Friday, March 1, 2019

#43 - R.A. Dickey

What’s that Turtle doin’? This card is possibly showing off a baseball playing strategy that I would possibly miss by just listening on the radio, and my baseball cards. Does R.A. Dickey use some sort of vocalization to distract the batter?

I mean, that probably couldn't help a batter's concentration — but my hunch would be there is a good chance that would be against a rule of baseball, not sure. I was intrigued by the idea enough to check out his throwing action via YouTube, and that was fun. He was silent as he pitched, turns out, and I am just being goofy. But I think I will be doing some more of that YouTubing R.A. Dickey highlights on a future slow news day, and I think you might like it too.

Overall, this is a pretty nice live action baseball card, particularly with the way the entire Mets team tri-color "racing stripe" can be seen on Dickey's body. That striping on certain New York road uniforms generally makes for a memorable baseball card, and I can't recall one that shows off quite this much length to it.

There is one demerit to issue - all due to Dickey's most famous pitch: the Knuckleball. I will never know how much Topps can choose to change the zoom of the source photo, but I do imagine they have some control over that. With just a touch more zoom-out to fit all of R.A. Dickey in the Sea Turtle frame, we could have seen the grip on the baseball, too. Now I will certainly be looking for an example of such on Knuckleballer baseball cards.

+Bonus points for the old school stirrups. There will be some knee-highs seen in this set, but the stirrups could make this card a unique one in 2013 Topps Baseball.

Uniform Hero? Yes, although this particular "throwback" road uniform for the Mets does not display the # on the front. Dickey wore #43 during his time in New York, but there he did not participate in the baseball tradition of giving #49 to a knuckleballer, possibly because Jon Niese was already using that # before his arrival. Though it should be noted that Dickey did not participate in that tradition anywhere else in his MLB travels, either.

Where’d the egg hatch? R.A. was drafted out of college by the Texas Rangers way back in 1996, as the 18th selection in the 1st round. He was also drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 10th round in 1993, which seems like a fairly honorable selection for a player coming out of high school.

How about the migrations? It seems to me that the ups, downs, travails, and traveling of R.A. Dickey's life and career would make a darn good weekend afternoon bio-pic, to be shown during rain-outs of the Minor League Game of the Week on the cheap sports channel, so you would never get to see the whole thing all at once. I often wish I had such a TV channel to watch. Instead, I have baseball cards.

Dickey had a 12 Inning cup of coffee with the Rangers in 2001 but would not return to MLB action in Texas until 2003. So it would go throughout his career, a long tale of releases and Free Agent signings and even becoming a Rule 5 pick at one point, until suddenly in 2010 everything clicked. He quickly turned in 3 excellent seasons in the Mets rotation, capped with winning the 2012 Cy Young award in the NL.

Thus it is not too surprising to find Dickey holding down his uniform # on this checklist, like so many All-Stars before this spot.

But as this card was being produced, he was traded to Toronto in December, 2013. The Blue Jays received 4 years of his pitching services, as well as catcher Josh Thole in a bit of a package deal. A Knuckleballer usually needs the same regular Catcher for each outing; experience in handling the pitch is quite important.

The Mets received a catching prospect in return, Travis d'Arnaud, and solid veteran catcher John Buck. But they also received a pitching prospect named Noah Syndergaard, and that has worked out pretty darn well for them.

Dickey would turn in 4 fairly good seasons for Toronto, though not quite with #s matching his 2010-12 peak in New York. Overall it seems the Mets pulled the trigger at the just exactly perfect moment, but one must also remember what the Blue Jays are up against in the AL East before passing judgement on any particular roster assembled in Toronto.

R.A. would pitch one final, serviceable, season in Atlanta and throw his last game in September, 2017, against these very same New York Mets, a 6.2 inning, 2 run effort for which he did not receive a decision. He was 42 years of age by that point.

Don’t flip over real Turtles.

A classic Topps effort here, bringing in a little of Dickey's off-field life, a bit of a pun, and a statistic most baseball fans would be unlikely to discover anywhere else.

A triple sequence of League Leading stats is always pretty eye-catching, too.

Can the Turtle Catch the Rabbit?

