Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Randumb Thought I Came Up with at Reading.

So Scott and I were roaming the aisles at Reading this past Saturday, and I noticed table with a stack of 2008 Allen & Ginter boxes. I don't know what it was, but the sight of boxes of Allen & Ginter got me thinking....

What if we fast forward 1000-2000 years and archeologists dig up a stash of 2006-08 Topps Allen & Ginters. And then, another group of archeologists discover some 19th Century A&Gs.

What will our descendants (no, not those Descendents) think? How will they know what cards they have? Will they be able to tell the difference between an original A&G and a Topps A&G?

Think about it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

This actually looks like it's going to work.

Here's a sneak-peek of the Sklar Brothers "web-com" Back on Topps.

New episodes will debut Tuesdays and Thursdays at backontopps.com

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Box Break and Review: 1996 Leaf Preferred

One box of 1996 Leaf Preferred (Paid $15)
24 packs per box, five cards plus one Steel "card" per pack

The Details

Base Set: 150 cards

Press Proof: 150 cards (limited to 500 copies*)

Steel: 77 Steel cards (one-per-pack)
Gold Steel: 77 Steel Cards*
Steel Power: Eight Cards (numbered to 5000*)
Staremasters: 12 cards (numbered to 2500*)

* Stated odds of finding either a Press Proof, Gold Steel, Steel Power, or Staremaster: 1:10/packs

Autogamers: NONE

The Pulls

Base Set: 75 of 150 (50.00%)
29 Doubles
10 Triples
4 Quads
2 Quints

Parallels: NONE

20 Steel
3 Steel Doubles
1 Steel Triple

The Review

So I was at the Philly Show and had $15 burning a hole in my pocket and bought a box of this garbage. Don't get me wrong, I like 1996 Leaf Preferred. It's just that this was possibly the worst collated box I've ever pulled. I pulled quadruples of Andy Pettitte, Juan Gonzalez, and Paul O'Neill and quintuples of Rafael Palmeiro and Kirby Puckett.

This was the premiere edition of Leaf Preferred and the gimmick behind it was that each pack had a card "printed" on a rounded 2 1/2" X 3 1/2" slab of solid steel. Unfortunately, the product didn't sell all that well and was re-tooled as "Donruss Preferred" the following year. Out were the Steel slabs, and in were tin packs. But that's for another review.

In addition to the horrible collation, I also failed to receive any of the promised inserts. There are four of them, and come at the rate of 1:10/packs. Steel Power and Staremasters are typical serial-numbered insert that was common in most mid-90s Donruss products. Gold Steel is a parallel of the Steel plates. Press Proofs are a parallel; however, you'd have to look closely to see if you had one. Other than changing the color of the foil stamp on the front from silver to gold, there is nothing else on the card that designates it as a "Press Proof."

The Bottom Line

The base set looks very nice. Bold colors. Vivid photography. And the one-per-pack Steel "cards" were unique.

I guess I just got unlucky with a lousy box.

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

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What I got at The Philly Show: 9/27/08

The big news was that, after 33 years, the EPSCC sold out to Hunt Auctions who will relocate the show to Valley Forge. Thank God. The only thing worse that the 60-mile trip to Reading, is Reading itself. Seriously, what a shit town.

I arrived at 2:30PM, and for those of you expecting to meet me there, I apologize. I fucking hate driving the Schuylkill.

I did hook-up with Scott, and we bought a shitload of junk packs that we'll be reviewing on APAD.

Highlight of the show: Actually coming within 12 inches and a pane of glass from touching Steve Carlton's 1982 NL Cy Young Award and Mike Schmidt's '82 Gold Glove.

1 Waxbox of 2008 Goudey: $65
1 Waxbox of 1996 Leaf Preferred: $15
Stack of assorted junk packs: $25
Stack of assorted inserts/short prints: $77
Three packs of top loaders: $3

Total Spent on Cards: $185
Admissions and Tolls: $15
Grand Total: $200

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cardola: Take it, or not

I have a bit of a dilemma, and I'd like you to help me resolve it.

From the day I started this website, I wanted Stale Gum to be completely objective and free of any conflict of interest. On that part, every single trading card product I've reviewed I've paid for out of my own pocket.

