Thursday, February 28, 2013

Is A T-Shirt Worth $37.29?

Don't get me wrong. I like a nice White Sox t-shirt as much as the next fan, but $28.00 is a bit steep for a cotton/poly blend t-shirt. That's just my opinion.

I'm both tall and a little on the heavy side, so typically, I wear 2X, 2XT, or 3X size shirts, depending on the cut and manufacturer. Unfortunately, these t-shirts are only available in small, medium, large and extra large. What if Adam Dunn wanted to wear one of these t-shirts? I'm thinking that a tall, muscular guy like him would be out of luck. I see an extra large t-shirt fitting Adam Dunn like a baby doll tee.

Even if I wanted to pay $28 for a t-shirt and I was able to squeeze into one, would I want to pay $9.29 just to get it to my residence? I would have to, since that is the ONLY option available for shipping.

For the biggest option, an extra large t-shirt, I would have to pay $37.29 to get it delivered to my door if I failed to have a coupon code.

I seem to be doing nothing but complaining about the monopoly of Topps lately. I am not a negative person, but I'm not going to praise and sugar-coat something that doesn't deserve it. The latest business practices and pricing by the Topps company leave me little option.

No thanks, Topps. That is nearly twice what I'm willing to pay for the convenience of getting a t-shirt (not a polo or dress shirt, mind you) delivered to my door. You lost me at $28 a t-shirt. I clicked off your website when I saw $9.29 shipping.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2012 Topps Heritage High Numbers

While I'm not a huge fan of the high numbers sets (I blame the sudden emergence of a 2008 high numbers series as the main reason I have not completed that set yet), I am a fan of the Topps Heritage sets. This is the way to do a set. Each year there are different designs and they have the retro feel that all the cool kids love. It's mostly a win/win situation. The thing that brings this set down is the online exclusivity and the limited number of sets for the high numbers. There were only 1,000 factory sets available.

Don't get me wrong. I do enjoy collecting limited cards. It's one aspect of the hobby which assures that no two collections are alike. What bugs me is the disturbing trend to circumvent the hobby shops and retail stores all together for a physical release that is highly collectible. These shouldn't be online exclusives. Not if you've already released the bulk of the set with wider distribution. Topps continues to be innovative while alienating its consumer base. I would say that is highly frustrating.

The high numbers set contains one hundred cards. The White Sox have eight total cards.

H591 - John Danks
H597 - Jake Peavy
H601 - Philip Humber
H618 - Brett Myers
H623 - Gordon Beckham
H625 - Alex Rios
H635 - Francisco Liriano
H671 - Gavin Floyd

Topps continues the retro feel with the 1963 set design. Even with the many complaints I have about how this has been released to the public, I cannot deny the attraction to this set. The set is a winner, even with some questionable delivery methods. My only question... where is Kevin Youkilis' White Sox card in this set. With eight cards in the set for the Pale Hose, that is a miniscule complaint.

Monday, February 25, 2013

2013 WSC HOF Voting Cards

If you never saw the older players on the field or heard of some of them, here's your chance to put a face to the candidates' names. There is a link to each candidates' Baseball Reference page, so you can check out their stats.

Remember, this voting is meant to reflect the player's impact on the White Sox. Some are fan favorites. Some kept hope alive in dismal seasons. Some had magical seasons. Some set White Sox team records that stood for a long time and/or still stand. Some are even World Series heroes. The point being, that all these players made some type of impact on the team, its fans and team history.

Here are voting cards for each candidate. Enjoy!

Harold Baines – OF (3rd year)

 George Dickey - C (1st year)

 Nellie Fox – 2nd Base (3rd year)

 Oscar Gamble - DH (3rd year)

 Jerry Hairston - OF (1st year)

 Frank Isbell – 1st Base (2nd year)

 Fielder Jones – OF (3rd year)

 Al Lopez – MGR (3rd year)

 Gary Peters - P (3rd year)

 Bobby Thigpen - P (2nd year)

 Robin Ventura – 3rd Base (3rd year) 

 Buck Weaver - SS (1st year)

Hoyt Wilhelm – P (2nd year)

2013 Turkey Red

Something smells fishy. Topps Turkey Red could be viewed as a sticker dump, and a curious one at that. The distribution was weird and disjointed, being an online exclusive that had a slow roll out announcement, which caused many consumers to be left out in the cold for any hope of ordering an eleven card box directly from Topps. It's almost as if the product was released in the middle of a moonless night and received only by those who just happen to be taking a late night stroll, down the alley this product was dumped in, to cure their insomnia.

The only way this product was released was in an eleven card box, which contained ten base cards and a card with a sticker autograph. It is said that only five to six thousand boxes were available, which places this product at five to six hundred complete sets. This is all pure speculation though, as print run numbers were not released for the base set. The completed base set has one hundred cards.

The White Sox have four cards in the base set and no sticker autographs.

37 - Jake Peavy
57 - Paul Konerko
68 - Adam Dunn
82 - Chris Sale

The design front and back is reminiscent of the 2007 Turkey Red release, with very slight tweaks. The set has a desperate quality. Each card looks slightly out of place and out of time with the previous Turkey Red releases. The cards do not have the same feel to them as the other Turkey Red releases. I can't quite put my finger on what feels different, but whatever that difference, it feels forced and cheap. I would not expect that type of feeling from a product rolled out in this manner.

