Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Worst Card(s) of 2013

I have registered several posts so far this fall about my dislike for the Topps Update set and have had a variety of reasons for my negative opinion.  The most annoying thing about the Update set this year is the fact that there are almost too many varitation cards to count, but I suppose if you are going to go bad why not go for it with some gusto.

I liken the 2013 Topps Update set to the 2013 Houston Astros.  Sure, the Astros could have gone out and filled their roster with older free agents and players on one year deal, but they would have had a record of 70-92 instead of 51-111.  Topps could have just rolled out the usual Topps Update set with a few season highlights cards, thrown in a few All-Stars, and some players who were traded or free agent signings along the way.  BAM! You've got a Topps Update set.  If I had a piece of paper, an IPhone, and a Yuengling I could figure the set checklist out in twenty minutes.

Really, I have harped and bashed the set enough.  Let's get down to bashing two cards which have zero businesses being in the set.  ZERO.  Both of these cards are really bad, but one is slightly worse than the other.  It could really be a 1 and 1a scenario.  So, let's look at card number 1.

2013 Topps Update Daniel Bard 

 This card has so much going against it.  Let's just start with this: Daniel Bard is not on the Red Sox anymore, he's on the Chicago Cubs.  I understand that he was not released and claimed by the Cubs until early September, but that was almost 90 days before the set hit the shelves.  I understand that to some degree Topps probably had Bard on the original checklist and could not pull him before the cards were printed.  Fair enough, right?

Well, actually Bard had not been on the Red Sox since a relief appearance in late April.  That appearance was his second, and last, of the season with the Red Sox.  Was Bard hurt?  No.  He just completely lost what ever it was that he had and spent the season wandering around the Red Sox minor league system.  Nothing higher than Double A.

So why is Daniel Bard in the Topps Update Set?  I have absolutely no idea, but for a guy to appear for two games in April, disappear for an entire summer to the low minors, and end up in an Update set is a complete head scratcher.  Baffling.    It's not like Topps didn't have some other options to put into Bard's place in the set.  David Ross and Brandon Workman were two Red Sox players who had zero Topps cards during the 2013 season, but were key contributors to the team.  Why not include them instead of Bard?

2013 Topps Update Ty Wigginton

Wigginton is much the same as Bard.  If Wigginton had appeared on a baseball card earlier in the summer he would not be on this post.  The fact that he was a terrible player who was released in the middle of the summer and appeared on his first baseball card of the year six months after he was released makes this card terrible.  Wigginton made 63 plate appearance for the Cardinals after signing a two year contract with the team last winter.  In his 63 plate appearances he posted a .158 batting average and struck out 19 times.  The Cardinals sent him packing on July 9th.  On October 16th Topps released the Update set complete with Wigginton card.  Disastrous. 

Just like the Bard card, again, Topps has other options to put in place of Wigginton.  Shane Robinson appeared in almost 100 games for the team and has no Topps card this year.  Tony Cruz appeared in 54 games and has been on the team for three years.  No Topps cards ever.  Seth Maness appeared in 66 games and Kevin Siegrist appeared in 45 games as relief pitchers.  No cards.

Really the two worst cards for Topps this year were completely preventable with better planning and research on the part of the company.  I understand that both Wigginton and Bard have been apart of past Topps sets and have deserved have their moment on cardboard, but it's hard to argue for their inclusion in an end of the year set when both were basically out of the Majors after July.  Bard is clearly the worse of the two evils here, but Wigginton is not far away, especially given that Topps had more replacement options with if they just wanted a Cardinals player.  Quality control always seems to be their downfall.

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