With that said, I certain trading card company (which shall remain nameless) has offered me free product. They want me to use these cards to promote their products on this site. While it is tempting -- I mean, who wouldn't want free cards? -- I'm concerned about how you would feel about this.

So I come to you, my readers, for advice. If I accept this company's offer for free cards, would you feel any different about Stale Gum?

Always Be Collecting,
Chris Harris

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"We're your friends? We're not like the others."


Join Stale Gum's Chris Harris, Raoul Duke, their attorney Dr. Gonzo, and hundreds of pathetically eager card freaks, this weekend for a savage journey into the heart of The Hobby. A true atavistic waxbox freakout. It's the fabulous Philadelphia Sports Card and Memorabilia Show in Las Vegas Reading.

Free Enterprise. The American Dream. Horatio Alger gone mad on junkwax in the middle of the Schuylkill Valley. DO IT NOW!

Where and When:
The Greater Reading Expo Center, 2525 N. 12th St., Reading, PA
Saturday, September 27
Admission: $7 (free parking!)

More info: phillyshow.org
RSVP: chris.harris@stalegum.com

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

UPDATED: UD, Over the Limit?

UPDATE AND CLAIRIFICATION (9/23): Chris Carlin from Upper Deck wrote Stale Gum to clarify.

The MLBPA considers Upper Deck's flagship set and First Edition as the same product; which makes sense since First Edition is nothing more than a stripped down version of "real" Upper Deck. Therefore, UD Series One and First Edition count as one product, as do UD Series Two and First Edition Update.

Also, factory-set exclusive releases (such as Upper Deck Update) are exempt from the MLBPA's 17-product quota.

At last year's Hawaii Trade Conference (which was held in Florida, but that's neither here nor there), the MLBPA decreed that Topps and Upper Deck would be limited to only 17 baseball card releases in 2008. A careful analysis shows that, while Topps appears to be on pace, Upper Deck is scheduled to go over their designated allotment.

Stale Gum complied this information from products already released, sell sheets already issued, and pre-sell solicitations. Baring any last-minute changes, Topps will wrap-up 2008 with 17 baseball card products. However, Upper Deck will issue 20 products -- three more than the MLBPA allows.

(Blogger's Note: I have no idea why Blogger inserts a very large gap whenever I attempt to post a table. Just scroll down.)
List of 2008 Baseball Card Releases

ToppsUpper Deck
Topps Series One
Upper Deck Series One
Topps Series Two
Upper Deck Series Two
Topps Updates & Highlights
Upper Deck Update
Opening Day
First Edition
Topps Chrome
First Edition Update
SP Authentic
Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects
Bowman Chrome
SP Legendary Cuts
Topps Heritage
UD Goudey
Topps Heritage High Numbers
Artifacts/A Piece of History*
Allen & Ginter
FinestUD Masterpieces
Moments & Milestones
Ballpark Collection
Stadium Club
Baseball Heroes
Topps Sterling
MLB Documentary
Triple Threads
Sweet Spot

Ultimate Collection



* Since Artifacts and A Piece of History are, for all intents and purposes, the same product, I'm treating them as one.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Search Packs, Go To Jail

Courtesy of Sports Collector's Daily, and the Harrisburg Patriot-News.

"Cumberland County, Pennsylvania prosecutors have been compiling evidence in their case against 47 year-old Roger Lee Hooper, who awaits a preliminary hearing on August 12, charged with deceptive business practices.

"Police say Hooper used the eBay account of a former friend and fellow collector to defraud unsuspecting buyers out of tens of thousands of dollars through the sale of sports collectibles that were either tampered with or counterfeit. According to investigators, the bogus items included resealed vintage baseball card wax packs, fake autographs and counterfeit trading cards.

"Hooper has been charged with three counts of deceptive or fraudulent business practices, two counts of theft by deception and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity."

Read the rest at pennlive.com

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Find What's Missing, with Upper Deck X


JayBee correctly noticed that there are no images of the actual UDX base cards. And if you check out The Cardboard Junkie's review of UDX on APAD, you'll understand why they were omitted from the pres release.

JayBee, congratulations. You've won a 2008 Topps card of teenage Japanese sensation Kazuo Uzuki!

Let's play a game called, "Find What's Missing."

