Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Video Box Break and Review: 2003 Leaf

One Hobby Box of 2003 Leaf (paid $40)
24 packs per box, ten cards per pack

The Video

The Pulls

Base Set: 208 of 320 (65.00%)
18 Doubles


2 Red Press Proof (1:12) T. Glaus, T. Hunter
1 Blue Press Proof (numbered to 50) S. Hatteberg


2 Leaf Certified Samples (15 cards, 1:23) M. Piazza, R. Johnson
1 Leaf Certified Samples Certified Red (numbered to 150) R. Johnson
3 Leaf 60 (50 cards, 1:8) Ja. Giambi, G. Maddux, V. Guerrero
1 Home (10 cards, 1:34) C. Jones
2 Slick Leather (15 cards, 1:21) G. Maddux, J. Edmonds
2 Hard Hats (12 cards, 1:13) B. Williams, R. Palmeiro


1 Away Jersey (10 cards, numbered to 250) C. Jones
1 Shirt off my Back (20 cards, numbered to 500) V. Wells

Product Rating: 2 1/2 Gumsticks

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gummie Award Nominees


BARRINGTON, NJ, December 30, 2008 - The Baseball Card Writers Association of America (BCWAA) today have officially released the nominations for the 2008 Gummie Awards. On-line balloting will commence sometime in the New Year.

Product of the Year: Topps Allen & Ginter; Topps Heritage; UD Masterpieces; Topps Triple Threads; Upper Deck
Card of the Year: Topps Campaign '08 #BO, Barack Obama; UD Masterpieces #16, Jonathan Papelbon; Topps Heritage #81, Torii Hunter; Topps Future Stars #FS1, Kazuo Uzuki; Donruss Threads Bats #9, Shoeless Joe Jackson
Rookie Card of the Year: SP Authentic #121, Evan Longoria; Upper Deck #708, Kosuke Fukudome; Topps Campaign '08 #BO, Barack Obama; Topps Heritage #650, Evan Longoria; Topps Red Hot Rookie #1, Jay Bruce
Set of the Year: Upper Deck; Topps Allen & Ginter; UD Masterpieces; Topps Heritage; Topps
Best Insert Set: Topps Campaign '08; Topps Trading Card History; Topps Allen & Ginter Mini World Leaders; Upper Deck Goudey Berk-Ross Hit Parade of Champions; Donruss Threads Diamond Kings
Best Autogamer Set: Stadium Club Beam Team; Topps Allen & Ginter Framed Relics; Topps Heritage A Real One; Upper Deck Game Materials 1997; Razor Signature Autographs
Best "High End" Product: Topps Triple Threads; Upper Deck Premier; Topps Finest; Topps Sterling; Playoff Prime Cuts IV
Best Retro-Themed Product: Topps Allen & Ginter; Topps Heritage; Upper Deck Goudey; Upper Deck Timelines; Upper Deck Baseball Heroes
Best Prospect-Themed Product: Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects; Donruss Elite Extra Edition; Razor Signature; Upper Deck Team USA
Best Unlicensed Product: Donruss Threads; Playoff Prime Cuts IV; Razor Signature; Sportkings "B"; Donruss Elite Extra Edition
Worst Overall Product: Topps Moments & Milestones; Upper Deck X; Topps Co-Signers; Bowman; Upper Deck First Edition
Most Disappointing Product: Stadium Club; Topps; Topps Heritage High-Number Series; Upper Deck Timelines; Razor Signature
Most Meaningless Product: Topps Opening Day; Upper Deck First Edition; Bowman; Upper Deck X; Upper Deck Ballpark Collection
Worst Gimmick: Bowman Chrome #155c, Kosuke Fukudome "Unautographed-Autograph"; Upper Deck Yankee Stadium Legacy; Topps #661 Johan Santana "No-Hitter"; Topps #FS1 Kazuo Uzuki; Manufactured Letter Patch Cards
Best Hobby Blog: Cardboard Junkie; Ben Henry's Baseball Card Blog; Stale Gum; Sportscards Uncensored; Wax Heaven
Best Hobby News Source: Beckett; Wax Heaven; Sportscard Info; Sports Collector's Daily; Mannufacturer's Press Releases
Best Video Box Breaker: TomTheRipper407; ArmyATC22; TheBackstopDotNet; umiami89; chri5784
Hobby Rookie of the Year: Jay Bruce; Kosuke Fukudome; Evan Longoria; Johnny Cueto; Jed Lowrie
Hobby Top Prospect: Tim Beckham; Buster Posey; David Price; Matt Wieters; Rick Porcello
Hobby MVP: Albert Pujols; Derek Jeter; Alex Rodriguez; Daisuke Matsuzaka; Josh Hamilton
Jefferson Burdick Award for Contributions to The Hobby: Sy Berger; Ben Henry; DeWayne Buice; Keith Olbermann; Judge Clarence Newcomer

