Thursday, September 28, 2023

2023 Yankee Elimination Day and 2023 Topps Chrome

 First off, happy Yankee Elimination Day!!!  I believe it was 3 days ago that they were officially eliminated at the hands of the Diamondbacks. Somewhere in Arizona, Luis Gonzalez is smiling. I’ll try to make a custom celebrating the event soon. I’ll be working on printing a bunch of customs tomorrow and I should be able to squeeze out one celebrating the team I dislike the most getting eliminated from postseason contention. Hopefully I can top it off with a card of the Rat-Birds getting ousted and one of the first of many Rays World Series titles. 

Earlier today, the family went to Daytona and got our eyes looked at. I got some new contacts and all of our visits showed our eyes were working pretty well and any issues we have weren’t getting worse.  On the way home, we stopped at Target for some food, and I picked up a blaster of 2023 Topps Chrome. 

The base cards weren’t too bad, with this being a Mackenzie Gore hot blaster. I believe I already have one of that ‘88 Topps Luis Castillo card. There’s an DJ Lemahieu card, reminding me of the beautiful 2023 Yankee$ season. If only they can finish below .500 and behind the Red Sox. 
No Rays or Tigers, but I got a few cool refractors, including a nice Purple speckle? one. Another DJ card and one of DeJong household favorite Kyle Tucker. We saw Kyle play in the minors at Corpus Christi in 2017 and got his autograph, and he’s a Florida boy, so why not root for him? 
That’s the Castillo refractor. The Purple isn’t the first numbered parallel of of Castillo that I’ve pulled, as I got either a 2021 or 2022 Topps Green parallel of him. This 2023 card is a nice looking one, and I hope I can hold onto it for a while. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Saturday, September 23, 2023

2023 Prizm Blaster

 We ended up going to Target after I got off work today, and while there wasn’t much to offer in terms of baseball cards, they did have 2023 Prizm. While it probably wouldn’t be my first choice if other options were there, I was willing to take a flyer on a blaster, especially with shiny cards inside. 
It took about 15 minutes after I opened them for me to remember that Panini had lost their license. The retired ‘90’s guys and prospects didn’t clue me in, it was more the guys from the early 20th century and Negro League guys that did. When is the last time you got a Joe Tinker card?
I couldn’t tell you if any of these prospects are rookies or not, can you?

I believe 3 different Cleveland team names are represented with the Naps, Indians, and Guardians. 
I pulled a Green Ice of Tigers prospect Luke Gold and a 3-Hole of former Rays prospect Kyle Manzaedo. Hope Civale can make this trade worth it and pitch Tampa to a title this year. A nice pull out of the ‘90’s guys was Cecil Fielder, a guy I collect. The Chipper is another guy I collect, but according to TCDB, I have 144/1,670 Fielder cards for 8.6% of all of his cards. I have 229/18,839 cards for 1.2% of his cards. There are just so many Chipper cards out there and not enough Fielder cards. The Ice Blue cards are kind of cool, but I just have issues with some of the older guys as well as newer guys being in the set that keeps me from being excited from getting the shiny cards of them. I’ve just never been a fan of older baseball. Really anything pre-Topps. I can listen to stories of Aaron, Mantle, Brock, Mays, and guys who were pretty old, and I feel like I can relate some just because I know the cards. The closer to the present, the better, and the more players I have actually heard of. I just don’t get that excited about guys who played in the ‘40’s and earlier (even Tigers guys) because there weren’t many power hitters, not many different photos to choose from, and it just feels like it was a different game than what I grew up on in the ‘90’s. 
To be honest, even the guys I grew up watching that I pulled like Maddux, Chipper, Vizquel, Edmonds, Big Frank, and Nomar just didn’t do it for me because I’ve pulled hundreds of their cards growing up. While I feel like I’ve pulled a ton of Alomar cards as well, it hasn’t been near the amount of the other guys. Put some guys in sets like Rich Gedman instead of Carlton Fisk, Tom Herr instead of Ozzie Smith, Marquis Grissom instead of Andruw Jones, Chris Sabo instead of Barry Larkin, and Ron Darling instead of Tom Seaver. Guys you weren’t bombarded with cards of in the ‘80’s, ‘90’s, and ‘00’s, but guys who are enough of fan favorites and recognizable names that they have a shot at getting into a teams Hall of Fame. 
All in all, I thought the box was decent with the Tiger hit and a Ray and 2 guys I collect, but I might pump the brakes if it’s the only thing left on the shelves. Hopefully it won’t be too long before Update hits the shelves. 
Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Friday, September 22, 2023

More ‘22 Bowman Platinum

 Yesterday we went to Wal-Mart, and I got, you guessed it, a blaster of 2022 Bowman Platinum. 

