Jan 29, 2013

Wondrous Seasons of the Past: Dick Groat in 1960

(Note: I know this is a 1956 Topps card and not a 1960 Topps card, but they're both horizontally oriented)

Which team was probably the most unlikely World Series winner of the 1960s?  The 1960 Pirates might qualify (if it weren't for those Miracle Mets of '69).  Imagine, you know you are a good team; you did just win the NL pennant after all, and yet your opponent is the Yankees.

I'm sure just coming out of the '50s that the Yankees were considered a version of baseball royalty.  They had won championships 6 times in the last 10 years, and made it to the World Series 8 of the last 10 years.  They had the top star in the AL in Mickey Mantle, a tour de force who had not had a season with a less than 150 OPS+ since 1953.  They had the reigning AL MVP in Roger Maris and also Yogi Berra lurking as a utility player.

We know the rest of the story.  The Yankees outscore the Pirates something like 55-27 in the World Series and lose the a crazy back and forth 7th game until Bill Mazeroski led off the bottom of the 9th with a home run off Ralph Terry.  This was the first World Series in which someone from the losing squad won MVP honors (Bobby Richardson with a then-Series record 12 hits).

Dick Groat was a not a major participant during this World Series.  He only had a .500 OPS overall....the Yankees did beat the Pirates with two shutouts after all.  He did score the tying run in the bottom of the 8th on Hal Smith's 3 run home run, ultimately putting the Pirates ahead 9-7 in the 7th game, the play that had the highest change in win probability.  His single that inning originally decreased the deficit from 7-4 to 7-5 before all the theatrics really ensued.

But that's not really what Dick Groat is remembered for that year.  He was the NL MVP after all.  He did not lead the Pirates in any major categories except sacrifice hits and batting average, but he had an all-around spectacular year.  He hit .325/.371//.394 (115 OPS+) with 2 HR and 50 RBI.  That batting line seems sparse, but for a shortstop during that time period, it was pretty big.

Statistically, he finished 8th in overall Wins above Replacement (WAR), 1st in Defensive WAR,  1st in batting average, 3rd in hits, 1st in range factor/game, and 2nd in fielding percentage for a shortstop.

Intangibly, he was the captain of the team with the best record of the NL.  He also was the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award winner as baseball man of the year.

Here is what Dick Groat said about that magical year of 1960. “We had such a phenomenal year, we didn’t think anyone could beat us,” he said. “We’d come from behind 40-some times from the seventh inning on. That becomes contagious. You pretty much believe you’re not supposed to lose.”( Reference: www.baseballsavvy.com).

 So, as one of the statistical leaders and the ultimate intangible leader and tablesetter on the winning team of 1960, he truly had a wondrous season.

Jan 27, 2013

Phillies Oddball Pack Break or What Saving Up for Fries Would Get You 10 Years Ago

Sometimes, there are unopened packs of cards lying around in my box of miscellaneous stuff that I haven't sorted yet.  There also seems to be a direct proportion of the mystery of the subjects to where they sit in this box.

There are usually cards from the 'mid-00s in there because frankly, who has the time to look up the difference between '05-'07 Ultra when there are more important sorting issues at hand?  In this box, also falls my non-baseball cards.  I do not have sufficient capacity to deal with these in a way that would give them their proper collection place.  The only exception is the Champs hockey mini cards....there is always room for mini cards.

For a long time (3 or 4 years probably), I have accepted the fact that some white wrappers just aren't necessarily worth opening because there's only one card inside that you can see through who it is anyway.  This was true of many oddball issues, especially those cards that were inserted in Kraft products around 1993.  I had opened one of these wrappers and saw it was one card (Dykstra)and stuck the rest in this box....to be forgotten for awhile.

One day, I decided I wanted to sort the unsorted and give them homes within the cabinet space of my collection (seriously, I keep everything except the binders in two or three connected cabinets in the dining room).   I stumbled upon these and saw that these weren't Kraft cards after all.  So I decided to open them.

It looks like they were from a regional issue of McDonalds cards issued by Upper Deck in 2004 (at least that's what the card said). I have no idea how I got them since I didn't live in the Philadelphia area in 2004, and I had probably gone to a McDonalds only a couple times that I can remember in the last 10 years.

That doesn't matter because there is now a new set to collect.  Where to find the checklist?  It seems that Matt from 14K Phillies has been always one step ahead of me in compiling the checklist.

