Friday, December 28, 2007

Yankee Plaid-Stripes

You learn something new every day. For example, today, I found out that the New York Yankees once wore plaid uniforms. At first I was shocked. But alas, sometime between 1951 and 1969, the Bronx Bombers wore plaid uniforms!

I came to this shocking discovery in, of all places, the checkout line at the Deptford, NJ Target. I was in the trading card aisle looking for a blaster of UD Masterpieces; but noticed something else that piqued my interest. Stacked neatly on the bottom shelf were four 2007 Topps factory sets each with a "Target Exclusive Mickey Mantle `game-used' card."

And there it was, visible from outside the box: A Mickey Mantle card with a plaid piece of "AUTHENTIC GAME-USED MEMORABILIA."

(Image ripped off of eBay, but you get the idea.)

At first, I was skeptical. Topps wouldn't dare cut up one of Mickey Mantle's civilian dress shirts, paste the swatches on a reprint, and label it as a "game-used" card?

Nah! Topps has way too much integrity to do something that nefarious.

So I came to the only logical conclusion. The New York Yankees must have worn (at some point during The Mick's career) plaid uniforms.

Maybe that 7500-card mirror insert that Upper Deck is cooking up will mention the exact game the Yanks went plaid.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Stale Gum Swap Meet is Now Open!

In case you haven't noticed, I've begun to post my wantlists. You'll notice them in the right column. I hope to have my entire list posted soon; however, I only have 2001-present for now.

For the longest time, I've been hesitant to post my wantlists, as I had been stiffed in the past. But I feel that now is the right time. That, and I'm running out of room for my monster boxes!

All of the files listed are text files, so you'll have to click the "Back" button on your browser to return to this page. Each text file will have the date that particular year's list was last updated, so be sure to check them often.

Unfortunately, my inventory of cards is so extensive I can not possibly list an index of every single card available to trade. However, I do have a large selection of base cards, inserts and parallels from the late 80s, 90s and 00s. Speaking of which, what exactly do you call the decade we're in now? The "Double-Zeros?" The "Oughts?"

Anyway, e-mail me your offers, and your wantlists, to

Rules of Engagement:

1. My policy is to trade, straight-up, Beckett HI for Beckett HI -- or as reasonably close to Beckett HI as possible. That is, the total combined Beckett HI value of my cards, for the total combined Beckett HI value of yours. Seems fair, right?

2. When offering a trade, please format your wantlist like so:

Year | Brand | Set Name | Card Number

All my doubles are stored in this order. I haven't the time to search my entire inventory for every Joe Shlabotnik card, and such requests will be ignored.

3. All of my items (except where noted) are in Mint condition, and I expect the same in return. If any item is not to my satisfaction, then I reserve the right to return the card(s) in question.

4. I will mail out your cards ONLY AFTER I receive my cards. I hate to do this, but like I mentioned, I've been burned before and don't want to get burned again.

I know what you're probably saying: "How can you assure me that you won't give me the shaft Chris?" That's a fair question, but think about this. I'm the guy with the baseball card blog that gets 1500 unique visits per day. Do you really think it would be in my best interest to throw my reputation away just for a handful of 2007 Allen & Ginter singles?

5. ALL TRADES ARE FINAL!!! Once we agree to a trade, I expect you to live up to your end of the bargain.

6. I am not responsible for late, misdirected or damaged mail.


Always Be Collecting -- 2001 Donruss

"Do you know what it takes to collect 2001 Donruss?"

We all have our vices and guilty pleasures. We know they're bad for us, but we just can't help ourselves.

I know if I eat too many Gorditas, I'll get fat. But I like Gorditas, and I eat them anyway.

I know if I drink too many pints of Boddington's Pub Ale, I get a hangover. But I like the taste of Boddington's, and I drink it anyway.

I know if I take too many Xanaxes, I'll be zonked out the rest of the day. But it "takes the edge off," so I take them anyway.

When it comes to baseball cards, my vice is 2001 Donruss: the Xanax of baseball cards.

So to "celebrate" the return of Donruss-Playoff to the baseball card industry with an unlicensed draft pick product, and to sate the never-ending rumors that D-P will be getting their real licenses back, let's set the WABAC machine six years to examine their first "real" baseball card effort.

In 1998 Pinnacle Brands -- which had spent $41 million dollars for the rights to the Donruss and Leaf brand names two years earlier -- filed for bankruptcy protection. Shortly thereafter, both Major League Baseball Properties and licensing arm of the Players Association revoked their respective licenses, and Pinnacle's assets were ordered liquidated. In the summer of '98, it appeared that Donruss baseball would come to an end after eighteen glorious years. But then an unlikely savior appeared. A savior that took the form of football card manufacturer Playoff, who paid $9.6 million at auction for everything that was left of Pinnacle.