Even though there weren’t any numbered cards, autographs, or very big names, this was a decent blaster for me, with 4 Rays, 2 Tigers, and a Julio Rodriguez rookie. The Franco may or may not be a good card, I’ll probably find out after the season. I’ve heard good things about Basabe and Pie, and I felt like Josh Lowe would break out maybe in 2024, but he has put up almost breakoutish numbers in 2023 with almost 20 HRs and 75 RBIs up to this point. Torkelson is also doing better for my Tigers. I also got a base and Ice parallel of Jake Burger. 
For the ‘guys who I can’t tell if they are rookies or not because Bowman Platinum doesn’t have a 1st Bowman Platinum card logo’, there is Robert Gasser (hope he has a nice fastball), Andrew Painter, Kahlil Watson, and Tyler Black (with an Ice parallel). I think all of these guys would have to be rookies because they were all 2021 draft picks, and I pulled a Kahlil Watson rookie from ‘22 Bowman. It is confusing with draft picks though, because with the Bowman Draft set, many guys get drafted and get a Bowman Draft card in the same year. This is the kind of thing MLB needs to be inserting their hands into and making rules on, not on making one company hold an exclusive license or putting MLB debut patches on jerseys and then on rookie cards. The last 2 cards were my last 2 Ice parallels. 
These were the regular cards I pulled. A few might be dupes, but I won’t know for sure until I add them to my monster boxes, which I might just hold off on until I get a bigger stack of cards. I’m on day 5 of an 8 day stretch of work, but good news is I’ll have Tuesday and Wednesday off, and I’ll be able to do something card-related, whether that be entering Topps cards from the few remaining teams into TCDB or working on the big custom project. Either way, it will be a nice relaxing time. By then, the Yankee$ may be eliminated from playoff contention, so I might have a new Yankee Elimination Day card to print, as well as a post on the topic to work on. Currently, I am on 1985 in my Twins binder and I’ll get back to entering that Topps set in the DB on Monday afternoon probably. I probably won’t get the rest of my teams finished by Wednesday, but maybe 2-3 teams, so just leaving me with the Rangers, Blue Jays, Yankee$, Team USA/Olympic team, and random cards like St. Louis Browns, commissioners, etc. Getting excited to be so close to be end and be able to conjure up some need lists for my Topps sets. 
I’m hoping to make some kind of notebook or folder that I can put all of my need lists in so I can easily look through and mark them off. I want to make something that will hold paper but keep the paper from tearing but makes it easy to cross off cards while at shops or shows. I’ll either type or write out the lists, with card #, player name, and perhaps a team name. I want the font to be as small as possible so I can keep the page numbers down to a minimum. 
Plastic sleeves would be great to keep the papers from coming out of the binder, but I couldn’t mark off cards quickly, as I anticipate having to flip through multiple sets as dime/quarter/whatever boxes generally aren’t very organized by years. Perhaps doing a stronger paper or a putting something strong around the holes and just hole punching through it will work. I want to use some kind of highlighting system to mark off cards I purchase or acquire. Someday it will all be more than an idea and I’ll be marking off cards and hopefully finishing sets and reliving great baseball seasons and history through completed sets. 
Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Monday, September 18, 2023

The Trop is history

 I’m not sure if this has made any news outside of the Florida area, but various places are reporting that the Rays are going to announce a new stadium deal tomorrow
This news doesn't come as that much of a surprise to me, as I'm a member of a pretty big Rays fan group on FB, and a few days ago people were buzzing about an interview Rays Principal Owner $tuart $ternburg gave where he said he was certain the Rays would have a new stadium deal in place by the end of the year. I'll spare you having to read the article, but from what I got out of the article, it is going to be a domed stadium (not retractable roof), still be in St. Petersurg, it might even be built in the current Tropicana Field parking lot, and the Rays are going to be on the hook for about half. 

