Sunday, September 17, 2017

Woo-Hoo! Contest Winnings from JTS!

John, from Johnny's Trading Spot, held a contest recently celebrating his 900th post and his 4-year bloggiversary. I haven't been writing much lately, but I have been reading and commenting when the mood strikes. So, I decided to enter.
Contests, winning and P-town Tom are three items which you won't often see intersecting within a Venn Diagram. Yet, my name somehow floated to the top of the randomizer. Strange, but true. 
1987 has been done... a lot... but these are SHARP looking!
 This whole year for collecting has been really weird for me. I would label myself as a team collector and set builder, but I really haven't done either in 2017. I have picked up any card which makes mention of the 2016 World Series. But honestly, that's about a dozen or so cards and most of them were in Series 1 or Heritage, which were the two of the first releases. I also have added over seventy new Dan Vogelbach cards, which has pretty much dominated my cardboard acquisitions the last three months.
Sepia! Look at the color sneaking in at the bottom!

So, you can imagine how pleased I was to receive some new and shiny cardboard to add to my Cubs player collections!

Refractory goodness!
For the record, these are the first non-Cubs Topps Chrome cards I've added to my collection. The updated Chrome score is Cubs - 5, Vogelbach - 20. Yep, twenty different Topps Chrome Vogelbach cards and I know I'm still missing at least four.
Probably my favorite Future Stars card, behind the '87 Bo Jackson.

Oh, the bemusing life of a super collector on a budget!

Thanks for the cards, John! I love me some shiny cardboard!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

He's Back!

It's been a busy start to the school year, but I've got a few pictures to show off. These should give you a quick summary as to what I've been up to, since I haven't had much time for cardboard as of late.

My junior high softball coaching duties ended yesterday and maybe now I can play a little more attention to the blog with the extra time.
 Above is a picture of me hitting fly balls to my sixth grade team during pregame warm-ups. I take pride in being able to hit a softball into the glove of a less than confident twelve year old. Not easy to do at one hundred and twenty feet away from me!

My wife, father-in-law and I planted a new tree in the front yard. 
 We lost our ash tree last fall to the notorious emerald ash borer.  Gingkos are slow growing, but they are supposedly very hearty. Hopefully this little guy does well!

Our school district had a "school improvement day" recently and I learned how to graph within an on-line graphing calculator.
 It took some work, but I finished a Cubs logo!  The shading of the red and blue was the most challenging. Hat-tip to my co-worker Mike for troubleshooting for me!

I was able to get a little paddle boarding in a couple of weekends ago. 
Laura and I, feeling a little brave, traveled across the lake at Snakeden Hollow on the same board. She sat on the back and I did the paddling. I tried to make it across standing up, but I quickly found I had to kneel. Either that, or wind up wet!

I've resumed my duties taping games for the football coaching staff.
 Last week, I was in a scissor lift about twenty feet in the air at the back of the north end zone. Yikes! Their end zone camera is currently broken, so they have four sophomores running the camera from atop the press box, which is my normal post.  I'm not a big fan of heights and I'm hoping they get the camera fixed soon.

Lastly, the Mariners called up Dan Vogelbach yesterday. I should be pumped about this, but he'll be lucky to accumulate ten at-bats the rest of the way. The Mariners seem committed to Danny Valencia and Yonder Alonso at first base with Nelson Cruz being used as the DH. I guess that leaves me waiting 'til next year. Go figure.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Book Review: Sadaharu Oh

Title: Sadaharu Oh

Author: Sadaharu Oh and David Falkner

Genre: Autobiographical

Ease of Reading: Small margins and what seems to be 11-point font initially made this 279 page book a little more intimidating to me than what it should have been. There's a four page glossary, eleven page appendix and two pages of stats at the end of the book. Plus, there's sixteen pages of pictures in the middle of the book. In total, that cuts it down to only about 246 pages about one of the greatest baseball players ever not to play in Major League Baseball. It took me only about five days to knock this book out, but I was reading large chunks at a time hoping to find some Zen-like tips to help me get through the new school year. LOL

