Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Ben Henry posted on his Facebook account this evening that "The Baseball Card Blog will be coming back in 2010 with new content."

YEE-HAH!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Christmas Gift to You.

I've been waiting seven months to post this. But trust me, it was worth the wait.

When I went to visit Jefferson Burdick's grave this past May, I ran into a lady named Jill Ladd and her mother Beverley. We spent about three hours in that graveyard looking for Ol' Jeff's final resting place. And when we did, I ripped a box of '09 Bowman.

A couple of days later, I got an e-mail from Jill with a few interesting attachments. As my Christmas gift, I share these files with you. Enjoy.

Jefferson%20Burdick%20-%20Part%201.doc
Jefferson%20Burdick%20-%20Part%202.doc

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2009 Gummie Awards: Just a Friendly Reminder.

You have about a week to submit your 2009 Gummie and Decade Gummie Award nominations. (The voting begins in January.) For a list of categories click here.




And now, for your amusement, Gene, Gene, The Dancing Machine!



How many lines of cocaine do you think Chuck Barris put up his nose before this?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

In the basement...

I'm taking the next week off.

Sorry, but I got to study for final exams.

Don't worry, I'll be back soon. In the meantime, enjoy this video break of Topps Unique.




Friday, December 11, 2009

The "Patch" That Ain't?

I need some help.

I just pulled this "Game-Worn Patch" card of the Yankees' Robinson Cano from a box of Topps Unique. (Video break to come) But I have no idea what this is, nor where Topps got this "patch" from.



Obviously, it is not from a Yankees jersey; nor is it from a Dominican Republic WBC jersey.

(It's not a "patch" either, just threads; but that's neither here nor there.)

So what's it from?

Any hints?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Card-Ola: 2009 Topps 206

One Hobby box of 2009 Topps 206 (supplied by Topps)
20 packs per box, nine cards per pack

Part One



Part Two



The Pulls

Base Set: 135 of 300 (45.00%)

5 Short-Print Variations (50 cards, 1:4): K. Uehara, Hernandez, T. Cobb, E. Longoria, G. Sizemore

Parallels

18 Bronze (one-per-pack)
15 Piedmont Minis
2 Polar Bear Minis (1:10): G. Soto, J. Sowers
1 Old Mill Mini (1:20): M. LaPorta
1 Cycle Mini (1:22, numbered to 99): J. Garland
1 Piedmont Variation (1:20) R. Porcello

Inserts

5 Mickey Mantle Checklists

Autogamers

1 Framed Autograph (30 cards, 1:18) R. Braun
1 Piedmont Framed Relic (25 cards, 1:71) HanRam

The Review

It's the most anticipated card set since..., since..., well since Topps announced it back in April. But was 2009 Topps 206 live up to the hype?

Yes. Yes it does. It's not as good as the 2002 edition (then again, how could they top that?), but the 2009 edition is a triumph, and the best card set released so far in 2009.

Product Review: 4 1/2 Gumsticks (out of 5)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Wax Heaven (retired)

As you are no doubt aware, Mario Alejandro has decided to close up Wax Heaven after a two-year run. As a tribute, here is Mario's very first non-Jose Canseco post to what was then known as "The Canseco Completist."

After 10 long years of collecting baseball cards I quit cold turkey as a 17 year-old. To me pursuing girls and having a vehicle was just way more interesting to me than trying to afford a pack of SP Leaf Limited or whatever the fuck was big then. Packs of baseball cards had gone up from an average of .99 cents /$2.00 a pack to 8,9, or even 10 dollars a pack by then. I just could not keep up with the big boys.

Well, it’s 2007 and I have a well-paying job so I decided to jump back in. Today’s cards have autographs, pieces of jerseys, and even bats right on them! It’s amazing. I started out with a hot product called Topps Co-Signers hoping to snatch up a then very hot Daisuke Matsuzaka rookie card. Instead I ended up pulling a Michael Bourn autograph. Maybe if this guy was an actual prospect I would have been satisfied but from the looks of it all this guy can do is run the bases. At best he is a career .270 hitter with 20-30 stolen bases for his first five years and then he’s a utility guy.

It wasn’t so bad. I enjoyed the thrill of opening up the box so since then I have bought at least 10 other Hobby boxes, some for as high as $180 and I have pulled no card higher than $50. It’s not about the price cause I remember buying Big Mac’s USA Topps card for $30 and watching it go all the way up to almost $300 in less than a year and never thought once of selling it, but damn it feels good to have a card that is wanted by the people. The problem is that today I am stuck with SIX, yes six Michael Bourn autographs. This guy shouldn’t have six cards period, let alone 6 autograph cards. I am sick of him. Please, if there is such a thing as a baseball card God, please stop sending Mr. Bourn my way. How about a good prospect for once? Please?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Card-Ola: 2009 Topps Heritage High Numbers

One box of 2009 Topps Heritage High Numbers (supplied by Topps)
24 packs per box, six Topps Heritage and two Topps Updates & Highlights cards per pack

Part One



Part Two





The Pulls


Chiptoppers


1 Buy Back: B. Grim
1 Promo Sheet: Green/Redding/Carroll

Base Set: 125 of 220 (56.82%)
short set: 117 of 185 (63.24%)
Short-Prints (1:3): 8 of 35 (22.86%)
Parallels

10 Chrome (100 cards, 1:3, numbered to 1960): J. Marquis, M. Diaz, D.Aardsma, C. Guzman, R. Garko, J. Francoeur, M. LaPorta, J. Hariston, Jr., N. Morgan, D. Holland
1 Black-Bordered Refractor (100 cards, 1:102, numbered to 60): P. Burrell

Inserts

72 Updates and Highlights Base Set (330 cards, two-per-pack)
2 2009 Flashback (10 cards, 1:12): R. Johnson, Ichiro
2 Rookie Performers (15 cards, 1:12): T. Hanson, G. Beckham
2 Then & Now (10 cards, 1:12): Banks/Rollins, B. Robinson/Wright

Autogamers

1 Clubhouse Collection Dual Relic (1:2020, numbered to 60) Lincecum/Marichal

The Review

The second year of "Topps Heritage High Number Series Presented by 2009 Topps Baseball Updates & Highlights" (yes, that's this product's official name), is much like the first year. The set contains 220 cards, 35 of which short-printed which represent the same 15% proportion that is seen in Topps' other retro-themed sets (i.e. Heritage, A&G). The insert program repeats last year's ("Then & Now" and "2009 Flashbacks," and "Rookie Performers"), but for some reason the Then & Now inserts are numbered as a new ten-card set and not a continuation of the Then & Nows from the first series. Very confusing if you're trying to build a set. In addition, you get a autograph or a gamer in each box.

Each waxpack has two base cards from the Updates & Highlights set. Many of you may not know this -- and I was made privy to this information recently -- but the reason there are two TU&H cards per pack is so to get around the MLBPA's product quota. If this product did not have U&H cards, it would count as a distinct product, and it would count as one of Topps' 17 baseball card products. However, this set is technically considered a re-release of Updates & Highlights, so it doesn't count.

