Tag Archives: 2012

2012: Best Of.

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

2012-13 Panini Threads Anthony Davis Autograph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  2012 Topps Archives Yu Darvish Autograph

2012 Topps Archive Yu Darvish Autograph

3.  2012 Topps Target Exclusive Red No-Name Error Mickey Mantle

2012 Topps Target Exclusive Red Mickey Mantle No-name Error

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  2012 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects Black Michael Wacha Autograph

Bowman Black.

5.  2012 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects Aflac All-American Michael Zunino Autograph

Aflac.

Honorable Mention (not a pack pull but I love it):

1997 Bowman Derek Jeter Autograph

The best player. The best company.  The best autograph.  Definitive.

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

2012 Topps Mini Bryce Harper

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.

IMG_1139IMG_1141

2.  2012 Topps Archives

1984

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?

2012 Topps Archives Oscar Gamble Fan Favorites Autograph2012 Topps Archives Carl Yastrmzeski

3.  2012-13 Panini Threads Basketball

2012-13 Panini Threads Blake Griffin

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.

2012-13 Panini Threads Bismack Biyombo Autograph2012-13 Panini Threads Kyrie Irving Floor Generals

4.  Left Field Cards

IMG_1361

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.

IMG_1362

5.  2012 Bowman Baseball (+Draft Picks and Prospects)

2012 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects Bryce Harper

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.

IMG_0669  IMG_0674

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Christmas 2012: Just the hits please.

Another year, another Christmas box opened with my pop.  This is year 19 of our Christmas tradition and since we are a family of few traditions this is my favorite.  This years box: 2012 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects.  DP&P is always a must buy, while I don’t recognize a lot of the names the prospector in me knows how important this product will be down the line if any of these guys turn into Pujols, Trout, or Harper since these are the first cards and autographs for many young players.  DP&P is essentially Bowman’s version of Update, so the design is identical to this years Bowman base, which  I find appealing with it’s large pictures, team coordinated borders and simple, silver foil text.

2012 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects Bryce Harper

Valdespin, again.  If Valdespin becomes the next Jeter then I'm in the money with all Jordany RC's I've pulled this year.

Valdespin, again. If Valdespin becomes the next Jeter then I’m in the money with all the Jordany RC’s I’ve pulled this year.

Jeter's successor?  Probably not but a fella can hope.

Jeter’s successor? Probably not, but a fella can hope.

 

The Chrome cards, as is well known, are not my favorite but they are a good investment as they are generally worth 50% more than their non-metallic counterparts.  I’ve actually learned to love Chrome recently, as I’ve realized that reselling my Chrome pulls allows me to recoup some of my cost and keep my favorite players around in all their non-Chrome glory.

2012 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks & Prospects Yoenis Cespedes

Jesmuel.  I can't say it, but I like it.

Jesmuel. I can’t say it, but I like it.

We can’t forget abou the ever-present parallels, which also help increase the value of the product.  No big parallel pulls this time around.  (Don’t worry, there were hits…boy were there hits).

2012 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Blue Abe Ruiz

Blue Refractor

Blue Refractor

Silver Ice

Silver Ice

There is also a solid insert pairing old and new top draft picks, cleverly enough it is called Top Picks.  The cards are nice, featuring consitent black borders with silver and gold accents and blurbs on the back detailing the players as a pair.  These fall 1 in 6, so they are not tough pulls by any means but they do feature some bigger names and could get a few dollars on the secondary market.

2012 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Top Picks Jeter & Almora2012 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Harper & Hamilton

The hits, you say? The hits:

Bowman Black.

Bowman Black.

It took the whole Bowman season, but I finally pulled a Bowman Black Autograph.  I’m not familiar with Michael Wacha, but I do know what /25 means, so Merry Christmas to me.  The card itself is very thick, about 4x thicker than a normal card and is as clean and simple as what you see above.  I really love the silver ink autograph and the simplicity of the card, but there is a pretty big drawback: the condition.  The card has quite a bit of chipping on the edges which I would attribute to the black border and extreme thickness of the card.  I would say this grades an 8 out of the pack, which is unacceptable.  If anyone else had this problem leave a comment, I’d like to know how widespread this issue is.

