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Friday, February 29, 2008

2008 Heritage Box Break - Part 2: Packs 5-9

Pack 5:
271 Andy Phillips
251 Alex Gonzalez
203 So Taguchi
478 Jason Bay
294 Jay Payton
291 Pitching Partners
BF7 Brooks Robinson Flashbacks
350 black Jimmy Rollins

The first thing that struck me from this pack: Alex Gonzalez played for the Reds?? I can't see him in anything but Marlins teal and the red uniform with matching red border threw me. Then I saw So Taguchi in a Phillies cap and the mind blowing was complete. Jason Bay's #478 in the middle of the pack blew my all high numbers theory for short prints. I got my first legit insert card, a Brooks Robinson Flashbacks.Not a big fan of the design, it's just different enough from the base cards to look off. The Nationals' Pitching Partners card amuses me. The way they are standing together (or are photoshopped together) makes it look like they are taking one last look around the dugout to make sure no one's there before making out. When this break is done I might have to go back through the set and see what players are on the original cards these combos are patterned after. The unneccesary computer photo manipulation is heavy in this pack but J-Roll's photo looks good. I wish the whole set were like that.

Set Completion - 7.4%

Pack 6:
375 Baseball Thrills Man-Ram
287 Matt Kemp
319 AJ Burnett
139 Jeff Ridgway
405 Dave Bush
198 Jerry Owens
NF9 News Flashbacks In Cold Blood
360 black Magglio Ordonez

First Jack the Ripper, now shotgun murders. I'll get my game used Zodiac card yet! I'm not crazy about this news Flashback set. I'm not really interested in a card of a farmhouse. The exception though is the card of Luna 2. Look for it on eBay. Coolest card in the entire set. The photography is much better in this pack with the exception of Jerry Owens. Maggs looks like his picture was taken at the same golf course as Griffey's Trading Card History card. The Manny Ramirez card is killer, check out that swing.

Set Completion - 8.8%

Pack 7:
244 Carlos Pena
26 Fausto Carmona
257 Jarrod Washburn
163 Brad Ausmus
362 Clint Sammons RC
90 Hideki Matsui
496 Victor Martinez All-Star SP
178 black Adam Lind

If I see one more - just one more - Mariners card with that same brick wall background I'm going to scream. I got my first Brave in this pack, rookie catcher Clint Sammons. For some reason Clint didn't get the fancy rookie subset treatment, but gets a cool black border as a consolation prize. Clint was signing at the Braves Fan Fest that I went to but never got around to posting about. Maybe someday... Not a bad pack, got a short printed all star card, the out-of-nowhere Carlos Pena and the man with the cool name, Fausto Carmona. I'll be watching him closely this year to see if that overworked arm can keep from falling off. I'm starting to think that the cartoons are actually new ones done in the style of the '59 cards, as there's no way the one with a Japanese guy? girl? bowing to the baseball player on Matsui's card was used in the original set.

Set Completion - 10.4%

Pack 8:
208 Daisuke Matsuzaka
146 Joey Votto RC
249 Jonathan Papelbon
48 Orioles Checklist 40-95
312 Tom Glavine
401 Chad Gaudin
196 Jose Valverde
58 Paul LoDuca

Ah. The natural order of things has been restored. Another black border though. My '59 Braves team set has mostly yellow borders with a few blues and greens sprinkled through. There's also one pink border, but no black. I wonder how much thought was put into the choice of border color for this set, I'm seeing a lot of team color borders for star cards like the Dice-K Red border, the Jason Bay yellow border and the Orioles team card has the obvious orange border. There's also been some hideous ones like, well all of the pink borders come to think of it. I haven't spied any cartoons I recognize from the original set, but I caught my first duplicate cartoon in this set. Joey Votto has the same burly guy making contact with a pitch with a bizarre POK! sound as Adam Lind does on the back of his card. I've come to a solid decision on the black back cards. If they have a good player on them, they're great. If you get a stink bomb like in this one, they suck. It seems like every blogger ripping packs has been pulling LoDuca cards like mad lately and I'm sick and tired of them. I'm pulling for Estrada to win the Nationals job just so I don't have to pull any more Lo Dookie inserts.

