Category Archives: Blogs

Tops Reads of 2018

I’m glad to finish documenting my favorite blog reads (for myself but sharing since it may interest others). Have a Happy New Year 2019!

8. Joe’s nightmare of Heritage 2024 is also mine (from different angles including the fear of about 6 more Yount and Brett rookie reprints before 2024).

7. Shoebox Legends’ Frankenset series where he considers which cards to add is some good casual reading. This one had a 1975 card that stayed in – so that’s a win.

6. Bob’s post about nothing is very apropos as I’ve recently been watching a lot of Seinfeld reruns.  I relate to the Allen card on the desk making you happy.

5. I’m a sucker for good vintage stories with a card/photography angle. Bo had a good one here with Rico Petrocelli, who’s in the 1975 set.

4. Duff retired – congratulations and thank you for your service! Everything about this post was cool. I wonder if he ever figured out what he was going to do with that Nascar tire he won in a prize drawing at a hockey game. If not, maybe now he’ll have time to work on that 🙂

3. 2018 was a year where at least a couple of bloggers reassessed there collecting approach. I expect it’s something many of us think of occasionally. Night Owl wrote here and Tony took stock earlier in the year.

I also felt naive when I started collecting 1975 cards again. Defining your path is full of twist and turns. Placing limits is hard at first, but for me it permeated my habits to a point where I know I can’t have it all. You grow wiser. And now I can usually jedi-mind trick myself out of buying yet another Yount or Brett rookie reprint (but I do like that poster in Tony’s post 🙂  It also feels like many of us got parallel overload in 2018. How does this play out? We’ll see.

2. Night Owl’s seventh favorite non-sports card put this on the list. That was the card I just posted for Christmas – a 1975 style Kris Kringle. Reading his post turned into one of those “I didn’t know this existed moments” wherein I immediately started surfing the web and bought the card that day. He’s also got a Beanball reprint card in there – also up my alley.

1. I liked Bo’s now & then post about a Flashback card and Paul’s look back at card companies from the junk wax era. These are in the same category as the typical fare in the Topps Archives blog, which easily in my Top 5.

Toppcat writes about Topps history like in this post or tough to find hobby artifacts. My favorite post of the year snuck into the list just a few days ago. It’s about the 1975 Topps Sports club. I happened to start collecting mail-in collectibles recently and ended up with an extra of the Topps baseball and football Sport Club newsletters (so if anyone’s interested drop me a line).

These are about as direct a connection to my childhood as 1975 cards. To a kid, mailing in for stuff in the 70’s was like seeking supplies from some remote island in the 1880’s. Could you just picture your kid self on that island? I’m picturing a Seinfeld-esque bit… What should we order next, sir, flour… coffee? No! Cancel all the flour. Cancel all the sundries! We need more uncut checklists. More Sea-Monkeys… and Sports Club newsletters!

Top Reads of 2017

You’ll find more Top Reads of 2017 at Athletes with Phones.

Here are some of my favorite blogs posts from 2017…

8. Joe Shlabotnik combined haiku and cards the result is a creative post.

7. P-Town Tom wrote a great 6th anniversary post with a bit of everything. I like the baseball coach angle.

6. Many have pondered how old people look vs. their actual age. Paul’s post covers that topic for baseball cards. The Bad News Bears reference gets bonus points.

5. Sometimes nobody’s asking for a thoughtful analysis of on subjects that haven’t been considered. But Night Owl’s there to provide said analysis. Sometimes includes cards like 1975’s ERA Leader card with its Buzz Capra and Catfish Hunter nickname match-up. The only thing better than the nicknames are the expressions.

4. I’m a sucker for good stories like one where Tony got a bat signed by Robin Yount. Like the Ron Cey lamp story, there’s also a wife involved 🙂

3. Julie’s Summer of ’74 post is a great nostalgia laced read – an intricate blend that hits the right notes.

2. 42 years later, someone observed the 1975 Cubs team card had a face that was whited out. Who was it wondered Paul (and now me)?

1. In another flea market visit by Fuji, his $10 find of Star Wars and Star Trek cards is one of my favorite discoveries. And spelling out Chronicles of Fuji with the stickers was creative. But there was an even better post – a sentimental Father’s Day post. Certain things do get better with age, including Fuji’s blog in 2017.

Top Reads of 2016

This is a continuation of a list I started on Athletes with Phones. Below are some of my favorite card collecting-related reads from 2016…

5. Wrigley Wax’s creative re-telling of the Christmas story according to St. Luke is appropriate for this time of year, plus it has a 1975 card in it.

4. Shlabotnik Report wrote about Tom Dempsey. I didn’t know Tom’s story – it’s inspiring. He was born with no toes on his right foot, yet held the record for field goal distance for 40 years.