The Bottom Line

Can't really complain about this box. Everything fell as promised including the inserts, parallels, and hits.

The big "hits" were a Pat Burrell Black Refractor (numbered to 60) and a Clubhouse Collection double jersey of Tim Lincecum and Juan Marichal (also numbered to 60).

Product Rating: 4 Gumsticks.

The Philly Show was Discovered by Me.

The Philly Show was discovered by me. Oh sure, they've had the Philadelphia Baseball Card and Sports Memorabilia Show since 1979. And yes, they've had some decent-sized crowds. But until I starting writing about it a few years ago, no one outside the greater Philadelphia tri-state area knew it even existed. Hell, no one outside the greater Philadelphia tri-state area even knew they had the best card show in America right in their backyard! That is, until I started to write about it. Ergo, The Philly Show was discovered by me.

Oh sure, there were card shows in the Philadelphia area. But did you ever see Pete Rose signing autographs at the George Washington Motor Lodge? Did Shane Victorino ever make an appearance at the Ft. Washington Expo Center? Were Cliff Lee, Steve Carlton, and Mike Schmidt ever within 20 miles of Reading, PA? No. And why not? Because I didn't write about them. Sometime around 2001, I posted my first review of The Philly Show to this very website. The Hobby, and The Philly Show, hasn't been the same since.




First off, I want to say that DC drivers are the worst. It took me four and a half hours to get from Fairfax, VA to Valley Forge, PA -- a drive that should have taken no more than three hours. Yes, it snowed. It snowed a lot. It snowed all the way to Baltimore. But that doesn't give you an excuse to drive 40 MPH on the Beltway.

I finally arrived around 2PM. Unlike earlier this year, the card show did not need to share the facility with a gun show. Just as well, I brought that can of "Chemical Billy" I got here back in March. You know, just in case. You never know when you'll need to soak a Joe Collector with Bear Mace.

Speaking of JC, he was out in force in Valley Forge. Your humble correspondent personally saw Joe rip a box of the new Topps Unique, pick out the "hits" and (and I'm not making this up) throw away the commons. As in, throw them in the garbage. I attempted to recover them, but the coffee grounds and nacho cheese sauce made them a terminal case. This guy deserved a Macing on pure principle.

In the end, I picked up a Hobby box of '09 Topps 206 for only $72. I also bought $100 worth of assorted inserts and SPs for $65, and $6 on top-loaders.

Total Spent on Cards: $143
Admission: $6
Tolls: $9
GRAND TOTAL: $158

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Thursday, December 03, 2009

One of these things IS kinda like the other...

When I first saw this on page 14 of the February 2010, Beckett, I couldn't believe my eyes.




I know it's only unlicensed Minor League stuff, but still...

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

2009 Gummie Awards: Call for Nominations



Yes, it's that time again. The year is almost over. The decade is almost over.

It's time for the baseball card collector's of America to honor the best (and worst) of The Hobby for 2009.

But this year, in addition to the year-end awards, The Gummies will also honor the best (and worst) of the about-to-be-concluded decade.



So please, send me your nominations for each of the categories below (both for 2009 and for the 2000s), and send me any suggestions for any new categories, to chris.harris@stalegum.com. And be sure to look for the 2009 Gummie Awards, and the Gummie Awards of the Decade sometime in the new year.


Categories for the 2009 Gummies:

Product of the Year
Card of the Year
Rookie Card of the Year
Best Base Set
Best Insert Set
Best Autographed/Game Used Set
Best Retro Themed Product
Best Designed Product
Best "High-End" Product
Best Set for Prospects
Best Unlicensed Product
Best Hobby Idea/Innovation
Worst Overall Product
Worst Base Set
Most Meaningless Product
Most Disappointing Product
Worst Insert Set
Worst Designed Product
Worst Gimmick
Best Cardblog (You can't vote for your own!)
Best New Cardblog
Best Hobby News Source (Again, you can't vote for own.)
Best Video Box Breaker/YouTuber
Hobby MVP
Hobby ROY
Hobby Top Prospect
Jefferson Burdick Award for Contributions to The Hobby (this goes to a person)

Categories for the Gummie Awards of the Decade:

Product of the Decade
Card of the Decade
Rookie Card of the Decade
Best Base Set
Best Insert Set
Best Autographed/Game Used 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

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Philadelphia (Valley Forge) Show Meet Up.



Next weekend. The Philly Show. Be there.

Where and When:

The Valley Forge Convention Center; King of Prussia, PA (google maps for directions)
Saturday December 5th from Noon until ??? (depends on traffic)
Admission: $7 (kids under eight free!)

For more information on the show, and autograph guests go to the Philly Show website.

RSVP: chris.harris@stalegum.com

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009

Video Box Break and Review: 1995 Finest Series One

One box of 1995 Finest Series One (paid $32)
24 packs per box, seven "Hi-Tech" cards per pack

Part One



Part Two




The Pulls

Base Set: 115 of 220 (52.27%)
42 doubles
6 triples
1 quad

Parallels

2 Refractors (1:12) B. Jones, W. Boggs

Inserts

1 Power Kings (18 cards, 1:24) B. Bonds

Autogamers

NONE

The Bottom Line


For the money, you can't go wrong with this 14-year-old waxbox. No, there aren't any rookies (Hideo Nomo was in the Update Series) and you only get two refractors in a box. But it's a fun rip nonetheless.

The collation is typical mid-90s Topps -- that is, awful. But I did get my two designated refractors, and my one-per-box Power King. Not bad for $32?

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

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Card-Ola: 2009 Topps Updates & Highlights

One box of 2009 Topps Traded Updates & Highlights (supplied by Topps)
36 packs per box, 10 cards per pack

Part One


Part Two


Part Three


The Pulls

Base Set: 280 of 330 (84.85%)

Parallels
12 Golds (1:3, numbered to 2009) J. Guzman, E. Bonifacio, K. Gregg, C. Tillman, L. Hernandez, M. Hoffpauir, RAAAAAUUUUUUUULLLL!, K. Griffey, Jr., M. Joyce, S. Podsednik, N. McLouth, M. Palmer
1 Black (1:44, numbered to 58) J. Baker
1 Rookie Chrome Refractor (55 cards, one-per-box) D. Hernandez

Inserts

25 Topps Town (25 cards, one-per-pack)
4 Topps Town Gold (25 cards)
1 Base Card Variation/Gimmick (25 cards, 1:32) J. Mize
6 Legends of the Game Updates (25 cards, 1:6): T. Cobb, G. Sisler, R. Jackson (OAK), W. Boggs (NYY), R. Jackson (LAA), W. Boggs (TB)
9 Turkey Reds (50 cards, 1:4) D. Price, K. Uehara, R. Porcello, J. Verlander, T. Hanson, J. Dye, J. Peavy, G. Beckham, J. Zimmerman
6 Ring of Honor (25 cards, 1:6) J. Robinson, C. Figgins, J. Foxx, H. Okajima, R. Hornsby, L. Gehrig
7 Propaganda Posters (30 cards, 1:6) A. Gonzalez, C. Quentin, C. Jones, H. Pence, J. Mauer, ManRam, Z. Greinke

