A place where Colorado Rockies baseball card collectors (all 3 of us) can waste some time reading about our favorite sport. The Rockies and their cards will be the primary focus, but I like to go off on tangents as well so anything and everything baseball related may be covered here.

Friday, January 30, 2015

2014 Quarry Unlimited - The Grand Finale

Usually the third part of a trilogy is by far the worst.  Return of the Jedi, The Matrix Revolutions, The Godfather Part III, The Dark Knight Returns, Spider Man 3, X Men The Last Stand, and many, many other have proven this to be true.  However on occasion you get the likes of Revenge of the Sith, LOTR: Return of the King, and Toy Story 3.  In those cases the third part of a trilogy is equal to or even far superior to the first two installments.  I would like to think that the 2014 Quarry Unlimited set is closer to the second group than the first.  Although I am very proud of my first two sets, I feel I did my best work with this year's set.  I hope you have enjoyed the third year of the Quarry Unlimited set.  Before I put this year's set into the archives, let's take a look at the best cards from the set, as voted by you.  For the first time, we have a tie for first place which will bring out the tiebreaker.  As in past years, let's take a look at every card which got 3 or more votes.

3 votes

4 votes

5 votes

 6 votes

8 votes

I mentioned when I listed the nominees for you to vote on that I would not be listing my personal top 10.  I had two reasons for that.  First, I didn't want to influence anyone's votes either positively or negatively.  Second, and most importantly, I needed some kind of tiebreaker.  I made my top ten, in order, before the voting started.  Whichever card ended up higher on that list is going to be crowned, Best Card of the Set for 2014.  Like Mel Brooks famously said, "It's good to be the king."

Without further adieu.


 My top ten was as follows
1. L.J. Hoes
2. Mike Aviles
3. David Price
4. Roman Mendez
5. Jason Rogers
6. Allen Craig
7. Devin Mesoraco AS
8. Reid Brignac
9. Starling Marte
10. Darwin Barney

This is actually the first time in the three sets that my personal #1 and the voters #1 were in agreement.  Some of you mentioned how difficult it was to narrow it down to 10, and I fully agree.  There were at least 10-15 others that I could have made an argument for being included in my top 10.  In fact, 35 of the 42 cards got at least 1 vote.  My final cut was Hanley Ramirez who was one of the seven that didn't get a single vote.  To me that gives an indication there were far more great cards this year than in other years.  Just a fantastic group. 

In 2012, the Royals were easily the Best Team of the Set.  In 2013, the Phillies were even more easily the Best Team of the Set.  2014 was no so easy.  The top 16 cards represented 16 different teams.  The highest wild cards actually finished with a higher vote total than the #1 card from their team, so it really was difficult to pick a best team set.  In the end, I just have to go with my first instinct and award the 2014 Best Team of the Set to the Cleveland Indians with the Mets a very close second.

I had a blast once again doing this even though the amount of time put into this project is just crazy.  In fact, I had so much fun with this set in 2014 that I will not be hedging at all.  Barring unforeseen circumstances, there will DEFINITELY be a 2015 Quarry Unlimited set.  I already have a set in mind and, as with past years, I will go ahead and showcase a blank template as a teaser.

The 2015 Quarry Unlimited set will be based on 1976 Hostess.  Don't you just love the cut marks on the edges?  Like other sets, there will be a couple of slight changes.  The "patriotic" color scheme, which worked really well for the Bicentennial, will be replaced by a team color palette.  The other change will be less noticeable.  I will be resizing the card to the standard size as opposed to the original smaller panels.  Who knows?  I may even try to do a little bit of three panel work as well. 

Thank you guys so much for making this a wholly enjoyable project once again. 

Thanx for reading.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2014 Quarry Unlimited - The Recap Part 2

Don't forget to vote for your top 10 cards in the 2014 Quarry Unlimited set.  Check out the nominees here.

I hope you guys have enjoyed this year's offering of the Quarry Unlimited set.  I think it is my best effort thus far, but I am still proud of my previous 2 years as well.  I figured after 3 years I might start getting burned out custom cards, especially with doing over nearly 5000 total cards, but it hasn't happened yet.  I'm thinking about doing a 2015 Quarry Unlimited set as well just so I can match Topps Total in longevity.  But before we think about that, let's take a look at some trivia about the 2014 Quarry Unlimited set.

First player alphabetically
Fernando Abad (David Aardsma in 2013)

Final player alphabetically 
Mike Zunino (Mike Zunino in 2013)

Team with the most cards
Texas Rangers - 64  (Yankees and Cubs - 57 in 2013)

Team with the fewest cards 
Atlanta Braves - 39 (Tigers and Reds - 40 in 2013)

Team with the most players in first year with the franchise
Texas Rangers - 40 (Cubs - 35 in 2013)

Team with the fewest players in first year with the franchise
Milwaukee Brewers - 13 (Tigers - 9 in 2013)

Best border color by team (my opinion)
Blue - 7;  Yellow - 6; Green - 5; Red - 5; Purple - 5; Orange - 2

Worst border color by team (my opinion)
Orange - 9; Green - 7; Red - 4; Yellow - 4; Purple - 3; Blue - 3

Border color of the #1 card per team(my opinion)
Red - 9; Blue - 8; Purple - 7; Orange - 3; Green - 2; Yellow -1

Total # of player cards in this set
1432  (46 less than 2013)

Total # of cards including subsets in this set

Total # of unique players appearing in this set
1325  (21 more than 2013)

Total # of players appearing with multiple teams
107  (9 more than 2013)

Total number of players appearing on 3 or more teams
6  (same as 2012 and 2013)

Six players appeared in games for three different franchises in 2014.  Here they are in chronological order of appearance.

