Information, News, and other generalities related to sports cards.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The curse of Google.

I love google. Don't get me wrong. Google is the search engine I use. Google is responsible for 70% of my websites search engine provided traffic. Really, they are the only game in town that matters. MSN? Yahoo? Whatever fellas.

I haven't given a thought to google page ranking, google search engine rankings or any of that in 4 years. I was selling cards.. business was steady.. I didn't see how worrying about that was a valuable use time that could be better spent filling orders and putting new cards out on the website.

Then I sat down next to a guy at Tupelos in Hillsborough (nice place, near Chapel Hill for all those UNC fans out there) who happened to also have his own website. He's asking about my "analytics". Honestly, I wasn't even sure what he meant.. but I pretended. I then went straight home and googled it. I found out after putzing around that is ranked #1 on Google for "Baseball Cards for Sale", "Baseball Card Commons", and "Baseball Card Singles". That's pretty sweet. We are also on page two for "Baseball Cards" also awesome, considering the last time I had checked (again, 2004) we were on page 12 or something rediculous. I also found out that we had a page rank of 3. Apparently thats ok. Not great, but as far as baseball card websites go, there aren't many, if any, that rank any higher.

This whole series of epiphanies happened about 10 days ago. I was on a mini-high. I never knew I was so well positioned. Woohoo. I found myself searching those keywords and checking that page rank every day. WooHoo... Still looking good. Granted I had gone four years without giving it a thought, but here, now, it was on my mind all the time.

Then: Tragedy! Google apparently updates their page ranks every few months. They did so in the last few days. We went from Page Rank 3 (sweet) to Page Rank 0 (eeGads) I had a mini-meltdown. The sky was falling.

I have no idea how Page Rank is calculated, or really what it even means. 3 weeks ago they could have bumped me down and I wouldn't have noticed or cared. I don't think it affects business (because we are still #1 for the above keywords). Really, I don't know if the Page Rank matters at all. But it sure did depress me seeing that big fat ZERO.

So.. thanks Google. Your metric that apparently has no bearing on search rankings, and isn't going to affect my business one iota has put me in a depression for reasons I can't quite explain. Jerk.

I'll forgive you tomorrow when I look at my google analytics and see all those visitors you sent. I can never stay mad at you long.

So I looked up how Page Rank is calculated, and though it is patented, it still seems to be cloaked in mystery. In any event, links from other websites factor in greatly. I have been ignoring link requests for four years. Again, didn't seem very important. Apparently others are more aware than I am.

So, here is my call. You have a website tangentally related to baseball cards? Baseball? Curling? Pretty Ladies? (okay, maybe not the pretty ladies, unless its, you know.. "tasteful") Send me an email ( and I'll link to you at

Labels: , ,

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Card O' The Day (or every third day) - 1982 Topps 134 Dan Ford

Card 'O The Day Volume 4: 1982 Topps #134 Dan Ford.

1982 Topps:

1982 was the first year the Topps set contained 792 cards. This was a staple throughout my childhood. Honestly, as a kid I thought Donruss and Fleer were a bunch of hacks because their sets had 660 cards, instead of the required 792. The big card is obviously the Ripken Rookie card.. As a Ripken fan growing up the 82 Traded Ripken was the pinnacle of cards. If there was a card I dreamed of owning, but was certain I never would, it was that traded Ripken. My dad bought one when I was 8. That was when I was certain he was rich and lying to me about the whole money doesn't grow on trees thing.
There aren't any other really significant cards in the set, Terry Francona, Dave Righetti, and Lee Smith Rookie cards, and a Pascual Perez error card that doesn't show his position on the front of the card (I've never had one of these to sell, and they are fairly rare, but not impossible to find)

Dan Ford:

Dan played outfield for 11 seasons split between the Twins, Angels and Orioles. He retired after the 1985 season. His nickname was Disco. He wasn't a bad hitter. He hit 20 homeruns twice and cracked 100 RBI's once. His average hovered around .270 most of his career. I know these days we scoff at 20 homeruns and a .270 batting average, but those were respectable numbers in the early 80's. Dan hit for the cycle in 1979, and homered in the World Series for the Orioles in 1983 (man, its really been that long).

It's hard to find out where Dan is now. In 1991 he worked in the "speakers bureau" of the then Anaheim (or California, or whatever they were) Angels. If anyone knows anything more about Dan Ford let us know and we'll update this post.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Rick Monday's Top Play Nominee

I had seen this video before, but only the clip itself. This little production was done by MLB when the clip was named one of the greatest moments in MLB history. This isn't at all card related but I liked it. (perhaps they could redo it without the cheesy background music?)

