The Todd Van Poppel Rookie Card Retirement Plan Turns One!
On January 4th, 2011 I launched the Todd Van Poppel Rookie Card Retirement Plan. Since then, 47,878 people have stopped by to check out the site – a number much higher than I’d have anticipated when I started this just to share my interest in baseball with the world. Thank you to everyone who has dropped in and to those who have commented, linked to me, etc. I have done some things right, done some things wrong (namely not knowing when it was Pacific Standard Time and when it was Pacific Daylight Time – oops). I’ve made some poor predictions and had some thoughts that were later proven correct.
Over the course of the year, I have had the fortune to be linked to by MLBTradeRumors who have featured the blog more than any other site. Slate featured a post of mine in an article about Moneyball. Sam Miller of the Orange County Register said on Twitter of the blog (or at least its name),
“Congratulations to the Todd Van Poppel Rookie Card Retirement Plan for winning all the best-blog-name competitions.”
There were 498 posts in the first year of the site. The most popular – and what I’d argue is one of my best – was about Jerry Blevins and the strange optional waivers process. Last February in another one of the more popular posts about the long-term outlook of the A’s I wrote,
“I don’t know what Billy Beane’s ideas for 2012 are, but at present they don’t look like we have many appealing options. Big seasons from [Chris] Carter and [Michael] Taylor could allay some fears, but we still don’t look too solid going in 2012. Of course we are getting ahead of ourselves, we have 2011 to worry about and watch and enjoy. But when you are a club like Oakland your window for contention is not limitless like a Boston or New York, and our pitching staff is our window of contention – let’s hope a bad lineup in 2012 doesn’t slam that window shut.”
Which looks pretty accurate now despite the fact that I went into 2011 thinking the A’s were American League West champions in waiting. I live blogged 138 games (including the one in Texas that was erased from history) in both the regular season and pre-season, with my completion rate being very good until late August when the A’s fell out of contention, I went on vacation and then returned to move across the country. I’ve written about 1,254 players with Josh Willingham leading the pack with mentions in 164 posts – which makes sense since when Baseball Reference has linked to my blog, 456 users found their way here via Willingham’s page. Of players that don’t play for the A’s, Adrian Beltre led the way with mentions coming 29 times. Technorati currently has this blog as the #67 most authoritative baseball blog though it has been as high as 41. I started a Twitter feed, and that helped lead to the launch of a podcast TarpTalk: An Oakland A’s Podcast that has served as a sort of audio companion to this blog.
So thank you again. I began this with the hope that I could share my ideas and passion for baseball with a wider audience (and by wider, I am talking three, four people) and to have been able to do so on such a huge scale in such short time has been an amazing and gratifying gift. In many ways to me it has become more than just a blog. I waited a while to start it, it was a New Year’s resolution and I wanted a name that would be cool and memorable and I knew that was one thing I could not change. Thankfully I came up with it relatively quickly and the Todd Van Poppel Rookie Card Retirement Plan was born. I hope that the next year offers the same level of satisfaction and growth for me and also the continued opportunity to converse with other people about baseball and specifically the A’s. This post is likely best left with the post that opened this blog, so copied in its entirety:
“Welcome to the Todd Van Poppel Rookie Card Retirement Plan a blog devoted to the Oakland A’s. As many readers should know Todd Van Poppel was a highly regarded prospect with the Oakland A’s in the early 1990s. When Oakland drafted him in 1990 with the 14th overall pick people were excited. Already Sports Illustrated had written an article about him as a high school pitcher in Arlington, Texas comparing him to Arlington’s other fastball blessed starting pitcher, Nolan Ryan. Todd Van Poppel was the promise for the future for an already defending World Champion Oakland A’s. He represented many more World Championships in the near future. But at the same time across bedrooms in America, the baseball card bubble of the early 1990s was at its height as well. Todd Van Poppel, the sure-hit prospect, was having his rookie cards scooped up by the dozens as their value continued to rise. To many of my generation this seemed the surest shot to a comfortable retirement and my stack of Todd Van Poppel rookie cards was kept encased in protective holders and boxes. But of course, the bubble burst on baseball cards, and even more so the bubble burst on Todd Van Poppel. He wouldn’t deliver the A’s any World Championships, in fact they haven’t won one since he signed.
Todd Van Poppel does represent something that is exciting about baseball. The excitement of the unknown, who the next big star will be, being able to forget your team’s fourth place standing in late August by looking at the arms and sluggers waiting to shine in places like Stockton, California; Burlington, Iowa; or Midland, Texas. So just like the promise of spring each year brings the promise of future championships, we all will continue to search out the Todd Van Poppels, the players who will lock in our championship-filled future.
This blog is dedicated to loving baseball and will follow Todd Van Poppel’s Oakland A’s. Keep reading and thank you for stopping by.”
Thank you everyone for a great first year!
David A Wishinsky