2015 Topps Heritage Cuta Autographs; Worst Ever

I don’t understand Topps and their designers.  You have the rights to the most iconic designs in sports card history.  Licenses to use any MLB trademarked logos and an army of dedicated fans of the set and what do you do to the cut autographs? You butcher them! You fucking butcher the rarest cards in the set!  Plus the subject list so far that I’ve seen is pathetic!

Let me give you a sample of that I’m talking about:

richard petty

 

Richard freaking Petty.  In a HERITAGE baseball card set.  This does not scream baseball heritage to me, not at all.  Worst of all they turned a $15 autograph into a $700 one.  I believe these fall one per master case.  That’s some pretty steep odds.  Plus it’s a racing icon, why wouldn’t you put in something to do with the 1966 baseball season.

Let’s look at some of the other gems available and how much they have been marked up shall we?

tug mcgraw

 

Tug McGraw (and a shitty autograph of him).  Right now his signature can be bought on eBay for about $30, now turn it into a cut auto and get $400 for it.  At least he is a baseball player.  So I was thinking maybe 1966 was his rookie season. Nope! His was 1965.

woody fryman

Next up Woodie Fryman, a career sub 0.500 pitcher.  He was a two time All Star over an 18 year career.  You could not put a more boring autograph in the set if you wanted to.  At least his rookie season was 1966, so you have that.  Want one for yourself on eBay? It’s just $8, or you can buy this one for $500? Just shaking my head in sadness here.

Finally, this gem:

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What the actual fuck? What the hell was Topps thinking making this? First rule in cut card making, never ever cover the autograph.  If you can’t fit it, DON’T FUCKING INSERT IT IN THE GOD DAMN CARD! Oh and thanks for the $3 autograph.  Inserted into the card above, it pulled $400.  If you want one as a cut autograph, how about this one for $7.25?

Overall, this is such a disappointment.  The cut autograph cards have been spiralling down the toilet ever since the 2013 set.  This is just poor, and very short sided by Topps brass.  Why oh why couldn’t you come up with better autographs? So sad!

Vintage Cuts – Tommy Holmes

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Raise your hand if you know who Tommy Holmes is.  I feel like a teacher sometimes on this site.  It’s more of a history lesson, sports history that is.  The older I get the more in tune with history I want to become.  Maybe it’s a way to connect better with my father who grew up as a child in the 1940s or maybe it’s because at this age, I have just become more interested in history even if it is done at a rate of one player at a time.  Either way, I know that it’s keeping me busy and entertained so I will continue to do it even if no one reads my blog.

Class, today’s subject is Tommy Holmes.  Holmes played in the major leagues from 1942 – 1952.  Seriously love the story behind him.  He grew up in Brooklyn, and went to Brooklyn Tech.  For those of you who don’t know this school, it is one of the premiere math and science high schools in the country.  Meaning, Tommy was very smart.  Also he was very gifted in athletics as well.  The guy did one thing amazingly well, he could hit.  Signed by (who else) the New York Yankees, he raked in nearly 1000 hits in the minors before finally being traded to a team that could actually use him.  The Yanks at the time had an outfield of DiMaggio, Henrich, and Keller.  All were All Stars, none would be moved to bring up Holmes, so he stewed in the minors way longer than he should have.

He was traded to the Boston Braves in 1942 where he became an immediate fixture in the outfield.  His best years were from 1942 – 1948 where he hit on average 186 hits a season for a total of 1301 hits and a batting average of 0.308, leading the league twice in hits.  In 1945 he batted 0.352 with 224 hits and 28 home runs and 47 doubles (all league leading) and finished second in NL MVP voting.  He only played in one All Star game, however looking back at his career he was going up against Hall of Famers at the position he played.  He would go on to manage for a few years in the minors, before stepping away from the game for a few years.  He was lured back by the New York Mets in the early 70s as Director of Amateur Baseball Relations and would remain with the Mets for three decades.

