Bip Mosaic

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April 7, 2013 · 6:02 pm

Nice Knowin’ Ya Kid

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Opening Day Sells Well At Retail

They should just rename it that, 2012 Topps Opening Day Sells Well At Retail.  That’s what I hear whenever Topps Opening Day is mentioned.  The fact may be true but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a well received set. I recently opened a small jar of gerbils on the Twitter about Topps letting me, @CardJunk, and @stalegum having a crack at re-branding Opening Day into a respectable set for $1 a pack.  They were all ears, and suggestions came quicker than….well, I’ll try and keep this clean, let’s just say they were listening.  It got to be a bit much to keep up with so I thought I’d lay my suggestions out here.  Here are a few things that I would do to make Opening Day better than what it is, and try not to add extra expense to the production.

  • Cardboard stock with a classic original design at $.99 a pack.  I think the key to it’s success at retail mainly lies on the $.99 price point.  Hire back the guys who designed from ’82 to ’88 and have them cook up something new and original.
  • Make the set big enough to make me buy a few boxes and still have to trade for those last 30 cards or so.  That is why they used to be called Trading Cards after all, and not a pack of lottery tickets. 792 cards always has a good ring to it, but I’m not sure what the magic number is for the set, but I’m sure they could figure it out.
  • Have a few key rookies make an appearance in the set, maybe slap some of the left over Bowman auto’d stickers to some of the cards for something to chase.  Maybe a few of the cheaper older guys to sign some too.  I’m pretty sure they could get Jody Davis or Mookie Wilson to sign for a reasonable amount.
  • Bring back fun inserts. Am I not the only grown man who’d sport a fake tattoo? I know the kids love them! I could use a Starlin Castro magnet card to stick to the fridge, kids love to stick those to their lockers too.  How about a Chrome #’d insert to give the kids a taste of the good stuff for the price of Opening Day.
  • No game used cards! We don’t need them and we don’t want them.
  • Limit the SP silliness. If they feel compelled to short print cards, at least make them inserts and not a part of the set. I don’t want to have to chase down 50 cards and pay $4 a pop on eBay because of manufactured demand.  This is the reason I have never finished a Heritage or A&G set.
  • Don’t necessarily aim it at kids! Do you know what kids really hate?  When you try to sell them something that an old man thought they’d be into.  They can spot that stuff a mile away.  They know what they’re being sold and have just enough intelligence to be insulted.
  • Parallels. I’m on the fence on this one.  They’re like speckendickens(look it up), I like ’em, but I don’t want a million of them. How about a real fancy hi-gloss version of the base card and call it a Tiffany parallel. Or a 3D version of the base card.  Something different than just a blue border.
  • I wouldn’t be totally offended by some manu-patches in a $.99 product either.  When done right, they look great and add extra value, at what I would guess is, a reasonable expense.

Now that this is all typed out, I’m thinking they can keep Opening Day and could just release another set like this at $.99 a pack.  Hell, if Opening Day does well at retail, why wouldn’t this?  I may be way off on this, but I think a a classic “set collectors” set has a spot in the hobby.  What do ya think Topps?  I’m listening!

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2012 Topps Fantasy League

If you are reading this, chances are you enjoy baseball cards.  I would suspect that some of you also enjoy playing fantasy baseball and football.  I would go further to suspect that if you’re a fan of those, you would maybe also like contests, prizes, and giveaways.  Well you’re in luck!  I’ve figured out a way to have all three combined into one card.

I know it’s a bit of a polished turd but try to follow me here.  What I’m proposing is a Topps Fantasy league.  It would require a bit of work on their part, but I don’t think it would be impossible to get done.  The first thing that would be necessary is an insert much like Topps Town or the giveaway cards from the last two years.  Add a QR code and a mobile app for scanning and managing your collection.  Then a website similar to The Topps Diamond Giveaway site would have to be set up  and run much like it is already with one extra function, the ability to host a fantasy league.  I imagine a partnership with an already established site wouldn’t be that hard to do.

