Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Define the design: it's that time of year

I haven't written a "Define the Design" post in a year and a half, which is a little unusual because each year I like to see if I can come up with a name for the new Topps flagship set.

So let's take care of that now.

If you haven't heard already, the 2018 Topps set is the "waterslide set." This was a no-brainer, the first thing I saw when the design was released. The team logo is shooting down the waterslide. Weee!

Yay! The White Sox are celebrating! Let's send the Sox logo down the waterslide!

The shiny, glowing effect around the logo and on the top part of the slide seems to indicate motion as the logo swooshes down the slide. I can't see anything else. Not even those particles breaking off to the side that looks like when Mike TeeVee got zapped into a million pieces overhead in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory".

I'm glad to get a name out of the way quickly for this design. Because I didn't do so for last year's design.

I've knocked around a couple of ideas for the 2017 design, but I'm not enamored with any of them. This design has a TV graphics feel, but that's what I named the 2016 design. So for this design I'm going with the "steel girder set," because that's what the bottom part looks like to me, an intersection of steel girders.

I'm not committed to that name, so if anyone has a better idea, just say so in the comments.

During the last Define the Design post, I floated an idea for the 1990 Donruss set. It's a favorite of mine. I'm calling it the "ladybug set," because of the red background and the dark speckles.

Others had different interpretations of this design, although none seems to really hit the mark for me. I can see the point of those who consider it the "cursive set," because of the player name at top. But then what am I calling the 1978 Topps set? (Maybe the "script set"?). Anyway, the "cursive set" is an alternate design name because I've got to get all of that red in the name somewhere.

I remain stumped on a name for the 1986 Topps set. I've mentioned the "Ebony and Ivory set" and the "black-and-white cookie set." I remain stuck on the team name though. It's so monstrous that it seems almost impolite not to reference the team name in the design name somehow.

I tried looking up the font used for the '86 team name for inspiration.

The font name is Napoli Serial Heavy.

But calling it the "Napoli Serial Heavy" design is not very helpful. (EDIT: I could call it the "(Mike) Napoli design").

I'll keep looking.

Some collectors have said that the '86 design is a homage to the 1964 Topps set.

I don't think there's much of a connection. However, both sets do share a gigantic team name at the top of the card.

And this is where I'm going with a define-the-design name for the 1964 set.

If you look at the history of team names on Topps cards prior to the 1964 set, you will realize what a major change it was to showcase the team name in such a way.

A look at previous team name listings for Topps from 1953 to 1963:

All of those listings are very small, tucked away in the bottom right corner, or top left corner, and never the focal point of the design.

Those 1964 team names must have knocked kids over when they opened packs for the first time that year. They're HUGE!

So, I'm calling the 1964 set the LARGE TEAM NAME SET.

We've become immune to large team names thanks to the sets that followed, 1971, 1975, 1977, 1984, 1985, 1986, etc. But it all began with 1964.

So, I think I'll stop there. I named three or four card sets, so that's cool. I'll update the Define the Design tab in the next day or so.

Next time I'd like to see if I can nail something down for the 1986 Topps set, and maybe get more into some sets from Score or Pacific, which I've barely addressed.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Who needs a card show?


"Did you hear what night owl just said?"

"'Who needs a card show?'"

"Card collector blasphemy!"

All right, settle down everyone. I admit I'm just a wee bit frustrated with the number of card shows I've read about in the still relatively young year of 2018. I believe somebody was going to a card show on New Year's Day!

My first card show of the year -- if I make it that far -- will be in April. There is one in March, too, but whoever set the date is obviously not following high school or collegiate sports because that is one busy weekend for people who are shooting hoops or pucks. I'll be occupied.

But it doesn't matter because just a week or so ago, the mailman placed something quite heavy on my porch (no doubt cursing as he did so). It was the package from Johnny's Trading Spot. Inside that package was three long boxes stuffed with cards. "Call it the best damn dime box," Johnny said. OK, I will.

You already saw the 1989 Senior League cards and the 1995 Leaf pack (I've still got a couple to open). How about if I show you the rest of the stuff?

I'm quite organized for this post. I even figured out which Dodger cards I needed out of the mess Johnny sent and then put them in order by year. This will help quite a bit when I page the cards later.

Here is a selection now. Except for the 1991 Archives Ben Wade, all of these are from 1994-95 Fleer Excel, featuring up-and-coming minor leaguers, including my favorite minor league team of all-time, the Albuquerque Dukes!

