Category Archives: Jayson Werth

Notes From the eBay Trenches

Featured Cards: 2010 Topps 206 #285, Jayson Werth; 2014 Topps Upper Class #UC-26, Ryan Howard; 2010 Topps Heritage #443, Philadelphia Phillies

eBay is the great necessary evil by which I handle most of my collecting. I’d love to collect cards in the same manner I did 20 years ago — primarily via local dealers and card shows. However, changes in the hobby, many of which wrought upon it by eBay, long ago forced me to make eBay m2010 Topps 206 Werthy primary tool. That probably wouldn’t be any different even if I were living in the Philly suburbs rather than the exurbs of Northern Virginia. I’m sure nothing you’re about to read hasn’t already been said/written by someone else, but I still wanted to get them off my chest….

I appreciate sellers who take the time to carefully package their cards, but a nontrivial percentage of them really don’t seem to grasp the notion that securely packaging cards does not mean shipping them in a manner that makes it extremely difficult to extract the cards without damaging them. I swear, I sometimes think that as a collector the most valuable tool I have at my disposal is an X-Acto Knife. I am certain that without the use of one, I would likely damage approximately one card per month. It’d probably be even more valuable if I were an unscrupulous dealer/seller, but thankfully for everyone involved I have a conscious and I listen to it….

At least the ridiculously meticulous and careful sellers put in the effort. I’ve started taking it upon myself when leaving feedback to note when someone charges $2.00+ for shipping and handling and then mails the card in a top loader and plain white envelope. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a perfectly legitimate and safe way to mail a card, but 2010 Topps Heritage Philliesyou don’t get to charge that much for something that costs $0.60 (I’m being very generous with the cost of the envelope)….

Along the same lines, who are the sellers who think that $5.00 or more is an acceptable shipping and handling for just one card and don’t bother to provide a less expensive option kidding? Unless you are shipping a valuable card via Priority Mail and with insurance, there is no reason for that kind of crap….

A couple days ago, I won an eBay auction to pick any 20 cards from a list of available 2014 Topps cards. I wasn’t able to send payment immediately, or at any time during the 38 hours following the end of the2014 Topps UC Howard auction, at which point the seller sent me an email stating: “Need your payment and list of 20 cards ASAP or I will be forced to contact Ebay.” Way to go, fuck-hole — I actually needed more than 20 and was interested in the offer to select additional cards for $0.15 each. Did you really think that someone with an eBay account that is over 15 years old, and has a feedback rating of 3900+ with no negative feedback was going to renege on a $4.50 auction? I sent him payment a couple hours after his email (ironically, I really was getting ready to send payment via PayPal at the moment his email arrived but decided to wait another couple hours out of spite), but I didn’t inform him his impatience cost him an additional sale. Maybe I should have….

Werth’s Dearth of Phillies Certified Auto Cards

Featured cards: 2009 Topps Triple Threads Autograph Relics #TTAR-134; 2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom Autograph Relics #TSAR-JW

2009 Topps TT WerthLast week I wrote about my desire to see more Phillies autograph cards featuring Curt Schilling or Jim Thome. There’s one name I’d like to add to that short list: Jayson Werth. Unfortunately, given that he’s still active and with the Nationals, there’s no additional Phillies autograph cards in the foreseeable future. When he does retire, I suppose there’s a chance we might see a few such cards once again picturing him with the Phillies, but I just don’t see much chance of that happening.

It’s rather amazing how few easily attainable autograph cards there are from Werth’s time with the Phils. Mind you, there are plenty of certified autograph cards out there if you don’t mind picking one up from his days as a prospect bouncing around Blue Jays, Orioles and Dodgers organizations, but if you’re like me and only collect Phillies cards then your options are fairly limited. Outside of possibly his 2007 Elements Elemental 2009 Topps TSAR WerthAutographs card (for which there was no stated print run), all of Werth’s Phillies autograph cards bear rather limited print runs. I’ve managed to acquire four of them, including the Elemental Autographs, but chances of my picking up any additional ones are pretty slim.

