Monday, August 3, 2015

Always chasing rainbows

A few days ago, I read at Dodgers Blue Heaven that Panini was releasing its Cooperstown series again this year, and that each base card had three different versions. One card number, three photo variations.

I shook my head at Panini, which I still have difficulty considering a legitimate baseball card company, pulling something that many take Topps to the woodshed over year after year.

But I realized I was reading this at the same time I was unearthing card variations from sets that are decades old, which arrived long before what we consider as the era of variations/parallels.

For instance, the above card from the 1983 Authentic Sports Autographs series. The series featured 12-card sets of 11 different Hall of Fame players. Each set also had a separate version in which the first card was autographed. Oh, and you can also find the cards with red or green borders.

Which explains this:

Each of these are card No. 10:

Then, not long after I came across that, I came across this:

"Who cares," you're saying, "it's one-third of a 1981 Topps Scratch-Off item."

Yes it is. I received it from John of Johnny's Trading Spot.

But the Lopes '81 Scratch-Off that I know -- because it's sitting in one of my Dodger binders -- is this:

So now you see why I think the pink-bordered Lopes is some kind of sorcery.

I thank John for sending this because it also brought to light that I did in fact have the pink-bordered Lopes already.

It was just attached to a couple of guys from lesser teams.

This raises the question of how many different colored Lopes Scratch-Offs there are.

Or how many different colored Dusty Baker Scratch-Offs or Reggie Smith Scratch-Offs or Jerry Reuss Scratch-Offs, or (*gasp*) ...


I don't know if there's any realistic way of finding out how many different-colored borders that your favorite player features in the 1981 Topps Scratch-Offs.

For instance, the backs for the orange and pink Lopes Scratch-Offs are different:

But, as glorious as these are, I don't think it indicates anything. The backs seem to fluctuate advertisements without any sort of pattern.

I suppose this is why they call them "oddballs," and probably why people are more forgiving of variations in sets like this than in mass-produced flagship sets.

Of course, I'm obsessive enough that I'm chasing color parallels in sets like these, even if I just found out today that there are color parallels in freaking 1981 Scratch-Offs.

It's enough to drive you to sweet vintage, which Johnny also supplied:

One of the last subset needs from 1960 Topps recognizing the Dodgers' 1959 World Series title.

And a needed 1958 Junior Gilliam. Love that painted L.A. on the cap. Virtually all of the Dodgers in this set have one.

And there's a whole bunch more. You can never have enough Wally Moons.

John had quite a bit of variety for me, every color and every shape:

And from today's players ...

... to today's players yesterday.

This card -- from Sports Illustrated For Kids (although I don't know the year) -- is quite a hoot.

John's even trying to get me hooked on some Headliners. But since I already have the Piazza, and I think that I now have all the Dodgers (don't tell me there are more incarnations because I don't care), then I'm done.

Thanks, Johnny, for the wide variety of stuff, and your package should be on the way soon. Also, thanks for alerting me to yet another rainbow to chase.

The best thing about collecting is never having to say "I'm finished. What do I do now?"


  1. Actually, on those scratch-offs, there are people who have tracked all the variations -- both on backs and on who appears on what panels with others -- so that you end up with about 2 or 3 variations of the cards (depending on backs) and 3 variations on the panels.

    1. Of course they have. I guess I should have known that.

  2. What Tony said. I bought several packs of them last year, and the top ad stays the same on each, but the bottom two on the cards featured two different backs.

    There should be a "Series" designation on the back of that SI for Kids card that would give you a clue as to the year.