Card No: VC-TH

Number of cards in the set: 8

Baseball Reference Stats: Tommy Holmes

Wikipedia page: Tommy Holmes

1950 Bowman Card:

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Sport Kings Cut Autograph – Johnny Sain

Spahn and Sain and Pray For Rain

By: Gerald V. Hern

First we’ll use Spahn
then we’ll use Sain
Then an off day
followed by rain
Back will come Spahn
followed by Sain
And followed
we hope
by two days of rain.

That poem was written by Boston Post’s Sports editor Gerald Hern in 1948.  I found it while doing some research for this post.  Part of the fun of making these cards is finding some of what I like to call the hidden gems of baseball history.  Some of you who love baseball as much as I do, know who Johnny Sain is, but for the rest of you who have no idea, I’ll try and fill you in.

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He was just one of those dominant pitchers of the mid fifties, but thanks to his participation in World War II,  the world never really got to see just how good he could have been.  He made it to the majors in 1942, then lost three seasons to just military service from 1943-45. He would have been 25-27 during those seasons.  As many of you know, that’s when pitchers usually start to peak.  Instead his career really started in 1946 when he went 20-14 with a 2.21 ERA with the Boston Braves.  He would end up with a career 139 wins over 11 seasons.  He even switched to a reliever later in his career and led the league in saves one season as a Yankee.  He remained on the Hall of Fame ballot until 1975 but never got more than 34% of the vote.

After his playing career, he became one of the most successful pitching coaches in baseball history.  He coached the A’s, Yankees, Twins, Tigers, White Sox and Braves from 1959-1986.  He finished with six World Series rings, three as a player and three as a coach. Three All Star appearances and the 1948 The Sporting News NL Player of the Year award.  I feel as though if he had those military years back, he would have been a Hall of Fame player.

Card Number: SK-JS

Number of cards in the set: 8

Player’s Wikipedia page: Johnny Sain

Player’s Baseball Reference page: Johnny Sain

Player’s certified autograph:

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Player’s Rookie Card:

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1948 Bowman

Multiple Through The Mail Successes – Cory Snyder / John Cappelletti

Cory Snyder

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This one I chased after, even though it doesn’t fit into my personal collection profile of All Stars and Hall of Famers.  It doesn’t even matter though because it’s Cory Freaking Snyder.  Anyone from the 80s knows why this autograph is awesome!  Snyder is from the heyday of my childhood collecting.  I still have north of 50 of his cards, and I will probably not get rid of them.  He has long since left the sport and the value of those cards will remain at a constant 50 cents a piece (a full dollar less than I paid for them), but I can’t let them go.  He was my first prospecting card.  After Mark McGwire’s cards went through the roof, I started gobbling up those beautiful orange and blue cards, Shane Mack, John Marzano, and Odibie McDowell.  I couldn’t get enough of them, they were going to be my college education.

In the end though, they all became good players, but not super stars and certainly not Hall of Fame members.  Cory Snyder is a reminder to me, never fall for prospecting, ever!  One out of a thousand prospects turns into a star, an even smaller percentage become superstars and a minuscule amount become Hall of Famers.  Just ask all those Dice-K collectors.  Still, this autograph will be among my favorite in the collection. It will go right up there with Kevin Elster’s when I get that one back.

John Cappelletti

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Before there was Reggie Bush / Darren McFaddon / Adrian Peterson, there was John Cappelletti.  I know you’re all like who? Here is a list of awards won during his senior year (1973) at Penn State, Heisman, Maxwell, Walter Camp, Chic Harley, UPI Player of the Year, and first team All American.  He was the 11th overall pick of the 1974 NFL Draft.  Joe Paterno once said that of all the players he has ever coached, Cappelletti was his favorite.  He was one of the best college players of all time and in 1993 he was inducted into the College football Hall of Fame.

