Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy Baseball Solstice!

Today is Dec. 31st, 2014, which is this year's Baseball Solstice - the day on which we are at the midpoint between the end of the World Series and the beginning of Spring Training games. Astronomically speaking, that should be the Baseball Equinox, but we'll go with it.

It's been bitterly cold in Colorado the past couple days, only today starting to warm up a bit to a point where it isn't borderline painful to be outside. It makes me long for the days of spring and summer, when baseball is happening and the sun doesn't set during business hours.

You could almost say that I have...

2014 Topps Spring Fever #SF-20 Jose Fernandez
...Spring Fever!

No doubt that Jose Fernandez does, too. I'm sure he's itching to get back on the mound after his Tommy John surgery last season.

I've set aside the two insert cards that appear in this post for months, just waiting for the perfect time to do an "is it spring yet?" post. Now that Colorado has recovered from subzero temperatures, this seems like a good time. They're both from the 50-card "Spring Fever" insert sets, which Topps has printed for each of the last two years.

In the month of January, which marks the one-year anniversary of Infield Fly Rule, I'll be doing numerous trade posts. I have six or seven that arrived before Christmas, and two more from new trading partners that arrived today after a long day at work. I am even planning on doing a giveaway. Watch this space!

Now that it's almost 2015, I am assured by a Cubs fan friend of mine that "this is the year." Of course, that seems to be true for every Cubs season, but with some of their young rookies like Alcantara and Soler, and off-season pickups like Jon Lester, he might be right.

2013 Topps Spring Fever #SF-14 Anthony Rizzo
I'm sure Rizzo will do all he can to make that come true. But so will the members of twenty-nine other teams.


Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Join the (Stadium) Club Part 2: The Commons

I found so much to like from a hobby box of 2014 Stadium Club that I had to split it up into two posts, a first here at Infield Fly Rule! In case you missed Part 1, I covered many of the parallels, inserts, and autographs that this box yielded, along with a couple classic 1990s Stadium Club cards for good measure.

For Part 2, I'll focus on some of my favorites from the 200-card base set, which is chock-full of awesome photography, as anyone who has seen this product knows.

2014 Stadium Club #117 Don Mattingly
One thing I was only vaguely aware of before I opened this box is that the set contains a mixture of both current and retired players. Current Dodgers manager Don Mattingly looks sharp in those Yankee pinstripes as he prepares to make a catch at first. In fact, this might be the best example of a first-baseman's mitt that exists on a baseball card. As I pointed out in Part 1, that patch on his right sleeve commemorates MLB's 125th anniversary, dating this photograph to sometime in 1994.

More on the retirees later, but for now we'll shift gears into some current baseball stars, starting with Prince Albert.

2014 Stadium Club #60 Albert Pujols
This photo was clearly taken in Angel Stadium of Anaheim, which is the only Major League stadium I've been to besides Coors Field and Mile High Stadium, where the Rockies played their first two seasons in 1993 and 1994 while Coors was under construction.

The unusual perspective of this picture lets an interested fan pinpoint it to the day. The catcher behind the plate is Brayan Pena, who wore #55 for the Detroit Tigers as a backup catcher. He only spent one season as a Tiger, and the only game he started in Anaheim that year was on April 21st, 2013. I find that this kind of detective work is one of the most fun things to do with a baseball card. When the photo allows it, the card gains a certain immortality, like George Brett's 1994 Topps card, which Nick crowned as one of his earliest "Gems of Junk Wax".

1994 Topps #180 George Brett
June 6th, 1993, in case you were wondering.

The great (and often horizontal) photography continues, capturing Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes mid-swing.

2014 Stadium Club #29 Jose Reyes
This is probably pretty early in the game, as the chalk line of the batter's box and first-base line are nearly pristine. When healthy, Reyes is typically the leadoff hitter for Toronto, so I am guessing that this was taken on the first at bat in the bottom of the 1st. I wonder if this is what makes for great photography on a baseball card - being able to figure out at least a little bit of the action.

