Thursday, February 21, 2019

#41 - Daniel Hudson

What’s that Turtle doin’? This card is the 10th sequential Pitcher in the checklist, and the 8th sequential right-hander. Daniel Hudson seems a little glum about it, too.

Contributing to that overall glumness is the way his left arm and the uniform piping on his left leg lead one right down to the ground. Even though he hasn't released the baseball yet, one can't help but think this pitch might hit the ground in front of the plate.

And a final piece of the downbeat nature of this card is the background. Arizona is on the road here, so the weather could be doing about anything, but it does not seem to be a sunny day in Philadelphia, here. Cincinnati, maybe? I do actually like the background of this card; it is a bit ominous almost, yet still somehow comforting.

+Bonus points for the perfect R logo on the glove there.

Uniform Hero? Yep, still chugging along just fine, though Arizona doesn't really help out with a uniform # on their 2012 road unis. That has changed these days, with a somewhat oddly colored # on their road uniforms. Look for that on a baseball card near you.

Where’d the egg hatch? Hudson was drafted in the 5th round by the White Sox in 2008. 

How about the migrations? Daniel would then debut late in 2009, earning a Win in his 2nd MLB start in Chicago in 2009, with a unique tagline. I will just paste it in here for you, direct from Wikipedia, so you can be ready for your next baseball trivia throw-down: "That victory completed the rare accomplishment, and perhaps unique in baseball history, of recording wins in five different levels of professional baseball, including the majors, in one season." I hope that is on the back of one of his other baseball cards.

However he never pitched all that much for the White Sox before they traded him to Arizona at the 2010 trade deadline. The piece moving to Chicago? Edwin Jackson. I can already tell I am not looking forward to unraveling Jackson's career when I reach his cards.

Hudson would then finally earn a rotation spot in Arizona and pitch very well in 2011 - I suspect that probably made him the brightest light available at #41 for Topps on this checklist. 

In 2012, however, the almost inevitable 21st Century MLB Pitcher experience arrived: injury. And for Hudson, Tommy John surgery during that season. He was expected to return in 2013, which was probably why this card was created; but that didn't work out. In his first post-surgery start, he tore that one tendon again, and had a 2nd Tommy John surgery during the 2013 season.

Afterwards, Hudson has worked as a reliever, generally of the "middle" type, which we do not always see on baseball cards. Post-Arizona stops included a season each with the Pirates and the Dodgers.

The dawn of the 2019 baseball season sees him in camp in Arizona with the Angels. Though only on a non-guaranteed "minor league" deal, I think he will probably throw some more innings in MLB in 2019.

Don’t flip over real Turtles.

I guess as I discover all the hidden details of all the Sea Turtles, I will have to start considering if Topps always issues a card for a Pitcher's "Tommy John" year. Maybe I would have to consider a given player in the 2014, or 2012 set, instead, to determine that. Doing the surgery in mid-season is the one way a Pitcher can undergo the procedure and still pitch in consecutive seasons, though at different ends of each one.

Anyhow, I do like teammate quotes on a card back, but find it pretty puzzling that only the word "surgery" is used here, rather than the full 3 word term.

Can the Turtle Catch the Rabbit?

CAREER CHASE: With 28 wins, Hudson is 483 away from Cy Young's all-time record of 511.

Well, he did have that 16 Win season in 2011, so that's a start.

As the 2019 season commences, Daniel Hudson has reached 40 Wins.

Subspecies? Considering that Hudson was unlikely to appear in an MLB game until late in 2013, his inclusion in the Opening Day set makes for one of the more puzzling such entries in that short checklist. Maybe Arizona is just too far away for Brooklynites to keep track of the Diamondbacks very well. This card does not appear in '13 Chrome, nor has any variants.

Topps would figure out that Hudson didn't pitch in 2013 and then not issue a card for him in 2014, when he returned to play. And then maybe they decided to make something up to him by including him in the 2016 set, and then in the 2016 Update set, as an Arizona Diamondback on each card. Go figure.

