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%)


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

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

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!


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.


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%)

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.

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


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.


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.


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%)

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

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...


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
48 Bowman Prospects (110 cards, two-per-pack)

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

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

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

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

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


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

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



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