Posts Tagged ‘Topps’

trading arizona (1975 topps)

August 14, 2008

Then over here you have favoritism.”

“Bill Roberts?”

“No, not that motherscratcher… Bill Plummer!

If you aren’t familiar with Bill Plummer, he was a major league catcher who managed to maintain Ueckeresque hitting and fielding stats for the better part of a decade while playing for the Cincinnati Reds throughout the 70s. Bill rode the pine for the bulk of his career while backing up Johnny Bench, yet he was an integral cog in the Big Red Machine that won World Championships in 75 and 76. Although he batted only .188 lifetime, Plummer absolutely owned Ken Brett and Steve Carlton- whom he hit .444 and .429 against respectively. In fact, 2 of Bill’s 14 career homeruns were launched off Carlton.

Bill Plummer (1975 Topps no. 656) and a 1975 Dodge Dart Custom

Bill Plummer doesn’t spend nearly as much time in the bullpen these days. Instead, he makes the dugout his primary address and maintains a vacation home in the third base coaching box, as he is currently the manager for the Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders (Arizona Diamondbacks). I was able to get this card autographed earlier this spring when the Baby Snakes slithered over to the Rio Grande Valley to take 3 of 4 games from the home team by a combined score of 41 to 23. That’s some RAZZTASTIC pitching!

More recently, I have rebuilt my 1975 Topps set to right around 90 percent. I now only need 28 cards to complete the set, although there are an additional 40 cards that I will replace once I encounter “better” ones. There are also a few cards in the set that I will always take nice specimens of in trade, including Bill Lee, Cookie Rojas, and Oscar Gamble. Are YOU currently working on building this set? I currently have hundreds of 1975 Topps baseball cards for trade.

– Kris

short and sweet (allen & ginter)

August 13, 2008

Not long after our deal for a case of 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball cards fell through, I decided to skip the chase this time around and look for a decent price on a hand collated set. This resulted in picking up an entire set of the regular-sized cards (including short prints) delivered to my door for a little less than it would have cost for me to hop in my truck and drive to Target and purchase two blaster boxes (assuming they would have any).

While I decide whether or not I will work on the mini parallel set, I can continue to pick up singles as needed. For instance, when the Oklahoma RedHawks recently visited the Duke City for a four game series with the Isotopes, it was absolutely necessary to have this 2008 mini Kazuo Fukumori card (no. 98) to get autographed, so I picked it up on eBay.

Fukumori is a man of few (English) words. With the help of his interpreter, I was able to extend my gratitude to Kazuo for taking the time before a game to sign my card.

The most recent homestand also provided me with a golden opportunity to get Paul LoDuca to sign a few 2007 Allen & Ginter cards for my collection. These include the base card…

The mini parallel…

And this “game-worn” jersey card…

I wasn’t really sure how well the relic card was going to take a Sharpie signature, but I am of the opinion that it looks just great.

If you agree with me and happen to have an extra Paul LoDuca bat card from the 2008 set that you can get mailed by THIS FRIDAY, I will be willing to do my best to do a rare “50/50” autographing trade with you. I will only do baseball cards though, so don’t even think about sending a baseball, jersey, photo, helmet, or anything that isn’t a baseball card. Your understanding on this matter this is greatly appreciated.

– Kris

stuck in the middle

August 4, 2008

Around the middle of July, I was happy to announce that Aardvark Trading Co. was going to be in the position to sell hobby boxes of Topps Allen & Ginter baseball cards after preordering an entire case from some eBayer. We were very excited to be able to touch an unopened case, bust it, and then hopefully keep track of the “hits” (as the kids call them) as reported by people purchasing boxes. I thought it would provide an excellent opportunity for interested parties to study a case of cards and over analyze it… to death.

I was on edge waiting for the UPS truck for the initial days that followed Topps’ official release. Nothing. Then I finally got the eBayer on the horn and was informed that his supplier had declared bankruptcy. Long excuse short…. there would be no case coming.
Bummer. We got our money refunded without a problem, but already the price of cases (now in hand) had increased to the point that we didn’t think it would be a wise investment given that the market was immediately saturated with product.

Jay Marshall (2007 Topps A&G no. 244 and black-bordered mini)

I managed to get these Jay Marshall cards autographed in person the same day. It was then that I realized that I was going to have to rethink my plan for dealing with the 2008 set. Would I find myself trolling for blaster boxes at Target, paying way more for a box than I cared to from a local dealer, or trying to find a three hobby box deal online?