Set Completion - 12%

Pack 9:
202 Nick Swisher
278 Delwyn Young
279 Kurt Suzuki
314 Mark Kotsay
218 Rafael Soriano
34 Pitchers Beware
471 Jose Bautista SP
81 black Torii Hunter

Pitchers should beware the entire Tigers' lineup, not just Maggs and Granderson. Of the two transplanted A's outfielders Nick Swisher is airbrushed into a Sox cap and Mark Kotsay still has an A's logo. grrrr. He doesn't even get a "Traded to Braves" blurb on the back like the "optioned" variation found on some '59 cards. Topps didn't however airbrush out the generic western rocks seen in the background of Kostay and Suzuki's cards. I did get the Braves' closer though, aka BMF. I'm not sure if Bautista is a short print or not. I'm so confused! I mentioned the Torii Hunter card in my fist post on Heritage. This is actually a pretty funny picture of Torii, but compared to the A&G card it's lame by comparison. Add the airbrushed Angels uni (but not for Kotsay, grrrr) and it earns the Caddyshack 2 moniker. I calls 'em like I sees 'em.

Set Completion - 13.6%

The box so far:
68 base cards (common, black back & SP's)
8 black backs
4 Short prints
1 Chrome
1 Flashback
1 News Flashback
1 Buyback

Heritage Short Prints

Complete list on Beckett, along with the 110 black back cards. Too tired tonight to do my normal copypasta for future reference, maybe sometime this weekend.


Braves and Dodgers on ESPN


1 pm Eastern, 10am pacific, get ready to watch some baseball!!!

Dave O'Brien will likely be live blogging from the park and here's the Dodgers' starting lineup if you're interested. A gallery of pictures from yesterday's game where Matt DeSalvo apparently got torched can get you warmed up for today's match. I'm getting ready to watch right now, although I'll be watching the later innings on tape delay. Who else but me could possibly schedule a dentist's appointment the same time as the first Braves game of the year? D'oh!

Trading Mania - Trade with Jeff from Jersey

A couple of weeks ago I got an e-mail with the simple yet effective subject "trade???". It was from a guy in New Jersey named Jeff who had an offer I couldn't refuse - a pile o' Braves in exchange for a pile o' Mets. Jeff is a Mets fan (it can happen to the best of us) and he's also a writer for The Trentonian. (editor's note - the front page for 2/28/08 is absolutely insanely incredible, but be careful who's around when you click it - consider this a warning) The motivation was simple - he can get a bunch of cards from his favorite team and a column out of the deal. It sounded great to me, I'll take any Braves cards I can get my hands on. Getting rid of some Mets in the doubles pile was a happy bonus. I accepted the deal and went scrounging for some New Yorkers to unload.

I got a nice big pile of Metropolitans together and was about to start packing them when I received Jeff's package. I opened it up and was pleasantly surprised. You know that movie? The one with Keanu Reeves? The one where he says "whoa"? Well that's what I did. I said "WHOA." Some nice stuff in that package, stuff I didn't expect as you will soon see. I sweetened the pot a little bit, packed them up and sent them off. The heated Braves - Mets rivalry compelled me to make sure my package was every bit as good as his. As long as some card collecting Philly fan doesn't one-up the both of us, we should be good on this deal.

Jeff sent a pile of Braves loose in a bubble mailer. In the spirit of true collecting, he made sure the cards arrived safely with no plastic surrounding them. Jefferson Burdick didn't need top loaders and by God, neither did Jeff! I myself am far too neurotic for such idealism and while I respected his wishes for no fancy Ultra Pro supplies, I figured some snack-size ziploc bags would be acceptable. I'm pretty sure I got unused ones. If not, I think Jeff enjoyed any leftovers he received. He didn't complain at any rate. An article in The Trentonian with Jeff's reaction to my side of the trade is now online. Here are my choices for the top 20 cards out of the lot I received from Jeff.

#21 1991 Score Deion Sanders

This list was supposed to be only 20 cards, but why not give Deion #21. This card is from 1991, the same year I witnessed Deion run back a touchdown in a game against the Seahawks. I was watching from the nosebleeds and someone got an interception and lateraled it to Prime Time. All of a sudden it was like Jesus playing Tecmo Bowl. Deion completely schooled everyone on the Seahawks organization, from the general manager down to the waterboy and waltzed into the end zone. Easily one of the top five most amazing sports-type things I've seen in person.

