Tag Archives: Larry Bird

Weekend Pickups

Part 1:  Accidental Purchases

I had to run some errands on Friday night, so I found myself at Target.  I am not capable of entering a Target without leaving with some cards, therefore I found myself in the card section.  I was contemplating getting a blaster box of Bowman Chrome but decided that it would be better not to spend $20 on a blaster, instead I decided on a few packs of BC.  I spotted a value pack (discussed herein) and figured that was the best bang for my buck.  Fast forward to the parking lot, I grab my pack out of the bag only to discover that what I grabbed was a value pack of Bowman Platinum.  I’m not a huge fan of BP this year (see previous post), so I thought about going back in and exchanging it but laziness got the better of me and I decided to open it.  Was I glad that I did.

Turns out that this value pack contained what I like to call a “retail superpack.”  A retail superpack is a retail pack that contains an autograph.  I suppose I could have just said I got an autograph, but why be simple when I can invent terms.  I got a Carter Capps autograph out of the pack, now I don’t know who Carter Capps is or if he is related to Matt Capps, but what I do know is that I got an on-card autograph of a Mariners prospect who threw 28 k’s in 25 innings with the big club this season and 19 saves along with a 13 k/9 in AA.  Seems like a solid performer and card worth holding on to.

Aside from a solid autograph I also pulled a few more interesting cards.  First, a Yu Darvish rookie card.  We all know about Darvish, so I’ll save any sort of analysis but i’m hoping to get a few bucks for it since I’m not a Rangers fan.  I also got a Wil Myers Top Prospect card.  Myers looks like he could go on to accomplish big things as a power hitting prospect in the Royals system.  Anecdotally, I watched him almost hit for the cycle in Tucson, putting solid contact on the ball every time he swung, statiscally he hit 37 bombs between AA and AAA along with an average over .300 and a 10% walk rate.  He’ll need to cut down on a high 20’s strikeout rate before he’s a star in the majors.  I also pulled a Troy Tulowitzki Cutting Edge Stars die-cut card.  This is another straight to eBay item given that I’m not a fan of Tulo or die-cuts, however as far as die-cuts go it’s fairly solid lacking the jagged edges that so often make them look stupid and horribly gimmicky.

The value pack also came with a bonus pack of Purple Refractor Prospect cards.  Nothing too exciting here, a couple of solid pitching prospects.  Hopefully something that will be interesting someday.

Shelby Miller

Matt Harvey

While it is still not favorite product, for reasons discussed previously, I can’t argue with good pulls, so overall this was pleasant mistake.

Part 2: Topps Update

I hadn’t purchased any packs of Update since it was released, so when  I found myself back at Target on Saturday I said to myself “no time like the present.”  I didn’t say that, but I wanted some so I got it.   The design is, of course, the Topps base design this year, so you know already if you like it.  I personally think it is solid as I mentioned in my Topps Mini post.  The draw of Update to me is always the rookies and the All-Star relics.  While I was disappointed on the relic front completely (I may have too high expectations for my two pack purchase), I did get a couple of interesting rookies.  First I got Trevor Bauer, who is a very exciting D-Backs prospect out of UCLA.  He has a crazy delivery and an even crazier warmup routine (look it up), but I’m afraid that his arm will explode ala Mark Prior in the next couple of years, so I’m prepared to enjoy watching him for the next couple of years because that is all we may get.

Don’t sleep on 174 k’s in 146 innings between the majors, AAA, and AA. Crazy numbers.

I also pulled a Jodany Valdespin rookie, not the most exciting player but, as I’ve said, the best name.  I do feel like I’ve seen this card before though…


Maybe it’s because we have…

Reusing photos is bad form Topps, bad form.  Minus 3.

Aside from a few rookies, the rest of my interesting pulls were parallels.  One gold, one target exclusive red, and one gold sparkle.

Yadier Molina Gold

Rhiner Cruz Red.

Anibal Sanchez Gold Sparkle.

Finally, I just wanted to mention that the Oakland A’s yellow uniforms are the best in baseball.  I dare you to argue with me.

Part 3: Panini Prestige

My second target trip also resulted in a couple packs of 2012-13 Panini Prestige.  My dislike of Panini is well known, but I wanted to get a few packs of basketball because it’s basketball season and I’m starting to get excited.  Prestige, unfortunately, suffers from some of the normal Panini trappings, the cards are over-designed and they shift the emphasis off of the photography as whole and just focus on the player featured.  The base cards do use restraint in regards to logos and the bottom borders that contain the players name, so that is a plus.

