Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017: The best, the worst, the ... let's get this over with before I run out of words


Tonight's post, on the last day of 2017, is the 298th of the year for Night Owl Cards. This is the first time since I wrote a full year of NOC back in 2009 that I have not surpassed 300 posts in a year.

Three hundred is a huge number for some bloggers and not a big deal if it's not achieved. But this is a blog that once went over 500 posts a year. 500! I can't conceive of anyone crazy enough to write 500 posts a year. But, yet, somehow I did. Crazy me.

I don't know exactly why I've cut back on the number of posts each year. The fact that I write two other set blogs is one reason. I don't know if my life is any busier than it was nine years ago, it feels like it might be, but I think the underlying reason for why I've cut back is ... I'm getting old.

When you get old, you just don't want to deal with whatever you once plowed through in the past. My energy to write is less than it once was (this post will be an exception), and if I can't be bothered to write, I plain won't do it, which was not the case before.

Also, when you get older, you run out of words. I don't talk a lot in real life and I feel that creeping over into blog life, too. I'm having less and less to say.

For example, you are dying to know why there is a wrestling card at the start of this post and why in hell have I not mentioned it yet?

Ah, you are so astute. This is an example of how I have less to say these days. Yes, I picked up a few wrestling cards this year. I don't follow wrestling, but you know what the card aisles are like in 2017. When someone puts out a set of just the pretty women of wrestling -- and there's nothing else to buy -- well, sure, I like pretty women, I'll take some of that.

But write about it? Eh, I can't be bothered.

That's the kind of year it's been. Ol' Night Owl, who has done so well with documenting each and every card thing that happens to him, isn't doing as great a job anymore.

This wasn't the greatest year for collecting, and that's probably another reason why I didn't have as much to say. But the boss says we need to review it all, so that's what we're going to do here now. Because tradition.


BEST SET I COMPLETED

Here they are in reverse order of thrillingness:


1989 Topps Traded



1988-1990 Topps Big Dodgers sets



2016 Topps Archives, 1979 design portion (non-super-shortprints only). (Yes, I realize how lame this sounds now that I've typed it out).



1990 Topps



1972 Topps

With the exception of the last one (yay, me!), it was not a great year for completing sets.


BEST SET I'LL COMPLETE IN 2018


1972 Topps is finally off the clock, and I'm a lot more confident about completing 1973 in the next 12 months.


BEST SET OF 2017


In the current modern card malaise I am in, this is a difficult category for me. Nothing stood out. I could pick Stadium Club each year for as long as it's a thing, but even wonderfully photographed sets get repetitive. So I went with A&G because for the first time in 3 or 4 years, I felt a twinge of the excitement that drew me to Allen&Ginter years ago. There was just enough amusing to push it past the "as usuals" and the "what the hell is thats".

WORST SET OF 2017


Again, not a lot of terrible sets this year. So in that case the default is always Panini Donruss. For crying out loud, Panini, you could have color-coded the frames of this set like you did with your football product last year and I would have bought lots of this stuff. I have no idea what Panini is thinking.


BEST BASEBALL CARD PULL


Four days into the new year I pulled an autographed card of a Hall of Famer. What's say we make this a tradition and I do the same five days from now?


BEST NON-BASEBALL CARD PULL


I pulled possibly the top non-baseball player autograph in 2017 Allen & Ginter one exciting July day. Hackman was sold off for a semi-respectable $112.


BEST INDICATION THAT CARDS DON'T MEAN AS MUCH AS THEY ONCE DID TO ME


Helped along by the very-2017 rookie logo craze, I sold off a few notable dupes and non-dupes on ebay this year in my first real investment into selling cards. I don't expect it to be a major part of my hobby but it came in handy this year.


BEST EXAMPLE OF RUNNING OUT OF WORDS TO DESCRIBE MY CARDS II


I pulled this relic card of boxer Miguel Cotto. I didn't know what to say about it then. I don't know what to say about it now.


WORST TOPPS FLUB OF 2017


Topps forgot to put rookie cups on its Rookie All-Star team members that appeared in Series 2, forcing incompetent bloggers like myself to add them.