Something about this top-down shadowy photo reminds me of another of this community's favorite cards, Orel Hershiser's from 1997 Upper Deck.

1997 Upper Deck #53 Orel Hershiser
In addition to a highly memorable card, UD kindly provides us with a date of May 12th, 1996. Many cards from 1997 Upper Deck contained the specific date on which the photograph was taken, another of their innovations I'd love to see more often.

I can't pinpoint this one to the day, but southpaw Jon Singleton is either motioning for the ball...

2014 Stadium Club #4 Jon Singleton (RC)
...or flashing the peace sign. Perhaps he is signaling an apology for the Astros moving to the American League, which confuses me to this day (even as I write this post), though it happened two full seasons ago. Houston always seems to be playing AL teams these days, which makes sense given their current affiliation. But when I steal a quick glance at an out-of-town scoreboard or the ESPN ticker, the baseball area of my limbic system hasn't quite reconciled this shift yet and I inevitably make some comment/exclamation about the frequency of interleague games.

I still long for the days of Houston being an NL club, as was the case when they wore these jerseys:

2014 Stadium Club #94 George Springer (RC)
Fans of throwback uniforms must adore 2014 Stadium Club, as they appear quite frequently. In fact, one of my scans from Part 1 was of Robinson Cano wearing an early Mariners jersey. Not only that, but Rookie-of-the-Year candidate George Springer is even sticking out his tongue during his swing, which is rather more amusing that Don Mattingly sticking his pinky finger out on the card at the top of this post.

Some of the most boring sets in history (read: 1990 Topps) could take a lesson from this. No one would care about that set in the slightest if not for Frank Thomas' "No Name on Front" error card.

[Scan not available. That's an $800 card.]

I mentioned earlier that there are a mixture of current players and retired greats to be found here. I'll start with perhaps the most Canadian baseball card ever, of Colorado native Roy Halladay throwing out the first pitch.

2014 Stadium Club #21 Roy Halladay
Halladay, a longtime Blue Jay, was invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Blue Jays' home opener this year (on April 4th, 2014, to be precise), which explains the Canada-ness of this card. I figure that only an occasion like Opening Day or an exhibition or playoff game would warrant the on-field presence of Canadian Mounties.

Halladay only recently hung up his spikes, but some older legends appear too.

2014 Stadium Club #113 Johnny Bench
Here, we see legendary catcher Johnny Bench taking some time for fan outreach. I see some Mets memorabilia that is being shoved his way, so this was probably taken in Shea Stadium, likely in the mid-1970s, based on the hair styles among his adoring fans.

Something about this set (perhaps the lack of recycled photographs) keeps inspiring me to research each one as though I were some kind of baseball-obsessed art historian. (As though?) Armed with my hypothesis, I found this photo on Getty Images, which confirms my guess of Shea Stadium, though doesn't specify a date. It's probably the same place Topps got it.

The cards of retired players even go back to the black-and-white days, such as a very young-looking Al Kaline.

2014 Stadium Club #77 Al Kaline
His name really makes me want to come up with a chemistry pun, but Mr. Tiger looks ready to belt the first of his 399 career home runs. The back of this card points out that he finished oh-so-close to being the first American Leaguer with both 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. That Kaline finished just short of such a milestone reminds me of Mickey Mantle and his .298 career batting average, though The Mick finished quite a bit higher on the home run list with 536.

While we're on the subject of milestones, I think this is an appropriate time for Roberto Clemente to appear.

2014 Stadium Club #127 Roberto Clemente
As many fans know, Mr. Clemente's career ended with precisely 3,000 hits. Tragically, he died in a plane crash in Nicaragua during the 1972-1973 offseason while providing humanitarian aid after an earthquake.

