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I didn't kick this off with the 2006 Edition of A&G because a) I wasn't card blogging back then and b) I couldn't find a hobby box to save my soul. If anyone happens to have a spare empty box of 2006 Allen & Ginter lying around I'll be happy to over-analyze it for you in blog format if you wish.
The 2011 Edition has arrived! Time to rip open the box and spill its pulpy guts for all to see! But first... you know what I have to do. Oh yes you do, don't act like you didn't see this coming. First...
Yes you have to put up with me describing all the packing materials for the product before you get to see any cards. And don't try to cheat and just scroll down to the bottom! This blog will know and instead of my box topper you'll see that Italian Spiderman gif again. SO NO PEEKING. Got it? good. Here's the box top.
I must begin by saying that I really like the Ginter nameplate this year. The red, black and gold color scheme is pleasing to my quickly deteriorating eyeballs. I also like the fact that Topps returned to a frame motif on the front. Last year's edition had full bleed borders which was unseemly for a retro product like this. The gilded frame encloses another generic scene of pastoral nineteenth century baseball life. I hazard a guess that the location is Elysian Fields, as the player looks a lot like a mob enforcer from Jersey. Dude's wielding that bat like he's swinging for kneecaps, not curveballs.
Just like last year the inside of the box is just a slight reordering of all the elements on the front to orient it horizontally. The Black Ribbon of Mojo heralding all the things you could have gotten in your box instead of three common relic cards is exactly the same on the front and back with the exception that the right side of the ribbon now wraps behind the frame. Topps chose two autographs of Manny Pacquiao and Ryan Howard and a DNA card of JFK for their sample cards. The three sample mini cards are also the same as the ones on the front. Topps has done this the past two years and it saddens me greatly. I want to see all kinds of mini cards not just two scribbles and a pube. Way back in 2007 and 2008, Topps actually put base minis as the samples on the box. Of course back then they had Bruce Lee and a guy who ate hot dogs quickly as their featured non-baseball subjects.
An extremely disturbing aspect of the inside flap is that the "World's Champions 1887-2011" text has moved, meaning there is now an unencumbered view of bat-wielding creepy guy's package. I just flat out didn't want to know if this guy was wearing a cup or not and it's impossible to avoid finding out if you try to see what hits you won't be getting in your box on the Black Ribbon if Mojo. "Yo buddy! What are YOU looking at??"
Look at that shifty-ass motherscrubber. That man will cut you for a box of Cracker Jack. HE DON'T EVEN LIKE CRACKER JACK. He's a Twizzlers man. A Twizzlers man with a KNIFE. Don't look at his junk.
Let's move on to the side panels before I need stitches.The side panel is the 2011 Ginter nameplate. No more, no less. Very classy looking and I wish I hadn't scanned it cockeyed now.
The front panel is much the same with an added old timey map of the world on the side. The Old Planter security seal betrays the fact that I had this entire box ripped before it came anywhere near a scanner.
The back panel replaces the map with a picture of a ship. The two pictures probably represent the new standard-sized insert sets of famous scientists and ships.
The box bottom is horribly boring now that the grouping within the relic and auto cards have been abolished. Other than the standard legalese, the only important information on the bottom is the odds on box toppers. The short version - Cabinet 1:2 boxes, N43 1:2 boxes, everything else fugettaboutit.
Not even going to make this image super sized it's that boring.
Oh, look. A serial number underneath the packs. I shall scan it and post it, for I am insane.
Umm... Box bottoms don't scan very well. The serial used to be on the cardboard insert thing that kept the packs from shuffling around but it's actually printed on the box itself this time.This shall be tricky...
Ha ha! I unfolded the box!
*Ahem* Oh, look. A serial number underneath the packs. I shall scan it and post it, for I am insane. The highest serial number yet! Although last year wasn't really a number since there were random letters floating around in there.
Checklists! I love checklists! Other people have already scanned the checklists, but I did it anyway BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT I DO. I shall recount in this post my initial thoughts upon scanning the checklist.
Lou Holtz... Hope Solo...Dirk Hayhurst? How good would our bullpen look with Tim Collins...CHIPPAH Shmyrev? Uggs... L.L. Zamenhof, don't know who that is but I want it. Prado... Jair... Tim Howard! George Bush? Brandon Beachy RC! Hanson... Freddie Freeman RC! Guy Fieri? Damn, I want a blue shroom burger from the Vortex now...Picabo! RUDY
Good lord, how did I eff up this scan so badly. WHAT'S DONE IS DONE. Back to stream of consciousness reactions.
MAC! Itchy... Minor...Huddy... Smilin' Stan?! Oh Lord, the royal wedding...DLowe...Peter Gammons! Oh crap SPs - HEYWARD. FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU oh inserts. Sketches - J-Hey! Yay! Flora of the World - gimmicky crap Animals in Peril - oooh Zappa lyrics imminent -
Kiss my aura, Dora
That's right -
you know why?
Because it was real angora!
Would you all like some more-a?
Right here on the flora?
How about you Fauna?
Ok back to inserts - Portraits of Penultimacy - how the hell are Igor and Tonto penultimate? Hometown Heroes - J-HEY! Uggs, CHIPPAH! DLowe. To be continued...