BEST MODERN-FOR-VINTAGE TRADE


I swapped the Smoltz autograph card for this 1958 Topps Pee Wee Reese beauty.


BEST INSERT SET OF 2017


Duuuude.


BEST INDICATION THAT SOMEONE OUT THERE WANTS ME TO BE A FAN OF ONE PARTICULAR PLAYER




I pulled not one, not two, but THREE Anthony Rizzo Allen & Ginter relics in 2017.


WORST USE OF A PARALLEL



This would have been my favorite card of the year if it was not one of those infernal, retail-only, sepia parallels from Stadium Club. Everything about the full-colored version of this card reminds me exactly of my childhood. But I still don't have that card, just this stupid brown version. I will trade anyone this card for the properly colored version of this card.


BEST CARDS SENT TO ME IN 2017




You guys are the best.


WORST CARD OF 2017



Not only is this a card featuring a photo of the back of a vendor, but it says "peanuts" and the guy is holding up sunflower seeds. The lameness is staggering.


BEST CARD OF 2017


Since I can't name the Rod Carew Stadium Club card the best, orange Brooksie takes the cake. Thank goodness THIS isn't a sepia parallel.


BEST PHOTO ON A CARD THAT I HOPE DOESN'T INVOLVE MY TEAM


I never want to see Matt Carpenter celebrating and certainly not in this manner. Please don't let the losing team be the Dodgers.


BEST EXAMPLE OF REGRESSING TO MY CHILDHOOD


OK, regressing to my hormone-addled teenage years anyway. I bought the complete glossy set of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders that I once owned as a 15-year-old.


BEST EXAMPLE OF RUNNING OUT OF WORDS TO DESCRIBE MY CARDS III


I pulled this super-orange, numbered-to-50 Bunt card of Whitey Ford a number of months ago. I didn't know what to say when I pulled it and never showed it. The "vapor" designation makes no sense to me. All I can say is "oooh orange."


BEST BASEBALL EXAMPLE OF THE DIRE STATE OF THE CARD AISLE IN 2017


I ended up with a lot of 2017 flagship and update, whether I got it myself or was gifted with it. With no sign of Gypsy Queen, Archives, Allen and Ginter, Chrome, you name it, just a few weeks after release, we hungry masses ended up with stuff like this. ... At least some of the photos, like this one, were pretty to view.


WORST 2017 NOSTALGIA I


1986 called and wants to know where its overblown tribute was in 2016.

The non-stop odes to 1987 Topps continued at a relentless pace in 2017. One of the best things about 2018 is cards that look like '87 Topps will now stop, right? Right?


WORST 2017 NOSTALGIA II


If I am pulling cards of active players in 2012, I don't want to see those same players in current sets five years after they stopped playing. What is the point? Meanwhile,  ELLIS VALENTINE NEEDS A NEW CARD EVERYONE.


BEST THING ABOUT 2017 TOPPS FLAGSHIP


Of course, it's the colorful-as-all-get-out backs. If I ever lost my mind and put my 2017 Topps cards in a binder, they would have to face back-side out.


BEST NON-CARDS SENT TO ME


Awesome.


BEST PART OF COLLECTING IN 2017


The Dodgers featured the NL Rookie of the Year and reached the World Series. It's a collecting year I'll never forget. It even caused me to buy a Topps Now card ... twice.


WORST CARD GOODBYE IN 2017


The Kmart in my town closed, but before disappearing, massively discounted 2016 Topps. Against my better judgment I grabbed a bunch and was treated to a stockpile of smoke-filled duplicates. Good riddance Kmart and 2016 Topps.


BEST CARDS I SENT TO MYSELF IN 2017


That was really the best part of 2017.


BEST TIP-OFF THAT COLLECTING IS ONLY ABOUT ROOKIES


Upon seeing how many times the rookie card logo appeared in 2017 Topps Update, I went through and found that 36 percent of the cards of the 215 that I owned featured the logo. It's such a selling point for Topps that they add players like Andrew Benintendi, who has zero reason to be in a set called "Update," just so it can plaster a rookie card logo on another card.

I suspect that it's like this in just about every set that Topps puts out now (I have yet to calculate the percentage for Gallery, which seemed very rookie-heavy, and other basic sets like Allen & Ginter and Stadium Club).


