Monday, May 2, 2016

The Trading Post #65: Cardboard Collections

I've gone on record before as saying I'm not the biggest fan of Gypsy Queen. But after my first trade with Colbey at Cardboard Collections, I may be rethinking that a bit.

2013 Topps Gypsy Queen Framed White #102 Tyler Colvin
Usually, the contrasty and painted look found in this brand appears a bit odd to my eye, especially with the unusual border colors that tend to appear on Gypsy Queen cards. But when Topps puts a raised white frame around it with a bit of silver foil, it makes the whole card look a lot more like, well, a painting. Even back in the Donruss Diamond King days, painted cards just never did it for me. But when they're treated like an actual painting, they get classed up quite a bit. I can see a framed GQ card like this looking terrific in a 5x7 or 8x10 format.

The appearance of Tyler Colvin at Coors Field is a rarity, as he only spent two seasons as a Rockie, and hasn't played since 2014. In exchange for Ian Stewart and a pitcher that has yet to progress past Double-A, Colvin came over from the Cubs along with DJ LeMahieu. I'd say the Rockies came out ahead on that trade.

But I still can't tell the designs apart that well, other than this next one.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen Framed White #78 Charlie Blackmon
2015 Gypsy Queen, with that minaret-shaped onion dome thing, is quite distinctive. You've seen it before, but not with another raised white frame. After seeing how these look in person, I'd be completely on board if they just decided to make the framed variety the base card. They'd differentiate it from Allen & Ginter, and massively increase the visual appeal.

Blackmon, who recently returned from the DL, was in the earlier stages of growing out his trademark beard for this photo shoot. Incidentally, Vin Scully spent a good five minutes the other night giving viewers a comprehensive history of The Beard, inspired by Derek Norris. Scully can make you sit on the edge of your seat for even the most mundane topics. Give it a listen, and then be grateful for the sixty-six seasons in which Scully has graced the baseball world.

2013 Topps Gypsy Queen Mini #325 Wilin Rosario
Though it's not of the white-framed variety, this card of Wilin Rosario is a mini, fitting in perfectly with the Mini Monday theme I haven't used since last year. The minis have different dimensions than the full-size cards (obviously), but I mean that it's much taller than it is wide. That works well with the way they cropped this particular photo, and also makes it feel more like an actual tobacco-era card that this brand is meant to replicate.

Still not wild about the border color, though.

2012 Topps Stickers #290 Orlando Hudson
Orlando Hudson spent most of his career in the NL West, though he never suited up for the Rockies. This rogue Padre accompanied another San Diego player in the trade package, and it's kind of refreshing to see another team once in a while. I remember him more as a Diamondback, probably because he faced the Rockies in the 2007 NLCS. The Rockies swept the D-backs that year, and did the same thing this weekend, putting themselves in a three-way tie for first. As of Sunday night, like L.A. and S.F., the Rockies are sitting at .500, meaning that every NL West team had a losing record going into Sunday.

The 18-6 Cubs have at least a little bit to do with that. Plus the fact that Arizona's new "ace" Zack Greinke (my 2nd pick in Fantasy this season) is a mediocre 2-2, a disappointing follow up to his 19-3 record with the Dodgers last year.

You might notice that Hudson's card is actually a sticker, actually from the same set as a Dinger sticker that Nick sent me a while back. When it comes to collectibles, I'm not really a "leave it in the box" type. Whether it's a Hot Wheels car or an action figure, typically I free them from their packaging. And when it comes to peeling the protectors off of late-1990s Topps Finest cards, I can barely contain myself. But I can't remember a time when I actually peeled one of the many stickers found in this hobby over the years. Fleer and UD gave us a lot of team logo stickers in the overproduction days, but almost all of mine are still on their original backing.

I'm just not a sticker guy. But I always appreciated little gold stars and airplanes and such on my elementary school worksheets.

2012 Topps Allen & Ginter What's in a Name #WIN2 Carlos Eduardo Gonzalez
I'm going to call this a partial mini (a meta mini? synthetic mini? virtual mini)? due to the printed example of CarGo's A&G miniature from 2012. I knew this was a 2012 card because Topps put it right on the front twice. I don't know the A&G designs too well either. But this is their take on telling us a player's full name, just like Donruss did on pretty much every card back for a solid decade. Since the demise of Donruss, I've had to go an entire generation with extremely limited knowledge of players' middle names.

Interestingly, this card mentions a rather unusual family arrangement that both Carlos' and my family trees have in common. Apparently, one of Gonzalez' paternal uncles married one of his maternal aunts, making them "step-siblings". Interestingly, my maternal grandmother's brother married my grandfather's sister, which seems like quite a rare thing.

I guess that makes them step-siblings. Or perhaps an extra reinforcement of a sibling-in-law. I have no idea. Genealogy is definitely not my strong suit. I barely knew how to spell it. I got LeMahieu correct and had to look up "Genealogy."

