Monday, December 31, 2012

The great, big New Year's Eve 2012 blowout blogtacular


For me, 2012 has been a year of scaling back. In life. On the blog. In case you haven't noticed I have posted about 100 or so fewer times than in each of the previous years on the blog. And in this past month, I have posted fewer times than in any single month since 2008.

It's a product of priority shifting and a much busier life. But I'm obviously not pleased about it.

To make up for it here on the blog, I had planned to publish a post for every hour in the day, as a great big 2012 send-off -- and to majorly jack up my December posting numbers. The scanner worked overtime last night, and the ideas were flying everywhere. I had just wrapped up scanning and determined I was able to pull the whole thing off. It was about 11:45 p.m. or so, and then it happened.

I felt ill. In past years I would have plowed through. But not anymore. If there is one thing that 2012 taught me is your body has a mind of its own. Mind over matter, and all of that, is fine, for women's sneaker commercials. But it doesn't work in real life. You've got to listen to your body or you'll be on the floor.

So I scrapped what I had planned and went to bed. And, fortunately, I feel better now, and you're the beneficiary.

Presenting:

THE GREAT, BIG NEW YEAR'S EVE 2012 BLOWOUT BLOGTACULAR!!!!!!!!

There won't be 24 posts, but there will be one giant one!!!

That's more Night Owl's style anyway.

So, as you know, I love lists. Who doesn't love lists? It's like saying I love chocolate and puppies.

So I got together a lot of lists from the past year. Lists with pictures. Lists without. Big lists, small lists. Lists you can relate to and lists you can't. Arbitrary categorization according to me.

Ain't that fun?

And to those who are disappointed that it's not 24 separate posts, I've added the hours that they would have appeared if I did publish them each hour.

See? Even when I get sick, I'm thinking of you.

I'm like your mom.

OK, enough of that. You don't want to read plain, ordinary, narrative type. You want to read LISTS!

Here we go:

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MIDNIGHT: SETS I COMPLETED IN 2012

This might be my favorite memory:


1. 2009 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee



2. 2011 Topps Lineage



3. 1971 Topps



4. 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter



5. 2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites



6. 2011 Topps Lineage '75 minis



7. 1990 Topps Traded



8. 1984 Donruss


My favorites out of the group, of course, are 1971 Topps, 2011 Lineage minis and 1984 Donruss

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1 A.M.: SETS I WANT TO COMPLETE IN 2013



1. 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter


2. 1977 Topps


3. 2001 Upper Deck Decade 1970s


4. 1972 Topps


I expect the first three to happen. I don't expect the last to happen. And I didn't even list 1975 Topps minis because I'm pretty sure I'll need either the Brett, the Yount or both by the end of 2013.

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2 A.M.: 8 MINOR THINGS THAT TOPPS NEEDS TO STOP IN 2013


We all know the big issues in the hobby, but here are some little things that would be easy to fix:


1. Showing Players Sticking Out Their Tongues: Or what I call "The Jordan Effect." Listen, we all know the players are trying out there. But after awhile, we began to realize that it's nothing special. A lot of people stick out their tongues when they're concentrating on a task. It's not different. So stop showing it. It just makes the player look dorky.


2. The Rookie Card Logo: Everyone on the card collecting planet knows that this is not Bryce Harper's rookie card. Quit pretending that it is. You're not making it any clearer for anyone. Scrap it.


3. Allen & Ginter Black Borders: Each year, the design gets worse. Return to the solid black borders from a few years ago. They were classy.


4. Photoshopping For The Sake Of Photoshopping: I know some collectors may like this, but I think photoshopping for the sake of a team's uniform update is pointless -- especially if you're going to make the cap look like THAT. Nobody on the Blue Jays wore a cap that looked like that in 2012.


5. Elimination of Inanimate Objects in A&G: Fortunately, Topps didn't scrap pioneering non-ballplayers in its set. But as far as 2011 A&G, the most fun was pulling the first African-American in space. There was no Pluto, no revolving door, no real fun. That's got to return in 2013 -- not that I'm going to collect it.