The Puerto Rican Hall-of-Famer was the first Latino player to make it in to Cooperstown, blazing the trail for the many Latino players and prospects in the game today. The card back tells us that "schools and streets have been named after Roberto", and his memory inspired a conversation my girlfriend and I had a few days ago, when she mentioned the amazing Puerto Rican cuisine (specifically rice and beans) that can be found near Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago.

Another player that put his career aside to serve a greater good was Red Sox great Ted Williams, who flew for the US Marine Corps in training during World War II, returned to baseball, and then saw combat action in Korea several years later.

2014 Stadium Club #133 Ted Williams
This card seems to be universally liked, as I've seen this card appear on numerous blogs by now. For the aviation enthusiasts, Williams is entering the cockpit of a Grumman F9F "Panther", an early fighter jet. Interestingly, Grumman was the company that designed the Apollo Lunar Module for NASA's moon missions.

In addition to being a Marine aviator, "The Splendid Splinter" (how awesome are those old-time nicknames?) was the last player to hit over .400 in a season, and even ran his own baseball card company in the early 1990s.

1994 Ted Williams #79 Bill Mazeroski
Anyway, thanks for sticking around for this long post. There's just more and more to like in 2014 Stadium Club the more I look, and all the opportunities for detective work made this a really fun post to write!

For one last card, I'm going to co-opt all the orange that appears on Adam Jones' card...

2014 Stadium Club #102 Adam Jones
...and wish the Denver Broncos good luck in the upcoming NFL playoffs.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Join the (Stadium) Club Part 1: The Hits

Like many of my fellow bloggers, I took advantage of a Cyber Monday sale at Dave and Adam's Card World and picked up a hobby box of the highly-anticipated 2014 Stadium Club for only $50. This contained three mini-boxes of six packs each, and this is the first time I've bought a hobby box of a current-year product in ages.

Despite that, these are not my first cards from 2014 Stadium Club. In fact, I composed a good deal of this post before the box even arrived. As you will see, I've already developed some pretty favorable impressions.

2014 Stadium Club Rainbow #66 Matt Cain
The photography in this set is amazing! Topps really put some effort into avoiding recycled shots and taking some truly entertaining pictures, like the trio of World Series champion Giants (including World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner) in retro wool uniforms. More on that in part two of this post, where I'll show some of my favorite base cards.

This one of Cain and two of his rotation buddies is a Rainbow parallel, and while there are several parallel sets, Topps hasn't gone overboard like they do in their flagship set and made a dozen different parallel colors. In fact, that's one of the benefits (and requirements) of a full-bleed design. The photography is so good that it doesn't even need a border.

The only thing I think is missing are "First Day Issue" parallels. I'd much rather see that (especially if they followed historical precedent and did a print run of 2,000) than the numerous colored parallels that Topps is becoming known for. During the overproduction era, First Day Issue cards were probably my favorite parallels, even more so than ToppsGold.

1994 Stadium Club First Day Issue #351 Scott Livingstone
You could reasonably expect to run across one once in a while, but they were still a big deal to find on a 10-year old's allowance.

I am also partial to the mid-1990s TSC logo rather than the current logo.

1995 Stadium Club #233 Shawn Green
Topps' retro department is welcome to use any of these ideas for future releases or inserts.

I've heard complaints about this set not having enough "hits" for high-end collectors. I don't get it. Three autographs per hobby box? In which galaxy is that not enough? In addition to the Charlie Blackmon autograph that I got from Julie at A Cracked Bat, this box also included on-card autographs from the American League: an Oriole and two Mariners.

2014 Stadium Club Autographs #SCA-RE Roenis Elias (AU)
Cuban southpaw Roenis Elias looks ready to deliver something that us mere mortals would have no chance of hitting. And he remains a Mariner, even after all the trading that has been going on this off-season.

In fact, this box would have been great for a Mariners fan, as one of the parallels is of ex-Yankee Robinson Cano in a sharp-looking Seattle throwback uniform.

2014 Stadium Club Rainbow #38 Robinson Cano
Like Cain's card, this is of the Rainbow variety, as were most of the parallels in this box. I did pull one each from the Gold...

