Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Long live the Traded set

I finally finished archiving my complete 2015 Topps set yesterday. It was a long process, a process that makes me consider never completing another modern-day flagship set again (like there aren't enough other reasons), and it took so long partly because of the bloated Update set.

I grew up with the 132-card Update set ... although it was called the "traded set" then. "Update" might make more sense, given all the various features in that set currently, and it's certainly better than previous incarnations -- "Traded & Rookies" and "Updates & Highlights." But I still prefer "Traded". Because even though this hobby is all about rookies now, I looked forward to the Traded set to see players in their new uniforms above anything else.

It was mind-blowing then, to see Cesar Cedeno, someone who I knew only as an Astro for almost a decade, show up as a Cincinnati Red, bordered by the same design as the Astro Cedeno.

After years of Traded/Update/Rookies&Highlights sets, the thrill isn't as high as it was in the early 1980s. ("Reggie Jackson as an ANGEL! And the card back is RED!") The appearance of other card companies and things like super shortprints also diminished somewhat the interest in seeing a player in a new uniform.

But it's still the reason why I buy Update cards. I still want my updates! Players in new uniforms! Gimme! I don't care about the all-star cards and certainly don't want the home run derby cards, but let's see those trades and free agent signings reflected on cardboard!

It still means enough to me that after completing the 2015 cataloging, I went through and tried to find as many guys in new uniforms as I could. I then tracked their previous card in Series 1 or Series 2 and matched them up with each other.

With a little assistance, I came up with 76 instances of players appearing in two different uniforms in the 2015 set. I'm sure I missed a couple (more on that later), but like I've said many times, nobody is paying me for this.

I'm going to show all 76 cards here now, with very limited commentary (that was a lot of scanning, man!).

Oh, and here is another example of why Topps may want to cut down on the Traded/Update/Rookies&Highlights bloat:

There is a card of Eric Sogard in Series 1 and in the Update set. He did not change teams. And there are many other versions of this same story over recent years.

Anyway, the 76 players in two different unis in no particular order:

B.J./Melvin Upton Jr., Braves to Padres

Dexter Fowler, Astros to Cubs

Scott Kazmir, A's to Astros

Jose Reyes, Blue Jays to Rockies

Rick Porcello, Tigers to Red Sox

Chris Young, Mariners to Royals

Cameron Maybin, Padres to Braves

Didi Gregorius, Diamondbacks to Yankees

Mark Reynolds, Brewers to Cardinals

Matt Kemp, Dodgers to Padres

Tyler Clippard, A's to Mets

Howie Kendrick, Angels to Dodgers

Johnny Cueto, Reds to Royals

Matt Joyce, Rays to Angels

Mike Leake, Reds to Giants

Mark Trumbo, Diamondbacks to Mariners

Ike Davis, Pirates to A's

Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays to A's

John Jaso, A's to Rays

Josh Hamilton, Angels to Rangers

Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies to Nationals

Jesse Hahn, Padres to A's

Shelby Miller, Cardinals to Braves

David Murphy, Indians to Angels

Zach Duke, Brewers to White Sox

Kendrys Morales, Mariners to Royals

Gerardo Parra, Brewers to Orioles

Alexi Ogando, Rangers to Red Sox

Marlon Byrd, Phillies to Reds

Conor Gillaspie, White Sox to Angels

Carlos Gomez, Brewers to Astros

Brandon Moss, A's to Cardinals

Steve Cishek, Marlins to Cardinals

Justin Upton, Braves to Padres

Chris Colabello, Twins to Blue Jays

Kendall Graveman, Blue Jays to A's

Juan Uribe, Dodgers to Mets

Neftali Feliz, Rangers to Tigers

Yasmani Grandal, Padres to Dodgers

Gordon Beckham, Angels to White Sox

David Phelps, Yankees to Marlins

Nathan Eovaldi, Marlins to Yankees

John Axford, Pirates to Rockies

Travis Ishikawa, Giants to Pirates

David DeJesus, Rays to Angels

Shane Greene, Yankees to Tigers

Evan Gattis, Braves to Astros

David Price, Tigers to Blue Jays

LaTroy Hawkins, Rockies to Blue Jays

Michael Morse, Marlins to Pirates

 Mike Fiers, Brewers to Astros

Brandon Finnegan, Royals to Reds

Mike Foltynewicz, Astros to Braves

Ross Detwiler, Rangers to Braves

Rene Rivera, Padres to Rays

Andrew Heaney, Marlins to Angels

 Jonathan Broxton, Brewers to Cardinals

OK, I'm not done yet, but I think I need a bit of a break. (You probably do, too).

A couple of notes: I featured the difference in B.J. Upton/Melvin Upton Jr.'s name in an earlier post. ... This exercise really underlines that inferiority of the Update set in terms of photos. Lots of photoshopping and plain dark or blurry photos .... I don't know how players like David Phelps and Travis Ishikawa get two cards. Relievers are overlooked constantly in sets and Ishikawa I don't think has ever been a starter. ... The Chris Young comparison is fantastic.