#20 2007 Bowman Chrome Kala Kaaihue

Setting aside the awesome name, Kala is a pretty solid first base prospect that might end up a fallback option for the Bravos if Teixieira ends up signing with the Yankees for 87 zillion dollars this offseason. The name is pretty frickin' sweet though.

#19 1999 Bowman John Smoltz

Check out the "Now and Then" pics on the back of this card. Oh my God. Whatever happened to that Babyfaced Johnny we traded Doyle Alexander for? And just think how much more grizzled Smoltzie has gotten since then.

#18 1989 Fleer "Double Trouble"

Perry and Galarraga - a current and future Brave from 1989.Gerald Perry was actually a pretty good player, he just had the misfortune of playing for the Bravos during the Dreadful Times. Andres only played here a couple of years, but Atlanta fans still love the Big Cat.

#17 Richard Petty

I'm not a big NASCAR fan and I have no earthly idea what set this is from (1992 M.P.A.?? or something) but this card rocks hard.

#16 2005 Topps Fan Favorites Sid Bream

Sid Bream 1992. How sweet it is. I'll never forget the home crowd chanting "Sid!" over and over at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. I'll also never figure out how they managed to pronounce the word Sid using three syllables. A nice quirk of these Archive/Fan Favorite sets is the photo often doesn't match the period of time of the card design. There's quite obviously a Florida Marlin in the background of what is supposed to be a 1992 card there.

#15 1990 Upper Deck Dale Murphy

1990 is the last year Dale Murphy cards were produced. Anything after that just doesn't count.

#14 1991 Score Dave Justice

And now Murphy's replacement. It's hard to replace a Legend, but Dave sure did. It does put some perspective on the state of the Braves going into the 1991 season when a rookie is declared "The Franchise".

#13 1997 Bowman Tom Glavine

Great photos of Tommy like this one almost make me forget that little bit of unpleasantness that occurred from 2003-2007. Almost.

#12 2005 Topps Gallery Andruw Jones

This is a parallel card from the '05 Gallery set, but I don't remember what it was called. Mostly because I just flat out couldn't find any Gallery from that year. I think Topps turned it into a super premium product or something and knocked it out of my price range. A shame because it was usually one of my favorite Topps sets.

#11 2005 Upper Deck Classics Eddie Mathews

How did one franchise get blessed with both Eddie and Chipper at the Hot Corner? Insanity. Boxes of this stuff are dirt cheap and I still haven't figured out why I haven't picked one up yet.

#10 1991 Upper Deck Rookie Force Checklist

This card shows the Falcons' draft class of 1991. They kept Bruce Pickens, Moe Gardner, Mike Pritchard and Erric Pegram and let that other guy sitting down go. If you'll excuse me I need to be sick just a little bit. I didn't send Jeff any football cards because I wasn't exactly sure which team he rooted for. I didn't want to send a bunch of Giants cards to a Jets fan - or worse, an Eagles fan. My in-laws live in Long Island and I know damn well not to get favorite teams mixed up.

#9 2000 Chipper Jones Topps Finest

Chipper Jones - MVP. And don't you forget it.

#8 2008 Upper Deck SP Rookie Edition Jeff Francoeur

Classic Frenchy with smeared eye black and his trademark focused batting grimace. SP Rookie Edition was one of those Upper Deck sets I might have collected, but I just couldn't justify dropping 5-6 bucks a shot on an 8 card pack. Not with Allen & Ginter and Goudey both on the shelves at the same time.

#7 1983 Donruss Action All-Stars Phil Niekro

My favorite player from my favorite 80's oddball set.

#6 2004 Topps Chrome Greg Maddux Refractor

Ok, now we're getting into the serious cards. This card is a little piece of perfect. The greatest pitcher of his generation (sorry Roger, ya blew it) in the awesome '74 throwback unis on a shiny Chrome refractor card. Plus the photo shows the pitch as it was just released, the ball just hanging in midair. I'm starting to seriously rethink making this card #6 on the list.

