Friday, January 9, 2015


It was bloggerdom's worst kept secret.

As a set completist, it came as odd that someone had came up with the idea of JustCommons so late in the game. I mean, if all you need to finish a set is a few commons, and JustCommons sells them cheap, completing sets isn't that hard anymore. So I figured I'd give it a whirl.

The card you see above is one of the three cards I needed to complete the 1994 Stadium Club Series 3 set. Now, they didn't have the other two, but they had Julio Franco, so I snapped it up immediately.

And then I thought, well what other sets could I try to complete while I'm here?

A week and fifteen dollars later, my cards arrived, as if coming from a card show I'd never asked for, and I broke into what I bought.

2008 Topps Trading Card History:
Not everyone remembers this, but back in 2008 Topps put out an insert set commemorating years of classic card designs (even pre-Topps), and placed current players in them. Since then, I'd been battling to complete that set, and Just Commons had a bunch of them, including Jim Thome, a Mint Condition favorite.

The set featured all players who were relevant in 2008, which means there are a lot of people like Andruw Jones and Carlos Zambrano, who were great players, but haven't held up over time.

However, they also included players like Alfonso Soriano and Pedro Martinez, who were coming off great seasons and great careers. Soriano will spend a couple years on the Hall of Fame ballot. Pedro spent just one.

And on the flipside, they included four guys that are still pretty relevant today. As a bonus, only one of these guys is still on their pictured team.

For whatever reason, Robbie Cano's card was without a nameplate, maybe to recreate an error card from back in the day. Or maybe Topps assumed that the baseball card community would already know his name, which we did. And thanks to his season in Seattle, we definitely do.

Archives (and yes, there's a ton):
The site also had a ton of Topps Archives commons, which I needed as a set collector. As a sidenote, only chooch is still on his pictured team here. And this is from three years ago.

71's and 80's. Man, this is back when Ted Lilly was still a relevant pitcher. Also, I'm glad Tim Hudson traded in his soul patch for a World Series ring.

'84s. Andrew Bailey was coming off a couple of nice seasons as the closer in Oakland, and Dan Uggla was still a trusted 2nd baseman. Good times.

I didn't need as much from 2013 Archives, but I still needed these close-cropped beauties.

Again, in terms of likeness, the Archives sets mostly got it right. These are extremely close to the original design. I just wish the photos would be a bit grainier.

Hell, I even got some from the 2014 release. Here are two Hall of Fame closers and a really good Dodgers pitcher.

A bunch of '80 needs. I like how they got seldom-used photos for people like Eddie Mathews. Also, I love the Butler and the Swisher.

As a bonus, last year's Archives came equipped with a card of a 2015 Hall of Famer, Craig Biggio, looking pretty young.

But set needs are just one way I can use Just Commons. I can also just use it for collections.

Fun Stuff:

One of the ways I collect is I take players in my binder and try to get a lot of different cards that look cool for them. Diamond Kings are cards I love getting for my binder, because I love the way they feel. All 6 of these are of players I collect, and they'll be going in the binders soon.

I was indeed collecting when 2010 Topps Update came out, but for whatever reason I never pulled a card of Vladimir Guerrero as a Texas Ranger, which sucks, because I love getting cards of players in new uniforms. Took me 4 years to get this card, which is a shame, because he looks like he's having so much fun.

One of the first sets I openly collected when I got into the hobby was 2005 Topps. I remember coming over my old friend Mason's house and trading him 2007 cards for 2005 cards, and then walking off with a great deal of star cards for a couple of 2007 inserts. I never finished nabbing all of the stars from that set, so whenever I see someone I collect from 2005 tops, I grab them. I love the Coco Crisp one, and I love the Nomo because it's his last Topps base card.

In between a lot of the standard shots in 2005, there are some pretty nice shots mixed in, like this 'to the wall' shot of Carl Crawford.

Heck, I even got a card from 2005 Topps Update, of Adrian Beltre in his first year on the Mariners.

Above all the other fun stuff, I wanted to improve my collection of base cards from the 1990's, especially of guys from my binder. Trevor Hoffman is one of those guys, and I got a bunch of his stuff from JustCommons, including his 1995 issue.

A bunch of stars from 1994 Topps, only one of which is currently in the hall of fame, and another one of which will be by this time next year. McGriff, Raines, Hershiser and Martinez deserve it too, but that's besides the point.

And a bunch of 93 Topps' as well, including a goofing-off Jack Morris, and a rare shot of Andres Galarraga as a Cardinal.

In addition to those, I picked up a '93 base card of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio turning two...
and a 'Topps Rookie card' of Trevor Hoffman, the 2nd Greatest Closer of All Time, grimacing for the camera. I've wanted this card ever since I knew it existed, and now I have it, thanks to JustCommons.

So, for a site I'd yet to venture onto before this, I'd say I did a pretty good job at JustCommons. I may be heading back there eventually, for some more set needs.


  1. I also opened a lot of 2005 Topps when I first got back into the hobby around '05-'06. I like the design a lot more than I probably should because of that nostalgia.

    1. I think it was just that the hobby was so new that I felt I had to consume as much as possible, regardless of what the design looked like. I have a ton of admiration for 2005 and 2007 Topps, not because of how they looked, but because collecting them, and the aura of it all, got me into the hobby.