Welcome back to the Backstop Cards End Of The Year Countdown Special! Last time, we took a look at the cards from the 2013 Topps flagship set. In this edition, we're going to take a look at some of the cards from the other sets that were released this year. While the card companies without a license really stepped up their game this year (props to 2013 Pinnacle, which was one of my favorite sets this year), all of the cards shown here are from Topps sets. Sorry for the spoiler alert right off the bat.
Also, since it is difficult for me to be unbiased towards my Padres, I have decided that there will be a separate list for the Padre cards. This one is for the those readers who unfortunately find themselves rooting for teams that actually have a snowball's chance of winning once in a while.
Anyways, we'll go ahead and start off with a trio of cards that just missed the cut...
Honorable Mentions - Travis Fryman, Hal Morris, & Tim Salmon, Archives SPs
While there is nothing spectacular about any of these cards individually, I loved that they used the 1993 Topps design, and that they made some cards of some of the minor stars of the early 90's. This is a nostalgic set for me, since this is one of the first sets that I collected a lot of.
#10 - Roberto Clemente, 1971 Topps Update Minis
I am pretty much a sucker for anything that has to do with the 1971 Topps design. I'm working on completing the Update Mini set, and while none of the cards are going to blow you away individually, it's hard to find anything wrong with this card of Roberto Clemente. While some may eventually get tired of the abundance of "retro" found in Topps sets (if they're not already), I think it'll take a lot more to make me sick of the '71 design.
#9 - A.J. Pierzynski, Allen & Ginter
There is nothing really that "edgy" about the Allen & Ginter set (well, I guess the same could be said for baseball cards in general - it's not like it's a late night roast on Comedy Central). The splotches of paint in the background and the gilded borders are going for a classy, timeless look. Here, however, we have AJ Pierzynski using his bat as a pretty intimidating prop, which makes it one of the more unique cards from the set, and one that definitely jumped out at me.
#8 - Scattered Disc, Allen & Ginter "One Little Corner"
Alright, so maybe it wasn't the most exciting year in baseball cards (once again, "exciting" is a relative term here). A case you might make is that one of the "Top 10" cards is of a Scattered Disc. I was able to accumulate an entire set of the "One Little Corner" inserts, which are really little pieces of art. This is my favorite one. Before I got it, I hadn't even heard of a scattered disc. Now… crap, I'd better read the back again.
#7 - Mike Trout, Archives "All-Star"
The "All Star" cards from this year's Archives set were a little hit and miss with me. Consider this card of Mike Trout a definite "hit". I don't think I've ever seen a card of Mike Trout where Topps used the same image - there's always a new picture of "the future of baseball". Conversely, I think Topps had three pictures of Chase Headley for the quadrillion cards they released of him this year. Alright, I'll stop my rant and take a look at this soothing card of a guy who ESPN says might be worth $400 million. As if the Angels haven't learned from the Hamilton/Pujols signings.
#6 - Manny Machado/Dylan Bundy, Heritage "Rookie Stars"
I'm not normally one to get all hyped up on rookies - for every Mike Trout, there are a ton of Donovan Tate's. Or, I guess you could say that for every Manny Machado (young All-Star) there are a bunch of Dylan Bundy's (young prospect who is injured). Regardless of the status of both players (now they're both recovering from injury), this is a slick looking card, and one of the few on this countdown that I managed to pull out of a pack. I had considered putting it up on eBay, but decided that it was one worth keeping in the collection for now. I love the design of the rookie cards in the Heritage set.
#5 - Goose Gossage, Gypsy Queen mini
There are precious few cards that are non-Padres that go up on the old want list. This was one of them. I'm actually still looking for the base card of this one, since this is just the mini. Still, I was way stoked to see that Goose was getting into some modern sets. He there aren't many players that I get excited about who played primarily before my time, but even though Goose retired a couple of seasons after I started following baseball, he's a guy who I love to see on baseball cards. This would've been a lot higher if he had been in a Padre uniform, but then it would've been on another countdown as well.
#4 - Gavin Floyd, Heritage
Just like the Pierzynski card near the top of this post, this Gavin Floyd card manages to be a breath of fresh air in a set that, while classically great looking, has a lot of boring head shots in the checklist. I can't tell what I like more, the "show 'em the grip"-ness of the card, or the blank stare that Floyd is sporting here. Just like a kid, I believed that since this card was so awesome, he must be a good pitcher, right? His 4.48 career ERA and 70-70 record would suggest otherwise.
#3 - Goose Gossage, Archives "Day Glo"
Goose is the one and only "repeat achiever" on this portion of the countdown. Like I said previously, if he was in a Padre uniform, this would be even higher, but it'd also be on another list. This is the "hobby only" Day Glo version. The orange-ness is easier to see if you look at any of the other three designs in the Archives set - you know, the ones with the white borders. Seeing as how Goose got stuck with the tough-to-look-at multi-color design of the 1990 set, it's a little less obvious. Still, it's Goose, and it's a little fancy. I'm diggin' it.
#2 - Fred McGriff, Archives "Tall Boys"
Speaking of guys who I was stoked to see in the modern checklists, here's one of my favorite players as a kid: Fred McGriff. He actually got three cards in the Archives set; this one, a short printed base card, and an autographed card. Come to think of it, that SP card should be on this list as well, probably at #7. Oh well, I'm too lazy to go back and change it. Anyways, that autographed card will probably forever be on the want list in my head. In the meantime, I can enjoy this card from Fred's Blue Jay days.
#1 - Teddy Wins First Presidential Mascot Race, Heritage
"Alright, an "end of the year best baseball card list" that features something from outer space and a person running around dressed as a former US President? Was the year in cards that dull? " I'll answer that question that is most certainly going through your minds with a resounding "NO!" This card is just that awesome. I am a big fan of mascots on baseball cards (remember, these were originally designed for kids to collect, and what kid wouldn't think this was cool?), and the fact that it's celebrating an actual "Memorable Moment" involving that mascot is as unique as it is awesome. Congrats, Teddy. You're a winner again.
Round two is over! Have you had enough of this? Is the comment section not big enough to express your outrage with the rankings? Are you getting frustrated enough that you're getting ready to make your own lists?
I can't wait to read 'em.
Don't worry, there are still two more posts that will be just as maddening as these ones.