I would have been satisfied with a single Bowman Black hit, but this was a bonus box, giving me this surprise:

Aflac.

Aflac.

High School All-American autos are a bit of a holy grail for me, there is no auto before these for most of these players and you often get a super cheesy photo out of the deal.  This is actually a 2008 Aflac All-American card, so the design is obviously different than the base set.  As you can see this was serial numbered out of 225, so they are relatively rare.  Zunino had a solid first season, hitting over .300 with 15 homes in 63 games between rookie ball, single A, and double A.

I also pulled a few codes for the Bowman Prospect Challenge.  This is basically a fantasy baseball game where you collect codes which gives you the opportunity to select players who will then accumulate stats over the course of next season.  All the players are prospects and it appears that bonus points will be given, in addition to normal stats based points, when players are promoted.  I’m a fantasy player and a card collector, so this is right up my alley.  Prizes are detailed on the game site.

Based on hits alone, I give this a 5/5.  Factoring in the design, inserts, and new-fangled Bowman fantasy baseball it is a 4.5/5, a worthy purchase for any prospector or autograph hound.

 

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

David HasselHOF…or Jimmy HOFfa…or I’ve gone off the rails

I feel like I’m drowning in Panini lately.  Between basketball and black friday, they’ve had me posting Panini for what feels like a month.  Now they are getting me with Baseball too.  (Note: I should have some Bowman and Topps soon, for those who care)

2012 Panini Cooperstown is in the house.  Or the retail outlet as the case may be.  I grabbed a few packs, so I could bring you, my loyal reader(s), a timely and reliable review.

This product is exactly what it sounds like, cards of Hall of Famers.  A checklist can be found here and I’m sure you can find boxes on eBay or elsewhere which contain one Hall of Famer autograph and a few manufactured patch cards.  Boxes are running about $90, so I would recommend a purchase if you’re an HOF guy or a vintage autograph hound.  I am not either of those things, though I do appreciate the Hall of Fame and will take a vintage auto where I can get it.  As such, I purchased two packs.  Here we go…

Panini lacks an MLB license, so my first order of business when opening my packs of Cooperstown was to see how they handled getting the logos out of the pictures.  This was a hit or miss proposition.  About half the cards contained pictures where the player’s back was turned or had otherwise naturally obscured the logo, the other half cropped the pictures in a way to cut off the hats of players.  Fortunately for Panini older uniforms generally did not have a lot of text, so this limited the need to photoshop logos out which I appreciate, because nothing is worse than a doctored photo.  The cards that were cropped to obscure the hat logo seem off somehow, like the picture was accidentally placed off-center or something.

2012 Panini Cooperstown Harmon Killebrew

Good photo selection.

vs.

Distracting photo cropping.

Distracting photo cropping.

I have no qualms with the card design themselves.  The photos are nice action shots and are black and white, which is pleasing.  The tan borders adds a vintage feel, with a texture that resembles an old wool uniform.  The Cooperstown logo is present on all the cards, which is a nice celebration of the institution.  Panini does not burden the cards with their logo.  Overall a solid, understated design though I think they could have benefitted from a matte finish to enhance the vintage feel.

I thought the backs were where the cards shined.  Each one contains a thoughtful player bio and the statistics from the players best season and career.  It also shows the years the player played at the top and contains a photo that differs from the one on the front of the card, which is something Panini has been failing to do in alot of their other products (nothing screams lazy like the same photo on the front and back of the card).