I have several problems with the proposed deal, and here's why. First off, no matter what anyone tells you, the reason of the poor attendance is because of where the stadium is located, not the condition of it. People still pack out Fenway and Wrigley, and they have been getting patchwork renovations for decades now. If you pull up a map of Florida and zoom in good enough, you can see that St. Petersburg is a peninsula that connects to Tampa with a series of bridges. Basically, in order to get to St. Petersburg from anywhere other than the greater St. Pete area, you have to go through Tampa and cross a bridge. Studies have shown that a stadium has most of it's occupants on any given night come from a 50 or so mile radius from the stadium. If you make that 50 mile radius from St. Pete, a decent portion of that is located in the Gulf of Mexico. I don't see any fish at Rays games, and I've been going since year 1. 
St. Pete is also just a crappier town than Tampa. Tampa isn't much better, but out of the 12 or so MLB ballparks I've been to (Tropicana, Turner Field, Kauffman, US Cellular, Shea, Miller Park, Minute Maid Park, Wrigley, Comerica, PNC Park, and Nationals Stadium), I've only had more bums accost me for money in Detroit at Comerica than I have in St. Pete. Tampa isn't much better of an area, but I've been there enough to know there are good parts, like where the Lightning play, the Aquariam, and at the whole Buccaneers complex. St. Pete has had bums take over the nice areas with marinas and concert venues and parks. The issue with the attendance has never been the Trop, it is location, location, location. Maybe partly with the Rays not doing much advertising, but if I weren't a huge baseball fan, after going to my first Rays game in St. Pete (at the Trop or the new facility), I probably wouldn't be back. 

Second, if you are going to build a billion dollar stadium in the parking lot of the old one, why not just reno the old one? You can still build the apartment complexes, restaurants, bars, shopping centers near it, just why put so much money into a new park that is right on top of the old one if you can spend less to reno it?  Chances are the Trop is going to get demolished anyways. You are just going to drive my ticket prices up, and in 10 years when the owners realize that the problem is that St. Pete sucks, then you can kiss baseball in Central Florida bye-bye, and by then, Manfraud will have his expansion teams playing in Portland and Nashville, and won't want any more for another 30+ years. 

Have you ever been to the Trop? If you can get over the park being a dome, it really is a cool place. It sits along a river on the one side, there is a cool tile mosiac section leading you to the OF entrances (beware of bums asking for money), the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame is located near the OF section when you first walk in, there is an area in it with some cool Rays memorabilia, a touch tank where you can pet a real stingray, a cigar bar in CF, an arcade for the kids/teens, and this year they added RandyLand, a section where Randy Arozarena fans can purchase tickets, have a good chance at getting a ball thrown to them by Randy himself, and get a free beer if he HRs to the area. I've been to the park close to 50 times, and I haven't seen all of the cool things to do there. I just don't see why it needs to be demolished. The new park might be flashier and have a bigger scoreboard and no catwalks, but the dome-haters are going to hate a dome with or without one. Sure it might attract 50 or so new people a night who just want to try it out, and when they see the same 50 bums at the new park that they saw at the Trop 15 years ago when they last went, they won't be back, no matter how realistic Yandy Diaz's face looks on the jumbotron. 

