Ted Taylor's Collector's Corner

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    Ted Taylor has been a life-long baseball fan and collector of baseball cards and sports memorabilia. He began writing a hobby column back in the early 1970s and has been writing it someplace ever since. He was first president of The Eastern Pennsylvania Sports Collectors Club and co-promoter of the Philadelphia Baseball Card & Sports Memorabilia Shows. He served as VP of the Fleer Corporation (1991-97) and was co-founder and the first President of The Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society (1996-99). Ted can be heard playing big band and swing music from 8 a.m. to noon every Tuesday on WRDV-FM (89.3), or you can email him at ted@tedtaylor.com.

Ted Taylor's latest three books . . .
  "The Ultimate Philadelphia Athletics Reference Book (1901-54)" available from www.amazon.com
  "The Duke of Milwaukee - The Life and Times of Al Simmons" available from www.EduPublisher.com or by mail from TTA Authentic LLC, PO Box 273, Abington PA 19001 ($15 ppd.).

  "The Glenside Kid” – a story about growing up in the mid-20th century - available from www.eduPublisher.com or by mail from TTA Authentic LLC, P. O. Box 273, Abington PA 19001 ($24 ppd).

January 1, 2015

Happy New Year, Everyone!

This begins our 40th Year of hobby columns

Ted Taylor’s Collector’s Corner

“Last” 2014 Baseball Set, Bowman Draft is a keeper

  Just when I think I can close my current team books for the year, along comes another set and, this time, it’s a keeper. I’m talking about Bowman Draft 2014 Trading cards. This actually hit the market just before Christmas and is a grand, albeit, speculative investment for the future.

  Going for as much s $100-a-box in the early market place 2014 Bowman Draft Baseball hobby boxes promises only one autograph (once was two) – mine was of Derek Hill a Detroit Tigers prospect and number one draft pick (23rd overall).

  The set abounds with high draft choices and Phils fans will love card #DP4 which is of their number one pick (7th overall) of Aaron Nola who, on this card, looks an awful lot like a righthanded Cole Hamels. Now that Jimmy Rollins has been traded, the card of J. P. Crawford, the Phillies shortstop of the future, also takes on more relevance (even though it isn’t his first card, in fact he appeared in a Phils uniform in the Topps “Pro Debut” set as well). A good many other players in this set, pictured in big league uniforms, actually had earlier Topps cards, but in minor league uniforms, in the Heritage minor league offering.

  Washington’s pick Ryan Ripken (454th choice, round 15) makes the set because of his bloodlines and surname. But why not?

  These are the first cards to feature 2014 picks in their MLB uniforms. This is true with the exception of two Milwaukee Brewers rookies (Monte Harrison looking spiffy in a red-striped tie and suit, while holding a bat, and Kodi Medeiros in street clothes kneeling in front of the draft board attired also in a Brewers jersey and cap). Parallels come in a mix of Refractor colors: Blue, Green, Gold, Black, Orange, Purple, Red and Superfractor. They also have Printing Plates.

  Adorning the packaging are Nick Cordon of the Twins and Tyler Kolek of the Marlins. In my 24-pack (7-cards-per) hobby box I did not get a card of Kolek nor did I find one of Cordon. Go figure. I did get more duplicates than usual and a load of chrome parallels (which reduce the actual number of different cards you can find).

  The Bowman brand has never been huge into relics and memorabilia cards. The only ones here are numbered Futures Game Relics. These include jersey swatches from the 2014 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, a mid-season event that spotlights top minor league talent. These have one-of-one Black parallels and Jumbo-exclusive Red parallels (#/5).

  There are 220 base prospect cards in the product for both Bowman and Bowman Chrome. As you'd expect, there are several levels of parallels.

Topps High Tek Baseball, an 8-card box

  Here comes a hobby box containing one-pack, eight-cards. It’s selling in the market place in the mid-$50 range (do the math, that’s about seven bucks-a-card). This set is not for everyone.

  Topps Tek, has been called “a wild line” by critics, one that had featured a lot of pattern variations even by today's parallel standards.

  My signed card was Marcus Stroman (who?) of the Blue Jays. His signature on an acetate card is on the side that looks like they forget to add the color filter. Odd? You bet. The rest are the usual suspects, but what is enough to drive any collector nuts is that I got eight cards and found two Omar Vizquel cards. Somebody screwed up in quality control. Other players included Bryce Harper, Yasiel Puig and Clayton Kershaw. I’d have rather found their signature on a card than Stroman’s (who?).