Below, is the text and attached images I received in an e-mail from Upper Deck today promoting their new card set Upper Deck X.

Here's the question, "What's the one thing that's missing from this press release?"

Here's a hint: You'd think they'd at least show it.


Contact: Terry Melia – 760-929-3055
Public Relations Manager
The Upper Deck Company

Upper Deck Marks the Spot with Its New ‘X’ Baseball Launch

Boasting two Upper Deck X autographs and 20 die-cut parallels per box,
the 2008 MLB Upper Deck X release will surely ignite collectors’ fires!

North Las Vegas, NV (September 17, 2008) – With die-cut and stunning foil designs, not to mention a stirring array of autograph and memorabilia cards, the 2008 MLB Upper Deck X release will keep collectors cracking packs for more. An impressive player lineup is further complimented by the set’s inclusion of such popular inserts as Upper Deck’s “Yankee Stadium Legacy Collection” and “Presidential Cut” signature cards.

“We’re extremely pleased with this year’s MLB Upper Deck X launch,” said Jason Masherah, Upper Deck’s senior brand manager. “The die-cut parallels are amazing and the ‘Xponential Dimensional’ foil cards will stand out against any card ever produced.”

With the MLB season now in its final two weeks of the regular season – and the Yankees missing out on the postseason for the first time in 13 years – Upper Deck’s “Yankee Stadium Legacy Collection” inserts now hold even deeper meaning for longtime fans and collectors of the Bronx Bombers. What’s more, it appears the long-suffering Chicago Cubs just might make it to the Fall Classic after all as the team is currently sporting the best record in the National League (91-58).

“It’s been an incredible season so far,” added Masherah. “And who would have guessed that the Tampa Bay Rays at this juncture would be leading both the Red Sox and Yankees in the A.L. East?”

The 100-card Upper Deck X regular set is further bolstered by four different levels of the 200-card “Xponential Dimensional” foil insert collection that falls at a ratio of one card per pack. With two UD X autographs, five YSL cards, 20 die-cut parallels and 20 “Exponential Dimensional” foil cards packing out in every box, collectors have hit the proverbial home run when it comes time to cracking packs of 2008 MLB Upper Deck X.

The autographed lineup includes such notable mainstays as Derek Jeter and Ken Griffey Jr., along with up-and-comers like Evan Longoria, Ian Kennedy, Clay Buchholz and Alexei Ramirez. The Upper Deck X memorabilia cards have an even bigger assortment of top-tier talent including names like Derek Lee, Daisuke “Dice-K” Matsuzaka, David Ortiz, Jermaine Dye, Travis Hafner, Huston Street, Torii Hunter, Johnny Damon and Grady Sizemore.

The 2008 MLB Upper Deck X product carries a suggested retail price of $3.99 per eight-card pack with 20 packs per box. The product is available in stores now.


o UDx Signatures, two per box on average!
o One UDxponential dimensional rainbow foil card per pack!
o One Die-Cut Parallel card per pack!
o Yankee Stadium Legacy Inserts randomly inserted!
o Yankee Stadium Legacy Memorabilia Cards, one per case on average!
o Yankee Stadium Legacy Buybacks, one per case on average!
o Look for Signs of History Presidential Cut Signatures!


Regular Cards and Rookies
o 100 Regular Cards

Inserts and Parallel Cards
o Regular Card Die Cut Parallel Cards
o UDxponential (Huge 200 Card set!)
o Yankee Stadium Legacy
o Yankee Stadium Legacy Buybacks

Autograph Cards (2 per box, on average)
o UDx Signatures
o Yankee Stadium Legacy Buybacks
o Signs of History Presidential Cut Signatures
o Memorabilia Cards
o Yankee Stadium Legacy Memorabilia Cards
o Yankee Stadium Legacy Buybacks

About Upper Deck

Upper Deck is a premier sports and entertainment publishing company which delivers a portfolio of relevant, innovative and multi-dimensional product experiences to collectors, sports and entertainment enthusiasts. For more information on Upper Deck and its products please visit www.upperdeck.com


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Sunday, September 14, 2008

OTL on the Cobb-Edwards T-206 Wagner

Caught this on ESPN's Outside the Lines this morning.

