Thursday, October 12, 2017

Odd and getting odder

Yesterday, the 2017 Topps Update checklist made the online scene and it's pretty much a disaster.

Topps Update hasn't resembled the old Traded set that I loved so dearly in the 1980s for a long time. But the 2017 checklist seems exceedingly lousy.

For Dodgers, I am blessed with five All-Star cards -- in other words, players I already have from Series 1 or Series 2. Then there are three other Dodgers represented: Franklin Gutierrez, who barely played because of medical issues; Brett Eibner, a prospect who barely played but he's in Update because ROOKIE CARD, and, of course, Cody Bellinger.

Then there's Cody Bellinger and Cody Bellinger and Cody Bellinger. Four Cody Bellinger's in the set. Nobody needs this. Cody Bellinger's mom doesn't need this.

Meanwhile there is no card of Chris Taylor, one of the most valuable Dodgers of this entire year. He's not in Series 1 or 2 because who knew Chris Taylor would do anything? But since the start of the season Taylor has played in 140 games, hit 21 home runs and should damn well be in Update.

Also, there is no Austin Barnes, Brandon Morrow or Ross Stripling, players who normally fit neatly into Update. I don't think I'm being unreasonable here, I'm not demanding that Yu Darvish or Curtis Granderson show up as Dodgers in Update because I know the set gets put to bed before the late deadline deals. But sacrificing Chris Taylor for another Home Run Derby card? The Update set is now officially crap.

It's things like this that have me clinging more and more to older sets and oddball sets.

I've always liked oddball cards. I don't think that's a rarity. Anyone who ate Frosted Flakes in the '70s should like oddball cards.

But my appreciation for them has grown and grown over the years.

Recently, I received a package that was nothing but two sets of oddballs. It arrived from Stephan of Vintage Twins.

One of the items was a six-pack of my favorite oddballs of all-time.


Kellogg's 3-D cards from 1983, the last Kellogg's 3-D set that matters, basically. It's always enjoyable to get new cards of players that were around when I was a kid.

The other oddball cards in the package were Dodgers Police cards from the 1980s.

I got so excited to see those cards that I instantly put them with the other Dodgers Police cards I own already and now I have no idea which ones Stephan sent me.

But this gives me a chance to update an exercise that I did the last time I wrote about Police cards. I get to see how much progress I've made!

So, here again, is the breakdown of Dodgers Police sets from 1980-91 (there was no Police set in 1985):


30 of 30 cards

Feature on the back: "Tips from the Dodgers," basic baseball definitions along with nuggets from the police, such as:

"When a group of kids get together with nothing to do, beware of a FOUL TIP that could lead to trouble."


30 of 32 cards (missing late additions to the set: Ken Landreaux and Dave Stewart)

Feature on the back: Advice and information from the LAPD, presented as if the player on the front is saying it, as in:

"Rudy Law says: One of these days your sharp eyes may spot a deadly weapon that somebody threw away. Don't pick it up. Don't even touch it. Keep it in sight and send for an adult. let that adult call the police. You may have found the missing weapon the police have been searching for."


30 of 30 cards

Feature on the back: Paragraph write-ups on the back, sometimes referencing the player on the front, sometimes not, with the theme of "the team that wouldn't quit," a tribute to the Dodgers' 1981 championship.


26 of 30 cards (missing Yeager, Baker, Monday, Brock)

Feature on the back: Full career stats and vital stats! Best Police backs ever!


30 of 30 cards

Feature on the back: Career stats are replaced by bio information and police advice that ends in the DARE TO SAY NO slogan, such as:

"... Don't get roped in just because others smoke pot or pop pills. Remember that users are losers. DARE TO SAY NO."


27 of 30 cards (missing Stubbs, Duncan, Diaz)

Feature on the back: A player bio and police advice, such as:

"Is shoplifting a crime? You bet it is! Whether it's a pack of gum, a candy bar or something more valuable, it can cause your arrest for stealing. Don't take what you can't pay for, no matter how easy it seems. There's lots of satisfaction knowing you're a good citizen."


7 of 30

Feature on the back: Player info with a head shot, along with police advice underneath.


30 of 30

Feature on the back: Player bio information on the left and police advice on the right, such as:

"Don't be a chicken" "Don't be fooled by this trick to get you to try drugs or alcohol. A lot of chickens who try drugs end up as dead ducks. Don't be afraid to say, "No!"


28 of 30 (missing Carter and Strawberry)

Feature on the back: Same as 1984-89.

I've made some decent progress with these since 2014. I've gained the complete 1982 and 1989 sets to go along with my complete 1980 and 1984 sets. I plan to update these in my want lists as I don't believe I've done that before. It's still concerning that I have none of the 1988 and 1990 cards.

After 1991, the Dodger Police sets moved to the storing-friendly 2 1/2-by-3 1/2 size into the early 2000s. I still haven't figured out how to store the 1980-91 cards. They fit in the Ultra Pro four-pocket pages but that's way too much air for my liking.

Anyway, that's yet another post about oddball cards. Expect to see more and more. My collection (and me) is getting odder by the day.


  1. No Chris Taylor? There is no effin' excuse for that. To pick on my own team, I can't see how Fernando Salas gets a card but Taylor doesn't. We can only hope that this is some sort of "preliminary checklist" error, but this late in the game I have my doubts.

    Love the Kellogg's cards. Lately I've really been digging early Mariners and Blue Jays cards.

  2. Those early 80's police sets had some nicely cropped action shots.

  3. 2015 update was a solid set. Lots of newcomers and under the radar guys. This year... what's the point?

  4. Are you working on '83 Kellogg's? I have a broken set if you have any needs.

  5. This year's Update looks bad and just plain lazy. Topps has had those late-deadline deal guys like Darvish and Granderson in their new duds in the past, but deadline deals seem to be a ghost town in this year's checklist. If I ran Topps, I think one of my first orders of business would be to make sure no player gets more than one card in any given set...much less FOUR.

    1. If they aren't going to put the deadline guys in it, why even make it an Update set? Heck, just call it series 3 and add a traded set after the season. That would be better than the stupid snowflake set they did last year...