Autogamers

1 All-Star Stitches Relic: J. Bay

Product Rating: 3 1/2 Gumsticks (out of 5)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Card-Ola: 2009 Triple Threads

One box of 2009 Triple Threads (provided by Topps)
Two packs per box, six cards per pack

The Video



The Pulls

Base Set: 6 of 136 (4.41%)
short set (three-per-pack, numbered to 1350): 6 of 100 (6.00%)
Autographed Rookies & Rising Stars (1:11, numbered to 99): 0 of 36 (0.00%)
Parallels

2 Sepia (one-per-pack, numbered to 525): B. Ruth, D. Ortiz
2 Emerald (1:2, numbered to 240): J. Peavy, M. Holliday
1 Gold Autographed Rookies & Rising Stars (1:41, numbered to 25): D. Pedroia

Inserts: NONE

Autogamers

1 Triple Threads Relics (105 cards, numbered to 36): M. Schmidt

The Review


Before I start, let me state that Triple Threads is not a product designed for collectors like me in mind. It not just the $100/pack price tag -- although that has a lot to do with it. Triple Threads is for those folks who buy a lot of wax, but don't actually collect the cards inside. You know the type. Like the guy who buys a box of (as an example) Upper Deck Series Two, rips all the packs, pulls a Rick Porcello rookie card, complains that "It's not numbered," then leaves it, along with all the other cards he just ripped with the exception of the one-per-box autograph and two-per-box jersey cards, on the dealer's table and walks away, goes home, then posts a YouTube video of the BIG MOJO HITZ!!!! he just got at the card show. You know, that guy. (And no, I didn't just see that guy at a card show in Tysons Corner this past weekend.)

So needless to say, Triple Threads isn't for me. But Topps sent me a waxbox to review anyway, so the least I can do is give it an honest review. You're promised two hits per box (one in each pack) and a short-stack of base and parallel cards. But if I had actually paid $200 for this box of Triple Threads, would I be happy?

Let's start off with the base cards. There's one word to describe the base cards in Triple Threads: cheap. It looks like Topps bought up Donruss/Panini's supply of old blank "dummy" cards and used them for card stock. I realize that the typical Triple Threads "collector" could care less about base cards -- which is why most of them eventually end up in dealer's buck bins -- but they certainly don't look like cards that belong in a $100/pack product.

The Mike Schmidt jersey card I pulled was a nice hit, but I have one big problem with it. If the product is called "Triple Threads," you would think that all the "hits" would have at least three different jersey swatches on the card? Most rational-thinking people would be led to believe this, and that would make sense, right? Unfortunately, it looks like Topps cut one long strip from the same powder blue 1970s-era Phillies uniform, and framed it to look like three different swatches. Don't get me wrong, those powder blue away uniforms the Phillies wore in the 70s and 80s were sweet looking. But in a product called "Triple Threads" there should also be at least two other swatches.

The other hit of Dustin Pedroia did at least have three different swatches (home jersey, batting practice jersey, and bat). But the autograph was on a sticker. Are you kidding me? $100/pack? For sticker autos? In a $10, $20, or even a $50/pack product, sticker autographs would be tolerable; but in a $100/pack product that's unacceptable.

The Bottom Line

While writers of a certain Hobby magazine will praise it, the rest of us can probably take a pass. Even if you're "that guy" who rips wax just for the "hits," you'll never get your money's worth out of a box of Triple Threads. The Mike Schmidt card I pulled, while nice, is a card that wouldn't fetch more than $25 on eBay. Same thing with the Dustin Pedoria. The base cards and parallels are just filler.

"High-end" products like Triple Threads are to Topps what retro-themed products are to Upper Deck. They keep trying, but they just can't seem to get it right.

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

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Video Box Break and Review: 2008 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects

One box of 2008 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects (paid $75.60)
24 packs per box, seven cards per pack

Part One


Part Two


The Pulls

Base Set (two-per-pack): 47 of 55 (85.45%)

Inserts

Prospects (two-per-pack): 48 of 110 (43.64%)

Parallels

24 Golds (one-per-pack)
1 Blue (1:19, numbered to 399): B. Gardner
44 Chromes (two-per-pack)
2 Chrome Refractors: C. Pennington, J. Todd
1 Gold Chrome Refractor (1:150, numbered to 50): B. Hunter

Autogamers

1 Autographed Chrome Prospects (18 cards, 1:38) L. Chisenhall

Product Rating: 2 Gumsticks (out of five)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

First Impressions: 2010 Topps

If you haven't seen it on the Beckett Blog, what are you waiting for?

My reax...

Things I Like

The design. The '02-Post-meets-'91-Topps mash-up is starting to grow on me.

The "Tales of the Game" insert. Especially card #TOG-30 "Topps Dumps 1952 Cards in the River."

No short-prints, base set variations, squirrels, fake Japanese "prospects," or other assorted gimmicks. At least not yet, anyway.

Things I Don't Like

330 card base set. Is a 396-card first series base set too difficult to ask, or what?

Too many inserts. By my count, there will be just as many non-parallel, non-autographed, non-relic inserts (303 cards, spread out over seven different sets) then base cards. I like lots of inserts, but over 300 in one release is just excessive. Did we really need another year of Turkey Red? Or a sixty-card set of players pictured in their Little League uniforms?

Manufactured Hat Logo "Relics." Just die already.

Things I'm Indifferent About

The "Cards Your Mother Threw Out" insert. Hey look, it's yet another '52T Mickey Mantle reprint! FEEL THE EXCITEMENT!

MANTLE-JO!!!!!!

I don't understand the logic of another reprint set. Hasn't Topps gone to the well a little too often with this concept already? Besides, I seriously doubt that my mother threw away my '09T Evan Longoria. On the other hand, you'll finally be able to add that Alex Gordon to your 2006 Topps set.

Big Mojo Hits. Nobody buys Topps for autographs or gamers -- even if they are one-per Hobby and three-per HTA box. What's the point of having them?

The newly designed "Rookie Card" logo. The now familiar "Rookie Card" icon (and the eligibility rules that came with it) were the MLBPA's idea. Now that Topps has redesigned it to prominently feature the MLB logo, does this mean that Upper Deck will still use the old one? Is Topps no longer bound to the PA's eligibility rules?

