Tuesday, May 2, 2017

If this was flagship, I'd totally buy it

A Topps coupon for cents off on a Heritage blaster still resides in my pocket. I'm making fewer and fewer trips to Target these days because pulling Diamondbacks and Marlins is really getting annoying.

I've finally become disciplined enough to focus any extra cash on a COMC purchase rather then taking my chances on a pack rip. Does this mean I'm done with pack-ripping for good? Absolutely not. It wouldn't be the hobby without it. I'm just reining it in more.

Besides the whole "getting exactly what I want" thing, an online purchase helps me obtain something else I can't get at the card aisle.

Online exclusives.

Yes, I know how annoying online exclusives are. You really try to put them out of your head and treat them like they're not even cards. I feel ya. I do the same thing. But sometimes, there's some card that's just too appealing, and before you even know it's an online exclusive, it's in your cart and you've stuffed it in the trunk and driven away.

That's what happened to me with some of last year's Topps Archives Snapshots.

I saw those cards here and there last year but it never occurred to me to pick them up. The "online only" aspect usually annoys me enough to dismiss them in a "well, I'll never get those" kind of way. But then I saw how inexpensive they were. And that's always enough for me to try anything. I'm like one of those Walmart customers digging in the DVD discount bin. "Bad Boys II" is $2.99! Give me three!

When the three cards I ordered arrived, I knew that I loved them.

The design is as simple as early '60s Leaf or late '70s TCMA. The cards are as glossy as an early '80s Topps Superstar 5x7. And the stock is thicker than anything they're calling flagship these days.

And speaking of flagship, why isn't something like this flagship?

I would totally buy 700 cards of this. You want me back in the card aisle every week? Make flagship look like this. I don't need action on every card. I don't need blurred backgrounds and faded corners. I don't need extreme closeups. I want white uniforms, green grass, a mix of candids, posed and action, and a sweet, simple design with a nice color-coded touch (on the bottom edge of the photo).

Yup, I'm an "old-fashioned collector," the same type of fan who wants ESPN to still be about news, games and highlights. I'm proud I'm like that. I'm a little scared for people who don't want any of that. But that's me and this is now and there's no going back, this train doesn't go in reverse, we must be always facing forward, this is progress here, oh god, why is nobody buying this, don't look back whatever you do, the future is speaking, please, please buy this.

Anyway, I wish cards like this were available at a store near me and not something online that I need to stumble across.

That's the back. Not the most exciting use of back space, but it's neat and it does the job.

I passed on the Corey Seager Archives Snapshot, just because outside of Kris Bryant it was the most expensive card in the set. But I'll nab it someday soon.

To get my Seager fix, I grabbed a couple other of his cards from last year.

The top card is from National Baseball Card Day, another exclusive, except this is for card shops that you can touch and walk into and, you know, see people.

The other card is from Topps Bunt. The inserts in that set are pretty neat and as an added bonus the phrase "offensive beast" is on the back of this card.

The best Bunt insert, however, are the Program inserts. You do know how much I love periodicals, don't you?

This tribute to a magazine cover, right down to the fantastic index inside (the best card back of all of 2016), is well-done and evidence that someone is pretty sharp down at graphic design.

Another "exclusive" that found its way into my cart. This is from the "Heritage '51" boxed set from 2015. I don't know how these were issued -- online? card shops? -- I pretty much ignored it. But Pederson is making one of his many goofy faces on this card and that was enough for me to snag it.

Here is where you begin to find out how varied this COMC shipment was. This card is from the 1978 SSPC Dodgers set, something that was not on my radar for years. The photos are terrific and Tommy looks like he's gone too long without pasta.

Wooo! The 1990 Donruss Learning Series Dodger team set (a whole two cards) is complete! I'm sorry if you're just learning about this set like I was a couple months ago. Really, who wants more 1990 Donruss red borders in their collection?

Speaking of red borders, three more delightful 1980 TCMA Albuquerque Dukes for the cause -- there is much to love about the Westmoreland card. This particular TCMA minor league design is my favorite minor league design. I remember how crushed I was when I discovered that TCMA used this design for a host of minor league teams, not just the Dukes. It went so well with the Dukes!

Garry Templeton is not going to let anyone tell him how to wear a hat. I can respect that.


It just isn't a COMC package without '75 buybacks these days. I still can't believe someone stamped the Sal Bando card. We would've practically sold our youngest brothers into slavery for that card in 1975.

And how about this one? Feels good to purposely add such a beater to the collection. Once again, Topps, I have '75 cards that are in this kind of shape. Name your price and I can send you some.

I have no alibi for why a Wes Covington card should appear in my COMC search, but I'm glad it did. Mercy, what a card. This is from the TCMA The 1960s set. Covington is one of those borderline "Legends of Cardboard" guys. He has some very nice cardboard.

Final card. It's a 1961 Nu-Scoops of ex-Giant nemesis Sal Maglie mowing down the Phillies during the final week of the 1956 season. Maglie was known for pitching on two days' rest.

Great newspaper design. Did I mention, I love periodicals?

All of those cards cost me just a shade over the price of a blaster, and I know I got a great more enjoyment out of those than leafing through Giants, Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays.

Looking back at this whole post, I seem to be contradicting myself. Boo: online exclusives; Yay: buying your cards online.


I guess I'm one of those fickle collectors who likes what he likes and doesn't like what he doesn't like.

You'll never figure me out. I'll never figure myself out.


  1. I was such a card snob in the 90s with a collection full-bleeding to death! where are those white borders? i need them too! Guess I'll be adding some Snapshots to my collection - NOW!

  2. Yeah, those are nice cards. The more I think about it, the more I agree with you that flagship having only in-game shots is a bad, bad thing. Action photos can be great, and there's some really nice photography in flagship, but the appeal of it dulls when it's every card. The set needs variety.

    Which makes me think--just spitballing here--what if Topps sold retail blasters with a mix of product? The simple way would be to just put one pack each of, say, flagship, Heritage, Archives, Bunt, A&G, and Gypsy Queen to a blaster--maybe Opening Day and/or Chrome too)--and perhaps have some sort of bonus item. The more complex, but maybe more fun, way would be to mix the cards up in the packs, and maybe use some higher-end cards not normally available at retail as inserts. It might sort of out-do the repacks, you know? Anyway, it would make for a more varied ripping experience. Crazy thought?

  3. I like Archives Snapshots. Reminded me of those postcard team issues from the 80's.

  4. I agree. Love the archives snapshots.

  5. Archives Snapshots are great. I had no idea that COMC had them priced so high, though. I've been trying to figure out what to do with the ones I have since I got them!