Wednesday, February 27, 2008

If the True Measure of a Man is Collecting Stickers, then Bow Down.

With all this talk about 80s baseball stickers, I have a confession to make. Yes, I Chris Harris, your humble correspondent, was a Panini sticker collector. So much so, that I sent away for the Panini sticker collector's kit.

Yes, I am the #1 Baseball Sticker Fan.

And for ol' times sake, here's a vintage Panini Baseball sticker commercial.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

And now, a Public Service Announcement.

Did you know that SG has an RSS feed? Or a page on Facebook?

You didn't?

Well now you know.

Oh yeah, I'd also appreciate you clicking on all the advertisements and sending me money via PayPal. (The server bill doesn't pay itself, you know!)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pants Party deux deux deux

Where and When:
The Greater Reading Expo Center, 2525 N. 12th St., Reading, PA
Saturday, March 1
Admission: $7 (free parking!)

More info:

Box Break and Review: 2008 Upper Deck series one

One Hobby box of 2008 Upper Deck series one (paid $69)
16 packs per box, 20 cards per pack (MSRP $5)

The Details

Base Set: 400 cards (no short-prints, no rookie redemptions)

Parallels: NONE

1969 O-Pee-Chee: 50 cards (1:2)
Presidential Predictors: eights (or nine) cards (1:8)

Yankee Stadium Legacy: (1:4)

1997 UD Jersey: 25 cards*
1997 UD Patch: 25 cards*
1998 UD Jersey: 20 cards*
1998 UD Patch: 20 cards*
1999 UD Jersey: 20 cards*
1999 UD Patch: 20 cards*
2008 UD Jersey: 25 cards*
2008 UD Patch: 25 cards*
500 Home Run Bat: two cards*
Milestone Memorabilia: five cards*
Signature Sensations: 20 cards+
Inkredible: 20 cards+
Upper Deck Autographs: 20 cards+
Season Highlight Signatures: 20 cards+
All Rookie Team Signatures: 20 cards+
1969 OPC Autographs: 31 cards+

* Odds of finding a game jersey card: 1:8
+ Odds of finding an autograph: 1:16

The Pulls:

Base Set: 268 of 400 (67.00%)
34 Doubles

Chiptoppers: Yankee Stadium Legacy pamphlet.


6 1969 O-Pee-Chee: M. Cabrera, M. Holliday, M. Ordonez, Man-Ram, M. Teixeira, N. Lowry, P. Fielder, B. Phillips
2 Presidential Predictors: R. Giuliani, J. Edwards
1 OPC Buyback: 1988 Wally Joyner

4 Yankee Stadium Legacy: #3128 (W. Ford), #3153 (Y. Berra), #5193 (Mattingly), #5218 (K. Maas)

1 1997 Jersey: X. Nady
1 1998 Jersey: B. Hall
1 Inkredible: J. Sosa

The Review.

When I ripped open my first pack of 2008 Upper Deck and looked at the cards, I had a strange sense of deja vu. Didn't I collect this set 13 years ago?

Yes '08UD is a dead-ringer for the 1995 UD set. However, whereas the bronze-colored foil on the '95s accentuates the design, the silver foil on this year's model makes it very difficult to make out the player and team name.

As for the set's structure, '08UD is 400 cards divided between 300 individual players (cards 1-300), fifty MLBPA-approved "Rookies" (301-350), thirty team checklists (351-380), and twenty season highlights (381-400).

Again, like I've said the last couple of years, for the life of me, I still can't figure out why Upper Deck insists on including team checklist cards in the first series of a multiple series set. But what I still can't figure out, is which cards are the team checklists? Can you figure out which B.J. Upton card is the regular player card and which is the Tampa Bay Devil Rays team checklist?

One thing in the base set that (thankfully) was dropped from last year are the rookie redemptions. Although originally on the sell sheets, Upper Deck wisely decided against a repeat of last year's rookie card debacle. What does this mean for you the collector? There might actually be more than two true rookie cards in the second series.

Inserts include a 50-card Hobby-exclusive set done in the style of the 1969 O-Pee-Chee set -- which suspiciously looks a lot like the 1969 Topps set. (I don't happen to have a '69 Topps common, but I did pull a 2008 Topps insert of Jacoby Ellsbury made to look like a '69T.) See for yourself.

Unfortunately (just like the base set) the silver text camouflages itself into the lettering of the player's jersey, making the player's name virtually unreadable.

The Bottom Line:

This box yielded two-thirds of the base set with a healthy stack of doubles -- all of which came from the subsets. In fact, in one particular pack I found the same Clay Buchholz Season Highlight on back-to-back cards. Ideally one box should be enough, but you may have to buy a second (or a couple of Blaster boxes).

The inserts ran as scheduled: six '69OPCs, two Presidential Predictors, and four Yankee Stadium Legacy mirrors -- all of which will gladly be donated to The Bench's V Foundation charity drive.

Each box also promises three autogamers, and this box delivered. I pulled an autograph of Mets pitcher Jorge Sosa, a Xavier Nady jersey done in the style of the 1997 gamers, and a Bill Hall gamer which Upper Deck says is based on the non-existent 1998 Upper Deck game jersey set -- but is actually from 1999.