2014 Stadium Club Gold #190 Todd Frazier
...and Electric Foil insert sets.

2014 Stadium Club Electric Foil #65 Yu Darvish
I've seen these referred to as "sparkle parallels", and that is an apt description, as the finish comes across well on the scanner, better than the Gold or Rainbow cards.

In fact, this might be the lone complaint I have about 2014 Stadium Club. Other than Gold, the special finish of the parallel cards is really hard to see unless the light is just perfect. I had to do a couple runs through the stack under bright light to make sure I didn't overlook one. I suppose it's a small price to pay for full-bleed printing, a design element that has all but vanished since Upper Deck lost their license.

On to the inserts, and a great shot of the Say Hey Kid interacting with some late-'50s fans. Part of what makes this product rather enjoyable is the inclusion of numerous retired stars and hall-of-famers.

2014 Stadium Club Field Access #FA-5 Willie Mays
This insert is unusual in that it is a rectangle. Most of the inserts seemed to be of the die-cut variety, which my scanner did a pretty good job on.

2014 Stadium Club Future Stars Die Cut #FS-2 Gerrit Cole
I am in agreement with Topps in labeling Gerrit Cole a "Future Star". His stat lines are impressive for such a young pitcher, and he already has some playoff experience under his belt with a strong Pirates team. Just as long as he can keep his elbow healthy.

Another player in that 10-card Future Stars insert set is Masahiro Tanaka, who after a short but unbelievably dominant stretch for the Yankees last year, is facing elbow problems. I didn't pull his Future Stars die-cut, but I did find his Triumvirate card with an even more elaborate design.

2014 Stadium Club Triumvirates Luminous #T7B Masahiro Tanaka
Triumvirates are part of a three-card grouping that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle and look something like this when completed. This was the only one to be found in the whole box, but I like this concept and design, which has enough hexagons to eclipse even 2003 Topps Finest.

2003 Topps Finest Refractors #66 A.J. Burnett
The last die-cut I pulled was from the 10-card Legends set, which contains mega-stars like Stan Musial, Johnny Bench, Sandy Koufax...

2014 Stadium Club Legends Die Cut #LDC-8 Ken Griffey Jr.
...and Junior, who did not win the Rookie of the Year award in 1989, as the back of this card points out. This photo is from the strike-shortened 1994 season, when players league-wide wore the sepia-colored 125th Anniversary patch on the right sleeve. Sharp eyes will have noticed this on Shawn Green's 1995 card above.

That about does it for the "hits" from this discounted hobby box. I have a stack of base cards picked out for part 2 of this post, and it'll be a challenge to whittle it down. The photos are just that good.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Trading Post #12: It's Like Having My Own Card Shop

Instead of wrapping up a post with a green-colored card, as I have been known to do, how about I lead off with one this time?

1999 UD Choice StarQuest Green #28 Larry Walker
This was part of a recent trade package from Daniel at the Diamondbacks-focused blog It's like having my own Card Shop. Daniel already put up a post about the cards I sent his way, and I'm glad I was able to fill some needs from his Topps want list.

I had never seen 1999's StarQuest design, but the green theme is one that UD used repeatedly for that insert set. I think it's reached the point where these green-colored cards have become a bona fide "mini-collection".

Many of us bloggers have been waxing poetic about the return of Stadium Club this year, myself included. The below card, however, is from their previous 2008 release, which was a bit of an underwhelming flop.

2008 Stadium Club First Day Issue Unnumbered #122b Jonathan Herrera VAR (Safe at Home)
Unlike this year's set, Topps did resurrect an early '90s parallel set in 2008 by printing "First Day Issue" parallels, but it was done quite strangely. I don't want to bore anyone with the details; suffice to say there was a lot of dividing the card number by 3 to determine whether such a parallel even existed. No wonder the product flopped.

I do have several of those 2008 First Day Issues, and this Herrera variant card is a new addition.