Synapse: The book starts with Oh's early sandlot days and how he was recruited to play at the Waseda baseball school. His dad didn't want Oh to play baseball, but he finally relented and actually wound up supporting him and providing medical aid during a pivotal time in his young career. There was no draft in the Japan Central League, which I found to be very interesting, and Oh was signed by the Yomiuri Giants. He struggled mightily early in his career, especially considering the expectations the Giants placed on him from the onset. He found his way with his hitting instructor, Arakawa-san, and the two of them put in many long days and nights of baseball and martial arts before Sadaharu Oh finally was pressured into trying his famous one-legged "flamingo" hitting stance during a game. The new stance required immense balance, but it also helped rid Oh of a hitch in his swing which didn't allow him to reach his perceived potential. The rest of the book talks about his relationships with the press, his teammates, the fans, and his chasing Babe Ruth and then Hank Aaron.
  
Comments: I've always been intrigued by baseball leagues in foreign lands and the Nippon Professional Baseball League would be the biggest and most popular not directly tied with Major League Baseball. I was hoping to learn a lot more about Japanese baseball, but I was only able to glean some things here and there from the text about how things were back in the 1960s and 1970s. This book is an autobiography, not a history of Japanese baseball, so I guess I shouldn't be too disappointed. Nevertheless, it was a fun read and I learned much about the all-time home run king. For instance, here's an interesting paragraph from the book:
The press has told stories about how, when I had a bad year, I voluntarily went into the front office and asked for a pay cut! Well, not quite. I never asked to have my salary reduced. If I had a bad year, I took the attitude that I didn't deserve more for the following year, and I also took the position that I didn't want multiple-year contracts -- not for any selfless wish to deprive myself but because I believe that making things too comfortable takes away the challenge. And everything I do, including salary talks, has only one goal - to keep my mind focused on the challenge.
The "challenge" at first was becoming the best hitter he could be, but Arakawa-san set the goal from very early in Oh's career for him to top Babe Ruth's home run record. Eventually, Oh saw in himself what his mentor and hitting instructor did and the "challenge" soon changed to becoming the all-time home run king. Sadaharu Oh was a very driven man to say the least.
 
Grade: I genuinely enjoyed reading this book. It was a nice way to cap-off my summer and I'd like to thank my first cousin Mark for gifting me the book. I give this book an 'A-' overall, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys autobiographies or someone looking to learn more about Sadaharu Oh and his baseball career.

I'd be happy to pass my copy along if you're interested. Just let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Winnings from It's Like Having My Own Card Shop

Daniel, the proprietor of It's Like Having My Own Card Shop, recently asked a question to the blogging community about the last time we purchased a Beckett magazine. I volunteered my answer and he decided to give away some cards to a group of random bloggers to thank us for participating. I wasn't expecting anything in return, but free cards are cool. But then I saw this comment:
So, I sent off a quick e-mail suggesting Daniel send my cards to JediJeff.

Then I found a PWE in my mailbox with the following note inside:
Daniel is a swell guy. I'm not sure what he's referring to about the Russell, but it seems like a good enough reason for me to retaliate and send this one Goldy card to him that I've been sitting on for most the summer.

Let's take a gander at the cards that came with the nice note.
 Man, I remember when this Carlos Marmol rookie was all the rage in P-town.  Now I finally have a copy of my own!
 Speaking of being all the rage...  Brett Jackson, Tyler Colvin and Andrew Cashner were supposed to form the core of the team which would break the World Series drought on the north side of Chicago. Then Tom Ricketts hired Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod.   Fast forward about six years or so and . . .
 Yep, the hiring of that triumvirate gave Cubs fans something to celebrate!  Woo-Hoo!
 Daniel, thanks for the cards!  Totally unnecessary, but very much appreciated. I will hit you back as soon as my schedule allows for a quick run to the post office!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Coaching Baseball Every Night

Well, that's not necessarily true. First off, I'm coaching middle school girls softball right now, not baseball. Secondly, I'm not coaching at night because we don't have access to the lights. Lastly, I get Sundays off.  I guess this should have been titled, "Coaching Softball 6 Days a Week." 
Me with my 6th grade team and two HS helpers after a recent game.

