Topps Project 2020 – Iconic Baseball Cards Get An Artistic Twist

Have you checked out the latest online exclusive offering from Topps?  The Topps Project 2020 has (20) artists giving their artistic spin on (20) iconic Topps baseball cards.  Cards receiving this treatment range from the Jackie Robinson 1952 Topps #312 all the way up to the Mike Trout 2011 Topps Update RC #US175.  Lots of other classic cards in between.

When it is all said and done, the set will contain (400) cards.  Monday through Friday two new cards will go up for sale each day for 48 hours on the Topps website.  Regular cards cost $19.99 each, while Silver-Framed Artist Proofs #’ed/20 cost $99.99 each.  Gold-Framed Artist Proofs #’ed 1/1 are sent out at random with orders.

Creative, alternative, eye-catching new takes on well-known baseball cards really gets collectors talking.  I’m glad to see Topps taking risks like this.  Things like this need to happen in order to move the hobby forward.

One thing is for certain.  The Topps Project 2020 cards make for an interesting conversation piece.

Leaf’s Little Packers Project – 2012 Vince Lombardi Collection

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In early 2012 Leaf plans to release a product entitled Vince Lombardi Collection.  It will be much like their ’11 Pete Rose Legacy, but instead the majority of the cards will be geared towards the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers are one of the most established and distinguished football franchises in history.  Being founded in 1919 there is almost 100 years of history to cover.  There are a lot of players and events to cover over that time period, most notably their 13 World Championships.

According to Leaf, they have 80% of the autographs needed.  Leaf was able to get a bunch while they were in Chicago for the Sun Times Show.  Collectors will be able to look for rare inscriptions.  The Packers are 10-0 so far and Aaron Rodges can do no wrong.  He is truly playing like a gridiron god.  If the Packers keep this pace and go all the way, Leaf could score big with a product like this.  I think Leaf will score big anyway, but having the Packers win the Super Bowl couldn’t hurt.

Today’s Little Card Project

This morning I awoke and had the urge to sort through some of my cards.  For awhile I’ve been wanting to pull out all the cards that pertain to individuals and events that help shape certain sports and The Hobby.  Luckily for me, I have some kind of mutant power that enables me to remember where specific cards are stored.

I created an entire new album called “Pioneers & Card History”.  Most of the cards that fill this album come from products like ’09 Obak, but there are a few Legendary Cuts floating around.  I’m only two cards shy of all the base “Game Changers” that were part of TRISTAR’s Obak set last year.  The ones I’m missing are Jack Norworth who wrote the song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and William “Dummy” Hoy.  The Hoy cards from that product are extremely popular.  You can’t even find one base card up for sale.

Obak is really an underrated product.  In a lot of cases it features the first cards of people that helped shape the game of baseball.  TRISTAR plans to bring back Obak later this year.  Collectors can already find Obak update cards in 2010 Pursuit like Ernest Thayer (Casey at the Bat) and John Montgomery Ward (1st professional sports player’s union).  Other products may feature cards of people like Derek Jeter, Babe Ruth, and the hottest rookies coming through the pipeline, but Obak fills in the holes of people that have very few cards.  Of all the cards in this little collection, the rarest one would have to be the Alexander Cartwright ’09 A&G Silk #’ed/10.  I would love to have seen the Lena Blackburne cut signature from ’09 Obak.

I look forward to seeing who else will be included in the 2010 Obak set.  If anyone deserves a card, its Jefferson Burdick.  Obak sure would be the set for him to appear in.

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2008 Topps Allen & Ginter – A Statistical Approach

This summer I took a statistics course at my college.  In fact, when this blog gets posted I will be in the middle of my final exam.  For this class I had to do a project that involved testing something with what we have learned.  I decided to test whether or not 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball boxes really contain more than two “hits” per box on average.  Below you will find my paper that I wrote.  Right now I have a B+ in the class.  I might squeeze out a low A if I do really well with this project and final exam.