Xavier Nady, Bill Hall, and Jorge Sosa? Not exactly anything to get excited about, but it's hard to think of Upper Deck's flagship product without autogamers.

Product Rating:
4 Gumsticks (Out of five)

... and another thing.

In the very last pack of this box, I pulled a buyback card.

"Congratulations! You have received a trading card that was originally released in a previous product and is now being re-released for your collecting pleasure."

Then I flipped it over. A 1988 Topps Wally Joyner? Inserted into an Upper Deck pack? Wha-wha-what?

I then took the card out of it's slickie-sleeve and immediately noticed the French text. It was a 1988 O-Pee-Chee Wally Joyner -- diamond cut and severely off-center no less!

It should be noted that, unlike the off-center 1980 Topps Eddie Murray I found in a pack of Topps Traded a few years back, there is nothing on this '88OPC Joyner (i.e. a stamping or an embossing) to signify that this card was re-purchased.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Video Box Break and Review: 2008 Topps series one. (Part Deux)

NB: The 2008 Topps drinking game was not played during the filming of this box break.

The Pulls

Base Set: 301 of 330 (91.21%)

Variations: NONE

18 Gold Foil
4 Gold: E. Bedard, J. Lackey, K. Youkilis, J. Santana
1 Black: A-Rod

6 Own the Game: A-Rod, C. Pena, L. Berkman, R. Howard, B. Penny, F. Carmona
6 Trading Card History: J. Ellsbury (69T), JOBA!!! (55B), P. Martinez (51B), C-M Wang (75T), Ichiro (50s-era Menko), G. Sizemore (48 Swell Sport Thrills)
2 Mickey Mantle Story
7 All-Rookie Team 50th Anniversary: G. Carter, L. Piniella, H. Ramirez, R. McDowell, R. Oswalt, F. Liriano, M. Ordonez
4 Campaign '08: J. Edwards, RUDY!!! The Huckster, D. Kucinich
1 Kazuo Uzuki Future Star

6 Year in Review: I-Rod (4/16), D. Young (4/17), M. Buehrle (4/18), A-Rod (4/19), J. Saunders (4/20, (heh-heh 4/20!)), R. Martin (4/21)
4 Mickey Mantle Home Run History: #515, 516, 517 & 518

Autogamers: NONE

Product Rating: 3 Gumsticks (out of five)

...and another thing.

Despite being on the sell sheet, Barry Bonds is nowhere to be found in '08 Topps. (Geez, I wonder why?) Will the last six cards of the Barry Bonds Home Run History mirror set ever be released? Does anybody even care?

However, it should be noted that Roger Clemens, Rick Ankiel, Miguel Tejada, and Paul Byrd are all in the base set.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Video Box Break and Review: 2008 Topps series one. (Part I)

And now, courtesy of The Backstop's Dr. Wax Battle, my first ever video box break!

But first, you know the drill.

One Hobby box of 2008 Topps series one (paid $58.85)
36 packs per box, ten cards per pack (MSRP $1.99)

The Details

Base Set: 330 cards (no short-prints)

Variations: one card of Rudy Giuliani Photoshopped in with the Red Sox (1:70)

Gold Foil* (1:2)
Gold (1:9, numbered to 2008)
Black* (1:95, numbered to 57)
Platinum (1:16,500, one-of-one)
Printing Plates* (1:1348)

Own the Game: 25 cards (1:6)
Trading Card History*: 25 cards (1:6)
Mickey Mantle Story: 10 cards (1:18)
All-Rookie Team 50th Anniversary: 55 cards (1:5)
All-Rookie Team 50th Anniversary Gold: 55 cards (1:1290, numbered to 99)
Campaign '08: 12 cards (1:9)
Kazuo Uzuki Future Star: one "stealth" insert (odds unknown)

Year in Review: 60 cards (1:6)
Mickey Mantle Home Run History: 35 cards (1:9)

Presidential Stamps: 15 postage stamps mounted on cards (1:1950)
Highlights Autographs: 48 cards (production varies)
All-Rookie Team 50th Anniversary Autographs: 40 cards (1:7194, numbered to 25)
World Champion Autographed Relics: 10 cards (1:14,417, numbered to 50)
World Champion Relics: 15 cards (production varies)
All-Rookie Team 50th Anniversary Relics: 20 cards (1:7178, numbered to 50)
Mickey Mantle Home Run History Relics: 35 cards (1:29,331, numbered to 7)
1955 Mickey Mantle Reprint Relic: one card (1:400,000, numbered to 55)
Campaign 2008 Cut Signatures: five cards (1:125,000, numbered to 15)
In The Name Relics*: 312 cards of 52 subjects (1:17,980, one-of-one)
Mini-Jersey Patch: 35 cards (1:412, numbered to 499)

* Hobby Only

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Curious Case of Kazuo Uzuki.

Twenty-three years after George Plimpton and Sports Illustrated gave us Sidd Finch, Topps has issued a "Future Star" card of a Japanese teenage pitching sensation named Kazuo "The Uzi" Uzuki.

