A Big ole’ box of Memories

I pre-ordered a jumbo box of 1987 2017.  This is the big 30th anniversary for a set that is seemingly very popular with a lot of people.  Me though, i have a different memory of these vertically wood grained over produced cards.

I started collecting baseball cards in the fall of 1985.

I was 9 and had fallen in love with baseball and baseball cards.

I wanted to learn everything about baseball and own everything i could about baseball.

So, baseball cards met that need at the highest level for a young’n like me.  There weren’t many opportunities to buy cards at that time due to scarcity at my local Stop n’ Go or 7-11, but also my lack of funds…I was 9.  I did what i could back then.  When the 1986 cards rolled out, i was able to complete a set via trades and multiple pack purchases.  The way it was done in the old school days.  I had a little more money and ’86 turned out to be a fun year, a year that i became addicted to these damn cardboard things.

That all changed in the winter of 1987.

The very first packs of cards i bought that year were in the Stop n’ Go down the street from my home.  I was headed out to my very first camping trip for the local Boy Scouts troop…a trip that i wasn’t too excited about (maybe a story for later, but my BSA experience was very forgettable!).  My mom pulled in to the parking lot and gave me some money to get a special snack and a juice…i bought a coke and two packs of cards.  1987 Topps.  The cards had gum in them, so that’s kind ova snack, right?  Fearing that i had betrayed my mom, i kept the cards tucked in my pocket to be opened later that weekend…during a camping trip.  I made it successfully to the bus without anyone finding out about my card purchases and was able to procure a solo seat and open them on the ride to the camp site.  I had 34 brand new cards in my hands…and two horrible pieces of gum.  Little did i know that this was the start of an incredible amount of over-consumption of wood grained cardboard that i would later become overwhelmed with.

For me, this was my first understanding of over production of a product.  I was buying packs everywhere.  I was even able to buy a few boxes at our local Sams Wholesale Club…for about $18 each.  Now, t’ve never been a collector for the investment purposes but i also don’t like to buy junk…well that year i must have spent about $100 on 1987 Topps.  I was completely overwhelmed with them and grew to really dislike them…everything about them.  So when the set gets a re-up, i don’t jump for joy.  I’m old enough now and have some perspective to understand and appreciate the design, so maybe this year won’t be so bad.

I mean, they do actually look kind of nice and as others have mentioned, the wood grain is quite lighter than the original.  The cards stock as i remember it is quite better as well, significantly better actually…as i look at these cards, i can see why they are adored by so many…i have baggage that i need to let go of i guess.

They are nice, very nice.  Well done Topps.  You did a great job with these re-issues.  Tweaked some of the things that were of concern to me…thank you for listening 🙂  Some of you may have already seen the cards that i pulled as i thought it would be nice to pre-share over Twitter last night.  Just in case though, here is my very first 2017 Topps card of the year!

17-to-giancarlo-stanton

Miami Marlins Giancarlo Stanton!  Pretty sweet first card eh?  Don’t think i know what my first card is for the past 30 years, but i would venture to say that none of them are as good as this one.

17-to-bryce-harper

This was my first card pulled for a favorite team, the Nationals or Yankees…Bryce Harper is cool, i mean…he’s probably going to have a good season.  Yeah, this card is fantastic for me not to mention that i got two in the box.  One for my flagship set and one for my Bryce Harper PC.  Collecting goals are being met.

17-to-nathan-eovaldi

This was my first Yankee, Nathan Eovaldi.  It was immediately followed by Aaron Hicks, also a Yankee.  Guess that duo was a nice little mini Yankee hot pack…or not…?

Topps is also continuing with the buyback program, but stamping them differently this year with a  vertically embossed stamp along the right edge of the card that reads “REDISCOVER TOPPS’.  Nothing spectacular, but i have to admit these cards are in great shape.

One of the many inserts that you get are the foil cards which are great looking cards, assuming you can see them.  I passed up a couple of them and had to go through the stack again to make sure i pulled them all out and when i did…four of the five were team cards.  Feel a little gipped here, but i guess it would have only been successful if one of them was a player or team i collect.  The fifth was a Kurt Suzuki.