3. Tony got lucky in 2016 – he was invited on a tour of Suntrust Park under construction. His write-up sharing the experience with the rest of us was both well written and fortified with photos. It was one of the best posts of the year. The stadium would open to the public on March 31, 2017 for an exhibition game (the Braves won).

2. This forum post led to my discovery of an audacious Topps product called the Transcendent collection. It’s an outrageous Gordon Gecko concept – get a ticket to a VIP party where you meet a baseball star and get limited edition cards all for 20 grand. That’s not in my league. But it contained something that I was able to pick up – this Kris Bryant 1975 theme card numbered to 65. I eventually upgraded it, so this one’s available to anyone who’s interested.

1. My favorite post of 2016 can be no other than Bob Lemke’s last post. I wrote Bob late in 2015 and he replied about some future projects. About a year later I discovered Bob died. Collectors lost a friendly, helpful voice in the community. And you can still see his custom cards online. His 1975 customs included a Duke Snider and an Orlando Cepeda.

Cards That Never Were and Topps Bunt

This post is indirectly related to 1975 cards. It’s about the Cards That Never Were blog that I follow. It houses custom/concept cards including some that resemble the 1975 set.

Today the Topps Bunt app announced card designs from the CTNW blog. Whatever you feel about collecting cards on the app, I think this bit of news is pretty cool.

Update: John Hogan, wrote about it

These are popular. Below is the announcement and all the cards.

Hank Aaron is the award card and these are now sold out.


The card backs look like this:

Blog Inspirations: A Cracked Bat and 1991 Petro Canada

I didn’t expect to be away from writing for so long, but sometimes life throws you curveballs.

Luckily this isn’t a paid gig so any pressure to produce content is solely my own. I’ve gotten over feeling forced to post often. That keeps this a fun hobby and not a drag. I write because I like it and if someone reads and comments, that’s icing (and I like that too). Anyways…

Two things happened during this time and they’re both related to Julie from A Cracked Bat blog. Thing one is she was nice and posted a welcome comment on a blog I started on Blogger earlier this year (and also put on hold).

The reason I read baseball card blogs is it leads to inspiration and discovery. So thing two is Julie wrote a post about getting some cards in the mail. These included Petro Canada oddballs that really caught my eye – they’re 3D pop outs. How cool is that?

I checked COMC and they had a bunch (see 1991 Petro-Canada All Star FanFest Stand-Ups). They’re not super cheap but also not that expensive (except for players with a single card for sale, which are hit by limited supply price distortion).

So I tagged a George Brett on my watch list to mull it over. But eventually I had a flash of insight about how I could really fit one into my collection: a 1975 tribute card.

The back of Carlton Fisk’s card has this one-liner: “Hit dramatic game winning  HR in ’75 World Series against Cincinnati” – it’s an important one-liner. Plus it’s Carlton Fisk in 3-D! So I clicked buy and the rest is history.

I haven’t brought myself to convert it into 3-D mode so if you want to see one opened up, that’s a good reason to meander over to Julie’s post that started this.

I also wasn’t able to find much about these cards until I hit a dormant blog’s post. Apparently these were handed out at the 1991 All Star Game in Toronto (now the name of this series makes sense).

Thanks Julie for your blog, I really enjoy reading it!


Mail Call: 75s in the 90s

I like seeing how players from the 1975 Topps set show up in other years. And that’s what you’ll find in this post.

I need to start with a classic Bill Buckner card. In Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Mookie Wilson hit a ball that slipped past Buckner’s legs. The Red Sox eventually lost the series and he was blamed (but nobody really knows what the outcome would’ve been had he made the play). The whole thing was over in 40 seconds. But four years later, Upper Deck still poked fun of it in the 1990 set.

Even today the first thing a search for Bill Buckner World Series pops up is a YouTube video of the event. As time passed and the Red Sox won multiple World Series, most everyone including Bill got over it. He even appeared in a 2011 Curb Your Enthusiasm episode that joked about the incident.

So yeah, the card’s an oddball equivalent of a stand-up joke, but it also reminds me of perseverance and that’s why I like it. Winning is great but dealing with adversity really tests a person. How many people could’ve dealt with making a similar public mistake?

Cards and baseball are sometimes about more than just cards and baseball.

Buckner’s oddball vs. the real Buckner in 1975

There are other Upper Deck oddballs. You’ve got your footballs mixed with your baseball. And Frank either doing laundry or emptying a bucket of balls.