Only 23 cards to go....this Phillies collection is never done....

Here are the results of the pack breaks (2 cards per pack) below of one of the last Phillies only issued sets (I hope).

Jan 24, 2013

The State of the Collection or How to Subcategorize a Cards Purchase in Detail

Gather 'round the ring of fire, boys and girls. It's time to have a heart-to-heart, a soul-to-soul if you will. This tale will astound and confound you. And then it will turn around and make complete sense.

I am part of a contingent of folk that are called collectors.  In this internet age, it's a very simple process of see card, click on card, buy card.  This is especially true when a some promotion is occurring like free shipping or dehydrated cookies with every purchase or event tickets to go wild turkey riding (may or may not be a real thing).

The smattering of cards I;m about to present represent some of the many different directions that I have been pursuing in my collection over the past 12-18 months.  The only thing that they have in common is that they are all cards of the collectible variety.
Mike Schmidt 2012 Gypsy Queen Club: What compels us to pick up multiple cards of the same player if it's a different color, adds a border, changes size, or has a photo variation. As you can see, I went all in on the Mike Schmidt contingent.  This satisfies multiple levels of the Phillie collector in me: Schmidts, 2012 Phillies, Phillies minis.....triple check.
2012 Topps Gold Rush Redemptions: Typically, from each Topps flagship set, I choose one insert set to collect. When I received my gold rush redemption pack in the mail, I was really struck by the design of this one.  It is overwhelmingly gold and best represented that year's Topps edition for me.  So, I went about collecting the 50 card set.....and then, curses!  There's a second series set, and I am now missing 6 cards from there....and they're all big names: Trout, Harper, Darvish,etc....I think I need some help.
Junk Wax Era Phillies Inserts: I've begun filling in those insert cards of the Phillies that I could never pull from a pack as a kid. Witness the 1992 Fleer Team Leaders Dykstra...holla back.  Snagging the 1993 Team Pinnacle with Daulton and Pudge (I-Rod) was also a nice find.  I always wanted a Team Pinnacle card, and now I have one; 1:90 packs was a steep pull in '93.
2011 Phillies Crazy Collection:  Yes, that is the official name of this particular collection segment.  I went hardcore after Phillies from 2011 sets, even more than I normally do.  I have obtained an entire binder worth of cards including parallel sets and every base card from every issue released by Topps.  Let's see how many cards with the same photo I could get.....base Topps, base Topps diamond factory set, Topps Opening Day, Topps Chrome, Topps Chrome refractor, Diamond anniversary parallel, Cognac parallel (liquorfractor)....that's 7 cards of many Phillies from the flagship set with the same image.  I think I need counseling. Only 19 more cards to go (or 24 if you count those impossible to find mini variation cards from 2011 Gypsy Queen) for this monstrosity of a collection. It will be a great story one day.....as I end up wearing goggles staring blankly at a painting of a red hat.

1994 Flair Inserts: As a side project, I am trying to put together the 1994 Flair master set.  There are no parallels, and I have both A-Rod rookies in my possession (both pulled from packs, score).  I was really thrilled to get these hot glove cards.  Remember when die-cuts were all the rage with many shapes and interesting patterns?  You should, since it was just last year when this craze got started again.  Have you noticed that fads and fashions are cyclical? But, if there's one thing that will never go out of style, it's the word "hot".  I call everything hot, don't you? (/sarcasm).....In all seriousness, I was thrilled to be able to acquire the Maddux. Unfortunately, I still need the Ripken and Griffey for this set.

As a card blog, I find I don't talk about my collection that much.  Here's a glimpse of one slice of The Other World pie, mixed with boysenberry, it just might be a crowd pleaser.

Jan 21, 2013

Masterpiece Moments Monday: Walter Johnson

"First in war, first in peace, last in the American League" sung the old refrain for the Washington Senators. In reality, that was before "The Big Train", Walter Johnson, arrived on the scene.

He came blazing to the forefront of the American League pitching pantheon on the heels of a fastball that could only be described as wickedly rapid.  He would wind up behind his head and let it fly in an almost complete sidearm motion.

The effect was the same for many batters; there would be a pop as the ball pounded the back of the catcher's mitt or a weak crack as there was yet another feeble groundball or flyball.  Check out the majesty of the pitching motion.

