I got a kick out of this when I saw it. Here it is, hot off the presses hours after the announcement was made, the Pope Francis’ official rookie card.
I’m finally getting around to sorting out the cards I’ve accumulated over the past several months while I was busy with work and kids. A few months late, here are the top 5 cards I got out of my 2012 Topps Update Series HTA jumbo box break. It’s a decent haul, but I’m a little disappointed about the autograph card.
Finally, Topps made a decent manufactured relic set. I hate manufactured relics, as they are really just cheap made-in-China baubles attached to a card. But a set of Hall of Famers with replicas of their Hall of Fame plaques attached? I can see myself collecting that.
With the 2013 season around the corner, I’m really psyched to see what Strasburg can do with a full season. And it’s always refreshing to pull a Black or Gold card of a star player.
Nice looking jersey card. Blue looks much nicer than white.
I probably would have missed this short print if I hadn’t gotten 2 other Ryan Braun base cards from the box.
All the other cards I got from this box are nice, but I’m really an autograph collector, and I’m a little bit disappointed to find a 26-year-old minor-league middle relief pitcher as my autograph. At least his autograph looks interesting. Any Hamburger fans out there wanna trade?
Major League Baseball recently released its latest Top 100 Prospects list for 2013 featuring Jurickson Profar, Dylan Bundy, Oscar Taveras, and Wil Myers on top. However, I noticed a few omissions of players who had stellar minor league seasons in 2012, but didn’t make the MLB list:
1. Oswaldo Arcia
Outfielder, Minnesota Twins organization, age 22
|Fort Myers Miracle||A+||207||.309||7||31||1|
|New Britain Rock Cats||AA||262||.328||10||67||3|
He’s actually on MLB’s list, but all the way down at #93… only played half a season for the AA New Britain Rock Cats, but managed to drive in 67 runs… 3rd in the Eastern League in SLG (.557) and OPS (.955) behind much older players Darin Ruf (age 25) and Matt Den Dekker (age 24).
2. Domingo Santana
Outfielder, Houston Astros organization, age 20
He drew my attention by hitting 23 home runs as a teenager playing for the class A+ Lancaster Jethawks… has been playing professional baseball since he was a 16-year-old playing in the Philadelphia Phillies organization… California League Player of the Week last September.
3. L.J. Hoes
Outfielder, Baltimore Orioles organization, age 22
Drafted as an 18-year-old in the 3rd round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles, L.J. has steadily risen through the Orioles organization over the past five years. His excellent performance at the AAA level last season shows that he is Big League-ready. He only got one Major League at-bat last season, but he is currently on the Orioles’ active roster and we should see a lot more of him in the coming months.
If I had a ballot for the 2013 National Baseball Hall of Fame, it would look something like this:
|Sandy Alomar, Jr.|
You might notice that my selections aren’t necessarily free-range grass-fed and hormone-free, as is the trend these days.
I don’t believe any players should be shut out of the Hall of Fame because of steroid use. Why? Because there were no clear rules and mandatory testing on steroid use in the Major Leagues prior to 2004. Even after 2004 when mandatory drug testing became the policy, the results were still hit-or-miss. It is simply unclear how many players took performance-enhancing drugs and were never caught. Using such unclear data to determine who gets into the Hall of Fame and who doesn’t just isn’t fair.
Part of the reason why the rules are so vague is that there is no fine line between performance enhancement and cheating. Athletes have always sought anything that might give them the upper hand. Just browse your local sports nutrition store like GNC and you will find all sorts of totally legal performance enhancement substances that athletes take to gain an advantage. Another inconvenient truth is that there are some very powerful performance-enhancing chemicals that many athletes take that are very difficult to detect using standard drug-testing techniques. These include HGH (Andy Pettitte and Matt Williams admitted using this), erythropoietin (used by Lance Armstrong to increase his red blood cell count), hCG (the drugs Manny Ramirez was found to be taking), and short-acting insulin (alleged use by Barry Bonds along with HGH), to name a few. Heck, even caffeine and cannabis can be considered “performance enhancing drugs”.
Baseball needs to be very clear as to the consequences of getting caught taking banned performance enhancing drugs. If they want to keep players who take these drugs out of the Hall of Fame, all they really need to do is lengthen the suspensions that result from getting caught. It’s kind of hard to put together a Hall of Fame-worthy career without the playing time. Or they can just come out and be very clear that getting caught bans you from the Hall of Fame.
Judging players under a flawed and unclear system is simply unfair to the players. So I say go ahead and let the best of the Steroid Era into the Hall of Fame, but fix the system now to give fair warning to players in the future as to what behaviors will or will not be tolerated.
The results of this year’s voting will be announced this Wednesday, January 9.
As 2012 comes to a close, I’m running out of time to post my end-of-year lists. So here they are.