15 years is impressive for any line of work, let alone playing in the majors. Some don’t make it past a year.  Players from 1975 with the stamina to play into the 90s (like Buckner) quickly dwindle. In 1988, only 35 were still playing and 3 years later there were less than half – Dave Winfield was one of those still in the game:

I like how these cards contrast

A lot of junk wax era cards are just junk. I didn’t collect back then and missed most of it so Bru’s cards were an eye opener. Many of these Upper Deck cards are examples of when both photography and design are excellent. The results can be spectacular even if the cards were overproduced. They include great action shots:

Fans are much closer to the action

But just because you can take stop-action photos doesn’t mean you should use them. Like bad family photos, we just don’t need to see 1989 Upper Deck Charlie Hough’s weird facial expression. I had to pull 1975 Topps Charlie to make it better…

I haven’t owned a single DonRuss card and wasn’t seeking them out. Bru sent some and I won’t turn away any card with 1975 players. The photos in the 1990 DonRuss set are mostly mediocre. But I really like this Griffey – the photo’s good and the color fits in with his uniform. Even the potentially cheesy paint speckles seem to work. So this is my favorite DonRuss card so far:

Mail Call: Astros Uniforms 75 vs. 89

I’m always interested in any cards with players from the 1975 Topps set, and Bru from Remember the Astrodome delivered with a stack of cards. That motivated me to organize my cards and find some Astros he could use. It took a while (in between other projects), which explains the month long hiatus here.

I’ll break this mail call into two posts, starting with Astros uniforms. I really liked them growing up. They fit right in with clothes we wore those days (like Ocean Pacific t-shirts). Even today their iconic outfits from the mid-70s and 80s takes me back to those days.

The Astros had tame-looking uniforms in the 75 Topps cards:

They didn’t match my reality of what the Astros wore. It’d take another year to highlight their new threads on cardboard. 1976 SSPC Roger Metzger and 1976 Topps Joe Niekro look like they’re still getting used to their new outfits:

What started me on this path was one of the cards Bru sent. Buddy Bell was an Astro for a year but he was wearing a different outfit than I remembered. After digging into it, turns out there were four incarnations of what are dubbed Tequila Sunrise uniforms. These lasted until 1993 and the 89 Upper Deck card shows him in the third version:

The 1975 Buddy I knew played for the Indians (so he’ll always seem out of place in an Astros uniform):

There’s also a cool page I found on with a slideshow of Astros uniforms throughout the years (starting with them as the Colts in 1962). I wasn’t planning a post about uniforms, so thanks for the inspiration and for sending the cards Bru!

Night Owl 1, Mariners 2, Orioles 3

Baseball card collecting isn’t complete without baseball games. And Monday was a perfect night for a game.

It started with pre-game brews. And if I hadn’t discovered baseball card blogs recently, I wouldn’t have paid attention to this selection:

Score 1 for Night Owl

The game started with a bang and had an exciting ending. The views were spectacular, the weather amazing, and we had a great time. That also made it easier that the Mariners didn’t eek out the win in the 9th.

Mariners 2, Orioles 3

1982 Kmart Redux

The 1982 Kmart MVP Baseball card set that celebrate the 20th anniversary of Kmart’s 1962 opening includes what I think should’ve been the Fred Lynn rookie card (covered here). Also included is Kmart nostalgia (I still remember walking by those flashing blue light specials as a kid).

The set breaks down like this:

  • 41 cards of MVPs from 1962 to 1981. You’d expect the MVP cards to have an even number, but there are 3 in 1979. That’s the only year with a tie (Willie Stargell and Keith Hernandez – see here for more details on the voting).
  • 3 Highlight cards like this one:

  • 28 are of players featured in the 1975 set (including rookies and future MVPs: Jim Rice, George Brett, Keith Hernandez, and Fred Lynn)
  • Players with two cards in this set: Johnny Bench (1970 & 1972 MVP), Joe Morgan (1975 & 1976), Mike Schmidt (1980 & 1981), Pete Rose (1973 MVP and Highlight)
  • 26 are also in the 1975 Topps MVP subset, which have two photos per card (#200 to 212). But the Kmart cards have larger photos since there’s one photo per card:

It’d be nice to own the original cards represented in these reprints

I don’t know how many were produced. I was able to find one clue here where a forum post noted 2,000 Kmart stores initially got from 576 to 1,152 sets per store. That amounts to between 1.1 to 2.3 million sets. Even a production run that was a fraction of that would explain why there’s still so many unopened packs

Kmart also made similar sets with different themes in four other years (all with 33 cards per set): 1987 Stars of the Decades, 1988 Memorable Moments, 1989 Dream Team, 1990 Superstars. The Wrigley Wax blog has a good overview of them all here.

Kmart also made a 726 card OPC set in 1980 but I don’t know much about it (other than they’re available on eBay in cello packs for cheap):

The Kmart cards may not have much monetary value, but card collecting doesn’t have to be about value. If all cards cost 10 cents, I’d still collect them. And wouldn’t that make it a lot easier?