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fear and Loathing in Delaware

Newark, the third largest city in the State of Delaware. Home to the State's flagship University. But we're not here to see the Fightin' Blue Hens. Our destination is the Aetna Fire Hall for a good old fashioned card show.

Shows like this were commonplace back in the 80s and 90s. The concept is simple: some local dealer rents out a conference room at a motel or fire hall, set up about 20-25 tables, and presto. Instant card show.

Santa Claus sent me one of those cheap battery-powered camcorders for Christmas, so I thought I'd use it to show you the scene. You know, video gonzo journalism. But the fascist at the door ordered me to put me camera it away.

I had to settle for shooting this in the parking lot.

All in all, a good way to kill a Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

For $240...

... you can get one pack of Topps Sterling.

And that would be, a lot of Topps Sterling.

Or you can go all the way....

Awww, yeah!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The $250 EPIC FAIL.

First, go watch Beckett's break of two pack/boxes of Topps Sterling. (I'd post it here for your convince, they won't let me embed the video to this site.)

Go on, watch it.

While you watch, I'll keep myself entertained with this Tom the Ripper mash-up video.

Now, if you're a long-time Stale Gum reader, you've probably figured out that Topps Sterling is a product that isn't exactly geared toward my demographic. But if I paid $250 for a "pox" of Sterling, and my "big hit" is a framed multi-swatch jersey card of Tom Seaver numbered to ten copies, and the '69 on the frame WAS MOUNTED UPSIDE DOWN, I would not be a happy collector.

That is all.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Video Box Break: 2008 Razor Signature

Tom the Ripper busts a box of Razor Signature. Hilarity ensues.

Things to look for...

1) A CGI light saber,

2) A retractable razor blade (Get it? A box of Razor being busted with a razor?),

3) Ten autographed trading cards of players you've never heard of -- and more than likely never will,

4) A snippet of an epic rant by Gellman at SCU,

5) A 1950s anti-alcohol educational film set to the music of Alice in Chains.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

And now, for The 2008 Gummies, Barry Champlain.

You do not make perfect sense to me.

I am a hypocrite; I ask for sincerity and I lie.

I denounce The Hobby as I embrace it.

I want money and power and complete sets.

I want all the hot rookies and autographs, and I don't give a damn about you or The Hobby. That's the truth.

For this I could say I'm sorry, but I won't. Why should I? I mean who the hell are you anyway ... you "collectors?" You're on me every night like a pack of wolves cause you can't stand facing what you are and what's become of baseball card collecting. Yes, The Hobby is a terrible place, and yes, that's what junk products and bad gimmicks will get you. Yes, Upper Deck is bringing back UDX, yes, Topps is shot to hell and we're all goners!

Everything is screwed up and you like it that way, don't you? You're fascinated by the gory details.

Next month, millions of people are going to be reading the results of The 2008 Gummies, and YOU HAVEN'T SENT IN YOUR NOMINATIONS! Marvelous technology is at your disposal, but instead of reaching up to new heights and MAKING YOUR OPINION KNOWN we're going to see how far down we can go; how deep into the muck The Hobby can immerse itself.

You frighten me. What's wrong with you? Why aren't you voting in The Gummies?

This Hobby is in deep trouble people! It's rotten to the core and somebody better do something about it! Now I want you to take your hand out of that bowl of Freedo's, throw away your National Enquirer, and send in your nominations!

You heard Barry, get your Gummie Award nominations in now!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

2008 Gummie Awards: New Categories

By popular demand, the Baseball Card Writers Association of America (BCWAA) have created the following new categories for the 2008 Gummies.

Base "High End" Product
Best Unlicensed Product
Best Product for Prospects
Best YouTuber

Nominate your favorites now! Send your ballots to:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2008 Gummie Awards: Your Nominations Wanted!

NOTE: The is not the actual ballot, just your nominations. The final ballot will be issued sometime in January. Also, the Gummies are for BASEBALL CARDS ONLY.