Walking out of the third different Target store in a 36-hour period on Saturday afternoon, I decided to purchase a hand-collated set online, and invest the difference (both time and money) in the pursuit of the sets I’ve been neglecting- 2006 A&G and 1975 Topps.

Mike Caldwell (1975 Topps no. 347) and a 1975 Dodge Dart Sport

I’ve seen quite a bit of the 2008 Allen & Ginter set via the interweb. I have to say that experiencing cards like these is probably best done with the actual cards in hand rather than seeing them online. So I will save my thoughts on the set until I have one in front of me.

By the way, I’ve also wasted a good couple of days trying to crack the damn Allen & Ginter code, but I believe the code has cracked me. I wonder if that’ll win me a prize off the lower shelf.

– Kris

a case for allen & ginter

July 17, 2008

Who doesn’t remember their first pack of Topps Allen & Ginter baseball cards? Mine appeared in the form of a retail pack from Target during the onset of fall 2006. Intrigued by the wrapper, I knew I was hooked the moment I ripped the thing open (at home, not in the store!). As much as I liked the look and feel of those cards, I thought they were too expensive. The cards also went against one of my personal rules for collecting- namely investing in cards that I feel provide me with even the slightest chance of getting them autographed in person. As you recall, this product isn’t exactly loaded with minor leaguers. In fact, they probably have close to the same number of dead writers as minor league ballplayers. But I also like those, so there you go.

I got a hobby box of the ‘06 Allen and Ginter cards that year for Krismas, and I think I later picked up a blaster box. Still, I never attacked the set seriously. As a result, that set remains on my “To Collect” list.

Billy Butler (2007 – no. 147)

My approach to collecting the ‘07 set, however, was a fish of a completely different color. After suspending my self-imposed rule of collecting cards only to get them autographed, I assembled the entire set of the “regular-sized” cards, and have come within a half dozen or so of an entire set of the minis. I wouldn’t have been able to even complete the base set without having made a number of trades online with other baseball card bloggers and collectors utilizing a couple of baseball card trading message boards. I am of the opinion that the Allen & Ginter cards are the koolest issue since the 1975 Topps series!

Gustavo Molina (2007 – no. 334)

Every now and again, I will luck into getting one of these cards signed in person. As I’m sure you already determined for yourself, these cards look fantastic autographed! Sure, the certified autographed minis are a fun pull, but for my money you cannot beat the experience of meeting a player and watching him ink your card in person. You simply cannot pull that sort of thing from a pack, or a box, or a case.

Rich Hill (2007 – no. 193)

And now you find yourself in 2008, with more than half the pages missing from your calendar. How will YOU approach collecting the 2008 Allen & Ginter baseball cards? If you haven’t already formulated a plan in your head, I suggest you do so in the near future.

Chris Duncan (2007 – no. 301)

Several weeks ago, the masterminds behind Aardvark Trading Company invested in an entire case of the product. Don’t worry; we aren’t in a position to bust the entire thing ourselves. Instead, we will be selling sealed boxes to interested readers of this blog, and customers who navigate the internet to our website without ever having stumbled across our babblings here. With the cards scheduled for release at the beginning of next week, we hope to receive our case by Saturday, July 26th. We anticipate being able to begin shipping out boxes immediately after that. We are hoping that the people who purchase a box from us will let us and the other readers know of any interesting discoveries, and together through the power of the internet, we can study the anatomy of a case of baseball cards. Tell me you’ve never wondered…

Ryan Shealy (2007 – no. 67)

NOTICE (8/4/08): Our case never arrived! Please click HERE for an update…

Mike Rabelo (2007 – no. 69)

Whether you purchase your 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter cards from your local dealer, elsewhere online, or with the AMAZINGLY nice and creative folks at Aardvark Trading Company, you will be encouraged to trade cards with us as we build our personal sets and you work towards whatever goal you set for yourself. I will post a needs list on the TRADE portion of our website soon after I bust my first box- or possibly my second.

