Category Archives: John Mayberry Jr.

Odds and Ends

Featured Cards: 2014 Topps #74, John Mayberry, Jr.; 2004 Throwback Threads Century Collection Material Jersey #CC-80, Scott Rolen

A2014 Topps Mayberrys I stated yesterday, I will have an updated version of the Phillies Baseball Card Database online by the end of the week. The plan moving forward is that I will post updates within a week or so of the release of a new set — even if I am otherwise in one of my posting hiatuses. Following this week’s update, I will  institute a new system whereby I post a both complete file and a file containing just the edits and additions so that those who are using the file for their own purposes can more easily incorporate edits and new material as I post them. This week’s revised database will contain the full 2014 Topps Series One checklists, and I’ll give my thoughts about the set when I post the new version….

I’m a couple months late in responding to a comment from steveinphilly, but here it is: Beckett Baseball Editor Chris Olds is still an idiot. I know it’s not news, but so long as he holds that position with Beckett and continues to make the kinds of statements he made in the comment thread to the post on 2013 Topps Heritage High-Number — especially his comments in regards to autograph stickers versus cards that are autographed directly — I will continue to mock both him and Beckett. It really would be nice to see one editor at Beckett at least acknowledges the validity of the  complaints and constructive input of collectors….

With the approximately2004 Throwback Threads CC Rolen 5,000 new additional items in the database, I am down to just 33 of my own cards that are not currently listed in it. All my Scott Rolen cards are in it, and I was surprised to discover that I own 699 of them. I almost feel like I need to go out of my way to add one more just to have a nice round number. What surprises me even more is that I have fewer cards of Ryan Howard and he, thus far, has played in three more seasons with the Phillies than Rolen did.

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2012 Topps, its Inserts and the 2012 Topps Phillies Team Set

Featured Cards: 2012 Topps #634, José Contreras; 2012 Topps 1987 Minis #TM-59, Cliff Lee; 2012 Topps #353, John Mayberry, Jr.; 2012 Topps Phillies Team Set #PHI7, John Mayberry, Jr.; 2012 Topps #345, Jonathan Papelbon; 2012 Topps Phillies Team Set #PHI17, Citizens Bank Park

Over the past few days, I’ve been posting checklists for the Series Two 2012 Topps insert sets. Sadly, Topps doesn’t seem to know when to stop with the inserts, and even though I have already posted 13 new checklists for 2012 Topps, I am still far from finished. Scarily, when including the Series One inserts, I currently count 26 insert set checklists posted for the product. I refuse to look at the rough edits for the lists I haven’t posted yet, but I think that it will be roughly 35 inserts when I have completed all the work caused by Series Two. Even more frightening: there are insert sets in which no Phillies appear. I don’t want to make the calculation, but it would not surprise me at all to find out that the total number of cards (not counting parallels) comprising the insert sets actually exceeds the number of cards in the actual Topps base set. That’s hard to do when the base set is 661 cards (not counting variations). That is just wrong.

But, I digress.

Unfortunately, due to the two-series nature of the Topps flagship brand, a couple of the checklists — in particular, the base set and the 1987 Minis — are actually edited. While making the necessary additions, I also included some updates in the Additional Information section and, in the case of the 2012 Topps base set, added a “14,000 Phillies Commentary” section. Unfortunately, I found out the hard way that in WordPress you just cannot update the publication date for a post. If you do so, all the links you have to the original version of the post become invalid. So, rather than updating and correcting an obscene number of links, just to publish new versions of those checklists, here are the direct links to them:

But before I resume with the insert checklists, I have some choice words about Series Two Topps and its relationship with this year’s Topps Phillies Team Set. Starting with their first Phillies Team Set blister pack back in 2006, Topps has consistently included at least one card with a photo that differed from the photo used in the regular Topps set. There are a number of reasons for liking this, one of the most important of these is that it helps to justify that cost of buying a team set in which the majority of the cards are identical to what you get in the regular Topps set. This year, for the first time ever, this is not the case. Instead, we just get two players, John Mayberry Jr. and Kyle Kendrick, with photos that are just slightly recropped.

(The Series Two Topps version is on the left and the Topps Phillies Team Set version is on the right. The Kendrick cards are fairly similar in the way Topps cropped the photo only slightly differently between the two cards.)

