So while we’ve all been locked down the boys and I have been getting our baseball fixes in where we can. We’ve watched movies like Field of Dreams. We’ve watched recorded games. We’ve done some Sporcle quizzes. And we’ve looked at our baseball cards.
Not just looking at cards, I think we’ve all taken it upon ourselves to give things a re-sort. For my part I looked at my Giants albums. I’ve had my team sets in alphabetical order by last name. This has been fine, especially as I build the team sets, but it’s never felt right.
One of the things I’ve liked about Mother’s Cookies is how the first sets were ordered by star power. I like the idea of the set telling a story about the team and while paging cards by something like WAR would be an interesting way to do this I decided instead to page them by lineup.
This idea is stolen from some guys on Twitter but the basic idea is that the first page is the main starters for the season, the second are the pitchers, and the rest of the pages are everybody else.
More-specifically, page one is organized like a field:
LF | CF | RF ---+----+--- SS | | 2B ---+----+--- 3B | C | 1B
Center Square is either the Manager or the Team Card. I really like this because it gives me a sense of what the team actually looked like that season. Both good and bad. Is it fun to see the most valuable players first? Yes. But it’s also important for me to see the “who the hell is that” players to be reminded of the team’s weaknesses as well.
Page two meanwhile is the top nine pitchers on the team. First the four or five starters, then the closer and the relievers. Page three is the rest of the bench ordered by number of at bats. And page four ends up being players who didn’t play, all stars, league leaders, etc.
I’m already enjoying looking through things more. Now, this kind of sorting isn’t without its problems—the main one is being what season do I choose to represent. Do I sort the cards based on the team that existed the year the cards came out or do I go based on the previous year which is represented in the last line of stats?
There’s no good answer here. Going by the card year means that new players aren’t in the team set. Going by the stats year opens you up to missing guys who were traded late in the season or who changed teams before press time.
I chose to go by the card year. When I look at cards from 1960 or 1970 I’m thinking they represent 1960 or 1970. Stats on the back show me what the guy did last year but the cards stand in for the current season.
This choice means I miss some rookies but more importantly opens up a bit of mission creep with regard to the trades and free agents. Like with my 1968 team set which is basically complete except for the Mays/Mantle/Killebrew card, there’s no second baseman in the team set. When I looked up who played that year I found out it was Ron Hunt who played in almost 150 games at second but whose 1968 card features him with the Dodgers.*
*Note, if I had gone with the previous year I’d be in even more trouble since there’s no Tito Fuentes card in the set at all.
So I’ve gone ahead and added Ron Hunt to my searchlist and done this with a bunch of other players as well. Not everyone who’s missing. But if there’s a position player who started the overwhelming majority of the games or a pitcher who made up a large part of the rotation I feel like I should add him.
Through the 1970s this wasn’t even two dozen cards. I’ll get up to the 1994 strike eventually but with Topps Traded existing plus the existence of multiple brands things are going to get more complicated. I should have coverage with more brands but do I want to mix them? Don’t know yet.
Anyway what I’m currently missing is as follows. Not going to update this the way I’m doing the Colorwheels post since these aren’t priorities. Most are commons and pretty cheap. A couple Hall of Famers or short prints though will definitely be more of a reach. Still it’s nice to see where things started.
1956 Topps 165 Red Schoendienst St. Louis Cardinals 1956 Topps 247 Bill Sarni St. Louis Cardinals 1957 Topps 68 Ray Crone Milwaukee Braves 1957 Topps 218 Ray Jablonski Chicago Cubs 1957 Topps 271 Danny O'Connell Milwaukee Braves 1959 Topps 75 Sam Jones St. Louis Cardinals 1961 Topps 418 Ed Bailey Cincinnati Reds 1965 Topps 205 Warren Spahn New York Mets 1965 Topps 218 Dick Schofield Pittsburgh Pirates 1966 Topps 26 Ray Sadecki St. Louis Cardinals 1967 Topps 86 Mike McCormick Washington Senators 1968 Topps 15 Ron Hunt Los Angeles Dodgers 1970 Topps 103 Frank Reberger San Diego Padres 1975 Topps 162 Willie Montanez Philadelphia Phillies 1975 Topps 547 Von Joshua Los Angeles Dodgers 1976 Topps 81 Darrell Evans Atlanta Braves 1976 Topps 177 Marty Perez Atlanta Braves 1977 Topps 47 Lynn McGlothen St. Louis Cardinals 1977 Topps 76 Tim Foli Montreal Expos 1977 OPC 56 Bill Madlock San Francisco Giants 1977 Topps 209 Rob Andrews Houston Astros 1979 Topps 668 Bill North Los Angeles Dodgers
Two notes. 1967 Mike McCormick actually lists him as a Giant on the back. And while the 1977 Topps Bill Madlock would be a contender, that there’s an O Pee Chee showing him with the Giants means that’s the better choice for the binder.