Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Box Break: 2009 Allen & Ginter


Without further ado (or Adu since he was in 2007 Ginter), here’s my box break of 2009 Allen & Ginter.  I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to purchase a box of 2009 Ginter and so I didn’t sign up for the big Gint-A-Cuffs break-off.  It’s probably for the best anyway.  I think that I outdid my whole box with the previously posted 5 pack purchase.

I’ll start off with a Pujols base card.  By now, everyone has seen this set and either loves it or hates it.  Personally, this is my favorite Allen & Ginter set as far as the look of the cards goes.  The added color on the portrait cards makes them look even better than previous years and there are some absolutely beautiful cards in the landscape format.  Those cards alone are worth the price of admission.
Things started off pretty well with my box.  I pulled a Pujols N43 card and was pretty happy with that.  I need to check out a couple of card shows and see if any dealers are carrying the side loaders that these fit into.

What were the first box toppers?  1993 Stadium Club Master Photos?  1993 Donruss Award Winners jumbos?  I remember really liking both of those a lot.  I’ve got a few of the Piazza jumbos from 1994 in frames.


I like the National Pride set, but I don’t know if I’ll ever complete it due to the sheer size of it.  It looks like you can pick up each and every single from this set for eighteen cents on so I may do that to finish my set once I’m done with packs.

If this set had come out a week or two later, they could have done a rare variant of Jason Bay celebrating the fact that he became an American Citizen.  I’m surprised there haven’t been any short prints or variants in the one per pack sets yet.  While the Sox chase Halladay, Martinez and Gonzalez, I’d much rather they first take care of making sure that Jason Bay stays in Boston after this season.

Griffey Topps consecutive insert numbering makes it way to Allen & Ginter with the National Pride set.  I got cards 3 – 26 and that seems to be how the boxes are packed out.  That’s going to lead to lots and lots of doubles if people open boxes that overlap.

I pulled 4 of the Brian Kong sketch cards.  Some of these look great and some of them look terrible.  I never really understood putting sketch cards into sports products, but an insert set like this one makes a little more sense.

This Griffey is my favorite out of the sketches that I pulled.  I also got Zambrano, The Big Unit and Aaron Boone.  Yes, I have two of these cards for the kindling pile.


Lincecum also has a great looking landscape card in this set.  The picture is a little tough to see on the mini, but I didn’t pull the regular sized card.  This version is going to have to tide me over until I pick up the regular version for my set.  Some other minis of note were Chipper, Brad JohjimaPenny, Roy Halladay and Papelbon.

The quality of cards I got with Ginter backs were so bad it Hertz.  Along with Mr. Hertz, I pulled Kenji Johjima, Mark Ellis, Anna Tunnicliffe and Geovany Soto.


I didn’t much better with my black bordered cards.  The Willie Williams card is nice.  I also pulled James McDonald and Ubaldo Jimenez.

Oh, I almost forgot.  I also pulled an Andrew Miller Ginter back which went straight into an envelope  for Mario from Wax Heaven.  He’s been more than generous with me and the rest of the blogging community and that’s the least that I can do.  I wish it had been a numbered back or printing plate for his collection.


One of the big problems with 2009 Ginter seems to be quality control.  Many boxes are missing the promised third hit and even more boxes contain damaged cards.  My box had some really gnarly cards in it with the worst being this Nalyvaiko rookie card.  Check out the right side of the card.  It is dented, creased, bent and ripped.  I’m not quite sure how that happens to a mini in the middle of the pack, but it did.

My other National Hero was Mustafa Ataturk from Turkey who Topps apparently likes better.


I was really hoping for a mythical creatures insert card, but wasn’t lucky enough to get one.  I did pull two cards from the Hoaxes, Hoodwinks and Bamboozles insert set.  I now know more about fake fairies and fake bathtub stories.

I’m not sure if this set is in chronological order, but I got cards 15 and 16 which both took place in 1917.

I wonder if there’s a card in there to commemorate my box of 2009 Upper Deck Baseball that was 40 cards short including two hits and the shoddy customer service that has resulted in no solution to the problem.


