Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Night Baseball: Alex Gordon 2010 Topps CYMTO #55


I wonder if that sentence has ever been written before. The Phillies are out of it and Team Phungo will need to look elsewhere for playoff baseball this season. One of the teams we will be rooting for is the KC Royals. Hopefully their long playoff drought will end in 2014 and their fans will get to experience October baseball for the first time in about a generation.

2010 Topps CYMTO #55 Alex Gordon 

Beyond their playoff exile the other reason I can get behind the Royals is they have a local minor league (Lo-A) affiliate, The Wilmington Blue Rocks. In recent years I have made it to about one Blue Rocks game a year. Consequently the names of some of their players are familiar to me. Those players include Mike Moustakas, Chrstistian Colon, and Kelvin Herrera.

Alex Gordon bypassed Wilmington during his accelerated ascent to the majors, but he did play a handful of games with the Blue Rocks in 2010 when he was experiencing a prolonged slump. He has had an odd career. In 2005 Gordon was the #2 overall pick in the MLB draft, he was in the majors by 2007 (but not 2006 - see below). He was a big enough star that Topps made buffoons of themselves over him. After a decent sophomore effort in 2008 at age 24, Gordon's career tanked. This hit bottom in 2010 when he found himself all the way back in A ball.

Somewhere in there The Royals moved Alex Gordon from 3rd base to the left field. This is where he has become an all-star. He has won 3 gold gloves at his new position and his offensive production has reached a point expected of a high first round pick. Currently his 5.6 combined WAR ranks 3rd among AL position players. He has a healthy .283/.356/.457 slash line yielding a 124 OPS+. His 17 Homers and 61 RBI lead the Royals. Hopefully his offensive production continues down the stretch and he can help the Royals reach the Postseason.    

2006 Topps RC
It is hard for me to believe that the MLB/MLBPA Rookie Card guidelines  have been in effect for eight years. Basically the MLB rules stipulate that a player must have played in a Major League game prior to appearing on a baseball card. For reasons I don't understand minor league centered sets like Bowman fall outside this realm.

When the new RC standards were introduced in 2006 there was a controversy over the Topps #297 Alex Gordon card. The card was included in the base set, including Rookie Card Logo, but Gordon hadn't yet reached the majors.  Topps withdrew the card.

There are a bunch of odd cutout versions of the card floating around. Topps literally cut out the image of Gordon's yet still issued the card. This is discussed on the flip of the above card:

2010 Topps CYMTO #55 Alex Gordon  (b-side)

I believe Topps has stated "it was an honest mistake" when discussing the card. They didn't say that it was a Publicity Grab to whip the media into a frenzy in the hopes that billions of people will start buying baseball cards again.

Regardless Topps withdrew the cards which is unfortunate for set collectors, because unless they have very deep pockets for a singular card oddity (or they are Keith Olbermann) they will have a gaping hole in their 2006 Topps Complete set. Or they can just use this CYMTO card.

One oddity about the CYMTO Gordon is the 2nd Topps logo. The Red logo in the top right is what appeared on the original 2006 Topps card. The ghosted grey one just upward of middle left is on the CYMTO card only.


Sources & Links
2014 Playoff Previews
Baseball CardPedia
ESPN Darren Rovell

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