17-tof-tampa-bay-rays17-tof-san-diego-padres17-tof-houston-astros17-tof-chicago-cubs

Topps is also continuing to do the first pitch cards…and i think they are running out of celebrities or there just aren’t enough celebrities to go around.  Not trying to blast either of these two musical entertainers, but one of them is great and the other one is Mase.  I’ve tried to associate the connection of the First Pitcher to the team they are pitching for.  Mase, per wikipedia was born in Florida, but left with his mom for New York when he was three.  I guess maybe he’s always been a fan of a Florida team?  Ms. Jett is from Pennsylvania, so maybe she grew up watching Harry Caray and Steve Stone on WGN like me?  I kid…Joan Jett was one of my favorite rockers in the early 80’s, mostly due to my mom liking her music with The Runaways.  I like her biggest solo hit, a cover of ‘I Love Rock ‘n Roll”

Speaking of hits, i have three of them…well, two and a half.  I don’t consider redemptions hits until i have them in my hand.  Here they are, in my current favorite order.  When the redemption is in my hands, that will be without a doubt my favorite one…assuming of course it’s a Yankee card.

17-tor-andy-pettitte-auto-patch

My timeline counter is starting on February 3rd, 2017.  Let’s see how long this takes to hit my blog post.  Ball is in your court Topps Corporation.17-tost-clayton-kershaw-3050

Clayton Kershaw Spring Training commemorative patch…it’s like a hard plastic’y metal’y thing’y numbered 38/50.  Not gonna complain at all.

17-togw-addison-russell-tri-patch-1925

My favorite hit, currently, is this Addison Russell trip color patch…they snuck that white portion of the patch in there didn’t they?  Numbered 19 of 25 is pretty good too.  Kinda wish it was autographed, but i’m quite happy with this pull.  Russell is a great young player and nice to add to my collection.

d’oh!  I have a couple more cool cards to show off.  Nothing spectacular, but wanted to share.  First one is the Bryce Harper Then and Now…i always remember that moment when i almost pulled that card in a box.  The guy next to me picked the box that had it and i picked the other one…such is my luck…i always get the other one..Harper looks like he’s aged 10 years since the Bowman card, beards man…they make you look old.

17-totn-bryce-harper

The other one is of the young Astros prospect, but aren’t they all?  Teoscar Hernandez…feels like his name should be spelled T’Oscar…but that’s not my lane.  I’m gonna stay out.  This is one of those reverse negative cards that are not printing plates, but every time i see one that’s the first thing that crosses my mind…kinda wished it was yellow.

17-torn-teoscar-hernandez

Well, that’s the haul from my one jumbo box that i purchase for each series.  Hope you enjoyed.  I will be posting the cards from the two silver packs that came with the box another day, so until then.  Enjoy some random music that i was listening to while writing this letter to you.

 

One more Chance!

I have a stack of cards in front of me that have a story that needs to be unearthed, something that can connect the pieces of card stock together in a nice little cycle of like kinda way.  I just don’t know what that story is yet.  I got foil cards. I got celebrity cards, I got guys with turkey necks and a guy that took a barbecue sauce bath, and some cards that are called Fire but look like Chihuly glass…guess it was fired glass…semantics i guess.  Let’s start with the celebrity stock of First Pitches.

Two rappers, one is The Rapper…Chance that is.  The other is Warren G.  If you have been reading my words the past few years, you are fully aware of my affinity towards the rap music and culture.  I’m pretty critical with my rap music though, almost a snob…yes, you should call it a snobbish attitude.  I love lyrics and great storytelling.  Guys…and Gals…that can paint a picture with their words in a seemingly quick or witty manner.  The two guys above do that, although in all honesty, i can’t say i’m a fan of either.  The reason for me?  Their voice.  Guru from Gangstarr had a song “Mostly the Voice” that clearly explained that its mostly the voice that we love or hate about a rapper.  Now, he did go on to explain that the lyrics are critical as well, but in his opinion…it’s mostly the voice, and i agree with these two guys.  Both Chance and Warren G have very distinctive sounds to them and are incredible story tellers.  One of Warren G’s biggest hits was a terrific narrative of the wild life of an inner city Regulators, but the voice though…couldn’t handle it, plus it was the kind of laid back west coast music i wasn’t really in to back then.  Now, Chance is one of those new rappers and i’m an old guy, so part of my distaste for his sound is that i’m not sure i truly get his metaphors.  Seems like a great kid, positive kid trying to do some great things and share his stories…just not something i’m really in to yet.  Possibly haven’t given it a good enough listen, I just struggle with him.  Plus he’s in Kit Kat commercials and gettin’ down with so many different stars on my television set and internet machines.  Seems like a lot of success came quick for him, too quick.  I’m sure he’s been grinding at his craft for a while…but too much too soon for me to be a believer.

