2013 Topps Five Star Baseball Preview

It’s been awhile since Topps released a preview of an upcoming product, at least it does seem that way. There was a glut of releases just over a month ago and since then nothing – not a thing! And, out of the blue, this week Topps comes out swinging for the fences with an early look at 2013 Five Star Baseball.

Last years ridiculously high-end product is back and is looking, well, very similar to last years from the looks of things – albeit with a slightly different colour scheme, it has to be said!!

There’s not a lot I can really say about Five Star Baseball – it’s not really for me but the cards look pretty nice, it’s absolutely loaded with hits (in fact pretty much every card is a hit), and it will probably sell by the bucket load to collectors who love this type of product.

Take a look at the sell sheet right here to make your own mind up!

Hopefully Topps will have addressed the chipping issues that plagued last year’s Five Star Baseball, and if they do then they’ll have a bona fide smash on their hands, irrespective of the high price tag attached!

I’d sooner pick up a few singles myself if there are any that take my fancy, but overall (and as with last year’s release) I’ll probably ended up admiring Five Star Baseball from afar!!

Finding A Home For Rick Ferrell

If you’ve read my recent posts concerning the Gypsy Queen box breaks I took part in with Kidder Cards then you’ll know I purchased two team ‘slots’ as part of the break – the Orioles and the Cardinals!

And obviously you’ll already know that I did pretty well out of them 🙂

However there was one particular card that I particularly enjoyed getting my hands on, and that was of the old St Louis Browns catcher (and SP), Rick Ferrell!

However there was something that struck me as a bit odd about the card, and that something is only apparent when you look at the back –

You see, Topps has lumped Ferrell in as part of the St Louis Cardinals team set, which on the surface doesn’t seem that unreasonable. However if you take a look at the history of the St Louis Browns (particularly the Browns team that Rick Ferrell played for between 1929-33 and again from 1941-43) then things start to look a bit different.


The St Louis Brown Stockings began life in 1875 in the old National Association and then became a charter member of the National League in 1876. However they were expelled from the NL after the 1877 season due to a game-fixing scandal and the team went bankrupt. They continued as a barnstorming team until 1882 when they joined the newly formed American Association, a league set up to rival the NL.

The team shortened their name to the Browns and became the most dominant team in the AA over the following years until 1891, when the AA went bankrupt and the Browns rejoined the NL. What followed were several years of abject mediocrity culminating in a ballpark fire in 1898. The lawsuits following the fire saw the sale of the club and in 1899 the NL Board of Directors announced the expulsion and disorganization of the old St Louis club and the acceptance of a new St Louis ball club which had previously played as the St Louis Perfectos in 1899. They then changed their name in 1900 to the St Louis Cardinals (whom you might have heard of) and no connection to the old St Louis Browns existed anymore.

Now here’s where it gets interesting.

In 1902 an American League team, the Milwaukee Brewers, moved to St Louis and changed its name to the St Louis Browns, filling the vacuum left by the old Browns, and even building a new ballpark on the site of the old Browns’ former home. In their first two decades they were an incredibly popular team, even beating the Cardinals in terms of attendance at the gate.

During this period it should be noted that a certain Branch Rickey (better known these days as Harrison Ford) made his MLB debut for the Browns in 1905. Although he struggled as a ballplayer Rickey went back to college where he learned about administration, returning to the majors (and the Browns) in 1913 where he started a successful career as a manager and an executive.

After the First World War Rickey joined the cross-town Cardinals and history reminds us of the success that the Cardinals franchise was to become over the following decades, dominating baseball in St Louis, while the Browns slipped towards the cellar!

Rick Ferrell joined the Browns in 1929 and became their full-time catcher the following year. He became one of the best hitting catchers in the league and was purchased by the Red Sox in 1933 during a period of financial difficulty for the Browns. He played for the Red Sox and then the Washington Senators before finding himself back in a Browns uniform between 1941 and 1943. He ended his career in 1947, once more a member of the Washington Senators!