So, what do you think? Is it real? Or not?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Blaster Break: 2008 UD Goudey

It's been a while since I've ripped anything new. Of course, that ain't all my fault. But I was in Target and found the last Blaster of UD Goudey buried behind a stack of 10 Opening Day and Topps Series 2 Blasters.

Base Set: 55 of 330 (16.67%)
(Five doubles)
Short set: 49 of 200 (24.50%)
2 Short Prints (201-230): C. Ripken, Jr., W. Ford
1 US President: G. Washington
1 1936: D. Jeter
2 Sport Royalty: D. Jeter, T. Bradshaw
3 Red Backs: D. Mattingly; '36 J. Santana; Sport Royalty Amy van Dyken

1 Berk Ross: R. Jackson

1 Yankee Tedium Lunacy: P. Rizzuto, for The Money Store


Both the Terry Bradshaw Sport Royalty and the Derek Jeter 1936 SPs have green-ink backs as opposed to black. For Upper Deck's sake, I hope this was an honest mistake and not a stealth gimmick.

I had no idea the Berk Ross inserts were that small!

I've now ripped three Blasters and every one of the mini parallels I've received were from the SPed subsets.

I pulled three Yankee SPs, a Mattingly mini, a Reggie Berk Ross insert, and a Yankee Tedium Lunacy of The Scooter. Dare I say it....


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I Sent Thorzul A Press Plate and a Patch Card Limited to Eleven Copies....

... and all I got was this lousy...

... what? A Ripken/Trammell dual jersey?

Not bad for second place; although in retrospect, I knew I should have sent him that Bill Hall AU.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

And Topps, Meanwhile, Continues Its Grim Slide.

Here we go again with another "Chris bitches about the latest Topps bullshit gimmick" post.

Another Topps product, another bullshit gimmick card. Who cares, right?

I'm curious to know (and for all you dealers out there, I'd appreciate your feedback), if the gimmicks really have stimulated demand for Topps wax. (Or not?)

And for all you Favre collectors (why you'd be reading a baseball card blog, I don't know), does this make you want to go out and rip a wax box of 2008 Bowman? Or were you planning on buying (or not buying) a box of Bowman anyway?



(Rome Clones may, or may not, get that last reference.)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Original Cardboard Junkie.

Beckett reports that mega-collector Lionel Carter died over the weekend. He was 90.

"From that first pack in 1933, Mr. Carter was hooked for life. He began trading cards with the likes of hobby pioneer Jefferson Burdick and Charles Bray and acquiring cards through ads placed in early hobby publications. According to an article by Mastro Auctions, Jefferson Burdick sent Lionel a copy of the 1933 Goudey Nap LaJoie card #106. One of 10 copies Burdick received from Goudey after writing a letter to complain about not finding this short print in packs."
Yeah, that's right. Lionel did maildays with JEFFERSON FREAKING BURDICK!

Among some of his cardboard conquests:

1) Was the first to compile a complete set of '33 DeLongs.
2) Owned the only professionally graded Gem Mint (SGC 98) '38 Goudey Heads Up of Hank Greenberg.
3) A complete set of E-106 1915 American Caramels.
4) Professionally graded Mints (SGC 96) of '48 Leaf Babe Ruth and '51 Bowman Mickey Mantle.

Last April, Mastro auctioned off much of Lionel's collection for $1.6 million -- including $162,000 for the aforementioned '51 Bowman Mantle and $285,000 for the Heads Up set.

So as he heads to that Great Card Show in the Sky, rip a pack or two for ol' Lionel.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Ten Years of Stale Gum

The year was 1998. Pinnacle Brands had just filed for Chapter 11. The defending World Series champion was in last place. And somewhere on an Air Force base in Nebraska, some obscure Airman who was making a name for himself on the old RCCD newsgroup, had this crazy idea to create a baseball card newsletter.

Ten years later, that newsletter -- which has been lost forever to posterity -- evolved first to a free website, then a dedicated webzine, to a couple of years in hiatus, into what you see here. So whether you're one of the RCCDers from back in the day, or just getting back into The Hobby and discovered this, I thank you all. To every cardblogger I've inspired; you're welcome.

Here's to another ten great years.

Always Be Collecting,

PS If you want to see what the site looked like back in 2001, click here.