The rookie cards, as always are the chase.  While the base design is tolerable, the rookie design is too busy.  I wish that Panini would have just used the base design for the rookies, having a different design destroys the continuity and makes it seem like a subset.  Subsets do not hold up over the years.  On a personal note, I was happy to get a Kyrie Irving rookie, while the second round picks have a place in the set, I’m tired of getting them.

Finally I pulled a couple inserts.  First was a Steve Nash Hardcourt Heroes.  I’ll never forgive Nash for going to the Lakers (if he wanted to win he should have gone to the Heat, at least they are not the Suns direct rival) and this card is ugly and it sucks.  Another generic, non-sense Panini insert.  Blech.  The other insert was a  Larry Bird/Magic Johnson Connections card.  This card, by all accounts, should be something I hate; the pictures are cut outs of the players and the card is busy.  But I like it.  The images are of younger Bird and Magic, the foil logo gives it a nice touch and they way the players are off-set is pleasing to the eye.  Another surprising design success by Panini.  Maybe there is hope.

Prestige boasts a solid checklist, featuring this and last years rookies as well as autographs of past, present, and future stars.  The design is tolerable but not special.  Panini needs to look at classic sports card design and get away from gimmicky, 90’s cards to really get it right.  Overall, 3/5.







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Hoops Revisited

My dad decided he wanted to open some Hoops packs to satiate his need for rookie cards.  So I got a second round of 2012-13 Hoops today.

I can’t say that my impressions changed in any apprciable way but I did get to lay eyes on a couple different inserts, which were nice, and a bunch of the extended rookie crop.  So I thought it was worth a followup post.

First, the inserts.  I pulled two Franchise Greats cards, John Stockton and Larry Bird.  Larry Bird is the Mickey Mantle of basketball cards and I have no doubt that I’ll make a few bucks on eBay anytime I see his face, so the card made me happy.  The design itself is my favorite of all the Hoops designs this year.  It is nice and clean, with team coordinated borders and nice photography.  The hoops logo is not too-big and the stars are kept to a minimum.  Solid job, Hoops.  John Stockton’s shorts are short, go figure.  I’m not regrading Hoops as a whole, but this insert set is a 4/5.

The other new, to me, insert was a Rookie Standout card.  The one I got was MarShon Brooks.  Not much to say about the card.  Not as hideous as the Spark Plug set, but not my favorite.  I appreciate full action shots, and like the simple text and border design (if you’re going to err, err on the side of simplicity), but the border is a little big and intrusive.

This card brings me to an aside.  I love the new Nets logo.  Black and white is under-utilized in sports.  I think teams think that it is too generic, but it is so clean.  The logo has a great retro feel and I think merchandise sales will be off the charts.  People love Brooklyn.  As a basketball fan without an official favorite team the sweet logo may just sway me in Brooklyn’s direction.  If they can sign Dwight Howard next off-season there will be no question, especially if the Suns continue in their current direction, both in terms of talent and awful logo design.


Not cool.

Finally,  I got the Derrick Williams rookie card I’ve been after.  Two of them, in fact.  I still want an autograph.  But it’s nice to pull a player I’m collecting.  I sincerely hope that Minnesota can utilize William’s talents this season.  Last season was kind of disappointing with him backing up Kevin Love and not getting a lot of minutes.  He has the talent, he can shoot from outside, he can finish around the rim, he just needs an opprotunity.  I’m not sure the T-Wolves are looking to give him that opportunity, though.  They traded Beasley, which looked like Minnesota opening up a spot for Williams, but then immdediately signed Andrei Kirilenko, which put another forward in front of Williams on the depth-chart.  If the Wolves aren’t going to utilize an offensively gifted player like Williams, they might as well trade him.  Maybe to Brooklyn.  Good logo, good player.

I pulled a few other rookies, including a some of this years crop.  Notably Harrison Barnes and Bernard James.  Barnes has been called ‘boring’ by some basketball personalities.  I can see it and I can see disliking him for the same reasons I like Tim Duncan, which is the same reason I don’t befriend machines.  Personality is a must, especially in the hobby.  Do something crazy Harrison.  What?  I don’t know.  You think it up, but make it good.  I also pulled Bernard James, who spent six years in the Air Force before playing a few years at Florida State, which makes him a super old rookie.  Bold prediction: he will not be a star but will be lauded for his maturity.  Quote me on that.  Also, who fitted him for that suit, it’s like four sizes too small.  Don’t get me wrong, baggy is worse, but if you’re going to get a tailored suit you shouldn’t look like you’re about to bust out of it like the Hulk.

BTW, 13 packs produced three first year rookies.  Anyone else pulling them at this rate?  If so, they are definitely short printed.


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