2012 Panini Cooperstown Rod Carew

Unsuprisingly, my two packs did not contain an auto.  The auto checklist is solid, which could go unsaid considering its all hall of famers.  A slightly cheaper price tag (something in the $60 range) would likely lead me to purchase a box just for the off chance of getting a Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, or Nolan Ryan autograph.  I did get two inserts: an Induction and a Credentials.  The Induction card features a picture of the player on their induction day and doesn’t really improve on the base cards at all.  The Credentials cards are an abortion, they are god awful.  They don’t have a picture on the front, just a bunch of stats (which are fine…on the back).  I guess that is one way to avoid licensing issues.

2012 Panini Cooperstown Harmon Killebrew Induction

2012 Panini Cooperstown Juan Marichal Credentials

There is one insert set that I am interested in: The Ballparks set.  I love old ballparks.  They were quirky and interesting with their funny dimensions and odd design elements.  I could look at pictures of old ballparks as a pasttime, which is kind of sad but don’t you dare judge me.  You have no right.  I may try to track down the set on eBay.  I can’t imagine it costs too much.

Overall Panini Cooperstown is a solid product for vintage auto collectors and as a tribute to the institution.  Panini finds it in themselves to create an understated design and to serve a valuable niche.  I would have preferred less cropped photos, but I understand the difficulty in finding a good photo of each player with no logos so it is a minor gripe.  I don’t love it enough to buy a box, but I don’t hate it enough to tell you not too.  I’m guessing the people who want it already got it, so my opinion is probably moot anyway.  3/5.

While we are talking about Cooperstown, I did want to weigh in on this years ballot.  I have vacillated on whether or not any of the confirmed, or practically confirmed users, should get in.  However, I have mostly leaned towards having them included for a few reasons.   First, guys like Bonds and Clemens were, regardless of how they got there, the major stars of a generation.  They defined baseball for twenty years and posted amazing stats (go to fangraphs and look it up), to exclude them from the hall of fame is to leave part of the picture of baseball unpainted.  I believe the same is true for Pete Rose and Joe Jackson, so I’m not being inconsistent.  Those guys belong in as well, they were baseball and their displays should include the good and bad.  Same for Bonds and Clemens.  Second, steroids were part of the era.  While I understand that not all players took them, enough did that they changed the game, therefore the best players from that era should be given their due.  This is the same as a deadball era pitcher being inducted. Pitchers in that era had it a lot easier than current pitchers do, so rather than compare across eras just the best pitchers from the deadball era should, and have, been inducted.  Same goes here, just induct the best roid guys.  Juan Gonzalez and Mark McGwire may have made it twenty years ago on homers alone, but they should be held to the Bond’s standard, not the Carew standard.  Therefore, you take only the guys who truly excelled from 1988ish to 2005ish.  Finally, in the case of Bonds, like Rose, it feels wrong to exclude the all-time leader in a major statistical category.  How can the Hall be a record of baseball history without the leaders.

I hope that Bonds and Clemens make it in.  Do I think they will? No.  The BBWA is a funny organization, they thrive on these controversial figures to make a living, but then they refuse to honor them because they were not angels.  Que sera sera.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Black Friday Recap

Black Friday.  That great annual celebration of consumerism where we all gather around the great mall and pay our respects to goods and services.  In all honesty, not my favorite day of the year.  For one, people act crazy, for two, it tends to only drive sales to large corporations rather than small business, and three, those line are long.  I do, however, appriciate a deal.  As a public employee I’m not exactly at the top of my earning potential, so I take a bargain where I can get it.  So here is my recap of my sports card-relevant black friday pickups.

Functional Friday Pickup

I finally purchased a printer with a scanner, so from this point on all of my images will be scans.  Let me just say taht I can’t believe I didn’t have one before.  It’s much easier than trying to find that perfect angle with the digital camera and the images are super sharp.  Also, I got it for $30.  Very nice.  I would recommend a scanner for anyone who sells cards on-line or blogs.

On to the cards….

