Ted Taylor's Collector's Corner

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    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 tedtaylorinc@comcast.net.

Ted Taylor's previous three books . . .
  "The Ultimate Philadelphia Athletics Reference Book (1901-54)" available from www.amazon.com
  "The Duke of Milwaukee - The Life and Times of Al Simmons" available from www.EduPublisher.com or by mail from TTA Authentic LLC, PO Box 273, Abington PA 19001 ($15 ppd.).

  "The Glenside Kid” – a story about growing up in the mid-20th century - available from www.eduPublisher.com or by mail from TTA Authentic LLC, P. O. Box 273, Abington PA 19001 ($24 ppd).

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

October 1, 2017

This continues our 42nd Year of hobby columns

Ted Taylor’s Collector’s Corner

Donruss 2017 Optics Baseball Goes with “The Mick”

  Applying, once again, the chromium treatment to the main Donruss baseball line (thereby dressing it up considerably), 2017 Donruss Optic Baseball is now home to Mickey Mantle cards following several years away from the brand (I wonder if the Mantle family deal with Topps expired.) He’s on the packaging and the image jumped out at me at the local hobby shop. Hobby boxes are going for $105 (take that, Topps). You can also buy “Value Packs” (16 cards with exclusive purple parallels for $4.99 at Target). May I say, here, one card is enough, I find no use for parallels, regardless of what color they are.

 Hobby boxes include two autographs per box. And as last year a variety of designs and inserts remain including the popular (from yesteryear) Rated Rookies, Diamond Kings and Masters of the Game (I found a Reggie Jackson) and, among the regular cards, were Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn and (evil old) Pete Rose.

 The ongoing weakness is this product is that it still doesn’t have the team logos (no MLB license, and that’s just plain silly) and that the shops that carry it tend to ober-price it because of the chrome treatment.  And, by the way, I got not a single Mantle card, an autograph or even a relic with my purchase.

Bowman Baseball Prospects Set

  This set is loaded with quirky refractors, parallels and other goodies. A hobby box will set you back about $120. If that stuff doesn’t interest you and your goal is to get the key players only then go to a dealer that builds sets (keeps the goodies for his high end customers) and you get away at about $45.

  As a Phillies fan I like that the set includes Rhys Hoskins (not his first card this year) and Dylan Cozens. For those that like long shots (but a #1 pick) Mickey Moniak is in the mix too.  Lots of cards with a “1” on them indicating their first card ever and that’s fun. All the players are in big league uniforms but the background is blurred on most of them so you won’t notice they were shot in empty stadiums.

  For reasons that totally escape me, the “set” includes four Japanese players and one Korean all in their country’s uniforms (obviously from this spring’s World Baseball Classic). Why do I want or need a card of Tetsuto Yamada, Yng Hyeon-Jong and three others is a mystery.

  That’s it for the Topps products this column.

This and That…

  We continue to be light on review product and that will, eventually, kill this column. I simply cannot keep buying all of the new products. My only promise to you is that we’ll finish out this year – our 42nd. Topps, which usually sends us review copies, seems to have lost our address They have been so good over the years that this truly puzzles me. Not only are they snubbing me, but they don’t seem to care about my readers.

 Since Topps seems to have lost my address I have been buying things from longtime hobby dealer Larry Fritsch cards. The review of the Bowman set, above, is thanks to one of those purchases. When I bought this set the bill came to $44.90. A prior purchase had resulted in a whole $2.50 off coupon good for “any merchandise purchase over $45”. Guess what? Since I was short a dime they didn’t honor it. Really. Ironically orders both both Heritage high number and Heritage minor league (still to be received) came in well ove $120. Can’t they add in Wisconsin. Note that I am a long-time but, now, unhappy customer.

 At my local Target store (for $9.99 each) I picked up three major sports card boxed sets from re-packager “The Fairfield Company” that guarantee one autograph – or more. I have friends (professionals, two of them doctors, one an accountant) who still collect autographed cards and for less than ten bucks I’ve now got a nice little goodie to drop on them at lunch one day.

 Donruss has a couple of $19.99 boxed products (football and NASCAR) that promise one or more autographed cards as well as the current card offerings. Again, not a bad price to get a signed card though, odds are, it won’t be worth twenty bucks.

 Rhys Hoskins cards remain hot. The Phillies rookie slugger has taken the NL by storm. His 2017 Bowman (BCP117) is in high demand now, but his true “Rookie Card” was from 2016, Bowman #BD 186 (as of last week going for $20 each). If money is an object and you would be happy with a minor league card of him it’s part of the 2017 Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs set (selling by the club for around $10). This set is a good buy. By the way, Scott Kingery’s rookie card was also a 2016 Bowman #BD 128. (Kingery is part of the Reading Phillies minor league team set this year, but not Lehigh Valley.) And I can’t help thinking that Dylan Cozens is getting the Darrin Ruf treatment. Ignore him until he’s not a factor.

  Now that it looks like the Phillies will keep Kingery in the minors until, at least, late May of 2018 it is pretty certain that my wife and I will fold Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs tickets in to our 2018 plans. The consensus is that the Phillies will save a year of arbitration – the hell with the actual composition of the big team – by letting him stay at AAA early in 2018. The Phils have been so bad over the past few years and yet they will keep him on ice to save a few bucks. A real slap in the face to the ticket buying loyal fans. And don’t tell me the Phils are “fan friendly” because I’m not buying.  This will mark my fourth straight season where I skipped a multi-game package.

 After the last column we got a few stray older cards but I still have readers still looking for the complete 1950 Bowman reprint set (I have someone who will go $100 for it in mint shape), and single cards – or sets (anything from f/g to ex) – from the 1951 Topps red and blue backed sets and the 1951 or 1952 Berk Ross sets. Single Bowman FB cards from 1950 and 1951 are also on my reader “want lists”.

 Contact me with comments –at tedtaylorinc@comcast.net . Thanks for your feedback. (note new e-mail address.)

 As usual - Thanks to Ted Silary for including this column in his web-zine and to all of you for regularly reading it.