BEST COMMENT LEFT ON MY BLOG IN 2017 


I received comments on the 1971 Topps blog from former players Mike Hedlund and Dave Baldwin, but the above comment really amused me. This is a reason to keep blogging.


BEST NON-BASEBALL PLAYER CARD OF 2017


The last couple of years I've collected more and more non-baseball card items and this speaks to me on a level that no baseball card does. I hope there's more of this in 2018.


WORST GIFT FROM A RELATIVE IN 2017


Not my sister-in-law's fault that some piece of garbage repacked this box with Panini cards, but gee whiz.


BEST GIFT FROM A RELATIVE IN 2017


Hands down the best gift of all-time from my wife. The Ron Cey-Fleetwood Mac lamp has gotten good use already in my future card room.


BEST INDICATION THAT I LIKE RESEARCH MORE THAN EVER


In 2017, I determined that this is probably the first card showing a player blowing a bubblegum bubble.

I also determined every player to appear in each issue of Hostess cards produced in the 1970s, determined the size of Dodgers team sets for each year of Topps, determined that Walter Alston holds the longest streak for a manager on baseball cards, found the last example of a catcher wearing a soft cap in the field on a baseball card (1991 Rick Dempsey), pointed out the card that shows White Sox players wearing shorts, ran a list of non-baseball subjects in every Allen and Ginter set, compiled a list of the most underrated sets ever made, ran a  list of my favorite Topps Dodger card every year, pointed out that the Garry Templeton record-breaker card in 1980 is no longer true and never was, and counted down a top 100 of the best cards of the 1970s.

Someone should probably be paying me to do this stuff.


BEST EXAMPLE OF THE ANNOYING YANKEE ATTITUDE THAT I KNOW SO WELL


You haven't won a goddamn thing yet, stop throwing the word "dynasty" around.


WORST BACKGROUND TREATMENT OF 2017


There is no way all the sky-blue backgrounds in 2017 Heritage are real, and why oh why are we faking stuff like that?


BEST BLENDING OF CARD LIFE AND REAL LIFE IN 2017


I wrote about this card for my newspaper sports section. I used the card from my collection and everything.


BEST CARD HOPE FOR 2018


My daughter found a thrift shop a 15-minute drive away and gifted me with some mid-1980s cards. I checked it out for myself and didn't find much, but there's always next summer.


BEST CARD OF A TERRIBLE MOMENT FOR THE TEAM FEATURED



This card trumpeting the Padres' Opening Day in 2016 is actually a disaster for the Padres, a 15-0 loss to the Dodgers, a game so amusing to me that I've watched it (I smartly recorded it) when I need a pick-me-up.


BEST CARD OF A WONDERFUL MOMENT FOR THE TEAM FEATURED


I wish it was on a better-designed card, but what a great tribute to Vin Scully on his final broadcast, a game the Dodgers won in dramatic fashion.


WORST NO-SHOW IN A CARD PRODUCT


Chris Taylor, one of the best surprise stories in baseball this past season and one of the Dodgers' most reliable players, showed up in Heritage High Numbers. But he is nowhere in Topps Update, a set that was once intended for players like this.


BEST BOX-OPENING EXPERIENCE


I don't get to open boxes. My money goes for things like school tuition and electrical work in the basement and vaccine for the dog. So it was nice that I was gifted with a couple of boxes of 2013 Panini Hometown Heroes, just so I could experience ripping a box once more. Maybe someday I'll get to do it again.

And now comes the point where I've run out of things to say. (Believe me, in past years I've gone on longer than this).

So let's name the 2017 Person of the Year.

For the first time, it's nobody off the wall or unexpected. It is 100 percent expected.


The 2017 card Person of the Year is Aaron Judge.

It's not because he hit a bunch of home runs as a rookie while in a Yankee uniform.

It's because of the hype and hysteria he created in the card world, that not only caused his card prices to soar, but cleared out every card aisle in America.

His impact is being felt today as the Target closest to me sells only Update and flagship and maybe one lonely rack pack of Stadium Club, and the Walmart near me sells only Update and maybe a pack of Gallery.