But, then where would the connection to Peter come into play?  Peter's is the author of the Baseball Every Night blog and he sent me a Quick & Easy PWE this week.

I haven't seen this stamp before, but it is definitely right up my alley!

Boom!  I've been Schwarbombed!
 This is the second year in a row I've failed to build a set . . . and I call myself a set builder. SMH. The Topps Bunt sets are nice and at my price level. I don't do digital cards, but I penciling in Bunt as a collecting goal for 2018.
 Cheers to you, too, Peter!  Thanks for the quick trade and Happy Collecting!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A 10-Case Player Break: A Review

When Yonder Alonso was traded to the Mariners, further extending Dan Vogelbach's stay in AAA, I was pretty bummed. I decided to treat myself to a Topps Chrome 10-case break of The Vogelmonster.

In total, the break would consist of 8 hobby cases and 2 jumbo cases. I did a little math, because that's what I do, and found that there would be 11,712 cards in the break overall. Take away inserts, parallels, and autos and I concluded the break should yield me in the neighborhood of 44 base rookie cards of my favorite current baseball player and probably 2 or 3 base autos.

Base rookies and autos are nice, but I was hoping for some refractors, parallels and maybe, just maybe, a low numbered autographed parallel. After all, I've gone all super collector and what not... I need to complete the rainbow somehow!

I opened my wallet and waited. The break was scheduled to be done over the course of two days and in all it wound up being over 10 hours of box breaking entertainment. I only watched about a half hour of the break, because I wanted to see what the product was like and because the host was ripping packs pretty quickly, which kept my interest. When I logged off there were about three dozen others watching the break, which made feel like I could trust this particular Ebay seller. He'd have many angry customers, who watched he break firsthand, knocking on his door otherwise.

Everyone knows baseball cards are akin to lottery tickets, which is something Kin mentioned at  A Pack to Be Named Later earlier today. You may be looking for that base common to finish your set or maybe you're chasing an Aaron Judge rookie, but once you open the pack it's either in there or it's not. Very hit or miss, and like the lottery, it's often miss. An added bonus to baseball cards is there is some sort of trade or resale value to the cards you don't want. You don't get that with lottery!

In my situation though, signing up for a single player in a large break, it's going to be all hit or miss. I was full of anticipation as I waited for my package. I suppose I could have went back and watched 10+ hours of break video, but that did not sound appealing whatsoever. About five days after the break concluded the cards arrived. Now that I think about it though, considering the seller opened and had to sort nearly 12,000 cards, this was a pretty quick shipment!

I was a little surprised my Vogelmonster cards arrived in a white soft padded bubble mailer. I was hoping all my cards had arrived safely.  Guess what was used as additional padding around the stacks of cards? Card supplies!

 This was a surprise indeed! A day before the break started the seller sent out a mass e-mail and announced that all rookie cards would be placed into a penny sleeve and all parallels, inserts and autos would go into a top loader because he knew many of the cards would be sent out for grading.  So, I was expecting some supplies, but the unopened packs of supplies were quite over the top!
 Allen and Ginter?  What in the world? The seller included a free pack of A&G in the middle of two large team bags of Vogelmonster cards. I'm not an A&G fan, so this will go into my pile of packs reserved for Pack Wars.

Here's a picture of the aforementioned team bags of cards.
 I opened the one on the left first and found 36 base rookies. Hmph. Not quite what I was expecting.
 I opened the one on the right, and 7 more were found. I guess they couldn't fit in the other team bag!
The math said, with perfect collation, that I would receive 44.16 base rookies. 43 is pretty darn close!  So far, so good!

Refractors!
 I only need one for my Vogelmonster player collection, but I won't complain about having a couple of extras.

Parallels!
 The blue wave is numbered out of 75 and the purple refractor is out of 299.  Nice!

Bring on the autos!  I was hoping for two or three base autos, but I came away with FIVE!
I hate to admit it, but I think the Vogelbach autos are "filler autos."  You know, there's a higher number of them than the hot rookie of the day everyone is chasing. Price and Demand... blah blah blah. Whatever.  Send me all your Vogelmonster autos!

Unfortunately, I didn't luck into any autographed parallels. It is what it is: a lottery ticket.

