Monday, August 24, 2009

And lo... there shall be a banner!

Finally finished the banner! Being an Anaheim native, I had to keep the Anaheim in the logo (at least for now). And since this is a blog about Angels cards, I figured it was finally time to throw some up here. As I was flipping through the binders, I decided to go with a spread of the Angels' uniforms throughout the years, including some of my favorite players, coolest cards, and a legend. So here's the lowdown on the cards in the banner:

1961 Topps #413, Eddie Yost

This was the first card to feature a player in an Angels uniform. And he looks damned happy to be wearing it!

1986 Topps #345, Donnie Moore

If you know your Angels history, you know all about Donnie Moore. I found this signed card on the eBay, and had to grab it.

2003 Topps Prime Cuts Autograph Series #PCA-DE, Darin Erstad, numbered 14/50
Topps really went crazy with the Angels inserts after we won the World Series. This is perhaps the coolest - an end-of-the-barrel chunk of Ersty's bat, and it's signed.

1980 Topps #700, Rod Carew
Although I was a Dodgers fan as a kid, Rod Carew was almost enough to make me an Angels fan as well. One of the greatest hitters, ever. And you can't go wrong with the only player to ever be name-dropped in a Beastie Boys song.

2009 Topps #5, John Lackey
I included a card from the Angels' first year, so why not include one from this year? Lackey was the winning pitcher of Game 7 of the greatest World Series to date. Big John is also the only Angel to ever appear as card #1 in the Topps Regular set (2007).

1972 Topps #595, Nolan Ryan
How this man never won a Cy Young during his Angel years is beyond me. This is probably the most expensive non-insert Angels card ever. I'll eventually have to upgrade this one, as there are chunks gouged out of the back of mine.

2001 Topps Base Hit Autographed Base card, Mike Scioscia

This may actually be the coolest card in my entire collection. The front of the card states, "Authentic game-used opening day 2000 base," and the back states that Topps went to 28 MLB ballparks plus the opener in Japan to grab bases. Which should mean that not only is this card signed by the greatest skipper in Angels' history, but the chunk of the base is from his very first game as Manager.

1969 Topps #653, "Aurelio Rodriguez"

Here's the legendary card I mentioned earlier. Not because it's the last card from the year I was born. Not even because I knew about this card even when I was a kid. No, it's because this is likely the greatest blunder Topps has ever made with a card. The guy in the picture isn't Aurelio Rodriguez. It's the Angels' bat boy, Leonard Garcia. How they managed this, I have no idea. Much worse than when they put a picture of Adam Kennedy on the David Eckstein card in 2004.

2008 Topps Highlights Autographed Relic #HAR-VG, Vladimir Guerrero, numbered 21/25

I practically squealed with glee when the Angels signed Big Daddy. His only auto/relic card as an Angel definitely belongs in the banner.

1997 Topps #254, Rex Hudler

The Wonder Dog! I was lucky enough to get Rex, the one-time Angel and current Angels broadcaster, to sign this for me at the Angels Fan Fest in '05. Thanks, Hud!

2003 Topps #721, World Series Highlights

The greatest image ever to grace a Topps baseball card. Ever.

Monday, August 10, 2009

So why Topps?

With all of the billyuns and billyuns of card companies out there, some of you are probably wondering, "Why do you only collect Topps? And why just the regular set?" Well, it's because I can see the future, and knew that Topps would be the only company with a Major League Beisbol license starting in 2010 and I wanted all of my cards to match.

I kid, of course. Sort of.

Like most collectors whose blogs I've read, Topps is the brand I collected as a kid. And yes, I'm old enough (but not by much) that Topps was the only brand around back then. Sure, I got a ton of Donruss and Fleer starting in 1981, but that's only because I've always been a compulsive shopper, and who wouldn't want to get the cards from a company's first year? (I didn't realize at the time that Fleer had put out cards before I was born.)

But I always liked Topps the most. I was a stathead - at one time I could have rattled off Steve Garvey's batting average for every year he was with the Dodgers - and Topps always had a ton of stats on the back. Especially in '81, when they added a ton more data to the cards. Donruss and Fleer? Not so much with the stats. And the flimsy white cardboard those other two guys used seemed to bend and fray every time I looked at 'em. So I was a Topps guy through and through.

But mostly, I decided to concentrate on the Topps regular issue because it's the only brand that has been produced throughout the Angels' 49 seasons. It wouldn't make any sense to me to start with twenty years of Topps, then switch to Donruss in '81, Upper Deck in '89 or whatever, and so on. I think having close to 50 years of Angels cards all from the same brand is a heck of a lot cooler, and provides a better (and more consistent) look at the history of the team.