Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Theme Week: Better Know a Blogger (Charlie from Lifetime Topps)

Welcome to another edition of my ongoing Theme Week:  Better Know a Blogger.  Today is an exciting day because we will get to learn a bit more about Charlie over at Lifetime Topps Project AND it's the day that I should be receiving the 2015 Topps Series 1 Jumbo Box case for our upcoming group break.  Before the group break starts in earnest, I wanted to squeeze in at least one more of our remaining theme week posts.  Enjoy!

1.  Your name (or alias if you prefer):  Charlie
2.  Your blog website:  Lifetime Topps Project
3.  What kind of collector do you consider yourself (team collector, player collector, set collector, etc.).  Why do you collect that way?
Set collector from the beginning.  That always seemed the way you were supposed to do it.  I’m more of an overall baseball fan than anything; I used to read the baseball encyclopedia as a kid.  My favorite team is the Reds, and my favorite player is Griffey Jr., but I never collected them specifically.
4.  In your opinion, what could the major card companies (Topps, Panini, etc.) do to make your style of collecting better for you?
I wish Topps would pay more attention to the flagship base card design, it’s seemed kind of bland the last 4 or 5 years.  I am excited about the 2015 design, though.  Also, there are just too many inserts in Topps flagship.  I think a more reasonable number – like what they did at the turn of the century, and I could get more out of collecting them.  Finally, I’d get a lot more enjoyment if photos weren’t so frequently re-used across all products.  I can’t adequately put into words how lazy it appears.
5.  What is your favorite part of your collection?  This could be one specific item, or a binder of cards, etc.
Funny – if I had to give all but one part of my collection, it’s not the part I blog about.  I’d actually keep my Jalen Rose basketball card collection.  I have almost every card of his (not counting the really rare production runs), and it’s the part I’ve been working on since the early 1990’s.
6.  Most of us have a favorite song that we like for no good reason – heck, it might even be embarrassing.  Do you have a favorite baseball card that might fit that bill?  
I had almost stopped collecting in 1997, but I still bought Upper Deck SP in the late 90’s.  I pulled a Ken Griffey Jr. buyback autograph from the ’96 set.  For a kid in high school, that’s such a valuable card, and the fact that it was my favorite player was amazing.
7.  If you were forced to part with your entire collection except for one card, which card would you keep?
Griffey card above.  I named my dog after him!  And only because my wife said naming our son Griffey was out of the question ☺
8.  Many of the blogs (including my own at times) seem to decry Topps’ lack of vision and creativity.  Can you think of something creative that could be done for an upcoming card set?
I do like whenever something done online, like the million card giveaway and the power players thing.  There’s been so much done that it’s much harder to really innovate any more.  I get the feeling that the people building the Topps sets aren’t in touch with collectors.  Too many insert sets that aren’t just a collection of good players.  I liked insert sets with specific criteria or themes back in the early-mid 90’s.  Upper Deck always had a set like “Mantle’s Long Shots” or one with Ted Williams picking what he thought of great hitters today.
9.  What is your profession?  How did you end up there?  If you are in school, what do you plan to major in and/or what job do you hope to get after graduating?  
I’m an accountant.  I was in public accounting for 11 years, just recently I became a controller at an investment company.
10.  What is your favorite place that you’ve ever visited?  Why?  
Cooperstown for obvious reasons.  I can’t wait to go there in 2016 for Griffey’s induction!  Boston is my favorite ballpark and my favorite American city to visit.  I’ve been to Paris once and loved the history of the city.
11.  Many of us have favorite foods or customs that are somewhat local to where we live.  Do you have any such things that you particularly love?  A website link to specific products would be spectacular.  
I’m from Cincinnati originally, so Cincinnati chili.  There are two chains of Cincy chili – Gold Star and Skyline.  I am one of the few who likes Gold Star better – but both places are great.  I’d recommend trying it once for anyone who hasn’t!  
12.  Do you have any other hobbies besides card collecting?  
I’m a pretty big Star Wars fan, though I don’t have as much time to read the books as I used to.  Looking forward to the new movies – I’m not mad about Disney taking over like a lot of other fans.
13.  Tell me something interesting about yourself (that we haven’t covered in the first twelve questions):
I have a 2-½ year-old son and another son on the way.  Hopefully both will be collectors someday!

First, a big thanks to Charlie for volunteering his answers to my questionnaire.  Charlie is a fan of the Reds so that's a huge plus in my book!  I have been to Cincinnati a few different times but I don't think I've ever tried either chili.  There's a good reason for that though...  For as much as I love chili, chili doesn't love me much at all - and that makes traveling back to Pennsylvania far more "exciting" than I want it to be!

Returning to Charlie's other answers, I have to agree with him that Cooperstown is awesome.  I had a chance to return to the charming town last May and blogged about my trip here.  If you've never made it to Cooperstown and you like baseball, you definitely need to get there at some point.  In the meantime, feel free to check out my own photos and thoughts from my last visit!

Charlie also brought up some good points with his baseball card answers.  The constant reuse of photographs is a big annoyance to me...and too many inserts in Topps' flagship offering has been a problem for a number of years now.  I know that I've stopped collecting flagship the last few years mostly because of all of the inserts (and very few of the inserts appealed to me in any way, shape, or form).

However, I must say that it appears Topps has tried a few new things with this year's flagship set - probably a big reason why I was able to sell out my group break...change things up some and people become interested again!

Thanks for all your answers Charlie - and yes, I still have a few more entries to go in my Better Know a Blogger series before it'll be closed!  I also hope to have the case of 2015 Topps Jumbo boxes at my house later this afternoon...and once that arrives, it'll be group break time!

Stay tuned!


Tony L. said...

I totally agree on the photo reuse that Topps does. It's lazy and cheap. If Topps does not want to spend more on photos, then cut back on the number of sets. It's pretty simple in that regard.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for doing this Chris! It's a fun thing to do as a blogger and it's fun to read the other bloggers responses.

You'll have to try the chili someday - you can get it in the grocery stores in Cincy as well, though I'd recommend trying it at the restaurants. It's very different from other chili you've probably had - nothing like Texas chili, etc.

Joe Frecker said...

As a former Skyline Chili employee, I must endorse them. I worked there during college 20 years ago and still eat it at least once a week. Charlie is correct that the store-bought is not quite the same as the restaurant. My way for the 4-way is to load up on the hot sauce. Can't miss with the Cheese Coney's either. I mean, who doesn't like a hot dog?

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