Last year, a fellow Mets fan surprised me with a bunch of the Topps Now cards released during the team’s Wild Card-winning season.
For those unfamiliar with Topps Now, just about every day during the baseball season, Topps produces one or more baseball cards focusing on a highlight from the previous days’ games. Those cards are available for 24 hours, and Topps prints however many people buy.
The holiday season always seems to be the time for some baseball players to catch up with their fan mail. (As someone who was still sending out Christmas cards this week, that never fails to amaze me.)
Baseball card collectors who were around in the 1990s probably have fond memories of Topps Stadium Club, a premium product known for its great photography. Of course “premium” in the early 1990s meant something entirely different than it does now – when you could still get some packs of baseball cards for less than $1, spending $3 to $5 for Stadium Club seemed extravagant. Now it’s just the cost of buying a pack of whatever new cards you can find at Target.
After an absence of several years, Topps tried to revive the brand in 2008 with a poorly-received set that included an autograph (from someone you’d probably didn’t care about) in each hobby pack that sold for around $25. You could also buy normally-priced blasters at Target and WalMart, where you could probably expect to find one autograph per box. The cards were still gorgeous, but there was a confusing short-print scheme that made set collecting more trouble than it was worth.
Stadium Club is back again this year as a hobby-only release. Boxes will sell for around $100 and include three autographs. (The autograph checklist doesn’t look too bad, but I would not be surprised if Mike Zunino and Yangervis Solarte are a lot more common than George Springer and Gregory Polanco.)
Jacob deGromis one of the few bright spots on a New York Mets team that often feels like it is waiting for a bright future that may never arrive.
The story of Tuesday night could have been about David Wright being shut down for the rest of the 2014 season with “persistent inflammation” in his left shoulder. And for the national media – assuming that they are still paying attention to the Mets at all – it probably was.
DeGrom still has a chance to win 10 games in his rookie season, even though his first victory didn’t come until June 21. He’d be among the National League ERA leaders if he’d pitched enough innings to qualify. And if Cincinnati Reds OF Billy Hamilton is his only serious competition, deGrom should be a lock to win the NL Rookie of the Year award.
What makes it even more special is that deGrom was not one of those over-hyped prospects who rarely seem to pan out. Even the people who thought he might contribute to the 2014 Mets expected deGrom would be a bullpen arm.
Someone who had a role in determining the 2014 Bowman checklist believed in Jacob deGrom. These are the 26-year-old right-hander’s first baseball cards, not counting ones produced as part of minor league team sets. And thanks to Listia, I added them to my collection today along with a couple of other Bowman Chrome Prospects cards. (I’m now a little bit closer to finishing my 2014 Bowman Mets team set.)
Cleon Jones hit .340 with 12 home runs and 75 RBI for the World Champion New York Mets in 1969. Until Mike Piazza and John Olerud topped it in 1998, Jones held the Mets’ team record for highest single-season batting average.
I miss the posed photos that used to be a staple of baseball card production. Action photos were a rarity in the early 1970s and almost never seen in earlier baseball card sets. Even in the 1980s, card makers employed a fairly balanced mix of the two styles. Modern baseball cards pretty much relegate posed photos to retro sets like Topps Heritage and Allen & Ginter, favoring close-cropped action photos instead.
If you’re not going to give me a photo that will make me say “wow,” I’d rather have one that shows me what the player looks like.