This is why I've bought pretty-lady wrestling cards from a sport I don't even watch.

It's all your fault Aaron Judge.

Congratulations.

18 comments:

  1. OK, so, Tim Raines was your favorite card of the year, but Brooks Robinson was the best? Got it.

    So, yeah, 2017 happened. It has occurred to me that there really wasn't a big card story of the year--I guess "cards selling out because Aaron Judge" would be it. As opposed to 2016 which had two really innovative sets debut in Topps Now (pretty darn expensive) and Topps Transcendent (suddenly Topps Now seems affordable), plus the end (hopefully for now) of borders on flagship.

    Anyway, thanks for all the research and all 298 posts. And nice to be reminded of that awesome Cey/Fleetwood Mac lamp. I should have posted a comment on that post saying "MARRY THAT WOMA--oh, wait, you already did, good!" May 2018 be a wonderful year for you, your blog, your collection, and your family.

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  2. A few things but I won't be too terribly wordy:

    1) I wasn't too terribly impressed with the card selection of 2017. Flagship was meh and even though Donruss was a logo-less set, I think I may have preferred it mainly due to the variety of players and fun stuff included there in.

    2) That Brooks Robinson card is a super nice card and Stadium Club along with Heritage were probably my favorite issues from Topps this year.

    3) Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks are two of the top women in wrestling right now. Out of curiosity, were those from the all women WWE set Topps put out? Or are they from the standard WWE flagship set?

    Anyway, looks like you had a nice 2017. All the best to you in 2018!!

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    1. It's the Diva set or whatever it's called. All the women. Sorry, I know very little about wrestling cards.

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  3. Happy New Year Night Owl. I've bought some of those wrestling cards too because there was nothing else.

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  4. Totally with you in the research/checklist building being the unexpectedly most part of the hobby.

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  5. Happy New Year man. I truly enjoyed your posts throughout the year. I totally agree with what you said about Judge, all the prices soared and stuff isn't worth anything unless it's a Judge rookie. I hope next year the craze dies down and Target and Walmart actually have some decent products. Maybe collecting could become a simplier time again, although I'm probably pushing it. Great post!

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  6. Looks like a successful year. Love the posts. Always a great well researched read. Happy New Years

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  7. Happy New Year to you Greg! Hope you have a joyous and prosperous 2018.

    The Miguel Cotto Card? If I was (un)lucky enough to pull it from a pack it would have been like a punch to the face.

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  8. Hard to argue with anything on this massive end-of-year list, especially the shocking impact Mr. Judge has had on retail outlets across the country (including mine). Happy New Year, Greg!

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  9. That Cardinals walk-off win was against the Reds, so you don't need to set it on fire I suppose. Of course, Carpenter shouldn't have scored on the play, but the Reds failed to challenge the play in time.

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  10. Nice post. I think next year everyone should do one like this and also add a new Best Custom Card section.

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  11. Outstanding post and great work all year. Thanks for a lot of entertainment.

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  12. Wonderful post NO! Still super jealous of that Hackman you pulled. :D

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  13. Thanks for giving us something to read 300 times a year. Appreciated! Congratulations on the 72 set. Good luck on the 73 set. Great trade for the Pee Wee Reese card. Don't get your fascination with A&G. Share your dislike of the Yankees, but could do without your expletive. Thanks for setting me straight on your posts of the best 70's cards when you told me I was judging them by 60's standards. Best posts: 50's and 60's cards. Worst posts: Cards of movie stars. My best comment on your blog: Move over Willie Mays, Ron Cey is the real "Cey Hey Kid". Agree that 2017 cards were lacking. Hoping for better in 2018. Happy New Year and thanks again for all your efforts and your posts.

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  14. Another good read. I even contributed a couple of items.

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  15. That lamp. The 91 Bowman Shot Heard 'Round The World signed card. The Hostess strips. You had quite the year. Happy New Year!

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  16. I'm still baffled at how Panini could botch the design of 2017 Donruss. Look Panini, we know you copy base designs between products. No need to be cute trying to make it seem like you aren't. Like you, I probably would have bought a lot of Donruss if they mirrored the football color scheme.

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