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Saturday, January 31, 2009

One for Mario

This is the first Andrew Miller card I've even seen in the wild in about three months, let alone one he doesn't already have. I'm tempted to overnight it to him just so some joker doesn't send him one first. Maybe I should drive it down?

2009 Topps In Hand

Got eight packs at the Target on Barrett highway in Kennesaw. Give me a few minutes and I'll have the scans uploaded.

256 Reggie Abercrombie
Ok, the very first card of 2009 is pretty unambiguously awesome.

170 CC Sabathia

Send to Thorzul. Send directly to Thorzul. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

192 Collin Balester

Since this is a nobody it's a good time to show off the back. Pretty good design, if you ask me. Up on the top left corner there is a factoid or like this one, "6 Degrees of Mickey Mantle" with the answers hugging the top curve. Pretty neat use of that space!

66 Dustin Pedroia 2008 AL MVP

2008's version of Phil Rizzuto.

266 Todd Wellemayer

When it comes to Todd, I am Sgt. Schultz. I know nothing, I KNOW NOTHING... Purdy photo though!

220 Jay Bruce gold parallel #0772/2009

Rookie Cup!

TTT7 Hanley Ramirez Topps Town

Thank GOD they made these things more than a waste of cardboard. I might actually sign up for the stupid thing now.

Topps Attax code

Man, I can't wait for this stuff. Anybody want to see me do a case break? I wouldn't actually give you any of the cards, you'd just send me the money and I'd bust the case.

271 Cliff Lee 2008 AL Cy Young

2008's version of... um nobody. I don't think anyone ever quite did what he did.

315 Hiroki Kuroda

Here's one for Night Owl up in the snow.

19 Edgar Gonzalez

Chevron cars! grcl sent me a few cards with those ads in the background but I never got around to posting them. Thanks grcl!

216 Joe Maddon

played at Lafayette College, alma mater of Jeff Mutis who played with Charlie Hough who played with Al Downing who played with Mickey Mantle who was in That Touch of Mink with Yvonne Peattie who was in The Big Picture with Kevin Bacon.

247 Yuniesky Betancourt

You know, the photos look a whole lot better this year now that everyone is not ducking to avoid a bump in the ceiling. Man, I'm so glad 2008 is over and I can go back to liking Topps' base set again.

Seven more packs to go!

Complete Set!!!

Woooooo! That Lord of the Rings box actually had a complete set in it! Literally the last two cards in the last pack were the ones I needed. I ripped it open looking for #68 and #44 and there they were. THE LAST TWO CARDS POSSIBLE. It was the trading card equivalent of Chipper Jones hitting a walk-off home run for the Braves in game 7 of the World Series against the 1927 Zombie Yankees and then circling the bases and beating Osama Bin Laden to death in the on-deck circle with the bat he hit the homer with and then immediately hopping into the stands getting down on his knees and proposing to Britney Spears who says yes and they kiss on the kiss cam after the cameraman showed two fat guys in Mets caps who refused to play along and everyone went booo but then Chipper and Britney kissed and everyone went awwww fireworks went off and they get married by Hank Aaron right on home plate and Bud Selig gives Chipper the Championship trophy as a wedding gift and Britney finally straightens her life out and joins the PTA and they have a bunch of kids who fight crime and cure cancer while playing in a rock group. It was exactly like that.

Here's my favorite card from each subset in celebration of this momentous occasion.

Cards 2-12 Portraits

Artist John Alvin painted this smokin' hot portrait of Eowyn. Sexay and she'll kick your ass. Faramir is a lucky dude.

Cards 13-36 Paintings

RAAAAR. DRAGON EAT FRODO. Lord of the Rings production artist John Howe painted this fierce beastie menacing poor little Frodo.

Cards 37-45 Costume Designs

I don't care a flip about the costume sketches, but Good Lord, LOOK AT THOSE BIG FEETS

Cards 46-64 EA Paintings

I think these are all pics from the videogame. They were ok, but not spectacular. I liked Arwen sneakin' through the woods on theback of this card best.

Cards 65-72 Caricatures


Cards 73-81 New Visions - Chiarello

Mark Chiarello is one of my favorite artists. It was tough picking a favorite, the card of Gandalf staring down the Balrog up at the top of the post was also by him. There was a cool Gollum card I didn't even scan because I didn't want this to become the all-Mark Chiarello post. I finally chose this painting of Saruman because Christopher Lee kicks major ass.