I'm always happy to receive Babe Ruth Dodger cards. I think I have maybe a half-dozen now. This one is quite mournful: "Wanted to Be a Manager." The poor Bambino.

That is quite awesome for a minor league card. Like Babe Ruth, I'm always on the lookout for Ron Coomer Dodger cards. Or Ron Coomer Duke cards.

We've entered the mid-to-late 1990s. Some highly stylized cards here. The Piazza Heavy Metal insert looks much nicer in person. The Piazza Profiles card has eluded me for way too long.

This is a stumper. Not even the Great Big Book of Card Everything could help me identify this. It says 1995 Fleer on the front. The back says -- nothing. It's blank. Puzzling.

OK, let's venture into some other non-Dodger goodies for a moment:

It's the 1991 Donruss Rookies set.

Since it is shrink-wrapped, I'm assuming no one swiped the rookie Bagwell and I-Rod.

This set has always intrigued me because:

A) Obviously, it's red-bordered, not the blue and green borders we've all grown to loathe.

B) There are no Dodgers in this set (I believe the Angels are the only other team not in this set), so I've barely looked at these cards.

A couple o' packs to open. Basketball is not my thing but pack-ripping certainly is.

Bonjour! Here is a Canadian General Mills fold out featuring the Expos of 1987 in whitewashed caps.

I've received the yellow-bordered ones that show the stars of the day, regardless of team.

But these are delightfully Canadian! Good stuff!

Let's go back to the Dodgers:

I love the 40Man cards. Everyone goes on about Topps Total, but this is one of the rare cases where Upper Deck kicks Topps' pants. Fortyman looked way cooler. And they're a pain to find.

Pacific never shared my taste, but you have to admit they got your attention.

Look it's Tony La Russa's favorite ballplayer and 2002's favorite ballplayer.

This is a good idea for an insert set from 2004 Topps. There apparently was a mound-charging incident between Tucker and Gagne, which I don't remember, because who remembers anything involving Michael Tucker in a Giants uniform?

This group includes two Hideo Nomo cards that I needed, a Dave Roberts card I needed and a couple cards from Fleer Sweet Sigs, which is one bizarre card name. 2004 is filled with stuff that escaped me and Johnny was on the spot.

Those are both mini '04 Cracker Jack cards. If I wasn't so vintage-crazed, I'd pursue this set in all its parallel insanity.

Yes, let's put my disgust in cardboard form.

Want another Dodger break?


Here are three random 1992 Olympic cards. All three of them say "prototype" on the back.

Panini's football products are so much better than its baseball products. A couple of random 2017 Classics cards fell out of one of the long boxes.

More Dodger greatness. More Sportcaster greatness! Anytime I receive one of these I get mad at my mom all over again for not allowing me to get a monthly subscription for these cards back in the late '70s.

Here are some more current-day Dodger needs. Not much to say about them. Notice how modern-day cards blend together almost so they're indistinguishable from one another? Borders are your friend.

My chin dropped when I realized I needed this 2011 Walmart black parallel. It's been awhile.

I read the other day how Matt Kemp dropped 40 pounds from last season. That sounds like a lot for a ballplayer. Did the Braves just let him wobble around out on the field?

Some 2018 Topps needs. I am down to needing two cards to complete the base Dodgers set. The other Kershaw league leader card and Julio Urias need to come to papa.

That does it for the Dodgers from this Best Damn Dime Box, but we're not through.

A mess of 1992 Conlon cards.

I've always been interested in these cards, although not enough to try to collect the set. I've got enough set projects.

Although somebody obviously wants me to collect it. Here are even more.

But even after all of what you saw, that still wasn't the point of the mailing.

No, what took up most of those long boxes was:


1981 needs!

And a little bit of 1982! (Love this set).

But there was more 1985 than anything, almost a whole box!

As well as a healthy column of 1986. Who is Bruce Tanner? I can't wait to find out.

There was also a little bit of 1987 in there. I appreciate the restraint. Although I like the look of '87 Fleer, I'm the least excited about completing this set.

I actually was expecting only the 1981 Fleer, since Johnny and I communicated about that set. But I do appreciate getting a big jump on the other completion quests.

It will take me a long time to get all this organized (don't expect want lists for a lot of these anytime soon). I'm already backed up from some major packages sent since the first of the year.

Thanks to those packages I'm not running around in circles in the loony bin because I haven't gone to a card show this year.

I mean if my wife ever saw all the cards stacked up in various places waiting to be filed, she'd say the same thing that I wrote at the beginning:

"Who needs a card show?"