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An update on a 1990 Upper Deck baseball card, and the stream of consciousness of an All-Star.

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A comprehensive ranking of every baseball card pose, from Jeff Reardon to Wally Joyner.

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Patrick writes about the worst trade he ever made, Jason finds the positive aspect of being a baseball star, and Nathan recounts the fight that should have ended all fights.

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Bryce Harper is up to no good, Russ Stephans is up to neither bad nor good, and the Mariners and Angels are up to both at the same time.

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A discussion of a forgotten set of 1989 baseball cards that contained audio recordings, and the their secrets.

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Jason travels to a Benedictine monastery in search of an old pitcher, while Patrick visits a nearby elementary school cafeteria.

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Nathan explores the psyche of a young Cubs fan-to-be, Jason drafts Trevor May and discovers alienation, and the gang votes on their favorite Topps cards of the 80s.

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A narrative poem about a diminuitive hero of the past, a polemic against the laziness of polemics, and a piece that reveals too much about one author's financial status.

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On the internet, nobody knows you're a Juan Gonzalez fanatic.

When I was a kid, I loved old magazines. Books were fine too, as far as they went. But there was something surreptitious about reading old magazine articles, reading outdated reviews and glancing at anachronistic advertisements. Something about the transitory nature of them made them feel forbidden, like they were written for a specific moment that I was intruding on. Like the powder blue pullovers and the shaggy hair of the baseball generation just before mine, they made me feel like I was peeking into the wisdom of adulthood.

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Introducing a new career-value stat.

The set in question is not important, but since you asked we’ll be using Topps Stadium Club, 1993, the first set without Gary Carter. The number in parentheses is how many of the player’s cards you’d have to give up to get a Griffey from the same set. Mike Piazza’s ranking reflects an attempt on the author’s part to control for Rookie Card status.

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November 11, 2015 6:00 am

Players Prefer Presentation: You're the Topps!

8

Meg Rowley

Assessing the first draft of baseball history.

The offseason is a time for contemplation, for signing free agents, for longing for the simple pleasures of watching young dudes who will never see the field come April run around on one in March. For me, it has also emerged as a time to discover baseball cards. I never collected baseball cards as a child. My father, who didn’t have a son until I was 12, was happy to have me watch Star Wars and Star Trek and all sorts of other things that rendered me undatable for a while, but he was never a baseball card aficionado, so they sort of passed me by. But baseball cards are snapshots, freezing players in time even as they look ahead to hypothetical seasons. As much as they look back on the statistics and accomplishments of prior campaigns, they serve as a first draft of history: They include reporting, punditry, forecasting, personal biography, data crunching, photography—all the tools in a journalist's toolbox, crammed into tiny one- or two-sentence capsules. But unlike beat writers’ columns or the roving words of internet writers, destined to be largely forgotten by the time the next season rolls around, these first drafts are permanent.

Sometimes, they mark brief stints in unexpected places, like when you remember Yoenis Cespedes was on the Red Sox for a minute. Sometimes, they’re a reminder a player existed at all, or that Rickie Weeks really did play baseball in 2015—I have the card to prove it! They do their best to get it right, but often they get it wildly, hilariously, tragically wrong. Here is brief exploration of some of the textual oddities in my admittedly Mariners leaning baseball card collection. I am very sorry.

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Clear out some clutter and do some good.

It started when I bought my own house. My parents made good on their threat to bring all my old baseball cards (along with various other mementos of my childhood) from Cleveland to Atlanta. They’d been storing them for years, mostly because I had been in college, then graduate school, and had lived in a series of small apartments in three different cities.

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