6. Stuffing All The Gold Parallels In The Update Set: This is a cynical money grab, as Topps hopes there are collectors still rabid enough for gold parallels that they will buy boxes and boxes of Update. Those gold sparkly cards in the base set were a downgrade, and then we find out Topps was withholding the gold parallels for update. Topps you done played us again.


7. Showing Pitchers Taking a Piss Like A Dog: What is that? Why would you do that? Stop it!


8. Showing The Backs Of Uniforms Of Players With Long Last Names: This has been going on for a long time. We get it. The guy has a long last name. You (almost) got all the letters in his name in the same shot. Nice work, photographer. Now, find a different task, please.

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3 A.M.: MY FAVORITE PULLS OF 2012

Keep in mind, I don't bust cases or have piles of cash to blow on cards. This is what a regular-guy collector pulls in an average year:


1. R.A. Dickey, Bowman ice parallel

Snazzy new parallel of this year's Cy Young Award winner and Baseball Man of the Year.


2. Alcides Escobar, Opening Day autograph

I'm told pulling an autograph out of Opening Day is not easy. Funny, it seemed easy to me.



3. Sandy Koufax, Topps certified rings insert

I didn't pull this myself. It was pulled for me in a group break. But I consider that as good as if I pulled it.


4. Wil Myers, Bowman Chrome futures insert

A shiny, shiny of a Can't Miss prospect who was just traded so his name is everywhere. I probably should have put this on ebay.


5. Stephen Strasburg, Topps Chrome diecut

Courtesy of a pack bought by my sister-in-law.



6. Edinson Volquez, Upper Deck X autograph

Out of discounted pack at Target. Screw Tha Man!

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4 A.M.: WHY DID THEY DO THAT? 2012 EDITION


Topps repeats most of the photos from the base set when Opening Day is released. But for some inexplicable reason, one of the best shots from the base set -- Hudson's home run trot -- was changed to a generic pitching shot. Huh?

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5 A.M.: MY FAVORITE HOBBY DEVELOPMENTS IN 2012


1. Joined Listia: I'm still getting free-ish goodies from the site. Landed two Dodger cards yesterday, in fact.
2. Rejoined Twitter: Yeah, Twitter is still annoying. But it's got its good points. And if I didn't join Twitter, I wouldn't have landed this:


3. Returned to Ebay: And, I'm proud to say, I've kept my purchasing in check. That's the best news.

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6 A.M.: MY 7 FAVORITE LISTIA CARDS OF 2012

In reverse order:


7. 1990s-something-other Pacific Raul Mondesi



6. 1980 Superstar Sandy Koufax


5. 2012 Topps Triple Threads Sandy Koufax


4. 1972 Topps Braves Rookie Stars


3. 1977 Topps cloth stickers


2. 2012 Bowman Chrome Clayton Kershaw gold parallel



1. 1961 Topps Walt Alston

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7 A.M.: 10 FAVORITE NON-CARDS I RECEIVED FROM FELLOW COLLECTORS IN 2012

Another thing to keep in mind: I have limited space in my home. If you send me non-card stuff, make sure it's something like this:


1. A 1975 Topps mini wrapper


2. 1970 Topps Willie Davis poster



3. Dayf-drawn Night Owl


4. Steve Garvey McGregor sweatsuit clothing tag


5. Final issue of 1990-91 sports newspaper The National




6. 45 record of Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55"



7. Paul Haddad book on personal recollections of the 1977-81 Dodgers


8. Have You Ever Heard Of Sandy Koufax children's book


9. "The Infield" bobblehead giveaway


10. 1975 Topps-style MINNNIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII pages!!!!!!

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8 A.M.: 6 MORE THINGS THAT TOPPS NEEDS TO STOP IN 2013



1. Quit It With The Copyright Marks: I know that this would probably kick off some sort of meaningless, endless legal wrangling, but we all know that the copyright mark is not necessary and a memorabilia scam that emerged from the jersey memorabilia craze of the '80s. It looks ugly. Please reconsider.


2. Use Real Names, Please: I know everyone calls this dude "Fata1ty." I don't care. He has a real name. It's right on the back of this card. Use it. See what you started by putting "Ichiro" on all of Suzuki's cards?