Labels: , ,

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Card O' The Day (or every third day) - 2001 Topps Limited 125 Ken Caminiti

Card 'O The Day volume 3. 2001 Topps Limited #125 Ken Caminiti. The random number generator still hasn't spit out a really nice card yet.. Maybe I should start fudging the numbers a bit?

2001 Topps Limited:

Topps returned to making the limited edition or "Tiffany" sets in 2000. It only lasted through 2002. Honestly I'm not sure why they stopped. Maybe it wasn't very popular. I always liked it. The cards are on thicker stock than the standard 2001 Topps and have a high gloss finish. Sadly though the high gloss finish seems to break down over time, particularly if they weren't stored in a climate controlled area. The cards were only released in complete set form in a nice cherry finished box with a metallic Topps faceplate. Each box was individually numbered. (the cards are not numbered.) There were only 3,805 sets made. Commons in the set book at $1.

Ken Caminiti:

Ken Caminiti was a star in the 90's. He played 15 seasons and was the NL MVP in 1996. He ended his career in 2001 with 239 home runs and 983 RBIs.

Caminiti was the first baseball player to publicly admit to steroid use. In 2002 he admitted to using steroids for much of the latter part of his career including his 1996 MVP season.

Caminiti had problems with drugs and alcohol. He died of a drug induced heart attack in 2004.

Labels: , ,

Figuring out Topps Heritage

2008 Topps Heritage is out, and its got some variations and SP's that need elaboration.

There are 75 Short Prints in the set. Short prints were seeded 1 in 3 packs. Here's the list:

11 Luke Scott
231 Kevin Gregg
315 Jacque Jones
381 Casey Blake
409 Jon Lester
426 Kyle Lohse
427 Doug Davis
428 Ian Snell/Matt Capps/Tom Gorzelanny/Paul Maholm
429 Miguel Batista
430 Chien-Ming Wang
431 Jeff Salazar
432 Yadier Molina
433 Adam Wainwright
434 Scott Kazmir
435 Adam Dunn
436 Ryan Freel
437 Jhonny Peralta
438 Kazuo Matsui
441 Emil Brown
442 Gary Sheffield
443 Jake Peavy
444 Scott Rolen
445 Kason Gabbard
446 Aaron Hill
447 Felipe Lopez
448 Dan Uggla
449 Willy Taveras
450 Chipper Jones
451 Josh Anderson
452 Chris Young/Justin Upton/Eric Byrnes
453 Braden Looper
454 Brandon Inge
455 Brian Giles
456 Corey Patterson
457 Los Angeles Dodgers
458 Sean Casey
459 Pedro Feliz
461 Chone Figgins
462 Kyle Kendrick
463 Tony Pena
464 Marcus Giles
465 Augie Ojeda
466 Micah Owings
467 Ryan Theriot
468 Shawn Green
469 Frank Thomas
470 Lenny DiNardo
471 Jose Bautista
472 Manny Corpas
473 Kevin Millwood
474 Kevin Youkilis
475 Jose Contreras
477 Julio Lugo
479 Tony LaRussa
480 Jim Leyland
481 Derrek Lee
482 Justin Morneau
483 Orlando Hudson
484 Brian Roberts
485 Miguel Cabrera
486 Mike Lowell
487 J.J. Hardy
488 Carlos Guillen
489 Ken Griffey Jr.
490 Vladimir Guerrero
491 Alfonso Soriano
492 Ichiro
493 Matt Holliday
494 Magglio Ordonez
495 Brian McCann
496 Victor Martinez
497 Brad Penny
498 Josh Beckett
499 Cole Hamels
500 Justin Verlander

Beyond the standard short prints there are 110 cards that also have a black back variation. Here's that list:

