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Five cards that sum up Larry Walker if I actually knew Larry Walker

I'm about seven major sports stories behind with this post, but, hey, I make the decisions around here. Sometimes I'm on top of the news and sometimes I ain't.

Plus it's Larry Walker Week in Colorado this week. (I knew I could make this timely).

Last week, Walker and that guy who will be clogging traffic all over the Mohawk Valley in late July were announced as the latest selections to the Baseball Hall of Fame. I'll be adding to my Most Hall of Famers set totals for Walker, Jeter and Ted Simmons at some future point, but I wanted to quickly address Walker first.

Walker has always been a fan favorite. He was so popular he should have been included in Topps' Fan Favorite series from 2003-05 even though he was still playing at the time.

I always enjoyed his skill and personality and that's saying something because Walker played for the Dodgers' rivals (Expos, Rockies and Cardinals) and his most famous moment for St. Louis might have been the two home run…
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The lone Ranger

Who is Nick Solak?

Glad you asked.

And thanks to cynicalbuddha for scanning his card into Trading Card Database.

Nick Solak is a former Yankees, former Rays prospect who appeared in 33 games for the Texas Rangers last year.

That, apparently, qualifies him for being the only Texas Ranger to appear in the 350-card base set for 2020 Topps Series 1, a checklist of which was released this morning.

That's right, the ONLY Texas Ranger.

I did the count and the Rangers, with Solak shouldering the entire load, come up a distant 30th behind the 29th-place Orioles, who have a more typical seven cards.

Here is the breakdown by team that I compiled earlier:

Dodgers - 17
Astros - 17
Nationals - 16
Cubs - 15
Athletics - 14
Brewers - 14
Indians - 14
White Sox - 14
Phillies - 13
Angels - 12
Blue Jays - 12
Braves - 12
Padres - 12
Red Sox - 12
Reds - 12
Twins - 12
Yankees - 12
Cardinals - 11
Giants - 11
Marlins - 11
Mets - 11
Diamondbacks - 10
Mariners - 10
Rays - 10
Tigers - 10
Royals - 9
Pirates -…

A friend indeed

This week has been the kind of week that only late January could produce.

Nothing particularly wrong or terrible happened. Mostly what I felt this week was a sense of spinning my wheels, of working hard without result (or with other people screwing it up), of trying to get things accomplished (while battling a sinus infection) only to have a car noise or a phone call knock me back to square one.

That feeling transferred over to the blog where I probably spent too much time uploading too many photos and conducting too much research and expecting too much in return.

But all of this is a phase. It's the January malaise. I'll snap out of it. It could be worse. I could be dealing with three feet of snow right now instead of the melting three inches that is out there.

And I could be struggling through this week without an envelope in the mail from "A Friend".


That's right, "A Friend".

That's how the return address appeared on the envelope. Just above th…

C.A.: 1992 Fleer Chris Cron

(Today is National Handwriting Day. You don't need me to tell you that modern athletes' handwriting is abysmal. Look at any number of autograph cards on the market. It baffles me that people collect scribbles that look like they were created by a 16-month old. But handwriting doesn't mean as much to the general public as it once did, and the story goes that National Handwriting Day was created in part because of a fear that the art of handwriting was being lost. This was in 1977. Little did they know ... . Time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 288th in a series).


Whenever I page a set into a new binder, potential blog topics always pop up in my brain.

Such was the case as I was adding my 2019 Topps Holiday set into a brand new red binder. I just completed the "task," which took me four days because my goodness life hates baseball card activities, and no less than three blog ideas sprouted from that activity.

None of them are particularly fascinating. But I…

Degrees of doneness

I just wrapped up my first notable card purchase of 2020.

It was an online order -- from three of every collector's favorite card-buying sites -- and with the exception of three inserts from 2019 and a stray card from 1989, every single card I ordered was made prior to 1980.

That feels good. That feels tremendously good.

I'm starting off 2020 in the right frame of mind.

It's also a good way to put a cork in the 2019 collecting season. There are various ways you can say you're done with the cards from the previous year, call it degrees of doneness, if you will (I order steaks "medium" or "medium well," I don't need anything crawling off my plate).

1. You can be done with collecting sets from 2019. I'm certainly done with that. I didn't try to collect many sets from that year anyway. The 2019 Topps Holiday set and a third of the 2019 Topps Archives set are finished and that's everything I plan to do.

2. You can be done with buying pac…

Comments from the peanut gallery

I don't really like critiquing artists.

As someone who works in a creative field and thinks creative thoughts, I've always respected not only painters and drawers but musicians, comics, writers -- of course -- and anyone who creates something and then, probably against their best interests, presents it to the world.

These are my people. And they get far too much criticism when compared with other career pursuits.

That said, I don't like the Topps' Gallery reboot.

It's taken me three years to settle definitively on an opinion of this set. But I'm sure now. Gallery is not appealing.

Part of the reason is art sets are much too inconsistent for me to collect. I am always willing to give a baseball card art set a chance -- because I like those creative types -- but as soon as I see likenesses that don't work or images that are vastly different from each other, I'm done.

Sometimes I'll even critique the card, point out that the picture doesn't look l…