Cards 82-89 New Visions - Sturzan

Drew Sturzan did the other half of the New Vision art. It's good, but I like the paintings better. This card caused me to have a horrible realization though. Smeagol is pretty much stark raving nude the whole movie. I'm not sure what it says about me that one of my favorite movie characters is a crazy little naked dude.

Foil Art Cards

In addition to the comploete set I pulled 5 foil cards (1:4) including two Gimlis. Thanks to the ghostly white art on them, they scan amazingly well.

Etched Foil Puzzle Cards

I got three of these suckers too (1:6) that make up half the set. The cards fit together like a puzzle when you put them together. They look a hell of a lot better than the scan and remind me of the old Fleer Metal Universe cards. The artist is Rafael Kayanan who has got a pretty nifty blog.

I can't believe I got the whole set in one box! That never happens to me! I've still got 42 cards and that Gimli insert left over. If someone else out there needs a couple of cards for this set let me know this weekend. Otherwise, if someone will send me a neat non sports card or two, I'll send you the rest of the doubles. I'll send it off Monday, so make your offers.

Topps Keeps Me Up At Night

I love the Mayo set, but Topps really screwed the pooch on the autogamers. I was looking around for an American Heritage box break on YouTube and I stumbled on Topps' official video for Mayo:

For the record, here are the autograph and relic hits shown off in the video:

Adrian Peterson autograph
Joe Paterno autograph
Charlie Sheen autograph
Willie Nelson relic
Vince Lombardi cut sig

Here's the list of cards actually inserted into the set.

Finally, here are those 5 cards with their actual packout status:

Adrian Peterson autograph - not there
Joe Paterno autograph - not there
Charlie Sheen autograph - not there
Willie Nelson relic - not there
Vince Lombardi cut sig - not there

Sorry Topps, but that just ain't right. I sure hope this doesn't bode ill for T51 Murad...

That's another set I was looking forward to... Please don't muck it up Topps!

Friday, January 30, 2009

2009 Topps Is Live

Mark at Stats on the Back just found packs at Target. Looks like JayBee's noticed too. There were no pics so I had to verify on my own. Here are two eBay auctions:

Topps Gold Angel Salome 773/2009

Topps Gold Mickey Mantle 570/2009

You can presell sets and even inserts with impunity, but there is absolutely no way to presell a serial numbered card. I guess I'm going to Target in the morning. Away we go....

I Am Weak

Uncle Dayf finally caught his winter cold last night. Too much running around in the cold wearing a t-shirt, too much hanging around sick people and too many days with only 4 hours of sleep finally caught up with me. So now I've got the oogy, the drippy and the scratchy. I made a run to the store to get the usual stuff. Carton of OJ. Generic cold medicine. Chicken soup. Cough Drops. Ramen to kill the beasties in the back of my throat with boiling salty water and yummy noodles. I even got a bottle of Vitamin Water Defense to throw a little vitamin C and zinc shock and awe on the germs. I was good and didn't even get a single pack of baseball cards. Then I left the store and headed home. Wait... oh crap.


I forgot the bloody tea! Just because I don't feel well doesn't mean I don't have to go to work and I need my caffiene. I'd just prefer the delivery method to be piping hot right now. I cussed myself and swung in the Wally World right down the street from my subdivision. I was hoping for some Tazo Awake tea, but they were out. Curses! I got a variety pack instead so I would at least get two bags of a caffeinated kick in the ass, then I could mellow out with some Zen. Even though there's absolutely nothing in the card aisle right now, I still wandered over there. There was a whole lotta nothin. Most of the same nothin that's been there since October. There really won't be anything new before Valentine's Day to be honest as they are usually at least two weeks behind the hobby releases. I still poked around though and took a look at abox of basketball cards hiding over in the Yu-Gi-Oh section. Then I found this:

Oh good grief, why did I come home with a repack box of entertainment cards?!? I just had an existential crisis over buying some Heritage and now I'm spending money on the crappiest of the crap? Really?? Why would I do such a thing? This is why:

This isn't a normal assorted junk repack box, the whole thing is all Lord of the Rings Masterpieces cards. They had three others there too: Some cartoon called The Kids Next Door, 2002 Operation Enduring Freedom and an old CCG called Legends of the Five Rings. This is a neat idea, the other Entertainment boxes had a bizzare mix of packs showing that no one in their right mind would want all of them. Stuff like a pack of X Files, N Sync, Enduring Freedom and Nickelodeon cards showing on the sides. Who wants all that crap? This here is like buying most of a retail box for quarter of the cost. Besides, they sell the plastic boxes the cards come in separately for five bucks anyway. I see these boxes as buying some storage and getting some junk wax for five dollars more. Even if they suck, it's just a five spot to rip some packs. I'm a Lord of the Rings fan so I couldn't resist. Here's some highlights from the first pack:

Yesssss my pressssiousssss...

The King of Arsty Fartsy

A scene from Sharky's new saturday morning cartoon series.

There's 140 cards in the box, and 90 cards in the set. It is extremely unlikely but entirely plausible that there's a complete set in there. Nah, this is Topps collation we're talking about. Still, why not? I get to rip a bunch of packs of cool stuff while I nurse this cold with cough syrup and scalding tea. Besides, seriously, there's nothing else interesting in the retail pack market right now. What would you rather have, five packs of Documentary or this? Upper Deck Icons? Piles of Updates and Highlights? The 2009 stuff better be out soon though or I fear I'm going to do something really stupid. I can't hold out much longer.

2009 American Heritage Checklist Breakdown

I've picked up 6 packs of this stuff which is more than enough to show it off. The set is 150 cards and is broken down into subsets. Each subset features one type of American hero and each is shown on a different retro Topps design. There are 25 short prints which are inserted at one in four packs. The chrome set is inserted in every other pack and consists of the first 100 cards. Here are the subsets with an example from each:

Cards 1-10 Writers
1953 Topps

The first ten cards in the set go to authors. The ones I've seen all have the black bar at the bottom and the same 'book and inkwell' logo. The author's name is in white, the type of writer (poet, nevelist, etc) in red where the position normally goes and instead of a team in yellow there is the author's most famous work.

The backs are more or less the same as the originals just without statistics. The Quiz cartoon is the same on all the cards but there are different questions. This is my favorite Topps design and it's kind of cool that writers are featured.

Cards 11-20 Explorers
1955 Topps

Famous explorers get the next ten cards in the '55 Topps design. Generally, all cards in a subset have the exact same color scheme, so the explorers get a yellow background and a blue bar on the bottom. The explorer's name and the exploration they are best known for is at the bottom. There's a compass point in place of the logo at the upper left. Mariners fans who are also history buffs can probably sneak these cards into their team collection.

The backs are straightforward again with biographical info a paragraph about the explorer and a cartoon true/false quiz featuring a couple of surprised astronomers. Each card back with a cartoon has one that is used for all ten cards.

Cards 21-30 Military
1956 Topps

War does not make one great. It might get you a trading card though. The Generals and Admirals get the 1956 design which is good for showing cool war scenes in the background. The name is in the red bar and the rank and war he was associated with is underneath in the yellow bar. Topps should have swapped this design with the explorers, the army and navy insignias would have made good logos.

Every single back has this goofy cartoon of a narcissistic general. While it's exactly like the original '56 design, unfortunately is squeezes the bio text a bit.

Cards 31-40 Revolutionary War
1962 Topps

The '62 design works really well for Revolutionary war heroes!

Much of the pack is filled up with the odd gigantic George Washington meets '60s era frat boy, but there's still plenty of room for the text. The factoid under the toon is different for each card.

Cards 41-50 Inventors
1963 Topps

Just like the wood worked with Revolutionary War heroes, the bright futuristic '63 design seems appropriate for the inventors. instead of a second photo of the inventor, the invention itself is shown in the circle at the bottom.

Plenty of room for text, but from now on the cartoon is the same for all the subset cards. For some reason the caption talks about Edison, while Einstein looks at a little test tube nuke.

Cards 51-60 Civil Rights
1968 Topps

1968 Topps is a nice set and all, but it's an odd choice since that was the year Martin Luther King was assassinated. The close up burlap border design is from the first series of '68 Topps.

There's loads of room for the paragraph on the back of these cards. The cartoon and trivia question is the same on every card. That answer, 1957, would have been a good choice of design for this subset as well.