– Kris

adventures in penmanship

June 2, 2008

Rumors recently swirling around the interior of Isotopes Park, similar to a Chindee haphazardly dancing a path across the Navajo Nation along the northern Arizona-New Mexico border, suggested that Florida Marlins roving hitting instructor Andre Dawson was in the Duke City to study outfielder John Gall’s swing in an effort to determine what he was doing right during his 29-game home hit streak were completely unfounded.

A more plausible explanation, at least one that is more in step with my personal worldview, is that the Hawk was in town to conduct a seminar for the players on the art of signing autographs for fans. Unfortunately, since no such seminar was announced to the public, I can only guess as to a few of Dawson’s main discussion points.

Firstly, I assume Andre instructed the players that they need to develop an effective signature- and while stressing that it doesn’t have to be elaborate, adding that just a touch of flair goes a long way. This 1988 Topps card (no. 500) provides an excellent example of that. Note that the sweeping tail at the end of Dawson’s autograph also provides a hint of movement to the photo and enhances his power swing that much more.

Next, I presume Andre would have touched on the topic of consistency. It isn’t difficult to imagine him using hitting as an example of the reward that results from being consistent. The following scan of a 2001 Topps Archives card (no. 77) depicting a reprint of Dawson’s 1977 Rookie card not only demonstrates that point, but also brings us to the next lesson.

If someone asks you to sign a card, ball, hat or whatever, look them in the eye before you sign and make them wonder if you might be trying to place them at the scene of some recent crime committed against mankind. This will generally prevent the more timid autograph seeker from asking you again, and it is something you can have fun with when you are tired of signing after a long day and evening at the ballpark. Obviously, having a consistent signature is imperative to being able to look up from the item being autographed to stare at the fan without messing up. Combining a slight glare with a low voice, if speaking at all, can help reduce the number of autographs you may be asked to give each and every time.

Another portion of Dawson’s seminar may have concentrated on explaining the importance of being as comfortable as possible while signing autographs. Andre would know better than anyone how standing around for hours takes a toll on a player’s legs and knees.

Finally, be honest with your fans, and explain that if you are busy you will do your best to catch them at a later date. However, if any of the graphers appear to also be bloggers, it would probably be best to take a few seconds and sign a card, or two, and thank them for coming out to the park.

– Kris

topps shelf literature

April 26, 2008

I realize that it is still spring, but it isn’t too early to begin thinking about items to add to your Christmas list. No, not the list you use when shopping for friends and family, but rather the list you consult whenever someone asks what you are hoping Santa will leave under your tree.

If you are anything like me, you regularly get asked if you are sure you just want baseball cards AGAIN. Odds are that more than once you have replied, “Yes, I already have enough socks, thank you.”

Perhaps this item will throw your gift givers for a loop. It is called a book.

The title is Topps Baseball Cards: The Complete Picture Collection (A 35 Year History, 1951-1985). “Written” by Frank Slocum, the book contains an introduction by Sy Berger, and say hey… a forward by Willie Mays. Published by Warner Books in 1985, Topps Baseball Cards was and printed and bound by Mandarin Offset Marketing Ltd. in Hong Kong.

If you aren’t familiar with this book, but are intrigued so far, prepare to have your mind blown. This unbelievable manuscript contains images of the front side of one of every Topps baseball cards produced between 1951 and 1985. The images measure approximately 1.1875 by 1.75 inches, so inclusion of the back sides of the cards really wouldn’t have been feasible. No short printed pages either!

Topps Baseball Cards also contains a nifty index in the back to help you quickly locate the cards of your favorite players. Perhaps by now you are thinking that this thing would be perfect if it also contained lifetime Major League batting and pitching statistics of all of the players featured on the cards. Well… it does!

While sellers are offering “used” to “like new” copies of this out-of-print masterpiece on Amazon from $50 to $500 (I am not kidding!), I was able to pick up a copy on eBay for $21 that I have personally graded as “gently utilized.” Condition really wasn’t an issue for me as I intend to use this reference volume much like one would treat a rental car. Once Aardvark Trading Company opens a physical store, this book will be available for customers to thumb through on cold winter days while they ponder which vintage set they want to chase next.

This monster book measures 14.2 by 10.7 inches, with a wingspan of just over 20 inches while in flight. The 735 pages of this behemoth combined with the hardback cover minus the dust jacket (dust jackets should be illegal in the continental 48 states) weigh in at a lap-crushing 10.2 pounds; so make sure you have a desk, table or industrial-strength book stand handy whenever you decide to flip through this fabulous document.