Shortly thereafter, speculation in The Hobby immediately began as to Playoff's intentions -- specifically in regards to acquiring MLB and MLBPA licenses. Although Playoff was granted a temporary license (so that those players Pinnacle contracted to sign for 1998 Donruss Signature could be paid) they were denied a permanent license. It appeared that Playoff's quest to get into the baseball card business would never bear fruit.

That is, until late-2000. Things started to turn in Playoff's favor after Pacific inserted into packs of 2000 Invincible a Manny Ramirez bat card with what appeared to be a piece of cork embedded in it. When Pacific was unable to vouch for the bat's authenticity -- they admitted to having purchased the bat from a third party -- MLBPA yanked Pacific's license.

Almost immediately, rumors of Playoff finally getting the licenses it had long coveted began to fly again. Finally, after a three year quest, those efforts came to fruition in February 2001, when it was announced that Playoff (now renamed "Donruss-Playoff") had at last received permission to produce Major League Baseball cards.

With nearly three years of pent-up demand -- not the mention the novelty of it being the first completely original baseball card product from Playoff -- loyal Donruss collectors immediately began to place pre-sell orders with their local hobby dealers. (Many of those same dealers were disappointed to find out that they would be limited to only one six-box hobby case.) In April 2001 Donruss Baseball went live.

The result: The worst baseball card set ever made.

In their haste to produce their first real baseball card product, Donruss-Playoff (D-P) essentially recycled the same formula that had successfully worked for them in football cards. In fact, the parallels between the 2001 Donruss Baseball and 2000 Donruss Football sets are uncanny to say the least. Both sets have roughly the same number of cards (220 in baseball versus 250 in football), and both had an MSRP of $1.99/pack. However, both products relied heavily on a gimmick that was becoming commonplace in football cards, but had never, ever, before appeared in a base level baseball brand.

2001 Donruss was the first entry-level baseball trading card product to feature short-printed, serial-numbered, rookie cards. While short-printing may have appealed to the football card audience, it didn't to base-level baseball card collectors. By limiting the production of each "Rated Rookie" to only 2001 copies (not including the Albert Pujols and Ben Sheets exchange cards -- each limited to 500), D-P had abandoned the one segment of the market that traditionally purchases and collects such base level products. The one segment that had been the cornerstone of the Donruss brand since 1981: Set builders.

While 2001 Donruss did sell well, not all collectors were pleased.'s Rich Klein was one. Shortly after the set's release, he wrote:

"(Collectors are) beginning to realize there are almost no (rookie) cards out there and some, unfortunately for Donruss/Playoff, are beginning to learn that they can live without Donruss in future years... I just think too many collectors will have gotten fed up trying to get 2001 Donruss Baseball that their Donruss collection will permanently end with 1998."

In retrospect, D-P screwed up the comeback edition of Donruss baseball royally. Long-time Donruss baseball collectors simply gave up after 2001. What D-P failed to realize, and to the bitter end never really quite understood, was that football card collectors and baseball card collectors are two completely different breeds of hobbyist. What works in football, may not (and usually does not) necessarily work in baseball. Again, quoting Klein:

"I'm worried that Donruss/Playoff has used the Donruss brand name to turn a quick profit so their next product sells well. To me, this is thinking only a few months ahead instead of looking a year or more into the future. This is the same type of marketing that - in my opinion - failed to serve Score/Pinnacle well after about 1995 or so. Donruss/Playoff's lack of long-term vision with the release of the limited 2001 Donruss Baseball product could eventually hurt the Donruss name."

Well, some collectors; but not this one. You see, for the "so-bad-it's-good" reasons I stated before, I made it a quest to attempt to complete a 2001 Donruss master set. I know I should know better, but I can't help it.

I can't help it. But I'm addicted to the worst baseball card set ever!

Here's my original 2001 Donruss box break and review (as posted to the old

And here's my 2001 wantlist. (HELP ME OUT!!!)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Look at what Santa left under my tree...

A nine-year-old Upper Deck "Holiday Worn" Jersey card of Kris himself!

Hope you had a good one.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Box Break and Review: 2007 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects

One Box of 2007 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects (paid $59)
24 packs per box, seven cards per pack (MSRP $2.99/pack)

The Details

One over sized checklist.
One two-card pack of A-Rod Bullshit Waste-of-Space Mirrors.

