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Showing posts from July, 2015

Night owl's all-time Topps set countdown (20-17)

With everything that's going on this week, I considered postponing the latest edition of the countdown until next week. Trade deadlines, bloggers taking off for the National Sports Card Convention, who's paying attention?

But then I thought, this is Night Owl Cards here! The National doesn't stop because of what NOC has to say, the trade deadline isn't moved to make way for Night Owl, that's their problem. It's time to make them pay! You skip one day of Night Owl Cards, you lose. Thank you to the faithful readers who know that there's nothing better than reading random thoughts about baseball cards.

So, here we are in the Top 20. From this point out, you are guaranteed that these are sets that I like. Even if I spend part of that set's segment criticizing some element, I still like the set. Nothing's perfect, even the set at No. 1.

So be comfortable in the fact that these are enjoyable sets, and if you've never appreciated them yourself, maybe …

Watching baseball to take my mind off of ... baseball

Stephen Strasburg is pitching for the Syracuse Chiefs tonight on a rehab assignment on his way back to the Nationals. The stands are expected to be packed at NBT Bank Stadium (love those modern stadium names), which means I'm glad I attended last night's Chiefs game.

Although I wouldn't mind seeing Strasburg pitch, I abhor crowds, and really star-gazing is not why I go to baseball games.

I go to games, it's apparent to me now, to forget. Forget everyday concerns and problems, yes, but also to forget baseball.

Yup, that's what I said. I watch baseball to forget baseball.

This is what I mean: as you know the trade deadline is very close. This has always been a pretty exciting time, but most years you didn't think much about it until the very day of the deadline. That's no longer possible. Because of the internet and the fantasy baseball influence, the trade deadline is now a week-long holiday and people are mentioning scenarios and insider information and al…

From star of the '70s to marginal Hall of Famer

When I was a kid, there were few baseball athletes that were as big of a deal as Lou Brock.

I had just missed out on Hank Aaron surpassing Babe Ruth for the all-time home run record in 1974, so when Brock passed Ty Cobb for the all-time stolen base record in 1977, that was the big "all-time" mark of my childhood.

And it was a major deal. I remember the newspaper layout when Brock broke the record in late August of that year. Large headline, large photo, top of the page. All during my first few years of following baseball, Brock was treated with reverence, a perpetual all-star, a World Series hero, a topic of paperback biographies, a certain Hall of Famer.

Indeed, Brock did make it into the Hall of Fame on his first try in 1985. And nobody raised an eyebrow.

It's only been in the last decade or two that Brock has come up in discussions about "marginal Hall of Famers." Brock's stats aren't treated kindly by sabermetrics. His on-base percentage, while OK,…

When your sticker book rejects your stickers

So, I have this sticker album from 1982. It came to me from across the ocean, because back in 1982 I had one and have no idea what became of it.

Periodically, I find '82 stickers and it's a very giddy moment because I can pull out this sticker book and STICK, STICK, STICK THEM! Weeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Still the book is not a big collecting priority because I've always been all about the cardboard. So the sticker book sits patiently waiting for some more stickers.

Awhile ago, A Swing and a Pop-Up acquired some '82 stickers, because he's one of the original kings of the oddballs, and had a few extras to spare. I pounced quickly. And eagerly anticipated a sticking session.

The stickers arrived:


I could feel my whole body vibrating.

There is no time to waste when a sticking opportunity strikes. I ran upstairs quickly and grabbed my sticker book, and started paging between gulps of air.

Sadly, by the time I was done, there was just one sticker stuck.


Andre Dawson is now stu…