Topps design is released. Well, yesterday, the design came out. I have to say, I like it. The slash things are very modern and it kind of looks like 2019  Donruss, maybe 2020 Bowman, and any parallel from 2016 Topps had a baby, but look, we have borders again. I'll take that. Here is my attempt at a 2021 Topps Rob Manfred.
I will be back soon, with my guess at what the backs will look like and some jokes.

Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Pineapples, plants, and 2 cards.

So if you've read my blog for the last year or so, you are probably familiar with the fact that I like to plant things. It doesn't mean I'm the best at gardening or that I even have time to water things, but I like getting seeds, planting them, watering them once or twice a month, and seeing what happens. 
About 3 years ago, I decided to get a pineapple, eat it, but save the top and plant it. I must've read on the internet or something that you could grow them that way. Earlier that year, I had taken a bunch of extra wood from a fence that we purchased, put them in the ground, and kind of made a border between the mulch and the grass around our house. I decided to put the pineapple in the back yard next to our porch. It must've been a good spot, because it has been growing ever since. 
That picture is probably less than a  year or so after I planted it. I know this because we got the house in October, and I probably planted the pineapple the next summer, and in the winter we had one day where it was going to get into the 20's at night, and I covered the pineapple with a sheet. The next morning, the leaves looked yellow and limp and were pretty wet. I don't know what happened, but I cut the yellow parts off, and you can see how short some of the leaves are. 
Well, the pineapple kept growing, and I slowly took out the little fence border I made.
In March or so of this year, I hadn't checked on the pineapple in a few weeks. My co-worker Butch also has tried growing pineapples, and we planted ours around the same time. He mentioned to me that his pineapple had started blooming. I thought mine was a little behind his and was going to give it a few months and try covering it and leaving an apple core inside the covering if it didn't bloom over the summer (this gives it some kind of gas or nutrient that promotes the blooming). Well, I checked my pineapple after hearing that Butch's was blooming, and look what happened.
Must've done something right. 
Eventually, it started growing the leaves at the top and started looking like a real pineapple. 
Those last 2 were taken about a week ago. I was really hoping the plant would get bigger so I would get a decent amount of fruit. 
Unfortunately, it started turning yellow, and I knew that if it got closer to orange, it would be time to pick it. I have been going outside the last few days and twisting it, and lo and behold, 3 days ago, I twisted it, and it came off. 
Not the biggest pineapple, but I grew it from one that I purchased, and I got a free pineapple out of it, and stuck it to The Man 3 years later. 
I cut the top off and immediately planted it in the front yard in a little planter box I built almost 2 years ago. 
The fruit was really sweet, and I can't wait to grow another one. If you count the mama plant where this one came from, I have 7 pineapples in my yard. I have some that are approaching 2 years, so I might get some next summer, and the others are around 6 months old and 2 months old. I am hoping the mama plant will either produce fruit or give me a couple slips or suckers to plant. So far, I haven't seen any. Both of these are growths that develop on different parts of the plant which you can cut off and plant. I had one pineapple that I purchased that I had ate, planted, and it looked like it had all but died. I took the plant up, and noticed it had a little growth on it that looked like a small pineapple. I cut it off, planted the 2 in a different area, and now both of them are doing pretty good. It was just weird because normally, these grow on the mama plant after the pineapple is cut off, and mine grew from the baby plant (the pineapple top from the one I got at the store). Perhaps they will grow from the one I planted in the front yard. I will be keeping an eye on both the mama and baby plant.
This is what the mama plant looks like now. 
She kind of leaned to one side, and I don't know if that's why the fruit didn't get any bigger. Hopefully she will give me some suckers before she dies off. 
I also have a few plants around the yard that are producing flowers. Nothing too big or fancy, but just nice to see something out of my efforts. 
The one in the middle is from an orchid seed that Butch gave me. He also gave me the plant with the huge leaves to the left. That one is supposed to grow a flower on each stalk.

That's a bigger picture of where I planted it. It's kind of a mess, as the zinnia's have taken over. They are nice flowers, but I just keep getting these white fungus parts on the stems, and some of the plant looks great and has nice flowers, but then the fungus just eats up the rest. The yellow flowers are milkweed. There are a few gladiolas in there, as well as some snapdragons and morning glories. This is a few weeks old. Currently, I have some sunflowers blooming.

The smaller ones are starting to bloom.

Some bigger mammoth ones are going to open up any day.

And then, we have this beauty, which I really hope can give me some seeds and that the squirrels don't get to it. They have destroyed 2 that were nice looking in the back yard.

The box is built around a tree stump, and I thought it would be fun to put rocks on it. There are a few that my son and his cousins painted. The huge one in the middle is from my Uncle Bob's gravel pit in Lake Odessa, Michigan. There are a few painted ones that just showed up. Makes me a little leary of me or my son touching them because of Covid, but I appreciate the generocity and they are fun to look at. The red and green on which is a strawberry, the pink and red on on top of my Uncle Bob's rock, and the blue one at the bottom that is halfway on my shadow are the ones that kind strangers left. I hope they enjoy my flowers as much as I have enjoyed looking at their rocks.

In the back yard, it's just another mess of zinnias and some sunflowers.

There are small ones that have started to bloom.

And there are some bigger mammoth ones that should get flowers any day. I was hoping that we would get a little rain with the hurricane, but we got more in the days before than actually during it.

Well, if you've made it this far, you deserve some baseball cards.
These 2 cards are from the latest package to make it to my house. They came from John of Johnny's Trading Spot. On Friday, I played in his bingo game, and I came out winning the postage stamp bingo. It was a fun game, and worked out that I wasn't really distracted when I was playing, and all 5 people playing won a prize. I am pretty happy with my cards. Both are 1/1's from the Honus Bonus set from 2017.  I won a Chris Archer, which will go in my Rays binder, and a Nelson Cruz, which will go in my fun/shiny card binder. If I am counting correctly, these 2 cards double my 1/1 count in my collection. My first was a printing plate of Jose Contreras that I pulled from a pack of 2007 Upper Deck, and I purchased a Brody Koerner 2015 Elite Extra Edition 1/1 Gold card on eBay.
Thanks, John, for the fun bingo game and the cool prize. 
It is kind of weird today. This is my first day off with nobody home and no lawn to mow since early March, and I kind of don't know what to do. I'll probably work on some customs, straighten and mop the house, and maybe go through my sunset page and try to pick some out of my binders which I missed. Hopefully I can be productive at whatever I choose to do.
I hope you enjoyed looking at my gardening projects and the cool prizes that John sent. You can sign up for future bingo games, just send him a few cards on his want list.
Thanks for checking out my latest post.