So, I didn't recoup in cardboard value what I sunk into the auction initially. Looking at the larger picture, I did have fun watching the half-hour of video and it was fun anticipating what would be in the package before it arrived. Also, opening the package was similar to finding that certain present under the Christmas tree. Overall, I think I got my money's worth.  Plus, I've been watching auctions and slowly picking up the cards I need when the price is right, which is something I really enjoy doing.

I'm happy with my purchase, and some of that happiness is due in part to the seller. Really good customer service seems to be a lost art these days and this seller came through big time. I appreciated the e-mail about the care he was going to take with the rookie cards, I was pleasantly surprised by the unopened card supplies, and floored he would throw in a free pack of cards. Plus, he shipped out very quickly. Honestly, it doesn't get much better than that! Give hobby_legends a look on Ebay if you're interested in participating in a player break. I don't think you'll be disappointed.   I just checked, and he's doing another five cases of Topps Chrome... auctions end in about two hours!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Topps, Feel Free to Steal My Idea

I've been in a writing funk as of late, so let'sget those creative juices flowing!  What type of set would you like to see produced in 2018?  Make sure to note important elements like checklist size, types of players included (prospects, retired), and price point.

Personally, I'd really like to bring back Topps Total in 2018, but I'm going to take a different route.

I was reading the blogs the other day and a post on Bob Walk the Plank gave me pause:
"I have my fingers crossed that Francisco Cervelli and Felipe Rivero get an auto soon!"
Matt's desires for more variety in the world of certified autographs got me thinking: how about an autograph set of non All-Stars?  Topps certainly has its favorites, and I can't really blame them. As long as Aaron Judge continues to move the needle he's going to have an autographed card in nearly every set. In fact, a quick Ebay search will show you he has ink in the following sets in 2017: Heritage, Finest, Tier One, Museum, Archives, Inception, Bowman Chrome, Stadium Club, Topps Chrome and of course, Topps Now. I know I'm probably missing a few. Again, it's a business and Aaron Judge autos are good for business.

On the flip side, there's a running joke about 2016 product around the blogs and within many box breaking circles concerning the omnipresent Henry Owens autograph. Owens had certified autographs in at least eighteen different Topps products, including many high end products such as Strata, Five Star, Tier One, Triple Threads, Tribute, High Tek, Gold Label and The Mint. I'm sure there was a collective eye roll when an Owens card was pulled in a group break.

Some may be thinking, "What about the Red Sox fans? Surely they were happy for the chance to acquire another Henry Owens auto!"

Honestly, I don't know about that. I'm a team collector and the volume of the Carl Edwards, Jr. autos in 2016 very much falls on side of overkill in my book. For the record, fifteen different Topps sets featured the Cubs' right-hander. Having Edwards represented in two or three different Topps sets would be fine by me.  Fifteens? No thanks. Talk about a player collector nightmare!

Boy, I wish Topps would spread the love around to other players.

In an effort to add some variety to the certified autograph stable I'm proposing a new set for 2018 and beyond.  Obviously, this is me just spit balling here, but I've been mulling this over and I think I have a model that could work.

