Page 2: Topps Binder Project

While I am naming this post “Page 2”, it necessarily won’t be the second page in this binder, that is reserved for something later. The page numbers above will relate to posts within this project.

And with that, my next page …

Favorite card: Name-wise, 1979 Horace Speed. Looks-wise, 1980 Wayne Cage. Such a great shot and it appears he’s scooping the INDIANS banner into his glove.

Card(s) I would like to add: None at the moment, there’s another page running with this theme.

Card likely to drop out: None at the moment.

Number of HOFers on page: Zero

Interesting stat via BBRef.com: Horace Speed stole four bases in his short 3-year career while getting caught five times.

Number of Red Sox Alumni: Two

Cool cardback stat: 1988 Bob Walk; “Bob led Eastern League with 135 strikeouts in 1979.”

and for those trying to guess the theme …

Page theme: Names that are tied to Baseball.

In addition to this page, I posted a running “Wants” above in the menu. I look forward to your feedback, suggestions, and comments as this project will continue to evolve with cards being added as well as possibly being stricken from the binder.

The Topps Binder Project

Introducing the Topps Binder Project.

In my previous post below, I love themes when flipping and sorting through cards. While I am working a couple Topps vintage sets and Topps sets from the 1980s, I struggle with what to do with all my other vintage cardboard. This project stems from a similar project that another collector on Twitter @_gritz_ has been working on. If you like these pages, I guarantee you’ll enjoy his as well.

I will be using Topps baseball cards and any Topps oddball cards that used a grey cardboard stock. This includes Drakes, Burger King issues from the late 1970s, 1978 Zest Soap, box bottom cards and so on. I will make exceptions for traded sets from 1983–1991 as those where issued during this cardboard era. Many themes will be obvious, others might take some thinking. Some days I see posting a couple of pages a day, some days maybe just one. Condition doesn’t matter and will welcome trades. I’ll post a want list in the menu as well.

I look forward to your feedback, suggestions, and comments as this project will continue to evolve with cards being added as well as possibly being stricken from the binder.

With that, here is page one of The Topps Binder Project.

Favorite card: 1957 Ted Williams

Card(s) I would like to add: 1961 Dick Groat, 1962 Roger Maris, or 1966 Willie Mays

Card likely to drop out: 1975 Hank Aaron Highlights (already have the ’74 on page)

Number of HOFers on page: Six

Number of Red Sox Alumni: Three

and for those trying to guess the theme …

Page theme: Just like building a set, page one of the binder has to be all number 1 cards.

The Topps Binder Project

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I have lots of cards. Sometimes I feel I have too many cards. My wife might agree with that last statement, as I’m sure many your significant others would raise a glass to her as well. Most of my cards range from 1952 to the present day with Topps being a vast majority of them.

Sure I have my Red Sox All-Time Collection, my vintage and 1980s Topps sets I am building, my 1980s Oddballs project … but what do I do with them rest of them? My big question I am always battling with is how to organize my cards in a way I can truly enjoy and have fun looking through them?

I started down the road of doing a “Topps Through the Years” project, but realized once I got in the 1960s I was leaving too many cool and great cards by the wayside. This project was to capture one to two pages for each Topps baseball flagship from 1951 to present (still could happen with the leftovers from new project) depicting nine base cards and then a sampling of nine that might an include an All-Star, player combo, manager, leaders etc, etc. I battled through till I got to 1970 when I hit pause and pulled all the cards out of the pages.

It seems like I have always had card piles dedicated to themes. For example, no-hitters, players who hit for the cycle, players from Massachusetts and so on and so on. And then one day, I was looking at someone’s Twitter feed when I noticed a retweet of another collector’s post. It came from a collector known as gritz (@__gritz__). Gritz was building a binder of pages depicting Topps cards, but only ones printed on actual cardboard. There are a couple of exceptions (1985 Topps Tiffany of Rusty Kuntz, some 80s Traded cards on white stock) but none of todays over-glossed, foil stamped, white card stock. He also includes some inserts from the 1960s such as the 1968 Topps Game and 1969 Deckle Edge issues, as well I believe some Drake’s issues as they were printed by Topps and reside on their gray cardboard stock.