Third, I think $ternburg must've done something to rush this deal being done without even trying to look for a decent offer from Tampa. Not even Tampa, I would've been overjoyed to see them come to Orlando. There is already a park in Disney waiting for a team. You wouldn't have to fight or pay off the Yankees for local 'rights' (the Yankees train in Tampa and I believe the Rays would have to pay them for broadcast rights if they would move to Tampa). Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe anyone trains at the Wide World of Sports anymore in the Spring. It is close enough to Tampa that people would come. You would have the entire 50 mile radius going to your games. I would probably go to closer to 10 games a year instead of 1 every 2 years just due to my location alone. Tampa is about 3 hours, Orlando is 45 minutes. You would also be away from the transplanted Yankee fans in Tampa who have retired and live in Tampa during the winter and don't go back to NY until Spring Training is over with. 
Back to the point about $ternburg rushing the deal, I think he wanted to get this deal done so Manfraud could move on with his next pet project to make baseball worse more money: Expansion. Both Manfraud and $ternburg know that with MLB expansion comes expansion fees. Reports are they will be a billion each. $ternburg wouldn't have to spend that on payroll or players, that would just be straight up profit to him. 2 billion for 2 teams is a lot, even if it is divided by 30 teams. I think Manfraud may have payed $ternburg off a little just to speed up the process of getting the Rays a new stadium. Everyone knows the Las Vegas Oakland A's stadium situation is all but over with, and the Rays stadium situation is what is supposedly keeping Manfraud from expanding the sport (I don't know what stadiums and percieved deficiencies in them have to do with expanding). WHat else would explain how $ternburg came up with a stadium deal so quick and how it just seems so half-assed? Building a new domed stadium in the parking lot of a domed stadium when what everyone wanted was a retractable roof stadium in Tampa or Orlando? Hello, Expansion 2027!  While the kid in me is giddy about expansion just to see 2 new logos, to get to watch an expansion draft, and to get new team cards in a Topps set, I think it is only just because of technology. In 1998, nobody knew the top prospect lists. We had the internet, but I feel like it was young enough that only top baseball execs and really deep minor league guys were the only ones who knew who might be too picks. Now, I figure there will be numerous lists of guys who might not be protected from the expansion draft. The expansion draft for the Rays and Diamondbacks was in November 1997, and the first cards of guys taken in the draft didn’t come till 1998 Series 2, after the real team had been playing for 2+months. And remember that these cards were just posed shots, not action photos. I anticipate if the new teams will play in 2027, the draft will be in the fall or winter of 2026, and there will be ToppsNow cards the day after. The team will have cards in 2027 Topps Series 1 of half the team (in either photoshopped action shots or posed shots), and the other half will have action shots in Series 2. 
Those are the only reason I’m looking forward to expansion. Other than that, with an already weakened postseason, we may have to add another 2-4 teams to the playoff mix, yet another round of playoffs, and more teams for my Rays and Tigers to have to overcome to win a title. With really bad luck, they will be in the AL Central and East and have owners with big pockets. With good luck, the newly created AL South will have Tampa, a relocated and cashed-strapped Florida, a penny-pinching Nashville team, and the Las Vegas A’s under current ownership. Either way, get ready for a 3-month NBA style playoff system with weak teams winning titles. 

I hope I’m wrong, but I’ve been in Central Florida since 1990, and feel I know the area well, as well as the problems of where the Trop is located and what the Trop itself has to offer. I’m also just sad to see the park go. Maybe the designers will make it like the new Yankee Stadium and cater the short outfield to the teams left handed power hitters. Hey, if New York can get away with that advantage, so should Tampa. If we shorten the LF distance, I’m calling Isaac Parades breaking Judge’s AL HR record by a dozen in 2028 (that is if $ternburg will actually extend players once he gets his new ballpark). 
I figured I would write a tribute to the park with all of the cards I have of it, along with some fun memories I have from it. 

The first Tropicana Field card I have that isn’t a team issue is from 2009 Upper Deck OPC. 2010 Upper Deck has my second card, then 2011 Topps Attax. I figured I would have more cards from team sets, but the only one is from the 2011 Topps team set. The 2018 Topps Big League set has a card for the touch tank, but I count it as one of the ballpark, and I have the gold version as well. The 2019 Topps set actually featured stadiums in the regular set for the first time in Topps history, I believe. I have the base, Gold, and Rainbow versions. The latest one I have is from the 2020 Topps Openong Day set. Hopefully I can get a few more before the end. 

I have a few favorite moments from games/events I’ve attended. Number 1, Opening Day 2009. The team raised the 2008 AL Championship banner, beat the Yankee$ by double digits, and forced them to have Nick Swisher pitch. To be honest, besides that one, there are a number that are tough to rank. First game with my wife in 2013 against the Red Sox, going to fan fest in 2012 and touching the 2008 AL championship trophy, going with my friend Josh and his brother in 2011 and getting tons of autographs, first game with Kyler against the Royals with a bunch of family, Opening Day this year, my first Rays game and getting to trade baseball cards with Kenny Rogers’ Mom, Opening Days, Closing Days, and many in between. 
I’ll miss the park, and hope to get to go to a few more games before it closes. 