Here are the specifics in bullet point form for easy digesting:
  • The set would contain 100 cards in all and consist only of autographed cards, with each team having a minimum of three cards in the set. Three times thirty is ninety. We'll talk about the remaining ten cards in a little bit.
  • Topps seems to love to bring in older designs, but Heritage is already doing its thing, so lets spin things into the future a bit. This set design will always be twenty-nine years ahead of Heritage, which will use the 1969 design in 2018. Our 2018 set will have the 1998 design, 2019 will look like 1999 and etc.
  • Why twenty-nine years? Expansion, of course! 1998 was the first season for the Diamondbacks and Rays and the '98 Topps set featured the first cards of the new expansion teams. 
  • The name of the set, should follow the theme of adding variety, so I'm going to suggest Topps Variance.
  • Two of each of the team's three cards would be fan favorites from the 1998 season. Again, we're thinking about players who don't have much in the way of certified autographs, so every effort will be made to stay away from the "big" names. The third card would be reserved for a current player who is a solid contributor, but who generally doesn't get much love from the card industry. 
  • The remaining ten cards to fill out the 100-card checklist? These ten cards will represent the cash cow for Topps: hot rookies (Judge and Bellinger) and budding superstars (Correa and Bryant) can comprise the last ten cards with other perennial All-Star types (Trout & Harper). 
  • Ideally, the names wouldn't repeat from year-to-year. This way team collectors can continue to seek out singles of players from their team and slowly increase their certified autograph portfolio. 
  • Price point? No, this set would not be priced for your average set-builder, not with those last ten cards being high-end talent. I was thinking it would probably have to be something along the lines of Topps Museum, which is generally twenty cards per box for a little over $200. Granted, Museum isn't an autograph only set, but only 10% of the Topps Variance checklist have serious star power. So, maybe Topps could put a MSRP of $200 on a twenty card box.
Again, I'm just tossing ideas around, but it's a product I definitely would be interested in. Please, keep in mind, I am a team collector on a very modest budget. Would I ever buy a pack or a box of Topps Variance as I've laid it out above? Nope. Would I look forward to its release each year and then hunt down all the Cubs autographs? Heck yeah!

Here's a sample checklist I would be looking at as far as the Cubs go:

I laid out three players for 2017, only because that's the current year. (And, because it's fun to go back and try to choose players.) I could have chosen Mark Grace, Shawon Dunston, Ryne Sandberg or Sammy Sosa for 1997, but I'm staying with the theme here. All of those guys have certified autos.  Rod Beck was the first guy I wanted for 1998, but that's just not possible. Obviously, there are some obstacles in making a decent checklist.  Maybe I should have held off on Jon Lieber until 2021, because in 2001 Lieber made his only All-Star appearance and won twenty games. I know I stated the desire to stay away from All-Stars, but I like Lieber as a choice at some point because he doesn't have any certified autos in circulation that I know of. It's all about Variance.

Also, I know Topps has issued sets like Fan Favorites in the past and last year Topps had Archives Signature Series All-Star Baseball Cards. These sets, when produced, always re-use older designs and always have an autograph component. So, not too different than what I'm suggesting. Remember, Variance is focused on the B-side type players... a way to add some variety to the certified autograph world!

Actually, do you remember when these hit retail stores last winter?


Archives 65th Anniversary Edition is a product very similar to what I'm suggesting. The main differences being Variance would be one consistent design, contain no base cards, and have more autos to chase. Plus, it's a set which wouldn't be produced during big anniversaries, but every year instead.

What do you think?  What you buy a box of Variance? Build the set? Or just cherry pick some singles like myself?

I look forward to your responses to my set idea and reading about many more throughout the blogs!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Exchanging with Johnny's Trading Spot, Vol. 2

2017 has been a slow year of trading for yours truly, but that is mostly of my own doing. Lots going on and little to zero new cardboard coming in to provide as trade fodder. Yet, when I saw a 2017 Stadium Club VOGELMONSTER card being dangled over at Johnny's Trading Spot . . . well, I went scrounging for cards to send to John for a second time this month. (Here's the first swap from early July.)

Behold!
Believe it or not, I had already acquired the gold foil and the black foil before I could add this base card to my VOGELMONSTER player collection. I didn't mind buying the parallels on Ebay, but I knew someone would eventually pull a base card I could trade for!

Here are the other Stadium Club cards we agreed to swap.
 Stadium Club is my favorite set of 2017 and my decision is based solely upon the photography. Maybe Topps Gallery or Topps Fire will change my mind later this collecting season when they are released in Wal-Mart and Target, respectively.
 Choosing Derrek Lee to make a cameo in the set was a nice surprise!
Zach McAllister played ball for a local rival high school back in the day. I have a modest collection of Z-mac and I wouldn't mind seeing it blossom into something larger at some point.

And now, on to the non Stadium Club portion of the package. John, being John, sent more than the Dan Vogelbach card, which was quite generous! 
 I'm fairly certain I have now achieved complete team set status for this particular 2000 Upper Deck release. I was missing the Kerry Wood, and this copy has been moved to his binder.




Other cards new to my collection:
 The 5-Tool insert cards are pretty neat. I think the Baez card is really well done and the photo selection is right on. The Zobrist card is another solid addition!
 
