Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cards from a 23-time All-Star Blogger?

No one has ever appeared or been on the roster for 23 different All-Star games. One man -- Hank Aaron -- appeared in 25 different All-Star games in 21 seasons on All-Star rosters and two men -- Willie Mays and Stan Musial -- appeared in 24.  But no one hit 23.

No one, that is, except for the four players for whom Jim at GCRL has named his blog. Steve Garvey was named to 10 All-Star games, Ron Cey went to 6, Bill Russell made it to 3, and Davey Lopes went to 4.  Total that up and you have 23 All-Star appearances. Oddly, no more than three of the quartet ever made it to a single All-Star game at the same time -- 1979 saw Garvey, Cey, and Lopes named to the NL squad, and in 1980 it was Garvey, Russell, and Lopes, but three was the high water mark.

The package of cards that Jim sent to me had far more "high water marks" than that, certainly.  With cards spanning from 1981 through 2015, it contained a diverse array of cards that I needed for my player collections in particular and for my team collections as well.

Let's just go in chronological order:


It's a 1981 Topps Sticker that I don't think I had even for my sticker album.  Some guy in auto-tint glasses alongside Ben Oglivie!


Three excellent Donruss 1984 cards to get closer to finishing off that team set. I'd guess that Slaton and Moore had their photos taken in spring training in Arizona while Cooper looks to me to be hitting in Fenway Park. I always loved as a kid when the Brewers went to Fenway. The team hit very well there, and the games were exciting with Rice, Yaz, and Evans on the other side.  I never hated the Red Sox like I hated the Yankees, though.


The lone Brewers card in the 1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes set -- almost certainly because Robin Yount didn't announce his retirement until early February in 1994 -- belonged to Cecil Cooper. That set was one of the first major company releases featuring retired players in a new design.  

Here's a question to those collecting for the duration: what changed in around 1999 such that card companies decided to start issuing tons of retired-player sets and, then, sets of active and retired players together? Was it just a sudden surge in interest in the older players? 

I mean, I'd have collected the "old-timers" myself if there were readily available mainstream sets in the candy store in the 1980s, but it just seems curious that there was a sudden explosion in the late 1990s/early 2000s.


I did a double take when I saw these two cards. I totally thought I had gotten two of the same card. Then I realized that it was just Upper Deck being lazy and getting photos from the same angle of Geoff Jenkins and Dave Nilsson and saying, "yup, that'll do. Hell, no one cares about them anyway."

The Jeromy Burnitz Collection

Jim helped cross off a ton of the cards I needed for my Jeromy Burnitz player collection. Seeing all of these Burnitz cards from the early 2000s, you can see that the Brewers really haven't changed their look all that much in the past 15 years.  

I think it's time for an update on the jerseys again.  Let's go back to those great 1970 uniforms -- you know, the ones that had "brewers" sewn in over "pilots" in the all-lowercase look that Jim favors with his blogging.


I am totally in favor of going back to team cards that look like this. Even better, going back to the mid-1970s Chicago Cubs team-card look.  

Topps apparently had to do this perhaps because the Cubs couldn't agree on a date to take the team photo.  That, or maybe no one wanted to be in the same photo with a guy like Dave Kingman or Jose Cardenal's afro blocked too many faces... 

Anyway, bring those back. That way we don't get the weird artificial wall to block the clubhouse manager and the batboys out of the photo.


Topps Attax may have been one of the more ill-conceived attempts at breaking into the "collect-a-game" card sets. I'm guessing that the "games" would be pretty dry affairs.  Did anyone actually play this game?

The Gallardo from the 2011 Lineage set -- a set name which makes no sense -- is oddly the first regular Gallardo I have from that set. I have two or three of the chrome version, but this is the first "base" version.  What I don't get is what "Lineage" means here. I mean, it's not like Gallardo's family tree is on the back, and the card looks like nothing that Topps ever put out before that or since.  So, what's the story, morning glory?


In a strange twist, Jim gave me my first opportunity to look at and hold in my hands cards from the 2015 Archives set. I have to admit -- I am REALLY sick of that inset photo of Gomez.  This is now the SIXTH time that Topps has used this photo. I brought this up when I got the Topps 1952 oversized cards that Topps had used the same photo there, on the 2014 Fan Fest All-Star game cards, on his 2014 Archives card, and on his 2014 Allen & Ginter card.  But, I missed one then -- because this same photo is also on the back of his 2014 Stadium Club card too:

There is no good explanation for this. None whatsoever. I defy anyone from Topps to try to give me a justification for this blatantly lazy, cheap, and frankly disrespectful-to-collectors use of this same photo over and over again. 

That said, the package of cards from Jim was altogether excellent! While I get annoyed with Topps for its laziness, I am eternally grateful to everyone who sends me cards.  Thank you very much, Jim!


  1. The floating head cards I kind of creepy, but I like them. Great stuff from Jim!

  2. I don't know if it really had any impact whatsoever, but the vintage players started appearing regularly in the NBA during the 1996-97 50th Anniversary season. The lockout in 1998-99 led to the first of Upper Deck's Legends brand and it was a huge success- and also the first time quite a few of the Legends ever signed autographs for the cards. They've been in many sets ever since.