All right, on with the comparisons that feature a horizontal card. I'm not really one of those collectors who hates the mix of vertical and horizontal images. But it does make this particular exercise more complicated.

Here we go:

Jake Diekman, Phillies to Rangers

Joakim Soria, Tigers to Pirates

Ben Zobrist, A's to Royals

Jason Heyward, Braves to Cardinals

Cole Hamels, Phillies to Rangers

Ben Revere, Phillies to Blue Jays

Yoenis Cespedes, Red Sox to Mets

Tommy Hunter, Orioles to Cubs

Eric Young Jr., Mets to Braves

Craig Kimbrel, Braves to Padres

Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies to Blue Jays

Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks to Cubs

Aramis Ramirez, Brewers to Pirates

Alex Wood, Braves to Dodgers

Josh Donaldson, A's to Blue Jays

Anthony Ranaudo, Red Sox to Rangers

Martin Prado, Yankees to Marlins

Vidal Nuno, Diamondbacks to Mariners

Daniel Norris, Blue Jays to Tigers

And those are the 76 players to appear in new unis in the 2015 Update/Traded/Rookies&Highlights set.

Good thing the Oakland A's exist, huh? If it wasn't for them, the Traded set would be nothing but home run derby cards!

I'm not sure what this exercise proves other than to relive the excitement that I felt when I was first pulling those 1982 Traded cards out of the little cardboard box. I suppose if you're a team collector only with little interest in set-collecting, seeing your player in another uniform here might be interesting.

When I wrote this post originally, I was lacking 13 players. With the help of Chris (@sruchris on Twitter), of baseballcardpedia and of doing computer things for a living, he found the missing players. A couple of things threw me off in my research. The most perplexing was Topps putting the rookie card logo on a player's card in Series 1 or 2 and then leaving it on for Update. How do you have two rookie cards in the same set?

I really hope there is always a Traded set. I firmly believe it can be done in 132 cards without missing anything critical. But I suppose that's not going to happen soon.


  1. I remember in 1982 feeling like I'd missed out in 1981 at the Traded set -- which was really a second series, since it was numbered consecutively. So I got my mom to pop for the $7 to get that set for me.

    I still want the 1981 Traded set though.

    And did the Brewers get rid of enough players in 2015 or what?

  2. Ugh. Gotta agree with Tony on one thing here. As a Reds fan, I still get a pit in my stomach seeing Cueto and Leake gone from the Reds uniforms. Great work on the scans and uploads and completing the set. I agree though; I could do without the HR Derby and All-Star cards. Not much of an update, more of a highlight. The Update series is just too much of the same old stuff for my taste. I still collect the Votto and Posey cards for my player collections (and the Jeter cards when he was active) but I could care less other than that.

  3. I like how close the two Trumbo cards are. One could be a 'shopped version of the first but they have little differences.

    I pick up some of the Update cards because I want guys in correct unis for mt fantasy baseball binder.

    Also, your scanner needs a day off after this post!

    1. It's going to work some more. I missed a few. In the process of updating.

  4. You are totally right about the Sogard card. Topps put Steve Pearce in their 2016 set 3 times in an Orioles uniform (once in Series 1, and TWICE in Update).

    1. Does anyone know why this happens? It's not as though they've run out of players--there are lots of guys in any year who put in plenty of time on major league rosters but don't get into any form of flagship--and I can't imagine anyone thinks that Eric Sogard collectors are a substantial portion of the marketplace. Did someone just not check? Is there some reason I'm missing?

    2. I don't know why players are getting left off, but I do know it gets worse every year. I've updated (with help) checklists for the 1989-1994 Topps sets, and the 2016 set after including every missing player, and the numbers are crazy. In 1989, I had 455 new cards, 1990 had 445, 1991 had 486, 1992 had 574, 1993 had 429, and 1994 had 614 (but there were 2 new expansion teams by then. 2016 had a whopping 988 new cards that had to be made of players and coaches missing from the set. There were 4 new teams added since 1989, but for that many guys to be missing while giving Steve Pearce 3 cards and many others having an unnecessary extra card is just shameful on Topps' part.

  5. Thanks for allowing this A's fan to relive all of the AMAZING trades the A's made that year. At least they kept Sogard and Topps produced two card for him. Oh wait. He left and signed with the Brewers. Guess he'll be back in this year's Update set.

  6. Seeing players in their new uniforms is what the Update set should be all about - not the latest over-hyped and underwhelming rookies. Maybe I'm the only one that's ever been thrilled to see Tommy Hunter with a Cubs card, but I think most team collectors would agree. Also, offhand, I know Chris Coghlan appears twice in 2016 Topps, like Sogard. Of course, he was traded to the A's and back, in between. So, at least they were trying?

  7. This only reminds me that my set collecting is very lacking for all years. Sometimes I'm lucky to put together a 20 card subset.