Bling That Shell I keep telling y'all that I don't really want to use the /99 Camo cards in the All-Parallel set, and then I keep doing it anyway. I am particularly pleased to own this card, as it is # 01/99, which I am pretty sure is the first time I have ever owned a serial # 1 card. But then outside of this project, I never keep or collect serial #'d cards, anyway. I hope somewhere along the way, I luck into having a /x parallel where the serial number is = x.

But the Camos do help increase variety in the set, and they are pretty much _the_ team parallel for the D'backs:

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

#40 - Chien-Ming Wang

What’s that Turtle doin’? Here is another card quite similar to the just previous Scott Feldman card, but only in my weird little universe of baseball cards. Until I could get rolling on writing this blog, I had the exact same wonderings about Chien-Ming Wang as the Topps card back writer does. How did it all turn out for a perpetual comeback player?

We'll get to that shortly of course; as far as this baseball card goes, it is somewhat the opposite of the previous card. A pitcher that hasn't released the ball yet still might throw a Strike, of course; these "pre-pitch" cards often seem more optimistic to me.

I like the light on this card for some reason. It seems to be a night game, though I can't tell if indoors or out. But overall, the photographer got the focus crisp, and on-point, particularly for Wang's uniform. Even his hair flowing out behind him is perfectly sharp, leading your eye right to the baseball. 

This card is almost identical to the Scherzer card just a few checklist spots back in most every way, and especially with how the "hington" script letters and their nice underline, all courtesy of the Nationals' road uniform, then lift the eye up off the card in anticipation of the flight of the ball. Maybe that is where the optimism derives on this card, I guess.

+Bonus points for the Swoosh on the glove. I did not know Nike makes baseball gloves, too.

Uniform Hero? The road uniform comes through again for Topps here. Plus Topps always likes a good comeback story. Sometimes, perhaps a bit too much.

Where’d the egg hatch? Chien-Ming is from Taiwan, so he was scouted and then signed independently by the New York Yankees in the year 2000. Although the list of MLB players from Taiwan is still relatively short at only 14 players, baseball card collectors are probably the most familiar with them and for collectors a Taiwanese player now seems like just another part of the International flavor of Major League Baseball. But when Wang debuted in NYC in 2005, he was only the 3rd player from Taiwan to have done so.

How about the migrations? Wang quickly lit up the MLB leader boards, particularly in his brilliant 2nd and 3rd seasons. From 2008 and onwards, however, things would never be the same for him as injuries struck repeatedly.

In the year of the Sea Turtle, Wang would actually be under contract with 2 other MLB teams - not the Nationals; those being the Yankees once again, for whom he did not appear in a game, and the Toronto Blue Jays, where he showed flashes of his early success, but ultimately appeared in only 6 games before being released yet again. He did manage to make it to the majors one final time, working as a reliever for Kansas City in 2016.

A puzzling thing about this card is that Wang was released by the Nationals on October 29, 2012 - a standard baseball date for this type of thing, as it was the day after the World Series, when MLB clubs begin making roster moves. This would leave plenty of time for Topps to shift such a player to a Series 2 card perhaps, but players released on that date routinely appear in Series 1, anyway. Given that particular release date, that makes this particular card back...

Don’t flip over real Turtles.

...all the more puzzling. Clearly Washington's hopes don't have much chance if they released him 3 months before this card appeared in packs. I would have to mark this particular card back as a FAIL.

Can the Turtle Catch the Rabbit?

CAREER CHASE: With 61 wins, Wang is 450 away from Cy Young's all-time record of 511.

I guess after all there are only 7 stats that Topps can select for one of these CHASE comparisons, as they must be a counting stat that appears on the back of the card. And since it always has to be sunny on the back of a Topps Baseball card, they can hardly jeer at a player by comparing him to the All-Time leader for Losses, who is also Cy Young.

So another quick go at that famous 511 seems as easy as any of the other 7 here.

Chien-Ming Wang did manage to add a few Wins after this card appeared, mostly from that bullpen stint in KC. He finished his Major League career with 68 Wins.

