Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Retail Box Break - 2015 Topps Baseball

Topps had a Memorial Day sale so if course I had to see what they were offering.  The only thing that caught my eye was a retail box of 2015 Series 1 baseball cards -- 24 packs for $20. Since I wasn't actively collecting in 2015 I figured now would be a good chance to get some baseball and catch up on a prior set.

After an excruciating two-week wait, the package finally arrived on a Friday.  I knew my weekend plans.  As I opened up the packs on Friday night (okay I couldn't wait until the weekend to get started) I actually started to feel a bit stressed.  "There are a lot of cards here.  How am I going to blog about all these cards? There is going to be so much scanning to do." *deep breath*

At first I thought I might scan a pack a day and do an individual post on each pack.  That seemed like overkill though as 24 packs would take a while and this is last year's set so people have probably seen these cards enough.  Then I narrowed down my options to maybe 3 cards per pack to highlight but that still ended up being a significant number of cards.  Finally, I settled on going through the 3 cards I originally picked out per pack and winnowed that number down even further to cards I could actually write about.

With my plan settled, I started scanning the noteworthy cards.  I still scanned a decent amount of cards and I'm going to turn it into a two-part series.  Otherwise, I think the posts would be too long to enjoy, especially since these are not the latest and greatest Topps.

I want to make a quick note that cards are not in any order from packs pulled.  

Now that the behind-the-scenes look into my psyche is out of the way, on to the cards!

Future Stars - Base Card - First Pitch Insert
The benefit of opening last year's Topps cards is that I can look at whether or not a Future Stars card turned out to be true.  In the case of Xander Bogaerts, he is absolutely a future star.  He is currently 1st in All-Star voting for shortstop.  All-star voting is not always an indication of a player's actual all-star worthiness (I'm looking at you Royals fans) but for Bogaerts, he fits the bill.  In 2015, his 2nd full year in the majors, Bogaerts hit .320 with 81 RBI.  He also earned himself a Silver Slugger award.  This year he is hitting even better with .359 batting average and already 44 RBI.  He is a solid defensive player as well.  

On the flip side we have Alcides Escobar.  2015 was actually a good year for him.  He won a World Series Ring, an ALCS MVP award, a Gold Glove award, and he was an All-Star.  While this year he is 2nd in All-Star voting for shortstop (behind Bogaerts), he has particularly played like an all-star.  His batting average is down, fielding percentage is down, and his OPS is down.  I admit I don't track the Royals but I'm sure the team is expecting more out of him this year if they want to defend their title.

Jack White is a not a shortstop but I'll still talk about him anyway.  I like the First Pitch inserts as it's always fun to see some celebrities mixed in with the baseball players.  I have never been a listener of The White Stripes but I can appreciate the band for what it is/was.  In addition, White is pretty dedicated to the independent music scene and runs a great label called Third Man Records.  One day I would like to go to their record store in Nashville.  

Base card
I actively dislike the Yankees, which par for the course for most non-Yankees fans.  However, Jeter is a quality baseball players and I like that the photo on this card captures a special moment.  I saw Jeter on his farewell tour last year when the Yankees made a stop in Seattle.  I thought I had a picture from the game but can't seem to find it.

Gold parallel - SN 1941/2015
These high serial numbered parallels aren't the flashiest of cards but for a retail pack I can't complain about getting a serial numbered card.  I like the gold border, too.  Zimmermann had an okay year with the Nationals in 2015, going 13-10 with a 3.66 ERA.  This year he's on an improved pace with an 8-3 record so far.

Robbed insert - Baseball History insert - Future Stars 
The Robbed insert is presumably a feature of a team's best outfielders.  The fact that Dustin Ackley was considered Seattle's best outfielder is laughable and sad.  It's laughable because Ackley was converted to an outfielder (first center then left) late in his career after he didn't pan out as a 2B.  His story is unfortunate because he was a drafted second overall in 2009 and was considered an absolute lock for success as a power hitter.  However, he never lived up to the hype and was eventually shipped off to the Yankees where he has achieved even lesser success.  I won't even get worked up about the fact that Mike Trout was drafted later in the 1st round.  Oh well, the Mariners would have found a way to screw him up anyway.  But I digress.  

Based on the aforementioned let down in Ackley's career, it's sad that he was at one time considered Seattle's best outfielder.  He did have some nice plays and this one comes to mind:

Luckily, the Mariners have an improved outfield with Leonys Martin, Nori Aoki, and even Nelson Cruz.

The baseball history card is a little confusing since Dick Clark has nothing to do with baseball but I like him on a card nonetheless.  

Masahiro Tanaka was a pitcher I was hoping the Mariners didn't have to face regularly when he joined the MLB back in 2014.  Unfortunately, he went to the Yankees, which meant we would have to seem him a few times a year.  He's had the Mariners' number so far this year going 1-0.  Tanaka has had some stuggles, including an injury last year and the fact that he has struggled on 4 days' rest versus 5 days.  Overall though I would say the Future Stars label was not inaccurate.  

Inspired Play insert
I'm not totally on board with the comparison here.  Cano has only been with the Mariners for a few years and joined them in his prime so their rise to fame is a little different.  Yet they are both dominant players at their respective positions.  Either way, I like both of these players.

Base cards
Mike Zunino is another disappointing Mariners prospect.  He was supposed to be the Mariners' catcher of the future but has been beset by Seattle's poor farm system and an inept general manager who rushed him up to the majors waaay too soon.  As a result, Zunino struggled mightly offensively.  His defensive and pitch framing abilities were there but he struggled at the plate.  Thankfully, with Jerry DiPoto now in charge, Zunino is given time to develop in AAA.

I don't have much to say about Paul Konerko as I didn't really follow him as a player.  I just liked this photo as a nice tribute to him.  It's always a breath of fresh air when a photo is other than the typical action shot.

Base - Baseball History insert
I can't stand Kendrys Morales.  He had a nice season with the Mariners in 2013.  In the off season when Mariners tried to re-sign him he didn't take their offer.  He then proceeded to sit out part of the 2014 season until he signed with the Twins.  Towards the end of the trade deadline, the Mariners brought him back as they were trying to make a playoff push.  Morales was very disappointing and was nowhere near repeating his 2013 performance.  The Mariners missed the playoffs by 1 game and their decade long playoff drought continued. The following year Morales went to the Royals, returned to his old form, and won a World Series ring.  So yeah, can't say I have fond feelings of Morales.

Rounding out this post is another non-Baseball History insert.  This time it's the start of CNN.  Once a reputable news source, CNN has degraded into tabloid-journalism and click-bait worthy news stories.

Phew! This post was long despite all my best efforts to pare down the cards I talked about.  This wraps up the first half of Topps 2015 and stay tuned for the next one!

1 comment:

  1. Great pick up for the price, and I agree - the Cano Griffey comparison just shouldn't be made as it doesn't really fit.