OK, I hear you all ask! What’s the big deal about Rick Ferrell and his GQ card?

Well, as I mentioned earlier, Ferrell has been grouped as part of the St Louis team set in this year’s Gypsy Queen set. And since his card depicts him in a Browns uniform it would be hard to argue with this. However in 1951 the Browns were purchased by the former Cleveland Indians owner, Bill Veeck.

Infamous for his notorious stunts and gift for self-promotion, Veeck famously sent Eddie Gaedel, a 3-foot 7-inch, 65-pound midget, to bat as a pinch hitter in August, 1951. When Gaedel stepped to the plate he was wearing a Browns uniform with the number 1/8, and with no strike zone to speak of, Gaedel walked on four straight pitches, as he was ordered not to swing at any pitch.

Veeck intended to drive the Cardinals from St Louis but after an influx of cash from St Louis-based brewery Anheuser-Busch it became apparent to Veeck that the Cardinals weren’t going anywhere, so he decided to uproot the Browns, firstly attempting to return them to Milwaukee, only to have the move blocked by the rest of the league. He then settled on Baltimore and finally moved the team in 1953.

However, unlike other clubs that relocated in the 1950s, retaining their nickname and a sense of continuity with their past (such as the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, New York/San Francisco Giants, Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, and Philadelphia/Kansas City/Oakland Athletics), the St. Louis Browns were renamed the Baltimore Orioles upon their move, implicitly distancing themselves at least somewhat from their history. Even to this day the Orioles rarely make mention of their past as the St Louis Browns.

Yet the continuity is there, which is why I firmly believe that the 2013 Gypsy Queen Rick Ferrell SP actually belongs as part of the Baltimore Orioles team set rather than the St Louis Cardinals team set.

In the grand scheme of things I don’t necessarily think it’s that big of a deal, although it’s always nice to trot out a Baseball history lesson for those of you who weren’t aware of the history of the two teams in question.

Have I made a convincing enough argument to win you over into accepting that Ferrell’s cards in his Browns uniform belong with the Orioles rather than the Cardinals? I know its way too late for the 2013 Gypsy Queen release but maybe it’s something that Topps might consider for any future Ferrell cards!

Kidder Cards Gypsy Queen 3-Box Break – Pt. 2: The Cardinals

Ok then, time I put you out of your collective misery!

I’ve spent a couple of recent posts teasing my recent GQ Box Break from Kidder Cards and alluding to a very nice pull that I was lucky enough to get my hands on through said break!

So, here we finally are!! The big reveal is upon us as I give you – the St Louis Cardinals!

Again, for context, the break involved three unopened boxes of 2013 Topps Gypsy Queen with all cards from the Orioles and the Cardinals coming to me!

Base Cards

28 Base cards containing the whole team set, not including SP cards. This includes two RC of young ace Shelby Miller! Not included in this picture is the base of Enos Slaughter as I originally thought he was a SP so didn’t include him!

Short Prints

Very pleased with these as I managed to get three out of the four SP – Stan Musial, Orlando Cepeda and Rick Ferrell. The only one missing is Adam Wainwright!


As with the O’s break I ended up with three base minis – Cepeda, Lynn and the RC mini of Shelby Miller

Variant Mini

Result!!! Two of my favourite Cardinals of all time – Stan ‘The Man’ and Bob Gibson!


Loads of inserts here!! A couple of Jon Jay ‘Glove Stories’ and Adam Wainwright ‘Dealing Aces’. Then add Ozzie Smith and Lou Brock ‘Sliding Stars’ for a bit of HOF respectability and we’re on to a winner!

Parallels & Mini Parallels

None 😦

But that’s just me being greedy!!

Certified Autograph

Now this is what I’m talking about!!! As I recently started a collection of Cardinals certified autos I couldn’t have been happier with this Matt Adams on-card auto! There are a fair few Cards autos in this set so I was hoping for one out of the three boxes and the break didn’t disappoint!