For him, like myself, condition didn’t matter, all it needed to be was fun to look at. In many tweets back and forth, he mentioned there was an arbitrary method to his “organized chaos.” While at one point there may have been themes, they have been long absorbed and no he just sticks the card where it ends up in the cycle of page building. Gritz told me it’s the only binder of cards he routinely pulls out to look at. I was fascinated with these pages and the many cools cards I had forgot about or didn’t realize existed—I was hooked.

And here’s where my new—fun project comes in. As much as I would love to have my Topps Mike Trout rookie card next to, say a 1974 Dave Winfield, it just doesn’t look right. I actually tested a couple of pages and tweeted them out to fellow collectors. One page had just gray cardboard stock (1957–1991), the other page was the same as the first, minus several cards that were replaced with white card stock (1993–present) versions. The gray cardboard won hands down. I don’t know what it is, but modern day cards just don’t look good in sheets nor do they carry that smell that old cardboard carries.

So how am I going to organize this new Topps binder project? Well I have always liked themes so that is where I am going to start. My goal is to try not to have pages full of just star cards unless there’s a good sound reason/theme for it. The below are themes not limited to just one page as there are too many atrocious airbrushed beauties and bad 70s hairdos to limit this collector.

  • Shane (players named Shane)
  • Born on/happened on April 2
  • Card number 1
  • Pitchers who threw No-No’s
  • Players who hit for the cycle
  • All Decades Team: 1960s
  • All Decades Team: 1970s
  • All Decades Team: 1980s
  • ROY winners
  • MVP winners
  • Cy Young winners
  • All-Stars
  • All-Star Gane MVP winners
  • Rookie cards (solo cards for each position)
  • Rookie cards (multi-player rookie stars)
  • Airbrushed beauties
  • Hairdos
  • Specticles (eyeglasses and shades)
  • First team to field an all non-white starting line up
  • Tragic endings (Hubbs, Clemente, Munson)
  • Last cards
  • Managers
  • League Leaders (group by cat; HR, Wins)
  • Player combos
  • Checklists
  • Team cards
  • Post-season/World Series
  • WTF/crazy shiz happening
  • Cups of coffee
  • No bat, all glove guys
  • All about the bats (cards with bats/bat racks)
  • Bunting poses
  • On-deck perspectives
  • Pitchers; behind the plate perspective
  • Catchers (posed, gear, foul pop shots)
  • Same name, not THAT guy (Bob Gibson, Mike Tyson)
  • Oddballs (75 minis, Drakes, box bottoms)
  • From Massachusetts
  • Fron New England (Fisk)
  • Cape Cod Baseball League stars (Will Clark, Cory Snyder)
  • Animal names (Moose Haas, Craig Swan)
  • Dick/raunchy names (yes Rusty Kuntz and Dick Pole)
  • Color names
  • Names with a baseball theme
  • Players who became managers
  • Players who became broadcasters
  • Players who move into front-office
  • Multi-sport guys
  • Fathers and sons
  • Bothers
  • Linked (1970 Pete Rose & Ray Fosse)
  • Hitter feats (oddities)
  • Pitcher feats (oddities)
  • Ballpark shots (cards with just Wrigley ivy, Green Monster (Fenway))
  • Masterpieces (1971 Pinson, 1976 Bench, 1982 Fisk IA)
  • HOFers
  • Hall of Very Good (Pinson, Allen, Simmons, Whitaker)
  • Lots of stats (card backs showing nothing but stats, think 1987 Phil Neikro)
  • World Series Heros (Joe Carter)
  • World Series Goats (Buckner)
  • Cameos (this 1971 Chris Short with Pete Rose leading off second base in the background)
  • Great action shots
  • Great poses

I know I might be missing other themes but the above is just top of my head. I would love to hear your feedback and even card submissions. Hell, I love to trade so would gladly trade for these as well—just drop me a line in the comments or on Twitter (@ShaneKatz73).

