As most of you are aware, I am a lawyer. I make my living on the fine print. Whether it is reading boilerplate language in contracts that is boilerplate only until it is not or being "that guy" and reading all the documents when we closed on our house, I literally have to read the fine print.
What does that mean though?
To me, reading the fine print is something I do from time to time to see the ridiculous disclaimers that other lawyers have written. It's a professional courtesy, I suppose.
Kind of like that old joke about sharks and professional courtesy.
Anyway, I don't know how many people were interested in the topic I raised on Saturday in my "Big City Topps" post and commented solely because the topic was interesting and how many people read the fine print below the video of "Big City Nights" by the Scorpions.
For those of you who need glasses, it says, "This is also a contest post -- I'll put everyone who answers into a randomizer and send something special for your collecting interests your way to the winner."
So, yeah, forgive the poor grammar. That sentence should probably be taken outside and shot. But, I promised a contest, and a contest winner is what comes after a contest.
I had 21 comments that came from 15 different people. While some posts simply provided the blog-comment version of "Amen," others came through with very thought provoking posts. One of the more interesting comments came from Night Owl, who basically said, "well, if your team gets good enough, you'll get plenty of cards."
Actually, he said something that I took a little personally -- though not in a "you just pissed me off" personally kind of way. He said, "[t]he noisiest and spendiest collectors get the most attention because their wallet shoulds the loudest. And you know who aren't noisy or spendy? Rays and Marlins fans. And, apparently, maybe Brewers fans, according to what you're seeing from Topps." He also said that Milwaukee simply needs to be a better team for Topps to take interest
I take umbrage with those points on two levels. First, I worry that I'm too shrill sometimes ... especially on Twitter. I'll go on rants -- often influenced by Topps's selections for the Topps Now cards that I'm dying to drop my $10 a card on but which Topps pretty much says, "shut up--you don't matter" to Brewers fans. In fact, I'm pretty sure that Sooz's husband blocked me because I'm so obnoxious about that.
I can't think of any other reason why, because, for the life of me, I don't think I've ever interacted with the guy.
The other point comes from 2012. The Brewers were coming off getting to the National League Championship Series after winning the NL Central. Topps, as always, printed thousands of cards -- 95,067 to be exact. Of those, 6675 were in the "main" sets, according to Beckett. Again, a reminder that the average team should have 3.3% of the cards issued to be "equivalent." That would be about 220 cards for the average team.
And the numbers were? The AL East champion Yankees got 388 cards, the World Series runners-up Texas Rangers had 272, the nowhere near the playoffs but 2010 & 2012 World Series champ Giants had 260, the 2011 World Series champion Cardinals 259, the NL East champion Phillies 258, and the 3d place in the AL East Red Sox 257.
The NL Central Champion Brewers that year had 222 cards -- just above the 73-89 Rockies at 217 and the AL Wild Card Rays at 213. The lowest numbers? The Houston Astros -- in the midst of their dire years that led to Alex Bregman, etc. being drafted and just before their switch to the AL -- had just 108 -- 2 more cards than they had losses the previous year. The Padres had 123, and the Chicago teams were tied at 157 apiece. So, yes, being a better team helped get more cards.
And yet, those numbers still don't look right, and just because the Astros were bad doesn't mean that their fans didn't deserve cards of their team in the main sets.
I'm not saying Night Owl is wrong by any stretch of the imagination. I just think that excess -- and the cards that go with winning -- should be pushed more into inserts and less into main sets.
Oh, and one more point raised by Brett Alan (welcome, by the way!): in 1979 and according to Beckett by searching for "1979 Topps," Topps made a total of 761 cards for the entire year. Topps is credited with making 38 Yankees cards that year. They made only 26 cards for one team only (and that was the fewest overall that they made). Guess which team got only 26 cards?
Yes, it was the Milwaukee Brewers.
Okay, y'all didn't come here for more ranting or numbers -- at least I don't think so -- so here's the randomized list of the commenters. I randomized it 7 times because I like 7.
JayP -- please shoot me an email with your address so I can send something your way. I know I have it around here somewhere, but help me out and make it easy.
Thank you to everyone of you who read that post and especially to those who took the time to comment. I enjoyed reading everyone's responses and thinking about the other points that you raised.