When it comes to Topps base, I typically wait until the factory set is released before I make a purchase. This nets me the full set in one fell swoop, but I don't usually see the inserts and parallels until they start showing up in discount boxes and trades. Thus, this portion of my collection is a bit underrepresented, which is why I appreciate so much getting these via trade.

There is often plenty of shininess to be found in Topps inserts, such as Season's Best from 1997...

1997 Topps Season's Best #SB3 Ellis Burks
...Own The Game from 2008 (and several other years)...

2008 Topps Own The Game #OTG13 Matt Holliday
...and Topps Stars, also from 2008.

2008 Topps Stars #TS25 Matt Holliday
Topps Stars wasn't always an insert set. For several years around the turn of the millennium, it was its own separately-sold base set. Topps made it an insert set from 2006 to 2008, and I'd welcome its return to packs if Topps continued to find value in resurrecting our favorite older brands. In fact, they've already announced next year's Stadium Club set, which I take as a very good sign.

In addition to green, my longtime readers will know that I am also a sucker for serial numbered cards.

1998 Donruss FANtasy Team #13 Larry Walker /4000
Where is it, you ask? Why, on the back, of course!

1998 Donruss FANtasy Team #13 Larry Walker /4000 (Reverse)
The above marks the first card back to appear on this blog! The /4000 serial number is quite prominent, but also notice that this card is from 1998. That was a very early year in the history of the internet as we know it today (also the same year as Pacific Online), and Donruss apparently ran an internet-based survey that year for this FANtasy Team insert set. Walker didn't manage to break a thousand votes, yet still ended up in 13th place. I'd be interested to see what the top ten looks like, and if the #1 vote-getter managed to break 2,000.

Something tells me that if Topps or Panini were to run a similar survey today, the total number of votes cast would be a little higher.

In addition to Daniel, I've established partnerships with quite a few new trading partners this month, so keep an eye out for more trade posts!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Trading Post #11: A Cracked Bat (Holiday Edition)

It gets quite busy around the Holidays, as we all know. I am not sure whether I'll have another post up before Christmas. Hanukkah started tonight as well, which meant a nice evening visit with my dad. But I did want to make time for a quick post.

In recent days, I've started to see still more generosity pop up around the blogosphere, courtesy of Julie at A Cracked Bat, who has been dominating my "Trading Post" theme recently. She recently posted that she was getting some Christmas cards in the mail, and I suspected that one of those might be headed my way.

Lo and behold, a few days ago a lovely Christmas card showed up (my first one of the year, no less) with this inside:

2013 Topps Triple Threads Relic Combos Sepia #TTRC-ATG Nolan Arenado / Troy Tulowitzki / Carlos Gonzalez /27 (MEM)
A combo relic of three star Rockies players, complete with a serial number! Topps saw fit to use three different colors of Rockies jerseys, and there's even a hint of a pinstripe on Tulo's jersey in the center. Not only that, but this card is serial numbered to 27 (on CarGo's left shoulder), which I didn't even notice the first few times I looked at the card.

A few other bloggers so far have received similar unexpected holiday gifts, as Julie continues to pepper this community with lots of great cards!

The very next day, I sent several trade packages out, including one destined for Julie. I had been saving up cards for her for a while, and I've reached out to quite a few new trading partners, so last week was a busy one for me at the post office!

One other thing I'd like to call attention to is a group break at Nachos Grande! This is the first one I'm participating in, and there are still quite a few teams available at $30 per. It should be quite the "extravaganza," in his words. He has also been doing a guest post theme for the past week or so called "Better Know a Blogger," which seems to be quite well-received by his readers and commenters. I have enjoyed getting to know some other bloggers through the lens of his thought-provoking questionnaire as I wait for mine to appear.

Happy Holidays to all my readers and trade partners new and old. And thanks yet again to Julie for the Rockies triple relic!