Unfortunately, the size and weight of the book serve as adequate deterrents for most graphers who may entertain the notion of having players sign the images of their cards. Of course if Topps decides to reissue the book with retractable wheels and a handle, all bets are off.

When you stop to consider that this book will easily serve as that perfect stop-gap catch all for your baseball card collection until you manage to win the lottery and are in a position to put together your dream collection, I don’t think it is much of a stretch for me to claim this is probably the best possible nonfiction book you could add to your library. Certainly if you can think of a better reference book, I would love to hear about it.

So the next time you are standing in front of THE aisle in one of those major retail stores pondering dropping another twenty bucks for one of those rip-off repack boxes, you should also consider the alternative of adding another $20 to your investment fund to purchase your very own copy of Topps Baseball Cards in the condition that best fits your style. You will be glad you did!

– Kris

allen, ginter, gwynn, shelton, mench and mini mench

April 25, 2008

There’s no use crying over the fact that none of the players on the current Albuquerque Isotopes roster have cards in the Topps Allen & Ginter series. Instead, with Sharpie in hand I march around to the other side of the stadium and take advantage of injuries and log jams in the Rangers’ and Brewers’ organizations, and knock out a few autographs when the Oklahoma Redhawks and Nashville Sounds roll into the Duke City.

Tony Gwynn Jr. (2007 – no. 221).

Do NOT allow the smile on Tony’s face on his card lead you to believe that is what you will see when you ask him for an autograph. Patience and thick skin will help you with your attempt to get Gwynn to sign in person.

One evening last summer a couple of the graphers gave me a hard time after Tony Gwynn Jr. and Joe Dillon walked out of the locker room together and I chose to ask Dillon to sign instead of Gwynn. My view was that I’d rather have the autograph of a player who is nice and more than happy to sign than one who would end up muttering inaudibles (or worse) under his breath while signing (assuming he would agree to in the first place), or make a dash for the team van. Besides, I still needed to get Joe’s signature on his lunchbox (see end of post) that had been issued by the Isotopes after he had moved to Japan. Autographing is all about setting your personal priorities and remaining flexible.

Chris Shelton (2006 – no. 70)

I bet that if I had had 125 of these cards (coincidentally the same number of career hits Shelton had collected by the time the inaugural Allen & Ginter cards had gone to press), Chris would have happily stood there and signed every single one.

Kevin Mench (2006 – no. 324)

What in the world? If I hadn’t watched Kevin sign this card in person, I would never have believed it was a signature, and not someone’s test to see if his or her Sharpie was in good working order. Surely he couldn’t replicate that again in a million years!

Kevin Mench (2007 mini – no. 97)

Well color me wrong. Kevin scores big points for consistency.

Unlike the Topps 52s, simply assembling complete Allen & Ginter sets will satisfy me, and every autograph I obtain will be considered a bonus. With that in mind, I only need a handful more of the 2007 minis to reach that goal. I ask that you stop thinking about your fantasy baseball team(s) long enough to visit my need list and let me know if you have any duplicates for trade. I would really like to complete the 2007 set before the 2008 cards are released.

– Kris


In the interest of keeping things in order… here is a photo of the Joe Dillon lunchbox mentioned previously.

national baseball card day 2008

March 28, 2008

Of course the well-educated readers of Cards in the Attic are all aware that TOMORROW Saturday, March 29 is National Baseball Card Day! If that isn’t something to cheer about, I don’t know what is.

You have probably already mapped out your route to hit your favorite trading card dealers so you can cash in on some FREEBIES while stocking up on fresh (or stale) boxes of wax to carry you through the true opening weekend of the 2008 Major League Baseball season.

This is just to serve as a reminder that you can also get FREE baseball cards simply by visiting and signing up online. That’s right…. FREE baseball cards while you are still wearing your jammies! According to the information available, “each pack will contain five base cards from Topps, five base cards from Upper Deck, one chase card from Topps, one chase card from Upper Deck, and one informational card.”

Don’t forget to tell them that Aardvark Trading Company sent ya!

– Kris

easter aardvark

March 24, 2008

Seriously…. How could you not love the Easter Aardvark?

Most importantly, his presence indicates the full-blown arrival of spring. It is also a well-known fact that the earth pig is usually packing really kool gifts!


