Category Archives: Johnny Callison

Some Odds and Ends

Featured Cards: 2011 Topps Marquee #94, Chase Utley; 2008 Tri-Star Signa-Cuts (no #), Brad Lidge; 2009 SP Legendary Cuts Legendary Cuts #LC-287, Johnny Callison; 2012 Topps Heritage Black Border #HP63, Vance Worley

I never actually saw a 2000 UD Ionix Awesome Powers card until I went hunting for them recently on Seeing one online, however, still didn’t prepare me for the shock of how gaudy they are when you actually hold one. Thus, it was a moral imperative to post the checklist and scans (which I did earlier today) as soon as got my hands on the only Phillie in the set…

Over the last few days, I have started posting the checklists for 2012 Topps Tribute and all its inserts. Sets like this (as well as Triple Threads, Sterling, Marquee, and the brand-new Museum sets) are the hardest for me as I continue on the database project. I just have very little interest in them. Aside from the fact that it’s almost always more cards of the same Phillies who already receive dozens of cards every year, the product is just too expensive for me to add much of it to my collection. This means that I have to rely heavily upon Beckett’s information (something I am not fully comfortable doing) and what I can confirm by searching on eBay. Furthermore, because I own so few of the various cards from those sets, most of the associated checklists will appear without sample scans. While I am tempted to lift pictures of off eBay for illustrative purposes, I prefer using high-quality scans with checklists, and more often than not, the pictures on eBay are either not good enough quality or just a pain-in-the-ass to actually download…

Although I currently have no plans to list them in the database (I reserve the right to change my mind on this, however), I have to express a certain fondness for the 2008 Tri-Star Signa-Cuts cards. Because they are not MLB-licensed, none of the cards carry team designations. Thus, they are a convenient way of adding autographs to my collection of Phillies who never appeared on a certified autograph card with the club. Without them, I wouldn’t have autograph cards of John Mayberry, Jr., Brian Bocock, Hunter Pence, or Brad Lidge — the newest autograph in my collection. It absolutely beats purchasing a Lidge autograph card picturing and denoting him as an Astro. It really boggles my mind how neither Topps nor Upper Deck managed to issue a single autograph card of him as a Phillie — especially after his perfect season in 2008…

Speaking of players who have never appeared on a certified autograph card as a Phillie, I really have a bone to pick with Topps over their seeming inability to issue in their most recent Heritage sets such cards for Cookie Rojas, Art Mahaffey, Dallas Green, Tony Taylor, Ruben Amaro, Sr., Clay Dalrymple and a slew of other former Phillies. I still haven’t forgiven them or Upper Deck for managing to issue Johnny Callison autograph cards as a member of the White Sox and Yankees but neglecting to issue one with him as a Phillie. And, no, the 2009 SP Legendary Cuts Legendary Cuts Callison card was not appropriate penance for Upper Deck…

Finally, last night, almost by accident, I found out that Topps also printed a Black Border partial parallel for this year’s Heritage set. I know a few paragraphs back I implied that Beckett cannot be 100% trusted, but when I initially put together the 2012 Topps Heritage checklists, I found no mention in their online price guide of plain/non-chrome Black Border parallels. However, last night at Target, I found that Topps produced blister packs containing three packs of Topps Heritage along with “3 Exclusive Black-Bordered Parallel Cards.” Against my normally better judgement, I purchased one and got lucky — the Worley card you see to the right. The 2012 Topps Heritage checklist will be updated accordingly tomorrow. In the meantime, I have already searched through Topps’s marketing material for the set, and I am unable to find any mention of them. I don’t know what the story is, but Topps’s fickleness and disregard for keeping collectors well-informed about their product is just another in the long list of reasons why I desperately wish MLB would grant another license to any of the other sports card producers — even Upper Deck.

A ’63 Variation Topps Missed With This Year’s Heritage

Featured Cards: 1963 Topps #434, Johnny Callison; 1963 Topps #91, Dallas Green

When I posted the 2012 Topps Heritage 1963 Buybacks checklist last week, I paused when I added the scan of the Ruben Amaro, Sr. card. What caught my eye was the team designation: “PHIL. PHILLIES.” This suddenly got my attention because on all the 2012 Heritage cards, it’s completely spelled out as “PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES®” (yes, complete with the annoying little registered trademark symbol that is now apparently required whenever the team name is listed on the baseball card). Did Topps completely frak up a little detail when putting together this year’s Heritage set? Well, no… not exactly, that is.

After examining the 2012 Heritage cards, I exercised due diligence and took a closer look at all the Phillies in the 1963 Topps set. In doing so, I found something very interesting:

Topps actually had the team name listed both ways throughout the set. Better still, there is no discernible pattern that helps to understand why some cards got spelled out while others didn’t. I checked the series in which the card appeared, player position, and the color combination of the border and the inset photo background — in every case, there were instances of the team name either completely spelled out or abbreviated. I did a cursory check on eBay to see if I could find any players who had cards with both of the team designations (admittedly, hoping to find a previously uncatalogued variation), but no luck. It appears that Topps consistently used the same designation for each player. The only thing that I determined was that more cards carried the abbreviated spelling than the full team spelling.

The really amazing thing to me is that I never noticed this before. I don’t know if anything similar happened in the set with any of the other teams, but it completely surprised me to discover this little inconsistency so long after first adding 1963 Topps cards to my collection. It’s a shame that someone at Topps didn’t notice this before putting out this year’s Heritage set. They could have created variations on a few choice Phillies cards as a nod to the overall inconsistency in the original 1963 offering. At least, I think that would have been (initially, anyway) far more interesting than many of their fabricated variations with no historical basis in the ’63 set.

The truly amazing thing to me is that I’ve been building a collection exclusively of Phillies cards for nearly 25 years now, and I only just now noticed this little quirk. Given Topps’s long-established track record of shoddy reproductions of their own product, I can’t blame them for not noticing either. Nonetheless, it would have been really nice if someone over there had noticed and found a way to incorporate this quirk in this year’s Heritage offering.