3. Fix the Giveaway Site Or Get Rid Of It: Return us to the days where you could "win" cards. This isn't a SuperMario game.


4. Pairings That Couldn't Possibly Happen: I prefer reality in my baseball cards. If I want fantasy, I'll go to the movies. The photo above couldn't happen, and it's kind of creepy. The God complex thing has to stop.


5. Damaged Cards Out of Packs: I didn't buy a lot of cards this year, but I seemed to get my share of damaged ones. I know off-center and miscut cards were more commonplace back when I was a kid. But we were paying 2 cents a card back then. Cards aren't 2 cents anymore. Fix the quality control.


6. Horizontal Allen & Ginter cards: It doesn't work. The fog is erasing Troy Tulowitzki. Make A&G an all-vertical set.

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9 A.M.: IS THIS ANOTHER CRACK-THE-CODE THING?


OK, here we have a card of Desmond Jennings. Making a cameo on his card is Miguel Olivo ...


Here is a card of Miguel Olivo. Making a cameo on his card is Hank Conger ...


Here is a card of Hank Conger. Making a cameo on his card is Kevin Jepsen ...

...

Rats, there was no 2012 card of Kevin Jepsen.

Thought I had something there.

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10 A.M.: 4 FAVORITE WINNINGS OF 2012

I didn't win a lot of contests in 2012. But I did win a handful. Here is the best of what I got:



1. Chad Billingsley, 2011 Lineage diamond parallel. From my "Blog Of The Year" spoils from Jaybarker's Junk


2. Wade Boggs, 1991 Topps autographed card from 30-Year-Old Cardboard



3. Jim Breazeale, 1973 Topps from the Topps Diamond Giveaway site. (Yeah, I had to pay postage, but I still consider it a "winning.")


4. Jimmy Ripple, 1939 Play Ball from Number 5 Type Collection

Good stuff! Thanks!

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11 A.M.: 4 FAVORITE CARD TRENDS IN 2012

To be honest, there wasn't a lot I liked about 2012 cards, and it's why I won't be counting down my favorite cards from the year OR collecting 2013 cards. But there WAS some stuff I sort of liked. Here it is:



1. A Crack-the-Code that doesn't seem impossible: Sure, some said it was too easy, and sure, I still had no chance of cracking it. But this year's A&G code actually seemed at least to be within my universe in terms of cracking possibilities. Also, is it strange that I've been crushing for "Trudy" ever since A&G came out?



2. Improvement From Panini: I won't go as far as some people and say Panini is collectible. It still has to show it can truly make a desirable set without using logos. But Triple Play and Cooperstown were both examples of Panini stepping up its game. It's good to see. And I'm looking forward to a day when someone can truly provide an alternative to Topps.


3. Cards Of Every World Series Game: OK, I don't think Topps actually issued a card of every game. I didn't complete the set, so I can't be sure. But at least it's headed in the right direction. ... However, if Topps wants to skip this in the 2013 set, that's fine by me. (Die, Giants).


4. Excellent Photography: It was the best thing that Topps did in 2012.

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NOON: 6 BABES ON PARADE IN 2012

I always knew that they put pretty girls on cards. But it wasn't until 2012 that I figured out that I could collect them. So here is a countdown of a few from the past year:


6. Anna Kournikova


5. Lisa Lakatos



4. Erin Andrews


3. Benchwarmer All-Star (uh ... I forgot her name).


2. Sandra Taylor (the sad thing is I think that's a Giants jersey)


1. Kate Upton, Babe O' The Year

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1 P.M.: FAVORITE PURCHASES OF 2012


Three Packs of 1983 A-Team cards


A 1953 Topps card of the Boys Of Summer manager from the dollar bin



1990 Major League Writers set


Shiny black-bordered Kemp


Over-the-Top, In-Your-Face Triple Threads Kemp


Over-the-Top, In-Your-Face Tribute Kershaw


1976 SSPC Jerry Koosman and Duke Snider


1969 Topps Night Card Pioneer Del Unser


2001 Upper Deck Legends of New York Spider Jorgensen relic card



1964 Topps 1963 World Series cards (OK, two of them I had before 2012)



1956 Topps Duke Snider

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2 P.M.: FAVORITE COMMENT OF 2012

I am lucky enough to get a lot of comments on my blog. But my favorite comment didn't even show up on Night Owl Cards. It was posted on my 1975 Topps (It's Far Out) blog. It came from the daughter of 1970s Reds pitcher Pedro Borbon. Pedro would pass away later in 2012:



Awesome.