On-Location Box Break: 2009 Topps UFC

One box of 2009 Topps UFC (provided by Topps)
16 packs per box, eight cards per pack

Part One


Part Two



The Pulls

Base Set
: 93 of 150 (62.00%)

Parallels

13 Golds
1 Black (1:13, numbered to 188) B.J. Penn

Inserts

4 Fight Poster Review (25 cards, 1:4)
2 Octagon of Honor (10 cards, 1:8) K. Shamrock, P. Miletich
4 Bloodlines (25 cards, 1:4) A. Hardonk, M. Davis, M. Kampmann, C. Kongo
2 Greats of the Game (15 cards, 1:8) L. Machida, M. Hughes
4 Photo Finish (25 cards, 1:4) M. Davis, Q. Jackson, G. Gonzaga, K. Florian
1 Photo Finish Black (1:56, numbered to 88) C. Liddell

Autogamers

2 Fighter/Personality Autographs (44 cards) D. Sanchez, J. Miller
1 Fight Mat Relics (25 cards) B.J. Penn
1 Gold Fight Mat Relic (25 cards, numbered to 199) A. Silva

Product Rating: 4 Gumsticks (out of 5)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

On-Location Box Break: 2009 Bowman Sterling Football



Base Set: 22 of 201 (10.95%)
Base Rookies: 8 of 50 (each numbered to 799): T. Fiammetta, R. Quinn, C. Barwin, R. Johnson, A. Allen, K. Barnes, T. McKenzie, Q. Lawrence
Veteran Relic Base Cards: 4 of 50 (production varies): S. Jackson /719, J. Charles /999, D. McNabb /249, A. Gates /999
Autographed Rookie Base Cards: 6 of 45 (production varies): I. Johnson /999, W. Moore /999, J. Davis /999, B. Foster /999, M. Teel /299, C. Ogbonnaya /699
Rookie Relic Base Cards: 4 of 34 (numbered to 749) J. Johnson, S. McGee, D. Brown, P. White
Veteran Autographed Relic Base Cards: 0 of 16
Veteran Autographed Base Cards: 0 of 6
Variations
2 Rookie Autographed Relic Base Card Variations: L. McCoy /150, K. Britt /500

Parallels
2 Rookie Base Card Refractors (1:3, numbered to 299) Q. Johnson, R. Brace
1 Rookie Base Card X-Fractor (one-per-box, numbered to 100) V. Davis
1 Veteran Relic Base Card Refractor (numbered to 199) C. Taylor
1 Veteran Relic Base Card Black Refractor (numbered to 50) M. Forte
2 Rookie Relic Base Card Refractors (1:5, numbered to 199) B. Robiskie, A. Brown

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Card-Ola: 2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom

One box of 2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom Baseball (supplied by Topps)
20 packs per box; 12 cards per pack

The Video

Part One


Part Two



The Pulls

Base Set: 198 of 225 (88.00%)
short set: 198 of 200 (99.00%)
Rookies (1:45, numbered to 199): 0 of 25 (0.00%)
Parallels

20 Perforated (one-per-pack)
3 Blues (1:10, numbered to 99): KosFu, J. Hermida, D. Haren
1 Gold (1:20, numbered to 50): A. Kearns

Inserts

5 Ticket to Stardom (15 cards, 1:4): C. Maybin, M. Kemp, J. Bruce, J. Mauer, K. Kawakami
2 Big Tickets (15 cards, 1:8): D. Wright, J. Reyes
2 Season Veterans (ten cards, 1:12): A-Fraud, BigPapi

Autogamers

1 Ticket Stubs Plus (72 cards, 1:22) Tae Kyun Kim /90
1 Ticket Stubs Plus 2 (63 cards, 1:22) C. Hart /224
1 Autographed Relics (25 cards) T. Tulowitzki /489

The Review

Do you like poorly designed base cards? Gimmicked rookies? Meaningless inserts? Junk hits?

Yes?

Then boy does Topps have a baseball card set for you! 2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom Baseball!

To be fair to Topps, if you're making 17 different baseball card sets in a year, they all can't be winners. Just like last year with Stadium Club, Topps was bound to make a baseball card set that completely sucks; and Ticket to Stardom is just like the product it replaces.

But it's not just the badly designed base set, it's the lack of effort Topps put into it. For example, even though he was released before the start of the season and didn't play an inning in the Majors for any other team the entire 2009 season, Geoff Jenkins is still in the base set at card #36. Oh sure, Topps could have pulled him from the set and replaced him with another player, or a rookie. But that might have required effort.

The base set is 225 cards with the last 25 forming a serial-numbered rookie subset. With last year's Stadium Club, you got one rookie (albeit autographed) in every-other pack making set building plausible, but not likely. Not so with TTS. The stated odds of pulling one of the rookies is 1:45 packs (not even one-per-two-boxes!) and each is numbered to 199. Assuming perfect collation, you would have to open up almost 57 waxboxes to get all 25. With odds like that, why even bother?

But wait, we haven't even mentioned the "hits."

Ticket stubs.

Ummm, really Topps? Ticket stubs, as "relics?"

The Bottom Line

About the only thing good I can say about TTS is that this one waxbox yielded 99% of the short set with no doubles and all the inserts were pulled as promised. My three "hits" are a different story. I got a ticket/jersey of a Korean WBC player, a sticker autograph/jersey of Troy Tulowitzki, and a ticket/double jersey of Milwaukee's Corey Hart.

Product Rating: 1 Gumstick (out of 5)

... and another thing

The Corey Hart ticket/double jersey card I pulled had two swatches of what appears to be the exact same gray road uniform. Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of a "double jersey" relic card? Shouldn't a "double jersey" relic have, say, a road jersey AND a home jersey? Or a jersey and a bat?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

More like T.S. Owned'Connell

I just came up with this "off the top of my head."



h/t, and a "Thank you very much," to UD's Chris Carlin.

Video Box Break and Review: 2009 Topps Chrome Football

One box of 2009 Topps Chrome Football (provided by Topps)
24 packs per box, four cards per pack

The Video



The Pulls

Base Set: 74 of 220 (33.64%)
short set: 62 of 110 (56.36%)
Rookies (1:2): 12 of 110 (10.91%)

Parallels
8 Refractors (1:3): E. Reed, H. Ward, P. Willis, P. Manning, A. Smith, Jr., C. Barwin, M. Johnson, B. Pettigrew
2 Copper Refractors (1:12, numbered to 649): C. Coffman, M. Stafford

Inserts
1 Santonio Holmes Ring of Honor (one card, 1:24)
3 Cheerleaders (15 cards, 1:8)
1 Cheerleader Refractor (15 cards, 1:207, numbered to 199)
6 Chicle (25 cards, 1:4) S. Jackson, L. Tomlinson, P. Manning, L. White, J. Cotchery, J. Porter

Autogamers
1 Autographed Base Card Rookie Variations (47 cards, 1:24): S. Greene

The Review


I can now understand why football collectors go ga-ga for Topps Chrome. ToppChro gives the football card collector what he/she wants: Refractors, stars, short-printed rookies, and autographs. While a similarly structured set wouldn't work in baseball; for football, Topps has the formula down.