Well, what can I say? Really pleased with the Cardinals cards and, when added to the Orioles cards, I think I did pretty well out of the break!!

In fact, I’d even go as far to say that…………………..

Oh, wait just there a second!! I’m sure there’s something I’m missing!!

Mmmmm!!! What could it be???

Alright then! There was ONE more card that was pulled as part of the break!

Are you ready for it? You’ll have to scroll down a bit further if you want to find out!!!










Drum roll please!!!!










1 of 1 Yellow Printing Plate

Shelby Miller RC


There we go! Without a doubt my best ever pull, my first 1/1 and a rookie of one of the best young pitching prospects in the game today!!

How lucky am I?


To say I was pretty excited with the Miller plate would simply be emphasising my gift for understatement! I had a smile on my face all day when I woke up the morning after the break and saw that Kidder Cards had tweeted this little beauty!

The thing is now I have an interesting conundrum! As I noted above I collect Cardinals certified autographs, and while I can’t play down the awesomeness of owning this card I can’t help but wonder what it might fetch on eBay and, in turn, what autos I might get my hands on with the profits!

I’m leaning towards selling at the moment as I have my eye on a nice Stan Musial auto! I’ve got to admit that it’s a nice position to be in!

Hope you liked sharing my success with the break and thanks for taking the time to read!

A Great Result From This Side The Pond

You know it’s pretty easy to sit here and write about how collectors in the UK (and the rest of Europe) have the the short end of the stick when it comes to getting hold of loose cards and boxes.

Whether it’s due to high postage charges; sellers who don’t offer overseas shipping; excessive import tax or courier admin charges (or a mixture these problems) – things are pretty much stacked against us and it’s far too easy to bemoan our position in the collecting world! But over time we’ve come to accept our lot, for better or for worse!

Add in the fact that we don’t have anywhere near the availability of product as there is in the US and things look pretty bleak indeed. It’s even worse when we sit and watch all those box break videos on YouTube where all those great cards seemed to be pulled on an all-too regular basis.

But every once in awhile – just occasionally – there’s a story which puts a big smile on my face, and which goes some way (albeit in a very minor capacity) to addressing the balance!

Let me introduce you to Adam Marsden who lives in Derby (only a few miles away from where I live in Nottingham, so we’re virtually neighbours)! Adam recently took part in a 2012 Panini Prizm Baseball box break through Rip Kings and ended up with a really special card #’d/25.

I’ll let the image below tell the story! I don’t think I need to say any more, other than nice one Adam!!! A truly GREAT result!!

‘Nuff said!!

Kidder Cards Gypsy Queen 3-Box Break – Pt. 1: The Orioles

In my last post I promised to give you a breakdown of the cards I got in a recent break with Kidder Cards for Commons 4 Kids!

Ever the man of my word here’s the first of the two teams I chose – the Baltimore Orioles!

Just for context the break involved three unopened boxes of 2013 Topps Gypsy Queen with all cards from the Orioles (and the Cardinals in Pt. 2) coming to yours truly!!

So without further ado, here’s what I got!

Base Cards

27 Base cards which I believe contains a whole team set. There were two Machado RC and a Bundy RC as well. No SP from the Orioles in the set so none to show you here!


Just three minis, including a duplicates of Jim Johnson and an Eddie Murray

Variant Mini

The ‘Iron Man’ himself!! Nice!!!


Two Manny Machado ‘Glove Stories’ and a Dylan Bundy ‘Dealing Aces’. I love that ‘Dealing Aces’ insert and may look at putting the whole set of those together!


Two Blue Paper Bordered parallels of Jim Palmer #’d 027/499 and Brooks Robinson #’d 304/499 – two great Hall of Famers! Very nice cards and straightforward enough set to put together with a bit of trading and digging around. The raised frame/borders do make this parallel stand out and give the card an extra dimension, which is always a plus. The blue is great but I do prefer the ‘Retail Only’ White Paper Bordered parallels!

