Alright, here's the last part of the two part "Cards of the Year". While the first part dealt with cards of players in Padres uniforms, this section is all about the players who weren't in Padre uniforms. I don't want this to sound like a cop out in any way, but I think that this is probably the weakest year for new cards since I started this blog (2012). I was pretty underwhelmed by… well, lots of things, and I think that this countdown reflects that.
The title "Cards of the Year" are purely a reflection on things that I like. Sometimes that may be a design, sometimes it might be the particular photo, other times, it might be a player. The player usually plays a big part of it (i.e. sorry, no Dodgers on this list).
Have I under-promised enough on this list yet? Then here's hoping I can over-deliver.
#10: Heritage Minors / Cory Spangenberg #186
Wow, right off the bat, he goes with a minor league card? And a PADRE minor leaguer at that? Well, sorry, my countdown, my rules, and this is decidedly not a Padre uniform. I'm a sucker for the San Antonio Missions, as they're about as close I can get to professional baseball (besides the Round Rock Express, the Rangers AAA team). The Missions are changing their uniforms this upcoming season, so this is probably the last year I'll get these uniforms on a card. My son's first baseball game was a Missions game, so they hold a special place in my heart. Also, after seeing Cory Spangenberg go 3 for 5 in a game this summer, he made the jump to the majors with the Padres in September. His first hit? A pinch-hit, walk off home run. Gotta love the double earflaps on the batting helmet as well.
#9: Topps (red foil) / Tony Gwynn Jr. #US-181
#8: Topps / Paul Konerko #610
I've read that there are a lot of bloggers who have come to "accept" the 2014 Topps design, or that some have just "forgotten" that the weird tab on the right is even there. To those people, I say congrats, you've done something I've been unable to do. That said, the next two spots on the countdown go to players that had memorable 2014's for me, and had some pretty solid cards as well.
Tony Gwynn Jr. lost his father, Tony Gwynn Sr. during the season. If you saw how hard us Padre fans took it, I can only imagine how difficult it was for his family. Still, when Junior went back to work, he was greeted warmly by… Phillies fans, of all people. Very classy.
Paul Konerko, for those of you who've read this blog for longer than a few months, has been my favorite non-Padre in MLB for a long time (well, until Chris Denorfia was traded to Seattle). He retired this year, so barring any unforeseen cards in the 2015 flagship set, this is Paulie's last Topps base card. Soak it in.
God bless ya, Paulie.
#7: Topps Pro Debut / Austin Hedges #179
Alright, kinda cheating again here, but this one didn't fit in on the Padres countdown, and I just really liked this card. It'll be interesting to see if Hedges sticks with the Padres, since he's been criticized for being an "all glove, no bat" prospect, and they just got Derek Norris (an All-Star catcher, who is kind of his polar opposite).
#6: Archives / Goose Gossage #102
#5: Archives / Willie McCovey #165
Archives is kind of a miss for me, just because they usually choose some designs that I'm not really a fan of, or they choose to almost completely ignore the Padres (like they did last year). Still, I love the chance to add a new Goose Gossage card to my collection, and seriously, that shot of Willie McCovey is stellar. Works really well w/the '89 Topps design.
#4: Topps / Sean Doolittle #226
I'll admit, there are some pretty great shots from the flagship set that I'm omitting here. Yoenis Cespedes' throwback uniform was a good one. Coco Crisp's fro was solid too. But I'm going to go with their teammate Sean Doolittle. Can't remember the last time I saw a football team's logo on a baseball card, and the "We Own The West" shirt he's wearing is also unique to many cards.
#3: Heritage / Roy Halladay #208
I thought that Roy Halladay would pitch this year. He didn't. He retired. While that was kind of a bummer, he should still be a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. Right? Only 203 career victories, but he won a pair of Cy Young awards, was a 8 time All-Star, and led the league in complete games in seven different seasons. That is a pretty cool stat. And very fitting that he had this badass card to ride into the sunset on. Not literally of course. But I dig the "show 'em the grip" cards for pitchers.
#2: Bowman (hometown) / Adam Jones ##177
While I really don't like Bowman as a set, I kinda dig the "hometown" parallels. I decided to seek out this Adam Jones card after I saw this picture from this year's All-Star game:
AJ's tribute to the best player from his hometown of San Diego was top notch in my book. It's one thing to just "be from" somewhere, but it was cool to see him really honor the man who helped put baseball in San Diego on the map.
#1: Topps Update (acetate) / Chris Denorfia #US-131
There was only one Chris Denorfia card put out this year, and since it wasn't as a Padre, it rockets up to the top of the list. Granted, if all I had was the base card, it wouldn't have made it this high, but since I got it's pretty-hard-to-get acetate parallel, it scored pretty high. He was just signed to the Cubs, so here's hoping more Denorfia cards in 2015.
Well, I was planning on having this up in 2014, but I guess I was a few hours late. Been kinda busy the last few weeks between Christmas and family stuff. Most of the family stuff involved hospital visits (nothing too serious, we're all fine now) and car problems (hopefully resolved soon), so hopefully 2015 starts better than 2014 ended. Happy New Year!