While most of the collecting world has been obsessing over the Cubs and their new, baby faced power-hitter, Kris Bryant … I have been quietly enjoying the rebirth of Arod. Although it’s extremely early into the season, Rodriguez has been one of the best hitters in baseball all while missing the entire 2014 season, playing on rebuilt body parts, and being 39 years of age.
Suddenly, one of the most hated baseball players of all time (sorry, Jose) is an underdog figure who had a good chance to surpass the Home Run King and retire as the greatest slugger of all time. Even if his numbers are tarnished, so are Bonds’ but there is something bigger at play. The Steroid era is over and done with. Guys are no longer hitting 50+ home runs a year. It’s very likely that we will never again see a guy hit 600 home runs, and 500 home runs will too become a rarity if testing continues to be implemented.
So with every home run Kris Bryant hits, every card that’s released by card companies to exploit this newest phenom, I’ll be rooting for the old man with the bad hip to continue doing what he’s done his whole career, legally and illegally, mashing home runs. He may not keep this pace much longer but so long as he remains healthy and in a MLB line up, we may see something special in a couple of years. King or not, once Arod is gone … the steroid era of baseball will forever be buried and someday even forgotten. There will always be new cheaters but not on the level of what we saw in the 90’s and beyond. Only time and a little luck will tell us if Arod is the greatest cheater of all time or just another Jose Canseco.
Of course, it’s an exclusive that only Jose Canseco fans and collectors will enjoy but that was kind of the idea. Below is the first ever image posted online of Jose Canseco’s autograph from 2015 Prizm.
Last month when Panini America started giving collectors a sneak peak at their Prizm line, I predicted that it would give Topps Finest a run for their money and my feelings haven’t changed one bit.
Now, Panini has given us a preview of their next product, Diamond Kings, and well, they have completely shut my trap because I was one of those talking smack after seeing the sell sheets. Boy, was I wrong.
I predicted Prizm would give Finest stiff competition in 2015. With Diamond Kings, however, I predict a product of the year type run once its released … with or without a Jose Canseco in the set.
As for the card below, it appears to be Jose Canseco from 1991-92, his final years in Oakland. As much as I like the photo, to me the highlight is the on-card autograph on the reflective metal. It looks awesome!
No, it’s not what you think. First, let’s take a look at 2015 Gypsy Queen and the base card for disgraced baseball hero, Roger Clemens. I know what you’re thinking and if you’re under 21, you probably think this is a GREAT photograph of “The Rocket”. Well, young collector, you’re absolutely right. Although I’m not big on the card design for Gypsy Queen, the photographs used are absolutely awesome on almost every card.
Again, Topps hit this one out of the park. Nothing like a product full of hits (4) that also features amazing photographs and memorable base cards. As I mentioned, I’m not a fan of the design but the mini cards, autographs, and relics look great. Topps is now 3 for 3 in releases after TributeGate (Opening Day, Museum Collection, Gypsy Queen). They are pretty much running in a race against themselves at this point because no one is even putting up a fight any longer.
Now, if you’re a little older you may recall the Clemens photograph as it was used in Topps’ final iconic flagship every produced, back in 1991. I’m not saying the flagship hasn’t been great since then but to me 1991 was the last great year for them. Not long after that came Finest, Refractors, Upper Deck innovations (AKA autographs and relics) which made set collecting and Topps’ flagship almost obsolete.
However, in 1991, Topps was on top of the card world and its flagship featured the greatest photography ever used in any set with a super clean base design that has aged well, unlike many of their base set designs since that time. What’s even greater is that thanks to the mass production of baseball cards that would eventually kill our hobby or a least destroy the big card boom, these sets can be found for very cheap prices at the card shop (if you have one) or anywhere else. I bought a full set for $5 dollars at a flea market this year.
So the questions is simple: which Topps set used the Roger Clemens photograph better? 1991 Topps vs. 2015 Gypsy Queen?
In theory, I should have been a huge Pacific Trading Cards fan. After all, being Hispanic, there has never been another company that catered to the Latin market as much as Pacific did. Unfortunately, from their late 80s small start, their official debut in 1993, and their demise, I was never a fan. Pacific’a cards were over the top and gaudy, even by 90s standards.
Another thing I can’t stand is too many parallels and in my eyes, Pacific was the biggest offender in that department. In fact, I simply avoided all their cards in the late 90s and would only pick up the occasional Jose Canseco from one of their way too many yearly products from card shows and shops. It’s only now in 2015 that I realize that their brand of zaniness was actually creative and is something that’s lacking in today’s world of collecting.
Today, I discovered that not only was there way too many parallels in their product, there was also something incredibly cool (or awful) that you could have if you attended any of the big card shows from the late 90s into the early 2000s. You see, at the big shows they would set up a booth and any one card you pulled from a pack of their products could be stamped by them, for free, essentially making your card a one of a kind (sorta). At first they were embossing the chosen card but eventually, being Pacific, upgraded to a foil stamp with show information like you see below. Unlike the card sample below, most stamps added to the overall aesthetic, unlike the awful stamp below which pretty much kills the design.
So if you have deep pockets (Trader Crack’s) and you’ve somehow managed to complete a Pacific rainbow, you may just be missing out on a card or two you never even knew existed. Or if you’re like me, you’ve learned to just ignore all things Pacific. The card below is what you’d hashtag as #PlayerCollectorProblems.
Fresh off a hot Museum Collection release last week, Topps is back with another retro-style product, Gypsy Queen. Cards are slowly but surely hitting eBay ahead of the April 15th release date.
I’ve never had a chance to bust Gypsy Queen although I may have a card or two from 2014’s release of Jose Canseco. This year, although no Jose has surfaced, he is all over the checklist, which I’m extremely excited about.
There is currently very little of this product on eBay so it’s way too early to judge but I can say I’m not excited about this brand the way I was after seeing Museum Collection on eBay and Twitter. Time will tell if it will live up to the hype. One thing is for certain, Topps has been incredibly busy, pumping out one release after another.
As for me, I tried to unsuccessfully get into a Gypsy Queen case break to try my luck at pulling some Canseco cards but as it turns out you have to plan ahead on these things so I will be forced to pick up whatever is pulled on eBay. Sooner or later, I will get my foot in the door of these case breaks which seem to be all the rage among collectors these days.