Here’s my first hit… er, foul tip.  It’s a bat card of Cameron Maybin.  If I remember correctly, I also pulled a Maybin out of my 2009 Topps Series 1 HTA Jumbo Box.  At this rate, I’ll be able to reconstruct one of his bats in a few years.  This is another card that’s probably destined for the pile to ship off to BlowoutCards once I’ve got 50.  Of course, once I get 50 the promotion will probably end.


Next up is a boring, plain, white swatch from Yovani Gallardo.  This card is a little bit better.  It looks like Gallardo is back on track after missing most of 2008 due to injury, but I’m so sick and tired of white swatches.  It’s bad enough that jersey cards are a dime-a-dozen these days, but can the card companies at least try to make them look interesting.  I want to see colors and it would be even cooler if they used alternate jerseys like the Red and Green jerseys that the BoSox wore at different times last season.
This last card is a pretty good one, but it figures that I would pull a David Wright relic while he’s in the midst of the worst offensive season of his career.

I like this card for a couple of reasons.  It has a great picture on it and it contains a non-white jersey swatch.  Kudos to you Topps on the creation of this card.

This was a solid box, but as I stated in previous posts, it wasn’t anything spectacular.  Somehow, Topps managed to short me 2 cards and include two duplicates in the box.  When you are only getting around 36% of the base set, there’s no way that there should be any doubles.  My box included 4 damaged base cards including a short printed ‘Nique and the one previously pictured mangled National Hero.  Each card in this box cost a whopping fourty-seven cents.  Maybe I’ll just buy a bunch of cards on SportsLots instead of buying any more packs because that’ll be a lot cheaper and I think I’m all set on hits for this year’s product.

I do love the set and will be completing it.  I don’t know if I’ll ever break open another box.  Possibly in a year from now if the price drops down to what I paid for 2008.  I’ve got to mix this all together with what I’ve gotten out of packs and get a checklist online.  If anyone out there needs any singles, let me know.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pack Break: 2009 Allen & Ginter


I’m not really in a rush to post my 2009 Ginter box break.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the cards and this year might be the best looking Ginter set yet, but as far as hits and things of that sort, the box really wasn’t anything to get excited about.  I didn’t pull a rip card or an autograph or anything serial numbered.  I got exactly what you expect when you start opening a box of Ginter and nine times out of ten it’s a fairly boring box.

I do have a little Ginter excitement to post about though.  I made a trip to the card shop near work on my lunch break this past Friday to get some supplies and a couple of packs.  There wasn’t much there available as loose packs that interested me so I figured that I may as well get a little closer to my Ginter set.

I grabbed a couple of packs and some plastic cases and made my way back to work.  I busted them at work and was pretty happy with the results.  My first hit was a bat relic card of Ichiro.  That made me very happy.  Ichiro just keeps on hitting.  He may not get the hobby attention that fellow 2001 rookie Albert Pujols gets, but I’m happy to add this card to the collection. 
The second surprise to greet me is the second Bazooka back that I’ve pulled and both were from loose packs.  The first was from 2007 retail and was of the Ferris Wheel.  This one was of fencing champion Mariel Zagunis.

This is the only time that I hate having non-baseball players in Allen & Ginter.  I don’t mind them in the base set, but I don’t like when they are short prints or when you pull a parallel or relic of them.  It took me two years to go from a landmark to a non-baseball athlete and so maybe in 2011 I’ll pull a baseball player Bazooka back.  This one will mostly likely make its way to eBay eventually.  I think I packed up all of my shipping supplies and put them in storage.  D’oh.

So, that handful of packs resulted in much better hits than my whole box.  I now also have a 2003 Aaron Boone sketch card that I will happily light on fire.  Talk about your one-hit wonders.  Why couldn’t someone like Jeter have hit that ball?

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Box Break: 2008 Allen & Ginter


Hold on, don’t I mean 2009 Ginter, the product that has taken over most of the blogs out there?  That will come, but for now it’s last year’s Allen & Ginter that’s in the spotlight.  BlowoutCards had this on a weekend special for $50 a box and that’s the main thing that prompted me to place my order with them.  I only purchased two blasters of 2008 A&G prior to this so a lot of these cards were new to me.