Product Rating: 3 1/2 Gumsticks (out of 5)

... and another thing


Another design element that has been missing from Topps' chrome-stock baseball releases the last few years, but has remained in football, are the "etched" outlines. Take a look at a Topps chrome-stock baseball card from this year and compare it with a card from Topps Chrome Football, and you'll see what I mean.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Video Box Break and Review: 2009 Bowman Chrome

One box of 2009 Bowman Chrome (supplied by Topps)
18 packs per box, four cards per pack

The Video



The Pulls

Base Set: 28 of 220 (12.73%)

Parallels

4 Refractors (1:4) The World's Fattest Vegetarian, M. Aviles, J. Mauer, N. Swisher
1 X-Fractor (1:10, numbered to 250) K. Matsui
1 Blue Refractor (1:17, numbered to 150) J. Posada
1 Gold Refractor (1:50, numbered to 50) C. Davis
1 Prospect Refractor (1:15, numbered to 500) J. Beresford
1 Prospect X-Fractor (1:10, numbered to 250) R. Perez

Inserts
Prospects: 23 of 70 (32.86%)
World Baseball Classic: 11 of 60 (18.33%)

Autogamers
1 Autographed Prospect (24 cards, 1:34) R. Singh

The Review

Sorry, I but I still don't get Bowman Chrome. It's a set you can't collect, and frankly, I really don't think Topps cares if you actually do. How else can you explain the fact that the "Autographed Prospects" in Bowman Chrome are numbered from #BCP91-114, while the "Autographed Bowman Chrome Prospects" from 2009 Bowman are numbered from #BCP111-127?

That's right. The Beamer Weems Orange Refractor I pulled on the grave of Jefferson Burdick (#BCP111) back in May HAS THE SAME CARD NUMBER as Tim Federowicz's Autographed Prospect card in BowChro!

EPIC FAIL

Then again, I give Topps credit for knowing their target audience. This is Bowman Chrome, after all, and BowChro is all about Refractors and Big Mojo Hits. If you're a "collector" who gets distracted by bright, shiny objects, then BowChro is right up your alley.

For the rest of us...

Product Rating: 1 Gumstick (out of 5)

...and another thing.

If you need another reason why Topps should move Bowman Baseball from May to September and merge it with Bowman Chrome, here are three.

In 2009 Bowman Baseball, card #59 is of Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga, #128 is of Nationals second baseman Ronnie Belliard, and #203 is the Rays' John Jaso . However in BowChro, Galarraga, Belliard, and Jaso were replaced by green-bordered rookies of Phillies pitcher Sergio Escalona, Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold, and Oakland pitcher (and 2009 AL All-Star) Andrew Bailey, respectively.

Fun with math and 2010 Topps Baseball.

This....

plus this...

equals this...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On-Location Box Break: 2009 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions

One box of 2009 Upper Deck Allen & Ginter Goodwin Champions
20 packs per box, five cards per pack (paid $68)

The Video



The Pulls

Base Set: 57 of 210 (27.14%)
short set: 47 of 150 (31.33%)
short-prints: 8 of 40 (20.00%)
super short prints: 2 of 20 (10.00%)

Parallels
14 Minis
6 Exclusive Minis*
4 Black-Bordered Gypsy Queens
1 Black-Bordered Gypsy Queen Exclusive*
1 Foil Mini

* The "Exclusive Minis" are numbered as part of the base set (#211-252), but do not have a corresponding full-sized base card.

Inserts
10 20th Anniversary
1 Citizen of the Day (15 cards) P.T. Barnum
1 Animal Series (ten cards) Bengal Tiger

Autogamers

2 Memorabilia Series (98 cards): J. Papelbon, P. Konerko
1 Autograph Series (93 cards): K. Griffey, Sr.

The Review

Between the press releases and Facebook postings, Upper Deck has been hyping the you-know-what out of Goodwin Champions for months, and I finally have a box in my hands. Yes, let me state the obvious. Goodwin Champions is an Allen & Ginter rip-off -- not that that's a bad thing, of course. And yes, Upper Deck did a pretty good job keeping the look of the cards faithful to their 19th Century originals. But after this one box, I have to say that I'm disappointed.

The base set is 210 cards with the last 60 short-printed -- the last 20 of them tougher to find than the other 40. I don't want to go off on a rant here, but why are there this many SPs in a set this size? I could see having 60 SPs in a set twice this size, but in a set that's only 210 cards? Why?

Like A&G, there are the usual mix of baseball players, past and present, with a sprinkling of athletes from other sports mixed in. One thing I found curious was that, while the basketball and hockey players are shown in their NBA and NHL uniforms, respectively, the football players are depicted in their college unis. Strange, considering that I pulled a 20th Anniversary insert of Brett Favre wearing a Packer shirt.

Speaking of strange, let's get to the one-per-pack mini inserts. (Make that, one-in-most-packs, but two-in-others.) Each of the 210 base cards are paralleled in a tobacco-sized format. But then, UD added 42 extra cards that are available in the mini-sized format only.

WTF?!?!?!?!?

Now, before you mention that Allen & Ginter has, and has always had, "exclusive minis," there's one HUGE difference between the A&G and UDGC exclusives. The A&G exclusives have always (ALWAYS) been embedded inside a Rip Card, and have always (ALWAYS) featured players who were already in the regular base set. For example, in '09 A&G Albert Pujols is on Mini Exclusive card #361; but he also appears in the base set as card #71 and as mini card #71. In UDGC the 42 players tacked onto the mini set DO NOT appear in the base set. In other words, the mini card of Mariano Rivera I pulled in this box (card #222) does not have a corresponding full-sized base card.

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

As for the inserts, there are three: Citizens of the Day (19th Century celebrities), Citizens of the Century (current notables), and ten cards of wild animals. Of course, it wouldn't be a 2009 Upper Deck Baseball product without those wonderful 20th Anniversary cards everyone loves.

You get three hits in a box, and while all the ink has gone towards the horse hair and live bugs, you're more than likely to get two game jerseys and an on-card autograph.

The Bottom Line

Upper Deck just doesn't have it in them. They gave a good try with Goodwin, but they've yet to make a decent retro-themed product. I'll give them credit: The base cards do look great. But between the excessive number of short-prints, the mini-exclusive B.S., and the hopelessly out-of-place 20th Anniversary inserts, Goodwin just doesn't get it done.

For the record, I got about a-third of the base set and a-sixth of the SPs. I got two inserts, two rather indistinguishable jerseys, and an on-card autograph of Ken Griffey, Sr. that I'm actually happy with.

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

... and another thing.

I'd thought I'd never say this, but Upper Deck 20th Anniversary may soon overtake the 2007 Topps A-Rod Road to 500 (a.k.a. The A-Rod Bullshit Waste of Space) for the title of "Worst Insert Set," ever.

OK, I take that back. They're not that bad. But in the same way the A-RBSWoS's didn't belong in 2007 Topps Heritage, UD20A's sure-as-hell don't belong in a set like Goodwin. If the A-Rod Bullshit Waste of Space were Kyle's cousin, then the 20th Anniversary cards are Towelie.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What I Got at the Philly Show: 9/26/09



One box of Goodwin Champions: $68
62 $1 inserts: $62
Admission: $6
Tolls: $9
Grand Total: $145

Friday, September 25, 2009

Video Box Break and Review: 1995 Leaf Limited Series One

One box of 1995 Leaf Limited Series One
20 packs per box, five cards per pack

The Video


(fast forward to 7:50)



The Pulls

Base Set: 79 of 96 (82.29%)

Parallels
20 Gold (24 cards, one-per-pack)

Inserts
1 Lumberjack (eight cards, 1:23, numbered to 5000) A. Belle

Autogamers: NONE

The Review

1995 Leaf Limited. Ahh yes, I remember it well. In the era before autographs, game used cards, and obscenely scarce parallels, Leaf Limited was the ultimate. It was Donruss' answer to the new wave of "super-premium" products like Topps Finest, Flair, and SP, and it more than held its own weight.