Some contemporaries likened him to a pitching machine.  It looked like an easy motion, just like the ball rolling around a pitching machine, and then the ball would go by you.  The famous story is that one batter decided to go to the dugout after two strikes.  The umpire called him back and the batter responded, "I know, you can have the next one.  It won't do me any good."

When he retired in 1927, after 21 years of nearly unmatched dominance, he stood 2nd all-time in wins (417), 1st all-time in strikeouts (3508 until Ryan and Carlton came along), and 1st all-time in shutouts (110). He had 9 seasons with a WHIP less than 1.  He had two 300 K seasons, when it was rare to achieve 200 Ks in a season, leading the league in Ks 12 times.  He also won three pitching triple crowns during his career.

One of these years was the incomparable 1913.  He was 36-7 with a 1.14 ERA (259 ERA+), 0.78 WHIP, 242 K, and 11 shutouts.  He also allowed a league leading 9 home runs.   And that wasn't even the year where he won 16 straight decisions (1912), which stood until later that year when Smoky Joe Wood tied it, and eventually Rube Marquard broke it.

Though the time was different, the game connects, and great pitching performances live on.  Even now, he can be considered the most dominant pitcher of any era for the length of his career.

Jan 19, 2013

Pack Predictor: 2012 Topps Chrome Football Rack Pack

Football is the sport of early winter; and the playoffs is the peak of football's power.  I feel like the two playoff weekends before the Super Bowl are generally more exciting (and this past weekend was especially so). What better way to greet "Conference Championship" week than with the opening of a rack pack of the eponymous Topps Chrome brand?

And not only that, I consulted with the pack wrapper, and it told me that it could predict the future.  So I'm going to see how true that is....points will be assigned based on the pack contents to determine the Super Bowl XXXXIIIIIII participants.
Jay Cutler: Was once a Bronco, who were beaten by the Ravens last week....Ravens +3,
Dont'a Hightower: Patriots rookie....Patriots +5
D'qwell Jackson: Against Baltimore this year, he had 8 total tackles in two games, but Baltimore swept the season series.....Ravens +2
Rueben Randle: Giants beat the 49ers and lost to the Falcons and Ravens.....Falcons +2, Ravens +2
Frank Gore: 49ers starting running back since 2006, ran for a career 2nd best 1215 yards and 8 TDs in 2012. ...49ers +7
Mychal Kendricks: No Eagles cards will be worth any points; there was nothing positive about that team in 2012.
Dwayne Allen Tall Boy Insert: The Colts lost to the Patriots this year,allowing 59 points and lost to the Ravens in the playoffs....Patriots +2, Ravens +3
Tim Tebow: What a strange season he had, only played in 40 plays the entire year. You would think he'd make a good backup running back with the threat of an option pass....Jets were swept by the Patriots and destroyed by the 49ers. 49ers +2, Patriots +4
Ryan Broyles Tall Boy Insert: Had his only 100 yard receiving game against the Texans, whom the Patriots beat....Patriots +2
Ryan Tannehill XFractor: I thought he had better stats this year; only 12 TDs and 13 Int this year.  Dolphins lost to New England twice this year....Patriots +4
TJ Graham Orange Refractor: Bills also lost to New England twice this year.....Patriots +4
Larry Fitzgerald Orange Refractor: This was a season to forget for Fitzgerald.  He didn't even crack 800 receiving yards. The Cardinals beat the Patriots, lost to the Falcons, and got swept by the 49ers. ....Ravens +3, Falcons +2, 49ers +4
Fletcher Cox: No points awarded on Eagles cards.
Larry Fitzgerald: No points awarded on duplicate players
Ray Rice Orange Refractor:  If this guy has 160 total yards or more, the Ravens will probably win.....Ravens +7

Final Totals: Patriots over Ravens: 21-20
49ers over Falcons: 13-4

So this predicts a Patriots vs. 49ers Super Bowl with the most foolproof system ever devised.

Jan 15, 2013

Happy 4th Birthday to The Other World!

From the  first post until today (factoring in a leap year), it has now been exactly 4 years ago today that I started this blog.   Who would have ever thunk it?

There has been times when I wanted to comment on everything and stay quiet about everything.  But most importantly, there hasn't been a time where I haven't found it fun.

Some blog stats: 506 published posts, over 1500 scans, and at least one reference to cookies.