Has it really been a year? Yes, sadly it has. 2008 is almost over and you all know what that means.

It's almost time for us, the members of The Baseball Card Writers Association of America (BCWAA), to honor the best (and worst) in The Hobby for 2008.

Send me your picks for each category below to by January 1, and stay tuned to this space sometime in the new year for the 47th Annual Gummie Awards and Beer Pong Tournament.


Product of the Year
Card of the Year
Rookie Card of the Year
Best Base Set
Best Insert Set
Best Autogamer Set
Best Retro Themed Product
Best Hobby Idea/Innovation
Worst Overall Product
Worst Base Set
Most Meaningless Product
Most Disappointing Product
Worst Insert Set
Worst Gimmick
Best Cardblog (You can't vote for your own!)
Best Hobby News Source (Again, you can't vote for own.)
Hobby MVP
Hobby ROY
Hobby Top Prospect
Jefferson Burdick Award for Contributions to The Hobby (this goes to a person)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Video Box Break and Review: 2008 Topps Baseball Updates & Highlights Presents 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Blaster

Base Set: 39 of 350
Short Set: 39 of 300
Short-Prints (1:2): 0 of 50
4 Minis: M. Kobayashi, R. Durham, E. Dukes, M. Scherzer
3 Black Bordered Minis (1:10): B. Jenks, A. Wainwright, A. Miller

4 U.S. States: S. Victorino, J. Maurer, T. Tankersley, S. McClung
1 World Leader (1:12): O. Arias Sanchez (Costa Rica)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Box Break and Review: 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter

One box of 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter (paid $65)
24 packs and one chiptopper per box, eight cards per pack.

The Pulls

1 N-43: Ichiro

Base Set: 124 of 350 (35.43%)
20 Doubles
Short Set: 111 of 300 (37.00%) with 17 Doubles
Short-Prints (1:2): 13 of 50 with 3 Doubles
7 Minis
2 SP Minis (1:13)
7 A&G Backs (1:5)
1 SP A&G Backs (1:65)
3 Black Bordered (1:10)

16 U.S. States with six doubles (50 cards, one-per-pack#)
2 World Leaders (50 mini cards*, 1:12) Mozambique, Spain
2 World's Icons (ten mini cards*, 1:48) The Sphinx, Quetzalcoatl
1 Pioneers of Aviation (five mini cards*) Piloted Glider

2 Framed Relics: A. Dunn, C. Crawford

* One mini per pack
$ Two of the following per box: Framed Autograph, Framed Relic, Framed Printing Plate, Framed 1887 Original, Cut Signature, 1 of 1 Relics
# One U.S. State insert or framed autogamer per pack

Did Not Receive
1 World's Greatest Victories insert (1:24)

The Review

If you don't like Allen & Ginter, you're an idiot.

That's all I have to say.

Product Rating: 4 Gumsticks (out of 5)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Box Break and Review: 2008 Topps Series 2 HTA

One HTA box of 2008 Topps Series Two (Paid $45)
10 packs per box, 46 cards per pack

The Pulls

Base Set: 330 of 330 (100%)
43 doubles

20 Gold Foils (two-per-pack)
5 Golds (1:2, numbered to 2008) W. Rodriguez, J. Payton, K-Rod, E. Chavez, J. Keppinger

10 Topps Stars (25 cards, one-per-pack) A-Rod, M. Ordonez, J. Morneau, J. Beckett, ManRam, J. Peavy, D. Ortiz, J. Reyes, M. Cabrera, M. Holliday
10 Trading Card History (25 cards, one-per-pack) V. Martinez, B. Webb, C. Beltran, R. Martin, P. Hughes, A. Dunn, R. Cano, J. Thome, C. Young (OF), C. Zambrano
10 Topps All-Rookie Team 50th Anniversary (55 cards, 1:5) C. Young, H. Okajima, R. Adams, D. Pedroia, C. Tracy, T. Wigginton, N. Johnson, R. Furcal, R. Durham, J. Cruz
10 Year in Review (60 cards, one-per-pack) CC Sabathia, C. Figgins, F. Thomas, D. Haren, B. Butler, R. Garko, J. Maurer, C. Young (P), J. Isringhausen, C. Crawford
10 Historical Campaign Match-Ups (55 cards, 1:6) 1796, 1804, 1852, 1860, 1868, 1888, 1892, 1916, 1936, 1952
3 Mickey Mantle Story (10 cards, 1:3)
1 Home Run Derby Contest (50 cards, 1:125, numbered to 999) L. Berkman
1 Red Hot Rookie Redemption (20 cards, 1:10) #4, KosFu

1 2007 Highlights Autographs: T. Tankersley
3 2007 Highlights Relics: D. Lee, D. Ortiz, D. Wright

* One Autograph and two Relics per box

The Review

2008 Topps Series Two went live six months ago. Now that the Stale Gum Topps Boycott over, I'm playing catch-up with all the Topps releases that I missed.

