Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Hot Button Topic

Don't worry - there's nothing actually controversial in this post, except for maybe my use of a terrible pun.  However, if you're opposed to such corny jokes you probably won't be able to tolerate this blog for very long, so...

Anywho, yesterday I got off work a few hours earlier than my significant other and had some extra free time on my hands.  Now, I could have done something productive with these bonus hours - like finish the laundry or finally clean the bathroom - but, what fun is that?  Instead, I decided to take a trip to my old stomping grounds in Joliet and visit my favorite secondhand mall - yes, it's a whole mall.

Spending hours perusing isles of antiques, oddities and over-priced novelties is amongst my favorite pastimes; thus, naturally, this is made for an excellent way to kill time.  Plus, the place is generally full of sports-themed bric a brac.  Bobbleheads, cardboard cutouts, SLU figurines, commemorative beer cans and, of course... cards!!  Super gimmicky ones that I don;t recall having ever seen before, at that.

Of course I found out about this baseball card/card game hybrid just over a week after having done my comprehensive wrap-up of such sets on National Card Playing Day.  That's the way the cookie crumbles.

Hot Button Baseball was produced by Topps and came out in 2005 and never really gained any traction.  One used cards of pitchers and positional players to play a digital game of baseball by inserting the cards into a mini console, as you probably guessed by looking at the packaging above.

Of course, it also came with a starter stack of cards and, for five bucks, I was all about seeing what this product had to offer 11 years ago.  These things retailed for $20-30 when they were new - way out of my price range.

The cards were printed on clear plastic, creating the aesthetic of our fancy, super special acetate parallels of today.  Like with most game cards, you see stats on the sides of the cards that would drive the gameplay.  But, I honestly don't care about that - give me the cardboard!...  errrr... plastic.

The visible card on top was Miguel Cairo, who might be depicted as a Yankee, but since he was a Cubs double-dipper (1997, 2001), he's a keeper.  There were several other Cubs-connected players to be found within this mound of plastic as well.

 Hee-Seop Choi (2002-03)

A guy who was actually traded straight up for Derrek Lee - one of the best trades in Cubs history.  It might seem like a crazy steal now. but, it's easy to forget that Choi was a highly-regarded prospect at the time and the Marlins were entering a patented fire-sale. Thus, in context, it makes some sense.

That said, I'll always remember Hee-Seop as the man I thought I watched die on the diamond:

That frightening incident knocked him out (bad pun alert!) for pretty much the rest of the season, allowing Eric Karros to step into the spotlight.

But back to the cards:

 Jacque Jones (2006-07)

Juan Pierre (2006)

A couple of semi-stars elsewhere who were never able to live up to expectations in the Wrigley outfield.  Maybe the Cubs shouldn't invest in players with french-sounding names...

Additionally, there were even a couple of uniformed Cubs in the package to be found:

A couple of my favorite Cubs at the time as well.  Hey P-Town Tom - do you have this Woody for your PC yet?

The rest of the starter pack will make for some nice trade bait; so, if you see anything you like below, please speak up!

Nice to see one of our most recent Hall of Fame honorees show up at the end here.  Maybe our resident Griffey super collector, the Junior Junkie needs this oddball for his impressive PC?

Then, there were these pieces of junk, used as part of the display, to be dealt with:

Did I say junk?  I mean - L@@K!! Mega-mojo, super duper rare, die-cut, promo cards of future HOFers!!!!1!! Coming to an Ebay listing near you*

*Just kidding, I do have some semblance of a moral code.

Before I sign off for the day and put these new cards into their proper places, maybe we should try and play a round of Hot Button Baseball?  We'll probably be the first people to experience the gameplay in a decade.

Power vs. power - Junior Griffey takes on Kid K.  Let's do this!

Well - that was a bit of a let down.  What the h-e-double hockey sticks is wrong with this thing?  According to the back of the package, it comes with everything you need to play right away:

I guess 11 years hasn't been kind to those batteries that Topps provided; clearly they weren't Energizer brand, since those keep going and going and going and going...  Also, who has AAA batteries lying around?

Oh well, I guess I'll save this for a rainy day then.

Despite the fact that I couldn't get the actual game itself to operate, finding the starter deck of cards was entertainment enough.  They are certainly welcome additions to my collection - I've made it abundantly clear on this blog that I oddballs and game cards are amongst my favorite kinds of cards.  I still can't believe that I'd never heard of Topps Hot Button before today.

Not bad for a day's work - or rather, a day of getting out of work early.


  1. LOVED the twelve second video clip! The scream at the end was just perfect. :)

    No, I don't have that Kid K card. Heck, I've never even heard of Hot Button Baseball until now. Put it on my pile, please!

  2. I can honestly say that I have never seen/heard of this game before. Definitely a first-rate secondhand pickup. (And my main memory of Choi is the same one as yours.)

  3. My knowledge of this set just increased by 8000%. I knew that it existed, and there were two really freaking hard to find Jack Wilson cards in it. And that was all.

    Considering how many sets were released in 2005, I can't say I'm surprised Hot Button didn't gain any traction.

  4. 22 cards and zero Braves. It's Junk I say! Cool pickup though I was really looking forward to seeing wood v Griffey get some batteries for a part II

  5. I loved this set when it first came out. Wish they came out with more. I was insane enough to buy enough packs to get a complete set (you heard that right...A COMPLETE SET!!!). Still have the cards, the player, and even scorecards that I made when I played the game with the kids. If you want a full checklist, I'd be more than happy to send you one.

    I don't know if I have any spare Cubs cards left. I'll have to look.


    JayBee Anama