Quite the stocking stuffer of cards!  Thanks for the quick trade, John!

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Pack of 2017 Donruss Optic

Donruss Optic is to Donruss as Topps Chrome is to Topps' flagship product. Fair enough.
Regardless, I like shiny!  Four cards in a pack and possibly a Mickey Mantle card? That would be cool.  I read an article about the Mantle Estate agreeing to a deal with Panini America. Could this be a small step towards Panini gaining an MLB license?

Enough postulating. On to the cards!
Wow, super shiny!  You can see the orange outline of my iPhone case in the background. Those Pirates uniforms are so sweet. I love the black pants with the yellow stripe and I wish more teams would explore other options besides the bland white and gray.
I traded for Villar last off season in my fantasy league and chose him as one of my keepers. He's had a really rough season and so has my squad.  Oh, and when did the Diamond Kings get away from the artwork?
This is a nice surprise. It's some sort of refractor of Joey Votto, maybe the "Caroline Blue" parallel, numbered to 50.
In my book, Joey Votto is about as professional a hitter as you will find in today's game.

Last card in the pack:
The Rated Rookie takes me back to my childhood. Mitch Haniger isn't a bad player, although he has slumped since coming off the DL a month or so ago.

I heard Topps Chrome drops next week with a 200 card set, FIFTY of which will be rookie cards. It almost sounds like they are taking a page out of Panini's Rated Rookie subset with that large of a number. 2017 is the year of the rookie craze though... so why not?

Hope you enjoyed the pack. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Book Review: Teammate

Title: Teammate 

Author: David Ross with Don Yeager 

Genre: Autobiographical

Ease of Reading: This was a really quick read for me. The print is fairly large, it's well written, I'm a fanboy of David Ross and the World Series Champion Cubs. The 242 pages really never stood a chance.

Synapse: The formatting of the book really kept things flowing. In chapter one the book starts with the morning before Game 7 of the World Series, but also in chapter one we learn about David's baseball path before he was drafted by the Dodgers. Periodically, journal entries from Ross' iPhone are introduced to chronicle the play of the 2017 Cubs throughout the season. As the chapters increase in number, the story lines of Game 7, David's career, and the Cubs 2017 season continue to move to a common culmination. I found it fascinating how there seemed to be a lot of give and take between the three different story lines and how easy it was to follow each of them as the pages turned.
 
Comments: I thoroughly enjoyed reading how David Ross blossomed into a clubhouse leader and truly embraced the role even though he was "just" a back-up catcher. I could sense his passion for winning, family, and his teammates and he detailed the peaks and valleys of attempting to balance all three without pulling any punches as an author. As a high school baseball coach I was looking for some characteristics which Ross really thought were important in being a good teammate and leader. Here's how I interpreted his words:
1. Work Ethic - Work hard and with pride. It's an easy way to gain respect.
2. Trust - Being a part of a team is as much about trusting in your teammates as anything else.
3. Make an effort to get to know everyone and what makes them tick.
4. Don't be afraid to call someone on the carpet when it needs to be done. This is probably the most difficult for many people. If you do the first three points though, then this last one is maybe a little easier for others around you to swallow.

Grade: I asked my sister to give this book to me as a birthday present when I first learned about. I waited a little while to get my hands on it, at no fault of my sister, but when I finally had a copy I pretty much devoured it. I haven't ripped through a book at that torrid of a pace in quite some time. Is it forevery baseball fan?  Probably not. It helps to be a Cub fan or be to be interested in being a better teammate, and it certainly helps to be both, like myself. Heck, if you're into baseball biographies and autobiographies then this one is for you, too. I may be a little biased, but I'm going to grade it out as 'A' material. It hit all my expectations and even brought occasional tear to my eye. Well done, Mr. Ross.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

All Time Greatest Teams: Cards from My First Cousin Once Removed, Part 2 of 2


Yesterday I left you with a picture of a card album as a teaser, but before we get to the album I want to show you a note I found in a PWE tucked inside the box from my mother's cousin, Mark.

Strange Cards
 The list of strange cards is kind of cryptic, especially with the way it starts. Below are the cards which coincide with the descriptors.