Mini Parallels

A Manny Machado Black Bordered Mini RC #’d 050/199. A gorgeous little card this and the gold printing on the backs really looks great against the black of the card! And it’s a rookie parallel, which is always nice and makes it a bit more collectible!

Game-Used Relic

A Game-Used Jersey card of Nick Markakis, one of the two guaranteed relics found in each Gypsy Queen box. A great pull!


So, overall not a bad haul for what I paid for the slot. A nice cross-section of different card types and designs and those base cards look fantastic!

I didn’t like 2012 GQ as much as I did the 2011 release and my initial take on the 2013 product was that the brand was going in the wrong direction, but I have to admit how wrong I was. It’s a lovely looking set with the chance to pull some great looking cards – along with a few surprises along the way!

Hold on a sec!! No 1 of 1?!?!

Come back next time for the contents of my St Louis Cardinals break! You won’t be disappointed!!

The Postman Always Rings… Several Times!

I’ve been pretty blessed this week as Chez Bates has been deluged with small jiffy envelopes and packages lovingly delivered by the great British Postie!!

On Monday I received a small package of cards that I’d purchased off eBay, containing 19 of the 25 Rookie cards from 2013 Topps Heritage! I spotted the lot a few days before it was due to end, popped it into my watched items and pounced in at the last minute.

Fortunately for me there was no other interest so I ended up picking up all 19 for $0.99!! Bargain!!!

Here are 16 of the 19 –

To be perfectly honest I’d have been happy enough with all these for just under a dollar, but then when you add these three into the mix the deal becomes just a little bit sweeter –

Very happy with that little selection, and postage was only about $4.00 so a nice haul there at a very reasonable price!!

In case you were wondering, these are the six cards that I need to finish the Rookie set –

#94 Henry Rodriguez/Tony Cingrani RC
#107 Brian Omogrosso/Deunte Heath RC
#201 Manny Machado/Dylan Bundy RC
#226 Steven Lerud/Luis Antonio Jimenez RC
#287 A.J. Ramos/Rob Brantly RC
#398 Jeurys Familia/Collin McHugh RC

If anyone out there has got any of those that they’re happy to part with please let me know and we’ll try and sort something out!!


Tuesday and Wednesday saw two more packages arrive, this time courtesy of the recent 3-Box break of 2013 Gypsy Queen that I took part in through Kidder Cards!

Regular readers might remember me mentioning that this was the first ever organised break that I’d ever gotten involved in and the results were – actually, no, I’ll leave the results for another post which is just around the corner!

I paid for two teams in the 3-Box break, the Baltimore Orioles and the St Louis Cardinals, and I’ve now gotten round to sorting them out and taking some pictures. If you want to find out what I got then you’ll have to come back and see!! Trust me, it’s worth the wait!!

Tell you what, why don’t I give you a little teaser of what to expect –

How’s that grab you??

See you again soon!!!

The 2012 Panini Prizm Baseball Review Hub

There seems to have been a glut of Baseball card products released over the last couple of weeks that’s making the constant and consistent updates of my ‘Review Hubs’ a bit of an uphill task.

So far we’ve had Gypsy Queen and Tribute from Topps, along with Triple Play and (as of yesterday) Prizm Baseball from Panini!!

Despite that I still wanted to get a ‘Hub’ in place for Prizm as I get the feeling this will be a popular one with plenty of folks having a lot to say about it!

So send in any links you have to reviews, whether they’re your own or belonging to another site, and I’ll get them posted below.

Panini America

The Pack Gambler

Cardsmiths Breaks

Atlanta Sports Cards

Sports Card Collectors

The Cardboard Review


The Cards Infinity Video Break (starring Chris Justice)

You don’t really need me to remind you by now but please let me know of any dead links so that I can get rid!


