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.

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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.

Back to the Eighties with Lanny

Welcome new readers and old alike, haven’t posted on the blog in a bit but got a great post for today. While I haven’t been writing here as much, I’ve been quite active via Twitter @ShaneKatz73 on pickups and trades.

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Today’s post is a trade made via Twitter with Lanny over @DOCBZ17. I happen to have some Frank Thomas and Dwight Gooden cards for his player collection needs, and in turn, Lanny loaded me up with some great 80’s oddballs along with some surprise Red Sox cards!

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First up, a couple of cool custom XRC cards of Doctor K. Think of that 1984 Donruss Set if they had Puckett, Clemens, and Gooden as Rated Rookies???!!!! That would have been something! Lanny also included a run of custom 80s cards of his sons, but I won’t share those here for privacy reasons, however they will be in the 80s oddball album.

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Next up in the package was this awesome 1983 Cincinnati Reds Yearbook card set! This is one of the team issues I didn’t have a sample of nor is it listed here. This is the type of 1980’s issue I love to track down and thanks to Lanny, I have a copy. Overall, there were 16 different cards in the set.

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Next up, some 1985 Donruss Action All-Stars and this fills two needs, Red Sox (Boggs and Evans) and the rest of the lot for the 80s oddball album.

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Next was a 1985 Topps Circle K box set of Home Run Greats. I’ll throw Teddy and Yaz into my oddball Sox album as I didn’t have yet.

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Here is one of the first items Lanny had shot me via Twitter to see if I had and I did not nor had I seen before! These discs are from the 1985 Kas Potato Chip issue. These measure 2-3/4″ in diameter and included 20 different players. This is another example of a regional issue that was never found in New England as KAS is based in St. Louis. Love the Ripken!

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Another Topps box set issue, this time the 1985 Woolworth’s All-Time Record Holders edition featuring may HOFers and non-HOFers. This was another Teddy issue I didn’t have for my Sox oddballs.

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The 1986 Big League Chew Home Run Legends is a set I remembered as a kid. I had a handful of these from getting pouches of the shredded bubble gum at my Little League snack shack. Nice to have a bunch I didn’t have. All in all, there are 12 different cards of MLBs 500 Home Run kings.

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Popping up next, the 1986 Donruss All Star Pop-Up cards. As a kid, I thought these were some of the coolest cards. This concept goes back to the 1911 Mecca Doubleheaders and 1934 Batter Ups.

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Another regional Kas Potato Chip issue, this one of the 1986 St. Louis Cardinals and celebrating their 1985 National League Pennant. This Kas issue measures slightly larger than the previous year at 2-7/8″ in diameter and contains 20 different Red Bird players.

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Who’s hungry? You would be to find these 1986 Topps Quaker Granola cards. There are 33 cards in the set and Lanny managed to find six of them I didn’t have yet!

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And to wash down all those granola bars, how about some 1986 7-Eleven Slurpee Discs. These are another great find from Lanny as they are from the Midwestern Region! 7-Eleven distributed these coins in four different regions, with some of these discs being region-specific, see the above Star Second Basemen (Doran/Herr/Oester).

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And while we’re recovering from our sugar-coma, lets get all tatted up with these 1986 Topps Tattoos! Nice to get a clean Buckner as these one i had came from a recent pack find at the LCS and had bled from the gum’s moisture.

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More Donruss All-Star Pop-Ups and Action All-Stars! I didn’t have any of these outside a Mattingly so nice to get a variety here.

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Next up was another food issue I didn’t have yet for the 80s oddball album, this one the 1987 Topps Nestle Dream Team consisting of 33 cards and a checklist. Love the color combo on these backs, they really pop! The Teddy is another new one issue I didn’t have!

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Next, Lanny sent a couple of 1988 Grenada stamps. These came in color coded sheet sets, nine different colors with nine different stamps to a sheet. I have one of the sheets (green) so it’s nice to get a couple single stamps from a different sheet.

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Here’s another oddball team issue, this one from the 1987 Barry Colla New York Mets team postcard set. Tim Teufel strikes a pose with spring training camp as the backdrop.

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Next up, a couple of 1989 Topps Big Series Two packs. It was fun opening these and one issue from the 80s I don’t have many of. These will go into my 1980s major releases album alongside other 1989 flagship sets.

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And now, onto some oddball Red Sox issues, one I surprisingly didn’t have any of! These are from TCMA’s 1987 Baseball’s All-Time Greats set. Can’t believe I didn’t have any of these!

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This is another Red Sox issue I didn’t have, the 1969 Globe Imports Playing Cards Gas Station issue of Tony C and New Englands favorite dentist, Jim Lonborg! The set consists of 55 blank backed cards that measure 1-5/8 x 2″ The black & white cards were printed on thin paper stock and was issued in very scarce quantity, and sold at gas stations in the Southern USA. While I was aware of these, I had never picked any up, in any case that’s an awesome find Lanny!