I figured I would show this card as well, since we’ll probably be getting expansion in the next 5 years. This card came out in the 1996 Upper Deck set (a vastly underrated set design and insert wise) just after the Rays and Arizona were announced as new teams. While Topps put cards of minor league guys for both teams in Bowman and Topps in their 1997 series 1 & 2 1998 series 1 sets before the major leaguers came in 1998 series 2, this was the first card of the Rays logo. Kudos also goes to 1996 UD and 1996 Stadium Club for the first cards of D-Backs manager Buck Showalter. Let’s hope Fanatics hasn’t got too crazy and Topps, Bowman, and whatever becomes of Panini/Donruss gives us some freebies like this before the real new expansion cards come out. 

Looks like unless the Rat-Birds choke pretty bad (which is entirely possible since they play Houston and Cleveland), that the Rays won’t win the East. Hopefully they can ride a makeshift pitching staff and whatever half-cocked SABR metric determined matchup/platoon-driven lineup Kevin Cash writes up to a World Series title. That would, after all, be a fitting finish to one of the final seasons of the Trop. 

Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Saturday, September 16, 2023

2022 Bowman Platinum blaster #4

 Well, sure enough, I organized all of my loose cards needing to be put into binders on Friday afternoon, and I got some new cards to put in the boxes that evening. 

4 or 5 days ago, we went to our local Wally-World. They have been remodeling for a few months and they switched the aisles the last 2 or 3 times we were there. The cards haven’t been anywhere for a few trips, but this time, they were restocking them when we were there. Basically in the same spot, might I add. I see some ladies putting the blasters and packs on the aisle and I quickly spot 2023 Chrome, and asked them if they were available to purchase. The lady said no because they were restocking the aisle and it would be a few hours. I don’t get it. They are in the store. They are most likely in the system as the product has been out for a while. Kind of like that episode of Futurama where Fry was like ‘Please take my money!’ We left and I figured we would go back in a week or so, and I knew what would happen. 

So Friday was closer to 3 days since then, and Karen calls me on her way home from work and she stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up some things we needed. She went to the card aisle, and my prediction was true and the flipper assholes purchased all of the Chrome. They had ‘22 Chrome, ‘23 Allen & Ginter, ‘23 Prizm, and a few others. Out of everything, I had enough ‘22 Chrome, ‘23 Prizm doesn’t have a really nice looking design in my opinion, and I quit Allen & Ginter years ago. They had more blasters of ‘22 Bowman Platinum, so I asked Karen to get me one. 

The blaster was a decent one. I pulled a Matt Manning (which I believe I have a dupe of, so I can put it in my Rookie Card binder). I had an ice parallel of Rays prospect Cooper Kinney. Max Scherzer was the lone favorite player. The Ohtani ice parallel was a nice pull, but I was bummed to pull one of Rat-Bird Ryan Mountcastle. That team is starting to become one of my least favorites. Glad the Rays took the first 2 of the series and there is still a chance for them to take 3/4 and give us a decent chance to win the division. They just can’t finish with a tied record cause the Rat-Birds will get the East title because of the head to head record. 
There were a decent amount of rookies, including 2 Hunter Greene’s. I’ve continued my run of getting nice parallels in Bowman Platinum by pulling a Blue parallel of Nick Lodolo. Hopefully he can do some good things in 2024. 

There are the other guys from the box. Any of them are up for trade, including Yankees and Yadier Molina- a guy on my Dirty Dudes list. 
A better look at the Lodolo. 
Those are the 3 numbered parallels I pulled out of 4 blasters. I wish the companies would just have normal color names for these parallels because while I would call these Green Ice, Red, and Blue from L-R, I believe they are called Green Ice Foil, Pink, and Aqua. 

That’s all I have for today. Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Friday, September 15, 2023

Things are turning around

 It seems like a few weeks ago things were kind of crazy, but things have turned for the better I believe, and I feel like things are going to stay on the good side for a while. 

As you know, my car had been giving me issues with stalling out and no engine power when I ran the AC. I was finally able to get it fixed at the repair shop (with the shop replacing engine coils and spark plugs), and although I probably came out 400 bucks in the negative by getting it done there instead of waiting for Kia to approve the warranty for the coils, I still feel good about it because it really needed to be fixed, and in the long run, I screwed Kia out of 100 bucks or so for the spark plug replacement, so with all of the crap they have given us in the past year or so, I'll take that as a win. The car is running fine now. 