He had a decent NFL career, nothing spectacular.  He played for the Rams and the Chargers, never amassing more than 700 yards in any one season.  His NFL career is not why I went after his autograph, it was his college play.  Growing up in NJ, you hear of all the great PSU players and I always knew about Cappelletti as one of the best running backs in PSU history and that’s saying a lot since for years it was known as Running Back U.

Both of these autographs are special to me since they bring me back to my childhood.  I’m so happy to have gotten a chance to get a through the mail success with either of these guys, and yes if they would have asked for a donation to their charity, I would have done it in a heartbeat!  In fact if either is reading this now, email me using the envelop in the top left corner of my site and tell me your favorite charity to donate to.

Their Autographs

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Their Rookie Cards

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Who Wants A Free Custom Card?

Through The Mail Failure – Mark Howe

I knew I would hook you with that title.  I mean who can pass up something for nothing?  I sure can’t and I’m hoping neither can you.  The reason for this freebie can be chalked up to this note I got back from Mark Howe:

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While I don’t begrudge players from charging for their autograph, I don’t feel as though $15+$5 for inscription is fair.  If people are indeed going to eBay and reselling his TTM autographs, they are getting on average $3 including shipping.  After fees we are talking about $2 (again on average). Now I do understand the money is going to charity.  I get that and I am not about dismissing it, but why not sign the card and ask to donate.  I bet you’d not only get more people donating, but you’d get more money.  I’ve actually donated to the Howe Foundation before, I did it out of admiration to the Howe family.  I didn’t want or expect an autograph in return.

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Now clearly this is a card that was made by someone.  It’s for a personal collection and if it does get resold, I will be long gone from this world.  Because it’s a card made by someone it has little to no value (which is why I am giving it away).  So all you have to do is subscribe to my blog so that you get my posts as an email, and leave a quick comment.  In return, if you are the one selected, I will send you the card and the note that Mark sent me so you know where to send it and how much to donate to get the autograph.

Again, I have no problem with athletes asking for a suggested donation, or flat out asking for money.  However if this isn’t an in person event, make the donation a suggested amount and sign the card regardless of the donation.  That’s all I ask.  In the end if he had signed it and asked for the donation, I would have donated again.  Now I’m completely turned off by it and don’t even want it in my collection which is why someone else has a chance to get his signature on his terms.

Let me know where you stand on this, I’m very curious if I’m out of line or not.  Either way good luck winning the card, I will hold the drawing tomorrow night at 7pm (entries after that will be ignored, but thanks in advance to subscribing and leaving a comment).

New Through The Mail Design – 1987 Topps Future Stars Mini

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During my snow days the past week, I had some time to create a new through the mail mini heritage card.  Since I am a child of the 80s, and I have unwrapped many, many 1987 wax, one of my all time favorite designs was the 1987 Topps Baseball Future Stars.  I needed to do a TTM card for that set and as you can see (or might have seen on Twitter), I knocked it out of the park!

The hardest part was finding the right wood grain nfor the front of the card.  As good a match as I had, I still don’t think I did a great job with matching colors, but it’s good enough that you won’t give it a second glance.  The Future Stars logo was lifted from a 1987 Topps Tiffany BJ Surhoff card.  The back was traced from the same card (although shrunk to fit a 2 inch tall card).

I wanted a card that I could send to minor league guys.  I’ve always enjoyed collecting cards of guys in the minors. In the above case I made one of local (for me) Duke player Michael Matuella.  He is probably the best pitching prospect in college right now.  Most publications pick him as the top college player.  Overall the front and back came out great.  I wanted to put a team logo on there somehow, and while not on the front of the card, the back of the card is good enough.  Although the color of the Duke logo and the color of the back blue is the same in real life, my goal is to use that color for other logos placed on the back as well.  I plan on making a few of these to send out to college and minor league players.  Usually I try to stick with the team USA aspect, however I am open to try and collect any player.

Let me know what you think of this one….