I started things off with a cabinet card.  I guess if you’re going to get a cabinet card then one featuring George Washington is the way to go.  The scene of Washington crossing the Delaware as part of the Battle of Trenton is extremely well known.  It’s not a baseball player, but I was pretty happy with this cabinet card.


In the 07 and 08 Ginter sets, the mini cards look a lot better than the base set.  Many of the base cards have far too much white space around the edges and the tiny photo ends up looking lost.  That’s why I decided to post a picture of this Dustin Pedroia mini instead of a full sized card.

Pedroia is tiny, but he packs some pop.  I saw him play down in Pawtucket and couldn’t believe that he made contact with the giant hacks that he takes at the ball.  He came up to the big leagues and still had that giant swing and still makes great contact with the ball.  He’s got a rookie of the year award, MVP award and a hilarious commercial under his belt already.  All that’s left to do now is win more rings.


I didn’t have much luck with the black bordered minis so I decided that I would scan a Brave.  There seem to be a lot of Braves fans in the circle of blogs that I read and maybe one of them will be interested in it.

2008 Ginter had a little bit of the color wash in the background that would be used a lot more in the 2009 release.  That splash of color reduces the white space on the card and makes them look a heck of a lot better.  The black bordered minis also are much improved in 2009.  If only Topps had also done something to improve the look of the frames on the relic and autograph cards.


I did alright on the Ginter backs.  I’ve pulled a few Russell Martin cards here and there most notably his autograph card from 2006 Upper Deck Future Stars.  I don’t think that I’m ready to start collecting another Dodgers catcher, but I don’t mind seeing Martin’s cards come out of packs.

The other two Ginter backs that I pulled out of the box were Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay.  Halladay just pitched a gem against the Red Sox and may soon be playing for another team.  A bunch of teams have their name in the mix and I’m hoping that he heads on over to the National League.  Pitching for an AL East team, he faces the Sox far too many times over the course of a season.


I pulled a Bull Shark out of my box.  At this point, I can’t remember which sets were tougher than others to pull from a box.  The shark card doesn’t do much for me.  Maybe if it had a frikkin’ laser beam on its head.


I also pulled a Cleopatra World Icons card.  Again, not a set that I’ll be putting together and it’s not a card that wows me.

I pulled a couple of World Leaders that I forgot to scan and I won’t be going back to do that now.  I got Alan Garcia Perez of Peru and Helen Clark of New Zealand.

I don’t know how many people are still chasing the various 2008 insert sets, but these may find their way to eBay or so that they can find a nice home with someone who wants them.


Here come the hits.  2008 Ginter boxes stated that they contained two hits.  There were many documented cases of boxes that contained more than the promised number of hits and some unverified boxes that supposedly had a rip card in every pack and cases with extremely high numbers of rip cards.

I got more than the promised number of hits which is a good thing, but it’s mostly more of the same old, same old.  More cards to add to the trade/BlowoutCards pile.

Here’s A.J. Pierzynski.  Probably the most unlikely professional athlete to ever enter a wrestling ring.


Next is good old Curt Schilling.  Whether you agree or disagree with his politics, rants and other actions off of the field, you can’t deny what he did on the field.  He put his career on the line to be able to go in a couple of huge games and he came through big time.  He doesn’t have the most spectacular regular season statistics, but he’s one of the all-time great postseason pitchers.  He, like Josh Beckett, was especially effective against the Yankees which is enough to make him an instant hero to most Red Sox fans.  You still see lots of people walking around town in “Why Not Us?” t-shirts.


I can’t be disappointed with a Tim Hudson jersey.  Of all of the hyped A’s pitchers, he’s by far had the most successful career and has now been successful in both leagues.


This was the only non-blah swatch out of the bunch.  I remember when stripes like this in jersey swatches were a big deal before they started putting all kinds of patch pieces into cards.

The strange thing about this card is that the swatch appears to have been put into the card at an angle.  There’s also some sort of seam or another stripe on the right side of the swatch.  I really wish the far right of this swatch wasn’t obscured by the tiny little Ginter window.  The bottom is obscured as well.  For all I know, I could have a triangle on my swatch.  It wouldn’t make sense, but it could be there.


Last and least, here’s another Curt Schilling jersey card.  It’s not grey instead of white.  It’s not red, green or navy blue from an alternate jersey.  It’s the same old boring white.  The checklist of relic cards is pretty big, but I get a duplicate out of 5 cards in my box.