#5 2006 Bowman Heritage Chipper Jones Jersey

2006 Bowman Heritage was a complete flustercluck of a set what with the phantom white parallels and purposely atrocious design, but I still like it for some crazy reason. Topps really nailed the feel of that set in many ways and this picture of Chipper would fit in perfectly in the middle of the original 1949 set. Well, except for maybe the A on the cap that is. This card gets bonus points for actually having a piece of a jersey in a card that says "Authentic Game-Worn Jersey". People familiar with this set know what I'm talking about.

#4 2007 Bowman Heritage Greg Alan Maddux Bat

Ahh, Greg Maddux batting. Chicks dig the longball. The 2007 edition of Bowman Heritage is heads and shoulders above the '06 version, but they screwed up one little thing. You see, the Bowman Heritage logo looks like a little guy batting inside a star with "Heritage" next to it. It has looked like a little guy swinging a bat inside a star since they first used it in 2001. However, when Topps decided to put a king sized version of the logo on the relic cards and use the little guy's silhouette for the relic window, they had to smooth out the edges on him or there would be no way to create a die cut that wouldn't result in little bits falling off the card when you actually pulled it from a pack. So now instead of a little guy swinging a bat, the logo looks like the piece of Greg's bat is flipping him off. And NOBODY flips off Greg Alan Maddux if I have anything to say about it. I shall now be forced to travel to Duryea, PA and soundly thrash those responsible for this travesty. The crew at the Topps design team need a refresher lesson in negative space.

#3 2007 Turkey Red Chipper Jones Chrome Refractor

I am on record in stating that I do not like 2007 Turkey Red. I have also stated much more loudly that I really don't like the Chrome cards in Turkey Red. However, any combination of Chipper Jones and refractor is a win in my book.

#2 2007 Bowman Brian McCann Orange parallel

I really, really like McCann, especially since he is locked up through at least 2012.I also really, really like this card and not just because it's numbered to 250. I think it's the way the day-glo orange horribly clashes with the red border.

#1 2005 Topps Chrome Andruw Jones Red Xfractor

My first reaction to this card was simply, wooooooo shiny! Later on I flipped it over , saw the 20/25 serial number and about choked. What is it with people sending me unsolicited cards numbered to 25? Not that I'm complaining mind you, keep 'em coming! Seeing numbers that low gives me the willies though since I still remember when any serial number under 100 was a huge deal. Heck, I remember when a card numbered to 10,000 was the height of scarcity. I'm old. You'd think I would have gotten over low serial number shock after several years of Donruss and their Parallelapalooza.

Nice haul from Jersey Jeff! Those Met fans aren't bad guys after all, even if they do root for the wrong team. I'm really looking forward to seeing how Jeff likes his pile o' cards.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The 792: Gallery 433-450

Here's some '80s cards to refresh your palate for the next wave of 1959 knockoffs. So what is this? Why it ain't nothin' but the 792! I actually mostly have all these images too, imagine that.

433. Ed Hearn, 1987 (RC)
434. Harold Baines, 1984
435. Robin Yount, 1982
436. Andy Allanson, 1987 (RC)
437. Andy Benes #1 Draft Pick, 1989 (RC)
438. Joe Torre, 1985 (MGR)
439. Dave Righetti, 1982 (RC)
440. Steve Bedrosian, 1988
441. Whitey Herzog, 1986 (MGR)
442. Tom Bolton, 1988 (RC)
443. Bill Buckner, 1986
444. Cal Ripken, Sr., 1988 (MGR)
445. Mark Fidrych, 1980
446. Chuck Finley, 1987 (RC)
447. Tom Brunansky, 1984
448. Darrell Porter In Action, 1982
449. Pat Dodson, 1987 (RC)
450. Barry Bonds, 1988

More up whenever I get to it!
1-18 19-36 37-54 55-72 73-90 91-108 109-126 127-144 145-162
163-180 181-198 199-216 217-234 235-252 253-270 271-288 289-306
307-324 325-342 343-360 361-378 379-396 397-414 415-432 433-450
451-468 469-486 487-504 505-522 523-540 541-558 559-576 577-594
595-612 613-630 631-648 649-666 667-684 685-702 703-720 721-738
739-756 757-774 775-792