It's been fun being in this virtual community with all the like and unlike minded collectors and baseball fans out there.  We each bring a little richness to the fullness of the conversation that is this topsy-turvy world based on rectangles.

I'd like to thank everyone who's ever commented, everyone who's ever made me laugh or nod my head or shake my head with a post, all of my trade partners, all the people who ran group breaks and participated in mine, anyone who opened more packs than me or less, and also the two small people on my shoulders who whisper opposite ideas in my head and won't let me rest without spinning.....

But seriously, I have a good time expressing myself in prose and hope that you come back for more (just like  Hamels came back for 6 years to the Phillies).

We all know that baseball and card collecting isn't an addiction; it's an encompassing lifestyle...

Thanks for reading.

and get ready for the contest next week.....

Jan 14, 2013

Stat Anomaly: 20 Losses, Art "Hard Luck" Houtteman in 1952

It looked so bucolic in 1952 for Art Houtteman.  The sun gave light to the bright backdrop of the azure sky. He was back from missing the 1951 season due to military service; what could be better than looking forward to a season of baseball after such an experience?  He had his whole career in front of him; he was 24 years old, his previous season in the bigs in 1950 resulted in a 19-12 record with a league leading 4 shutouts, what could happen?

But this sunny optimism belies the almost tragedy that had already befallen Art "Hard Luck" Houtteman in his career to that point.  He started his career as a 17 year old in 1945 and did not pitch well enough to make the postseason roster of the World Series winning Tigers.  He never won a World Series in his career; though he did pitch in one for the 1954 Indians.  In 1947, he began the season in the minors, but he began starting ballgames in August, finishing with 8 starts, 6 wins, 7 complete games, and 3 shutouts.

The next year is when he earned his nickname; he was 2-16 with a 4.66 ERA, with the two wins sandwiched  around two 8 game losing streaks.  His teammates chalked up to a series of bad luck and seeing eye singles given his pedigree as a top ranked prospect.

The beginning of 1949 had a nearly tragic accident occur to him.  He nearly died in a car accident during spring training, fracturing his skull.  He was back in the rotation by the end of May and ended up earning MVP votes in an impressive season.  He also had a noteworthy season in 1950.

1951 was spent drafted into the military, but probably because of his skull fracture from 1949, he could not be on the field.  He spent nearly 11 months in a military hospital before being discharged.

His stuff was still there when 1952 dawned; he had his lucky uniform number on.....and nothing worked.  He pitched a one hitter in April, unluckily allowing the hit in the 9th inning, but otherwise his performance was not up to his previous standards, allowing 4 runs or more in 12 of his 17 starts, going 3-11 with a 5.13 ERA.

At this point, he was pulled from the regular rotation and became a spot starter, getting irregular work.  He did not excel in general, though he pitched 3 complete game victories (including one shutout).  He finished 8-20 with a 4.36 ERA, 109 K in 221 innings and 10 complete games.  Ironically, his WHIP was a career low 1.28, so maybe it was hard luck that year after all.

Jan 12, 2013

2012 Topps: A Last Look of the First Look I Had or Jumbo Boxes are Full of Cards

We're all looking forward to the 2013 collecting season (coming January 30th or so to a theatre near you).  The 2013 Topps set offers the promise that the upcoming collecting season will be full of familiarity and twists as well as nostalgia and commemoration.

For the first time, I opened a jumbo box of the ubiquitous flagship product; I will not be doing this again.  I was swung by the siren song of gold rush wrapper redemptions (check out my wantlist; I actually am trying for that set!) and promise of inserts, inserts, and gold....delicious gold. Gold like honey to drizzle all over the collection boxes and leave them begging for more.   That might have been gratuitous, but you get the idea.

Here is how opening a jumbo box goes:

1. Hey, look at the size of those packs; I can make a new Bay Bridge with those packs.
2. There's a relic....that card is thick.  Check out all the metal on that card; I wonder if it's magnetic.
3. How many more timeless talents inserts are there?  Can't I make a mural of these instead of collect them.
4.  Halfway through the box now,  I only have 5 pack rips left.  That makes a sad.
5. I'm noticing a theme with the insert cards.  Why are they all erased at the bottom?
6. A duplicate?  From a box in this house?  30 duplicates in a row from the same pack?  You go back in there and sit in the naughty corner until you change into non-duplicates.  Think about being individualist in the post-modern sense....that should do the trick.
7. It's over....there's a big stack of cards.....and no set to chase.....the end.
8.  What do you mean I need 4 more wrappers for the wrapper redemption?!?