Base Set: 55 cards (two-per-pack)

Prospects: 110 cards (two-per-pack)

A-Rod Waste-of-Space: 25 cards (two per chiptopper pack)

Golds: 165 cards (one-per-pack #)
Blues: 165 cards (1:29; numbered to 399)
Reds: (1:10,377; one-of-one)
Chrome: 165 cards (two-per-pack)
Chrome Refractor: 165 cards (1:11; limited, but not numbered, to 1060 copies)
X-Fractor: 165 cards (1:39; numbered to 299)
Blue Refractor: 165 cards (1:58, numbered to 199 copies)
Gold Refractor: 165 cards (1:232, numbered to 50)
Orange Refractor: 165 cards (1:463, numbered to 25)
Red Refractor: 165 Cards (1:2300, numbered to five)
Superfractor: 165 cards (1:10,377, one-of-one)
Printing Plates: (1:1294)

* All parallel sets include the 55 card base set, as well as the 110 Prospect "inserts," bundled together.
# Packs containing a Futures Relic, do not have a Gold card.

Autogamers +:
Autographed Chrome Prospects: 25 cards^ (1:38)
Autographed Chrome Prospects Refractor: 25 cards (1:118)
Autographed Chrome Prospects X-Fractor: 25 cards (1:262)
Autographed Chrome Prospects Blue Refractor: 25 cards (1:400)
Autographed Chrome Prospects Gold Refractor: 25 cards (1:1270)
Autographed Chrome Prospects Orange Refractor: 25 cards (1:2345)
Autographed Chrome Prospects Red Refractor: 25 cards (1:11,400)
Autographed Chrome Prospects Superfractor: 25 cards (1:57,814)
Head of the Class: two cards (1:4965)
Head of the Class Refractor: two cards (1:18,000)
Head of the Class Gold Refractor: two cards (1:34,500)
Head of the Class Superfractor: two cards (1:809,400)
Chrome Autographed Press Plates (1:14,255)
Futures Game Patch Relics: 45 cards (1:384)
Futures Game Base Relics: 45 cards (1:633; numbered to 135 copies)

+ Stated odds of finding an Autograph or Relic: 1:12
^ The 30 Autographed Chrome Prospects are numbered as an extension of the Prospects insert set. (DP 111-135)

The Pulls
Each seven card pack contains:

  • Two base set cards ("Greens")
  • Two Prospect "inserts" ("Blues")
  • Either a Gold Parallel, or a Relic
  • One Bowman Chrome Parallel
  • Either a second BowChro card, a BowChro Refractor, or an Autographed BowChro Prospect

Base Set: 47 of 55 (85.45%)

Prospects: 48 of 110 (43.64%)

2 A-Rod Waste of Space: #438 & #445

23 Golds
1 Blue: C. Culberson
44 Chromes
2 Refractors: O. Marmol, J. Borbon
1 X-Fractor: J. Whittleman

1 Autographed Chrome Prospect: T. Alderson
1 Futures Game Base Relic: B. Bocock

The Review

The season's over, the Chrismahanukwanzakah Holidays here, and you know what that means: It's Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects time.

First off, I have to give Topps credit. Unlike 2007 Bowman, the player depicted on all the BDP&P wrappers and display boxes actually appears in the product. Not only is Houston Astro center fielder Hunter Pence in the set, but unlike last year's BDP&P cover boy Evan Longoria, Pence is on a regular base set card -- as opposed to a short-printed, autographed Chrome card.

The 2007 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects base set consists of 54 green bordered MLBPA-approved "Rookies," and a card of Barry Bonds. This particular Bonds uses the same photo as the card that was inserted into packs of regular Bowman. However, the back of Barry's BDP&P card mentions the home run record and lists his complete 2007 statistics. And while most of the "Rookies" are of the parenth-RC variety (i.e. Felix Pie, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Braun, and the like), there are some actual true RCs; such as Kyle Kendrick, Tim Lincecum, and JOBA!!!!

The 110 "Blue" Prospects are divided into 65 Draft Picks and 45 Futures Game cards. Unlike last year, the two subsets are not numbered separately, and (unfortunately) as has become par-for-the-course for BDP&P, there are an additional 25 Draft Picks that are only available in the Autographed Chrome format.

Last year's BDP&P had less than half of the 2006 first-round draft class. And of those first rounders that Topps did include, most of them were available only as Autographed Chromes. Did Topps improve with this year's set? Well, let's see.

After analyzing the checklist, Topps was able to snag 24 of the 30 2007 first round draft picks (up from only 13 last year). Of those, 17 appear exclusively in the Autographed Chrome Prospects subset. However, of the seven unautographed first-rounders, five were top ten selections -- including the first two overall picks.

One of the positive unintended consequences of Donruss's forthcoming unlicensed draft pick product, is that they signed both David Price and Michael Moustakas (#1 and #2 respectively) to exclusive autograph contracts. Although Topps was able to get both Price and Moustakas, their 2007 BDP&P cards are unautographed -- thereby making them collectible. Thanks Donruss!

As usual, there are a slew of 2nd, 3rd, and "sandwich" round picks, as well as a few later round draftees that Topps thinks might pan out -- but probably won't. One of the most interesting cards is #BDPP2 Karl Bolt -- a first baseman selected by the Phillies with the 473rd overall selection. What makes Bolt so interesting is where he went to college: The Air Force Academy. HOO-RAH, AIR FORCE!!!