Subspecies? Nope. This would actually be Wang's final MLB Topps card as Topps declined to include him in 2016 Update, despite 3 months of steady work before the '16 trade deadline; I guess Topps could no longer hold out hope for him. His final actual baseball card was a Minor League Leaders card in 2015, for Innings Pitched. Probably, that is a unique baseball card epitaph.

Bling That Shell With the simple two-tone background for this image, I figured this would look nice on the Blue Sparkle design:

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

#39 - Scott Feldman

What’s that Turtle doin’? I have been looking forward to blogging about this card since before I started this blog. Why this card? As I begin this post, I still know only one thing about Scott Feldman - he has a baseball card in one of my favorite sets of baseball cards. And that's it.

And that's why I collect baseball cards - to try and stay 'up' on all the players of the game, which I would rather do with cards than by watching hours of cable TV as often as daily. Cable TV is not something I usually have access to in my life, and I don't miss it.

This particular card was the last card I needed to complete this page of parallels, so I often pondered it - just who is Scott Feldman?

On this card, Scott has just delivered a pitch. His leg kick is just about over, and overall he doesn't seem in any way tensed up. Probably, the ball landed in the Catcher's glove, and he is mostly intent on hearing the call from the Umpire. That's my take on what remains of the "action" here.

The overall lines of the card flow from his glove and all the way through his just completed motion, and then his hand-less right arm is sliced off by the Sea Turtle itself. A bit of a downer here, really. How many viewing the card think it will be called a Strike?

The "40" patch on his right sleeve is not a simple anniversary patch for their stadium, as you might all too easily conclude for many other MLB outfits. 40 years was the age of the Texas Rangers club itself, in 2012, as they debuted as an expansion team in 1972.

A final interesting element on the card is what I call "That Necklace." Baseball players have worn necklaces for a long time, though I have to wonder how many could be found on any 1950s baseball cards. But in 2013, I think there was a peak of wearing this certain plastic necklace, generally of 2 colors as shown here, and available to the players in matching "team colors" if they wished. 

I'm not sure of which year was the actual peak; perhaps by looking at this question via baseball cards I will figure that out on a one-year-later basis. But I have been setting aside stray copies of cards of players wearing this necklace whenever one appears in a pile of dups/doubles/extras, since 99.9% of such cards have essentially no value, anyway. Eventually over on my main blog I will show off some of the results. One thing I still need to do is find Patient/Card Zero with this - when was the first time this necklace was seen on a card? I am pretty sure that will be in the early 2010s. But to find the last example of this necklace on a card, well, that might not have happened yet - because I saw one on 2018 Topps Baseball cards, and in the Update set even. So perhaps 2019 will be the first Topps Baseball sets to not have an on-card example of "That Necklace."

Uniform Hero? This card throws one for a loop a tiny bit, compared to so many cards that have just appeared, with the clear numerals '40' on the shoulder, but on card #39.

It is also probably where the Topps checklist composer probably first hit the realities of Major League Baseball Uniform #s. The most prestigious Uni #s are usually the lowest, though of course lately Topps has been able to make some very easy decisions about which New York Yankee to assign card #99 - this checklist technique did not debut in 2013 Topps Baseball, nor has it gone away again completely, either.

Until this checklist spot, there was no shortage of players to generally select one to honor a great player with a card # that matched his uniform #. The few times a just regular player was selected, there has been an alternative, more famous player, that didn't work out to use with this concept.

I count about 15 other players that will appear in this set that wore #39 in 2012. But it would be about impossible to rank one ahead of another in terms of fame, or stats, or recent postseason glory, or any other comparative. And of course, that would be inevitable in trying to construct this checklist. We will see some more interesting combinations of uniform and card # as we move along, but the odds of seeing an All-Star match will begin to decline sharply.

Where’d the egg hatch? Feldman was drafted by the Rangers in 2003, in the 30th round, making him the current highest draft position on this checklist, so far.