2002 Studio Rookies #273 Aaron Cook /1500 (RC)
Anyway, this has been pretty much nothing but retro cards so far, except for that mischievous Padres sticker. Film was still widely in use in 2002, and Donruss used a little filmstrip graphic in the background. Like their Leaf brand used to do, they used an image specific to the team's home city, picturing the Colorado State Capitol building. Too bad it's not in color, because it has a striking gold-leaf dome, very often shining in the 300 days of sunshine we (allegedly) get in Colorado. But it can still snow in May.

This early card of Aaron Cook is numbered an even thousand out of fifteen hundred, likely making this the most "round" serial numbered card I own. Or at least one of the few with an easily reducible fraction. Can't do much with 499.

Over ten seasons, Cook wound up with a slightly winning record and an All-Star appearance, a darn good showing for a pitcher who spent most of his career in the thin air of Coors Field. In fact, only Jorge de la Rosa has more wins as a Rockies pitcher.

2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom #137 Troy Tulowitzki
At first glance, I though this was one of the many insert cards that Topps has printed over the years, but it's actually its own set. Topps didn't get into this game as much as Upper Deck did, mainly keeping their core brands, retro brands, and premium brands. But it's from a 225-card set, and the relics found in it are actual ticket stubs.

While this looks familiar, I've never put it on the blog before. I don't know if that barcode would actually scan as something meaningful, but they did a good job of making it sort of look like a ticket, and they helpfully put the card number on both sides.

2003 Fleer Authentix used a similar theme, even going so far as to slightly score the lower portion of the card as though it were a ticket stub. Check out this card of a batting glove-free Mark Grace:

2003 Fleer Authentix #27 Mark Grace
Though it's the first set that comes to mind which used a theme like this, they missed an opportunity to make each team's card unique. Fleer used some color-coding, and of course the usual team logos, but the back of each card has a seating chart of Yankee Stadium, regardless of the team. Fleer does include the team's home stadium's name, but not a map. I guess one-thirtieth of this set is fully accurate, assuming an even team distribution (which I won't assume for the Yankees).

Longtime fans might recall that before the bank merger that turned it into Chase Field, the Diamondbacks played at Bank One Ballpark, known as "The Bob", which is why they have a bobcat as their mascot.

I wonder whether a set like this could be meaningful even eight years later. Unless you're a season ticket holder, you probably printed your last ticket on a laser printer, or just opened up a barcode on your smartphone. But then again, Topps BUNT sure didn't exist eight years ago. A fully digital baseball fan can now keep ticket stubs and baseball cards on their smartphone.

On a related note, I'm a proponent of the MLB Ballpark app. Some teams will let you keep your actual ticket barcodes in there, and there's a feature where it tracks all the past games you've checked into, as well as your in-person record. Its Journal feature even lets you add games to your history going all the way back to 1903. Mass-produced cars were barely a thing then, let alone smartphones, satellites, TV, and even the Federal Reserve.

In the 58 Major League games I've been to, the home team is 31-27. The poor Pirates are 1-5 when I'm in attendance, something I'll have to keep in mind if they ever come to Denver for an important game.

2011 Bowman Finest Futures #FF11 Troy Tulowitzki
Though that Ticket card of Tulowitzki wasn't an insert, this one definitely is. I open so little Bowman that I didn't even realize they made insert cards. Well, the prospect cards are technically considered "inserts", even though they're numbered concurrently. Don't get me started on that.

As this card suggests, Tulo had bright years ahead of him. Though the overall design is a bit plain, I really like the background of this photo. It's one of the happy Chevron cars on the left field wall in San Francisco, a stadium that Tulo's played plenty of games in. I remember one game the Rockies played there that went to extra innings. The game was still going on, but no one told the hundreds of seagulls that showed up to scavenge the snacks left behind in the outfield seats. They have a pretty good idea of when the game is supposed to end, and are definitely perplexed whenever there are extra frames.

2011 Topps Diamond Anniversary #141 Ubaldo Jimenez
As we saw not long ago, Topps took sparkly cards to new heights in 2011 for their diamond anniversary. In the circle where the team logo usually resides, there's a many-faceted symmetrical design that has texture, a special Topps logo in the upper left, and about a zillion sparkles. The foil even has a bit of a rainbow finish, to top it all off.

Interestingly, this isn't technically a Rockies card. It's a checklist. And though this card number doesn't appear on its own checklist, having a Rockies pitcher on a highlight card is a rare thing indeed.

But with guys like Jimenez, Cook, Jennings, and even De La Rosa, good Rockies pitchers do exist. The trouble is that they can't pitch every day. If this were 1930 and pitchers didn't rely on the bullpen so much, the Rockies would be doing great!

2011 Topps Opening Day Superstar Celebrations #SC-5 Ubaldo Jimenez
Jimenez was so good that he threw the only no-hitter in Rockies history, pictured here on this Opening Day insert card. It's way less sparkly, but it documents a historic moment. Barmes, Helton, and a smiling Troy Tulowitzki are there to congratulate him on a job well done. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this feat was accomplished much closer to sea level, in Atlanta's Turner Field.

Hopefully it's not another 18 years before the next one.

1 comment:

  1. That trade... that was not a good one. At least the Cubs are pretty set up the middle anyway, despite losing out on D.J.