Monday, August 20, 2012

Topps World Series Champions

Recently, Erin and I were at a card shop where we ran across some of the factory distributed Topps team sets that pop up now and again. These ones caught my eyes because it's not exactly common to see the Cardinals on display, even in a shop that caters exclusively to card collectors. Another reason it grabbed my attention was that this wasn't your ordinary team set that gets produced for everyone in the league. This one commemorated the Cards' World Series win last year. As far as I can tell, they didn't do this back in 2006 when the Cards last won, so this was new to me. Erin bought one of the sets (it's a tough thing to resist) while I decided to do a little research, knowing that they probably wouldn't sell out of these sets if I needed to come back for one.

And that's where Listia comes in handy. Somehow, for only 1000 credits and free shipping, I was able to find this object that I didn't know I needed until I found out it existed. But boy, did I ever need it! My set arrived last week and I thought I'd show off some of the cards from it.

I won't bore you with all 27, but there are some interesting things of note even to a non-Cardinal fan... as long as you're a Topps completist, I guess. Adron Chambers didn't have a card in any of the 2011 Topps sets, so his 2012 issues are considered his "rookie cards", whatever that means these days. He spent a good deal of his time being the human victory cigar during the Cards' improbable run, but his presence (along with a key late season triple) seemed to infuse life into a team that badly needed it. He hasn't had a lot of playing time this year, which is too bad as Topps seemed eager to make him the Cards' big rookie this year in all of their products. Instead, more of the focus could have been on Joe Kelly and the just beyond rookie eligible Lance Lynn.

Some of the photos from the playoffs made it into the 2012 set, but others did not. Here's a great snapshot of Allen Craig's home run saving catch. Craig has been a huge part of the offense this year, as expected, though he's played primarily at first base with Lance Berkman's spaghetti knee.

We've seen this one before.

Some of the shots are from the World Series itself, like Furcal's card here. Others, inexplicably, are just recycled from one of the standard issue 2011 sets. I chose to focus on the "new" cards here, but I'll touch on something baffling that I found when Friday rolls around.

Jason Motte's rise to prominence thanks to last year's playoffs makes it easy to forget that he was actually the fifth option to close that the Cardinals looked to last season. After winning the battle with Chris Perez for Future Cardinal Closer (word has it that it came down to Perez and Motte as far as who would be traded to Cleveland back in 2009, and the Cardinals preferred Motte), he failed spectacularly and lost his chance at the position that remained with Ryan Franklin. (Franklin actually made the All-Star team that year.) Fast forward to 2011 where it was Franklin who started the season as the closer. Eduardo Sanchez, Fernando Salas and, briefly, Mitchell Boggs all had their turn at closing in 2012. Salas led the team in saves overall, but they rolled with Motte down the stretch and the rest is history.

Nick Punto has a Cardinals baseball card! Nick Punto has a Cardinals baseball card! Clearly, this one is from the World Series as the Rangers' Ian Kinsler is also pictured.

I hope to track down some more of the Topps blister pack team sets. I have the 2009 team set and most of the 2006, but I still have quite a few left to go. And with the release of the web exclusive Mini set this year, I have another team set still to chase.


  1. That's a pretty cool find on Listia. I've gotten a random card here and there that I've needed, but never anything like that.

    And if I have to look at one more 1994 Collector's Choice card again ...

  2. Yeah. I only paid $9.99 for my set.



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