14 years later and time has not been kind to '95 Leaf Limited. The first series was one of the first to feature a "true" rookie card of Hideo Nomo. Back then, collectors went bonkers trying to find a Nomo. But Nomo never really developed into the Hall of Fame pitcher everyone in 1995 was convinced he'd be. And while only 45,000 serial-numbered waxboxes of each series were produced, today you can get three boxes Leaf Limited for about the price of what one box went for in '95.

The base set consists of 96 cards, and are all done in what Donruss called "Spectra Tech" foil -- the rest of us just called it holographic foil. Most of the usual suspects are featured, although such players as Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Greg Maddux were saved for the second series. Each pack had one of 24 Gold cards, a pseudo-parallel set that featured a different photo than the player's base card. The Spectra Tech foil makes the Golds a little more difficult to distinguish from the base cards, however the backs have a gold background, compared to a silver background in the base cards.

The big insert was the 16-card (eight in each series) Lumberjacks. Each card was serial-numbered to 5000 copies -- which in '95 was still considered scarce -- and printed on a wood veneer that gave it the look and feel of a baseball bat. In the era before game used cards, such "material" cards were a Donruss staple.

The Bottom Line

This box yielded about five-sixths of a base set, and five-sixths of the Gold insert. I also pulled an Albert Belle Lumberjack insert, which in 1995 would have been a $30-$40 card.

Product Rating: 3 Gumsticks (out of five)

If you've got $30 burning a hole in your pocket, and want something to bust, pick up a box of 1995 Leaf Limited.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Stale Gum LIVE! On the Dr. Wax Battle Show.

I will be appearing as a guest this Wednesday night on the Dr. Wax Battle show. That's this Wednesday night at 7pm EDT, only at The Backstop!



It's going to be...

... UNPRECEDENTED!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The ultimate pirated gimmick card.

My entry into The Cardboard Junkie's 2009 Pirate Card Factory Set.



Too obvious, I know.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Box Break: 2008 Bowman Baseball

One box of 2008 Bowman Baseball (paid $73.44)
24 packs per box, 10 cards per pack

The Pulls

Base Set: 119 of 230 (51.74%)
short set: 119 of 220 (54.09%)
Autographed Rookies*: 0 of 10
Inserts
48 Bowman Prospects (110 cards, two-per-pack)

Parallels
24 Golds (one-per-pack)
1 Blue (1:14, numbered to 500) G. Sizemore
1 Orange (1:26, numbered to 250) D. Uggla
45 Bowman Chrome Prospects (110 cards, two-per-pack)
1 Bowman Chrome Prospects Refractor (1:34, numbered to 599) A. Liddi
1 Bowman Chrome Prospects Blue Refractor (1:126, numbered to 150) E. Beltre

Big Mojo Hits
1 Bowman Chrome Autographed Prospects X-Fractor (20 cards, 1:226*, numbered to 250) M. Bumgarner

* The odds of finding any autograph are one-per-box.

The Review


I have to be honest with you. I paid way, way, too much for this box of last year's Bowman. I'm still looking for a halfway decent cardshop in the D.C. area and I came across one on Route 7 in Sterling that had this box for $69.95 ($73.44 if you include the tax). Yes, I could have found this box for a lot less. But I needed something to bust for my BlogTV show. That, and I never got around to busting a box of this stuff last year.

As for 2008 Bowman, it's basically the same set Topps has issued for the last few years. I'm tempted to cut-and-paste my reviews of '07 and '06 Bowman, and list it here because that's all '08 is. There are no "rookies" in "The Home of the Rookie Card" anymore, and most of the Prospects are, at best, marginal.

One thing that Topps did change for 2008 (and they repeated for '09) is something they've been doing to the Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects set for years now. All the autographed Prospect cards are exclusive to Chrome. In other words, the Madison Bumgarner Autographed X-Fractor I pulled from this box is only available as an Autographed Chrome card, and not as either an unautographed Chrome, or a base Prospect.

Which is a shame since the only cards in '08 Bowman that seem to be worth a damn are the 20 Autographed Chrome Prospects. But unless you happen to get lucky like I did, if you buy a box of 2008 Bowman, you'll probably not get a card (any card) of David Price.

The Bottom Line

In addition to the aforementioned Bumgarner X-Fractor, I did pull a Blue Refractor of one of the few Chrome Prospects that is worth "something" -- a rarity for this product: Rangers farmhand Engel Beltre. Beltre had a decent 2008 season a Single-A Clinton, but struggled a bit a A+ Bakersfield.

I only got about have the base set, and less than half the Prospects. Not exactly a great deal for $70.

Product Rating: 2 Gumsticks (out of 5)

... and another thing.

For the last few years, there have been three Bowman-branded baseball products: Bowman, Bowman Chrome, and Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects. Bowman has been first (usually going live around April or May) and has the handicap of only being allowed to include "true" rookies of those players who made their Major League debut after the September 1st call-up. BowChro and BDP&P go live later in the year (September and December, respectively), thereby giving Topps the chance to issue actual, real, Rookie cards.

All of which begs the question: Do we really need three Bowman-branded card sets? Is it necessary to really have a Bowman baseball set in May? Why not fold Bowman and BowChro into one August/September release? Or, how about getting rid of Bowman and BowChro altogether and only issuing BDP&P?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Card-Ola: 2009 Topps Football

For the video, go watch it on BlogTV.

One box of 2009 Topps Football -- provided for free by Topps
36 packs per box, 10 cards per pack

Base Set: 291 of 440
no doubles

Parallels
12 Gold (1:3, numbered to 2009) H. Baskett, C. Johnson, T. Thigpen, K. Smith, L. Fitzgerald, M. Ryan, Reed/Lewis, B. Orakpo, C. Greene, S. McKillop, J. Freeman
1 Black (1:42, numbered to 54) E. Graham

Inserts
25 Topps Town (25 cards, one-per-pack)
4 Gold Topps Town: McNabb, A. Rodgers, T. Romo, K. Collins
6 AFL 50th Year Flashback (15 cards, 1:6) A. Haynes, J. Marshall, D. Maynard, G. Blanda, B. Cannon, B. Groman
6 Chicle (100 cards, 1:6) J. Cutler, A. Curry, T. Jones, D. Mason, C. Wells, A. Gonzalez
4 Cheerleaders (15 cards, 1:9)
1 Ring of Honor (one card, 1:36) S. Holmes

Autogamers
1 Career Best Relic: C. Matthews

Product Rating: 3 Gumsticks (out of 5)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

