Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The squeaky wheel gets the sheets

I am not a crusader. When I was a kid, I'd watch as my father would get into "discussions" with sales people about this item or that and often -- not all the time, mind you -- get what he wanted.

The older I got, the more aggravated I became with this technique, and although I've been known to stand up for what I believe in, most of the time I just let it go, because honestly ... I'm lazy. Or dislike talking to people. One of the two. Probably both.

It took a page, a ridiculous nine-pocket plastic page that protects bits of cardboard, for me to get noisy.

I have been campaigning for a page to house 1975 Topps style minis -- cards that are 3 1/8-by-2 1/4 inches -- since I found out that the old pages for that size of a card didn't exist anymore. For probably 3 or 4 years on this blog I've mentioned that there needs to be a page that fits these cards.

Once I got on Twitter and connected with UltraPro, that's when I saw progress. As Topps began to churn out more and more minis shaped like '75 Topps minis, I knew I had to say something. What were people going to do with all these mini cards flapping in the breeze? This couldn't happen! This was an INJUSTICE! A TRAVESTY!

So I alerted UltraPro to the need and stayed with them through initial conversations that went something like "are there really cards out there shaped like that?", and then through the "we're working on it" stage. In the last few years, I've kept folks as updated as I could on the progress. Honestly, until UltraPro mentioned to me that the page had actually been made, I didn't think they were that serious about it.

Then I saw proof of an actual UltraPro mini-card page. And then several weeks ago I found out that the pages were for sale. But the method of purchase wasn't convenient for me, as they were only available at local card shops that decided to sell them and through Amazon.com.

But UltraPro showed me how to get them online and I took a little time to find an extra 20 bucks to buy a 100-page box. And then I went to place an order and ..

"Sorry this item is not available."

It seems that I had created such a fervor for mini-card pages that collectors had bought them all up before I got a chance to get my hands on them.

That was me.

Well, what could I do?

I could put myself on a waiting list for when new ones become available (I believe that's what the situation is now for orders through Amazon) ... or I could whine and cry about it.

Guess which one I chose?

The squeaky wheel was spouting off.

But UltraPro -- this is epic customer service here -- saw my tweet and when they found out that I was trying to order the pages for the first time, they sent me this:

That's pretty fantastic.

Others thought so, too, and said so, and then I got actual confirmation of what my dad already knew all those years ago.

And then, yesterday, in the middle of another sucky day at work, a box arrived on the porch. Inside was what you saw at the top of the post. Let's see it again.

That's a 100-page free sample of the pages that I have wanted for probably a decade or more.

I have never been more giddy over a bunch of plastic sheets. I mean you should see the sheets that I used to store cards back in my early teens. I think I still have some of them. You could probably use them to block the sun. Yet, I thought they were perfectly fine.

I'm much pickier now. I don't want the cards I enjoy the most sitting in stacks on a desk or hiding in a box. I want them in a binder -- with pages that fit them.

Today, I took the first mini-card page out of the box and added some of my '75 Topps minis. In fact, here is the first page:

And here it is, side-by-side with the standard size '75 cards just to show that this isn't all an elaborate scheme to get you to believe that someone would actually make a page to house cards like this:

The regular size cards are on the left.

I think you can tell from the scan that the mini-card page on the right is the same size as a regular-size page, both in terms of length and width. That means you can use a regular-size card binder to house the mini-card pages. UltraPro made up the difference by expanding the space between the mini cards as well as adding a little bit of air at the top of each pocket.

That's different from the old-style mini pages. Here is an example of one of those:

You might be able to tell that it's a snugger fit. The area of the actual page is smaller. It's not as tall as a regular page (or the new style mini-card page), and it's not even close to being as wide. Although the old-style look is a little more pleasing to me, it's not convenient for storing in a regular-size binder.

As you know, I'm trying to complete the '75 Topps mini set and I'll get to that in a little bit (yeah, this is an epic post). But I wanted to make sure that my whining and crusading wasn't simply for selfish interests (although it was maybe just a tiny bit). These pages aren't just for '75 minis.

You've got 1972-style minis? 1987-style minis? 1989-style diecut minis? Regular parallel minis from 2012 and 2013? They all fit this new UltraPro mini-card page.

That's the first page of the 2011 Topps Lineage '75-style mini insert set. This complete set has been sitting in a stack on my desk since I completed this thing like two years ago. I cannot wait to add it to some pages and to a binder.

So, yeah, that's a lot of talking about something that I received for free for flapping my yap (or for whatever the equivalent of that is on Twitter or on a blog).

This is the first time I've received anything for free from a company just because I wrote a blog. I suppose that makes me a sellout, but I don't care. It's for the greater good, dammit. America finally has mini-card pages again.

