I still plan to post my annual review of the past year in baseball cards but I needed a bit of a breather after yesterday's decade review. Both posts take quite a bit of research.
Besides, I wanted to try Diamond Jesters' blog-bat around idea of filling a "yearbook page" of 2019 cards before the year was out.
Matt's yearbook idea contains all kinds of rules and I admit they nearly killed the whole idea for me. But more on that later.
The Yearbook Page is supposed to summarize 2019 in baseball cards. The first pocket (upper left) is to contain a Topps flagship card from 2019. The next five pockets (2 through 6) can contain a card from any of the other Topps brands. The seventh and eighth pockets should contain a 2019 insert, and the ninth pocket is a wild card, which is a card of your choice.
Matt adds a couple of other restrictions involving not repeating designs (no Chrome or Opening Day) and not filling the page with just cards of your favorite team.
Gee whiz ... so many rules. Can I even do this?
I admit I hit a road block with the first card.
The problem with cards these days is the most interesting cards -- the ones worth talking about -- are horizontal cards. Take a look at my decade review post. Eight of them were horizontal cards.
The flagship card I wanted to show in my yearbook page was a horizontal card. But horizontal cards don't look great when you're presenting a page with a vertical orientation. I looked and looked for something vertical to use instead, but nothing jumped out at me.
Then I thought: Why don't I turn the page?
Now I can use what I wanted to use.
Well, at least for the first card.
Making every card in my yearbook page horizontal automatically made the task more difficult.
As many great horizontal cards that exist these days, there actually aren't a lot of horizontal cards in general. Some sets almost ignore horizontal cards completely, like Heritage and Allen & Ginter. And Matt wanted a wide representation of card brands here. But I don't buy a lot of different card brands. No Bowman. No Gypsy Queen. No Gallery. No Panini anything. What have I gotten myself into?
I spent a good 30 minutes or so searching through 2019 cards, adding cards, then scrapping them, then scanning a page, then finding a better card, then re-scanning. IS IT 2020 YET?
Finally, though, I had my page.
Let's go through it quickly:
1. 2019 Topps Series 2, #573, Tucker Barnhart: This card shows off one of the great elements of the 2019 flagship design, breaking through the wall of the design. Scott Kingery's legs extend outside the photo. It's also a terrific photo, showing Barnhart ever-so gingerly tagging out Kingery at home plate on a play June 26, 2018.
2. 2019 Topps Big League, #125, Juan Soto: Sure, I'll get it over with early. The Nationals won the World Series in 2019. Yeah, I know: HOW? Dodgers pitching management, that's how. Juan Soto did quite well in the World Series even though the media behaved as if he was barely out of diapers.
3. 2019 Topps Archives, #262, Honus Wagner: One of the Twitter baseball accounts that I follow posted this photo recently and it was obvious he really, really loved it. It is a cool photo, but I kept thinking "I've seen that photo before." Of course, it was on a baseball card.
4. 2019 Topps Heritage, #196, 2018 NLCS, Game 4, Saved By The Belli!: Obviously a 35-something is writing these card headlines with the "Saved By The Bell" reference. Bellinger, who was ripped during this past postseason for not watching Seinfeld, was definitely not around for Saved By The Bell.
5. 2019 Topps Stadium Club, #101, Max Muncy: One of the most famous down-the-first base line World Series home run celebrations since Carlton Fisk, Muncy's 18th-inning blast against the Red Sox in the 2018 WS appeared on at least a couple of Topps cards in 2019.
6. 2019 Topps Allen & Ginter, #296, Cincinnati Red Stockings: Allen & Ginter doesn't do horizontal cards in its base set anymore, and that's usually a good thing. But there are exceptions. This one shows a team picture of the 1869 Cincinnati ballclub, the first professional baseball team.
7. 2019 Topps 150 Years of Professional Baseball insert, #150-27, Greatest Moments: The Topps Company: The latest example of self-praise by Topps, which is a longstanding tradition in of itself. At least the back clues collectors in on the fact that Topps' first trading card set wasn't in 1952 or even 1951. It was the 1949 Topps Magic Photo set. Read your card backs, kids!
8. 2019 Topps Revolution of the Game insert, #Rev-9, Bill James: I haven't been able to pull a single one of these insert cards this year. I just put the two Dodgers in the set in my online shopping cart. The James one I pulled out of a card show discount box. I miss reading Bill James' Baseball Abstracts from the early-to-mid '80s.
9. 2019 Topps Series 2, #604, Colorado Rockies stadium: My wild card is from the stadium subset this year, one of my favorites (you'll see a post about it soon). Some teams were blessed with much more interesting photos than other teams and the Rockies are one of them. Also, I think the fireworks display goes quite nicely with the new year!
Enjoy tonight's festivities if you're out and about.
I'll see you when we turn the page to 2020 with one final look back.