2 Placido Polanco
3 Eric Byrnes
5 Javier Vazquez
7 Joey Gathright
8 Philadelphia Phillies
9 Andre Ethier
12 Curt Schilling
13 Billy Wagner
14 Gary Matthews
16 Ichiro
18 Dontrelle Willis
21 Troy Tulowitzki
22 Brian Fuentes
23 Robinson Cano
24 Felix Hernandez
28 Ivan Rodriguez
34 Magglio Ordonez/Curtis Granderson
35 Adam LaRoche
40 Tim Hudson
41 Kelvim Escobar
42 Jason Jennings
45 Chris Ray
49 Bill Hall
52 Omar Vizquel
54 Justin Upton
57 Brad Lidge
58 Paul Lo Duca
60 Andy Pettitte
61 Brendan Harris
62 Chris Young
65 Jason Giambi
67 Rich Hill
69 San Francisco Giants
71 Trevor Hoffman
78 Josh Hamilton
79 Mark Loretta
81 Torii Hunter
82 Carlos Beltran
83 Jason Isringhausen
84 Brad Penny
90 Hideki Matsui
91 Matt Garza
92 Phil Hughes
94 Chicago White Sox
98 Jon Garland
102 Moises Alou
116 Wladimir Balentien
117 Daric Barton
122 Ross Detwiler
126 Dan Giese
127 Alberto Gonzalez
129 Luke Hochevar
130 Chin-Lung Hu
135 Mitch Stetter
150 Albert Pujols
155 Johnny Damon
173 Ronny Paulino
174 Mike Cameron
175 Jeff Weaver
176 Preston Wilson
177 Robinson Tejeda
178 Adam Lind
179 Austin Kearns
180 Jorge Posada
185 Brad Hawpe
186 Rickie Weeks
187 Carlos Silva
195 Carlos Quentin
196 Jose Valverde
197 Derrek Lee
198 Jerry Owens
210 J.J. Putz
211 Mike Sweeney
224 David Wright
225 Pedro Martinez
226 Rich Harden
227 Shane Victorino
228 Andrew Miller
262 Chad Billingsley/Derek Lowe/Brad Penny
263 Melky Cabrera
264 Shannon Stewart
265 Aaron Rowand
266 Matt Morris
267 Xavier Nady
283 Miguel Cabrera
284 Luis Gonzalez
285 Chad Billingsley
286 Tony Gwynn
291 Matt Chico/Jason Bergmann
301 Ronnie Belliard
321 Randy Winn
322 Richie Sexson
323 Juan Encarnacion
324 Rick Ankiel
325 Dan Wheeler
330 Ty Wigginton
332 Howie Kendrick
333 Kevin Kouzmanoff
334 Matt Holliday
335 Brandon Phillips
336 Ian Kinsler
337 Lyle Overbay
338 Justin Verlander
347 Chuck James
350 Jimmy Rollins
360 Magglio Ordonez
370 Justin Verlander
371 Pedro Martinez
372 Ryan Howard
415 Freddy Sanchez

Here's where it gets tricky. The green back version of all cards that have a black back variation are "semi" short printed. The entire run of cards combining black and green backs equals the entire run of green backs for those cards in which there is no black variation. (basically: instead of making black backs in addition to the green, they replaced some of the green) So, if a card is listed as having a black back variation there are fewer of the green backs produced. While not as hard to find as the true SP's, these green backs are harder to find than the standard green backs.

This green/black issue is apparently causing some chaos on ebay. There was a TON of pre-selling of master sets, base sets, etc, on ebay in the weeks up to the release. Now there is a lot of arguing over what is included in the base set with the buyers wanting the green-back variants included in the base set, and sellers insisting they are SP's and are not included. My take is that the base set is the 315 green backs in which there are no black back variations. Lesson to be learned: Never sell Heritage sets until you know what is in the set. Topps can be tricky with this one.

Other oddities and minutia:

There are two Jerry Owens cards in the set. #198 and #310. Neither is a short print. Not sure what happened there.

There are two versions of the Johan Santana card. The base version is a Twins card. There is an incredibly hard to find Mets version. The Mets version, because it is so hard to find is not part of a complete set, even one advertised as including SPs.

There are two versions of the John Smoltz #440. One spelled John, the other spelled Jon. The card also shows him with his glove on the wrong hand. This is to parallel card #440 in the 1959 Topps set in which Lew Burdette tricked the Topps photographers by wearing Warran Spahn's glove. Topps also mispelled Lew's first name as "Lou". The "Jon" version is very hard to find.

David Wright Dick Perez sketch. I don't know much about this one yet, but there has been one completed Ebay Auction. ($99) It's a David Wright card done by Dick Perez. This has to be one of the rarest cards in the product. It's a stinking wal-mart exclusive. I hate Wal-Mart Exclusives. (thank you commentor) Its not listed on sell sheets, checklists, Beckett.

I'll post more as I find out about them.

Edit: Apparently some people are displeased with these hard to find variations.