I don't have any special inside information on how you can acquire these pages yourself. The only places I know is by heading to Amazon and waiting for your name to be called or finding them on ebay or at an LCS somewhere. I suppose if you really want these pages, that could be some serious bullshit news, but you'd have to take that up with UltraPro.

But that's enough salesman talk, I think I should also address how close I'm getting to completing the 1975 Topps mini set.

Let's see the first page of the '75 mini set again:

Before I received a recent package from reader Dave -- which isn't so recent anymore because I was holding out for the arrival of the new pages -- the page above looked like this:

If you deduced correctly, you know that Dave sent me the Aaron and Ryan highlights cards!


But that's not all. You see, Dave apparently had to go away on business and he might not be able to send me anything for awhile, so he wanted this package to last for awhile.

So he sent a few more '75 minis that I needed:

If you know the 1975 Topps set, you know that's some serious cardboard. All in mini form.

Again, that's not all. Here's more:

With all of those cards I am now down to needing 10 cards -- 10 CARDS! -- to complete the 1975 Topps mini set.

This is all that's left:

#143, #192, #203, #205, #300, #312, #320, #461, #616, #647

I might actually have a couple of those and am looking for a more centered copy. But I'm really not that picky. When all those numbers disappear, I'll consider the set complete.

That will be me.


But I know that all of you don't care about 1975 Topps or even minis (seriously, what's wrong with you?)

That's OK, Dave took care of that, too.

Those are some Fleer Ultra Dodgers needs, including a couple of Nomos.

A different style mini (for which there have been pages for awhile) of the perpetually disabled Chad Billingsley.

An awesome blue refractor of Matt Kemp's Bowman rookie card. Just a spectacular card to view in person.

One of my favorite kinds of oddballs, it's a 1975 Hostess card of Billy Buck.

Dave always turns up some '67s. I thought I'd throw these in to give you a break from all the Dodgers.

Moving onto the '60s oddball portion of the post, here's Tommy Davis in '65 embossed form and in '64 stand-up form.

Almost done here, but first a 1953 Bowman card of Dodgers Boys Of Summer manager Charlie Dressen. I like to quote him singing "The Giants is dead" over and over again. Sure it backfired on him. But it's still fun to sing, in a wishful, hoping sort of way.

OK, last card. You've stuck with this for this long, I better make it a good one:

Wooooo! 1954 Duke Snider!

 Have I mentioned I've run out of eight-pocket pages?

I guess I should order some from UltraPro.

Yes, UltraPro has my business for the foreseeable future.

They actually listened to a customer, which is often rare in the baseball memorabilia industry.

I hope they sell lots and lots of mini-card pages. I hope they become so popular that you can actually go to your local big box store and find some. And, yes, I will have had something to do with that. But mostly I just wanted some pages so I could display my 1975 Topps minis.

I will be spending the next few days doing just that sort of thing.

That will be me, singing a happy card-filing tune.

After all, my life is almost complete.

(P.S.: I once claimed that if I found mini-card pages, I'd write the whole post in capital letters. I decided to go with sheer length instead).


  1. Now that's takin' care of business! Way to go. That sample was well-earned.

  2. Do those Hostess cards from 1975 fit in those mini-sized album pages?

    1. If trimmed correctly, most of the Hostess cards are the same size as '75 Topps minis, so yes, they fit.

    2. How well does 1951 and 1952 Bowman fit in those pages?

    3. They fit fairly well. Early '50s Bowman is a little skinnier than '75 minis, so there's a little air on either side, but I don't think it's not enough to make the card move around.

  3. Way to go... Now to finish the set

  4. Hail to the Night Owl!

    (And I'm sure it pained you to post the "Moe Mows Down 11" card)

  5. That is soooo awesome!!! I was wondering when they might make these kind of pages. Glad your genious saw it so far in advance that it rewarded you with a free set of "samples"

  6. Congrats on finally getting your mini pages!

  7. I'm sorry, I was distracted by the beautiful Bison. And that Snider is a card I can't wait to own.

    Congrats on making a difference my friend. Well-done, and glad you got yourself some pages.

    Also, there is noting wrong with being a sellout. Free stuff is great!

  8. I guess one person can make a difference in this big world. Kudos to you for this because it is definitely a service to the rest of us mortal card collectors.

    BTW, I just love with the sad owl pic. I think you should use the happy and sad owl pics in a daily sidebar for when the Dodgers either win or lose.

  9. Congrats on the mini pages. Once you complete the 75 mini set, are you going to go for the trifecta and attempt the 1975. OPC set?