He's only sixteen and has a fastball clocked at 104 MPH!

Two years ago, as a fourteen-year-old, he was invited to tryout for Japan's World Baseball Classic team.

And, according to the back of his short-printed 2008 Topps card, one scout says he's the best pitching prospect he's seen in three decades!

But wait a sec. If there really was a 16 year-old in Japan who could hit 104 on the Jugs gun, and was invited to try out for the Japanese World Baseball Classic team at 14, don't you think he'd be a household name on this side of the Pacific already?

And besides, don't they use the metric system in Japan?

Does Topps really, really, think we're this stupid?

(h/ts to Short Printed and Wax Heaven)

The 2008 Topps Drinking Game.

2K8 Topps dropped today, and yes, There Will Be Blood Milkshakes Gimmicks.

More airbrushing! More parallels! And this year's version of "Generation Now!" It's the first Topps baseball set of the Michael Eisner era! Can't you just feel the excitement?

No? OK then. Here's a little game I came up with. Some of you may be familiar with "Hi Bob!" It's a game in which you watch an old episode of "The Bob Newhart Show," and for each time someone on the show says "Hi!" to Bob, you drink.

Well, welcome to "Hi, Topps!" the 2008 Topps drinking game.


One (1) unopened waxbox of 2008 Topps Baseball. Hobby is preferred, but HTA or Blasters will do.

One (1) twelve-pack of beer. The higher the ABV, the better.


Open each individual pack, until you're finished with the whole box.

TAKE ONE SIP -- for each David Wright "TOPPS OF THE CLASS" or "ROOKIE CUP" promo card.

TAKE ANOTHER SIP -- for each overtly airbrushed card.

TAKE TWO SIPS -- for each meaningless "gold foil" parallel pulled.

TAKE ANOTHER SIP -- for any other parallels.

DRINK ONE BOTTLE/CAN -- for each similarly meaningless Mickey Mantle Home Run History mirror pulled.

DRINK TWO BOTTLES/CANS -- for each mind numbingly stupid Year in Review (a.k.a. "Generation Now" version 2.0) mirror card.

DRINK THE REMAINDER OF THE 12-PACK -- if you pull the Giuliani/Red Sox card.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The greatest insert set ever!

UPDATE #2 2/7: I stand corrected on the Hillary/Morganna card. It appears that the card was "pulled" at the last minute, but some of the cards somehow managed to make their way into packs. (wink, wink; nudge, nudge; knowwhatimean?)

Meanwhile, Beckett is reporting that UD2 will have a Hillary. Maybe they can throw in Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul?

UPDATE #1 2/7: UD set up a website where you can see the whole set.

Apparently "Hillary Clinton as Morganna The Kissing Bandit" has been pulled. (Damn political correctness.)

The Jon Stewart vs. Bill O'Reilly "Wild Card" is not shown, but is still on the checklist.

Still no card of Ron Paul.

I guess it's a shot at Topps "Campaign 2008" insert. Maybe not, but Upper Deck's "Presidential Predictors" -- a nine-card "stealth" insert in '08 Upper Deck series one -- is the funniest thing I've seen, like, ever.

2008 UD1 dropped today, and I haven't seen any on eBay (yet), and nor do I know what the pack insertion ratios are.

Here's the complete checklist:

Card #PlayerPrint RunTeam
View card image 2008PP-1Rudy Giuliani (as Jeffrey Maier)

View card image 2008PP-2John Edwards (as Moonlight Graham)

View card image 2008PP-3John McCain (as Ted Williams)

View card image 2008PP-4Barack Obama (as Steve Bartman)

View card image 2008PP-5Mitt Romney (as Carlton Fisk)

View card image 2008PP-6Fred Thompson (as Babe Ruth)

View card image 2008PP-7Hillary Clinton (as Morganna the Kissing Bandit)

View card image 2008PP-8Al Gore (as Jose Offerman) with a cameo by George W. Bush (as Chuck Knoblauch)

View card image 2008PP-9Wild Card

Yes, that's Bill O'Reilly playing the "Robin Ventura" to Jon Stewart's "Nolan Ryan."

An absolute stroke of genius! +1 goes to UD

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Another year, another gimmick.

For those of you who had "Rudy Giuliani on the Red Sox team card" in the "2008 Topps base set Photoshop gimmick" pool, congratulations.

You're going to the pay window.

(image courtesy of the New York Post)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Yeah, we know. But we're collectors. And we don't care.

You know that one friend you have, that one friend who got out of The Hobby about fifteen years ago.

That one friend who's getting back into The Hobby.

That one friend who just discovered that stack of 1990 Upper Deck Juan Bell cards that he stashed away in the back of his parent's attic.

That one friend who can't comprehend that that stack of 1990 Juan Bell cards aren't worth anything, to anybody, anymore.

This blog entry is a few months old, but I've only discovered it now.

You might want to share this with that friend you have who still insists that that stack of 1990 Upper Deck Juan Bell cards he's stashed in his parent's attic for 18 years are still worth something.

Then, after you've shared this blog entry, buy him a pack of 2008 Topps.