Wednesday, July 10, 2019

I'll never know what's going on

Charlie Brown, the lovable comic-strip loser, was fond of saying, "I never know what's going on."

Charlie Brown, no surprise, was a baseball card collector.

It's a hobby, I've found, in which you will never truly know what's going on.

Even if you've been collecting for decades, even if you follow all the release dates and the online news, even if you're part of forums or blog communities or deal cards out of a shop, you will always come across something that you've never seen before. And isn't it great?

The above card appeared in one of two back-to-back packages I received from Max from Starting Nine. "OK, it's Jackie Robinson on the 1961 Topps design," I said to myself. "This makes no sense at all."

A few other Jackie Robinson cards came out of the package and they weren't any more logical.

Jackie Robinson on the 1953 Bowman design, with a written notation on it.

Jackie Robinson on the 1950 Bowman design.

Every Robinson with the same image.

Jackie Robinson did not appear in the 1961 Topps set nor the 1953 Bowman set. He was in the 1950 Bowman set but that's not the image.

And he definitely didn't appear in an 1933 Goudey set, red box, blue box or green box!

What? Nor did he appear in the 1935 Goudey set with Ernie Banks, Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron!

I turned to the card backs, desperate for answers.

Fortunately I found a copyright on the mostly blank backs that said "1995 JSW".

The JSW All-Stars set is an unlicensed set featuring paintings by artist James Wright and placed on famed vintage designs of the past. The cards mimic the look and sizes of those sets.

Here are some JSW Sandy Koufaxes that Max sent, too:

In my double-digit years of blogging I had never heard of or saw a JSW card. And it just makes me think "what the heck else is out there?"

Max had a few other oddballs for me, too, although I knew what these were.

The famed MSA discs often look the same on the front but they feature many different sponsors on the back.

These are my first Dairy Isle discs for all three Dodgers. That brings me to three different sponsors for Cey and two different for Garvey and Sutton. And I really need more four-pocket pages.

All of the other cards that Max sent were more conventional items, although no less needed.

Various degrees of parallels and inserts right there. Gee, that Kershaw image looks familiar, Panini (also is that the nickname parallel or the Twitter handle parallel for the Buehler Donruss card? I don't even know if there's a Twitter handle parallel.)

Here is an Optic card (Optic is an entire set of parallels) of current Cincinnati Red Kyle Farmer. Half of the Reds are former Dodgers.

I saw Gavin Lux play for the first time during the Futures Game on Sunday.

Some Finest from this year. I didn't even know it was out.

Of course I'm getting a Yankees card because it's a night card. And there's a spot for it in the night card binder!

Here is Sandy Koufax on a licensed card. This is his 2019 Stadium Club card. Koufax gets the best SC cards. Somehow Topps missed putting him in the 2015 Stadium Club set, which of course had to be the one I completed.

I feel more comfortable when I receive cards that I can place. Set and date. But the other stuff keeps me on my toes. I don't need to be that collector who always knows what's going on.

They're no fun at all.


  1. Arron Judge on a card pictured with Section 36? I'm so conflicted!

  2. I know less than you do about new releases, and absolutely nothing about oddballs such as the JSW singles. I have seen Jackie on a 1961 Topps design in a non-sports American Heritage set, but it wasn't until I saw the other cards Max sent you that I realized they were not the same thing.

  3. I just pulled that Koufax from a pack of Stadium Club. Nice card. What accomplishment is he celebrating?

    1. 100 NL wins

  4. Hehe I was expecting this post to be about Bowman. Instead it's something even more confusing.

  5. I like to keep you all guessing!

    Glad those packages found their way safely to you.

  6. That Judge is one heck of a night card!

  7. I found pretty much the entire run of Jim Palmer JSWs at a mall show once. I was on the fence on whether to consider them like Broders, or actually legit. I went ahead and got 'em all since they weren't really expensive. I can't see me building sets or anything though.

    P.S. Alexa .... power off

  8. I was at a regional show yesterday, and one dealer had a large quantity of JSW cards; I was poking through the Cal Ripkens but didn't bite because I didn't think the portrait looked enough like Cal for me to bother. I don't remember having seen these before, which made me wonder if I only noticed them because I'd read this blog post... or if there's a newly-found batch of these in circulation... or if there's a *newly-printed* batch of these in circulation. Hey, they're Broders, you never know.