I love lists. That may be an admission of sloth or my simple nature, but I love lists. They are so easy to digest and they save me from reading a lot of “words.” Therefore, without further ado (adieu?), here are a few Pack a Week year end lists for your enjoyment.
Pack a Week Hits of the Year (aka my best pack pulls):
1. 2012-13 Panini Threads Anthony Davis Autograph
2. 2012 Topps Archives Yu Darvish Autograph
3. 2012 Topps Target Exclusive Red No-Name Error Mickey Mantle
4. 2012 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects Black Michael Wacha Autograph
5. 2012 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects Aflac All-American Michael Zunino Autograph
Honorable Mention (not a pack pull but I love it):
1997 Bowman Derek Jeter Autograph
As you can see, my year was back loaded with hits. Other than the Mickey Mantle error, all of my best pulls came in the last two months of the year. That is not to say that I didn’t have fun the rest of the year, but the last two months reaffirmed my love of busting boxes.
Tops 5 Products of the Year:
1. 2012 Topps Mini Baseball
Mini baseball, from a design perspective, is no different than the Topps base set this year other than the fact that they are about 1/3 smaller. While I thought that the Topps base was fine this year, the design is not the reason that I give Mini the product of the year honors, it is the restraint, value, and fun that give it the top spot. This product, reviewed here, contained a limited number of inserts and the parallels had very limited print runs, meaning that when you pulled an insert or a paralell it felt special, which is something that many products lack: a feeling that you pulled something special. The product was also limited to, apparently, a few thousand boxes, making everything more valuable on the secondary market. The limited print run also made pulling printing plates, numbered 1/1, a much easier task. Boxes were available only through the Topps on-line store and cost, a reasonable, $50. Mini seemed like a reward to the fans and the collectors and it was fun; I appreciate Topps for doing it.
2. 2012 Topps Archives
Archives is all about nostalgia and it delivered on nostalgia. Topps split the base set into four separate, classic designs (the most pleasing, if you ask me, is the 1984), they brought back the fan-favorite autographs, including autos of super-hyped, super rookies Bryce Harper and Yu Darvish, and gave us box-toppers of Billy Zabka (sweep the leg!!!!!) and cut-autos of Vanna White. What more do you want you greedy jerk?
3. 2012-13 Panini Threads Basketball
I’m a notorious Panini hater, I usually think their designs are busy, the inserts are ridiculous and ugly, and the autos are sticker drops. Threads fixed most of this. The design was solid and harkened back to the classic Upper Deck designs of the mid-90’s and the autos were on-card (wood cards for that matter). The inserts still suck (you can’t win them all). The set also includes rookie cards from the last two draft classes due to the lock out, however all the rookie cards are autos and therefore super, ultra, mega chase cards (see Anthony Davis above). While I haven’t had much of a return on these cards on the secondary market (sans Anthony Davis), I like these cards enough just to keep them. Collecting for the sake of collectin, go figure.
4. Left Field Cards
Design-wise, this is my favorite product of the year. These are hand made, letter-press printed baseball cards (though they double as postcards). My review can be read here. They can be ordered here. Since it is my favorite design, you may be asking why they are fourth? It is really only because they lack the chase aspect of normal cards because they are purchased in series and you know what you are getting ahead of time. (I’m a gambler at heart and love the thrill of the chase). But don’t get me wrong, I’m still excited about these cards, especially to see what future series have in store.
5. 2012 Bowman Baseball (+Draft Picks and Prospects)
What can I say: prospects, prospects, prospects. Bowman delivers with another solid design, good crop of autographs, and some good inserts and paralells. Nothing sets this apart from years past, but the product continues to be one of my favorites every year. Kudos.