How about the migrations? Scott would debut in Texas in 2005, pitching as a reliever for his first 3 seasons. That garnered him a few baseball cards, because everyone wants Rookie Cards, Rookie Cards, Rookie Cards. In 2008 he moved into the starting rotation for Texas, but he wouldn't get a Topps Baseball card again until 2010, after his second campaign as a starter. This is because no one wants baseball cards of relievers, in a general sense, and it took Topps an extra year to notice the change in his career. But when you go 17-8 as a starter you do earn their attention once again.

2010 did not work out as well for Feldman despite being the Opening Day starter for Texas, leading to a demotion to the bullpen. In 2011 he battled injuries and threw only 32 innings. Leading once again to a demotion from the Topps Baseball checklist. Then in 2012, he returned to the starting rotation and thus back on to the checklist for 2013, where we find him here.

But by the time this card came out of packs, Feldman was no longer a Texas Ranger, having signed with Chicago in late November, 2012. Topps can't endlessly shift every baseball player changing teams while they create these baseball cards, so Feldman appears as a Ranger.

He then makes a natural candidate for a card in the Update set, where he duly appears as a Chicago Cub - despite having been traded to Baltimore in early July of 2013. My guess would be that was because a Cubs card for Scott Feldman had already been issued in the Factory Team Set blister pack, so it was easier to just copy/paste that one down, 299 baseball cards in the Update set to go.

Chicago would receive Pedro Strop in return, who would appear in the Update set as a Cub even, along with Jake Arrieta, who would not receive an Updated card at all. So 2 players traded for each other would be "Updated" onto new cards on the same team.

After years of looking at both Series One and Update cards, I had never made that connection between an S1 card and an Update card until writing this blog post - I could not even draw the connection that they were the same player. That is how much of an "Everyman" player Scott Feldman was I guess, and for me, a good illustration of why I will continue to collect baseball cards. Major League Baseball rosters have lots of Scott Feldmans, and they are all absolutely incredible at playing the game of baseball, amply demonstrated by their ability to even make a Major League roster in the first place. 

Yet Feldman would never receive a card as a Baltimore Oriole at all - perhaps I shouldn't rely so much on Topps to keep me 'up' on the game of baseball. He would go on to pitch for 3 more teams after Baltimore, and appear on a few more scattered cards. In 2017 he had a knee injury while pitching for Cincinnati, which effectively ended his career. Then in 2018, his everyman-become-journeyman baseball career would be capped with a true "sunset" Topps Baseball card, with 100% complete MLB stat totals, something not even every All-Time Great receives. That card also features a truly epic first-ever-to-do-X statistic of the type that only Topps can deliver, but I will leave that one to a set blogger for the 2018 cards to bedazzle you with.
Don’t flip over real Turtles.

Whew. So I am all up-to-date on the career of Scott Feldman. I hope you are too, now. If I hadn't decided to write up this blog post, maybe all I would ever know about him was being the 2nd player to start a season 0-6, and then go 6-0. What a loss that would have been.

Can the Turtle Catch the Rabbit?

CAREER CHASE: With 204 games pitched, Feldman is 1,048 away from Jesse Orosco's all-time record of 1,252.

I guess Topps could never quite decide if Scott Feldman was a Starter or a Reliever, so they went with the simple record for Relievers.

Feldman finished his MLB career having pitched in 342 Games.

Subspecies? Perhaps it is a minor miracle that Feldman's signing with Chicago would be documented by Topps in the Update set, given their on-again, off-again coverage of his career. No other Texas Ranger 2013 cards of Scott Feldman needed to be created.

Bling That Shell This parallel was another one that 'completed' the page when I received it. At one point in the project, I was selecting the Toys-R-Us Purple parallel for lots of Texas Rangers cards, because of the way their official on-card logo here mixes red and blue. What do you get then? Purple.

But then I grew a little disenchanted with the lesser-than-possible contrast of the blue Sea Turtle on the Purple parallel, so I went away from the idea of using this combo. But I can't always get what I want - a page of 9 baseball cards in perfect popping contrast, with no repeats. So I went back to my original Purple Rangers idea, and I do still like it:

Monday, February 18, 2019

#38 - Brian Wilson

What’s that Turtle doin’? It's always sunny on Topps Baseball cards. Err, well, not always on the front of the card. But who doesn't like a nice sunny baseball card? I like night cards too, but as I ponder this card in the depths of February, I gotta say I have always liked the way baseball cards can just brighten things up sometimes, like this one does.