Nice Things In Small Packages

As part of their 2013 Tribute release, Topps sneaked in a ‘little’ little something under the radar to make us autograph fans love the product just a little bit more! But when I say ‘little’ what I actually mean is ‘mini’.

See what I did there?? ‘Little’ as in mini, but also as in ‘mini’?? Anybody???? No?

— sigh — It’s hard work sometimes! Let me explain!

Basically, It looks as if Topps has seeded some special mini autographed cards into Tribute, all #’d/25, of the following players!

  • MT-JM Juan Marichal – Giants
  • MT-KG Ken Griffey Jr. – Mariners
  • MT-MM Manny Machado – Orioles
  • MT-RD R.A. Dickey – Mets
  • MT-YD Yu Darvish – Rangers

These appear to be made from the same card stock and carry the same design as the main cards in the set, but they’re simply minis!

So far on eBay I’ve only seen the Marichal and the Machado materialise! And this is hardly surprising given their scarcity. But I guess I have a question for Topps – Why only five players?

This is a great little idea and has the potential to be a highly popular set, so why limit it to just five players??

And how exactly do these cards appear in the packs? Initially I thought that they’d be loose as they are in Gypsy Queen and Allen & Ginter’s, but after revisiting the original Tribute sell sheet it looks as if they come in one of those plastic frames, as per the relics you find in GQ and A&G. Here’s an image taken directly from the sell sheet (apologies for the size) –

Yet here are the images of the two that are on sale on eBay –

Mmmmm, no sign of that stylised plastic border! So I’m not really sure how these cards are supposed to look straight out of the pack.

As a big fan of mini cards and of autographs this insert set ticks all the right boxes, but I still can’t believe how under-produced it is in terms of the range of players in the set. Five just seems to be too small a number resulting in a bit of a missed opportunity here.

That said, this may well be Topps’ way of testing the water with this new idea for 2013 Tribute, and if it proves to be a hit then maybe next year we’ll see a wider range available!

Nice cards from an even nicer set! Hats off to Topps for the overall design of 2013 Tribute – it’s a real winner!!

The 2013 Topps Tribute Baseball Review Hub

Wow! Products are falling thick and fast at the moment and I’m struggling to keep up 🙂

We’ve got a couple more Topps releases over the coming month but firstly we’ll turn our attention to 2013 Topps Tribute, which hit the stores a few days ago!

Tribute is Topps’ first high-end release of the year and one of my favourites! The cards just look so damn pretty!! However due to the high price point I don’t expect that we’ll be seeing too many reviews of this, but I’ll put this particular ‘Review Hub’ in place just to see what rolls in!

Beckett Media

Sports Card Forum


The Cards Infinity Video Break (starring Chris Justice)

As always, please keep me up to date with any dead links that you might find so that I can remove them!!

The Panini America Quality Control Gallery: 2012 Prizm Baseball (Prizms & Autographs)

Seconds out – Round 2!! After yesterday’s post of some of the base Prizm Baseball cards, Tracy Hackler and Team Panini have now given us a glimpse of what’s to come with the Prizms themselves, along with the autographed cards! And – WOW!! Shiny!! I get the impression that the true gorgeousness of these cards will be apparent when you see them up close – but in the meantime check these images out! Enjoy!!!

The Knight's Lance

2012 Prizm Baseball Prizms Main

If you thought yesterday’s QC coverage of 2012 Prizm Baseball’s base cards and base inserts was a sight to behold, well, you’re right. But that was merely a saliva-starting table-setter for today’s preview of the set’s majestic Prizm parallels (including the base Prizms, Golds and retail-only Greens). The enchanting power of Prizm’s calling-card parallels is on brilliant display in the gallery below, helped immensely by the introduction of several new etched patterns.

Also included in today’s gallery are several of the autograph cards that surfaced during last week’s Quality Control process. Take your sweet time on this Friday morning to soak it all in, and stay tuned to The Knight’s Lance for additional updates on 2012 Prizm Baseball — which releases Wednesday — in the coming days.

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