Wednesday, September 27, 2023

What’s All This NOW?

Once upon a time, I did more posts during a single Hanukkah than I've done in all of 2023. There has been so little time for things like blogging during a busy year like this. So many of you read my previous post and offered condolences about the passing of my father, and I thank you all. 

But beyond that, there are some big life changes in the works which will be coming to fruition over the next couple weeks. My fiancée and I are planning on buying a house together (so yes, I will have a new address), and that should be happening very soon. I just don't want to jinx anything because it's not a done deal quite yet. 

And shortly after that, yes, I said fiancée! We are getting married in early October.

So in other words, house hunting and wedding planning has been my focus this year, sadly coming along with quite a bit of grief. It has been a bittersweet year. My baseball card intake has slowed dramatically, but there have been enough to build a nice little blog post full of Rockies and one very personal oddball.

2010 Bowman 1992 Bowman Throwbacks #BT14 Troy Tulowitzki

Long ago, in the days before the Rockies never lost 100 games in a season (a record spoiled yesterday), Troy Tulowitzki was the starting shortstop for Colorado. He was quite the fan favorite, earning a spot not only in the Bowman base set, but also in this 1992-themed Throwback set. This huge 110-card insert set is a very accurate reproduction of the original '92 design. The only major change is that the team-by-team opponent stat breakdown is a much more crowded table than in 1992, simply because interleague play had not yet arrived. There are 20 teams crammed onto this 2010 card back, but it's still mostly readable. We've been squinting at card backs since long before I was born.

Interestingly, with the new MLB schedule design, where each team plays at least one series against every other team each year, they'd need 29 rows on this table, as well as the season and career totals. I don't know how feasible that really is.

2010 Bowman #123 Troy Tulowitzki

Here's that base card I mentioned earlier. A typical black-bordered Bowman card that I'd never be able to pick out of a lineup. It does have a nice action shot of Tulo in what was then called AT&T Park. That's an easy stadium identification, partly because I see NL West parks on TV constantly, and partly because the Chevron banner with the happy-looking cars was quite distinctive.

Chevron does still have a banner out there in left field at Oracle Park, but it's not quite as cartoony as it was back then.

2007 Fleer #338 Troy Tulowitzki (RC)

All these Tulo cards came from an assortment of Rockies my fiancée found in a clear bag at the local thrift store. 

Why do you think I'm marrying her?

It was mostly duplicates, but these three are new to my collection, and she only spent a dollar or so on the bag, so really it's much the same as if I found these in a quarter box. I haven't been to a card show since long before the hobby exploded, and I don't know if dime boxes are even around anymore.

This card is from the very last days of Fleer, the 2007 set. An extremely young Tulowitzki, who at that point had only played in the Majors as a late-season callup in 2006, is wearing the highly unusual uniform number 63, presumably a spring-training shot. Dexter Fowler is the most famous Rockie to wear that number.

Despite his young career, the card back still had good things to say about him, specifically his two-RBI, two-run performance on September 23rd, 2006.

2023 Topps Now Card of the Month #M-JUL Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

I did order a couple of Topps NOW cards this year. The first was July's Card of the Month, which ended up being of Vlad, Jr. who won the 2023 Home Run Derby in Seattle. He's happily hoisting the trophy after hitting 25 home runs in the final round of the Derby. The card back points out that he is part of the only father-son duo to win the Home Run Derby. Longtime fans might remember that his Hall of Famer dad won his Derby back in 2007.

I ended up getting this card for free. Somehow I had enough Topps loyalty points to get a code for a 100% discount. I actually redeemed that prize a couple years ago, but had a pretty tough time figuring out how to actually use it. It was not obvious at all and it took me numerous tries. But I ended up figuring it out, and now have a nice reminder of another All-Star Weekend.

2023 Topps Now #564 Elias Diaz /943

The other Topps NOW card I picked up, and paid full price for, was this one of All-Star Game MVP Elias Díaz, the catcher who is the first-ever Rockie to win the award. He must have been inspired by all those power hitters the night before, leading to his 8th-inning home run finally giving the National League a win at the All-Star Game.

He was beaming as he hoisted the Ted Williams MVP trophy in Seattle, and 943 collectors thought this was a worthy moment to immortalize on cardboard. It was also the highlight of the Rockies season, which, as I mentioned, is the first 100-loss season in team history.

2023 Topps Chrome Rookie Autographs #RA-BS Brian Serven (AU)

Even though I haven't been very active in the baseball card hobby this year, I'm still known for it. My fiancée's friend's husband has recently gotten into card collecting, and when we went to visit over the summer, we had a great chance to connect over cards. He's more into football cards, which I know very little about, but still it was fun to find a fellow collector. He even gave me this Rockies autograph card of Brian Serven, another of the team's catchers.

Serven, 28, has spent about a half-season of time in the big leagues since 2022, but in that time he has accumulated a negative bWAR, and he's not getting much playing time in Triple-A Albuquerque either. Players can always turn it around but we might not be seeing much more of him as a Rockie. Still, it's always nice to add an autograph to the Rockies collection, especially an on-card one.

1945 Roto-Panel Johnny McIntosh

Our final card is an eBay pickup, that oddball I mentioned at the beginning. I'm not too sure what this truly is. It's advertised on eBay as a "Roto-Panel" from 1945. It's certainly not in Beckett, and there is no card number. It's only about as thick as a magazine page.

But I do know who it is. Johnny McIntosh (coincidentally wearing #63) goes by "John" now, but to me he's always been "Granddad".

He played football for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (not the "honeybees" - an oft-repeated family story), and even made it as far as the 1945 Orange Bowl, where he had a receiving touchdown. He was teammates with Frank Broyles, who ended up coaching the Arkansas Razorbacks for two decades.

Granddad lives in Tennessee now, where he retired after a long career with Union Carbide. He's about to turn 100 at the end of November. It's been several years since I last saw him, but I'm glad to be able to have him occupy a very unique spot in my collection.


  1. Congratulations on the engagement!

    Getting a card of your grandfather is fantastic.

    Looks like the roto-panels came from a magazine called Football Illustrated.

  2. Congrats on the upcoming marriage and home!

  3. Congrats on the nearing nuptial and good luck with the move! Big changes, exciting times for sure!

  4. Congratulations on everything, especially the upcoming marriage. It's about time that that gal made an honest man out of you :)

    And if you're gonna be sending out any sort of email with your new address, please include me on that list.

  5. Sounds like you've had a lot going on this year! It's good to see an update from you.

    The oddball card of your grandpa is fantastic, good on you for tracking that down. An best wishes on the big life changes ahead!

  6. A. Congratulations on the engagement!

    B. I could see Topps take advantage of each team playing every team in the league... by creating a variation back on their Bowman cards where one variation has the player's stats against AL teams... and another with NL teams.

    C. That Roto-Panel of your granddad is awesome! Such a cool piece of family history.