Here’s how it would work.  Special code cards would be inserted into packs like they already are.  You would use a QR scanner built into the mobile app to scan the code.  You would then be issued a three card digital pack, plus a chance at a prize much like the “Digs” from this year.  The digital cards would make up your roster for your fantasy team.  You could then trade with other players to improve your team or sell them for “Digs”.   This way if people just want “Digs” they can sell their digital cards and people who are more interested in the fantasy aspect can easily improve their team.  Both camps would be happy.

The Fantasy league would have two options.  First would be the traditional leagues.  You would get together with friends or strangers and set up your own private leagues.  A commissioner would set up the rules and players would compete against one another.  The other would be a public rotisserie league where every one would compete against each other in several statistical categories.  Then it would be up to Topps to reward each leader with a prize.  They could set up benchmarks during the season to reward smaller prizes throughout the season and have grand prizes for the end of the year leaders.  If it was completely up to me I would make the prizes specific to the stat.  For example, who ever has the most stolen bases at the end of the year would receive a Ricky Henderson autographed base.  Most saves would win a Mariano Rivera autographed jersey.  If you get the most home runs, you win an autographed Hank Aaron bat, because we all know he is still the true Home Run King!  Obviously this would need some ironing out but I think it would accomplish a few things that are missing in the baseball card world right now.  First it may bring in fantasy fans that aren’t necessarily collectors.  Seriously, those guys are way more fanatical than most of us, and that is saying a lot!  The other more importing thing would be the building of a community of collectors online.  Not only would we be competing against each other, but it would give us a chance to trade and talk cards with people that we may not have been able to before.  I would think it would be a welcomed added value to a pack of cards.  It would be something that takes the cards beyond the shoe box or binder and extends the value of the purchase.  I’m not sure how willing Topps really is to be “Game Changers”, but something like this would be a good first step.

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Mobile Checklists, You Want ’em, You Got ’em!

If your like me, and I know you are, you would love it if one of the great card companies out there would get with the times and release a checklist app for our fancy phones.  I mean c’mon, there’s apps for everything!  If I want to find a recipe, there’s an app.  If I need to know the weather, there’s an app for that too.  Want to know your horoscope, there’s dozens of app for that!  Topps even made an app for a card flipping game that nobody plays.  Hell, the Kama Sutra has over 500 different apps available!  But when it comes to the single most useful tool for us collectors, there isn’t a single one to be found.  Even the #1 Authority hasn’t cashed in on this yet, but to be honest, we all know they’d just fuck it up beyond use and charge way too much for it!  I tried to create an android app with their app creator program but I soon found out I wasn’t smart enough to do such a thing, so I did the next best thing, I figured out a simple way to use Zistle along side with Google Docs to create checkable checklists on the go.  Here’s a quick an easy guide so you can do it too.

First go to Zistle.com.  If you’re not a member, that’s cool, it’s simple, free, and easy to sign up.  Not only is it your first key to getting mobile checklists, it will also help you break free from the Beckett chains!

When in Zistle, create a collection under the collection tab.  For this exercise I went with the 2011 Topps main set. Mark the ones you have and the ones you want.  It’s fast and easy.  If you don’t have any cards for a set and just want to set up a checklist, just go through and add all of the cards from the set.  It’s quicker to use the list option and display 100 per page.

The next step is to export your collection.  Under the Dashboard tab you will find an Export My Cards option.  After you select that you will be taken to to the Export File page.  Choose collection if you want the whole set to be displayed or if you’d rather just have your wants or haves you can just choose those.

This may take a few minutes depending on how large the collection is.  When it’s finished it will appear under My Exports.  Click on that and then choose export file and then it will download the file to your downloads folder.

After that, you’re done with the Zistle side of things.  From here we go to Google Docs.  If you’re not familiar with Google Docs, it’s a cloud service for your various Office files.  You will need to sign up and register for this too, but it’s as easy as having a Google account.

The first step is to upload the file you just created using Zistle.

Just click the little upload icon next to the create button and find the file that was created.  In this case it was 324.csv.  Once it’s loaded it will show up at the top.

