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 reached at email@example.com where he is managing partner of STAT Authentic LLC (www.statauthentic.com), a sports/celebrity authentication, appraisal and acquisitions company.
May 17, 2013
This is our 38th Year of hobby columns
Ted Taylor’s Collector’s Corner
Bowman Baseball Arrives to much fan fare
Over the past couple of weeks Topps has sent teasers to the press, showing us why they think this will be such a great baseball product. They showcased the Wrapper Redemption, The Lucky Redemption (when my box came I got none of those), Bowman Black, 65th Anniversary (I got a Matt Holiday reprint from 1999), Best Bowman Players of All Time (I got exactly none), Prospect Challenge cards (I got four) and more.
Bowman, which always features young players and rookies was, and is, one of the most anticipated launches of the year, especially for set collectors and this edition is no different. Included in the mix are smaller-sized Chrome cards of young players – some of whom are also on regular sized cards.
The hobby box contains 24-ten-card-packs with a nice cross section of almost ready rookies, some we won’t be hearing about for years and, maybe too many, cards of players we find in every set that Topps issues (Cliff Lee, Mark Teixiera, A Rod, Prince Fielder, Josh Hamilton, Felix Hernandez, Stephen Strasburg, you get the idea).
Promising rookies like Roman Quinn, Hansel Robles, Tony Renda, Gregory Polanco, Tayler Scott, Chris McFarland, Kyle Crick, Nolan Arenado, Mark Montgomery, Ericson Leonora, Harold Castro, Alex Mayer, Michael Snyder and Jurickson Profar are the fun of sets like this. In some ways they are annuities. Some will make it, hence the cards add value, some won’t. But it makes collectors become better fans.
Speaking of promises, the box promises a signed card, mine was Alen Hanson of the Pirates (who spent 2012 in the South Atlantic League). There’s also a variation of the base cards with artwork in the background instead of the usual scenery (I got three of them, my Travis Shaw card - #BP67 - has an American flag-like banner in the back, my Jamie Callahan card - #BP11 - looks like he has horns growing from his head).
There are gold bordered parallels, blue bordered, chrome and silver chrome cards. There’s a card of Richie Weeks (#199) that suggests a diet might be in order – ditto Prince Fielder, but he always looks like that.
Decorating the box and packaging are Orioles pitcher Dylan Bundy and Twins outfielder Byron Buxton. I got a Buxton card, didn’t get a Bundy.
Other good stuff on the Bowman horizon:
Bowman on MLB Network
• Starting this month, Bowman Baseball will be featured on the MLB Network. Also, Bowman will be featured in a special Trivia segment on MLB Tonight
Bowman Prospect Challenge
• The Bowman Prospect Challenge is underway. Fans are invited to put their knowledge of prospects to the test! There are special code cards in packs 2013 Bowman Baseball. If you find one then go to Topps.com/BowmanGame to unlock players and build your roster for a chance to win autograph cards every month!
Bowman at the MLB Draft!
• Bowman will be a sponsor in this year’s MLB Draft on June 6 and will be bringing a “First look” at some of the 2013 draftees.
TOPPS TO PRODUCE MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER TRADING CARDS
Topps and Major League Soccer (MLS) today agreed to a partnership that makes the Topps Company the official trading card producer of Major League Soccer. Through the terms of the multi-year agreement, Topps will produce not only trading cards but player stickers, sticker albums and other Major League Soccer collectibles.
“We are excited to produce and offer Major League Soccer collectible products,” said Jeff Heckman, Brand Manager on MLS business at Topps. “The popularity of soccer and MLS in the United States and Canada is growing immensely and it is a great opportunity for us to reach new consumers among this passionate and diverse fan base.”
Topps will launch its first MLS collection in July. In accordance with Topps’ current offerings, collectors and soccer fans will find autographed cards, memorabilia cards and other special cards featuring MLS’ biggest and brightest stars including Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane, Graham Zusi and Omar Gonzalez.
“MLS is excited about this new partnership with Topps,” said Maribeth Towers, MLS senior vice president of consumer products. “We regularly hear from MLS supporters that they want a variety of cards and collectibles and this new relationship will allow us to super-serve our incredibly supportive fans.”
Reader Walter Czop is always on top of our trivia questions and, this time, he trumped me. The question was to name the one player who transcended the A’s 1929-31 championship run and the 1950 Phillies NL crown.
My answer was George Earnshaw, who was the Phils pitching coach and one of Connie Mack’s aces. I forgot, and Walter reminded me, that Phils coach Cy Perkins was a catcher (albeit backup to Mickey Cochrane) on the 1929 and 30 A’s. Worst part is, when I read his answer, I thought “you dummy, you knew that”.
Walter tried to stretch the envelope to four. Okay he got me on Perkins but I’m not buying the other two – which are both really stretches.
He wrote, “Now could it be possible that there may be two others that have a loose association between the two teams?” Then he listed:
“1) Stan Baumgartner - who played for both Phils and A's during his playing career, was a sportswriter for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1927 to 1952 or 1953. I know about Stan from his Phillies book written with Frank Lieb in the 1950's. Could he have covered the World Series in 1929-31, and then in 1950?” Covering the World Series doesn’t make it, Walt.
“2) Eddie Collins Jr - could he also qualify as a person associated with both teams? Was Eddie Jr ever an A's bat boy in the late 1920's or early 1930's? Eddie Sr was back with the A's in 1930. And Eddie Jr later worked for the Phillies, although I am not sure he was working for the Phillies in 1950. I am reaching here!” Yes, Walt, you were reaching. I met Eddie Jr. a few times during my A’s Society days and he never mentioned being a bat boy (he’d have been 12 in 1929). Collins did serve as assistant GM under Herb Pennock with the Phils in the mid-40’s, but was fired long before they became the Whiz Kids. A nice man, by the way.
Two other questions, there was a big league coach who was the last man still in uniform in the 1980’s who had played for both the long defunct St. Louis Browns and the Philadelphia Athletics. (Of course Walter will come up with about eight guys.) Also, we all know that Steve Carlton wore #32 for the Phillies and the number was retired. What other successful Phils left-hander wore that number before Steve? (Hint, he’s among the Phils pitchers with over 100 wins).
In closing…I was sorry to see the Philadelphia A’s Society gift shoppe and museum close, recently, in Hatboro PA. Located there since the late '90s it was a repository for lots of great A’s-related memories and memorabilia – including all the A’s “Wall of Fame” plaques from Veteran’s Stadium. The operation, such as it remains, is apparently affiliating with the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame in Northeast Philly. It was a great “ride” for those of us who lost a part of our hearts when the A’s were kidnapped to Kansas City in 1954. One key A’s player, and a long-time supporter of the A’s Society, Joe Astroth, passed away recently in Boca Raton, FL. (He was Bobby Shantz’s battery mate, business partner and friend.) A classy man.
Note: This time of the year is typically a dry spell for new sets, but now with Bowman baseball out, can Topps Archives baseball be far behind?
Always happy for your comments on other topics, write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading this.