To refresh your memory, there were three things Topps did to Topps Series Two that I was either ambivalent about, or hated.

1) Each Hobby box would include either an autograph or a game used card, and each HTA box would yield three. Topps' stated reason for adding "hits" to its flagship was slow sales of first series Hobby boxes, but I disagreed.

Yes, pulling additional gamers is nice; but a product like Topps' flagship is, and always has been, a collector's set. Poor sales of '08 Series One Hobby (and of Series Two for that matter) had more to do with it being a lackluster product than the lack of a jersey card. The addition of more "hits" would make little, if any, difference. The fact that I purchased an HTA box for only $45 six months after it's release seems to confirm my view.

2) The establishment of the "Red Hot Rookie" redemption program also seems to have had little impact on box sales. The redemption rookie gimmick may appeal to the "high-end" hobbyist, but the concept never quite caught-on with the the traditional collector -- which is flagship Topps' demographic.

3) Gimmicks which backfired. Much virtual ink has been spilled on this blog (and others), so I won't repeat myself.

I picked up an HTA box, not because I wanted the three "hits," but because it was so cheap. I bought an HTA box for about the price of a regular Hobby box went for when Topps Two went live. I could have bought a regular Hobby box for $35 -- again for less than I was when it went live -- but with 100 more base cards and a crap-load of more inserts for only $10 more, going with HTA was a no-brainer.

So with three hits in an HTA box, what exactly did I get? I pulled a sticker autograph of Taylor Tankersley and three gamers: Derrick Lee, David Wright, and David Ortiz. (For the record, the Wright and Big Papi were both in the same pack.) The theme behind the autogamers is "2007 Season Highlights" and the Tankersley commemorates....

... I don't know. For some reason Topps thought that Tankersley's .179 OPP AVG against left-handed hitters in '07 is worthy of an autographed "Season Highlights" card. Ummm, yeah.

The three gamers celebrate more meaningful accomplishments: Lee reaching base in 32 straight games; Big Papi setting the single-season doubles record for DHes; and Wright breaking the Mets' single-season TB mark.

Now let's just say for a moment that you actually did buy this box just for the hits. Would you be happy with a Taylor Tankersley autograph, and three un-numbered jerseys?

If there's one thing I've always liked about HTA -- dating back to when Topps first introduced the HTA program back in '97 -- is that they're chock-full of inserts. You'll get at least five inserts and either a Gold Parallel or another insert in each pack. What a deal!

The inserts include extensions of the Trading Card History, Year in Review, and All-Rookie Team 50th Anniversary sets. In addition there are two inserts exclusive to the second series: Topps Stars and Historical Campaign Match-Ups. In each pack, I received one card from each of these sets. There's also another batch of Mickey Mantle hero worship cards and two exchange inserts: the aforementioned Red Hot Rookies and the Home Run Derby Contest.

The Bottom Line

The box yielded a full base set and a healthy stack of doubles. Given the size of the box, anything less than a complete set would be disappointing.

No, you can't find a legitimate Kosuke Fukudome rookie card in Topps Series Two. But I did get the next best thing: a KosFu Red Hot Rookie redemption (yay). It should be noted that these are the first on-line redemption cards Topps has issued. However unlike Upper Deck, the Topps redemptions do NOT have those lottery-esque scratch-off strips that conceal it the secret code. Keep this in mind if you see these cards for sale.

I did not pull any of the gimmick cards, nor did I expect to get one.

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

... and another thing

The front of the Lance Berkman Home Run Derby Contest insert I pulled says "If he wins, you win." However, if you examine the fine print on the back it reads, "If you receive a HRDC with player who wins, you have not won a prize."

... and yet another thing

For the second consecutive year, Yadier Molina is card #660. I don't know if someone at Topps really, really likes or really, really hates Molina.