As with every multiple appearance by a player, I made sure each border color was different for each team.  There are a couple of interesting facts about these cards as well.  Jerome Williams became the first pitcher to ever get a win against the same team (Oakland) with three different franchises in the same season.  Cool fact, but the next one is even more interesting to me.  Kelly Johnson appeared for three AL East teams in 2014 after appearing for the other two AL East teams in 2012 and 2013.  So he appeared in games for all 5 AL East teams in two seasons.  Here is Johnson in his other two uniforms from 2012 and 2013 Quarry Unlimited along with his three 2014 cards.

Other than Steve Finley in the NL West, can you think of any other players that have been a part of all 5 teams in a single division?

Total # of players sharing the same name
12   (2 more pairs than in 2013)

There are 6 pairs of same names in this year's set, but interestingly only 1 of them was also in 2013.  1 pair was in 2012 and 1/2 of one pair was in 2013.  We also had a manager/player pairing for the first time since 2012.

The David Carpenters are the only pair that have each appeared in all 3 Quarry Unlimited sets.  The Chris Youngs make a reappearance after Chris R. Young made a nice comeback from missing the 2013 season.  Chris B. Young is the only player to switch teams this year going from the Mets to Yankees in mid season.  The Jose Ramirezes should be fairly simple to tell apart just because one is a pitcher and one is a position player.  The Michael Taylors are both prospect outfielders, Michael D. Taylor of the White Sox is probably better known because he has also played three years for the A's in his career and was involved in the Roy Halladay trade a few years back.  Michael A. Taylor is the rookie from the Nationals.  The Bryan Prices are the first manager/player combo since the Brad Mills combo of the then Astros manager and the Angels reliever in 2012.

Finally, we come to the clusterfuck that is Miguel Gonzalez.  Miguel Gonzalez of the Orioles appeared in the same name category in 2013 as well, but with a different partner.  Last season Miguel Angel Gonzalez of the Orioles was paired with Miguel Antonio Gonzalez of the White Sox.  Antonio did not make it back to the majors in 2014 though.  However, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez of the Phillies did.  So not only are all three players named Miguel Gonzalez, but all three share the same middle initial of A.  I really hope two of them pull a Giancarlo Stanton and start going by a different name in 2015.

Total # of Rookie Prospects cards in 2014

Total # of RPs traded during the 2014 offseason (as of 1/28/15)

This is one that I found somewhat amusing considering how much prospects are thought of nowadays.  Here is the list of RPs and their new homes.

Chris Bassitt - New Team - A's
traded in the Jeff Samardzija deal

Anthony DeSclafani - New Team - Reds
traded in the Mat Latos deal

Mike Foltynewicz - New Team - Braves
traded in the Evan Gattis deal

Kendall Graveman - New Team - A's
traded in the Josh Donaldson deal

Jace Peterson - New Team - Braves
traded in the Justin Upton deal

Anthony Ranaudo - New Team - Rangers
traded for Robbie Ross

Robbie Ray - New Team - Diamondbacks
traded in the Didi Gregorius 3 way deal

Chasen Shreve - New Team - Yankees
traded in the Manny Banuelos deal

Steven Souza - New Team - Rays
traded in the Wil Myers 3 way deal

Nick Tropeano - New Team - Angels
traded in the Hank Conger deal

Andrew Heaney - New Team - Angels
first traded to the Dodgers in the Dee Gordon deal,  then traded in the Howie Kendrick deal

Team write ups with the most pageviews
1. Toronto Blue Jays Part 1
2. Toronto Blue Jays Part 2
3. (tie) Houston Astros Part 2 and St. Louis Cardinals Part 1

Team write ups with the fewest pageviews
1. Arizona Diamondbacks Part 2
2. Arizona Diamondbacks Part 1
3. Boston Red Sox Part 2

I always find the pageview stats fascinating.  The Diamondbacks can probably be easily explained since they were the final team posted and the Red Sox were not that far behind.  The Blue Jays success is a bit more puzzling unless I have finally made an impact in Canada after all these years.  Woohoo!

Number of big screw ups while presenting this year's set

Or at least none that were pointed out at least.  I have been ending this recap with an acknowledgement of a screw up.  In 2012 I forgot to include Don Mattingly in the Dodgers team set.  In 2013 I had to make a corrected Daniel Nava card because my original was an error that actually pictured Dustin Pedroia.  This year, no major screw ups.  That makes me happy.

Tomorrow evening I will post an index of teams.  Friday is the Grand Finale.  Don't forget to vote for your favorites if you haven't already.

Thanx for reading.