Sunday, November 30, 2014

1973 Topps Candy Lids

Topps continued to experiment in the 1970s with unusual offerings. In 1973, Topps came out with "Baseball Stars Bubble Gum", which included a lid with one of fifty-five baseball players on the underside. The bubble gum itself proved more popular than the lids, so examples of this set are a bit on the rare side.

Team affiliation adheres to typical unlicensed product of the time, with the cap logo airbrushed out and the city name printed in place of the team name. The set as a whole is a colorful mix of eye popping background solids and color photographs that seem to compliment each other. Whether this pairing is intentional or not, remains to be determined, but it works out nicely.

The White Sox have two lids in this set.

Dick Allen
Wilbur Wood

I find the oddball releases to be fascinating and this set is no exception.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

WSC Legends: Encarnacion - Delgado

Card #1 - Edwin Encarnacion/Carlos Delgado

WSC Birth Years: Ronald Belisario In Action

Card #165 - Ronald Belisario

Born: December 31, 1982

A bonus card from the 1982 set.

WSC Birth Years: Ronald Belisario

Card #164 - Ronald Belisario

Born: December 31, 1982

After having some moderate success with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ronald was poised to capitalize on that and vault to the next level. He did just that... for the first two games, then Belisario imploded with a blown save against the Minnesota Twins on April 3, 2014. The real culprit was a game on April 9, 2014 in Colorado against the Rockies, where Ronald gave up five earned runs on sixteen pitches to six batters in the eighth inning, recording only one out, pushing his skyrocketing ERA to 15.75 and obliterating the tie game.

Belisario recovered enough to have a 3.96 ERA on May 19th, but was wildly inconsistent the rest of the season to finish with a 5.56 ERA. While ERA isn't the full measure of a pitcher, it is a stat that can mess with some pitchers' heads. One can only speculate if the trouble was between the ears, poor mechanics, poor pitch selection or just plain bad luck, but since Ronald was designated for assignment by the White Sox on November 20, 2014, it will likely be another team that finds out that answer.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Some Features Will Be Offline Temporarily

I am aware of issues getting to the features. I am assured they will be all resolved within the next twenty-four hours. Sorry for any inconvenience these issues may have caused.


Things seem to have come back online much quicker than anticipated. Hopefully, that will be the end of the issues.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

2014 Topps Update

The 2014 Topps flagship continues with series three, or the update series.

This year's Topps flagship design reminds me more and more of recycled late 2000s era Bowman designs. It's pleasant enough, but nothing immediately grabs your attention. The card just fades into the background relying on the actual photograph to do most of the heavy lifting. Some photos work very well and are eye catching masterpieces. Others... not so much.

The cards are all game action, except for the posed shots on the two All-Star cards. So much action, in fact, that it gets tiring. The only break in the action is Adrian Nieto's card, which shows him standing near home plate with his catching gear on, pointing at something, possibly directing Felipe Paulino to the opposing team, where they hastily agreed to take him in trade in exchange for eleven Wiffle balls. Other than that, it's all running and pitching and batting. I think I sweated out five pounds just watching all that action on cardboard.

The White Sox have twelve cards in the set, not including variations and inserts.

US-37 - Leury Garcia
US-62 - Adam Eaton
US-100 - Jose Abreu
US-156 - Ronald Belisario
US-170 - Matt Davidson
US-232 - Scott Carroll
US-239 - Jose Abreu AS
US-252 - Adrian Nieto
US-277 - Chris Sale
US-309 - Alexei Ramirez AS
US-325 - Jose Abreu
US-330 - Daniel Webb

Leury Garcia, Matt Davidson and Daniel Webb have sparkle variations. Adam Eaton has a photo and a Sabermetric variation. There are also red (Target), blue (Wal-Mart), red hot foil, gold (/2014), green camo (/99), black (/63), pink (/50), clear (/10), platinum (/1), and black, cyan, magenta and yellow printing plate (/1) parallels of each card. I have a love/hate relationship with parallels and variations. The collecting side of me likes them, but the completist side of me strongly dislikes them.

Overall, it typical Topps. If you've collected either of the previous two series for 2014, you know exactly what you're getting from Topps. The inserts may change, but the game is still the same, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Seventh Anniversary

Today marks the seventh anniversary of this blog. It also marks the day that I reached 310,000 page views. I'll freely admit that I don't get to post as much as I used to in the past. A job and a family, both of which I love, sheds some light on that mystery. This job would mark my third "paycheck" job in the span of this blog.

I went from starting this blog as an unemployed man in a dead-end relationship wishing to keep track of my card collection to a happily married man (with an awesome step-daughter) and an awesome job wishing to keep track of his card collection and make some custom cards for people to enjoy. It's a huge leap forward and I couldn't be happier with the evolution of this blog and all the friends I have made through White Sox Cards.

Can I do another seven years? I don't see why not. I still enjoy my time with this blog. I may not get here as often as I used to, but this is still a happy place for me. Look for more customs and more set reviews in the near future, as well as the nonsensical fun posts from time to time.

Thanks for making this a great seven years!

WSC Birth Years: Zach Putnam

Card #163 - Zach Putnam

Born: July 3, 1987

Originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2005 in the thirty-eighth round, Zach ultimately chose not to sign. The gamble paid off three years later when he was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the fifth round of the 2008 draft. Putnam later made his MLB debut on September 13, 2011 with the Indians against the Rangers in Texas. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was the first ever to face Zach and he belted a home run on the eighth pitch of the at-bat in bottom of the seventh inning. He appeared in eight games for the Tribe in 2011.

After brief stints with the Colorado Rockies (two games in 2012) and the Chicago Cubs (five games in 2013), Putnam signed with the White Sox in November 2013. He made his ChiSox debut on April 18, 2014 against the Rangers in Texas, taking over for an ineffective Felipe Paulino with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, down ten runs. The first batter was Rangers left fielder Shin-Soo Choo, who Zach got to line out to Sox left fielder Alejandro De Aza in left center. Putnam was one of the most consistent relievers for the Pale Hose in 2014, shattering his previous high for games in one season by forty-one games. His season ERA of 1.98 was just icing on the cake. Zach looks to loom large for the White Sox bullpen in 2015.
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