Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

WSC Birth Years: Tommy Kahnle

Card #195 - Tommy Kahnle

Born: August 7, 1989

Tommy was drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 amateur draft by the New York Yankees. He racked up relief appearances in the Yankees farm system through 2013. Kahnle was even invited to 2013 spring training by the Yankees. On December 12, 2013, Tommy was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the Rule V draft. He made his MLB debut on April 3, 2014 for the Rockies against the Miami Marlins, relieving Franklin Morales in the bottom of the sixth inning.

On November 24, 2014, Kahnle was traded to the Chicago White Sox. He made his White Sox debut on April 29, 2016 against the Orioles in Baltimore. Tommy appeared in five games before he was sent down, resulting in a 6.23 ERA. While he was sent down, chances are Kahnle will be back up before too long.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A List Of Topps Larceny Of Bloggers

Has Topps stolen an idea that you either originally had or have put hard work into that clearly came well before they released a version of it?

Let's document this and see just how much Topps "borrows" from the bloggers. I acknowledge that Topps probably has a little lag time between inception of product and release of same product. Topps can also be stingy with what's exactly in their releases and sometimes will wait until the last minute to release details. The intention here is to try to establish when each instance was first released or mentioned by either side.

There are homages and there are outright cases of stealing. Homages are completely harmless. It's what most of us bloggers are doing with card creations. A company can also do an homage, but they should give credit where credit is due. We'll collect all the examples here and let the public decide.

Birth Year cards

1st blogger mention: January 20, 2009 gcrl
1st blogger appearance: March 9, 2009 White Sox Cards
1st Topps mention: June 23, 2016 Topps blog
1st Topps appearance: Fall 2016 (as Topps Birth Year cards)

Blogger version: Cards featuring White Sox players on the design from the year they were born.

Topps version: Topps is issuing a set of cards called "Birth Year" cards featuring rookie players on the design from the year they were born.

Celebrity Jersey cards

1st blogger appearance: May 7, 2010 Johngy
1st Topps appearance: Spring 2015 (as Topps First Pitch)

Blogger version: Celebrities wearing jerseys featuring all sports.

Topps Version: Topps used celebrities and notables in jerseys throwing out the first pitch at a baseball game. Topps did do insert sets of Presidential first pitches as early as 2002 in Topps American Pie.

Do you have more examples? Leave them in the comments and I'll include them if the case is convincing enough.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Topps Steals Seven Year Old Idea From Card Blogger

I don't have a problem with anyone using my ideas. I just want credit for them. It's as simple as that.

My name is Steve Gierman. I run this little card blog called White Sox Cards. I've been producing content for White Sox Cards since November 9, 2007. Since this blog's inception, I have made many friends and gained many readers. In fact, on days I don't post, I average about 200 unique readers. Not bad for someone writing typically about one team and their baseball cards.

I have seen my fellow card bloggers receive accolades for their work and have seen some go on to jobs in the card industry, putting their knowledge, love and connections to great use. I've seen the rise and fall and resurgence of popular blogs, all the while I have been posting content and sharing the love I have for card collecting, baseball and my Chicago White Sox.

I've had a lot of great ideas for card sets and I try to make something new each year. Most years I do, some I don't, but the one consistent ongoing set has been Birth Years. I published my first Birth Years card on March 9, 2009, one year and four months into this blog. I have updated the Birth Years set each year as new players play for the White Sox, using the card design that came out in the year that they were born. I just finished posting the last of the 2015 cards (card #194) on June 14, 2016, and I have been in the prepping stages of the 2016 cards.

These cards have been one of the most popular attractions for White Sox Cards. I take great care in the little details of each card. I even made bonus "In Action" cards for anyone born in 1982 or 1972. I made a decision back in 2009 to use the Topps designs. The main reason I chose Topps cards is that their designs span back to 1951 and they own card designs that go back even further. The second reason I chose Topps is because the designs for each year are usually memorable and I have fond memories of those cards from my youth. There are special memories associated with those designs for myself and every card collector out there. I use the designs as part of "fair use", because I seek no monetary gain from selling these cards. I have had plenty of offers to sell these cards, but I have turned every one down. All I have ever asked is to be given credit.

The first 100 cards have been on YouTube for three years.

It hasn't been a secret. There's even a Birth Years album on the White Sox Cards Facebook page. The Birth Year cards are probably the most unique thing I'm known for as a card blogger. Seven years later, Topps "borrows" the idea and the name. I let the birth year coin cards slide last year because they are a completely different animal. This year it feels like a sucker punch to the gut.

Imagine my surprise yesterday, when my phone starts blowing up. Several different people are telling me the exact same thing... Topps stole my idea. I shrugged it off thinking that everybody was exaggerating. On my lunch break, I checked it out and it's the same idea and same implement.

I'm a fairly easy person to contact. This blog, the Facebook page, the Twitter account all are ways I can be contacted. It's not hard to connect the dots. For a company that is so in tune with the hobby, it's collectors and social media, this seems a bit fishy. It seems to me that someone at Topps was reading my blog and thought that was a great idea.