 The configurations have been tweaked but the basic ideals of bold designs, acetate card stock and patterns and parallels a plenty remain. And there's nothing subtle about it.

  At its most basic, the set has 100 cards. But here’s the part that gets you, each base card has six different pattern variations. So if you want a full master set, you're looking at 600 cards. Taking things a step further is the fact that all patterns aren't printed in equal numbers. So a set isn’t likely to happen – not at eight-cards-per $50+ box.

More new products…

  Bowman Sterling 2014 NFL football this is one of those boxes that grid card collectors love because it delivers six dual relic cards – two auto relics and four autographs. Can you say Bingo?

  The offering is pretty much about two things, rookies and hits. Pretty much the entire checklist is first-year players. And those that aren't use rookie images. And then there are the autographs and memorabilia cards. Every box has a total of 13 of them.

  Autographs combine to fall one per pack. The majority of them are rookies which have the same general design as the base set. Refractor parallels include Gold, Black (#/50), Pulsar (#/25), Blue Wave (#/15) and Superfractors (1/1). There are also Rookie Autograph Short Prints that have a similar parallel structure minus the Gold Refractors. Every box has a total of four Rookie Autographs.

  Select veterans have autographs in the set as well. But there's a twist. They use a rookie image. Veteran Autographs have the same design as the Rookie Autographs. The parallels are also the same. Mike Evans, rookie wide receiver with Tampa Bay, adorns the packaging. Hobby boxes are going in the $220 range.

  Topps Platinum 2014 NFL advertises one autograph patch and two rookie autographs per box. Hobby boxes contain twenty five-card packs. On the packaging you’ll find Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortels, Johnn Manzil (whose first game as Browns starting Qb in December was a stinker), Jadeveon Clowny (who has been injured most of the year and a man who should sue his parents over his name), Sammy Watkins and, once again, Mike Evans.

  Going in the $75-per-box range 2014 Topps Platinum Football returns with a slick rainbow foil design, lots of rookie autographs, plenty of parallels and more. Hobby boxes come with three hits including a rookie autographed patch card and two additional on-card rookie autographs.

  The base set has 150 cards, 100 veterans and 50 rookies. Rookies get several levels of parallels. The most abundant signed cards are the Autograph Rookie Refractors that land two per hobby box. Originally all were supposed to be on-card but some have ended up on stickers. Like the base set, there are lots of Refractor parallels.

  Topps Triple Threads Football is packaged as mini-boxes, each display box contains an autographed relic and a relic card – one of which is a triple relic. Got that? There are two mini boxes-per-box, one pack-per-box, seven cards-per-pack. This baby is bringing $150 + or - in the marketplace. Drew Breese adorns the packaging.

  Packs fall into two categories in terms of the contents. One version includes a Triple Relic card (#/36 or less) and Triple Threads Rookie Autograph Relic (#/150 or less), along with five base and base parallel cards. The other includes one Autograph Triple Relic (#/99 or less) and one Triple Threads Rookie Jumbo Relic (#/150 or less), in addition to four base and base parallel cards.

  Kicking things off with the base set, 2014 Topps Triple Threads Football includes 100 base cards and a variety of parallels. Collectors will find three base cards, numbered to 930 or less, in each pack. Also, one to two base parallels can be found per pack.

New Book about the Phillies getting near

  My eighth, and latest, book, “The 20th Century Phillies, You can’t tell the players without a scorecard” is at the publisher. It will be timed for early spring to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the first Phillies NL pennant (1915).

  Like my earlier “Philadelphia Athletics by The Numbers” this book devotes two full chapters to the 2,000-plus men who wore Phils uniforms (1901-99) and the numbers that adorned their jerseys. There will also be well over 500 bios of individual players and a full chapter devoted to the Philadelphia Stars (and a list of players) of the Negro National League.

  The book looks at how close the new Phillies ballpark came to being located outside the city limits, all the men who wore Phils uniforms and are now in the Hall of Fame, and chapters on managers, coaches, general managers and owners.

  An in-depth look, also, at the five teams (1915, 1950, 1980, 1983, 1993) that won NL pennant in the 20th Century.

  Borrowing from my successful “Glenside Kid” book I will offer “The Glenside Kid remembers” personal observations about events and the players.

  Advance copies (pre-publication) can be ordered for $20. Send check or money orders payable to TTA LLC, P. O. Box 273, Abington PA 19001.

  The football playoffs loom (but not for our Eagles), baseball is still a couple of months away - Always happy for your comments on collecting topics, write me at: ted@tedtaylor.com. Thanks to Ted Silary for including this in his web zine and to all of you for regularly reading this.