Monday, February 21, 2011

A tale from start to finish

This isn't how I intended to start this post, but I am so excited by the news that I had to mention it first.

I've just won me another contest. The prize is Series 1 of the Infinite Card Set, created by Gary Cieradkowski. Gary designed the set and runs a fascinating blog. I can't wait to receive these cards and provide my own inferior take on them. Many thanks to The Brooklyn Met and Clear Cut Cards for offering such a great prize.

One of the reasons I am so excited about receiving the cards is because I am a big fan of the history of baseball. It fascinates me. I once had a chance to write a story about Bid McPhee, a 19th century Hall of Famer who I hope ends up in the Infinite Card Set some day (or maybe he is. I don't know). I talked to some folks in Cooperstown and some SABR historians for the McPhee story. It was one of the most enjoyable stories I have ever written.

I find the historical part of cards much more interesting than the "whose the next great thing" that seems to dominate the hobby today. And that's why my favorite insert set in last year's Topps set was Tales of the Game. I think it should have been voted the best insert set in the Gummie Awards. Unfortunately, it wasn't even one of the choices. That ain't good.

I love stories about baseball. I think they are the foundation of the sport. Without them, the institution of baseball isn't even half as strong or as interesting. It's about time Topps recognized them.

But it's taken me more than a year to complete the set. In fact, I still need another Jackie Robinson Tales card so I can put one in the Dodger binder. I'm just too pokey. It's what makes us history-loving folks so lovable.

TJ, of All Your Base Cards Belong To Us, sent me the last two cards I needed and now I can show the whole set in order.

Here they are:

The two TJ sent me were the "Curse of Bambino" and the Boggs Chicken cards.

And here is my hastily prepared take on the set:

Favorite card: Jackie Robinson, silly
Least favorite card: Tie between Jackson's 3 HRs and Jeter's flip
Pleasant surprise card: Piersall runs the bases backwards
Card we didn't need: Another Mantle. Geez.
Most enjoyable card: The Boggs card. Love the illustration
Least deserving card: The Fielder card says on the back that it's a "legend." We don't even know if it's true.
Most enjoyable aspect of the set: It mixes tales from long ago with tales from modern history
Least enjoyable aspect of the set: Too many Yankees and Red Sox. They're half the set.

Of course, there is a follow-up insert set called "More Tales of the Game" in Topps Update. I'm woefully behind on obtaining those cards. I have only three out of 15.

But there's no rush with this set. It's not like it's the next great thing. It's just the opposite. It's history. And history is meant to be appreciated at a leisurely pace. Just like this hobby.

I'll track them down. All in good time.


  1. Obvious comment of the day: you're going to love that set. The presentation and quality of the cards is awesome. Congrats.

    On a related note, I wish Gary would finish the first issue of "21" or put out some more cards.

  2. Ha, he did put out another card!

    Mind you, it's a variant on a card that's in Series 1, but still, more artwork!

  3. Love the historical stuff myself, so those inserts look interesting to say the least. The infinite card set is amazing, it's on my list of things that I need to get my hands on.

  4. thanks for the heads up on Gary's blog. It is very interesting!

  5. Speaking of history, thought you would enjoy this:

  6. That President Arthur was a brilliant man!

  7. This is a cool set... I've never seen it since I didn't bust 2010 Topps... but I've been reading the card backs on COMC... pretty education. Thanks for sharing and best of luck on the update set.

  8. That's nice to see them laid out like that. There's quite a few of those that I never even saw. How do I not have that Bo Jackson?