I’m sorry, but this doesn’t cut it — especially since Topps has a long-established, unbroken record (until now) of including at least a few cards with photos differing from the card in the base set. I found this infuriating, and it undid all the warm, fuzzy feelings that Topps engendered with this year’s Archives offering. There are a lot of things that I grudgingly tolerate — Bowman prospect inserts that aren’t really rookie cards, the same photo getting used a half-dozen times across various brands and insert sets, the ridiculous number of parallels, Tier One, & Triple Threads… just to name a few — but I find it downright insulting when Topps decides to leave a huge steaming crap over an established product that takes so little effort to properly manage. The insult becomes even greater when you take a look at Jonathan Papelbon’s card: the Photoshop job on that is just horrible. While acceptable for the Phillies Team Set, Topps had more than sufficient time to get a photo of him in a real Phillies uniform for Series Two. As for Thome, you know that Topps has laying around their offices dozens of photos from his first stint with the Phillies  — almost all of them unused since 2005. Creating a Series Two card that differed from the Phillies Team Set card was an easily-accomplished no-brainer. However, Topps just couldn’t be bothered — after all, they had Blank Back parallels they just had to make for selling on eBay.

And, no, the Citizens Bank Park card that was unique to the Phillies Team Set does nothing to help justify the cost of buying the set. At least with Topps Chrome and Opening Day, Topps has made some minor alteration to the basic appearance to every card. But this isn’t the case with the Phillies Team Set, thus making the set almost entirely superfluous. In fact, I will unequivocally state that thanks to Series Two Topps, the Phillies Team Set is a waste of your money. If you haven’t already bought it, don’t.

Topps is now in the third year of a MLB-supported monopoly, and they haven’t done anything to justify why they should have one. Unfortunately, I know the only way real change is going to happen is if I (and a large enough percentage of collectors similar to myself) quite the habit hobby and write letters to MLB and Topps explaining why. Even then, I doubt it will do that much good — after all, despite the amount of money I spend, I’m not the type of collector they care about. It’s almost as if they want to destroy the lower end of the hobby, just because its too much effort for them to really cater to us.

I sincerely hope that Topps won’t repeat this mistake when issuing its 2013 team set blister packs. Sadly, I have no confidence that will actually happen.

2011 Phillies Team Issue Second Edition

Set Type: Primary
Card dimensions: 4″ x 6″
Additional Information: For the second straight season, the Phillies produced a completely redesigned and updated team set at midseason, rather than just update the set released at the start of the season. However, towards the end of the summer, the Phillies decided to update this set, dropping five cards — José Contreras, J.C. Romero, Dane Sardinha, Mike Zagurski, and the Broadcasters card — and adding Hunter Pence. As a result, those six cards are considered short prints. As with nearly all Phillies Team Issue sets, the cards bear the player’s uniform number, but are not otherwise numbered in the manner typical for most card sets. The cards are listed in alphabetical order by player last name, and assigned numbers accordingly.

The set is notable for containing Sardinha’s only Phillies card. Thus far, it contains Pete Orr’s only Phillies card as well, but that may change with the release of 2012 Phillies Team Issue Second Edition.

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Danys Báez
Antonio Bastardo
Mick Billmeyer (coach)
Joe Blanton
Domonic Brown
José Contreras (short print, 1st printing only)
Rich Dubee (coach)
Ben Francisco
Ross Gload
Greg Gross
Roy Halladay
Cole Hamels
David Herndon
Ryan Howard
Raúl Ibañez
Kyle Kendrick
Cliff Lee
Brad Lidge
Pete Mackanin (coach)
Ryan Madson
Charlie Manuel (manager)
Michael Martínez
John Mayberry, Jr.
Pete Orr
Roy Oswalt
Hunter Pence (short print, 2nd printing only)
Sam Perlozzo (coach)
Placido Polanco
J.C. Romero (short print, 1st printing only)
Jimmy Rollins
Carlos Ruiz
Dane Sardinha (short print, 1st printing only)
Juan Samuel (coach)
Brian Schneider
Michael Stutes
Chase Utley
Wilson Valdéz
Shane Victorino
Vance Worley
Mike Zagurski (short print, 1st printing only)
Phillie Phanatic
Phillies Broadcasters (short print, 1st printing only)

Special thanks to SteveinPhilly for edits to the information originally presented in this checklist.