That’s the thing about Allen & Ginter.  It continues to be hugely popular in spite of non-athletes, very poor collation and mostly weak “hits.”  It goes to show that there are still lots of people out there who like to put together well done sets.  Ginter is enough of a challenge without being ridiculously difficult to collect.

When all was said and done, I had 168 different cards towards the set.  That’s right around 48% which isn’t too bad.  If I’m lucky, I can buy another box somewhere down the line and get to 75% or 80% and then pick up singles from there to complete the set.  I got 19 different states, 5 jersey cards, 1 World’s Greatest Victories, 13 base minis, 3 A&G minis, 4 black border minis, 1 shark, 1 icon and 2 leaders for 192 cards.  For what I paid, each card cost around .26 cents.

Even though I ended up pulling 5 jersey cards, I can’t say that I was overly thrilled with the box.  I love the set and got a great start towards the set, but the packing out of A&G just seems to be sloppy every year.  In three years worth of Ginter, I’ve gotten packs with 4 cards and packed with 10 cards.  I’ve gotten packs with no minis.  I’ve been shorted hits and I’ve gotten extra hits.  Getting the duplicate Schilling bothers me for some reason.  I would have rather just gotten 4 jerseys without the duplicate.  Just me being picky I guess.

Time to pack this all away in preparation for another house showing.  I’m way behind on getting my checklists together so that I actually know what I need for these sets.  If anyone out there is still putting 2008 Ginter together, let me know and I’ll look through the extras that I had once I put the cards from my two blasters into the mix.  If you’ve got extras and are interested in any of these hits or anything else that I’ve posted on the blog, let me know.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Box Break: 2008 Topps Series 1 Jumbo


Sorry for the lapse in posting.  Right now we’re living in a house that is for sale and that makes it tough to work on projects since I have to clean everything up at the end of the day even if I’m in the middle of scanning or sorting.  Combine that with the normal day-to-day life or work and a young child and it can lead to posting droughts.  Time to get back on the horse.

Other than a few packs here and there, I never purchased any 2008 Topps Baseball.  Reading all about the Alex Gordon card that slipped out, the photoshopped Jeter card and fake phenom Kazuo Uzuki was enough to keep me away.  For a while there it seemed like Topps wanted to use gimmicky cards and Keith Olberman’s bank account to get publicity for their cards.

While checking BlowoutCards, I saw that 2008 Series One Jumbos were ridiculously cheap.  With a Trading Card History insert in every pack, I figured that I would give it a shot.  I was happy with 99% of what I got, but Topps flipped me a retroactive bird with a Kazuo Uzuki card.  I’m not sure why they thought this card was a good idea, but hopefully in the future they don’t play April Fools pranks on their customers.

Ellsbury Topps came so close to having a really nice base card design with this set.  Get rid of the little dip with the Topps logo and the set looks ten times better.  Check out that year’s basketball set for a good example.  The design also looks better with team colored boarders and the team name done in its own font.  Check out this card from a ten card set that came with the Team Baby: Red Sox DVD.  Personally, I like this card a lot and would have loved a complete set that was done in this style.  Yellow Pirates cards with the team name done in their font.  Something like that would probably be a little more difficult to design, but I think the end result would look beautiful.

I’ll start off with the parallels.  No need for a scan.  I got gold bordered parallels, numbered to 2008, of Scott Hatteberg, Yovani Gallardo and Chad Tracy.  There are two gold foil parallels per pack and some of the notable ones that I pulled were Terry Francona, Clay Buchholz, Joey Votto and Mike Lowell.  This box was heavy on Red Sox so any Yankees fans reading this may want to look away.

The Mickey Mantle Home Run History cards come one per pack.  All 10 that I had featured the same picture.  I now know a lot more about home runs 526 – 535.  More Topps consecutive inserts for you.  I got 4 of the Mickey Mantle Story cards.  At least these have different pictures on the front.  If the first card that I got was 46, you can probably guess what the other three numbers were.  I didn’t feel like scanning the politician cards either.  I got an Obama which was nice, but when all is said and done that card will probably go to my daughter and the other cards will go away in a monster box never to be seen again.