One final note: I’ve never understood the animosity displayed by a portion of the Phillies towards Werth since his signing with the Nationals. The Phillies made it very clear that they weren’t interested in bringing him back at the price he was asking, and then the Nats came along and offered significantly more than he wanted from the Phillies. I just guess there’s an mentality to being a “true fan” I never properly developed.

2010 Fathead Tradeables

Set Type: Primary
Card dimensions: 5” x 7”
Additional Information: This set marks the second year that Fathead marketed its Tradeables line. Like their larger predecessors, the Tradeables were designed to be pealed from the backing and applied to walls, windows and other locations for decorative purposes. The peel-offs were issued in packs of five for $9.99. In addition, Fathead also packaged and sold complete team sets. The backing is identical for all the cards.

Chase Utley
Jimmy Rollins
Jayson Werth
Shane Victorino
Raúl Ibañez
Ryan Howard

2009 Phillies Team Issue Home Run Derby

Set Type: Primary
Card dimensions:
4″ x 6″
Additional Information: Issued in conjunction with the Phillies’ annual Home Run Derby competition, a home run hitting contest for boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 15, this card utilizes the same design as the 2009 Phillies Team Issue set. While the Home Run Derby logo on the front and back of the card make it easy to discern from Werth’s card in the Phillies Team Issue, the card also uses a different photo and bears a purple facsimile of his autograph on the front of the card. The card is unnumbered; instead, it uses Werth’s jersey number (28) on the back.

[1] Jayson Werth

2011 Phillies Cards in Review: Memorabilia Card of the Year

The major impediment to selecting my autograph card of the year reared its ugly head when I looked over my 2011 memorabilia cards: I just didn’t purchase that many this year. I think a lot of this had to do with the fact that during 2011, Topps saved most of its Phillies game-used cards for its high-end products. At least, that’s where they seemed to focus their truly creative memorabilia card offerings. Unfortunately, like all their high-end product, these cards were printed in such small numbers that they were too cost prohibitive for me to really obtain any of them. Otherwise, I assure you that one of the Utley-Rollins-Howard or Halladay-Lee-Hamels joint memorabilia cards from Triple Threads would have made it into this post.

Beyond that, there was another issue at play: the game-used cards in Topps’s more mainstream sets (i.e., Topps, Heritage, Allen & Ginter’s, and Gypsy Queen) were rather pedestrian and relatively basic, thus providing little excitement. Topps didn’t even provide the courtesy of offering a double-swatch card in any of these sets, like they had in its 206 set the year before. To add insult to injury, Topps’s insistence on using an absolutely identical generic card design for multiple different types of memorabilia swatches comes across as monotonous and… well, here’s the word I’ve applied to Topps many times since the start of this blog… lazy.

Literally, the only difference between the two cards is the memorabilia swatch on the front. The backs are identical — right down to the card number on the back. As boring as that looks, just imagine what it looks like to place all three of Victorino’s Allen & Ginter’s Mini-Framed Relics cards next to each other (the three different types are bat, batting practice jersey, and road jersey).

The primary upshot of all this — at least, in regards to picking my favorite — is that there were very few contenders for the Phillies memorabilia card of the year. So few, in fact, that I was prepared to just hand the award to Jayson Werth’s Gypsy Queen jersey card. I thought it would be a nice gesture to a player who such an integral part of the team’s current run of consecutive postseason appearances. That, and I liked the fact that what was very likely his last appearance on a Phillies card — at least, last appearance that roughly coincided with his tenure with the club — was a memorabilia card. Unfortunately, as I pulled the cards accompanying this particular post, I noticed the following:

Discounting parallels, Topps only issued three cards in 2011 depicting Werth as a member of The Fightins. Their archives contain four years worth of photos showing him in a Phillies uniform, and yet they still decided to use the exact same photo for his last two cards depicting him as a Phillie. For that reason alone, I felt compelled to rescind my decision to make his Gypsy Queen jersey card the Phillies memorabilia card of the year. I absolutely refuse to award Topps for its utter laziness — yes, there’s that word again.

As a result, I am not actually bestowing any card with the honor of being selected as the Memorabilia Card of the Year. The sad fact is that it was an uninspired year for game-used cards. Nothing I added to my collection in 2010 stood out in a manner worth noting. I certainly hope for something better this coming year, but at the same time, I’m not really expecting improvement from Topps. As I said numerous times before, their MLB-sanctioned monopoly gives them no incentive to improve their product — so why should they? In fact, as their competition decreased over the past decade, so did the quality of their product. Unfortunately, there are no signs that MLB intends to end the status quo at any time.

