Thursday, May 8, 2014

#CHC-16 Jose Veras

For the most part, I’m going to slowly add the Factory Team sets to my collection but wait and see which cards actually make Series 2 and the Update set before writing about them. With that said, I picked up the Cubs set for my team collection and did a brief write up on my other blog, Once a Cub, where I briefly touched on this card. I don’t want this card to show up in Series 2 or the Update series and I’m pretty sure Topps doesn’t either.

#CHC-16 Jose Veras
First impression of what’s going on: To a non-Cubs fan, this might look like a pretty good card. Jose Veras is making a goofy face. The card is horizontal (one of my favorite attributes) and is framed well. We get to see a nice grip on his breaking ball. In fact, if Topps keeps this card for Series 2 or Update, but makes the correction, this might be one of my favorite Cubs cards of the year. What correction am I talking about?


THIS!

Any respectable Cubs fan and even a lot of good baseball-in-general fans can tell you that the Cubs retired the #31 in honors of Hall of Famers Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux. For you non-Cubs fans, this happened five years ago, May 3, 2009 in a joint number retirement ceremony.

The problem begins with the source photo.

Screen grab courtesy of Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 11: Jose Veras #31 of the Detroit Tigers in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on August 11, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Tigers 5-4. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Reality of the Photo: Veras signed with the Cubs as a Free Agent during the off season so Topps does what it normally does and uses a photo from the player's previous team but touches it up a bit. As you can see, Veras wore #31 with the Tigers last season and Topps just carried over that number to the Cubs, regardless of the fact that it is retired.

For what it’s worth, Topps did an otherwise pretty good converting the Tigers road jersey to the Cubs road jersey. They even added the logoed sleeve patch to his left arm.



Enough with the “error” and let’s go to the BOXSCORE to see how Veras did in his game against the Yankees when the photo was taken.

Screen grab courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com

A walk off loss after coming from behind doesn’t look good. Hopefully, Veras wasn’t the closer this game.

Screen grab courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com
Whoops! Veras got through two thirds of an inning but took the loss, his fifth of the season.

Screen grab courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com
It took 13 pitches to get the first two out, but the 15th ended the game with a solo home run from Brett Gardner. As Yankee biased as Topps can be, I wonder if this was a subtle dig on Veras with the photo selection. But Veras is a former Yankee so I’m probably just reading too much into it.

We do get the Nike swoosh on Veras’ undershirt for a little Free Advertising credit.


On to the back:

Rookie Fact: Jose retired the only batter he faced in a 1-run game for his 1st save.

I like the fact that Topps carried over the Rookie Facts to the Factory Team sets. As I mentioned, Veras is a former Yankee, making his MLB debut with them in 2006. His first Save came on September 18th that year against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Screen grab courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com
After the Yankees extended their lead with three runs in the top of the 9th, the Troy Glaus brought the Blue Jays back to within one run with a three-run home run.

Screen grab courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com

A single by pinch-hitter JasonPhillips chased reliever Mike Meyers and Jose Veras was able to induce a fly ball from Aaron Hill to end the game.


Information I’ll be tracking:

Card Number: #CHC-16
Player Name: Jose Veras
Team: Detroit Tigers (Chicago Cubs)
Position: Pitcher
Game Date: August 11, 2013
Opponent: New York Yankees
Stadium: Yankee Stadium
Division: American League Central
Home/Away: Away
Outcome of the game: 5-4, Yankees over the Tigers, Loss for the player depicted
Alternate/Throwback Jersey: No.
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Birthdate: 10/20/1980
Birthplace: Dominican Republic
Cameos by: Greg Maddux, Fergie Jenkins
Photographer: Jim McIsaac
Niche collections this card could fit into: Cubs, Horizontal, Photoshopped, Error, Free Advertising

My Grade: I really wanted to like this card. As I already said, it’s horizontal, it’s cropped well, Veras is making a funny face. This card was destined for an A+ grade, but with one Topps oversight, it goes straight to an F. No offense to Veras or the photographer, Jim McIsaac. They did their parts. This one rests solely on Topps.

Normally, if a card gets a failing grade, I'll look for some photos that would have worked better. But I really like this photo and just want them to correct the number, not change the photo. 

Hopefully this was caught early enough that someone at Topps can change the “3” to a “4” before it goes to print in Series 2 or the Update series. As I mentioned in my other post about the team set as a whole, last year Edwin Jackson was a National in Series 1, a Photoshopped Cub in the factory team set and had a different third card altogether in the Update series. So it can be done. 

I tweeted Topps earlier today from my Once a Cub twitter account pointing out the error, but haven’t heard anything back yet. I've never been a “rally the troops” kind of guy but do we bloggers and collectors have any power here? Can this oversight be corrected in time? I don’t ask for much from this tiny blog, but let’s see what the power of the people can do!

Here’s a link to my tweet. Please retweet that or this post to @Toppscards and make our voices heard!

Hopefully, this doesn't come off as too whiny. I don't want anything but a fixed card!


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