I don't want a commission, as some people have suggested at the Topps Twitter feed. I would just like credit. A simple e-mail or message to me before this was done would have been the decent thing to do. Common courtesy. If I was asked, I would have given my blessing for the project. I would have been the first one out there promoting it spreading the word about how awesome it was to have an idea that was actually considered worthy of a release. I would have been ecstatic!

Instead, I am frustrated, confused and defiled. I feel like I just got hit with a Randy Johnson fastball. This does nothing to put my faith in the Topps Company. This has been nothing but bad press for Topps by having the card bloggers call the company out on this fact. This experience so far makes me want to lobby for Panini to get licensed. At this point, I'd rather see Upper Deck get their license back, than have Topps retain a license.

One day, soon, this incident will likely be forgotten by most casual card collectors. The long time collectors tend to remember things like this and they are Topps' most consistent customers. Why would any Topps employee think it was alright to steal from their most loyal customers? Even if they are just ideas.

***UPDATE - June 25, 2016***
I'm not the only one who had the thought back in 2009. Check out this post from gcrl. I think Jim and I should both get credit. Jim had the original thought in 2009's Blog Bat Around about what the card companies could do to improve their product. I had honestly forgotten about that inclusion, but that does not change the fact that bloggers had the idea and the inclination to start this project seven years ago. The fact remains that this idea and ongoing project has been highly visible for seven years.

This isn't even the first thing that Topps has "borrowed" from bloggers without giving proper credit. Johngy has had Celebrity Jersey cards since May 7, 2010.  278 different cards have been posted as of this update. Topps took the idea, narrowed it down, and turned it into "First Pitch" cards, which feature celebrities and special guests throwing out first pitches in jerseys. Johngy expands on this to show celebrities in jerseys doing a number of things, including throwing out first pitches, and it includes multiple sports. It just goes to show that the bloggers have the ideas first and end up doing it better.

I guess I'll be expecting to see Final Tribute cards someday from Topps too. All I'll have to do to figure out what's next from Topps is to peruse my blog roll.

Monday, June 20, 2016

2016 Topps Legacies Of Baseball

Is this set really necessary? That will be the eternal debate. It's an interesting set with intriguing possibilities. On card autographs and a surprisingly strong checklist make this a really tempting pickup. The drawback? A box contains only four cards and only two of those are autographed on average. The biggest deterrent would be the price tag for the box. Boxes start at $150 and usually top out just below $200, depending on where you shop.

The closest thing to a base set would be the Vault Metals set. It features no autographs and is closest to what looks like a base. The cards are good stock made of metal and appear in their own penny sleeve, which cuts down on the scratching that metal cards seem to endure.

The White Sox have four cards that appear in the set. Two Hall of Fame players and arguably one of the best pitchers in the majors currently. Not bad.

Vault Metals
VM-15 - Carlton Fisk

Lasting Imprints
LL-FT - Frank Thomas (/99)

Lasting Imprints Autographs
LI-FT - Frank Thomas (/25)

Tenacity Autographs
TA-CS - Chris Sale (/199)

Vault Metals parallels: purple logo (/50), red logo (/25), black logo (/1)
Lasting Imprints parallels: purple (/50), red (/5), black (/1)
Lasting Imprints Autographs parallels: black (/1)
Tenacity Autographs parallels: green (/99), purple (/50), red (/5), black (/1)

The checklist is small and focused. It doesn't appear bloated and it's definitely not a sticker dump product. Some thought went into this set. The execution and price point might be a little off, but this is what I hope sets strive to be like quality-wise. It reminds me of a set that would have come out in the mid to late nineties without the glitter. It's a good set to pick up on the secondary market.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

WSC Birth Years: Mike Olt

Card #194 - Mike Olt

Born: August 27, 1988

Mike was drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft (49th overall) by the Texas Rangers. He debuted for the Rangers on August 2, 2012 and recorded a hit in his first at-bat. After appearing in sixteen games with Texas, Olt was traded to the Chicago Cubs as part of the Matt Garza trade on July 22, 2013. Once with the Cubs, Mike saw action in ninety-five games, slugging thirteen home runs and driving in thirty-four.

On September 15, 2015, Olt was selected off waivers by the Chicago White Sox. In twenty-four appearances, Mike hit a career best .203 and provided a little bit of a jolt into the lineup to a sagging ChiSox team. With the team improving for the 2016 season, Olt was released on March 15, 2016. He signed a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres two days later.

Monday, June 6, 2016

WSC Birth Years: Junior Guerra

Card #193 - Junior Guerra

Born: January 16, 1985

Junior was originally signed as an amateur free agent by the Atlanta Braves on October 2, 2001. Since then, he has played in the Mets organization from 2007 until 2009 and pitched in the Venezuelan Winter League, the Mexican League and the American Association before signing with the Chicago White Sox on October 28, 2014.

Guerra made his MLB debut on June 12, 2015, at the age of thirty, five days after he was called up by the White Sox. He pitched the seventh and eighth innings against the Rays in Tampa Bay, giving up four hits, one run and striking out two. Junior would also pitch an inning against the Pirates in Pittsburgh on June 15th for an inning and an innings against the Twins in Minnesota, where he gave up a two-run homer to Brian Dozier. Guerra was sent down shortly after. Junior was selected off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers on October 7, 2015.

WSC Aesthetic '16 - Jake Petricka

Card #23 - Jake Petricka
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