I often purchase a few boxes on Black Friday, usually on-line at either dacardworld.com or blowoutcards.com.  Both have very good box prices and great selections.  I continued that tradition by purchasing a box of 2012 Topps Archives Baseball from blowout.  It was on-sale for an outrageous $59.  I’ve already opened a box of it this year, but I love retro stuff and I can’t pass up the chance at two more on-card retro autos.  Maybe I’ll get the Ken Griffey Jr. auto that I want so badly (wishful thinking).  I do not have this hand yet, so I’ll post again with my box bustin’ results later.

This year I switched it up a little and also visted my local card shop, Showtime Cards, for their black friday sale.  Normally, I only buy boxes on-line because they are so much more expensive at the shop, however I wanted to throw a little love their way this year because I truly enjoy having a good shop near my home.  While I don’t normally buy boxes from them, I do get packs and all my supplies there and they are always congenial and knowledgeable.  So I decided that it was time to fork over a little extra cash and I bought a box of 2012-13 Panini Threads Basketball for $108.  It goes for $96 on-line, so the difference wasn’t too extreme and I got to feel good about supporting my local card shop.  Let me say, it was well worth the extra money for peace of mind and also because of what I pulled.

First things first, my local shop was participating in the Panini Black Friday promotion, so I got my requisite pack of Panini Black Friday cards.  I pulled a Bryce Harper and a Cam Newton card, unfortunately no auto’s or inserts, but at least I got a couple bigger names.  The cards themselves are not my cup of tea, both are full of shine and cut out player photos. I’m sure they will be nice for collectors of these players and because of that they will be on eBay post haste.

On to the box.  As mentioned in previous posts, I am a fan of this years Threads product.  I like the simplicity of the design, I like the unaltered photographs, and I even think the wood card stock autograph idea is a good one.  Overall, I think Panini did a good job with this product and I would like to see it become the flagship.  It really reminds me, design-wise of the mid-90’s Upper Deck issues, which were always nice and understated.  While I will always prefer classic card design with white borders, unaltered player shots, and a simple aesthetic, I also have a soft spot for the borderless design that Upper Deck was using for a while.  For one thing, it helps cards grade higher, which is great on the resale market and for another it really takes away the potential for awful, busy designs (which Panini has a propensity for).  I was happy to open these cards.  Pictured below are a few examples of the quality design aesthetic at work.

While I do really like this design, with the copper flourish, the real reason I splurged on a box was because of the promise of three on-card autos.  The autos were to be of rookies of this years and last years class and they were to be on wood card stock, which is a gimmick that I like because of the retro feel and the connection to the basketball hardwood.  Opening the box created a lot of anticipation because of the breadth of the rookie class, guys like Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Damian Lillard, and Anthony Davis had me excited for what was in those packs.  Remember the only rookie cards in this product are these autographs, therefore this box, moreso than the packs I bought, had the promise of amazing hits.

Rookie auto #1 – John Jenkins – great shooter in college, promise as a role-player but with great upside.  Solid, but uninspiring hit.

Rookie Auto #2 – Bismack Biyombo – Interesting player with good defensive potential, though I can’t see him being anything other than limited minutes shot-blocker.  Cool name, little esle to be excited about.

Rookie Auto #3 – Pack a Week HIT OF THE YEAR – Anthony Davis – This is the first time I’ve ever pulled an autograph of a #1 overall pick.  Davis is poised to be a star, he has the defensive ability and the offensive potential to be an Olajuwon or a Ewing, and as long as he stays injury free I think he will get there.  This has been a rough year on autograph hits for Pack a Week, but this is the sort of thing that gives you hope that you can occasionally get the big one.  It also makes me glad that I spent the extra money for this box at the shop.

Fear the brow! Seriously, fear that thing.

I also got a number of inserts, some ok, some bad.  I pulled a David West gold card, which is numbered out of /25.  It is the base design but with a gold bottom border instead of a copper border.  Given my affinity for the design, I like it, I’m just bummed it wasn’t a bigger star.