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3 P.M.: THE YEAR OF THE BAD, BAD INSERT

I'm not going to say every insert was lousy in 2012. There was some OK ones. But most sucked and reminded me of 2007 when almost every insert Topps produced was terrible.

Fortunately for Topps, not all of these are their inserts:


1. Golden Greats: Five different pictures of the same player on an awful design. Sign me up!


2. Gold Standard: Same basic theme. Same player. Same photo. Same awful.


3. Focus: I know this is actually a subset, but I'm including it here. Featuring nothing but cartoon eyes is not an insert or a subset or even a card to me.


4. Classic Walk-Offs: Absolutely love the concept. Unfortunately, the design obliterates all the love I had for the concept and turns it into unbridled hatred for these inserts.


5. Timeless Talents: These things in which Topps puts two players on a card and tries to draw a connection between them have been going on for, what, four years now? I didn't like them in Year 1.


6. Credentials: Absolutely the worst insert of the year. A bunch of letters and numbers????? What is this, an example of a card that anyone in America could make?

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4 P.M.: BEST CARDS OF 2012

I said I wasn't going to do this. But I have to at least show what I liked the best. No countdown this time. No claiming that this is the best of the best. Just some cards that I liked. (P.S.: I still don't have what I think is the ACTUAL best card of 2012. I hope to get it in 2013, though):


Elvis Andrus, Topps: When you slide across the plate, do it like this. With a smile on your face.


Kyle Blanks, Topps: If Blanks was not 6-foot-6, I don't know if this would have worked.



Reed Johnson, Topps: You want to call this Card Of The Year? You won't hear a peep from me. (hee hee)


Adam Kennedy, Topps Update: The best Dodger card of the year.


Tommy Lasorda, Panini Cooperstown: Fantastic. You, go Panini. You go, Tommy.


Ben Revere, Topps: Revere had TWO pretty good cards in this set.


Ron Washington, Topps Heritage: I think this card should have received more attention.

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5 P.M.: 2012 CARDS THAT MAKE ME WANT TO PUNCH THE PERSON FEATURED


Fortunately, there was only one of these cards.

(Although, Ryan Roberts, you came awfully close).

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6 P.M.: EVEN MORE STUFF THAT TOPPS NEEDS TO STOP IN 2013 (ALTHOUGH IT'S TOO LATE FOR ME BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT KILLED COLLECTING CURRENT CARDS FOR ME)


Fake relics: This goes for every company, not just Topps. Relics are now almost meaningless to me, thanks to news that card companies purchased suspect jerseys from a crooked dealer. It appears that most collectors don't care about this news. But it really put a damper on things for me in 2012.


Sneaky super-short prints in every set: There are so many Dodger short-prints in 2012 Update that I may have to see if I can arrange a second lifetime to collect them all. Gee, thanks, Topps.



Online exclusive set at inflated price with a cynically limited print run: When I was able to land the Dodgers from this set through much cheaper means, I looked at the quality of the cards and instantly felt sorry for everyone who bought this set. (I think we can throw the online exclusive Topps base minis in here, too, although on a slightly less annoying scale).

I think there were some other things that annoyed me that I can't remember. That's OK. The above make me fear enough for the future of card collecting.

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7 P.M.: STUFF THAT ONLY I NOTICED IN 2012


In Topps' base set, it bordered Cincinnati Reds cards with a red-and-black border. But in the Opening Day and Chrome sets, it bordered the Reds cards with a silver-and-black border.

I think the silver-and-black border looks fantastic. If all of the base Reds looked like that, they would be my favorite cards in the set.

I don't know why Topps did this, but I'm glad they did.

And, yes, I know no one else cares.