OTG Let’s get to the good stuff!  There’s one Own the Game insert in every pack.  They’re shiny and as always feature league leaders from the previous season.  I got A-Rod, Prince Fielder, Carlos Pena, Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman, Ryan Howard, Mike Lowell, Brandon Webb, Brad Penny and Fausto Carmona.  I’ll keep the Lowell and the rest will be set aside for future trades.


There is also a Year in Review card in each jumbo pack.  I’d rather see a larger set like this that highlights the previous year than something like Documentary that covers every game.  YR48 – YR57 are now mine and they feature Andrew Miller, Ortiz/Lowell, Verlander, Sabathia, Felipe Lopez, Oliver Perez, Smoltz, Mark Reynolds, Jeremy Accardo and Helton.  I won’t be finishing this set either.


This insert set is one that I like a lot.  Topps had fans vote on the all-time all-rookie team.  Every collector is familiar with the little gold cup that would show up on the cards of player named to the previous year’s Topps All-Rookie team.  This is a set that I might try and put together, but it is a little large.  I like the design and it is full of great players.  It depends on what the singles are going for.  My box contained “The Hawk” Andre Dawson, Dave Johnson, Dan Johnson, Alfonso Soriano, Prince Fielder, Mark Teixeira, Andruw Jones, Brian McCann, Albert Pujols and C.C. Sabathia.


Next up are my favorite cards in the box, Trading Card History.  I definitely want to try and finish off this set.  It is full of stars on cards featuring classic designs from the past.  I started off my collection with Ellsbury (69 Topps), Joba Chamberlain (55 Bowman), Dice-K (T-206), Prince Fielder (34 Baseball Card), Justin Upton (62 Topps), Alfonso Soriano (58 Baseball Card), Pedro Martinez (51 Bowman), Chien-Ming Wang (75 Topps), Ichiro (Japanese Baseball Card) and Grady Sizemore (1948 Baseball Card).

Villanueva There were a trio of hits in the box if you include the Uzuki card.  If I had pulled that when the set was released, I would have been a happy eBayer, but these days no one really wants it.

The next hit was an autographed 2007 Highlights card of Carlos Villanueva.  The card celebrates Villanueva coming up and bolstering the Brewers rotation in September, 2006.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t been as successful since then.  Unless someone is looking to trade for it, it’ll most likely go in my pile of relics and autos that will get shipped off to BlowoutCards once I have 50 of them.


I know that recently there has been backlash against manufactured patched, but I think that a lot of that results from the fact that manufactured letters have been done to death.  The manufactured logos in this year’s Topps blasters were very nice and I like these cards as well.  My only complaint is that every card looks the same if you block out the tiny picture of the player along with his name.  I’ll enjoy adding this card to my collection, but I wouldn’t need to collect the whole set.  They’re numbered to 499 on the back, but I don’t see them having too much value outside of Boston.  You see tons of them if you head out to any card shows here though.

To recap, I got a full set out of the box which I love.  I got all the cards that I should have and they cost me a whopping seven cents a piece.  You really can’t complain at all at that price point.  The thing is though, there really wasn’t anything to complain about.  I could have gotten a better autograph, but at the time this was release Villanueva looked like he could be one of the next young stars.  I got a bunch of Red Sox which is always nice.  I pulled a bunch of stars and even got a lame April Fools joke gone awry.  Without being lucky enough to get one of the big hits, there aren’t many ways that this box could have been better.  Now I’ve got to track down a jumbo box of series 2 and hope it is just as fun.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Box Break: 2008 TriStar Projections: Red Sox Edition


I didn’t know a whole lot about this set before buying it, but I’ve always had a soft spot for minor league cards.  This box looked like a blaster, only contained Red Sox prospects and promised one autographed card.  I’m sold.  Let’s see what I got.

Fireballer Daniel Bard finally got the call up to the big show.  He’s been mostly lights out, but has had a couple of rookie struggles.  Many look at him as insurance in case Papelbon wants too much money once his arbitration years are done.  With the way Papelbon keeps talking about record setting contracts for a closer, I’m all in favor of trading him in his final arbitration year if Bard continues to look good.  There will be less dancing and fewer historic World Series baseballs turned into dog chew toys, but I think that the Sox will survive.