 

Introduction:

 

Sports card collecting is a major hobby in today’s society.  Even in this high tech world of gadgets and video games people still have the urge to crack open a pack of baseball cards hoping to find one of their favorite players.  Overtime the hobby has changed very much.  Today you can open up a pack and find cards that contain actual pieces of memorabilia (bat, jersey, pants) that a player used in a major league game.  In addition to memorabilia you can also pull out autographs, original vintage cards, and the actual printing plates that are used to make the cards.  The Topps Company is one of the biggest suppliers of baseball cards in the industry and in recent years they have introduced a product called Allen & Ginter.  This product is modeled after the 1887 set that was the first set of cards actually created for collecting instead of just finding them inserted into packs of cigarettes.  This year, Topps released its 2008 version of this specific product.  On the side of the product, the Topps Company states that you will receive two “hits” per box on average.  A “hit” can be defined as an autograph, memorabilia, printing plate, rip card, or any serial numbered cards that are numbered to only one in the entire world.  Topps introduced the world to the “rip card” back in 2006, which is a card that you tear open and inside there will be a special mini card.  Rip cards come one in every twelve box case.  Another potential hit would be what Topps calls a silk card.  These are small baseball cards made of silk and there are only ten of those per player.  Since this product has been released, many people have said that their boxes have contained more than two hits.  In this study, I will attempt to figure out if the average is really more than two per box. 

 

Method/Procedure/Instruments:

 

             This study consisted of 33 random samples ranging from long time collectors all the way to fairly new collectors that were trying out this product for the first time.  After witnessing a number of these boxes opened and seeing that collectors were receiving more than two “hits” per box, a survey was conducted to see if two “hits” per box was incorrect.  Along with asking how many “hits” they received, they were also asked what kind of “hits” they got.  The “hits” were broken down into six different categories: memorabilia, autograph, printing plate, rip card, 1/1, and silk insert. 

 

Statistical Analysis:

            The statistical analysis will be using a t-distribution test because this is a real life situation in which we do not know what the actual standard deviation will be without calculation.  The 33 random samples contained a mean of 3.091 “hits” per box, and a standard deviation of 1.071.  The Topps Company states that there is an average of “two” hits per box.  As you can see from the 33 random samples the mean is higher.

Descriptive Statistics: Hits Per Box

 

Variable       N  N*   Mean  SE Mean  StDev  Minimum     Q1  Median     Q3

Hits Per Box  33   0  3.091    0.186  1.071    1.000  2.000   3.000  4.000

 

Variable      Maximum

Hits Per Box    5.000

 

            Using Minitab, and running a t-distribution with a 99% confidence interval, you can see that the Ho = 2.  The distribution provides me with a p-value of 0.0000008.

 

 

One-Sample T: Hits Per Box

 

Test of mu = 2 vs > 2

 

 

                                         99% Lower

Variable       N   Mean  StDev  SE Mean      Bound     T      P

Hits Per Box  33  3.091  1.071    0.186      2.634  5.85  0.000

The above histogram shows you were the mu is in relation with the rest of the sample based on the 99% t-confidence interval for the mean.  When comparing the p-value to the alpha (0.0000008 < .01), you can see that the p-value is much lower.  Since the p-value is lower than the alpha, I can reject the Ho hypothesis and say that there is good evidence that the average is more than two “hits” per box.  To support my claim that the average is not two, below you will find Minitab output that produced a t-distribution asking whether or not the mu was two or not.

 

 

One-Sample T: Hits Per Box

 

Test of mu = 2 vs not = 2

 

 

Variable       N   Mean  StDev  SE Mean      99% CI         T      P

Hits Per Box  33  3.091  1.071    0.186  (2.580, 3.602)  5.85  0.000

 

As you can see, the 99% confidence interval ranges from (2.580 – 3.602).  Since zero is not between those two numbers, that gives me another reason to reject the Ho.

            Out of the 33 random samples, there was a total of 102 “hits”.  Most of the “hits” that collectors were pulling were additional memorabilia cards.  87 of the 102 “hits” were memorabilia cards. That is 85% of the “hits” pulled from their boxes.  Autographed cards came is second, with 9%.   

 

Conclusion:

            After obtaining data from the 33 samples, I statistically found evidence that The Topps Company has inserted more than two “hits” per box.  It seems that the average collector is pulling three “hits” per box.  Due to the p-value being smaller than the alpha you can reject Ho.  When doing another t-distribution to see if two was equal to the mu or not, I obtained an interval that did not contain zero.  That is another reason to reject Ho = 2.  In my research, I believe that the average is not two “hits” per box, but three.  Most of the time, that extra “hit” will be a memorabilia card.