Cards 61-70 Artists
1973 Topps

Odd that the artists get one of the more subdued designs of the '70s. Underneath the artists' name is one of their most famous works. The 'position' on the bottom right shows the type of art and has a representative logo much like the original set.

Big ol' Wall of Text plus the same cartoon on every card.

Cards 71-80 Statesmen
1974 Topps

The '74 set is a neat choice for this subset as the banners in the corners display the home state and political party of the politician. For purposes of this set 'statesman' means important political figure who never got elected president.

I tried fice times to scan this card but it kept coming out crooked. Damn politicians. The back design is interesting as the person's signature can be seen in the top right and there are three factoids to go along with the bio paragraph. The cartoon featuring LBJ reciting the Gettysburg Address to rousing applause is odd, to say the least.

Cards 81-90 Entertainers
1975 Topps

Of all the design choices, this was the worst. The appeal of the '75 set is the many different border colors used. In this set, they are all purple and pink.Each of the subjects plays for the team called "Entertainers" and their position is their chosen field. Athletes are considered entertainers, so here's where you'll find the Broadway Joe card.

See what I mean about this being a bad choice? This is probably the hardest to read back I've ever seen. There's a trivia question underneath the cartoon of a crooner, but with green text on red halftone dots it is utterly unreadable. Oh well. All the rest of the cards look good at least.

Cards 91-100 Industrialists
1983 Topps

Of the four robber barons paragons of industry I pulled, Mr. Colt is the only one who doesn't look like either Montgomery Burns, Mr. Potter from It's A Wonderful Life or Mr. Lebowski. The bums will always lose!! I love '83 Topps so I'm just happy to see that it's the only '80s set to make the cut.

Tons o' Text and a big flying eagle under the Topps logo. My only regret is that this card didn't have any place to put a Houston Colt .45s logo.

Cards 101-125 Events
1961 Topps

After the individual subjects there are 25 cards featuring monumental events from American history. Some of the pictures like this one are very interesting, others are merely a map of Hawaii or a copy of the Constitution. The simple '61 design works well with these subjects and an enterprising troublemaker can easily MSPaint new event cards.

Only the smilin' pilgrim and bald patriot get a cartoon on these cards, but the extra quote/factoid above the paragraph is nice. This is the end of the base cards, the rest of the set are short prints.

Cards 126-150 2008 Election
Short Prints
1971 Topps

I like that they made the short prints all election cards and here's why: You can build the short set of 1-125 and not worry about the short prints because they don't really fit in with the rest of the set anyway. If you want to collect the SPs (and at 1:4 packs, it won't be easy) you can do so, but if not it's no big deal. There's an entire set of Obama cards out there if you need a Barack fix. The cards look really good though.

The back has the same photo from the front and not a whole lot more. There are several insert sets (and some of them are just plain ugly) but I'll show off the two most common. Mainly because those are the only ones I have.

Cards AP1-AP44 Presidents
1952 Topps

You knew they'd fit in '52 Topps in here somewhere, right? The cards look great, but honestly I'm pretty sick of both the '52 design and presidents right now. An Obama card would be sweet, but they're already pretty pricey on eBay.

Pretty straightforward back. Eh, it's '52 Topps. These cards are inserted in every sixth pack.

Cards C1-C100

The chrome cards are only of the individual subjects and not the events or short prints. They look really good though and I'm tempted to find a big lot of 'em on eBay from a case breaker and build a set. They are found in every other hobby pack so they aren't that hard to get.

The backs are identical to the base cards, just with the serial number to 1776. Refractors are extremely tough and are only found 1:53 packs. They are numbered to 76 copies so if you want a set of those you'll be hunting for a while.

The rest of the inserts:
American Legends 1:119, numbered to 199
American Icons 1:487, numbered to 99
American Celebrities 1:12 (this set looks like bootleg Americana)

There's also various relics, autos and letter patch cards of each president. I might do a post on those later.

Well, that's the set. Looks pretty good! There are retail boxes out there so it's only amatter of time before you start seeing these in your local megamart. Hobby packs are $4+ a pack, I'm not sure if they will be $3 or $4 in retail. I wish this would have come out three weeks ago, it would have given me somethign to do while waiting for the '09 sets to come out.