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8 P.M.: BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT IN 2012


Topps Archive

I looked forward to this set for months. Then I bought some cards, saw the look of the cards, felt the quality of the "cardboard," and I could not wait to trade them away. I had expected something like Fan Favorites or the original Archives cards from 10 or 12 years ago.

I'm still mad that I have a handful of them in my collection. Outside of Gypsy Queen, these cards are the 2012 cards that I'm the least pleased to own.

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9 P.M.: FAVORITE CARDS IN THE MAIL IN 2012

All from very generous bloggers and collectors. Presented with minimal commentary:


(199 Heritage cards that completed the 2012 non-SP set for me)


Wow.

Thank you, everybody.

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10 P.M.: FAVORITE NIGHT OWL BLOG INNOVATION OF 2012




The One-Card Challenge

I haven't heard news of anyone completing sets off of it recently. But it's still going. (Just click the logo on the sidebar). I'm happy that this way of getting collectors the last card from a set has helped a number of folks, and also spawned a hockey version of the One-Card Challenge. It's nice to help out.

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11 P.M.: THE WORST CARD OF 2012

You didn't think I'd get to this, did you?

The truth is, I hadn't planned to do a "worst card." But then a certain card arrived in the mail TODAY.

It is -- without a doubt -- the worst card of 2012. It's so bad that it does what every truly horrible card does -- the horribleness turns around on itself and becomes greatness. It's so horrible that it is tremendous in the most disturbing way possible.

Behold:


Holy Hurricanes.

That is one awful card of the future Bills quarterback.

Thanks, Jeff!

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!: 2012 PERSON OF THE YEAR

In terms of the folks who appeared on cardboard, I think there can be only one person who can stake claim to Person Of the Year.

This player was a rookie. Someone most fans had never heard of before. Yet, somehow, he was able to land six cards in a single set.

Ladies and gentlemen, congratulations to ... Adron Chambers!!!!

The 2012 Person of the Year!


Chambers is not only a short-print in the Topps Heritage set ...



... but he appears on a rookie stars card in the set ...



... FIVE TIMES!!!!!

He even worked it out with Topps so he could appear in each corner of the card, top left, top right, bottom left and bottom right.

I am truly in awe, Adron, of your ability to appear on cardboard in 2012.


Yes. You deserve all of the applause you are getting.

Congrats again.

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A happy new year to you all. May your 2013 be happy and healthy.

I can't promise I'll write more in 2013.

But I'll try to make it worth your while. Thanks for reading.

Thanks for collecting, too.

16 comments:

  1. Well done and happy new year!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, now that was a post.

    If only i had known that Newcombe card was going to bring you such joy when I mailed it...

    And your shiny Dickey had a very proud place in my collection and gets a constant shout out on my blog.

    Happy New Year!

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  3. I told you that card is even better in person, didn't I?? Gawd...who did Kelly piss off at UD?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Chambers really is the cardboard Man of the Year.

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  5. Awesome post.

    I'm glad it wasn't just me that was horribly disappointed in Topps Archives.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That was just hands down one of the best posts I've ever read. Really spectacular stuff.

    Happy New Years!

    ReplyDelete
  7. What would have been great is if you had the clock ticking like on the show '24'.

    Happy New Year to you and your family, I hope you have a great 2013.

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  8. Great post!!! (minus the 11 AM bash of the World Champion Giants) :-)

    Have a very Happy New Year!

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  9. Great Post! Hope you have a Happy New Year! Looking forward to another great year of writing from you!

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  10. This is why you win Blog of the Year every year. Superb.

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  11. Terrific post, one of the best I've read in 2012.

    I'm with you on the "card trends". Hopfeully Panini can step it up a little more in 2013 and become a full-fledged player in the baseball card market.

    Happy new year to you and your loved ones, Mr. Owl.

    It feels good to get this first comment of 2013 out of the way, too.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great post and the ending, with the flagship Adron card- Priceless! That is a classic!

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  13. Epic. I read it through 2 times. Plays at the plate and Elvis Andrus and all sorts of Night Owl goodness. Best of the best, that you are. Thanks.

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  14. great post, and here's to a great 2013!!!

    ReplyDelete