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Trading Post #10: A Cracked Bat

Julie from A Cracked Bat has become quite the prolific trader in recent months. In fact, she's inspired me to reach out to several bloggers to offer a trade. I ran to the post office this morning to ship out five packages, so some of you will be seeing goodies hit your mailboxes this week!

She mentioned that she'd be including some cards from recently-released 2014 Stadium Club, and I must admit, I haven't been this eager for the release of a new set of cards in longer than I can remember. My third trade package from her did not disappoint.

2014 Stadium Club #17 Michael Cuddyer
This was my first look at the product, and I like what I see. They've done a nice job color-coding, and though it's on the small end at just 200 cards, great photography and full-bleed printing have been lacking in this hobby since the demise of Upper Deck.

Three of these base cards weren't the only ones from 2014 Stadium Club, but more on that later.

Allow me to be blunt. I don't particularly care for Bowman. Between Bowman, Bowman Chrome, Bowman Draft, numerous Chrome cards that may or may not actually be part of the Chrome set, the prospects subset that may or may not be considered part of the base set, and a whole rainbow of colors, the product is so far beyond convoluted that it just isn't that much fun. I have to look it up on Beckett every time I run across one.

However, every so often you find a card that works really, really well. With so many colored parallels and coatings to choose from, the law of large numbers pretty much guarantees this. And a great trading partner found it for me.

2013 Bowman Platinum Chrome Prospects Purple Refractors #BPCP20 David Dahl
Not only was I given this Purple Refractor parallel, but she threw in the standard card from Bowman Platinum as well, which has a silver refractor finish.

Through trades, I've started to develop a small collection of Carlos Gonzalez die-cut cards, each one crazier than the last. I like these way more than my scanner does.

2014 Topps Chrome Chrome Connections Die Cuts #CC-CG Carlos Gonzalez
This card in silhouette would look much like a medieval banner; perhaps with a Game of Thrones-esque dragon.

I wonder if there are any die-cut cards out there that have a space cut out of the center, rather than just an intricate border. These are such a novelty in my collection that I don't have much knowledge about the various shapes I can expect to find.

2014 Bowman Chrome Dualing Die-Cut Refractors #DDC-AG Jonathan Gray / Mark Appel
This is a shape, right?

The theme of this card led me to believe that it could have been part of a paired set that fits together side-by-side. Topps floated this idea last year in 2013 Archives, resurrecting their "Triumvirates" insert brand, where two other matched cards fit together to form a rectangle.

2013 Topps Archives Triumvirate #T-4A Edgar Martinez
On that same theme, there was also one card from a two-card "puzzle" from a late-90's Pinnacle release.

1998 Pinnacle Inside Stand-Up Guys #10-C/D Larry Walker / Ellis Burks / Dante Bichette / Neifi Perez
Pinnacle printed a sister card for each of these "Stand Up Guys" inserts that has a slot on the bottom instead of the top. The two cards interlock to form a cross and are able to stand vertically. Walker makes my third card from this innovate insert set, but I haven't found a match for any of them.

By the way, has the hobby settled on a name for these yet? Paired cards? Sister cards? Interlocking cards? If Stadium Club sticks around this time, we'll have to decide on something.

There were several cards that were a bit less flashy. 1965 was the design for this year's Topps Heritage, so that means big pennants galore!

2014 Topps Heritage #122 Tyler Chatwood
Nothing quite like a fierce pitching stare against a happy Windows XP backdrop.

Also included were about a dozen cards from 2012 Topps Mini. This is a separately-sold parallel set to the regular-sized 2012 flagship release, and according to BaseballCardPedia, one of my favorite sites for research, there are less than 3,000 out there.
2012 Topps Mini #68 Jason Hammel
These are the same size as the much-loved 1975 Topps MIINNIIIISS! Yes, I'm channeling Night Owl, who loves this card size so much that he talked Ultra-Pro into manufacturing pages specifically for them. They do fit in a standard 9-pocket page pretty well, and are easy to handle, unlike the tall postage-stamp sized Allen & Ginter minis.