Also pulled were a few Floor Generals cards (including Kyrie Irving, who should bring a few bucks on the secondary market), A couple High Flyers (including Kevin Durant), some Century Greats (Magic Johnson, Patrick Ewing, Clyde Drexler), and a couple Talente Twosome cards.  Overall the inserts are uninspired, though inoffensively designed.  Most, other than the Century Greats feature full action shots and unobtrusive designs.  The talented twosomes really reminds me of subsets from the 90’s featuring teammates, which is an ok idea but probably not worthy of a full insert set, though I do like the single photos featuring two players.  The other ones just seem to be reaching for a theme and a design.  I also pulled a few of the Team Threads Jersey Die-cut Cards, including a Lebron James.  I’ve mentioned before that I like these cards.  They are kind of like the team stickers of our day and they add a little diversity to the product.  Overall the only decent inserts are the Team Threads and the different colored parallels.  I’m guessing we’ll see some of the bigger star’s platinums versions going for $30 – $70 on eBay.

Can I call him Durantula, or will that other guy sue me?

Finally, I pulled one relic card, Anthony Mason, which is not pictured.  There was also a pack of Kobe Bryant Anthology cards packed in the box.  Kobe is my least favorite NBA player of all time.  Bold statement, I know.  But I just don’t like his smug demeanor and his selfish style.  You can tell me he is a winner all you want and that he has that killer instinct, but it doesn’t change the kind of player he is and it’s not the kind I like.  The cards are simply designed no borders and Kobe’s name at the bottom.  If you’re a Kobe fan then this is awesome, if not…well…not so much.

After buying a box, I still really like this product.  I like what they’ve done with the rookie cards.  Making them all autos helps increase the value and also makes for something much more interesting.  The experiment of using wood card stock seems successful and I can’t wait for more of the same.  On-card autos is a double plus.  While I don’t love the inserts, three autos per box makes up for it.  The design is simple enough to withstand the test of time and I’m happy that Panini has put a decent set together given the fact that they are the only NBA game in town.  Overall: 4.5/5

Finally, after entering probably 30 Golden Giveaway codes with Topps this year I only came up with one card, which I received this weekend.  It’s Derek Jeter, which I like.  I like nothing else.  It is a non-sense die cut (why the jagged edges, does that symbolize something?), it’s shiny with some design in the background, and the picture is a cut-out.  Bleeeech.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Win Short

The Washington Nationals lost game 5 of the NLDS to the St. Louis Cardinals. They lost in heartbreaking fashion, collapsing in the 9th inning and losing the series. This loss was not only heartbreaking because of how it was suffered by because this was the first time that a Washington baseball team had made the playoffs in almost 80 years. That is an insane playoff drought.

Washington made a great run this season. Years of high draft picks and solid management allowed Washington to put together a fantastic rotation and a decent offense. They finished the season with the best record in baseball. They also called up Bryce Harper, who, with the exception of Mike Trout, is the most exciting young player in baseball. Harper will likely be a fan favorite for years to come and should be a big draw for the Nationals. I, for one, hope that he lives up to the hype and that the Nationals can keep him in Washington. It’s good for the team and for baseball to have guys who define teams. The MLB would really lose something if guys like Jeter, Ripken, Gwynn, and George Brett didn’t exist. Without those types of guys baseball loses its identity. Nobody wants a league of mercenaries who change teams every three years.

Kudos to Washington for what they’ve put together. With players like Harper, Zimmerman, Morse, and Gio Gonzalez their future looks bright, I’m thinking an NL version of the Rays, but with a stronger upside because they are in a better market. However, I’m here today to talk about Stephen Strasburg, the centerpiece of their rotation for years to come. He’s a guy who threw 197 strikeouts in 159 innings. He had a 3.16 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. He put up a 2.82 FIP (that’s fielding indepenet pitching, click the link if you don’t know about it).  Not to mention a 4.3 WAR.  He is an ace, a certifiable ace.  We all know that, me, you, the pundits, and the hobby.  If the Nationals can keep him and Harper healthy and under contract, they are a force to be reckoned with.  Washington did not use him in the NLDS.  Let me repeat that, they did not use their best arm in the playoffs.

