Ted Taylor's Collector's Corner
Ted Taylor has been a life-long baseball fan and collector of baseball cards and sports memorabilia. He began writing a hobby column back in the early 1970s and has been writing it someplace ever since. He was first president of The Eastern Pennsylvania Sports Collectors Club and co-promoter of the Philadelphia Baseball Card & Sports Memorabilia Shows. He served as VP of the Fleer Corporation (1991-97) and was co-founder and the first President of The Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society (1996-99). Ted can be heard playing big band and swing music from 8 a.m. to noon every Tuesday on WRDV-FM (89.3), and you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for information on Ted's latest book . . .
“20th Century PHILLIES by the numbers”
Or . . . You can’t tell the players without a scorecard
August 5, 2016
This continues our 41st Year of hobby columns
Ted Taylor’s Collector’s Corner
Topps Rolls out another edition of Allen & Ginter
2016 Topps Allen & Ginter is, basically, a baseball card set that includes pictures beyond the diamond sport of everybody and their granny and other global “stuff”.
This very attractive, novel, artsy, throw-back looking set comes packaged in a vintage-looking box with 24 8-card packs. The hobby box also includes a large box-topper (TroyTulowitzki in mine) and three goodies (i.e., autographs, relics, rip cards (never, ever, got one), printing plates and Book cards (see rip cards).Boxes are selling in the $70 range.
The base set has 350 cards, the final 50 of which are short prints (say so long to completing this set). The party line is that “as in the past, short prints aren’t overly
difficult to pull, landing every other pack.” (Do the math, 12 per box, five boxes needed with perfect collation.) Parallels come in different shapes and sizes. Standard-sized versions come in Glossy, which are one-of-ones.
Mini parallels are included one per pack. In addition to the basic version that’s essentially a shrunken-down tobacco-sized version of the base card, there are Allen and Ginter Back (1:5 packs, it says but I only got three in the box), Black (1:10), No Number (got none), Brooklyn Back (/25, none again) and no Wood (1/1) and Glossy (1/1). As a collector aside, I’m sure people like these but I always wonder what to do with them.
Mini Metal cards are a partial parallel covering 100 cards from the checklist. Each is numbered to 3. Oh yes, got none of these either.
Allen and Ginter Baseball has a pair of framed mini parallels. Printing Plates feature four different one-of-ones for each card. Cloth cards (/10) are available for 150 subjects. I got one of these, but it was a black-bordered relic of Masahiro Tanaka. My other two special cards were also relics. One from Cardinal catcher Yadier Molina, one from sportscaster Jessica Mendoza (who?).
Full-sized inserts include a 100-card subset called The Numbers Game and I kind of liked this idea. These reveal the story of how certain players chose their uniform numbers. I got cards of Robin Yount (#19), Ozzie Smith (#1), Andy Pettitte (#46), Nomar Garciaparra (#5) and Roberto Clemnete (#21) – these go in to my oldtimers binder. Also headed there are Baseball Legends highlight 25 of the greatest players to set foot on a diamond.
Okay I know the Phillies aren’t great this year but out of my whole box I got not one single Phillies card – what are the odds? I did find a Steve Carlton in the World’s Champions set. Other old-times are there too including Willie Mays, Duke Snider and Al Kaline. The assortment of players is pretty much more of the same guys you’ve seen in other sets – and what bugs me (always has) is that the player’s position is not posted anywhere on the card. The player pictures are nice.
Natural Wonders document 20 of Mother Nature’s greatest creations – Mount Evertest among them. Mini inserts (1:5 packs) cover several subjects beyond the world of baseball, including U.S. Mayors, Subway & Streetcars (modes of transportation), Laureates of Peace (Nobel Prize winners) and Ferocious Felines.
Among them I got a Pope Francis card (look for this to turn up signed in hobby auctions at some point), comedian Jay Oakerson (who looks like he just woke up after a very long night), the ever-popular Timothy Busfield, George Lopez and other sports types like Steve kerr, Steve Spurrier, Monica Abbott and Maria Sharapova. Again, look for these babies in coming autograph auctions. There is also a card of the Cuban Embassy – actually the American embassy in Havana – with the requisite vintage car in the picture.
Topps ’16 Stadium Club is a “Looker”
I was working for Fleer (VP hobby sales, marketing) when Topps originally rolled out Stadium Club (1991) and it was a revelation. The high-end, premium, card was born and the hobby would never be the same. The 2016 edition is too. In fact it’s the nicest looking set so far this year with crisp, clear color and black-and-white photography. Topps retired the brand in 2003 and it has been back, off and on, since (including last year). But now it’s really back and appears ready to kick butt.
Carlos Correa of the Astros decorates the packs an the hobby box which includes 16 8-card packs, promises (and delivers) two on card autographs and boasts one parallel or insert card in each pack. You’ll excuse if I steal a line from Beckett, “Every card uses photography to try and tell a story. That’s the bell and the whistle.” A total of 300 players from the past and the present make up the base set. Cards use a full-bleed design that has little in the way of additional elements. The reason is simple: Topps wants to stress that photography. The nameplate is bigger, yet less obtrusive, than last year, but the player’s last name, which takes up the majority of the space, uses an outlined type face that lets the background image show through. My two signed cards were Harold Baines (retired, Chisox) and Zach Lee of the Dodgers.
Oldtimers also dot the issue and if a kid isn’t paying attention he’ll think guys like Tom Seaver, Luis Gonzalez, Johnny Bench and Willie McCovey are still playing.
Some vintage b&w photos of Lou Gehrig (a pic I don’t recall seeing before) and Jackie Robinson rounding the bases are Ebbetts Field add class and depth to this issue. Inserts like Isometrics, and contact lens as well as die cut cards meant to fit together round things out. Little new ground, sadly, is broken in player content and the lineup is pretty much guys who you’ve already gotten out of packs a few times this year.
The hobby boxes are selling in the mid-$70 range and as such are a worthy addition to your new card collections for 2016.
Sort of Annual Paul Richards Award
In 1951 Bowman’s baseball card of White Sox manager Paul Richards (card #195) was a goofy looking drawing. I remember opening a pack as a kid and wondering if someone at Bowman had lost their mind. Over the years there have been other goofy cards (big air, poor air-brushing, over-sized equipment, etc.) and we have made this award – but not lately. This year the award goes to card #280 in the Stadium Club issue. It’s Mike Trout standing next to a bobble head of himself that is actually taller than the 6’2 outfielder from Vineland, NJ.
Can anybody help?
A fellow collector has asked me to help. He would dearly love to acquire either/or both of the complete 1951 Topps Red Backs and 1951 Berk Ross (can be just baseball, would like all sports) – two sets from his boyhood. They can be in G-or-better condition. Let me know if you can help. Thanks. (email@example.com).
We’ve moved –
After 25 years in Abington PA we’ve moved. Moving is an ordeal and we are still unpacking boxes. If you need to mail anything to me hobby-related please use: P.
O. Box 1302, Buckingham PA 18912. Same e-mail and phone number as always (but no land line, the deep thinkers are Verizon wouldn’t allow me to carry the number to the new address, go figure).
As usual - Thanks to Ted Silary for including this column in his web-zine and to all of you for regularly reading it.