We had our water heater stop giving us hot water a few weeks back, and that should be fixed in the next day or so. We had planned on going to Lowe's anyways this Saturday to do a craft thing with Kyler and a friend of his, so we'll probably look at the water heater while we are there, and a co-worker of Karen's might be able to install it that night perhaps. On a side note, the tubing from my insulin pump is about 2 feet long and always catches on our cabinet handles, so we will probably look at replacement ones while we are there as well, and that will probably make me more giddy than it should. 

I have also been sorting all of the cards that John from Johnny's Trading Spot hooked me up with a few months back, as well as the cards I have gotten over the past year or so, and I have finally got all of them into moster boxes today. They are sorted by teams, and for the most part, I believe there are no doubles in them. I still have to input my Topps cards into TCDB for a few of the teams (Angels, Twins, Athletics, Mariners, Rangers, Blue Jays, Yankees, and Team USA), and as I go through the boxes with those teams, I will also be going through my binders and I will be picking out the dupes, so perhaps there will be a tad more room in the boxes. All in all, there are 6 monster boxes worth of cards for the basic NL/AL teams. 

And another 2 smaller ones for Rays, Tigers, favorite players, rookie cards, sunset cards, highlight cards, game-used cards, and refractors/shiny/parallel cards. 
With the binders that came with John's lot, I have around 23 various sized binders with pages in them. Don't know if that will be enough for 6-8 monster boxes worth of cards, but we'll find out in a few months when I think I'll be ready to start putting the cards into my binders. 

The sorting makes me feel like a big project is off of my plate, and gets me ones step closer to being able to make true want lists for each Topps set. It was nice to finally get them organized today. Watch. Tomorrow, I will end up getting a pack or a blaster and have to dig through the boxes to put the new ones in, but hey, it's a good problem to have. 

While I don't have any new cards to show off, I don't really get too excited for posts with no cards in them, so I dug out some of the 2022 Prizm cards I got the day that I got my car repaired. 
Nothing too fancy, a few Reds rookies, a rookie of Rays breakout centerfielder Jose Siri, a Tiger rookie who is probably off of the roster, a basic Prizm card of Kevin Gausman, and a Red, White and Blue one of Yuli Gurriel. 

With all of life's ebbs and flows, it is nice to know that the bad won't last long and that you have to keep swimming and it will be better again. I'm hoping that's the case with the Rays and that they can sweep the Rat-Birds and take back the East crown. No matter where the Rat-Birds land, I'm sure they won't make much noise in the playoffs. Seattle is a sleeping giant, Houston could win the AL, Tampa should've been the World Series favorite if not for 3/5 of the pitching staff going down, but they could go on a run with a still adequate staff of Eflin, Glasnow, Civale, Littel, maybe Taj Bradley, and a finally healthy bullpen that seems to be peaking at the right time. The NL also has some great teams with Atlanta and LA. The Cubs could also cause some damage, but I don't see them getting past the NLCS. Bottom line, the Rat-Birds are going to flop in the postseason, the Astros will win the AL over the Rays, Atlanta will beat the Dodgers in the NL, and I can see them beating the Astros in a 6-game World Series. I hope I'm wrong and that Tampa can ride their pitchers to that elusive World Series crown, but I'm a realist. We'll see, though.  Rays up!!

Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Monday, September 11, 2023

1995 Topps Appreciation

 I feel like the 1995 Topps set doesn't get any credit among collectors. While I admit it isn't as good designwise as the home plate-shaped design of 1994 Topps, the 1995 set isn't far behind in terms of design, innovation, and just overall fun. Sure, people wax poetic about 1993 Upper Deck, 1956 Topps, 1975 Topps, 1991 Topps and whatever other sets, but 1995 needs more credit, and I'm here to tell you why. 

First off, the design. 
The borders almost look like the are ripped or scratched, and there is a shadow element that is the team color. A nice touch by Topps. I like how the team and position are represented as well. I have some issues with the font choice and the choice of a hyphen (-) over a slash (/) when it comes to multi-position players, but I'll address that later. 

Second, the photos. 
These are just some of the fun photos in the set. I didn't include the Scott Servais triple exposure or the Paul O'Neill 'hit it here' card. Just some fun photos that include posed ones and action shots. This really stood out to me as a 12-year old busting packs of the set in 1995. 