This is another card that, for me, comes with an instant soundtrack - "and from the stretch..."

On this card, Topps has done a perfect framing job. Yes, the frame costs seeing 2 feet, but this is OK. I just slightly prefer when just one leg leads off the side of the card, making it look like the player is still on his way into the frame. But we know a Pitcher is going to plant that left foot and hurl the pitch, anyway, so that whole motion illusion isn't as much of a big deal, but yet on this card it is still there. Brian Wilson is playin' some baseball.

One thing I can never decide about this card is if I should add it to my The Pitcher Is Smiling At Me collection. It seems like a good possibility, but I never 100% talk myself into that.

+Bonus points for the team logo t-shirt he is wearing. Does it ever really warm up all the way right there next to McCovey Cove?

Uniform Hero? Yes. Brian Wilson has a famous name of course, and he was still a famous player as this set was produced. I sometimes wonder how many Twitter/Instragram hashtags would have circulated around him if his career had peaked today.

Where’d the egg hatch? Wilson was drafted by the Giants in the 24th round in 2003, which was a post-college date for him. He was also drafted by the Indians in 2000, that time in the 30th round. So he didn't move up all that far, which somehow seems like a match for an eventual reliever.

How about the migrations? And he did debut as a reliever for San Francisco, throwing 30 Innings in 31 games in 2006. He would become their closer in 2008.

As we are about to see on the back of the card, this card was about the last sunny time in Wilson's career; perhaps a photo from a gloomy overcast day would be more apropos. He was also no longer a Giant when this card was produced, but a photoshop effort wasn't an option at all for Topps as he didn't sign with L.A. until July, 2013. That was somewhat of a baseball story at the time - i.e., a Free Agent not being signed until that late in the season. But that was largely because Wilson was unable to pitch for most of that season, anyway, coming off Tommy John surgery.

One thing that swam back in to my memory tonight, pondering this card, is just how many players end up playing for the Giants AND the Dodgers, two famous long-time rivals. I have an odd perception that there could be a few more such players than there are who have played for both the Yankees AND Red Sox.

But ultimately, all the drama of Wilson's big new post-TJ surgery contract was pretty much a complete fizzle. How much of a fizzle? Though he pitched a full season in 2014, afterwards he was released by the Dodgers, who still paid him $9.5 Million for the 2015 season, when he was unable to return to MLB at all.

Don’t flip over real Turtles.

Topps gits r done here, with both a basic update on the state of Wilson's career, and a beard pun, too. It's not always sunny in the game of baseball, after all.

Can the Turtle Catch the Rabbit?

CAREER CHASE: With 171 saves, Wilson is 437 saves away from Mariano Rivera's all-time record of 608.

I sometimes wonder if a baseball card has ever been issued with a pitcher's position listed not as "P" or "Pitcher," but as "Closer." Surely, Mariano Rivera would have earned such a card.

Anyhow, I think this particular CAREER CHASE will definitely indicate that, in this set.

Wilson would add only one more Save in L.A. in 2014, and wrap up with 172 Saves.

Subspecies? In 2013, Topps just doesn't seem all that deep into the idea of photo variations, yet, and particularly not for Pitchers, who get very few in '13. These days, a set can have a checklist with as many as 75 Short Prints, and another raft of 25 SSPs to consider as well.

This card has no variants, aside from also being issued in Opening Day, despite Wilson essentially not having a team at all on Opening Day of 2013. But Opening Day baseball cards are designed for kids, in theory, and Topps would hardly leave "The Beard" out of that set. He did not receive a card in the 2013 Chrome checklist.

Bling That Shell I guess given that scenario, I am glad I picked the Opening Day Blue Foil parallel for this card. Foil cards do light up nicely when it is sunny out.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

#37 - Max Scherzer

What’s that Turtle doin’? Max seems a little skeptical about the pitch he is about to throw here. Maybe he didn't like his Catcher's sign, or maybe he is not getting along with the Ump that day. 