Heroes - McCANN! and not much else. Looking for five cards out of a hundred. World's Most Mysterious Figures - any set with Rasputin in it is good enough for me. I hope it's not a case hit or something. Step Right Up - The Human Blockhead: a card about me!! Uninvited Guests - ME GHOSTA. Floating Fortresses - Ships are nice but one's enough for me. The Minds That Made The Future - NERDGASM. MUST. CAPTURE. ALL. SCIENTISTS. and bend them to my will muahahahha The Ascent of Man - SCIENCE! Suck it, creationists. Keep your stickers out of my textbooks
Aw hell, Autograph cards - J-HEY! John McEnroe? Wee Man?? Gore & Olbermann??? W???? ANDRES TORRES????????????
Ok last page of checklists. HOLY CRISPY FISHSTICKS THERE'S A FRIGGING CRAPLOAD OF RELICS. Five freaking Braves relics. great. DNA Relics - must clone nixon Cut sigs - who cares.
TOPPS - Y U NO CHECKLIST BOXTOPPERS
Never tell me the odds - You can see all this crap at Baseballcardpedia. My eyes can't handle the squinty any more.
One bit of commentary though - Why is a card meant to be buried in the dirt inserted at a 1 in 6 boxes ratio? Seriously, why, Topps, why??
The wrapper is interesting this year. Topps has traditionally gone with light, bright, airy colors for their Allen & Ginter wrappers in the past. This one is Dark. I can understand the use of the bronze background as that color is an important design element this year. The Black Death Bar at the bottom and the featured inclusion of Shifty McStabsalot wielding a war club is frightening though. buy this pack if you ever want to see your loved ones again Maybe Shifty is actually a jolly scamp and we'll all grow to love his antics soon.
Ok, you've read all this crap about the wrapper diligently here's the Box Topper Payoff. You good, sweet, attentive readers can skip the next little bit meant for the quick scrollers.
GET BACK UP THERE AND LOOK AT THE PACKAGING OR NO BOX TOPPER FOR YOU
All right cheater. Did you look at the wrappers? ALL the wrappers? You did? good. Here's a pop quiz before I show off my box topper.
1) What player is Dayf constantly flipping his shit over?
a) George Brett
b) Jason Heyward
c) Kristi Yamaguchi
d) Silky Johnson
2) What album cover does Shifty McStabsalot's junk resemble?
a) The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
b) David Bowie - Diamond Dogs
c) Nirvana - Nevermind
d) Ken - By Request Only
3) How the hell did Dayf screw up the scan of that checklist?
a) He has two checklists and one moved during the scanning process
b) A tragic cut and paste mishap
c) He's an idiot who should not be allowed near electronic equipment under any circumstances
d) That's actually how the checklist looks
4) Are the newfangled bronze wrappers still made of the super sexy sleek silky material that drive all the men wild?
b) Hell yes.
c) mmmmmm oooooooh yes yes YES.
d) go away, 'batin
EXTRA CREDIT - Create a backstory for our beloved 2011 Ginter mascot, Shifty McStabsalot.
If you got this far, you passed. Here's mah boxtoppah.
N43s make a comeback after two straight years of cabinet cards! The place where I used to find boxtoppers for fifty cents a throw changed ownership so collecting this year's set will be pricey for me. Here's the checklist:
And it's a terrible checklist. It's odd not seeing Ryan Zimmerman in every N43 set anymore. It's also odd that after one of the best rookie crops in forever, that Aroldis Chapman is the one 2010 rookie to get an N43. Yeah this checklist sucks. I'll trade mine for David Price and call it a year. Oh who did I get? You couldn't tell from the card 'number'?
Adam Wainright and his balky elbow. Oh well, I guess it's the closest thing to a Brave in the set. DON'T YOU EVEN SAY IT.
Packaging and bonus card obsessory is complete! Time for...
THE FIRST PACK
119 Nancy Lopez
Dominated the LPGA like Tiger dominated the PGA. BONUS: no skank scandals! I'm digging the AG logo used for the non-baseball subjects.
206 Tsuyoshi Nishioka
Rookie card of another snake-bitten Japanese import. A broken leg is a hell of a way to start your career.
101 Peter Bourjos
Notable only because his recent injury prompted the call up of blue chip prospect Mike Trout.
140 Felix Hernandez
Winning a Cy Young with a 13-12 record - it's good to be da king.
63 Neil Walker
The Pirates have a winning record? What??
158 Billy Butler
Base card in the SP slot means great sadness.
271 Chris Young mini A&G back
There's a buttpile of mini inserts again this year so the A&Gs might be easier to find than the base minis again this year. The shape behind Old Planter is kind of nifty this year. It resembles to me a depiction of a slice of hallucinogenic ergot-tainted rye bread in a German Expressionist woodcut. You don't care about the art, you care about one thing...
THE FRANKENSET RETURNS
Did Chris Young make it into the Frankenset?
NO - Chris was blocked by a 2006 mini of Hall of Famer Lloyd Waner.
HH100 Travis Snider Hometown Heroes
Whoever designs the A&G set has to be a Font Nerd because the fonts this year are fantastic. I really like the map with the little toothpick flag you get with a sandwich at a diner pushed in.
Well, the first pack was probably the most utterly boring out of the entire box. The next three make up for it though.