On-Location Box Break: 2009 Topps Chrome

One Hobby Box (supplied to me for free by Topps) of 2009 Topps Chrome Baseball
24 packs per box, four cards per pack

Part One


Part Two


The Pulls

Base Set: 76 of 243 (31.28%)
short set: 76 of 220 (34.55%)
Autographed "Rookie" Cards (1:20 packs): 0 of 23

Parallels:
8 Refractors (1:3) S. Drew, D. Wright, C. Lee, J. Santana, B. Zito, Y. Gallardo, J. Bay, That J.D. Guy
2 Autographed "Rookie" Refractors (23 cards, 1:47, numbered to 499) R. Romero, G. Kottaras
2 Blue Refractors (1:13, numbered to 199) Pat the Bat, J. Mauer
1 Gold Refractor (1:50, numbered to 50) H. Matsui

Inserts

6 World Baseball Classic Stars (100 cards, 1:4) Chipper, some Dutch guy, some Italian guy, some Italian guy, and a couple of guys from Chinese Taipei
1 World Baseball Classic Stars Refractor (100 cards, 1:16, numbered to 500) some Dutch guy

I'm sorry, but still don't get the concept behind Chrome. I already bought these cards before, why do I need them again?

The 23 gimmicked rookies are not true Rookies, as all 23 appear in the 220-card short set. For example, I pulled an Autographed Refractor of Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero, which is card #234 in the set. However, card #193 in the base set is also of Ricky Romero. It's the same exact card as #234, only without the autograph; therefore, making this card (#193) the true RC. Epic Fail.

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

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Card-Ola: 2009-10 Bowman '48 Basketball

From last Sunday's Stale Gum LIVE! show, a box of the new Bowman '48 basketball.

And please don't ask about the sombrero.

One box (supplied by Topps) of 2009-10 Bowman '48 Basketball
24 packs per box, eight cards per pack

Part One:


Bowman '48 part 1 - Broadcast your self LIVE


Part Two:

Bowman '48 Box Break pt 2 - Broadcast your self LIVE


Part Three:


Bowman '48 basketball 3 - Broadcast your self LIVE



The Pulls


Base Set: 104 of 121

short set: 100 of 100
2009 Rookies: 3 of 14 (Numbered to 2009) B. Jennings, J. Holiday, T. Williams
Favorite Plays of the Professionals: 1 of 7 (Numbered to 1948)

62 doubles
2 triples

Parallels
20 Blue (numbered to 1948)
1 Black (numbered to 48): T. Parker

Inserts:
NONE

Autogamers:

3 '48 Autographs: A. Jamison, T.J. Ford, K. Hinrich

Monday, August 31, 2009

Card-Ola: 2009 Topps American Heritage American Heroes Edition

In case you missed my first BlogTV LIVE! show, here's a little but of what you missed.

One box (supplied to me by Topps for free) of 2009 Topps American Heritage American Heroes Edition)
24 packs per box, eight cards per pack

Part One:


Part one American Heritag - Broadcast your self LIVE


Part Two:



Topps American Heritage p - Broadcast your self LIVE


Part Three:



Topps American Heritage 3 - Broadcast your self LIVE


The Pulls

Base Set:
131 of 150 (87.33%)
short set: 125 of 125
Lincoln/Obama subset: 6 of 25 (1:4)

19 doubles

Parallels

8 Chrome (1:4, numbered to 1776) M. Pitcher, S. Gompers, E. Crocker, J. Petrosino (X2), M. E. Walker, J. Monroe, N. Bly

Inserts
6 Heroes of Sport (25 cards, 1:4) M. Mantle, F. Robinson, R. Hornsby, H. Wagner, W. Johnson, G. Sisler
4 Heroes of Spaceflight (28 cards, 1:6) Aurora 7, Gemini VIII, Gemini IX-A, Apollo 12
12 Medal of Honor (50 cards, 1:2) E.A. Carr, T. Custer, O. P. Howe, J. Chamberlain, M. E. Walker, W. F. Cody, B. J. D. Irwin, J. E. V. Gaujot, G. R. Roberts, F. Bennett, W. Halford, O. B. Willcox
6 Presidential Medal of Freedom (25 cards, 1:4) J. Jackson, D. Ellington, H. Lee, J. Stewart, R. Petty, C. Powell
3 A Hero's Journey (15 cards, 1:8)

Autogamers

1 American Heroes Relics (14 cards) J. Moran
1 American Heroes Autographs (12 cards) F. Serpico

Friday, August 21, 2009

This can not possibly be a Topps card.



It can't be. Where's the tractor? And where's the ghost of Tommy Kramer peering over Favre's shoulder?

(h/t Beckett Blog)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

BREAKING NEWS "MLB grants UD new license."

Or at least it says so on page 18 of the new Beckett Baseball.

Don't believe me, see for yourself.

"Upper Deck announced in July that it has been granted a new trading card license from Major League Baseball."


Beckett: The Hobby's most reliable and relied upon source.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Card-Ola: 2009 Topps Magic Football

Topps sent me this box over a month ago. Shortly after I ripped this box, my laptop was out of commission for a few weeks, and I completely forgot about this break. All apologies.

Part One:



Part Two:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

ESPN's first video box break.

Recently, ESPN.com's Jim Caple went searching for a 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey, Jr. card. So, he went to a Seattle area card shop and found one, the old fashioned way...

... by ripping packs of 1989 UD and recording it on video! Enjoy.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Some thoughts on the Topps/MLB license deal.

So naturally, the biggest Hobby story in years breaks when my computer is in the shop. Just my luck. By now you've heard that Topps has locked up the exclusive trading card license with MLB Properties. For 2010 and beyond, the only baseball cards that will feature the non-airbrushed logos of the 30 Major League teams, will be produced by Topps. This comes on the heels of last month's extension of the licensing deal between Upper Deck and the MLB Player's Association that will keep UD in the baseball card game. (Topps is not, and has never been, privy to the MLBPA's group license, choosing instead to sign players to individual contracts.)

Although UD will, more-than-likely, continue to print "half-licensed" cards (and still retains their license with USA Baseball), the initial reaction in the cardblogosphere to the Topps deal has been, as expected, negative. However, this collector thinks that 2010 may not all that bad for The Hobby. Let me give you five reasons why a return to exclusivity may not be such a bad thing.

1) Fewer brands -- Four years ago when there were four licensees, The Hobby was drowning in a sea of 89 different baseball card releases. So MLB and the PA did what was best for The Hobby by 1) letting Fleer die; 2) kicking Donruss out; and 3) limiting the two remaining card companies to 20 -- later lowered to 17 -- releases each.

Four years later, and 34 brands is still too much; and to be honest, Topps and Upper Deck just aren't up to producing that many quality products. If you don't believe me, just take a look at some of the stinkers Topps and Upper Deck have released in recent years: UDx, Documentary, Moments & Milestones, and Stadium Club -- products whose sole reason for being, it seemed, was to fill out their respective company's 17-brand quota.