16-tufp-aubrey-plaza

Speaking of quick success, Aubrey Plaza.  Came on the scene out of nowhere with her popular character in the comedy series Park and Recreation (April Ludgate) who might have been the quintessential apathetic employee…that’s what the backside of this card said about her.  Think that’s pretty appropriate.  I had never heard of her until the Parks and Rec show that i watched for Nick Offermans’ character, Ron Swanson and the lovable Amy Poehler.  I feel like Aubrey is one of those actors/actresses that doesn’t really ACT! but rather ends up playing the same person in each role that is really her in real life like Vince Vaughn or Michael Cera.  She’s cute, awkwardly funny and somewhat edgy i guess.  I must admit that her glove seems excessively large for her scale of human being.  A smaller glove may have been in order for her big first pitch opportunity.  Wonder if she could borrow another one?

Here are those Fire cards i was talking about earlier, not really sure how i feel about these inserts.  Maybe if the card stock was thicker and possibly shinier, shiny is good sometimes, then i might be all in.  I’m definitely all in for Griffey and McCutchen.

Griffey and Cutch appear to be in a flaming cauldron and trying to swing their way out to a burning hell.  The Cutch card should be a Steelers card.  Meanwhile the two Dodgers i pulled are emerging straight out of a pit of propane and butane, or more poeticly, emerging from the latest experimental Chihuly sculpture.  Either way Maeda is feeling the effects of those flames coming in as hot as blue blazes!!! (my grandma would have been so proud of me for getting that one in, miss you Winn!)

We’re about to go from fire to foil, just like a night over the grill.  (Really wished i pulled a Jason Grilli foil card, would have made that transition solid gold).  I will settle for this quote though from the back of Pat Deans’ card “the cunning southpaw soaked up a barbecue sauce shower after beating Felix Hernandez for his first win”.  So foil, grilling, BBQ sauce, Pat Dean:

16-tu-pat-dean

You readers at home are just going to have to trust me in regards to the foil on these guys.  It’s there, you can’t see, but trust me, it’s there.

16-tu-kyle-schwarber16-tu-kelvin-herrera16-tu-bartolo-colon-hr

The next card was a pretty cool pull, a Cubs team card black and white reverse negative SP card…wait, It’s a Jake Arrieta card…wait, it’s a Jake Arrieta no-hitter card…wait, it’s a damn checklist.  Damn!!!  It’s also a very demonic appearing David Ross.

16-tu-jake-arrieta-neg

Moving on to the next group of cards.  Serial numbered foil cards with perforated screen print and a running 2016 Topps banner…these cards have it all…everything on one card.  If it had a snowflake/snow flake (forgot to look that up today…) it would have been over the top though.  The thing that struck me about this trifecta of National League East pitchers was their turkey neck poses.  I wonder how many players get excited to see their cards in a pack and pull…

THIS!

16-tu-max-scherzer

OR THIS!

16-tu-addison-reed

OR THIS…!!!

16-tu-bartolo-colon

Actually, i can’t really see Bartolo Colon ever caring about his image on a card, seems too carefree for such frivolities.  That glove…he should let Aubrey Plaza use that if she ever tosses out the first pitch for the Metropolitans.

I have a few more cards to post, the hits you know.  Gotta wait for those tomorrow though.  Kinda happy with the little success i had with those three cards…not a bad bunch.  Nothing ground breaking, but nice no less.

Hope you guys have a great evening.

Here’s a video from one of the greatest storytellers in rap and a no doubt classic.  From 1988!!!