This year another Yankee makes my Greatest Players ever list: Derek Jeter. With his 3304 hits, 13 All-Star selections, 5 World Series championship rings, and 5 Gold Gloves, he’s looking like a first-ballot Hall of Famer to me.
The Top Prospects list has also been updated. Here are my 2012 selections, in order of best to not-so-best:
- Wil Myers
- Oswaldo Arcia
- Jurickson Profar
- Carlos Correa
- Anthony Rizzo
- Dan Straily
- Starling Marte
- Mike Zunino
- Randall Delgado
- Byron Buxton
- Chris Parmelee
- Domingo Santana
Then there are the three players who surprised me this year:
- Carlos Beltran was looking like his 30-year-old self by smacking 32 home runs for St. Louis
- R.A. Dickey suddenly learned how to strike batters out like crazy, then won the Cy Young Award
- Ryan Braun led the league in homers, presumably without the help of drugs
Now that that’s out of the way, bring on 2013!
Apologies for my really long “short” hiatus. I didn’t make it back before the All-Star break as I had hoped, but at least I made it back before what could potentially be the final MLB game of the year (I’m rooting for Detroit to prolong this thingy to Game 7; can’t go wrong with more baseball).
I finally got around to busting my jumbo box of 2012 Topps Series 2. I did get a complete base set out of the box. However, the “big hits” are nothing I really need, so if anyone sees something intriguing, they’re all negotiable for trade.
Here are the top 5 cards from the box (according to Beckett valuations):
2012 Topps A Cut Above #ACA-9 Cal Ripken Jr. (Die Cut)
2012 Topps Golden Moments Relics #GMR-BA Bobby Abreu (Game Used Memorabilia)
2012 Topps Golden Moments Autographs #GMA-JW Jordan Walden (Autograph)
2012 Topps Gold World Series Champion Pins #GWSP-WB Wade Boggs (Commemorative Gold Pin Card)
2012 Topps Black #648 Josh Beckett (Serial#50/61)
All in all, 2012 Topps Series 2 doesn’t yield many surprises beyond the formula set forth by Series 1. Topps has streamlined the insert sets, which actually makes box breaks a bit more monotonous than they used to be. Perhaps a return to the more variable, seemingly random, inserts would add more excitement.
Hey all, I’ve been a bit too busy lately to spend much time with baseball cards, so I’m taking a short break. By “short”, I mean anywhere from a week to a couple months, but I’ll be back. I have a bunch of ideas for how to make this blog much cooler, more interesting, and more interactive. Stay tuned and I should be back by the All-Star break.
A jumbo pack of 2012 Topps Series 1:
His save streak ended at 49 last week.
- #155 Matt Cain
- #301 Alexi Ogando
- #226 Ryan Hanigan
- #47 Luke Hochevar
- #126 Eduardo Nunez
- #107 Luke Scott
- #75 Jordan Zimmermann
- #117 Carlos Ruiz
- #80 David Price
- #255 Scott Rolen
- #213 Alex Avila
- #244 Sergio Santos
- #199 Adam Dunn
- #284 Tony Gwynn
- #86 Brett Cecil
- #32 Detroit Tigers (World Series)
- #167 Starlin Castro (Checklist)
- #319 Justin Verlander/CC Sabathia/Jered Weaver (League Leaders)
- #232 Mariano Rivera/Johan Santana/Felix Hernandez (Active Leaders)
- #224 Matt Kemp/Prince Fielder/Ryan Howard (League Leaders)
- #62 Ben Revere
- #241 James McDonald
- Gold Sparkle #181 Jose Reyes/Ryan Braun/Matt Kemp (League Leaders)
- Golden Moments #GM-22 Willie McCovey
- Golden Greats #GG-5 Lou Gehrig
- Gold Standard #GS-1 Nolan Ryan
- Gold Futures #GF-5 Eric Hosmer
- 1987 Topps Minis #TM-43 Mat Latos
- Golden Giveaway Code Cards #GGC-6 Albert Pujols
- Golden Moments Relics #GMR-JA John Axford (Jersey Relic)
- Timeless Talents #TT-1 Paul Molitor/Ryan Braun
- #189 Alberto Callaspo
- #229 Yunel Escobar
- #210 Zack Greinke
- #173 Ryan Roberts
- #251 Jason Bay
- #287 Antonio Bastardo
- #55 Michael Young
- #43 Brett Wallace
- #99 Michael McKenry
- #247 Clay Buchholz
- #89 Dontrelle Willis
- #15 Melky Cabrera
- #133 Ivan Nova
- #325 Chris Schwinden (Rookie Card)
- #70 Brett Pill (Rookie Card)
- #175 Jared Hughes (Rookie Card)
- #98 Domonic Brown