Quite the Sox Oddball

Hello all, been a while since I blogged but I felt todays pick up required some background info and it would be harder to do so through my usual Twitter feed. The newest addition to my Red Sox collection, is a card I remember reading about while looking for test issues to add to my 80’s Oddball Collection but didn’t know a Sox existed.

1985 Topps/OPC Mini #65 Bill Buckner

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Wait—what? 1985 Topps mini? Yup your heard me right. Topps DID produce … err O-Pee-Chee did produce … whoa, whoa, whoa. A Topps/O-Pee-Chee mini???

These cards were never actually released for public sale, but somehow managed to sneak out into the collecting world. Allegedly a result of O-Pee-Chee’s testing of new printing equipment, an undersized “set” of 132 cards (the number of cards traditionally found on a single sheet) were printed. These minis are about 10% smaller than the typical Topps card and on brighter paper than the typical cards. The result is a smaller card, more vibrant and reminiscent of some of the “premium” cards that would become the standard in the hobby half a dozen years later.

The 132 cards with completed backs are identical in format to their 1985 regular counterparts. I have read that only about 100 of each of these cards are thought to exist with blank backs thought to be numbered less than 20 per card.

There is speculation that all the 1985 Topps Minis were discarded in uncut sheet form, and subsequently professionally cut. One school of thought suggests that the cards were indeed factory cut. Another suggests a small amount of cards were actually issued in packs. A former O Pee Chee employee, suggests that the cards were never cut at the factory at all, meaning all the cards in the hobby were cut after the fact. As if this mystery doesn’t get any deeper, you can also find these minis in blank backs (tan and white) AND “Red” backs in which only the red ink is printed (no green ink).

In my research of trying to figure out these minis, I can across the following posts from Net54Baseball.com:

“I have a handful of these cards. I’m almost positive I bought them at a local Tom Thumb in Maple Grove, MN”

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“If they were sold at retail in the US that would be worth knowing and new info. By all accounts they were produced in Canada and never retailed here. In putting my two sets together I had to buy most of mine through Canadian sellers … My info about the 100 or less comes from SCD and several other hobby sources. I do know the blank backs are much tougher than the regular backs, and the red only backs toughest of all.”

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One of the sellers promoting 1985 mini’s indicates that he has correspondence from Topps which, in part confirms that more than 130 sets were issued. By his accounting Topps hired O-Pee-Chee to make the mini-test set. OPC then sold among other things, 210 sheets to a scrapper, which then sold 110 of the 132-card “sets” to a Long Island dealer. The dealer then cut the sheets in to cards.

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By the dealers account, the sheets may have included 3 color progressive proofs, later shown to exist—which presumably may be where your red backs came from.

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He also indicates that the cards were printed on normal OPC “white” stock or regular Topps cardboard stock—possibly explaining the 2 types of blank backs (tan AND gray cardboard). Other accounts in a previous thread indicate some of the sheets were thrown away and retrieved from dumpsters due to smeared ink, etc.

And yet MORE info from the auction I won:

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Comparing the two

I happened to have a regular 1985 Topps Buckner in my collection, so it makes for a perfect side-by-side comparison. As you can clearly see, the mini is slightly smaller than it’s flagship counterpart and the back is lighter as you would find on O-Pee-Chee stock from the time period. Notice more paper fibers in the regular Topps card (bottom card), where as the mini appears smooth. One thing I noticed right away is how deep the solid colors are—the red and blue team band just pops on the mini.

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Here is another image I found on the Net54Baseball.com board showing three different backs to these minis; blank (tan), red ink, mini test.

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I’d love to land a blank back or red ink version, but those are pretty pricey. There are a couple Jim Rice PSA graded blank backs on eBay right now, but those are close to $600. But of course, in the meantime, I need to grab another mini and a blank back for that 80’s Oddball Collection because the 1985 Topps/OPC Mini truly is, an oddball with many tales.

Thank you for reading and let me know if you have any of these minis and/or you have come across them in your collecting travels.