I am disappointed in 2013 Turkey Red. I had high hopes for this set, but wrong turns and a cheap feel have derailed this product, in my opinion. For once, I'm happy that the White Sox were not participants in the sticker dump portion of this release. I'm content enough to collect the base, quickly and quietly, and be done with this release.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

WSC Vintage: Marty Hopkins

Card #44 - Marty Hopkins

After debuting on April 17, 1934, at age twenty-seven, with the Philadelphia Phillies, Marty would play in ten games for the Phightin' Phils before being involved in a transaction which sent him back to the American Association St. Paul Saints, where he had spent the previous five seasons. Hopkins would only spend a month and a half in Minnesota before being purchased from the Saints by the White Sox on June 27, 1934.

Marty made his ChiSox debut on July 15, 1934, in the first game of a double header in Chicago against Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics. He replaced manager Jimmy Dykes at third base in the late innings of an 11-7 loss. His first Sox hit came a few days later, on July 18th, against the Boston Red Sox, at Comiskey Park.

Hopkins remained with the White Sox through the 1935 season. He appeared in one hundred twenty-six games for the Pale Hose over those two years and sported a .218 average. In 1935, he moved from third base to second base for the last week of May, replacing Glenn Wright, who was replacing Jackie Hayes, who was out of the lineup for an extended amount of time. It was a short lived experiment, as he was back at his familiar position of third base on June 1st. Tony Piet was purchased from the Cincinnati Reds on June 4th to fill in for the vacated Hayes.

Marty spent 1936 in the White Sox organization, playing for the American Association Kansas City Blues. Hopkins remained with the Blues through the 1937 season, under control of the New York Yankees.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

WSC Birth Years: Jhan Marinez

Card #120 - Jhan Marinez

Born: August 12, 1988

Jhan was part of the compensation package from the Florida Marlins, when manager Ozzie Guillen left the White Sox, with one year left on his contract, to helm the vacated manager position in Miami. Marinez made his MLB debut with the Marlins in 2010 and made his White Sox debut on July 13, 2012, in the eleventh inning of a game against the Royals in Kansas City. Jhan loaded the bases with one out before getting Yuniesky Betancourt to fly weakly to the shortstop.

Marinez would not get another chance until September call-ups. In the top of the ninth inning, with a 10-4 deficit against the Tampa Bay Rays, Jhan dominated Stephen Vogt, Desmond Jennings, and Elliot Johnson to retire the Rays in order. The Sox couldn't overcome a six run dearth, but Marinez's last appearance of 2012 left a lasting impression.

Friday, February 22, 2013

2013 WSC Hall Of Fame Ballot

Here's a Hall of Fame that anyone can vote for: The White Sox Cards Hall Of Fame.

You can vote for as many or as few players as you want. The rules are the same as the MLB Hall of Fame. 75% of the vote will get a player in. At least 5% of the vote will keep a player on the ballot for next year. A player has to be away from the White Sox for a minimum of five years for ballot consideration. If a player cannot get 75% of the vote after 15 tries, he is taken off the ballot.

Last ballot, shortstop Luis Aparicio and outfielder Joe Jackson were voted into the WSC Hall Of Fame. Who will make it in this year?

The 2013 ballot includes a player for each positional spot on the field, a designated hitter, a manager, and pitching has been split into spots for starter, middle relief and closer.

Harold Baines – OF (3rd year) 
George Dickey - C (1st year)
Nellie Fox – 2nd Base (3rd year)
Oscar Gamble - DH (3rd year) 
Jerry Hairston - OF (1st year)
Frank Isbell – 1st Base (2nd year)
Fielder Jones – OF (3rd year)
Al Lopez – MGR (3rd year)
Gary Peters - P (3rd year)
Bobby Thigpen - P (2nd year)
Robin Ventura – 3rd Base (3rd year) 
Buck Weaver - SS (1st year)
Hoyt Wilhelm – P (2nd year)

Voting will be through July 16, 2013, with the results announced shortly after. You can vote on the right sidebar. Any position left open due to election or cuts will be filled by another player next year.

The results should prove interesting. Have fun!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

2013 Topps Spring Fever

A breath of fresh air. The days getting longer. Players flocking to Arizona and Florida. New card product. Spring training must be upon us.

Just as Topps Series One was getting to be old news, the set still has some surprises left for us. For those of you lucky enough to find a special insert card among your packs, you can redeem that insert card for a five pack of baseball cards from February 20th through the 27th. I would guess the ratio of these insert cards would fall roughly one per hobby box.

The set itself has fifty cards and some insert autographs. The two packs that I acquired through my local hobby shop netted me one-fifth of the base set. Not too bad, if I was going after the set.

A rainbow foil background works very well with the design and intended purpose of the set. This feels like a fun little add on set to celebrate spring training and to give a little back to the customer base.

The back of the card looks very similar to the insert. The "baseball is back" text is replaced by the player name and team affiliation. The ad text is replaced by text about the player.

The White Sox have one card in the set.

SF-16 - Jake Peavy

All in all, this is a fun, little harmless set that gets collectors into the hobby shops. If you don't find an insert or don't have a hobby shop near you, don't worry. These cards are fairly easy to pick up on the secondary market.
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