Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The worst card of 2011

I wasn't going to do this this year. But when you're scratching and clawing for ideas, you grab onto anything that will keep the blog afloat.

Like I said last year, I don't feel all that qualified to present the worst card of the year. I don't buy as many new cards as I did two years ago. I don't feel that I have a complete view of everything, and therefore my idea of "the worst" is skewed.

But, what the hey. "Worst" is subjective anyway. And there ain't nothing more subjective than a blog. So let's subjective the hell out of some stupid-looking cards!

This card is disturbing and it has nothing to do with the fact that he's a Giant. It looks like Matt Cain is well on his way to becoming a shrunken head. Who's neck is as wide as their head? Plus, Topps' off-center presentation of Cain, combined with the blurry background, just draws you to Cain's contracting noggin.

Every year, since I was little, there have been cards that bother me on a subconscious level. It's like a tiny gnat flying around you that you're not aware of, yet you're really annoyed for some unknown reason.

This is one of those cards.

The vast majority of cards in the Topps base set are well-executed action shots. There are a handful of posed shots that are harmless enough. But this card is unlike all the others. It is sort of an action shot, but cropped awkwardly and way too close. Jeffress' left hand is obscured in a way that evokes all kinds of disturbing images. Also, he is looking off to the left in a "hmmmmm, I wonder if there are french fries in the postgame spread?" kind of way. It's just nothing that should be captured on a baseball card.

Oh, and there is an Opening Day version of this card in which Jeffress is photoshopped into a Royals uniform. Same goofy shot. Brewers and Royals fans, you now have something to bond over.

There are certain cards that aren't of poor quality, but are still so evil that they belong on this list. If I specifically wish I didn't have the card in my collection every time I come across it -- which I do with these two -- then they are among the worst cards.

They deserve to be presented upside down, because I don't want to be falsely accused of condoning what they're celebrating.

Also, I can't wait for the 2012 cards, so we can stop recognizing this nonsense.

One of the best things about Allen & Ginter early on each year is that you never know who is going to be in the set mixed in with the ballplayers. All you know is some of the non-baseball people will be cool and some won't.

I don't have anything against Guy Fieri. I don't watch Food Network shows very much. Which is why I'm puzzled by A&G's obsession with culinary people in this year's set. There's, what, three or four cooks in this set? We're scraping the bottom of the barrel with a lot of these reality TV A&G cards.

So why is Fieri here instead of some of the set's other foodies? Purely shirt choice.

Which chrome dome is the greater offender, Mr. Eisner or Mr. Aardsma?

I know many of you will argue it's Mr. Eisner, because he's not a baseball player, because he's a businessman responsible for some of the Topps stuff that we don't like, and because the insert set that he appears in is the dullest of the entire 2011 collecting season.

But you're wrong.

The greater offender is Mr. Aardsma because he HAS A CAP AND ISN'T WEARING IT!

Ballplayers wear caps. They've really got to start enforcing that. No gambling, no pepper, no shiny heads.

And that leaves us with a single card that I can safely say is the worst. There is absolutely nothing more unfortunate out there. I've already mentioned how much I dislike it.

Yes, I'm a little biased here again.

However ...

This card isn't the worst because Wilson is a Giant, or because he is a tool, or because he made Taco Bell appear even more pathetic and appalling than it already is. It's not the worst because Wilson isn't featuring his stupid-ass beard.

It's the worst because it doesn't fit Topps' practice with Heritage. Topps goes out of its way to make sure the Heritage set is as much a homage to the original set as possible, from green tint, to players sharing the same card number, to the design, to especially, the look of the athletes on the card.

Which is why this card doesn't fit in the set at all. Back in 1961, when the photos were taken for the '62 Topps set, the photographer would have taken one look at Wilson and said:

"Go find a comb, son. You don't want to end up on the worst card of the year, do you?"


  1. Some of the cards that sicken me the most are some of the celebration cards featuring giants in the Topps Opening Day set. Those make me sick.

    I opened a lot of this year's Heritage and haven't pulled a brian wilson. Maybe they don't include brian wilson cards in LA. He is so disgusting. I have boycotted Taco Bell ever since he appeared in those commercials. Boycotting Taco Bell wasn't really hard to do anyways. I am just doing my duty as a Doyer fan.

  2. Is Nigella Lawson one of the food people in the set?

  3. I never noticed that Matt Cain. It definitely does have a Beetlejuice quality to it. I think you made great choices here, but the one you left off was the HORRIBLE UPC card from American Pie that I gave seen several times on blogs.

  4. Wow! I really like some of those cards...the Wilson/Posey Celebration, and the beardless Wilson Heritage. I respect Wilson because he is appealing to a younger goofy crowd that baseball needs. Remember the A's and Rollie Fingers when guys were paid to have mustaches and long hair to appeal to kids during the Vietnam era? Those are FAR from the worse cards of 2011...getting old are we?

  5. Spiegel ~ you know how I think.

    Downington ~ I don't know who that is. But he/she is not in A&G.

    hiflew ~ I've purposely not purchased any American Pie for this reason. It's not a sport set, so it doesn't qualify for worst card.

    HitKing ~ I like young. I like goofy. I hate toolish. There's a difference.

  6. Some legit contenders for worst of the year. I'd have to look through my cards to see if I could volunteer any other suggestions...but alas, I'm much too tired tonight.

  7. I sent that exact Jeffress card to him TTM style and he sent it back with a nice signature. Maybe that's why I don't hate it as much as you do. It's an awkward looking card for sure.

  8. Yea, he can get a little toolish at times...Have you seen some of his Youtube clips, like his 1986 Boston Celtic rants? or GOT HEEEM!

  9. I have to agree that the Jeffress card goes on the list, and I even pulled its Blue bordered parallel from Opening Day.

  10. That Wilson card is kind of silly, but the Aaron Harang of that set is way worse.
    I bet if this were 1981 and Fernando was a Giant, you'd hate on him too, wouldn't you? Lol. :)

  11. Comparing lovable Fernando to obnoxious Wilson? Why would you do something like that?

    Harang can't help the way he looks. Tool boy can.

  12. This is why I hated this years Heritage, terrible photos.

  13. Stirred up a wee bit of controversy while I was gone didn't you? Great stuff and you know I'll never argue with a Giant being depicted in such a manner, especially that Heritage Wilson.