Here's what came out of the pack ripping thoughts....
Trevor Cahill Golden Moments Auto: First thought: It's an A's auto of a player not on the A's....I prefer Jarrod Parker.
Elvis Andrus Golden Moments Relic: First thought: You are not a Phillie, why do I care about a relic like this?
Derek Jeter World Series Pin: First Thought: Cool card; I'm glad a star like Jeter is one my collection haunter
Trevor Plouffe Black Parallel: Low numbered card alert! Break out the bacon fat!
Minis!!-but not as fun as the Kimball champions from the year before; I will not be getting all 150 this time.
Timeless Talents insert: They were both Chicago team shortstops and are Latino....third straight year of an unliked concept.
Mike Moustakas Gold Futures: A prospect laden set to show that Bowman isn't the only game in town.  What's that? Bowman is the same game? Well, forget it then.
Phillies mini!  The quest is at an end.  Plus, retro uniform!
Mini photoed minis!- These are nice cards, almost wish they were the base cards from this year....I've probably said that already.
Roy Halladay mini-I had a similar reaction with the Howard except I might have jumped left instead of right.
Joe DiMaggio Golden Greats:  This was the most annoying insert set of all.  Redundancies and a large card set makes for it being largely incollectible.
Paul Molitor Gold Standard: 3000 hits is a gold standard.....even used to be good enough to get in the HOF on the first ballot.
Howard Gold Sparkly: I like shiny Phillies.
Polanco Gold Sparkly: I like shiny Phillies redux.
Ichiro Golden Moments: Correction, this was the most annoying insert.  Is that floating team logo for real?  Also, there were 3 series and a mini card version of this insert set?  Can we get these all stricken from the record?

I didn't show any base cards, but I do have them all...

Anyway, time to look forward, not backward....happy collecting season 2013....

Jan 5, 2013

HOF Ballot Thoughts in Advance of the Announcement

The announcement of the MLB HOF class of 2013 is coming on Monday, and I will most likely be in the air during the announcement. This year, more than most, has been a whirlwind of balloting, grandstanding, analysis, and very interesting thoughts about what the merit of a HOFer should be, is at the moment, and will be in the future.

The specter of the era that has just passed, and that has extended into the present day, gives pause upon the validity of the accomplishments of those on the ballot and those soon to come.   There will be no erasing or vacating of records as in college sports (which I never understood), but a certain prism has to be turned upon the numbers to refract them into the pieces which help to understand them.

As the rules currently stand, there are 15 years to sort the first wave of this mess out.  Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro have been in a holding pattern since they first hit the ballot, though I can see how their cases would lend themselves to be on multiple ballots even without the current circumstances (most similar HOF hitter types for each more or less were Killebrew and Cepeda, respectively).

The landslide and granddaddies of the performance enhancing era, Bonds and Clemens, have hit the ballot, and this is really where the parsing and defensing and putting back in place has really come.  There are some who would call them a HOFers because of what their career was before the allegations (and evidence), there are others who would call them HOFers because the entirety of the career should be judged within the context of their era and peers, and there are still others who draw the line in the sand and say that the specter outweighs the accomplishment.

I´m happy I´m not voting this year (or ever since I´m not a sportswriter) because it´s not the morality or the validity that causes me to consider and reconsider considerations about what constitutes a HOFer for this ballot and ballots to come.  I am more inclined to judge them through the prism of the era and call them what they were on their plaques, evidence suggested that performance enhancing drugs were involved.

However, without evidence about how many players actually failed testing or an estimated quantitative effect on how these substances influence other baseball skills besides strength (and possibly stamina), the prism becomes cracked and splintered further.

For example, if those who used substances are not voted in because their relative merits to the peers and other HOFers were not deemed unworthy.....doesn´t that then mean that those who conclusively (or as close as we can get) should be elevated to HOF status as the best of their era?  Would this then lower the statistical standards of the HOF further than has been done with previous controversial/dubious selections.  On the flip side, since there is no conclusive evidence for these othere players and then evidence is found, that would distort the line further in this hypothetical.

If there is no definitive line, then how do you separate Bonds and Clemens from the circumstantial accused such as Bagwell and Piazza?  Or do you already separate them because circumstantial evidence and guilt by association is not evidence for anything in this case beyond speculation?