The Sad Joke That Is the “Rookie Card Logo”

Featured Cards: 2006 Bowman Heritage #225, Cole Hamels; 2002 Bowman Heritage #330, Michael Floyd; 2005 Topps Cracker Jack #209, Chris Roberson; 2006 Upper Deck #958, Chris Roberson; 2006 Topps 1952 Rookies #203, Chris Coste; 2009 Topps Updates & Highlights Chrome Rookie Refractors #CHR18, John Mayberry, Jr.; 2008 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP199, Domonic Brown; 2010 Bowman Platinum #6, Domonic Brown; 2011 Finest #67, Domonic Brown; 2011 Gypsy Queen #336, Domonic Brown; 2010 Bowman Draft Picks #BDP28, Vance Worley; 2011 Topps Heritage #249, Vance Worley; 2011 Gypsy Queen Minis #336, Domonic Brown; 2011 Topps Update Series #117, Michael Stutes

In 2006, MLB and the MLBPA announced new industry-wide standards regarding rookie cards and the introduction of a new industry-wide stand “Rookie Card Logo”:

The centerpiece of these guidelines is a new “Rookie Card” logo which incorporates the MLB silhouetted batter logo. Under these new guidelines, licensees Topps and Upper Deck are allowed to produce Rookie Cards only after a player has been officially placed on a Club’s active 25-man roster. These new rules are designed to remove any uncertainty as to what constitutes a player’s Rookie Card, while the new distinctive logo will help fans and collectors easily identify an official “Rookie Card.”

Five years later, I think it’s safe to say that the new guidelines and Rookie Card Logo are an absolute and utterly abysmal failure.

It helps to remember that roughly 10 years ago, the industry-wide quest to produce the first Major League card of a player started spiraling out of control. In the overwhelming majority of sets, you could find players who would never appear in Spring Training game with the Major League club, let alone in an actual Major League game. For Phillies collectors, this meant oodles of cards featuring the likes of Mark Outlaw, Elio Serrano, Josue Perez, Josh Cisneros, Mark Outlaw and Michael Floyd (to be fair to the Phillies, they did draft him as a favor to his younger brother, Gavin, whom they made their #1 pick — at also allowed them to finally avoid the jinx of only employing the brother with lesser talent — but that doesn’t excuse Topps’s decision to put him on a Phillies card). The worst part was that these weren’t inserts — they were cards in the main set, and if you were a team collector, you had to collect these cards as well. While I like the idea of rookie cards in the abstract, what I don’t want to see in my collection are cards of a bunch of players who never actually appeared in a game with the Phillies. When the new guidelines were announced, I held out quite a bit of hope that such madness would come to a grinding halt.

Unfortunately, the new guidelines and rules had a grandfathering period, which portended the failure of the Rookie Card Logo, even though it is still used today. That grandfathering period meant that players such as Cole Hamels received Rookie Card Logos on all of his 2006 cards, which meet those guidelines, even though he appeared on plenty of cards issued before 2006 that didn’t match them. I’m pretty certain that to this day, most collectors still feel Hamels’s 2002 Bowman Draft Picks and Bowman Draft Picks Chrome cards are his rookie cards, despite the logos on 2006 cards. Chris Roberson, however, provided a more amusing example of the capriciousness of ignoring all previously issued rookie cards. On his 2005 Topps Cracker Jack card, Topps placed the words “topps 1st year” on the bottom of the card. I don’t know if this was in anticipation of the forthcoming guidelines and Rookie Card Logo, but it offers a peak at part of the strategy Topps would ultimately employ to work its way around the guidelines and render the new logo utterly meaningless — but more of that anon. Amazingly, despite the rookie mania that occurred over the previous few years, there were some players in 2006 who actually did receive rookie cards that accurately bore the Rookie Card Logo. The most notable (from the perspective of a Phillies collector) of these was Chris Coste. Amazingly, despite his long minor league career and the industry’s best efforts, he never appeared in a major league set before 2006.

Unfortunately, just as the overlap for players such as Roberson and Hamels began to wane and the Rookie Card Logo started developing some real meaning — although, it should be noted that as late as 2009 there were players receiving a Rookie Card Logo even though they had a card issued before 2006 — Topps figured out a workaround that resulted in the primary blow against allowing the logo to have any real meaning. They realized that the guidelines only applied to cards that appeared in the base/primary set, and by 2008 they started issuing cards of prospects as inserts to their Bowman brands (a logical step seeing as that’s where Topps historically overloaded its rookie offerings). Furthermore, Topps took the extra step of inserting the words “First Bowman Card” on all the first cards the prospects received. Suddenly, it was possible to purchase many different cards of players such as Carlos Monasterios, Chance Chapman, Matt Rizzotti and Anthony Hewitt.

