Here's a set I haven't looked at in a while. My last post about 2014 Topps Finest covered cards 31-40 in the checklist and went up on my blog in October 2014. Let's see who Topps put on the checklist for cards 41-50 in this colorful set.
First up is Jason Heyward, who spent 2015 with the Cardinals and goes into 2016 as a member of the super-hyped Chicago Cubs. I know he's a good player, but he played in Atlanta and St. Louis, which are two teams that don't pop up on my radar that much. He also gets a lot of his value from his defense, so I haven't had him on many fantasy baseball rosters. Chicks (and fantasy baseball players) dig the long ball.
Michael Wacha is a decent pitcher. Again, though, he's not been much of a factor on my fantasy baseball teams and I don't follow the Cardinals too closely, so I don't pay much attention to him. Sorry, NL fans, but I am just not that big on your teams. I guess that seems a little silly, as my Astros were members of the NL Central from 1994-2012, but I wasn't paying particularly close attention to baseball until 2013. I watched the standings for the Astros and played fantasy baseball, but never really followed or watched much of it at all until getting back into collecting in 2013 and realizing that basketball wasn't really my thing anymore and football cards weren't keeping my interest.
The only Major League Baseball game I ever attended was a Cincinnati Reds game where they hosted the Houston Astros, probably in the late 80's or early 90's. I remember very little from that experience outside of a couple fragments of sitting in the stands with my dad and my grandpa. I could probably narrow down the dates a bit if I dug into old letters and stuff, but I'm not going to do that right now. The Reds and Pirates are probably the two NL teams I follow most closely.
I don't know anything really about Josmil Pinto. It looks like he was waived by the Twins, picked up by the Padres, waived by them, and now he is with the Brewers. I don't think he will be much of a factor with them.
Freeman is looking at another good year on a bad team. It's weird to think of the Braves as a bad team, because they spent so many of my formative years being very good. The main thing they have going for them in their Division is that they are not the Phillies.
Speaking of the Phillies, here's a retired guy who spent some time in Philadelphia. He won a Cy Young award with the Indians, but he had a couple of All-Star appearances and made $82.5 million with Philadelphia.
Jacoby Ellsbury jumped ship from Boston to New York in exchange for wheelbarrows full of money. His numbers have been all right with the Yankees, but health has been a factor for him. He got hit by a pitch today, but appears to have escaped without major damage to his wrist.
Bryce Harper is one side of baseball's current big-issue Civil War, whether hitters should be demonstrative after big hits or put their heads down and be all about business as they round the bases. Harper is in favor of bringing more emotion and flair to the game of baseball, while his AL counterpart, Mike Trout, believes that hitters should be more about the unwritten rules of the game. When asked about the controversy, famed reliever Goose Gossage said, "*%$& these young @#$%#* who want to $%*# this venerated game with their disrespectful %$$*(#!" Anyway, Harper is good at baseballing and I personally think that batters should be allowed to show a little flair as long as they are backing it up with their play. If the pitchers can fist pump and dance around after every strikeout, the batters should be able to flaunt it a bit when they knock the ball into the seats.
Things are picking up in this batch of cards, as young ace Gerrit Cole is the next card in the checklist. He is looking to follow up on the huge success of last year, and the Pirates will need his best as they are playing in one of the toughest Divisions in baseball, with the Cubs and Cardinals also looking to win it all this year.
Here's another guy who is more likely to be demonstrative on the field than not. Yasiel Puig was pretty huge when he hit the league, but spotty play and questionable attitude have him needing to come up with some kind of rebound in his play and some fence-mending in the locker room.
There are another ten cards from the 2014 Topps Finest checklist. I guess this kind of stuff has long fallen out of the hobby news cycle, but I feel compelled to at least try to finish this series. I wouldn't want some future reader to show up on my blog, read about the first 40 cards, and then be left hanging as to what else is in the set.