Deceased:
 True. The Houston Colt .45s are no longer a team, but I don't think that's what Mark was referring to. Check the back.
 Nick, over at Dime Boxes, likes to talk about sunset cards, and this one may be the ultimate sunset card.

Lost Laundry:
 Yeah, I think Kirby lost his shirt. Oops.

Borrowed my kid's bat:
 I didn't even notice the size of the bat Yogi was holding in that picture. But yeah, it seems abnormally small!

Predicts my Hall of Fame Chances:
 Ooooh!  Mark is laying down some witty sass!

I can fly:
 It sure does look like it. On the planet Tatooine no less!

Slightly bigger dimension - why???
I can answer that one!  Topps Big wouldn't be called Topps Big if the cards weren't slightly larger in size. Nice concept I suppose, but a pain for collectors to store.

Fun stuff!  Now, on to the binder!
It's empty?  Huh?

No worries, I found all of the cards in nine-pocket pages. Let's check out the All Time Greatest Teams in reverse chronological order.  These cards are from the 1987 TCMA set.

The 1969 Mets, World Series Champions, 100-62:

 Or should I say the "1969 Miracle Mets"? Cleon Jones and Jerry Koosman were All-Stars with Tom Seaver. Seaver also won the Cy Young and would go into the Hall of Fame with Nolan Ryan. Why there isn't a card of Tom Seaver is beyond me.

The 1961 Yankees, World Series Champions, 103-59:
 Eight Yankees made the All-Star team that year and three of them would be inducted in the HOF. Roger Maris would break Babe Ruth's home run record and win the MVP. White Ford would win the Cy Young.

The 1960 Pirates, World Series Champions, 95-59
 Eight All-Stars, two future HOFers in Maz and Clemente, an MVP in Dick Groat, and the Cy Young winner in Vern Law. Wow.

1957 Milwaukee Braves, World Series Champions, 95-59
 Six All-Stars, four Hall of Famers (Aaron, Spahn, Schoendeienst and Eddie Mathews), Aaron won the MVP and Spahn won the Cy Young.

1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, World Series Champions, 98-55
Roy Campanella was the MVP, there were four All-Stars, and SIX would find themselves in Cooperstown: Campanella, Robinson, Snider, Reese, Koufax and Tommy Lasorda.

1950 Philadelphia Phillies, NL Pennant, 91-63
 The Yankees won the World Series that year, but the Phillies are recognized as one of the greatest teams. The team had four All-Stars in Robin Roberts, Dick Sisler, Willie Jones and Jim Konstanty, who also won the Cy Young. Roberts and Richie Ashburn would go on to be elected to the Hall of Fame.

1946 Boston Red Sox, AL Pennant, 104-50
The Red Sox lost the World Series to the Cardinals, but had eight players elected to the All-Star game that year. Bobby Doerr and Ted Williams would wind up in Cooperstown and Williams would win the MVP that year.

 1934 St. Louis Cardinals, World Series Champions, 94-58
Four All-Stars in this group, but to be fair the NL only had 21 make the mid-summer classic. Dizzy Dean, a pitcher, won the MVP, and it's worth noting the first year the Cy Young Award was issued was in 1956. SEVEN names from the roster made it to the Hall of Fame: Dizzy Dean, Frankie Frisch, Burleigh Grimes, Jesse Haines, Joe Medwick, Dazzy Vance and Leo Durocher.

1927 New York Yankees, World Series Champions, 110-44
The original Bronx Bombers! Lou Gehrig was the MVP. There was no All-Star game, as the first one played was in 1933. Earle Combs, Gehrig, Waite Hoyt, Tony Lazzeri, Herb Pennock, and Babe Ruth would be enshrined in Cooperstown.

1907 Chicago Cubs, World Series Champions, 107-45
This was an era before All-Star Games and season ending player awards, but Mordecai Brown, Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance would go down in baseball lore. The Cubs hit 13 homers as a team that year... man that was a completely different time.

I'm really excited to add these card to my collection. I've been working on a Hall of Fame binder, and these cards will fit right in.

Thanks again for the cards, Mark!