I understand that Washington wanted to shut Strasburg down after 160 innings.  He is a young pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery and they didn’t want to push his innings ala Mark Prior.  They wanted to “protect their investment” for years to come.  But why are they invested in him?  The answer: to win.  They want to build a winning club.  But they have built a winning club, this years club.  They had the best record in baseball behind the best pitching staff in the majors.  They were set to win this year and they blew it because of an artificial innings cap that they created.  This could have been their year but they will never know because they wouldn’t allow Strasburg to pitch at least six more innings.  One Strasburg start in the NLDS could have made all the difference in the world.  They were one win away from moving on.

The Nationals set a four man rotation of Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson, and Ross Detwiler for the NLDS.  In their defense, we saw solid performances out of Gonzalez and Detwiler.  Jordan Zimmermann was shelled in game 2 and Jackson in game 3.  Now, we know that Zimmermann remains in the rotation even if Strasburg is in it.  If Strasburg starts a game then either Jackson or Detwiler are displaced, most likely Detwiler, as he was the fourth starter.  Now, you may be saying that you’d basically be replacing one of their solid starters in the series, and you’d be right.  But you’d also have a different pitcher for game 2, assuming that Strasburg is slotted as the nubmer 2 starter to avoid giving him two starts, which was a huge loss for the Nats.  Strasburg starts game 2 at St. Louis, maybe works some magic and they go back home up 2-0.  This takes a lot of pressure off of the other starters, gives Zimmermann a home field advantage and maybe we’re talking about a San Francisco and Washington NLCS.  But we’ll never know because Washington decided they weren’t all in for this year.

I sincerely hope, for the sake of the Nats fans, that they make the playoffs in the years to come, because if they don’t sitting Strasburg may go down as one of the dumbest moves of all time.  You always have to play for this year.  Next year may never come (at least the playoffs may not).

This card has sold for some ugodly sums of money. He still hasn’t started in the playoffs though. Frowny face for Nats fans.

P.S.  I’m really tired of the Cardinals.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Weekend Pickup

What do Greg Maddux playing wiffle ball, Jim Kelly dressed as Tony Montana, William Tecumseh Sherman, a golfer who wears two gloves, and the single season NCAA women’s basketball scoring record holder have in common?  The answer: nothing except the fact that they were all in my pack of 2012 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions.

Wiffleball hall of famer, Greg Maddux?

WTF?

Histories.

“Derek doesn’t know who I am.”

This portrait was brought to you by a fourth grader. Sorry Jackie.

I can say with some certainty that this is the first pack of Goodwin that I’ve ever purchased.  I normally don’t go for the non-licensed, multi-sport stuff, but this was the only thing at the local shop that I hadn’t opened yet, so I thought I’d give it a try.  Firstly, I’m going to review this not based on my pack, which was awful, but on the design of the product.  I’m doing my best here not to let my disappointment in a single pack bias my post.  However, the design itself is too generic for my liking.  It is basically the stock “vintage” card design, which we have all seen quite a few times.  It does include painted portraits instead of photographs, which I appreciate if done well but, as seen on the Jackie Stiles card, these portraits are not top notch.  Black borders are a plus in my book, but otherwise the design is a bit of yawner.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not offensive to my eyes but it’s just not much to talk about.

The actual portraits on the other hand, they are something to talk about.  Since Upper Deck lacks a baseball license we can’t expect Greg Maddux in a proper uniform, but wiffleball?  Kudos I say, wiffleball is underappreciated and I believe an Upper Deck and Greg Maddux team up can bring it to the forefront of American culture.  Who doesn’t love crazy screwballs and 53′ home runs.  Truly the sport of kings.  Jim Kelly, WTF, why buddy?  I know the movie was big and all, but try to maintain a little bit, ok?

