With 2017 limping to an end, the time has come to put together my annual Cards of the Year list.
This has been a yearly tradition of mine since I started the blog, though I certainly don't mind getting an entry into P-Town Tom's contest out of it. More than any other year I can remember, it was a bit of a struggle to cobble together a Top 10 list here in 2017 -- there simply weren't many memorable cards to choose from.
I did, however, manage to scrape together a group of ten without any of the nominees feeling like much of a stretch. The only rule I imposed on myself was No Cubs World Series Stuff: one of those was already my Card of the Year for 2016 and the inclusion of any on this list would just feel repetitive (though I'm certainly no stranger to being repetitive on this blog).
So, without further ado, here they are: my Cards of the Year for 2017.
#10 -- 2017 Topps Archives #255 Reggie Jackson
Because any new card of Reggie as an Oriole is enough to get me unnaturally giddy.
#9 -- 2017 Stadium Club #151 Tim Raines
As usual, Stadium Club plays a leading role in my Cards of the Year list, starting with Tim Raines here.
It's a heroic shot of the new HOFer in old Olympic Stadium, one Raines apparently liked enough to slap it on the cover of his own autobiography (which was also released this year).
#8 -- 2017 Topps Archives #210 Mookie Betts
Mookie Betts juggling on the '92 Topps design?
Mookie Betts juggling on the '92 Topps design.
#7 -- 2017 Topps Now #507 Bartolo Colon
This was one of just two Topps Now cards I bought all year (the other being a Cubs World Series card I promised I wouldn't include on this list), and the only reason I found out about it in the first place was because of a post on Brian's blog.
I mean, it's Bartolo Colon in goofy solar eclipse glasses -- with a picture of said eclipse on the back -- and, if that isn't enough, it's my only card of Big Sexy with the Twins since Topps dropped the ball and didn't include him in their Update checklist this year.
If there was ever a lock to make my Top 10, this was it.
#6 -- 2017 Topps Opening Day "Superstar Celebrations" #SC-21 Giancarlo Stanton
I have absolutely no idea what's going on here, but it makes me smile every time I see it.
#5 -- 2017 Topps #520 Andrelton Simmons
Topps produced a grand total of 1,000 different base cards across their three Flagship sets this year, and this was the only memorable one of the lot.
#4 -- 2017 Stadium Club #53 Anthony Rizzo
Wall catches on baseball cards: as if you needed another reason to be a fan of Anthony Rizzo.
#3 -- A&G Dudes!
I'm cheating a bit here, but let's face it: there's no way I could single out just one Dude from the whole lot of Dudes, so they all make the list.
I usually don't include non-baseball subjects on my Cards of the Year countdown, but 2017's A&G Dudes were just too glorious to ignore. I haven't made much of a dent in the checklist as of yet -- I own just eleven Dudes from the 50-card set -- but they're enough to convince me that this is not only the best insert set of the year, but one of the best insert sets of my collecting lifetime.
Conductor Dude, Artist Dude, Egyptian Sultan Dude: ALL HAIL DUDES!
#2 -- 2017 Stadium Club #277 Billy Hamilton
Every year, there seem to be one or two cards which pretty much everyone agrees are just damn good.
Judging from what I've read on the blogs, this seems to be 2017's version of that consensus pick, and it's easy to see why: card backs can rave all they want about Billy Hamilton's speed, but Stadium Club remains the only one to actually show it to us.
#1 -- 2017 Topps Update #US-223 Sandy Koufax SP
I fell in love with this card the minute I saw it, so much so that I went out and bought a copy just hours after Topps Update was released.
Trouble was, that meant I paid over three times what I could've eventually gotten it for, since it took a few days for everyone to realize how common the photo SPs were in this year's Update.
But you know what? I don't regret it. One bit. What I paid was still, in my mind, a bargain for what turned out to be the pinnacle of 2017 cardboard: a masterful shot of Sandy Koufax pointing out his second no-no in the gloaming for all to see. I'd never seen this particular photo before, and it came as even more of a treat since Koufax, like many retired stars, suffers from the epidemic of having the same images recycled on many of his cards.
I still feel a bit weird about giving a photo-variation SP the top spot on this list, but there's no way around it: this is my Card of the Year for 2017.