Category Archives: Vance Worley

2012 Topps Tier One On the Rise Autographs

Set Type: Insert
Card Dimensions: 2½” x 3½”
Parallels: Gold Ink, serial numbered “1/1”; Silver Ink, serial numbered to 10; White Ink, serial numbered to 25.
Additional Information: Cards were inserted in packs of 2012 Topps Tier One.  As is befitting a high-end product, all the cards were autographed directly by the player. The base cards are serial numbered up to 355, and all cards, both base and parallel, bear the serial number on the front. Topps darkened the background of the parallels in order to provide better contract for the ink used on those cards.
14,000 Phillies Commentary: It’s very likely that Topps issued two different autograph cards of Worley in an effort to avoid depressing collector interest (and thus secondary market prices) by issuing too many copies of the same Worley autograph card. Although the two cards are numbered differently, the checklist below includes a description of each card to aid in quickly determining which card a collector may be looking at.



Vance Worley (pictured in road uniform with right arm hanging down, glove on chest)
Vance Worley (pictured in home uniform, delivering a pitch)

The Topps Blank Back Cards

Featured Card: 2012 Topps Archives Blank Back #188, Vance Worley

So far this week, I haven’t posted as many checklists as I do in a typical week because I’ve actually been taking the time to update and edit some of the checklists already online. Most of them are relatively minor — although, I have to thank my son for the edit to the 2012 Topps Stickers checklist. I never would have discovered the Utley variation (one that’s really not worth tracking down) if he hadn’t insisted that he wanted to start collecting the stickers and place them in the Topps Stickers album. However, there was one that was quite the pain to incorporate: the addition of Blank Back parallels to all the 2012 Topps products thus far.

I actually only stumbled across the Blank Backs by accident. I don’t recall now what search I did on eBay that caused me to stumble across them, but upon encountering one, I did a little research and confirmed that Topps has issued them for all its sets for this year, and for many other sets over the past couple years. What sucks about them is that they are an eBay exclusive, sold directly by Topps via The Topps Vault. They do not show up in any of their marketing material, and Beckett isn’t listing them (not the 2012 cards, anyway) — which are the two primary means (outside of my personal collection) of my discovering and confirming the cards I list in the checklists. While I feel the same way about the Blank Backs as I do other parallels, I thought it might be nice to add just one to my collection, and was actually able to purchase the Worley card you see here at a price I could live with.

Aside from the fact they are only available via eBay auction, there are a number of other reasons why I will basically ignore these cards (except for continuing to note their presence in the checklists, that is). The first and foremost is the casing in which Topps ships the cards. It’s basically the same as the one they used for shipping eTopps cards and encapsulating the Topps Retired Signature cards from the mid ’00s, and I really disdain them. I understand the appeal of keeping the cards pristine and “uncirculated,” but once you start compiling even just a small amount of these cards you see how inconvenient they are in terms in storage (I am planning to post about the eTopps cards very soon). I really want to just rip the card out of the damn case and toss it, but at the same time, I know that the case would likely be part of the appeal with something like this “1/1” when the day comes that I decide to sell it.

The other issues I have with the Blank Backs is the the “Topps Vault 1/1” hologram sticker on the back and the accompanying COA. These are supposed to be “blank back” cards, and the sticker ruins the desired effect. There has to be some other far less obtrusive way for Topps to mark the card as a “1/1” without resorting to such a large sticker (larger than the hologram stickers Topps used to apply to the back of their certified autograph cards). My suggestion: stamping the front “1/1” and simply include on the back a line stating, in fine print, “Blank Back.” As for the the COA, quite frankly I’d rather just pitch it, because it doesn’t do actually authenticate anything other than the fact that The Topps Vault sold the item. However, I don’t think I will because it’s another necessity I will likely need to provide on the day that I decide to sell the card.

I don’t blame Topps one bit for trying to make as much money as possible as they can off their product. However, from this collector’s viewpoint, they are a major waste of time and resources. I wish Topps would scrap this idea altogether and focus on correcting many of the long-standing issues I’ve previously rallied against. However, fixing those ills most likely won’t increase Topps’s bottom line, whereas issuing these cards, many of which Topps sells in excess of $100 each, provides plenty of easy profit. They are likely here to stay, sadly.

A Little Housekeeping

Featured Cards: 2012 Topps Archives #188, Vance Worley, 1971 Topps Coins #79, Deron Johnson; 1988 Starting Lineup (no #), Steve Bedrosian

Wow, I am so glad it’s not 2005 right now — or any of the 10 years preceding it. Keeping up with the new releases at the pace they have been appearing this year has been a daunting enough task. Thankfully, the recent Bowman and Topps Archives sets lack the complexity and number of inserts found in Topps Museum, so when I start posting those checklists in the next day or so, it should go relatively smoothly. Having said that, I plan on posting an updated Excel file sometime this weekend. Every 2012 card through and including the Bowman set should be in it, and I might even get the beginnings of the Archives checklists into it before posting…

By the way, I will be including commentary on Bowman and Archives sets as I post the checklists…

I recently completed my 1971 Topps Coins Phillies set. More importantly, my set is completely PSA-graded. The coins are not all the same grade, as that wasn’t the type of thing that I felt any interest in obtaining. Even though the set is made up of only six coins, attempting to make sure all the coins were the same grade certainly would’ve made the feat a much more difficult. Thankfully, it’s not the type of thing I want to do very often; in fact, I only have two other team sets I am trying to compile completely PSA-graded. However, now that I have done it once, it’s a nice feeling of accomplishment…

It doesn’t happen often, but I do occasionally acquire a card for which I’ve already posted a checklist sans samples scans. When that does happen, I do take the time to accordingly add scans of the card. I did that this morning with the 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen Indian Head Penny checklist…

Finally, as I have been formatting the checklists and posting them online, I have been considering including checklists of items that might not normally fall under the broad umbrella-term of “cards.” Thus far, I am also including stickers and coins, and I have every intention to include Starting Lineup figures — especially since they shipped with cards. However, McFarlane figures seem like a logical thing to include, as well as things like the Phillies 8” x 10” program photo inserts. I have a post planned for this weekend that shows, in part, why I contemplating this. Anyone have any thoughts/suggestions about other items I should consider including?

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.

2012 Topps Opening Day

Set Type: Primary
Card dimensions:
2½” x 3½”
Parallels: Blank Backs, serial numbered “1/1”; Blue, serial numbered to 2,012; Black, Cyan, Magenta & Yellow Printing Plates — each serial #ed “1/1.” All parallels serial numbered on back of card. Topps distributed the Blank Backs parallels exclusively on eBay via The Topps Vault.

Inserts: Elite Skills, Fantasy Squad, Mascots, Opening Day Stars

Roy Halladay
Chase Utley
Shane Victorino
Domonic Brown
Vance Worley
Jimmy Rollins
Ryan Howard
Roy Oswalt
Carlos Ruiz
Hunter Pence
Cliff Lee
Cole Hamels

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.