When you open it it will look a little messy.  You’ll have to delete a couple of columns and make the columns the right size for everyhting but in the end you should be able to make this…..

look like this……

From there, all that’s left to do is to download the Google Docs app to your fancy phone and you have a fully functioning mobile checklist.  Pretty easy huh?  If anybody wants to play around with this file here’s a link to it.  All I ask is that you don’t erase anything or go hog wild with it, I put it out there just for an example.

You’d think the great minds at Topps and Panini would be able to bring something like this to market.  It’d be as easy as making the app and putting QR codes on the dummy insert cards.  Or better yet, instead of  Topps continuing to mindlessly reprint their cards form the past, make those cards with a QR code for a checklist from the corresponding year.  It’d be a lot more useful than that stupid card flipping game!

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Wocka Wocka Wockenfuss!

So you’re probably wondering why I hardly ever post anymore, and when I do, I come strong with a beat up Johnny Wockenfuss autograph?  Is it because he’s a lifetime .262 hitter.  Nope.  Maybe it’s because he hit 86 career home runs over a 12 year career?  Not even close.  Maybe it’s because he’s a full-fledged member of the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame.  Wrong again.  The simple answer is, it’s my damn blog and I can do whatever the hell I want too!  That, and I like players with funny names and cards that make me laugh!  This covers both bases.  I’m easy to please.  That’s the beauty of collecting.  Some go out and search for low numbered parallel rookie autographs of the hottest superstars out there or search high and low for the sickest multicolored patch card of their favorite player.  That’s all fine and dandy for those who don’t mind spending a boat load of money, but for me, I like cheap!  If you buy cheap it’s hard to get burned.  The problem is when you’re a fan of cheap, it can be hard to find something worth collecting.  Not for me.  I can find as much, if not more, enjoyment in a beat up Johnny Wockenfuss autograph as others do in their 12 swatch 14 color patch cards.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have a shiny autograph of Hank Aaron or a Sandy Koufax Dodger Blue patch card, just not as much as I’d like to have the $400 one of those would cost me.  It’s a lot easier to part with the $2 this bad boy set me back, and get the gratification of finding a hard to find autograph of one of the game’s greatest names!  But that’s just me!

Here’s a list of other players that belong in my Great Name Hall of Fame Collection.

  • Rusty Kuntz
  • Harry Chiti
  • Dick Pole
  • Herb Score
  • Woody Held
  • Seth Morehead
  • Pumpsie Green
  • Razor Shines
  • Charlie Furbush
  • Johnny Dickshot
  • Wonderful Terrific Monds
  • Bake McBride
  • Doug Fister

Feel free to hit me up with a trade offer on any of these guys!  If you know of any others that I forgot, leave them in the comments.  I’m always looking.

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Now This Is How You Do A Relic Card!

Last year I attempted to put together the Topps flagship set by buying a jumbo box of both series.  I knew I could score a complete set for far less than one box on eBay, but I had the itch to bust some wax.  After busting the two boxes I was left with a handful of cards to finish off the set, a Starlin Castro Red Hot Rookie redemption, a Kosuke Fukudome relic card, and a Rogers Hornsby bat card.  You’d think this box was a Cub’s fan’s dream come true, right?  Well, unfortunately Topps decided Hornsby looked better in this uniform than he did in the Cubby Blue.

I don’t know what they were thinking?  That’s the ugliest uniform in the bigs!  Anyways, after sitting on my shelf for a month or two it got tossed in a box and put away in the closet.  I recently came across it and though about putting it on eBay.  I checked the completed auctions and found a blue parallel version sell for $4.  For $4 I decided to hold onto it and try something different.  I sent out an email for help and an envelope of beat up vintage cards to the SlangKo Headquarters, and Sean was up for the challenge.  And he blew it out the damn sky!

This card is far and above the expectations I had!  I mean, he does great work, but this is far above great!  This card looks a million times better than the other one, and it has nothing to do with the uniform!  Wait, it gets better.  Do you want to see what the back of a card like this is supposed to look like?

Classy, Huh!  I’m not sure if you can tell, but the bottom line is in red foil.  I sure as hell wasn’t expecting foil!  This card literally went from something I had forgotten about in a box in the closet to something I will display and show off to who ever will look at it!  And why wouldn’t they want to look at it, it’s beautiful!?

