Merry Christmas from Artie

One of the best things about blogging over at SABR Baseball Cards has been the community of other bloggers and commenters who hang out in the comments of the posts. I’m always disappointed when I write a post that doesn’t generate a lot of discussion (yes I know that many of my posts veer into the esoteric and aren’t particularly conducive to multiple opinions). Of the regular commenters, Artie Zillante’s are frequently interesting and insightful.

Arie doesn’t exist on Twitter and his blog is kind of fallow so I only know him through the comments. So I was a little surprised when he reached out to me through this blog saying he had a bunch of more-recent Giants cards that would knock off a lot of things on my searchlists.

I’d put off specifically completing more-recent (well, anything from 1994–present) Giants team sets when I first got back into the hobby but after Adam’s massive mailing I realized that I had critical mass to attempt completing most of the Topps and Upper Deck sets over that period. So I put up searchlists to mark my path toward completing those and that’s what caught Artie’s eye.

Is funny how having cards begets getting more cards.

Anyway, continuing from Peter, Artie’s box was my third mailday last Friday and as promised, it was chock-full of Giants cards.

I don’t have much to say about a lot of these since I’ve already commented on the general designs in previous posts. But it’s great to cross off a few years of team sets and get really close on a few others.

Team set highlights include 1991 Studio and 1992 Pinnacle. Those are two sets I loved as a kid. Studio is one of my favorite sets ever as it really changed my perception of what a card could be with those wonderful black and white photos. Pinnacle meanwhile is one I just like the look of. It’s very of its time but not in a horrible way.

A big stack of 1993 Upper Deck is also nice and represents another fantastic design from my youth. Same with 1994 Stadium Club and its peak 1990s grunge/type explosion look. I love love love that 1995 Topps Royce Clayton card with the multiple exposure image and man that 1995 Score Rod Beck is kind of a gut punch reminder of how we lost Shooter way too soon.

Moving into 1996–2006 and I’m kind of tapped out on design comments. Only a couple things caught my eye this time. That weird rectangle of image above the names on the 2001 Topps design somehow slipped my attention until now. I’ve tended to like that dark grey/green spot color border but that weird rectangle is all I see now. And on the 2005 design it really weirds me out that Topps used different fonts for Felipe and Moises Alou.

Other than that and I enjoyed seeing the red ribbon on the 1996 Darren Lewis Collectors Choice card. In the mid 1990s, Until There’s a Cure Day was a big statement by the Giants and it’s nice to see that that support of AIDS victims made it out into the hobby as well.

The more-recent cards from the past decade or so. The Posey rookie is very generous. I somehow missed out on the 2013 World Series Highlight card until now. And this kills my 2014 Giants team set as well.

The most fun part of the mailing involved seven 1974 Topps All Star cards which leave me one card from completing the Bobby Bonds puzzle. I only just found out about this puzzle and put it on my searchlist.

I didn’t grow up in the age of puzzle backs. Garbage Pail Kids had them. Baseball cards did not. I have no idea if I would have liked them as a kid. I suspect though that I would not have been a fan unless the puzzles could fit in binder pages.

So ideally 6 or 9-card puzzles but an 8-card puzzle like this is also okay since it pages up nicely in an 8-pocket sheet. I’d love to see Topps bring these back though. I’ve thought for a while that an kid-friendly set like Opening Day would be the perfect place for puzzle backs. 9 cards per team with puzzle backs for a tenth team image. 30 teams gives a decent-sized 270-card set.

It wasn’t just Giants cards though. Artie included this equal-parts wonderful and horrifying VJ Lovero subset card of Mike Piazza. Let’s just say that between the Parent Trap double exposure, completely-blank box of cereal, and life-size Tommy Lasorda cutout that’s black and white for the extra mindfuck factor and then you notice it’s a towel rack, I have no idea what the hell is going on.

This would normally be a bad thing but in this case it’s so bad and so clearly intentional that it’s good. Go big or go home.

And this fantastic Mike Aldrete autograph just happens to be the only card I’ve found of Aldrete as a Yankee. I don’t need the auto (it’s only really worth a buck and I have a bunch already including one of my first in-persons) but I’ve recently revamped my Stanford searchlist to be as representative of each player’s career; getting a card from each team he played for is a key part of that.

This was great Artie. I’m starting a pile for you now and will see what I can find to send back in thanks.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at, and the web at

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