Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I have waited for this card for a long time

The Orioles do not appear on my radar that often. They are my youngest brother's favorite team, so I suppose they're not as ignored as the Rays or Twins. But since they are an American League team with no real ability to offend me, I pay little attention to them.

I definitely do not build my collection around them.

However, I have waited for the above card for a long, long time.

As a set collector at heart, I am fascinated by the notable players who were not included in Topps sets because the two sides didn't have a deal. I've mentioned many of them before -- Maury Wills, Jason Varitek, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Rusty Staub, Ichiro. And there are a bunch of others: Kevin McReynolds, Chris Short, Joe Adcock, Tony Horton and many more.

Each of their stories interests me, because since I was a child I have been under the impression that Topps chronicles every player from every year. There are all kinds of flaws with my impression, but it's difficult to shake. When a set is 792 cards, you believe that just about everyone is in the set, certainly the star players. And if a player is not in the set, he's a non-entity. There have been cases back when I was a kid where I didn't know about a player for years, just because I didn't pull his card.

Matt Wieters, more than 2,711 at-bats into his major league career that began in 2009, is appearing on his first Topps cards this year. News broke of Topps signing him to a contract in June. And I believe Wieters has appeared on a ToppsNow card or two already.

But this Heritage High Numbers card is the first Topps Wieters card issued in a traditional pack, as far as I know. Before this point, if you acquired a Wieters card, it was either an early eTopps card or something from Razor (the company Wieters signed with exclusively back in 2008) or Upper Deck or Panini. Just about all of those cards did not have a license with MLB, so Wieters appeared on them without any sign that he was Oriole. No happy bird on the cap, no Orioles script, nothing.

You know what I think of nonlicensed cards, for the most part ... ick. They're not worth having in most cases. So that means Wieters has continued to be a non-entity for me six years into his career.

But, finally ... finally ... Wieters appears on a Topps card in 2016. Just as Wills first did in 1967 and Rodriguez first did in 1998. Just as Varitek did in 2007 (after a 15-year absence), and Staub did in 1974 (after a 3-year absence).

I know if I was an Orioles fan, this would be the end of a long nightmare.

The least Wieters could do is look a little happier about it.

You're a cardboard somebody now!


  1. As a HUGE fan of Jason Varitek, that always bugged me. I'm just glad they got that whole thing figured out before Upper Deck (and others) lost their MLB license. My Varitek collection stands at 890 cards, it could be well over 1,200 if Topps made cards of him from 1998-2006.

  2. I have Wieters' Topps & Sega Card Gen card from 2012 and one more year (forgot which one though).

  3. NO doing an Orioes-centric post! Wonders never cease. Honestly I was happy to see this happen, even if it is more than likely just in time for him to Wieters on. I honestly wasn't aware of the fact that he wasn't in Topps sets until I tried to find a card of him for my fantasy baseball collection. I ended up with an eTopps card which is actually a pretty nifty card.

    1. "....just in time for him to Wieters on." I meant "move" on. No I wasn't drunk, just hurried.

  4. Huh, had no idea he just finally had a Topps card card until the Heritage Hi Numbers. Glad you landed this one!

  5. To get the pedantry out of the way, before people speculate too much:

    Pre-Heritage High Matt Wieters in Topps checklist (not counting Bunt, which he's been in since '12, because JPEGs):

    2009 eTopps (numbered to 1499)

    Aside from that, he was on 4 Topps Now cards this year, 3 regular cards (card #192 as part of a trifecta of Orioles, and solo on #s 464 and 535, print runs of 526, 272 and 350, respectively) and 1 card as part of their Postseason Orioles set (print run 160).

    And that's it as far as releases he's actually named on. Has anyone gone through the trouble of checking to see how many cards he's backdoor showed up on in the Topps stuff yet? Plays at the plate, hugging a pitcher, etc.? There's gotta be someone, as there are some Orioles collectors and there also are a lot of pedants in our ranks.

    Even beyond the Topps cards (proper or not), there are fewer than 300 unique cards, total, for a guy who's been getting cards since 2005, and who was a pretty hyped prospect. A lot of those cards are autos, numbered, etc., too, so it's gotta pretty tough being a Wieters collector.

    Even if I'm not one (I hang onto his cards when I get 'em, but they're few and far between and usually parts of sets I'm building, so I wouldn't call myself a capital C Collector of his stuff), I'm very glad that he'll be in my Heritage High set when Stubby sends it up to me (he broke a case, so he's probably got a couple of Wieters cards).

  6. You would be surprised at the names of star-caliber players missing from Topps sets. I'm working on finishing Varitek's career Topps run (only missing his '06 and sunset card), and one of my readers Richard has made a '07 Topps Wieters Draft Pick card, which I believe I've posted.

  7. I'm a huge O's fan and never noticed that! Wow...

  8. Danny Jackson, Neal Heaton and Glenn Davis all refused to sign Topps contracts for a while in the early '80s. In Davis's case it was religious objection to their Garbage Pail Kids cards.

  9. Very interesting parallel between Wieters and Topps cards in early years of their careers, and then their initial appearance is in a high #'d 1967 (or 1967-tributed set)!

  10. I can't believe it took me over thirty years to figure out that McReynolds doesn't have a Topps card featuring him in a Padres uniform.