Admittedly, this burrowing mammal isn’t quite as creative as his “cousin” the bunny when it comes to hiding items, but I can’t help but admire the fact that he enjoys sticking around to see the reaction people have to the presents he brings for them.

When asked if he would like to hang around and watch me rip these packs of 2008 Topps Heritage baseball cards, the little guy indicated that he actually had to be going. It seems he had heard rave reviews of a new ant hill opening a couple of blocks down the street and wanted to go check it out.

saving time in a cigar tin

March 1, 2008

I don’t think I’m crawling too far out on a limb by admitting that I often daydream of discovering a long-forgotten baseball card that has been safely squirreled away in some dark, dry corner of my world. It wouldn’t even have to be a significantly valuable card to make me happy either. A simple unexpected link to the distant past would be nice.

Who hasn’t heard a story of some couple tearing out a wall in an old home and finding a nest of old circus posters rolled up and serving as makeshift insulation between the studs? Of course such fantastic discoveries would never be possible if somebody hadn’t placed neat objects in the wall in the first place, then sealed it up and allowed time to perform its magic.

With that in mind, I did seal a couple of Barry Bonds cards in the walls of our house while I was remodeling our bathroom back in 2006. I don’t know who will find them, or under what circumstances, but I hope they appreciate the gesture. I also hope that the finder discovers some value in those cards, however value of such things may be determined at that point in the future when they are discovered.

This past week another stellar time capsule opportunity came knocking on my front doorstep and I simply could not refuse to answer like I would if it had been a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses trying to hand me the latest issue of The Watchtower.


Having pooled resources, the city of Albuquerque and our historic neighborhood association have begun a project to replace broken and/or uneven sections of sidewalks, including a couple of segments in front of our house. Just before the work crew began pouring the concrete, I was able to bury a small tin box about 4 inches below the surface for some lucky son-of-a-gun to discover long after I have posted my last blog entry. The sidewalks segments that were replaced were constructed in the early 1920s, so I would hazard to guess that the tin might easily be sealed underground for the next 100 years, or possibly longer.

I’ve decided to share with you the contents of the time capsule since I don’t think there is much of a chance that any of you are going to spoil the surprise.


The box is a slender black tin that once contained 10 small cigars from Dannemann Brasil. The width of the tin prevented me from including any regular-sized baseball cards, but that didn’t matter since I had already decided to only include 2007 Allen & Ginter minis. The cards include Prince Fielder, Connor Jackson and Mike Napoli. I thought it was appropriate to include one of the Groundhog Day cards given the subterranean nature of the capsule.


Each of the cards was sealed in an individual plastic sleeve, then two were sealed in another sleeve, and finally the four were encased in another plastic bag. The person who discovers this package will likely win some type of scientific award for having finally solved the old riddle of what ever became of the world’s tape supply.


The tin also contains a single penny dated 2007, and four small bags of silica gel desiccant that I think will help draw any moisture that might happen to form inside the tin away from the cards. The bags are clearly labeled “Do Not Eat – Throw Away.” Hopefully that will prevent the finder from thinking the bags contain tea and brewing himself a cup of stupidity. Of course, they would probably be better off eating that stuff than anyone currently busting boxes of cards from the 1980s and dares to stick that old Topps gum in their mouth.


Finally, I placed my business card in the tin to help prevent the finder from wasting too much time wondering “who” would have done such a thing. Then the tin was placed in plastic and wrapped with tape several times over. Not that I expect the item needs waterproofing since it is going to live under a sidewalk in the high desert… but just as insurance in the event that my sprinkler system goes bananas and I flood the neighborhood.

I sat on the front porch of my 100-year-old house and watched while the workmen poured the concrete and smoothed the surface of the sidewalk with trowels. I thought about time and history, and my small role in it- chuckling to myself while watching the workmen trowel the sidewalk surface a second time after a neighbor’s dog tracked through on his way to make his own deposit of more urgency amongst my irises.

Then a strange thing happened. That same night I received an email from one of the people who lived in my house exactly 50 years ago. He had stumbled across the results of my historical research of the property on one of my other websites, and was intrigued enough to introduce himself and tell me what it was like living here half a century ago. Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT suggesting that the two events are related in any way, but it was very nice to get a surprise from the past just hours after leaving one for the future.

– Kris