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Monday, October 22, 2007

Review - 2007 Turkey Red

The fact that it took me over a month to finally write a review for '07 Turkey Red should immediately give you an idea of what I think about the set. This relic card of Daryle Ward kind of sums up my feelings toward the set. The design is well done, and it's a little refreshing after two years of the original gray borders. The computer enhanced photos are done reasonably well and look good. This card is a bat relic, which is nice to get. The question is, do we really need this card? Just like the rationale for a relic card from a journeyman pinch hitting specialist is somewhat dubious at best, I just don't see why we needed another series of Turkey Red.

Anyone who has paid attention to this blog for any period of time knows I am a slobbering irrational fanboy when it comes to retro style cards. I pretty much love 'em all, from Heritage to Archives to Vintage to all the sets ripping off designs from 80 to 120 years ago. I like the old reprint sets, Upper Deck Heroes of Baseball, Ted Williams company cards, and the black & white Conlon collection. Anything vintage looking, or including old timers (like the ol' perfesser up there) in the checklist is usually something I like. Hell, I even love 2006 Bowman Heritage which is probably the ugliest, most screwed up set of the century. I'm not saying I don't like these cards, it's just I don't see a purpose to them. There are also a lot of details I don't like that will probably prevent me from seriously attempting collect a set.

I'll start off with what I do like about the set before I get into the criticisms. The very first thing I noticed when I opened my first pack was how much better the card stock quality was. I thought they had given up on that weird reverse pebbled texture on the cards until I took a really close look at them. I don't know what they did, but this set does not have the strange plastic pock marked feel as the '06 variety. it's a big improvement and the cards look and feel much better now. The next ting I noticed was the Dick Perez paintings. Dick has caught a lot of flack this year from collectors who don't like his artwork and just don't like paintings on cards at all. I personally think they are brilliant, I love art cards. Perez is best known for his work on Diamond Kings, but these are less stylized than the Diamond Kings and his sketches for Allen & Ginter, and are more reminiscent of his work on the old Donruss Hall of Fame sets from the early 80's. Perez definitely studied the original T3s for inspiration, but adds his own personal style to them. Like the sketches for A&G (which are pretty dang impressive considering the canvas) there are great looking ones and a few clunkers. Yes, the Jeter card looks more like Jim Thome. The Dice-K rookie card looks awful, as Matsuzaka's face looks a bit like a constipated rodent. When you paint a few dozen portraits not all of them will be perfect. Overall they are exremely well done however. The colors are bright and bold and the detail is fantastic. I've posted three of my favorites up above. Big Papi's card looks great with all the details in the grandstands. Griffey Junior is apparently playing in a Roman Coluseum. Verlander's portrait is a little odd looking, but check out the detail in the advertisements! Chew Beeman's Pepsin gum!

The regular base cards look just as good as last year's set. Whatever algorythm the Topps code monkeys put the original photos through give them a good old timey feel although they can be a little dark. Topps also manipulated the backgrounds as they did with the football and basketball sets. Tim Hudson is apparently pitching at Elysian Fields. So the cards look great, so what's the beef? The first complaint I have is about the 'chrome' parallels. They are admittedly an improvement on the red/white/black/gold parallels from the earlier sets. That color scheme wouldn't have worked anyway, Topps would have had to swipe an idea from an old Gallery set and change the picture frames instead. Still, the Chrome just looks really awful to me on these cards. The regular chrome dull the vibrant colors on the Perez paintings and the refractors obscure them altogether. They don't look like chrome cards to me at all, there is no outline on any of the players and they end up looking like a generic foil card. Sure, most normal people love Chrome to death and numbered parallels are popular. I just don't like them.

I'm more interested in the base cards and I'd rather pull an SP than a Chrome. Problem is, when the set first came out I bought 8 packs at the local hobby shop. I had some ridiculous luck and pulled 4 Chrome and 2 refractors out of those 8 packs. Six Chrome in 8 packs! Great for chrome collectors, but I don't collect it. I've bought about a dozen more packs here and there and I've still not pulled a single SP card. I have pulled three variations, so I'm not completely striking out, but this is a pretty tough pill to swallow for a set collector. One in four packs. That ratio right there is the hit rate for short prints, and it's the reason why I won't be trying to complete this set. I can understand a 1:4 ratio for short prints. it does give a little challenge to the collector. I do not understand a 200 card set having one quarter of the cards short printed however. To complete a set you'd have to open about 8 or 9 boxes with great collation, or more likely a case. Meanwhile you'd have about 10 base sets to every 1 short print set. That's a whole lot of doubles folks.

So with this set, Topps has made it completely impractical to open packs and make a set. So why open packs at all? There's some seriously bad timing for Topps here as well. A lot of people like mee who would normally drool over this set are suffering from Allen & Ginter and Goudey burnout. I have a couple of dozen cards to chase for the A&G set (everyone who e-mailed me, I'll get back to you this week, I swear) And I have less than 10 base cards to find for Goudey and then I can start chasing the short prints in earnest. Why should I deal with yet another set full of impossible short prints right now? Maybe in January when there's nothing else to do, but by then who cares. The insert sets are pretty lame as well. Every time I pull an A-Rod bullshit waste of space in a retro set, I get a migraine. The cabinet cards are nice, but I'm not buying hobby boxes of this stuff so I can't find them easily. Why not insert them as a bonus in blaster boxes? Upper Deck does it with their Beehive hockey set. Finally, is anyone else as completely sick of goddamn Presidents as I am? I'm sick of old Presidents, I'm sick of the current President and I'm completely sick of all the potential Presidents. Give us a set of Vice Presidents or Speakers of the House or Chief Justices or American Idol runners up, I don't care. Jut no more freaking presidents. And try to make the set not so butt-ugly. Who wants to see a fat Cleveland or constipated McKinley when they open a pack of cards. Time to retire this set, I hope now that the sale has gone through they can work on something better for next year.


Anonymous said...

Very well written review. I totally agree with you on the chromes, they are horrible.

Its the first time in a long time where I hope every pack I open only has base, SP or variations in it. Someone else can have the chromes, refractors, relics ect.

Anonymous said...

I'm a set builder as well. I agree that there are to many SPs. I don't mind the relics or autos but the chromes/refractors do seem odd. I have to look at the serial number to tell the difference as well.

I wouldn't mind seeing this set next year but I also wouldn't mind seeing some fixes.

Bring on Updates and Hightlights!

dayf said...

Yeah, I think a there's a lot of people just hanging around for Topps series three... Over on A Pack A Day we're all busting el cheapo repack boxes from Target and Toys R Us 'cause we're so bored with what's out now.