Third, the content on the backs. 
Let's just start with the interesting bios. Jeff Reed used shaving cream to break in his glove?! Bob Natal got teammate Matt Turner to show up to an empty ballpark on a off day?! Cecil Fielder had his own candy bar?! Daryl Boston did a Stevie Wonder impersonation going through an airport with Pudge and Terrific Tom as bodyguards?! Bo hit a 450-ft HR lefthanded?! Harold Reynolds was honored by President Bush Sr. with a Points of Light award?! Dante Bichette won the 1994 Tucson, AZ foosball championship?! Jose rijo put 5 drops of snake oil on body parts that hurt?!  Where did they find this stuff at?!  Definitely a lot more interesting than the facts about exit velocity and spin rate the jokers at Fanatics/Topps are writing in the bios in 2023. 

I'll admit the 'diamond vision' photo is a little odd and difficult to see, but hey, it was the '90's. 
Also props to Topps for labeling the rookie cards on the back by the number. 
Just for fun, I decided to try to take the Topps logo off of the card and see if it was a little bit more clear to see everything with. 
Not the cleanest photo as far as everything being pixelated, but I think the card would've looked better without the big logo beneath the stats and bio, and maybe having them put it next to the MLB logos. 

Fourth, the subsets. 
I'll go through these 1 by 1. The Draft Picks was kind of different with the rounded lettering, but the semi-transparent design was cool. I found it odd that Topps gave us a sneak peak of the design in the 1994 Topps Traded set. 
I think Paul Konerko thinks so, too. 
Future Stars and Star Track cards were basically the same thing, cards for rookie prospects. I always loved pulling these from packs. 
On Deck cards featured 2 prospects from the same team. These were cool, especially if you pulled one from your favorite team. They were only featured in Series 2 packs. Of the 2 years that Topps did these 2-card/1 team prospect cards, I think the 1994 version clearly outshined the 1995 attempt. 
Why hasn't Topps used this design in Archives yet?!
The All-Star cards were a little weird with just the last names of the players and 1994 TOPPS ALL-STAR yelling at you from the middle of the card in ALL CAPS!!! The backs were a little better with pre and post All-Star game stats. I really wish they didn't put a shadow effect on the card number, because some of them are difficult to read. 
My favorite subset cards are the Top Prospect cards. Of the 10 versions of Top Prospects cards from 1992-2001, the 1995 version is my 2nd favorite. I love the border color behind the photo. I love the players level shown in the photo. I love the rainbow effect on the 'Top Prospect' lettering. I even love the blue 'lazer' lines behind the photo. It just screams '90's and technology/computers. Well, maybe not as much as the 1994 Topps Future Stars design...
The funny thing about this design is that my sisters didn't even notice the green 'inside of the internet' portion of the card. They noticed the squares in the photo that looked like bathroom tile and would always call these cards 'bathroom cards'. 

Back to the 1995 Topps Prospect card, I like how they notate the rookie cards again, I just wish there was a different background photo so the stats/bio were easier to read and that they didn't restrict it to a certain position for each card. We could've got a huge card with Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Vladimir Guerrero, and Andruw Jones on it had Topps had a crystal ball. With that being said, yeah, the 1995 design is great, but still falls 2nd in comparison to the 1994 beauties...
I just love the ribbon on the top, the red/white/blue/yellow color scheme, the intertwined diamonds, clouds in the background, position and level being listed. Just a beautiful card. 
I figured I would show some subsets in the 1995 Topps Traded set as well. They had 3 of them. At the Break showed leading players and their 1995 stats before the All-Star break. There was another All-Star set. Lastly, a 1995 Rookie of the Year candidate subset, featuring leading rookies. In my opinion, the ROY subset was the best, but all 3 of them look to me like they should've been featured in the 1996 Topps set with their designs. 