Julie sent two team bags in this mailer, and the very last card of the second stack was a welcome surprise.

2014 Stadium Club Autographs #SCA-CBL Charlie Blackmon (AU)
Talk about saving the best for last! Charlie Blackmon had an all-star year in 2014, and his 6-for-6 performance at the home opener really opened some eyes. I'm pleased to add his card to my rapidly growing collection of Rockies autographs.

Thanks are in order once again to Julie for keeping me in a steady supply of Rockies cards. I'll have another box of Tigers ready for her before too long.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Wagyu Beef of Baseball Cards

Perhaps the best aspect of trading with the great bloggers in this community is developing a sudden affinity for sets that I had barely seen before. This was the case with 1995 Score Select when Julie from A Cracked Bat sent me four Rockies in her first trade package.

1995 Select #85 Andres Galarraga
I really liked the marbled area on the right, and mentioned that I'd like to see a Cardinal or Red since I expected it to look like a steak.

Yes, in addition to baseball, I also think in food.

1995 Select #91 Hal Morris
Frankly, it's a little bit of a stretch, now that I see it in person. There are too many fine lines that aren't white enough. Unless you agree that it looks like Japanese Wagyu beef, then it just looks like marble.

That card didn't just come out of nowhere or from another blogger. In fact, I liked this set so much that I bought a sealed box of 24 packs from a dealer at October's 5280 monthly card show. 

There is a lot of gold foil in this set, even for a mid-1990s release. The "Select Rookie" subset illustrates this best.

1995 Select #200 Juan Acevedo (RC)
This one is right up Nick's alley at Dime Boxes, who is a big fan of pitchers at the plate. Acevedo was considered a top prospect for the early Rockies, but ended up being a journeyman reliever for numerous teams throughout his career.

As an aside, I haven't written much about my organization methods, but I arrange each set alphabetically by team and by player. However, I do stick the Rockies out in front. Therefore, Juan Acevedo is the first card in several of my 1995 sets, including 1995 Topps, where he appears on a 4-man Prospects card.

1995 Topps #316 Terrell Wade / Juan Acevedo / Matt Arrandale / Eddie Priest (RC)
It can be difficult to see what's going on in large areas of gold foil unless the light is just right, but I did spot an error on Kurt Abbott's card. See if you can pick up on it.

1995 Select #145 Kurt Abbott
He's pictured as a Marlin in their early turquoise uniforms, and Score did use the correct color theme for that team, but the team logo in the gold circle is of the Seattle Mariners. Beckett doesn't list this as an error card, so there's no corrected version out there.

After opening these 24 packs, I ended up only about a dozen cards short of completing the base set, and I did run across a couple special cards, along with only one duplicate!

1995 Select Artist's Proof #6 Chan Ho Park
This is an Artist's Proof parallel as noted in the lower left. The gold foil has a slightly darker, refractor-look finish, and I missed it the first couple times I looked through this stack. Based on the stated print run of 1995 Select, these parallels are /475, but are not serial numbered.

Additionally, I unearthed one insert card from this box.

1995 Select Can't Miss #CM2 Ryan Klesko
There are three insert sets in 1995 Score Select, and this is from the 10-card "Can't Miss" set. It has a subtle shininess to it, similar to the parallels found in Pinnacle from that same year.

1995 Pinnacle Museum Collection #268 Jimmy Key
As I do more of these posts, I am discovering that I'm starting to develop some themes and similarities in my writing and the cards I choose to scan. I usually feature around a half-dozen cards, write in relatively short paragraphs, and often save the best for last.

And it's become quite clear that I definitely enjoy green cards.

1995 Select #140 Dennis Eckersley
From my previous scans of 2013 Topps Emerald, 2008 UD Starquest inserts, and 1994 Topps Finest, readers that have stuck with me for my first year of blogging shouldn't be surprised to see a green card to wrap this post up. And it's from a stellar example of a color-coded set.