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

Win 20 games in the previous season, and this is the CHASE you will be assigned. Without really considering the impossibility of catching Cy Young in Win totals, this does draw one's attention to the idea of being 38 years old and having 61 Wins in MLB - all without generally having been a Reliever. I would imagine that could make for a classic card back stat on some other Topps card.

R.A. Dickey was just getting warmed up at age 38; he finished his career with 120 Wins.

Subspecies? We will see R.A. Dickey many more times in this set, and he also appeared in Opening Day and Chrome in 2013, but with other, newer images than this one.

This card # has no variations, however I did find a 2013 R.A. Dickey card that does show off the Knuckleball grip, from the "Calling Card" inserts which I quite liked (and completed early on in 2013), given their artistic nature, though I somewhat fail to see how the theme connected them to "The Chase" theme of the set as a whole, unlike most other 2013 inserts. Anyhow, it sure didn't take long to find this genuine Knuckleball card:

Bling That Shell You can't go wrong combining orange with the color blue on a Mets card, though I often wish Topps had used the dark blue of the Opening Day blue foil cards for the Wal•Mart blue parallel, rather than this much lighter shade -

Friday, February 22, 2019

#42 - 2012 ALDS

What’s that Turtle doin’? Just celebratin' a playoff victory here. I mean, it's not like a post-season card is ever going to show something not all that happy.

I don't think cards for the playoffs have been all that common in Topps Baseball sets. Some years yes, most years no. Far more years probably include World Series cards, but only those.

But overall, I would have to think cards for the Division Series, or the Wild Card, would have to have been made much less often than for the League Championship Series.

I hesitated on how to label this post. The Topps checklist lists it as "Detroit Tigers®" but that doesn't feel right to me, even though the Tigers are my favorite team. There are 2 teams in every series of course. The Tigers won the series, so that is plenty of satisfaction for them already. I also think labeling such a card by the actual series will be more useful later, perhaps, when I'm really old and forgetful.

On this particular card, the Series One cover player, Prince Fielder, takes center stage. The true hero of that particular game is on the left side of the card, being hugged by some other team-mates. Fielder went 1-for-5 in this game, with an RBI, from just a single, and contributed little in the rest of the series. Tigers fans never had much to celebrate about Fielder in October.

So it goes with "celebration" cards, which seem to have about a 50% shot at accurately depicting the player that did the most to create the celebration. On some such cards, Topps accurately shows off a game hero. On others, not so much. That's about how I feel about these types of cards - once in a while, I think "heck yeah" - other times, not so much.

Uniform Hero? Topps finesses this checklist decision quite well, with the first non-player card in the set. Otherwise, they would have only one choice of player to place here: Mariano Rivera. 

Clearly, some star players have to be held every year for inclusion in Series Two, which is where we will eventually find Rivera. Still, the decision seems a little puzzling, given all the All-Star power assembled in the first 1/13th of the checklist, overall. 

It has always seemed to me that everyone around MLB was always quite contented that the last player to wear #42 was an obvious future Hall of Famer, so I will always be a little bemused that Topps didn't show off the uniform<>checklist connection a little extra explicitly, right here.

Where’d the egg hatch? The Detroit Tigers first played a baseball game in 1894. In 1901, their league, the American League, declared itself a "Major" league, and their stats and history are recorded as part of MLB from that year forward.

How about the migrations? The Tigers have not had any franchise moves since that 1901 debut. They have gone 4-7 in the World Series, with their last victory coming in 1984.

Don’t flip over real Turtles.

On this side of the card, Topps does celebrate the true hero of the series for the Tigers, including some thoughts and stats for his Win in Game 1 as well. 

I have never seen the point of printing a line score of a game on the back of a baseball card.

A complete box score would be far more entertaining, and given 21st Century type sizes and printing technology, I have always felt one could be printed on a card rather easily. Plus, the Topps card back writer could take a break, and let the box score do all the work.

Bling That Shell I didn't really find access to the Orange parallels all that early in this project. I was mostly avoiding single card purchases on eBay, as with $3 shipping on every card, I would never be able to get many cards that way for this project. Over time, I found non-eBay sellers where I could purchase multiple cards for a single shipping charge. When I found a seller with a couple dozen of the /230 Factory Set Orange parallels that I could use, I pounced on this one:

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.