Unlike many Pitching cards we have seen there is very little here to suggest captured live game motion; even though it is such, it also looks quite a bit like a posed shot. Perhaps following the line of the left arm and then the glove leads the viewer back to the ball, with the "troit" logo illustrating where the ball is headed in 3...2...1...

For such a clear view of Scherzer's eyes, the lighting angle in the stadium that day and the shadow interplay make it just about impossible to pick up Max's famously different color eyes.

Perhaps one of the more notable features of this card is a quite clear view of the Rawlings logo on the glove; a pity it is upside down.

Uniform Hero? This is one of the first times I have ever really thought about how Detroit puts the uniform # on the road uni, as seen here. Giving Scherzer this checklist spot seems a tad prescient on the part of Topps; his career was certainly good to this point but he was just getting warmed up. Ironically, the most heroic other player wearing #37 in 2012 was Stephen Strasburg, who would appear in Series 2 with his own Hero #. But overall it was a nice touch by Topps, printing this run of Lee-Hernandez-Verlander-Weaver-Scherzer; a checklist sequence I doubt we will see again until some 25th Anniversary of the Sea Turtles, somehow, perhaps.

Where’d the egg hatch? Scherzer was drafted originally by the Diamondbacks in 2006, as the 11th pick. He was also drafted out of High School by his hometown Cardinals in 2003, but in the 43rd round - a draft position that would not hand out any signing bonus at all, which probably made pursuing a college education an easy decision.

How about the migrations? Like most post-college draftees, Scherzer reached the majors 2 years later with a fairly nice yet unremarkable debut of 56 Innings Pitched in 2008. His 2009 #s - full 170 IP, 4.12 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 174 SO - have always interested me. At about an even 1 K / Inning, I somewhat assume here that Arizona didn't have the greatest defense in 2009.

My interest in those specific stats flows from what happened after that season, when Arizona traded away Max Scherzer. Turns out, Arizona was ranked 29th in Fielding % that year. Maybe the Diamondbacks should have considered FIP or some other advanced Pitching stats before pulling that trigger. Maybe Detroit did.

At first glance it seems like a complicated trade to analyze, with 6 players on the move and 3 different teams involved. The Tigers gave up Curtis Granderson to the Yankees, early in his career; he would thrive batting left in the House That Ruth Built, with it's very special "porch." However the Tigers also received Austin Jackson in this same trade, who proved to be a plenty serviceable replacement for Granderson, on a roster plenty stacked offensively anyway.

The Diamondbacks? They gave up Max Scherzer and in return received perpetual journeyman starter Edwin Jackson and a young Ian Kennedy, who put up a 21 Win season in Arizona not long after, but could not maintain such results. Dave Dombrowski notched another one here.

Ahh, what might have been, such is Major League Baseball. Speaking of which, Tigers fans still today like to whine and complain about the Tigers giving up Scherzer after his contract expired in 2014, as if Detroit could have somehow afforded a $100 Million rotation of Verlander, Scherzer, Porcello, Price, and Sanchez in perpetuity. Scherzer eventually signed in Washington for 7 years @ $30 Million per; it is highly doubtful that Detroit offered him more than they had already signed Verlander for - $28 Million.

This all means Scherzer is signed in Washington through 2021.

Don’t flip over real Turtles.

One surprise here is as yet not a single league leading stat, though Topps certainly seems to be predicting some with the text. The 2013 season to come after this card was Scherzer's first to really display elite level production. From this point on, his card backs would be covered with stats printed in red.

Can the Turtle Catch the Rabbit?

CAREER CHASE: With 829 strikeouts, Scherzer is 4,885 away from Nolan Ryan's all-time record of 5,714.

Unfortunately for this idea, Max got off to a bit of a slow start; only reaching 200 Ks in his 4th full season. However, he would go on to throw a 300 Strike Out

After the 2018 season, Scherzer has 2,449 strikeouts, so he is 3,265 away from Nolan Ryan's all-time record of 5,714.