It’s almost enough to make me wish I was collected football cards instead.

Featured Cards: 2011 Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection #CCR-PP, Placido Polanco; 2010 Topps 206 Mini Framed Dual-Relics Piedmont #DR-SV, Shane Victorino; 2011 Topps 60 Relics #T60R-JR[a], Jimmy Rollins (bat); 2011 Topps 60 Relics #T60R-JR[b], Jimmy Rollins (jersey); 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen Relics #GQR-JWE, Jayson Werth; 2011 Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection #CCR-JW, Jayson Werth; 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen Framed Mini Relics #FMRC-RH, Ryan Howard

2011 Phillies Cards in Review: Insert Series of the Year

Sadly, 2011 wasn’t a good year for insert series. The fact that 2010 had so many really nice insert series really helped to highlight the paucity of really good insert series in 2011. Without even checking the 2010 cards my collection, I can state with absolute certainty that I enjoyed Bowman 1992 Throwbacks, Topps Turkey Red, Upper Deck Biography, and, most especially, Topps Peak Performance — which in some ways was actually a real set as opposed to just an insert series — more than any of the 2011 inserts. I don’t know if Topps was either just uninspired or lazy in 2011 (I’m inclined to believe “lazy”), but either way none of their insert series this past year was anywhere near as good as the four 2010 series I mentioned.

But, before I continue, I guess it’s important to set some criteria an insert series must meet for consideration for Insert Series of the Year. The most obvious of these criteria is number of cards. Clearly, one or two cards by themselves is insufficient (sorry, Topps Allen & Ginter’s Baseball Highlight Sketches). So, I’m settling on a minimum of four cards, with the understanding that a four-card Phillies insert series is at a decided disadvantage against a larger series. In this case, size does matter. Along those lines, I am counting similarly designed/themed memorabilia and autograph cards in determining how many cards are in an insert series. For example, when you include all the memorabilia, autograph and autograph-memorabilia cards (but not Diamond Anniversary parallels of any of these cards or double-counting memorabilia cards which potential contain different types of memorabilia), Topps 60 contains 18 cards. If this explanation doesn’t make complete sense, never fear — I’ll include counting methodology with each insert series I discuss.

Honorable Mention:  2011 Topps Diamond Die-Cut Redemptions
Number of cards: 8

I really wanted this to include this set as a viable contender for the honor, but quite frankly the cards are just too scarce. On the secondary market — for me, that predominantly means eBay — prices for the Ruiz and Domonic Brown cards start at approximately $5 each, and they only get worse from there. By my best guess, this is the most expensive insert series lacking autograph or memorabilia cards to compile. The Diamond Cut Redemptions also suffer from the fact that you had to pay Topps to ship you the card if you happened to win it via one of the Diamond Giveaway Code cards. I only have one of them — the Carlos Ruiz you see here — but based on just that one card, they are gorgeous.

Runner Up #1: 2011 ToppsTown
Number of cards: 9, spread across Topps Series 1, Topps Series 2, Topps Opening Day and Topps Update Series

ToppsTown (I’m basing the capitalization on what appears in the title bar of the browser when you go to the ToppsTown website) gets consideration because its tied for the largest number of “base” cards of any insert series this year. In fact, this nine-card series contains no autograph or memorabilia cards at all, which in combination with the fact that the cards are relatively easy to obtain, gives it some extra bonus points. However, even though like the Diamond Die-Cut Redemptions it includes Ruiz, the horribly bland design and reflective foil surface prevent the set from being anything more than an also-ran.

Runner Up #2: 2011 Topps Kimball Champions
Number of Cards: 9

Let’s see… Reuse of old 19th-century card design: check. Relatively easy and inexpensive to complete set: check. Decent set size: check. Nice mix of retired and current players: check. On the surface, should be the insert series of the year. However, while I like new cards based on vintage designs, this particular set inspired very little enthusiasm from me. In addition, I’m not particularly fond of non-standard-sized cards — something I noted even while I gave the Parallel Series of the Year to the Gypsy Queen miniatures. It’s possible that I might have liked Kimball Champions more if they were standard-sized, but somehow, I doubt it.