As can be easily drawn from this thought exercise, is that there are no easy decisions in the voting process.....and it will only build up and get worse as ideas come to light, fall into shadow, or become grayer. 

If I had a ballot, based on the information, statistics, and who I would feel defines being a HOFer (there is feel involved too). 

My both introspective and off the cuff ballot would be Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Alan Trammell, Edgar Martinez, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling, Larry Walker, and Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens....and I would still be uncomfortable with it.

My prediction is that only one candidate (either Jack Morris or Craig Biggio) will get enough votes to be voted in, and that the debate will continue apace in 2014.

For a happy note to end this post, here are portraits of two of my favorite Phillies HOFers, Steve Carlton and Richie Ashburn, voted in by different means, but no less thought of as HOFers.

Jan 4, 2013

Collecting Resolutions for 2013 and a Short Look Back at 2012

I think I only accomplished one of the goals  I set out for at the onset of 2012, and that was to complete the mainstream Phillies issue run from 1970-1986.  I may have also completed one of the sets I put down on the list (probably 2011 Allen & Ginter).  And I did branch out to some higher end purchases with 2010 Century Collection and 2011 Leaf Ink.  All that being said, my collection is in a good place right now, I´m happy with what direction I´ve been taking it, and there´s not as much in the way of unwanted material as there used to be.

Here are some modest collecting goals for 2013:

1. Complete 2012 A&G and start 2013 A&G-I have every one of these sets since its inception in 2006.

2.  Binderize the junk wax Phillies era (1987-1993) and make some headway there...85% complete would be acceptable.

3. Get want lists together for the 2008-2010 Phillies sets and make some headway there....50% complete would be acceptable.

4. Complete one or more of the following Bowman sets: 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005.

5. Obtain one or more autos of a Phillies Hall of Famer (Schmidt, Carlton, Roberts, Ashburn, Bunning)

6. Target box purchases for 2013: 2012 Panini Cooperstown, 2013 GQ, 2013 A&G.....and that´s it.

7. Snag 50% of the 1948-1969 Phillies cards.....I don´t what the starting point is, but it must be possible.

8. Complete 2011 GQ set and 2009 Obak set (both harder than they seem on the surface)

Here are some modest blogging goals:

1. Post 150 times; seems simple for most, but for me in the last two years it has not been....what´s the mantra? Share and share alike?

2. Hold one group break again...this time more inclusive.  Last year´s was fun and interesting, but very involved....and also quite a bit high end.

3. Continue the following series:
a. Junior High Countdown: this needs to end at some point
b. Stat Anomaly: 20 game losers
c. Wondrous Seasons of the Past
d. All-Time Phillies List

4. Finish this series:  July 1993 Beckett All-Time Best and this one:  Tales of a Former Bowman Collector

5. Start the Cornerstone Collection series.

6. Try to average one trade per month. This is a big step up for me.  Sending packages in the mail is not my strong suit.

7. Answer emails even more frequently.

8. Smile without excessive toothiness in photos.....ok, not relevant.

9. And most importantly, have a 4 year anniversary giveaway this year!

Thanks for keeping track of this humble corner.

Jan 2, 2013

Cornerstone Collection: Mike Schmidt Rookie Checked Off

I´m sure we all have different ideas about what the best collection would be.  For some, it´s being a set collector...for others, a team collector, for still others, an auto collector.   Somehow or other, we all end up with wantlists, unmarked piles, new ideas, ideas put aside, chaos, and order in the world that is called card collecting.

There are always some cards, however, that we acquire that tickle the fancy and rise to the top of the list that I always like to keep handy: if there were a fire in the house, which cards would I leave with?  I keep these in a separate box for easier finding....true story. 

A more appropriate name for this would be ¨The Cornerstone Collection¨  as I like to call it.  Everyone has their own personal meaning of what that could be.  It could be sets, individual cards, valuable cards, non-valuable cards, essentially anything that you would begin your collection with if you had to start over again.

As a lifelong Phillies fan, this Mike Schmidt rookie would be one of the top (if not the top) of my list.  Luckily, I was gifted this one for my past birthday. 

I surprisingly don´t have much to say about the card this time around except that it rocks.  

I sense the beginning of a series on the blog and then this will be properly updated.