Initially, I don’t think I cared all that much because Topps found a way to cater to the rather vocal rookie card collector segment of the hobby without upsetting the team collector contingent (which, truth be told, Topps hasn’t really given proper respect to us since… well… since it released the Topps Total sets). However, while this was keeping to the letter of the rookie card guidelines set by MLB and the MLBPA, it was also breaking the spirit of those guidelines. Despite what was intended with the Rookie Card Logo, Topps managed to muddy the waters once again as to what was a rookie card. There’s no better example of this than the mess it has made while issuing Domonic Brown cards.

I posted these four cards in chronological order to highlight a very important point: his first card depicting him in a Phillies uniform and stating he is a member of the Phillies came out in 2008. Do you think it matters to hard core collectors that there isn’t a Rookie Card Logo? No. However, Phillies team collectors are now forced to decide whether or not to add that 2008 Bowman Chrome Brown card to their collections. What do you think their decision will be as whether it’s his rookie card or not? If most of them are like me, and I believe that is true, then the fact that I have that card should answer the question for you.

The moment Topps first did this, the MLBPA and MLB should have swiftly rebuked Topps by threatening to take away or restructure their license. Instead, they did nothing (or, if they did, they certainly didn’t make any noise publicly about it) and we’re now right back where we started. Actually, it’s worse than where we were in 2006. Take another look at those cards again, and you will notice that the 2010 Bowman Platinum and the 2011 Finest both carry a Rookie Card Logo. This shouldn’t happen. I don’t care what season is a player’s actual rookie season, the year his cards first carry the Rookie Card Logo should be the only year in which it is used. It would be one thing if this was an isolated incident, but it’s not. Take a look at the following two Vance Worley cards:

Topps issued the Bowman Draft Picks card last year, and the Topps Heritage card is from this season. Anyone want to try to logically explain how someone can have a rookie card — as it’s understood within the hobby — in two different years? We can at least take some small comfort in knowing that the 2010 card is actually his rookie card.

To add further insult to injury, Topps cannot even bother to get the Rookie Card Logo consistently applied in the same set. Brown’s regular Gypsy Queen card doesn’t bear a Rookie Card Logo, but the mini does. Was anybody at Topps actually comparing the mini parallels to the cards in the base set to check for consistency? I’ve written quite a bit over this past year about how Topps obviously doesn’t care about proper quality control, but this particular lack of attention to detail manages to further depress their already low standards.

Clearly, the Rookie Card Logo is an utter joke. The unofficially clearly-sanctioned runaround by Topps and the company’s inconsistency in applying it has destroyed any helpful meaning that MLB and the MLBPA tried to imbue into the Rookie Card Logo. Serious collectors ignore it (anyone care to argue that Michael Stutes’s 2011 Topps Update card is his rookie card and not his 2009 Bowman Chrome Prospects card or that Joe Savery or Justin De Fratus haven’t had an official rookie card yet) and casual collectors will very likely find themselves very annoyed when they discover the card bearing a Rookie Card Logo is considered by very few to be an actual rookie card. It’s a meaningless construct. So long as MLB and the MLBPA continue to allow Topps to use it in the ridiculously capricious manner that it has demonstrated over the past few years, they are proving that they never really cared about addressing the problem the Rookie Card Logo was supposed to resolve. I, for one, wish it would go away, but like so many of the other problems not deeply ingrained into the hobby and industry, I just don’t see this issue getting resolved anytime soon.

John Mayberry, Jr.: This Year’s Toughest Phillies Pull

Featured Card: 2011 Topps Update Silk Collection (no #), John Mayberry, Jr.

If you’re looking for the hardest Phillie to find on a Topps issue this year, then you can thankfully forget all about parallels, memorabilia swatches and autograph cards. However, you do have to worry about tracking down an insert with a print run limited to just 50: the John Mayberry, Jr. card you see here. That’s right, as was the case with Brian Schneider last year, if you didn’t pick up one of the two sets issued by the Phillies, then your only chance of getting a Mayberry card was via an insert card. However, the key difference is that Mayberry’s Silk Collection card is much harder to find than the Topps 206 Schnieder autograph (which can still be relatively easy to find on eBay). But, at least he got a card. Outside of those Phillies team issues, Antonio Bastardo hasn’t been on a card since 2009 and neither Pete Orr or Ross Gload will ever see himself wearing a Phillies uniform on a Topps issue. Never fear though — Topps made plenty sure that you can acquire numerous cards featuring the likes of Austin Hyatt, Domingo Santana, Josh Zeid, Brody Colvin, Jiwan James and a slew of other “prospects” who won’t get any closer to the Majors than playing for the Reading Phillies (if that).

If only either MLB or the MLBPA would come up with a real solution for the ridiculousness of the situation.