Here's an interesting nugget of information I found out by reading the card backs. Did you know that Frank Gailey (23rd round pick of the Blue Jays) AND Jason Kiley (25th rounder of the Yankees) are both West Chester University's career strikeout leaders? They both went to Archbishop Carroll High School along with Buccaneers receive Maurice Stovall? And that they both enjoy golf and were on the links when they were drafted by Toronto?

The Bottom Line:

If you're a fan of San Francisco Giants' minor leaguers, then this was the box for you. I pulled a Blue parallel of Giants "sandwich" round draft pick (51st overall) Charlie Culberson and an Autographed Chrome Prospect of first rounder (22nd overall) Tim Alderson. In addition, I received a Futures Game base card of some guy named Brian Bocock -- a ninth round pick of the Giants in last year's draft. Bocock hit .243 at Single-A last season, but was leading all of minor league baseball in stolen bases at the All-Star Break; which somehow made him worthy of a Futures Game selection.

In addition, I pulled two refractors (one of St. Louis sixth round pick Oliver Marmol and the other of Rangers sandwich rounder Julio Borbon.) and an X-Fractor of Ranger prospect and Futures Game participant Johnny Whittleman.

Product Rating: 2 1/2 Gumsticks (out of 5)

My chief complaint regarding last year's BDP&P, and of every BDP&P set since it went to this format in 2002, remains. The autographed Chrome cards are killing the collectability of this product. If Topps would have made the 25 draft picks in both autographed Chrome AND unautographed non-Chrome versions, this would easily be a 3 1/2 Gumstick set.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Stale Gum Chrismahanukwanzakah Gift Guide.

We all have a wife/girlfriend/parent/domestic partner/significant other who just doesn't understand the obsession we have of collecting tiny cardboard pictures of grown men. If you're like me, your loved ones have no idea what to get you for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus.

So you try asking for that card that's been on your wantlist for years. Or you ask for that waxbox of that hot new product. Chances are, this is the response you get:

"$100! For a pack of baseball cards! A C-Note for ONE PACK! Does that come with a handjob, too?"

"Autographed Gold Refractor? Why would anyone autograph a telescope?"

"Joba? What kind of parent names their kid Joba!!!"

Fear not. The magic elves at Stale Gum are here with a baseball card gift guide, taylor-made for the non-collector. Simply print this guide out, and hand it to your non-collecting loved ones.

A Gift Certificate to the local card shop

This is a "no-brainer" gift. Provided, of course, your local card shop offers gift certificates. And assuming, of course, that there's still a card shop in your neighborhood.

Blaster Boxes

You know all those miniature boxes of baseball cards that they stock in the checkout lane? We call 'em "Blaster Boxes," and they're Sam Walton's (or God's) gift to card collectors.

A Blaster Box has about 8-12 packs of cards, and sell for about $20. Not a bad deal.

Factory Sets

Again, another "no-brainer" gift. It's the complete set of cards, all without having to rip open all those pesky packs.

They sell them everywhere -- usually in the same aisle as the Blasters -- and what collector doesn't like getting a factory set?

A "Rated Rookie" T-Shirt

If you're a non-collector, then you probably don't get the fetish we have over "Rookie Cards." Believe me, I've been collecting for over 25-years, and I still don't get it.

However, if you know and/or love a baseball card collector, then he/she needs a "Rated Rookie" T-shirt.

It says, "Yeah, not only am I in my 30s and collect baseball cards; I never stopped collecting! Not even in the '90s!"

100% completely un-licensed, I found mine on, for $20 plus shipping.

The SCD Catalog on CD-ROM

A checklist of every single card made in the modern era, all on one CD-ROM -- complete with pictures and descriptions. A must for any serious collector; and at only $14.95, it's the perfect stocking stuffer. Find out more here.

1994 Score Rookie/Traded Alex Rodriguez "Call-Up"

Alright folks, this is the "big ticket" item. Don't worry about what it all that "Call-Up" crap means. Just cut-and-paste the phrase into eBay, and start bidding.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Latest Addition to the '08 TA&G Fantasy Set.

Yeah, he was a douche in the Senate. But after today, he deserves the ultimate tribute: a fake Allen & Ginter card.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Two Blaster Box Break and Review (sorta): UD Masterpieces

For those of you wondering where I've been, and why I haven't updated Stale Gum the last few weeks; well, I had other priorities.

It's kind of hard to update the world's greatest baseball card blog, when you're spending most of your time hacking out term papers and filling out graduate school applications. However, I did recently rip open two Blaster boxes of Upper Deck's excellent new product UD Masterpieces -- both of which I posted to APAD. Check 'em out.

Blaster #1

Blaster #2