Runner-Up #3: 2011 Topps Black Diamond Redemption
Number of cards: 5

This was a series that I desperately wanted to like a lot more than I really did. Yes, Topps has really gone to the well an awful lot on this particular design — there’s the original set, three different ’52 Rookies offerings, a Heritage issue, and more than a few inserts. However, 50 years later, this design is still the Holy Grail Topps sets, so it’s understandable that they will continue to use it from time-to-time. Furthermore, I think there’s something really cool about seeing all those cards placed together, and I am always looking forward to seeing more Phillies receiving a card using the design. Having said that, this particular iteration of the design left me cold. For starters, enough with the capless photos, Topps! Yes, I get it… You need them for your Heritage cards, but these aren’t Heritage cards. Furthermore, decades ago, when you used them regularly, you almost always did so because a player changed teams during the off-season. Utley and Howard have never changed teams! The only player in this series whom you could have conceivably gone capless in a Heritage offering was Lee, and he was a Phillie less than 18 months previously. Stop it! Just, stop it!

Oh, and the sparkly finish just doesn’t belong either. On second thought, this series doesn’t deserve runner-up status after all. However, I really needed a therapeutic rant.

And now for the winner…

2011 Topps 60
18 total cards: 3 “base” inserts, 5 autographs, 2 autograph relics, 6 relics, 2 jumbo relics

As much as it pains me, this set is really just the winner by default. Though the design is different, Topps 60 is really a pale imitation of it’s older brother: 2010 Topps Peak Performance. While both sets function in the same basic fashion,  Peak Performance did a much better job. In fact, I can easily demonstrate Peak Performance’s superiority over 60 with just a simple numeric comparison: a mere nine Phillies comprise all the cards in 60, while 15 Phillies appear in some fashion throughout the various Peak Perfomance cards. On that note, I’d like to actually spend some time talking about the sheer awesomeness of the Peak Performance insert series…

2010 Topps Peak Performance
31 Total Cards: 8 “base” inserts, 3 autograph relics, 9 autographs, 1 jumbo relic, 10 relics

As I said back at the beginning of this post, the Peak Performance insert series merits consideration as a set onto itself. In fact, it’s larger than many of the sets that Topps issues over the course of any given year since the mid ’90s. The numbers above don’t do the series justice. There are players who appear only on autograph cards (e.g., Andrew Carpenter and Carlos Ruiz), players who appear only on relic cards (Jayson Werth and Brad Lidge), and players who appear only in the base inserts (Steve Carlton) — as well as three different Ryan Howard variations. While the base cards are inexpensive and easy to obtain, the same is true of many of the autograph and memorabilia cards as well. In fact, with the exception of the various Howard and Mike Schmidt autograph cards, you can acquire most of the cards in this set for less than it would cost you to put together a 2011 Topps Diamond-Cut Redemptions Phillies team set.

I’ve spent an awful lot of time bashing Topps over the past nine months. However, I will gladly state for the record that I would be a much happier collector if Topps put out more inserts such as the Peak Performance series. While I won’t be able to complete the entire set (a couple of the Ryan Howard cards have print runs of just 50 and the Schmidt memorabilia card seems rather difficult to find), I was still able to collect what I wanted, which was at least one card of each player — even if I couldn’t procure each and every single card. I can’t say the same for Topps 60, or even most of the insert series that come out in a given year.

Featured Cards: 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter’s Baseball Highlight Sketches #BHS-4, Roy Halladay; 2011 Topps Diamond Die-Cut Redemptions #DDC44, Carlos Ruiz; 2011 Topps Update Series ToppsTown #TTU-13, Shane Victorino; 2011 Topps Kimball Champions #KC-118, Cliff Lee; 2011 Topps Black Diamond Redemption #60, Ryan Howard; 2011 Topps 60 Game-Used Memorabilia #T60R-RR, Robin Roberts; 2010 Topps Peak Performance #PPR-JW, Jayson Werth; 2010 Topps Peak Performance #PP-125, Roy Halladay