One thing that seems obvious with just about all the IP/TTM successes I've seen posted online is Lewis is personalizing everything - except perhaps for autographs he has signed at organized signings / paid events.
Likely going in
Chipper Jones - judging from of his tweets, this guy is literally a no-brainer as far as a guy going into the Hall of Fame, but he was the golden boy prospect who became a good ol' boy for the Atlanta Braves for years.
Besides being a franchise legend, there is also a little 'fame' involved when he embraced the idea of playing in New York and being jeered by opposing teammates in the biggest city - there was a sense that he played for the moment, besides just being some bumpkin.
Vladimir Guerrero - I loved him for years as an Angel with his ability to see ball, crush ball wherever it was pitched, he is 'my guy' as far as the guys who will probably be inducted.
Trevor Hoffman - because of the debate about the merits of a closer for the Hall of Fame, there is some doubt for every guy looking to get in Cooperstown as a short reliever.
Hoffman has been a guy who has snuck up as far as guy going in, but I could see where he just did his job for years where it's just enough - though he wasn't simply a one franchise guy, he probably gets credit for being with the San Diego Padres all of the years he was with the team.
Six others I'm dwelling on - all have some sort of PED taint and while I don't like the idea of the Steroid Era as an unsavory time for players doing all sorts of things to get over, all I can do is suspect whether a player did something, as opposed to penalize any number of them outright.
Barry Bonds - I loved the show he put on late in his career and obviously a no doubter if he wasn't the face of the PED taint; he was a perpetual a-hole, but at least it wasn't like he was trying to put on a public face; he had a certain arrogance, a certain confidence that made him more of a fascinating figure.
Roger Clemens - he was as much of an a-hole as Bonds was and maybe it's partly due to the rage but he was a little more accommodating to the media, so I still don't think he was as villified; the only thing odd is his late career surges in his late 30s through early 40s should be more suspect as a 'gotcha' if the everyone and their mother was doing it with Bonds' late career power surges.
Sammy Sosa - no pity parties for Sosa here, but after Bonds and Clemens are inducted, maybe there is some consideration for Sosa; from raw athlete to city icon to pariah, Sosa has come full circle but there doesn't seem to be any let up, any thaw for a guy who slugged 609 home runs and was once the toast of baseball.
My notable omissions would be Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker, Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina and maybe Billy Wagner - at some point, Schilling is going into the HOF on his on field accomplishments, but bless his heart, I have no problem making him wait for as long as he will have to.
A 6th round pick out of Auburn - Todd made his pro debut last year and may play in the Cal League this upcoming season.
At a fan fest of sorts organized by Tampa Bay Rays player Daniel Robertson's family foundation - I got some random professional/MLB players to sign their cards, including a couple of Powell cards given to me by my friend.
Powell kind of checks off a couple of things in my book as a mini-collection guy, so I was glad I got a couple of actual cards - there is the 'Boog' nickname he shares with the longtime Baltimore Orioles first baseman of the 1960s through 1970s, so that sort of makes him unique [cult baseball player / cult feat], even if it's kind of random.
This current day Powell also is a local Orange County California guy - attending Mission Viejo High and then Orange Coast College before being drafted by the Oakland A's in the 20th round back in 2012.
I like trying to make sense out of the cards as I sorted them out - selected other cards were added as mini-collection ‘haves,’ where I might have had the card or a card for a player pictured, but felt I might as well list them as part of a particular mini-collection.
Other cards went into my various ‘loose card’ interests including:
School ties - I have a multi-sport collection of alumni players from a selected number of California colleges.
Cards of MLB/MiLB coaches - usually former players who maybe currently working or have worked for a MLB organization in 'recent' years.
Cards for team boxes - I have a collection on the side featuring assorted cards from all the 30 MLB teams.
A-Z archive filler - the least I will do is see if I could file these cards away 'as is.'
My favorite cards out of the box include the following:goggles. Plantier was indeed a rookie sensation with the Boston Red Sox in 1991, hitting .331 with 11 home runs in 175 at-bats, but just wasn't destined to be a star.
Images courtesy of COMC.com 1992 O-Pee-Chee Premier Mike Bordick #5 - pictures Scott Brosius
1992 Donruss Triple Play Greg Vaughn #122 - I love how Vaughn’s cap is flying off as he checks if he has made the catch at the wall; a couple of teens along the railing above him check to see if they possibly have a beat on the ball as well.
1998 Fleer Tradition Ben McDonald #40 - this image sticks out as Fleer immortalized the longtime American League pitcher's only big league at-bat during the first year of Interleague play in 1997.
FWIW - the Milwaukee Brewers moved from the American League Central to the National League Central the year after.
While Brett's playing career was a bit more larger than life and his rookie card seems to be held in higher regard than Yount's - both players are one-team franchise legends who each got their 3,000th hit in 1992 and were part of the same Hall of Fame class in 1999.
While I was superficially aware of Yount as a HOF legend with all these accomplishments - I had to dig through his numbers to see how his playing career evolved since I somehow believed he was more of a compiler as opposed to being a dominant player at various points of his playing career.
Getting to the big leagues as an 18-year old really helped boost Yount's counting numbers - maybe if he'd come up at 23 or 24 like a more typical big leaguer, his playing career would be more like J.J. Hardy's than Derek Jeter's.career is when he became an impact offensive player in his prime - for a 4-year period through the mid 1980s, Yount established himself as one of the best players in all of baseball, checking off all the boxes as far as a guy who could hit for average, hit for power, steal bases and be a good defender at shortstop.
If somehow I'd be aware of baseball when Yount was really putting up the numbers, he would have been a fun player to follow, reminiscent of offense minded shortstops who would come of age in the late 1990s - guys like Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra.
#156 Nelson Cruz - Artisans SP
Go figure I was able to pick up a couple of blaster boxes online as opposed to fruitless in-person searches through some random Walmarts - I feel the one or two Walmarts I may be able to go are spotty as far as having specific brand of trading cards at any one time.
The last incarnation of Topps Gallery came out in 2005 and while it was a product I'm not sure I even bought a single pack of in my collecting life - in general, I liked the artsy-fartsy trading cards because they came off as a little bit more classier than just something designed to be regular old baseball cards.