2006 Topps #554 - Kazuo Matsui
An interesting buyback to kick things off, featuring the first Japanese infielder to sign with a Major League Baseball franchise. Matsui, who was actually signed as a shortstop for the 2004 season, really struggled and was no longer a starter by the time he was dealt to the Rockies in 2006. He actually pieced together a couple of decent seasons after that, but by 2010 he was back playing in Japan.
1990 Topps #190 - Rick Reuschel
Score, I love pulling a new 1990 buyback from the box. The Giants were the fifth and final team that Rick Reuschel, who debuted in 1972, would pitch for. In the season before this card was issued Rick was improbably named the NL starter for the All-Star game, at age 40.
I like the framing on this one, good job by Topps of portraying his sometimes-awkward delivery. I feel like you'd never see a card like this in a modern day Topps product, it would be cropped five times closer at least.
1988 Topps #283 - Phil Lombardi
Next up we have Yankees catcher Phil Lombardi, posing for the camera on a sunny day. I like this card. I can't really even put my finger on the reason why, but I do. If Phil wants to make the franken-set though he'll have to best another backstop:
1989 Topps #242 - Ed Vande Berg
Next up, the final Topps card of Ed Vande Berg, who threw his last MLB pitch in September of 1988. That mesh jersey that Ed's sporting just screams '80s.
1987 Topps #198 - Lee Mazzilli
After four straight conflicts we finally get a new card number for the project with Lee Mazzilli's 1987 release at #198. Though I was too young to be a fan yet, and thus have no personal memories of the 1986 World Series, it hurts this Red Sox fan just a little to have this one in the binder nonetheless.
2014 Topps #408 - Joey Terdoslavich
Terdoslavich! Terd. He he. Joey is still playing pro ball, currently in the minor leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates. On the one hand it feels weird to acquire a buyback of a card that's just three years old, on the other hand I like that the entire spectrum of Topps flagship releases can be represented in my franken-set. As my first #408 buyback, this one is in!
1988 Topps #691 - Dan Pasqua
The Yankees actually dealt Dan Pasqua to the White Sox in November of 1987, a fact that Topps apparently lacked sufficient time to react to before printing up their 1988 release. Thought it was with the White Sox and not the Yankees, Dan did hit a career-best 20 home runs in '88. In any event, this is my first #691 buyback, so Pasqua makes the cut by default.
1989 Topps #144 - Jay Bell
Jay Bell had some really good seasons, and some interesting moments in his career (including that improbable D-Backs World Series win). Those moments all came later though, he played in just 116 total games across his first three seasons with the Indians.
Topps O-Pee-Chee #191 - Willie Blair
This one caught me off-guard when I pulled it. Not quite as rare as the few Fleer or Donruss singles that were mistakenly stamped during the 2017 Topps buyback promotion, it's amusing nonetheless to see an O-Pee-Chee card stamped. Especially since it contains one of the trademarks of OPC cards of the era, the "Now with..." text to designate a trade.
1990 Topps #11 - Paul Gibson
Last buyback for today, another entry from the 1990 Topps set. How about those glasses? Apparently Paul owns and operates a baseball academy on Long Island these days. I have a lot of fond memories of 1990 Topps. This card is not one of them.
Franken-set Progress: 429/792 (54%)
"Rejected" Buybacks: 239
Total Buybacks in Collection: 668