Jim Kelly or Al Pacino? I just don’t know.

Another kudos to Upper Deck for drawing our attention to what can only be a ‘separated at birth’ situation.  Not much to say about Tommy Gainey (other than who is Tommy Gainey?) and William Tecumseh Sherman, but someone owes Jackie Stiles an apology.  I googled her and that portrait should offend her.

I suppose the draw of Goodwin Champions is a stacked autograph checklist.  Upper Deck’s stable of stars, including Lebron, MJ, and Tiger, are all accounted for, as well as some other interesting signers like Mike Tyson, Arnold Palmer, and Nolan Ryan.  There are also relic cards including JFK, Eisenhower, and Joe Jackson.  This is obviously a hit based product, so I recommend buying a box if you’re at all interested (three guaranteed per box).  Buying single packs puts you at risk for what is shown above.  Design 2.5/5, auto and relic checklist 5/5.

My local card dealer also threw in a pack of 1991-92 McDonalds edition Hoops.  These were the packs that included the Dream Team cards.  I got a Magic Johnson.  See for yourself.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Topps CrCl4 (or something like that)

I mentioned in my Topps Mini post that I’m not a fan of the shiny cards.  This remains true, but since I’m now producing a sports card blog I figured I should overlook my personal biases so I can discuss the new stuff.  So without furthe ado, 2012 Topps Chrome baseball.

Chrome adopts the design of the Topps base set, so no need to go into that, and makes it shinier.  If you like the Topps base design or regular things made shinier then this product will suit your fancy.  Personally, I don’t see myself buying more than the two retail packs I picked up but that doesn’t make it a bad product, it’s just not a product for me.  It does have a solid autograph list, including all of this years relevant rookies and Mike Trout.  The rookies are signed on-card, which is always a plus.  There is also an autograph insert set called Chrome Encounters that has a really nice design, too bad neither of my packs yielded one.

Good looking design, bad sticker drop

There is also a limited number of autographed buybacks, featuring players like Robinson Cano and Prince Fielder autographing their Chrome rookie cards. There is also a die-cut insert that is everything I hate in cards, gimmicky, shiny, and takes the emphasis off of the photograph, I will discuss it no further.   As usual there are a plethora of different refractors, which are always popular amogst the completists and the obsessive compulsives (just kidding, I love all collectors and their goals).  In the end 2012 Chrome is exactly what you would expect: it’s shiny, it has a good rookie autograph checklist, and its heavy on paralells.  I’m not buying anymore but I’m not saying that it’s awful, 2.5/5.

My packs yielded a few rookies and a Kevin Youkilis refractor.  I also got a Madison Bumgarner base card, which I mention only only to talk about the fact that Madison Bumgarner is a great pitcher (and is killing it for my fantasy team this season). Given the fact that Bumgarner has to share the spotlight with Cain and Lincecum, I sometimes think that he doesn’t get his due, but he’s sporting a low 3’s ERA, a 1.04 whip, is strikig 8.31 per 9.  He’s an ace on most staffs, even my beloved Yankees.  The advanced stats back up solid play, pegging him at a 3.35 xFIP, meaning that he’s ERA is right about where you’d expect it given his strikeout and walk rate.  He’s also only 23, so gievn the common conception that players tend to get better as they move into their mid to late 20’s, we should be seeing some improvement from the guy.  What I’m trying to say is that I want the Yankees to pull some strings and get Madison Bumgarner soon.  Trade Dellin Betances for him, do something.  Dave Cameron agrees with me, what else can I say.

Check out the Chrome checklist over at Cardboard Connection.

Tagged , , , , , , ,
Left Field Cards

Letterpress baseball cards, postcard-size.

Bad Wax

Musings of a Card Collector

realhousewivesrealprofessor

Analyzing reality TV, and the world, at the same time