By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary
The arrival of 2013 Topps means the newest batch of Rookie Cards, stars and more to fill the cardboard annals of history.
It also means more trivia.
On the back of each and every standard card in the first series of 330 is a “Career Chase” line that notes a player’s progress in his chase of history. It’s one that in some instances shows how close players are — check Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez for example — but in others? Well, those aren’t all that close and some are downright comical.
The ironies of life in the game aren’t lost on some players, either.
Via Twitter, I showed Oakland A’s pitcher Sean Doolittle his Rookie Card and its Career Chase line that reads “With one save, Doolittle is 607 saves away from Mariano Rivera’s all-time record of 608.”
“They might as well have put ‘at four consecutive games played, he is 2,628 games behind Cal Ripken,'” replied Doolittle, the 41st overall pick in the 2007 draft out of Virginia who recently converted to pitching after a series of injuries. (Click here for a Doolittle checklist and Online Price Guide.)
After seeing some of the other chases presented for some of his other younger Oakland teammates, he also jokingly tweeted this in response: “I wonder if the Career Chase guy at Topps has a vendetta against Major Leaguers because he didn’t make his [Little League] All-Star team.”
When contacted for this story, the Career Chase guy, Topps baseball editor Colin Butler, offered this retort.
“Actually, the topps editor is a four-time Virginia Little League All-Star,” he tweeted. “Zero away from the all-time record.”
Doolittle then offered this: “Plus there’s this now which hangs in my locker for motivation. hahaha pic.twitter.com/0Pmhx7cf.”
He wasn’t the only player to react to his new cardboard. Collector Brad Ziegler, who a reliever for the Arizona Diamondbacks and also a former Oakland Athletic, saw his Career Chase line that reads “with 323 games pitched Ziegler is 929 away from Jesse Orosco’s all-time record of 1,252.”
“I got this,” he simply tweeted in response. Ziegler will be in his sixth big-league season at age 33 this summer, while Orosco pitched 24 seasons before retiring at age 46 in 2003. (Get Ziegler’s card stats here.)
Of course it’s not just the pitchers getting the reality check with their stats compared to the all-time greats.
As card No. 1 notes … Bryce Harper is 740 home runs short of Barry Bonds.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.