Fifth, the inserts.
I accidentally put this Babe Ruth 100th birthday card in the photo even though it was just a 1-card subset. Kudos to Topps for putting the effort in. The really cool insert were the Finest inserts inserted in Series 2 packs. They were like 1 in 24 packs, and my gosh, are they beautiful!  Colored with team colors, a diamond background, all of the chrome technology. I wouldn't have even cared if it had a back in 1995. I somehow pulled this Albert Belle out of a pack in 1995, and I'll have to track down some more. 
About 1 in 6 packs (I think) were League Leader inserts. These cards just highlighted guys who were in the top 5 of various catergories and they had bar graphs and standings on the back. I really loved the fronts as the background was blacked out, and in some cases, parts of the background appeared like it was smoke. 
I'm saving the best for last with the Cyberstats/SpectraLight cards. Aparently Topps was going to issue these cards as a parallel and call them 'SpectraLight' cards and it was just going to be a parallel with a normal back. Then the 1994 strike happened, and Topps ran a computer simulation to finish out the remaining 1994 MLB schedule, and decided to put the results on the back of the SpectraLight cards. They called them 'CyberStats' on the back, but the packs had them listed as SpectraLight. 
Heck, my friend Sawney did the write up for an ad that appeared in Sports Illustrated in 1994, and it listed them as CyberStats, so I don't know what Topps wanted to call them for sure. 
At any rate, the base card is to the left, and the Cyber/Spectra one is to the right. Just some kind of etching printing technology in the background and rainbow foil for the name and logo. The backs are noticably different, as the Cyber/Spectra one has only stats. It doesn't show the full career stats, but just recent ones, the 1994 season stats (with the computer sim ones added), and the career stats (also with the computer sim added). Look up Fred McGriff's card. He would've had enough HRs to eclipse 500. 

My only complaint with this set is that only part of the set is covered, as well as the lack of full stats. 660 cards in the complete set, and only 396 Spectra/Cyber cards. 

I wish Topps would've did the same thing in 2021. The 2020 season didn't start until July, and we all know that many of these players will be short a half a season of stats when the Hall of Fame comes calling. The 2021 set would've been perfect to use another sim and issue the cards as parallels. I would've tried to complete it. 

Now, for the greatest thing in the 1995 Topps set....The CyberStats Season in Review cards. These cards were issued in the complete set, so it took until 2006 or so before I was able to track down the cards on COMC. Now I have the set, and let me explain why it is so great. 

While the '95 Topps SpectraLight Bonds does tell us that he hit 61 HRs in 1994 with the computer-aided stats, it doesn't tell us what the back of the Season in Review card does: HE HIT 4 IN A GAME VS. COLORADO!  Let's imagine that the '94 season didn't end and the Spectra stats were real. That would mean Bonds has not only the single season (73) and career (762) HR records, but also a share of the single game HR record (4)!  Matt Williams, who had 43 when the season stopped, would only get to 51 on the season, and the Bonds Season in Review card also shares that Tony Gwynn hit .391, falling short of .400. 
The regular Spectra cards also don't tell us that the AL West title came down to a 1-game playoff against the A's, which the Rangers won, thanks to 2 HRs by Jose Canseco, who finished the year with 50. 
For those of you wondering about the World Series, the Indians beat the Braves in 7 games, and Kenny Lofton won the World Series MVP award. In a sim that I did, the White Sox beat the Reds (I believe in 7 games), and Ron Karkovice won the MVP by hitting 3 HRs in the final game (Tony Gwynn also hit .400). 

That is just about all I have to say about the great 1995 Topps set. There are a few inserts I didn't cover like 1st Day Issue Stadium Club cards, but I never pulled them, and they weren't Topps cards, so no biggie. 

I do have a few bones to pick with Topps on the set. First, the font (called ErikRightHand) is kind of weird and hard to read behind the scribble shadows. Maybe they could've just went with a white or yellow colored font, and just had the Topps logo in foil. Heck, they do that in 2023. 

Also, you might not be able to see it, but on the Bonilla card, he has 2 positions listed, but there is a hyphen (-) in between them, and another one between the last position and the team name. I just think it would look better with a slash (/) inbetween the 2 positions and a hyphen (-) between the positions and the team name. 
As stated before, the issues on the back with the Topps logo and Diamond Vision photo.

Lastly, player selection and lack therof. 

How do guys like Freddie Benavides and Bob Zupcic get into the set, but then you shorten it to 660 cards? I understand the strike, but by the time the checklist for Series 1 is out, the strike was already going on. Why not take out backup guys and put in more stars if you know the set isn't going to be big? If you are going to put backup infielders in the set, why not everyone? Put them in the Cyberstats insert as well. They wouldn't listen to set collectors in 1995, so why should they in 2023?

I hope you enjoyed this tribute to 1995 Topps!  It really is a great set and has some great photos, back bios, subsets, and inserts, and you should pick up a few cards for your player/team collections, or just do what I did and purchase a whole set. 

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