It’s snowing again as I write this morning, but we’re less than a month away from the start of spring training. (Yoenis Cespedes, Amed Rosario, Wilmer Flores, and Juan Lagares are already in Florida.)
So I thought I’d share some recent baseball card purchases, my first of 2018. I’m particularly happy with the T.J. Rivera and Josh Smoker cards since they’ve been Mets long enough to appreciate them.
Baseball Reference tells me that Jamie Callahan and Tomas Nido played for the Mets last year, but I don’t remember them at all. Luis Guillorme made an amazing catch in the dugout last spring, but he’s still waiting for his shot in the big leagues. The A.J. Ramos card is a placeholder until I can get one that shows him as a Met. I think I already had a Matt Reynolds autograph, but he’s sporting the snazzy Mr. Met spring training cap and it was only a dollar… so why not?
Last year, a fellow Mets fan surprised me with a bunch of the Topps Now cards released during the team’s Wild Card-winning season.
For those unfamiliar with Topps Now, just about every day during the baseball season, Topps produces one or more baseball cards focusing on a highlight from the previous days’ games. Those cards are available for 24 hours, and Topps prints however many people buy.
The holiday season always seems to be the time for some baseball players to catch up with their fan mail. (As someone who was still sending out Christmas cards this week, that never fails to amaze me.)
Baseball card collectors who were around in the 1990s probably have fond memories of Topps Stadium Club, a premium product known for its great photography. Of course “premium” in the early 1990s meant something entirely different than it does now – when you could still get some packs of baseball cards for less than $1, spending $3 to $5 for Stadium Club seemed extravagant. Now it’s just the cost of buying a pack of whatever new cards you can find at Target.
After an absence of several years, Topps tried to revive the brand in 2008 with a poorly-received set that included an autograph (from someone you’d probably didn’t care about) in each hobby pack that sold for around $25. You could also buy normally-priced blasters at Target and WalMart, where you could probably expect to find one autograph per box. The cards were still gorgeous, but there was a confusing short-print scheme that made set collecting more trouble than it was worth.
Stadium Club is back again this year as a hobby-only release. Boxes will sell for around $100 and include three autographs. (The autograph checklist doesn’t look too bad, but I would not be surprised if Mike Zunino and Yangervis Solarte are a lot more common than George Springer and Gregory Polanco.)