(For those entered in the contest to win the 1989 Topps Big set, I'll announce it at the end of the post).
I've been a Dodgers fan since 1974.
I know a lot of readers know that but I just want to get it out there for any newcomers who arrive upon this blog in the next year or so and think, "another one, huh?"
Longtime fans have their radar turned up for bandwagoners. It's an ugly thing that we rooting veterans do, singling out the rising totals in Patriots or Braves fans over the years as the sign of some sort of mass personality flaw. It's actually none of our business. New fans can root for whoever they want.
But I do expect more Dodgers fans to show up now that the team has won the World Series. It's just the nature of things. Do you know how many Jets fans I saw on the playground in the early '70s? Where are they all now?
I do expect acquiring Dodgers cards to get tougher from here on out, too. Not that it isn't tough already. Aside from the Yankees, the Dodgers are probably the most popular team among collectors. This is mostly based on my experience, but I see signs of it when I go online and see all of the team lots for sale from a particular break -- except for the Dodgers. I see it when I attend a card show and I go through a current set to pluck the Dodgers -- and they're already plucked. Every other team is left intact.
Yup, they're popular (with good reason). And they will be even more popular now. Get your sniping shoes on.
Before the Dodgers won the title, I did get to claim the team in the group breaks that Nachos Grande is running. I'm not much of group-break person, but with cards not being available in town, it's been a good way to pick up needs. Chris has been running a mix of breaks of current sets and sets that date back to the late '90s.
My primary goal, though, was to pick up some 2020 cards that I haven't seen much on shelves.
The first break I entered was for this year's Diamond Kings set. I had already acquired a couple of the Dodgers, and then more of them came via trades while Chris was stacking my group break cards. By the time I finally asked for the cards, the above three were pretty much all I needed.
I'm suddenly wanting more Tony Gonsolin cards, even though his playoff appearances haven't been anything great. It'd be nice if he wasn't placed on such a short leash, but I understand how things go in baseball now.
I'm even more into Mookie Betts cards, obviously. These, I expect, will be the most difficult of the current Dodgers' players cards to obtain in the future. I will settle for what "common" crumbs I can find, but, really any card of Mookie Betts is a treasure and certainly not common.
The main Nachos group break for me was Stadium Club, got to get those Dodgers!
This break was very successful. I was able to get all of the base cards for the Dodgers except for Betts and Max Muncy. Max has since come to me, but the stylin' Betts is still missing. So I'll have to get on that horse.
Chris pulled just one double for me, the above Will Smith.
Here are the other most-excellent cards:
I'll start with the over-hyped Gavin Lux. His rookie card mojo sure took a dive. I know that the rookie card logo doesn't guarantee success that very year, but prices sure were acting like it last spring.
It's a cool card, but the red carpet on a baseball field weirds me out.
A rather subdued Cody Bellinger card. Bellinger still hasn't quite figured out his big-stage game at the plate (in the field, no problem). But with all those women staring at him, I'd have problems focusing, too.
Here's a player that I didn't expect to have that much of an impact this year. But I should've know better. Bullpens blow up all the time. Brusdar Graterol proved to be a title-saver in the playoffs and he also got Manny Machado to lose his mind on national TV, so that was fun.
Joc Pederson is a whole lot of fun, too. Something about his approach still makes it look like he has no idea what he's doing. He just tries to whale on something that looks whale-able. I don't think he'll be back with the Dodgers next season. Too bad you can't just keep players on-ice until the postseason.
I need to do an entire post on Dustin May cards. He's really looking like he's going to be my card person of the year at the end of December.
So glad he got things figured out in time for Game 5 of the World Series.
There is a lot of talk about Walker Buehler now being the ace of the Dodgers among those people who are obsessed with talking about who the ace of the Dodgers is. Personally, I don't care. Two good pitchers? Sure. Pitch them wherever you like.
Also, it's conceivable we could have "pitchers batting" cards for current players for a little while longer.
This card is phenomenal, except for one glaring thing: those ridiculous Players Weekend uniforms from 2019. Thanks for the unlicensed card, MLB and Topps. I'm guessing a very similar photo is out there in which the teams are wearing real Dodgers gear? Maybe that could've been used?
More Pitchers Batting!
This card is tremendous, too. All of Koufax's Stadium Club cards have been tremendous (another post I should do). A couple of things I've noticed about this card, besides all the hats in the stands:
1. This same image was used for a short-print in the 2020 flagship set. I'm glad I'm not throwing money at that when I can get the same thing on a better-looking card for cheaper in Stadium Club.
2. This is the only legends card for the Dodgers in Stadium Club this year. Two other regulars in past Stadium Club issues, Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider, are gone. Does this mean fewer legends in Stadium Club?
As I mentioned, Chris didn't pull any Dodgers inserts for me. But I did get an extra:
I've been watching non-Dodger fans (but who's counting?) pull Dustin May autographs left and right this year. So IT'S ABOUT TIME ONE CAME MY WAY!
Very pleased about this. It looks like the pen was running out on Dustin, but I'm not much of an ink-snob. Looks perfect to me. And still such a great photo.
I stayed with Chris' group breaks for a little while longer even when they ventured into late '90s sets. I tend to shy away from those breaks, partly because those years don't interest me much, but also because the Dodgers don't show up a lot in that period. It seems to be a whole bunch of Yankees and Braves and Indians with Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds and Frank Thomas all over the place. If I end up with Dodgers, it's guys like Kevin Brown, and I've already mentioned, I don't really need more Kevin Brown cards.
I thought I'd try to snag some of those weird parallels from 2000 Pacific Prizm. But I just ended up with a few base cards.
The Karros and Green were needs, the Park I had. They scanned gold but they're more silver-ish.
I ended up with less success with the 1998 Topps Gold Label break. With three versions of each card, I thought I'd land a couple different needs, right?
Out of the four here, the only one I needed was the Stage 1 -- Tier 1?, I don't remember -- Eric Karros card. The Stage 3 (Tier? Level? This set is so dumb) Paul Konerko -- the one with him not fielding -- was trumpeted as a key one in the break, as that stage/tier/level is more rare. But I had it already.
So, you know, me and the late '90s, we're not close friends.
Chris opened a bunch of older cheapie packs to throw in everyone's break package, and I think I can use a few of the '89 Donruss cards. I also received some other random teams from the breaks that didn't fill. Stuff like Nationals and Rockies, so if you like those teams, just shout.
Sometimes I think how nice it would be to be a Nationals or Rockies fan and then not to have to fight a bunch of other collectors for stuff (I'm not sure how that Nationals uptick went after 2019, I didn't notice much).
But, I'm just meant for the Dodgers and I'll travel that road no matter how tough it gets. I mean this is nothing. Thirty-two years without a title was a lot tougher road.
OK, it's time to declare the winner of the 1989 Topps Big set!
There were 10 folks who entered the contest. I asked entrants to guess the total number of runs that would be scored in the recently completed World Series.
For a few games it looked like a pile of runs would be scored, but then Game 5 and 6 happened and the scores posted were a relatively normal 4-2 and 3-1.
In the end 54 runs were scored total.
And one contestant guessed 54 runs exactly (Yay! I don't have to use tiebreakers!)
Congratulations to John Bateman. He's the winner of the '89 Big set.
John, I have your address from way back, so if you've moved in the last seven or eight years, email your new one.
Thanks for playing!