Side by side, there’s no competition.  If you would choose the original over the SlangKo card, you must be out your damn mind or a Cardinal’s fan.  In either case that would leave you out your damn mind.

Now this is where Sean tries to one up my bundle of vintage I sent him.  We seem to do that to each other every time we send something, this time he won!  As if making a custom game used card from scratch and doing an unbelievable job wasn’t enough he went and did this……

Big deal you say?  Nine extra custom cards?  No, these are only 9 of 32, one for every Cub to suit up in 1929!  Front and Back!  I can’t tell you how glad I am I decided to ask him for help!  I’m already scouring eBay for more cheap relic cards and my collection for more beat up vintage to send his way!  I heard he really likes the 1960 set!  I think I got a bunch of those somewhere around here?  Thanks again to Sean for an unbelievable job well done!


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A Couple Of Kuntz And A Wockenfuss

Sounds filthy, don’t it!  This is what I turned my Topps Million Card Sweepstakes into.  I polished off a couple of my lesser valued, favorite players collections, grabbed a few vintage Cubs for my team sets, and loaded up on players with names that would make me, and any other 30 something, with the mind and sense of humor of a 14-year-old, giggle uncontrollably.

This card killed two geese with one rock!

If you’re not familiar with this man’s accomplishment, he is the proud owner of one of the finest pitching performances of all times!  If you are already familiar with his accomplishment and haven’t seen this, watch it.  And if you have seen it, watch it again, it’s that great!

Speaking of great pitchers with the fondness for a good time.

I think I have all of his cards now, I’m too lazy to check for sure right now, but I think I got ’em all.

I was able to polish off my Pumpsie collection too!

Some vintage random Cubness for all to enjoy!

A bird, two hawks, and a pair of 62’s.

And now probably the best card in the bunch according to the price guides…..

I had a blast putting this little collection of cards together this winter.  I think it would be cool if Topps could come out with a virtual subset that we could trade around online in a similar fashion and then have the option of having them printed and delivered.  I think this is where baseball cards and technology could really come together.  If I ran the hobby world I would include a QR code that would give you a “pack” of virtual cards on one of the filler cards, ie Topps Town.  I would then develop an app that would let you scan, organize, and trade your virtual cards right from your phone.  Who wouldn’t love to trade some cards while you’re waiting at the dentist office or while not paying attention in class!  When you complete your collection, cash out and have the real deal delivered to your door.

I think an idea like this would have a larger overall impact than the video cards.  Or, if the video card is really the future like Upper Deck and Panini suggest, why not load them with a similar app and capabilities or at least a folder with complete checklists.  If these video cards want to stick around, we’re going to need more than 60 seconds of forgettable college highlights, this would be a cheap and relatively easy way to improve on the idea.  As they sit right now, I don’t see them setting the collecting world on fire.

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This Post Has Been Twitter Tested and Bip Approved

I haven’t been around here much lately but I had to throw this little nugget up.  I noticed Bip was on the Twitters, so I asked him if he realized he was such an icon in the baseball card blogging world.  His response……

I’ve been Bipped!

I’ve also made the promise that once I get my Million Card Giveaway haul, I’ll be back here at a more semi-regular pace.  Stay tuned!

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It Looks Like I’ll Have To Listen To The Games With No Sound This Year! RIP Ronny

I just heard about Ronny’s passing.  I don’t have the ambition to type out some long post about how much he will be missed in the booth and in life.  I posted this last year right before the veterans committee totally jerk fucked him around once again.  Maybe now they will give him the honor he rightfully deserves!  RIP Ronny!

Warning:  This is a shameless plug for Ronny getting into the HoF.

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hell-click

I’ve been reading through several of the posts about who should get into the Hall of Fame.   Many players have strong cases for them and against them.  I wish most of them the best of luck.  One of the most deserving people on the list has to be Ron Santo.  It will be up to the veterans committee to decide his fate.  I hope with the help of Ryno, Mr. Cub, and Billy Williams he will get enough votes this time around.

