I've said it over and over again.
Starting this blog was one of the greatest decisions I've ever made.
Now, I can list off a whole bunch of different reasons behind that claim. That's another topic for another post.
However, I will say that becoming a part of the blogosphere has forced me to take a deeper look at my collection as a whole.
These "sunset" cards are a good example of that.
While I've always loved them, I doubt I could've talked about "sunset" cards of guys like Joe Charboneau or Bo Jackson with much depth.
Ever since this theme debuted, though, I've found each respective post to be fairly effortless to write, no matter the player. While that surprised me at first, I guess it showed just how much I love these things. I hope that has come across in my write-ups thus far.
On top of that, I found myself constantly thinking about which players would receive their "sunset" cards in 2012.
I thought Omar Vizquel would receive a cardboard "farewell" at some point last year.
Except for a fairly obscure oddball issue, I was dead wrong about that.
Thanks to a massive oversight on the part of Topps, it looks as though Vizquel's 2011 Topps issue will go down as his true "sunset" card. While it is a terrific piece, his cardboard career will always be a little lacking without that final Blue Jays issue.
Aside from Mr. Vizquel, though, Topps did do a fairly nice job of sending a few terrific ballplayers out with a bang.
While Jamie Moyer hasn't officially announced his retirement yet, I have a feeling that this will go down as his last and final card.
If that indeed becomes the case, then Topps will have definitely honored him with a fantastic send-off. In fact, this came in at number six on my "Ten Best Cards of 2012" list.
The "sunset" quality of it definitely played a role in my ranking.
However, the action shot itself is one of the better ones I saw in 2012. Given the terrific photography that Topps featured during the course of the year, that's saying something.
Plus, Moyer's brief ten-game stint with the Rockies will probably cause it to go down as an "unfamiliar uniform" card in my book.
In the years to come, I think we'll come to see this as one of the more "historic" cards of the decade.
Now, we might be able to say the same about this next card in the coming years...
...but for an entirely different reason.
Like Moyer, I don't think "Manny" has officially announced his retirement yet. But, for all intensive purposes, it looks like his big league days are over.
Here's the funny thing, though.
Ramirez hasn't played in the majors since 2011.
Although he signed with the A's during spring training last year, he never appeared in a game for them.
You know what that means.
A "zero-year" card!
My often negative thoughts towards Manny can go out the window with this one.
I love this card!
Yes, I find it odd that Ramirez, of all people, got a card as an "A" without ever having played for them. Yet, despite his 60-game stint with the Jays in 2012, Omar Vizquel was completely snubbed by Topps.
But I digress.
To my knowledge, this was the only "zero-year" card that Topps issued last year.
Not to mention one of the strangest as well.
This card reminds me of my personal "moment of the year".
While 2012 was indeed a terrific season for baseball, the single standout event of the year was Kerry Wood's emotional retirement at Wrigley in May.
The terrific action shot would've made this a terrific piece regardless.
But, even more than that, it will always remind me of that one special moment. My favorite moment of 2012.
That alone makes it a special piece of my collection.
And any collection, for that matter.
If you asked me to picture a "sunset" card, this would be pretty darn close to what I'd probably have in mind.
The heroic "tip of the cap" is the single greatest innovation in the history of the "sunset" theme.
Needless to say, I was ecstatic to see it featured on what proved to be the cardboard farewell for Chipper Jones.
Although I can't say I collect the guy's cards all that much, I knew this one was a surefire keeper from the moment I pulled it.
Between the standing ovation in the backdrop and Jones's passionate acknowledgement of the fans, this card tells you everything you need to know about the man they called "Chipper".
Normally, I don't count All-Star cards towards the "sunset" realm of things.
But this one is definitely worthy of an exception.
I think you can see why.
Now that this whole "sunset" thing is off and running around here, I'll have to keep my eye out for possible farewells throughout the course of this coming season.
Who knows who the hobby will send "into the sunset" during 2013?
Only time will tell.