34 brands among two licensees being reduced to 12-15 from only one company will lead to fewer crap products. But it will also have the added benefit of giving the remaining products a longer shelf life, and bring a level of clarity to the marketplace.

2) The end of the gimmick card -- With exclusivity, the days of the gimmick card should be over. There is no need for Topps to print cards of squirrels, print cards upside down, or stealth short-prints that compromise the integrity of the base set.

3) Reinventing Bowman -- The last couple of years, Bowman Baseball has been a brand that has lost its way. Yes, the "ROOKIE CARD" rules that went into effect in 2006 have taken a bite out of Bowman, but much of the decline of Bowman has been self-inflicted. This is a golden opportunity to reinvent Bowman. Instead of three Bowman sets (Bowman, Bowman Chrome, and BDP&P), consolidate them a single, late-season, brand.

4) Marketing The Hobby to older collectors -- For years the mantra has been, "We must get kids into The Hobby." And for years, The Hobby responded by making "kid-friendly" products: Triple Play, Fun Pack, Topps Kids, UD PowerUp, UDx, et al. There's just one problem with that though. Speaking as a former child, I know from experience thatmost children hate being pandered to. Kids want "grown-up" stuff and grown-up trading cards are no exception.

How about this: Instead of marketing baseball cards to kids, how about selling them to adults? Back in the early-90s, you couldn't watch a hockey game without seeing an ad for Upper Deck Hockey cards. Why not try the same now? Why not place Topps banners on outfield walls? Why not run thirty-second ads during games? How about ads in Sports Illustrated or ESPN: The Magazine?

Oh sure, Michael Eisner is saying the right thing about kids. But in order for The Hobby to grow, Topps needs to re-focus it's efforts towards adults. Market to them. Educate them. Sell to them. It not that The Hobby should abandon kids, per se; but market to their older brothers and dads. (And yes, their sisters and moms, too.)

5) A more down-market Hobby --Topps does not do "high-end" well. So why bother with it anymore? Now that they have exclusivity, is there any reason for Triple Threads or Sterling Baseball? I doubt most collectors would miss it anyway.

Will we miss a fully licensed Upper Deck Baseball? Of course, but it's not the end of the world and it's not the end of The Hobby. Besides, WHAT ELSE ARE YOU GOING TO COLLECT?

Look who's laughing now.


My take on the Topps/MLB deal, later tonight.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Great Raul Hunt.

The mission: To find as many Raul Ibanez rookie cards out of a pair of recently purchased junkwax boxes. It would be a tough job, but I had an obligation to my readers to find the Raul's, for good or ill.

Box #1: 1996 Bowman








Base Set: 188 of 385 (48.83%)
47 doubles
2 triples

Parallels: 24 Foils (one-per-pack)

Inserts:
2 1996 Bowman's Best Preview (30 cards, 1:12) C. Baerga, C. Jones
1 1996 Bowman's Best Preview Refractor (30 cards, 1:24) NOE-MAH!
2 1996 Minor League Player of the Year Candidate (15 cards, 1:12) R. Rivera, G. Alvarez
1 1952 Bowman Mickey Mantle Reprint (one card, 1:48)

Autogamers: NONE

RAUUUUUUUUUL's: 2






Box #2 1996 Bowman's Best




Base Set: 106 of 180 (58.89%)
24 doubles
6 triples

Parallels
2 Refractors (1:12) J. Buhner, T. Greene

Inserts
1 Mirror Image Atomic Refractor (10 cards, 1:192) Alomar/Relaford/Biggio/Castillo
1 Bowman's Best Cuts (15 cards, 1:24) ManRam
1 Bowman's Best Cuts Refractors (15 cards, 1:48) M. Piazza
1 Bowman's Best Cuts Atomic Refractors (15 cards, 1:96) M. Piazza
1 Mickey Mantle 1952 Bowman Chromium (one card, 1:24)

Autogamers: NONE

RAUUUUUUUUUL's: 1

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

An non-parallel, non-game used, non-autographed insert that will not suck.

UPDATE: My laptop is still out of commission. It'll be a few days before I get it back and I'm resorting to posting from my parent's house.



Pity, the humble insert. In an era where autographs of obscure Single-A relievers, or a card with the crotch of some backup catcher's pant leg pass as "Big Mojo Hits," the plain-vanilla insert has become a mere afterthought. Granted, the card companies haven't been putting much effort into them lately; but every once and a while, they come up with a concept that makes even the most jaded Hobbyist stand up and take notice. For 2009 Updates & Highlights, Topps may have come up with such an insert.

'09 TU&H will feature a 30-card insert set done in the style of World War II-era propaganda posters (think "Rosie the Riveter," and "Loose Lips Sink Ships" kind of stuff). The posters are the work of Boston-area artist Chris Speakman -- a self-described "Lifelong lover of sports with a passion for history." I describe his work as completely original and kick-ass.
Speakman's been producing his propaganda posters for years now, and most of his work has a definite Red Sox flavor to it. However, he's begun to branch out into the other MLB teams as well.
Check out his website at sportspropaganda.com


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stale Gum Places Lap Top on DL.

BARRINGTON N.J. -- Stale Gum has placed Lap Top on the 15-day Disabled List with a broken left hinge, an injury that has been bothering it the last few days. The injury is not blog-threatening, and Top hopes to be back in action in about two to three weeks.

Stale Gum manager Chris Harris noticed last Saturday a small protusion coming from the lower-left corner of Top's LCD screen, but kept him in the game. It wasn't until he attempted to shut Lap Top down for the evening did he notice something.

"I was posting to YouTube the first part of my 2009 Topps Magic Football video break, when I tried to shut down for the evening. But the screen was stuck," said Harris. "I knew it was bad, and that's when I called the Geek Squad."

To replace Top, Harris said he will continue to update his blog by driving to his parent's house and using their computer; but warns his fans on to expect too much original content for the next few days.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The cardblogosphere continues to amaze.

I want to give the cardblogosphere, and the rest of the alternative Hobby media, a great big pat on the back.

Not only has a cardblogger already cracked the 2009 Allen & Ginter code, but minutes later Wax Heaven scooped everyone.

At the time of this posting, no other Hobby media outlet has published this news. Great job.

On-Location Box Break: 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter (Part Four)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

UD's MJ Fail.


Directly from the press release...

“Michael Jackson was a unique entertainer whose performances routinely exceeded expectations as he continually tested the boundaries with his music and dance,” said Jason Masherah, Upper Deck’s director of Sports Brands. “After witnessing the outpouring of love at his memorial, we knew the public would appreciate this commemorative collection to celebrate his larger-than-life persona. Both sport and music fans alike will no doubt reminisce about the memorable halftime performance.”


So naturally, the death of Michael Jackson calls for a set of gimmicked inserts in a baseball card set no one cares about; stamped with the logo of another baseball card set no one cares about; commemorating an event that happened at a football game; and to add a little extra to the creep factor, it's in a product marketed to "The youth baseball fan."

Look at that last clause again: Michael "Jesus Juice" Jackson is in a baseball card set MADE FOR KIDS!

Great job Upper Deck!

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