His Playing Years

Ronny played 14 seasons in the bigs, all of them in the great city of Chicago, 13 years with the Cubs and one with the Sox.  He will go down as one of the best third baseman the game will ever see.  He received 5 Gold Glove awards.  He led the NL in assists from 1962 to 1968.  In ’63 he broke the assist record wit 374 put outs at third base, a record that had stood since 1904.  He then broke a league record for assists in 1966 with 391, a record that stood since 1892.  He went on and broke his own record again in 1967 with 393 assists.  His records stood until Mike Jack Schmidt put out 404 in 1974. He led the league in double plays six different years. He holds the record of the most consecutive games played at third base with 364 and the single season mark with 164 set in 1965.  This streak was ended only after he was hit in the face with a pitch fracturing his cheek bone.  This injury also led him to be the first player to have a batting helmet  with an ear flap.  He broke Eddie Mathews career records for double plays at third base and assists, again these records stood until Mike Jack Schmidt came along.  He is one of two third basemen to hit 300 home runs and win 5 gold gloves, the other, you guessed it, Mike Jack Schmidt.

His offensive numbers are not overly impressive but when you consider the era he played in they are not half bad either.  He had a career average of .277, 1,331 RBIs, and hit a total of 342 HR.  He is in the top ten of almost all of the offensive categories during his playing years.  He was also a 9 time All Star.

His impressive career is even more impressive when you consider all of this was done while trying to manage diabetes.  His consecutive games played record is the most impressive to me.  As a fellow diabetic I can tell you, you will definitely have a few off days a year.  To do this with the primitive treatments available in the ’60s and the ’70s is nothing short of amazing.

After Retirement

Santo has gone on with Pat Hughes to be the voice of the Chicago Cubs for WGN Radio.  I can tell you I would rather have no one than Ronny for this job.  I work second shift in a warehouse and I am forced to listen to more than half of the games on the radio.  Ronny isn’t particularly a great announcer, but he is the best one for the job.  You can turn on a game in the fourth inning and you can tell how it is going just by the sound in his voice.  He lives and dies with every pitch just like so many of us Cubs fans do.  It reminds me of watching games in the late ’80s and listening to Hary Caray butcher names and not have a clue what was going on with the game.  He was horrible and great at the same time.  Same goes for Santo.

Somehow with his busy broadcast schedule he finds time for charities and other special causes.  His main charity is the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).  He has raised well over 50 million dollars for diabetes research and raised more than that in awareness.  With the government ban on stem cell research, diabetes research has suffered greatly.  This makes his efforts all that more important.  This alone earns him a spot in my personal Hall of Fame.  I’ve had the privilege of meeting him on a few occasions and every time I am impressed by how upbeat he his.  He loves his fans and the game of baseball.  He will almost always stop for an autograph or a picture and then thank you for stopping him.  He has been in town on two separate occasions to help raise money for Little Cubs Field and again for the grand opening.  The first time he spoke to all of the local Little Leaguers on their opening day.  I was lucky enough to win a spot in a special private meet and greet.  He is by far one of the biggest stars and the nicest guys I have ever met.  He stood up for every picture taken which is quite impressive considering he is a double amputee below his knees.  His prosthetics  are decorated with blue pinstripes and Cubs logos,  that takes bleeding Cubbie blue to a whole new level.

What It All Adds Up To

Ron Santo deserves to be in the Hall.  He played the game with everything he had and he played the right way.  His numbers and stats are equal or greater than the other third basemen in the Hall.  He has stayed in the game since his playing days were over and become a fan favorite across the board.  He has done more good for the world than most people will ever get the chance to do.  Simply stated Ron Santo is a Hall Of Famer.  Good Luck Ronny!

AVG HRs RBIs ALL-STARS GOLD GLOVES
Ron Santo (1960-74) .277 342 1,331 9 5
Eddie Mathews (1952-68) .271 512 1,453 12 0
Brooks Robinson (1955-77) .267 268 1,357 18 16
Wade Boggs (1982-99) .328 118 1,014 12 2
Mike Schmidt (1972-89) .267 548 1,595 12 10
George Kell (1943-57) .306 78 870 10 0

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santo

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