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And last but not least, Lanny included these awesome autographed Sox cards!!! While I have a decent assortment of Sox autos, these are three I didn’t have! The Lonborg is in pen which harkens back to the olden days when Sharpies didn’t exist.

Thank you again Lanny for the great trade!!! This one was full of surprises and awesome regional oddball issues! I’ll be sure to keep my eyes open for Docs, Frank Thomas, and Konerko’s for ya, you can follow Lanny here.

Red Sox Mail Day—1979 Tradin’ Card Butch Hobson

Finally over a couple of big work initiatives, but that hasn’t stopped me from picking up some rare, unusual or cool Red Sox cards lately. Just go check out my Twitter feed @ShaneKatz73. I’ll be sure to post some of these here in time. I still need to post at least four trades too!

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But today, I give you a card I found when searching for something else, one that even fellow Red Sox collector @MarkHoyle hadn’t come across! The above front is something we’re going to call 1979 Tradin’ Card Butch Hobson.

This measures at a standard size baseball card and the weight and thickness is same as say, a regular 1979 Topps card. Supposedly, this was issued thru Topps Chewing Gum Subsidiary—Hadfield Enterprises. Further below is an image of the advertised card on back of 1979-80 Topps Hockey Team Sticker Insert Card. The card certainly smells as if it’s 35+ years old.

As far as the dealer and myself know,  they still are not cataloged. The long-time Boston-area dealer, Hall’s Nostalgia, believes that it’s possible about only 10 of each card exist. In other words, if you look at the ad on the back of the Topps Hockey Sticker card, these cards appear to be printed by mistake—or sort of some type of custom card maybe a kid sent to be printed with a photograph he took at a Red Sox game?

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Flip side of the Hobson card notes it’s printed by Hadfield Enterprises.

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Up close detail here, looks like some sort of laser jet printing.

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Said back of a Topps Hockey Sticker insert promoting these Tradin’ Cards. Obviously, this was meant for a customized card of your son or daughter but clearly someone had other ideas.

The dealer recalls seeing about five different Red Sox and two or three different Yankee players in this set back in 1979. They had listed; the above Hobson, Jerry Remy, and Fred Lynn. When I gave Mark Hoyle a heads up, he grabbed the Remy.

In doing some other research for this post, I came across this tidbit from a Jerry Remy that sold in 2014:

… on the back on the 1979/80 Topps Hockey Team Logo Stickers there was an offer to send in your photo and have a card made up (I think the idea was that parents or kids would have little leaguers make up cards of themselves). I sent in a few actual players (I think Thurman Munson, Carl Yastrzemski, etc.) and to my surprise I got back my first order (they gave me twenty of each card). I then tried to send in more but was told they could not produce major league cards. I have NEVER seen any others! This Jerry Remy card is the only card I have left.

Or this other Butch Hobson card—my hockey sticker has the Hartford Whalers on the reverse, not the Bruins. There’s are a couple of replies to a post—and Greg (NightOwl) if you are reading, check out the Don Sutton Dodgers card in the thread!!

Does anyone else have any other information or seen others out there? I keep looking at this and want to say I have seen one in my travels, but can’t truly recall.

If any Red Sox collectors are out there, there’s the Fred Lynn left. Throw a $20 buck offer and you’ll probably get it for that. Thank you for reading and look forward to hearing if any other of these cards exist out there!

Mail Day from Dub

So earlier this week, Joey from @DubMentality and DubMentality.com had posted some pics of 1983 Donruss Action All-Stars that needed a home. I accepted in exchange for some goodies that will be headed his way on Monday.

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The 1983 Donruss Action All-Stars is a 60-card oversized set that was sold on it’s own in cello packs. The set is designed horizontally and measures 5 x 3 1/2″. Each pack also contains three pieces of a 63-piece Mickey Mantle puzzle. Somehow, I never had any of these as a kid due to no Jim Rice card in the set. I remember seeing boxes and boxes of these in the LCS I work at as they were never big sellers. Anything that fell outside the “standard card size” generally didn’t move too fast at the store. Maybe it was a storage thing or that is was just new, I’m not sure. In any case, I now have some in my hands thanks to Dub!!

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The Yaz card will move to my Sox oddball album while the others will go into my 80’s album. Unlike the Donruss flagships issues of the day, these oversized cards show the full career statistics along with some bio/highlights information if there was room.

Donruss would produce this set line from 1983-1987, the last two years borrow the design of the flagship more or less.

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Dub also included some bonus Red Sox too!! I didn’t have the Benintendi card (funny I almost bought this last week at my LCS) so win there, and the two Heritage will go nicely in my All-Time Sox album replacing their 2016 Heritage High Series cards.

Thank you again Joey — I’ve already got those Ron Gants and some other goodies set aside for a PO run Monday before work. Seriously, if you were a kid in the 80’s and collected cards, give @DubMentality a follow on Twitter, it’ll be a fun trip down memory lane!