Well, it's just about the end of the year, and here's the last part of my "Best of" list. Even though I say "best", I suppose that I mean "favorite", since... well, it's all subjective. This will cover all of the cards that I have that weren't in the Topps flagship set, as well as a few other personal "bests" of the year that was 2012.
Anyways, onto the cards...
10. Hunter Pence, Topps Archives - The 1971 subset of this year's Archives were awesome. Those 50 cards were the only ones that I collected from the set, and this Hunter Pence was the last one that I needed. Even though there weren't many great photos, I still love that black-bordered design, and Pence's pose makes me wonder what happened before the picture was snapped.
9. Holland's Gem Evens the Series, Topps Heritage - Seeing most of the World Series cards from this set is a little depressing to me, since I was rooting hard for the Rangers. Still, any card that captures Derek's horrible mustache is awesome in my book. That was a great game.
8. Mike Napoli, Topps Archives (Deckle Edge) - I love these deckle edge designs, the blue autographs look cool against the black and white photo. Napoli was my favorite Ranger, after hopping on board the bandwagon last year. Now that Hamilton, Young, and Napoli are gone, that title might go to either Kinsler or Andrus, although Craig Gentry might sneak in there if he gets more playing time.
7. Elvis Andrus, Topps Heritage - Ok, ok, last Ranger of the countdown. How can you not like the cloudy sky in the background with Andrus looking hopefully towards the future (this is the exact same photo used in the Allen & Ginter set this year). Did he think they'd finish behind the A's at the beginning of the season?
6. J.P. Arencibia, Topps Heritage - Last Heritage of the countdown. The All-Star Rookie trophy looks awesome here, and the blue border really compliments the background, as well as JP-A's uniform. For some reason, the white gloves make this card look nice and tidy.
5. Cal Ripken Jr, Topps Archives - This is the youngest that I have ever seen Cal look on a card. By the time I started following baseball, he was already getting pretty close to taking Gerhig's record, so he wasn't a young buck anymore. Surprised by how good the orange in the uniform looks with the light green background.
4. Cal Ripken Jr, Gypsy Queen - Spoiler alert... three cards on this countdown are of retired players. Not sure how much I like the amount of retired players in some of these sets, but with guys like Ripken, I have no problem at all. Not all of the cards in the GQ set looked that great, but this is a great example of them getting it right.
3. Mike Trout, Triple A Baseball (Pacific Coast League) - This came from a set that I bought at a Round Rock Express game during the season. I've since broken the set up (but the Padres in the Padres Binder, included others in various trades), but I made sure to hold on to this one. Definitely seems to capture the hustle that he's become known for in the majors.
2. Cory Spangenberg, Topps Pro Debut - I'm as big a fan of Spangenberg's as I can be of a prospect who is still a ways from being in the majors. My brother and I got Cory's autograph during Spring Training, as I've mentioned before. Really like the look of this card, and a good action shot of an unfamiliar uniform (Fort Wayne Tin Caps) get this Padres prospect high on my list.
1. Look around you (well, not around the room, but around at this page). What team did you think was going to be featured in the top spot? Granted, the Padres are going through a pretty dry spell right now, so the current group of guys weren't going to do a whole lot in this countdown (no current players were even featured in the Topps Archives set). Not only did Tony show up in this year's Allen & Ginter set, but he's also sporting the yellow and brown! Easily my favorite card that came out this year.
Well, there you have it, my favorite cards that came out in 2012. I know, I know, another "best of" list with Cory Spangenberg on it, right? So many of those in the blogosphere. You'll notice an absence of any cards from Bowman, because that was a pretty boring set, even though the "Ice" parallels seemed kinda cool at one point in time. Only two Padres in the base set is pretty weak.
Other personal "Bests" of the year:
1. Best baseball game that I went to: July 19th, Padres v. Astros
Edinson Volquez threw a complete game one-hitter, allowing only an infield hit in the fourth, as the Padres won 1-0. This was also the only major league game that I went to, and most of the time spent at Round Rock Express games was spent chasing my daughter around, so this kind of wins by default. Plus, my dad and I had left field seats, which are my favorite seats (that we can afford) in Petco Park.
2. Best addition to the family: Foster William
Another win-by-default, I suppose. This bundle of grunts and screams that arrived on December 6th narrowly edges the addition of fifteen pounds or so that I didn't have at an earlier junction in the year. Keep on winnin', kid.
They are kind of on completely opposite ends of the spectrum; a comic book action movie and a sweet, quirky film on young love. Both were good. Granted, there are a few that I haven't seen yet that I'll be Redboxing at some point (Skyfall, Jack Reacher), but those are my picks for now.
4. Best album that I bought this year: Handwritten by The Gaslight Anthem
In their fourth album, they haven't been able to top their sophomore effort, The '59 Sound, but this is still a very good effort from this New Jersey group. "Here Comes My Man", and "Too Much Blood", and "Howl" are all great tracks, while "45" is my song of the year. If you've never heard of them, you should check it out. Honorable mention to Divine Fits' A Thing Called Divine Fits and Limbeck's single Already Gone.
5. Best Padres moment of the year: July 14, Padres beat Dodgers 7-6
This game featured something that I've never seen before: a virtual double-steal of home. With the Padres down by one in the top of the 9th, Everth Cabrera (your 2012 NL Stolen Base Champ) timed Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen perfectly and stole home as he was kicking dirt around on the mound. When Jansen looked up, he saw how close E-Cab was to scoring and fired an erratic throw over the head of the catcher, A.J. Ellis. Despite being unable to catch the throw, Ellis put down a "tag" of Cabrera and he was called "out" by the umpire. When they (runner, catcher, umpire) realize that the ball has gone All The Way To The Backstop, he's called safe, and Ellis goes running after the ball. Why did he go running after the ball? Because Will Venable, who had been on second, had rounded third and was heading for home. Jansen, still stunned by giving up the tying run, realizes this too late and loses the footrace to home plate, allowing Venable to score the go ahead run. All-Star Huston Street came in and retired the side to record his 14th save. To see the video highlight, click here.
Well, this is my 199th post on this blog! Thanks to everybody who takes the time to read this, it's been fun for me to write! Here's to 200 and beyond in 2013!