Subspecies? This card appears in both Opening Day and Chrome, but otherwise has no other variants.

Bling That Shell This has been an action packed page of parallels, and Max Scherzer cards have action packed prices on them. So I was quite content to find a simple Target Red parallel for about a buck fifty not long ago:

I was very happy to finally receive that card and fill the last spot on this page. By lucking into the Lee and Feliz parallels in a lot purchase, while also spending a little (about $8 each) on the deliberate purchases of specific parallels for Beltre and Verlander, I had many options on finishing this one. This page then becomes the first without a blue foil parallel from Opening Day, and also the first without a /2013 Gold parallel as well. I only recently made sure this nuttily complex collection has one of each main parallel and team color combination; I think I will also insure there is a page without each key parallel color as well. That should be the final (well, I hope so) binding rule I will place on creating these colorful binder pages:

Saturday, February 16, 2019

#36 - Jered Weaver

What’s that Turtle doin’? This is probably the most zoomed-in Pitching card yet seen in the set, as Weaver's belt almost doesn't make the cut here. I have read how people appearing on Television these days have to have just exactly perfect make-up, because the super duper clear resolution of the HD XD LED Ultra Q 4K four-wall TVs we watch today will instantly reveal every tiny blemish on a human being for everyone to see.

Baseball players don't have the luxury of preparing like that for their baseball card closeups. Nevertheless, Jered Weaver appears just fine on this baseball card. He is focused on delivering a Strike to Home Plate, not worrying about some super duper obscure baseball card blogger 6.33 years in his future.

When the live action cards get this close-in to the player, there isn't always much to consider on the card. The only thing really goin' on on this card is Weaver's momentum making his hair stream out behind him. Topps likes a good hair day on a baseball card, that's for sure.

Uniform Hero? The players with the big red uniform #s right on the front of the card really make this checklist format work the best.

Where’d the egg hatch? Jered Weaver was selected by the Angels in the same draft as the previous card for Justin Verlander, in 2004, though he was picked 12th.

How about the migrations? Weaver debuted soon enough in Anaheim, pitching a solid 123 Innings in 2006.

This card captures him coming off 3 straight All-Star Game appearances and a 20 Win 2012 campaign which included throwing a No Hitter. There were still some more solid seasons on the way.

My memory of Jered Weaver is one of intensity, something this up-close card does hint at. Somehow, he and the Detroit Tigers developed a "beef," the details of which I doubt can be remembered by many, and I am certainly not one of them. When a Tiger reached base against him somehow, there was a palpable tension between the mound and the basepath as if the 60' distance between the 2 was still a little too close.

He almost completed his career as a California Angel for 100% of his MLB service time; the Angels declined to re-sign him after his final contract extension with them ended after the 2016 season. He was still a Major League Pitcher, but was just becoming hittable in his mid-30s. Weaver gave it 'one more go' with the Padres, appearing in 5 games for them in 2017 before finally retiring during the season, his 12th.

Don’t flip over real Turtles.

3 undefeated Aprils in a row. Neat.

Can the Turtle Catch the Rabbit?

CAREER CHASE: With 102 wins, Weaver is 409 away from Cy Young's all-time record of 511.

Well, he was just coming off a League Leading 20 Win season, so I guess he had a shot at it. Whaddya think?

Jered Weaver finished his solid MLB career with a nice round 150 Wins.

Subspecies? All-Stars do well on Topps checklists and Weaver was no exception in 2013. This card # would not be tied to any photo variants, and the same image did appear in Chrome.

But in 2013 Opening Day, Jered Weaver did receive a unique card - quite a rare feat in that set, until just recently at least, especially for a player that wasn't switching teams in the just preceding off-season. I think this was the only such card in 2013 Opening Day. So here we get a bit of a bonus Sea Turtle:

Bling That Shell The end of the page draws near and it is time to make an easy choice. Even All-Stars can be acquired very easily on the Emerald parallel. I do think the best cards for these are the super close-ups like this one. Every other element of the image largely disappears on a foil parallel, so this one works just fine -