Michael Bowden is one of the names that keeps coming up in trade talks along with Clay Buchholz.  The Sox have a bit of a log jam in the rotation at the moment, but you figure that both Smoltz and Penny will only be with the team this season.  They may both get a chance in the bigs next season.  Until then, fans in Pawtucket are seeing some great pitching.


Jed Lowrie showed signs of being ready for the majors last season and was ready to build upon that until he was sidelined with an injury.  Supposedly this injury first occurred last season and had a lot to do with his late season slump.  He’s on his way back now and hopefully will cement the Red Sox shortstop position which has been in flux ever since Nomar Garciaparra left.  Strange that trading away the face of the franchise led to the team winning it all, but it did and it also led to David Ortiz becoming the new face of the team.  Nomar returned to Boston tonight for the first time since leaving and got a well deserved standing ovation.


My autograph was of Ryan Kalish and I’m pretty happy with that.  Kalish is one of the top 10 Red Sox prospects and should arrive in Boston in another year or two.

This box contained 5 packs with seven cards in each.  The cost per card was .28 which seems a little pricey to me, but with a lower production run it’s to be expected.  I’m glad that I purchased this box on sale though.

The design is nice.  It’s not too busy and focuses on the players.  I don’t think I’d buy any more boxes of this, but I am happy with what I got out of this one.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Box Break: 2006-07 Topps Basketball


Next up is 2006-07 Topps Basketball.  I don’t think that I had seen any cards from this set before breaking open this box.  It’s not a spectacular design, but it is growing on me.  It bears some slight similarities to this year’s O-Pee-Chee baseball set except the info isn’t all at the bottom and the area with the name is a little larger.  The Chrome versions of these cards are better looking due to the fact that the giant area of foil surrounding the name has been replaced with a nice team color.  These cards actually scan better than they look.  The foil ruins the cards in real life.

As a Celtics fan, this box was a lot of fun to break.  You’ve got rookie cards of Rajon Rondo and Leon Powe (who looks to be a former Celtic at this point, but could re-sign with the team once healthy) along with such memorable names as Allan Ray (strike that, reverse it and you’ve got an NBA Championship) and Kevin Pittsnogle.  This set also focused on Celtics Legend Larry Bird and if you are a fan then this set doesn’t disappoint.

I’m not going to post pictures of the parallels.  Strangely, I got just one gold parallel which is numbered to 500 (Andre Iguodala) and two black parallels numbered to 99 (Danny Granger and Denham Brown).

Camby In traditional Topps fashion, there are a ton of insert sets.  Most of them are fun and they’re all loaded with stars.  Here’s Marcus Camby from the Own the Game insert set which is a Topps staple.  These cards highlight league leaders.  I pulled 4th and 5th in assists (Billups and J-Kidd) and the top 4 in blocks (Camby, Kirilenko, Mourning and Josh Smith).  They run in order and getting the top 5 scorers in one box would be nice.

Duncan Both Tim Duncan and David Robinson have been players that I’ve enjoyed watching play.  I enjoy big men with finesse a lot more than guys like Shaq who just lower a shoulder and knock guys out of the way to score.  I could sit all day and watch guys like Duncan, Garnett, etc. who score off of the glass, use the hook shot and are smart players.

This Duncan is from the Hobby Masters insert set.  These cards talk about why these players are popular with collectors.  Again, these ran in order and I got 5 – 9 (McGrady, D-Wade, Vinsanity, Duncan and Garnett).


Next up is Chauncey Billups from the Clutch City Stars set.  These cards are of players who played in the 2006 All-Star Game in Houston.  I guess being popular with the fans makes you clutch.  I won’t go off on a rant about my thoughts on fan based All-Star voting right now.  These ran in order as well.  I got numbers 10-14 who were Rip Hamilton, Arenas, Billups, Kobe and Nash.


They also play a rookie/sophomore game during All-Star weekend and these cards highlight those players.  I only got 4 of these and something went terribly wrong at the Topps factory because they weren’t all consecutive.  I pulled 4, 5, 17 and 18.  That would be Danny Granger, Chris Paul (pictured), Andres Nocioni and former Celtic Delonte West.


These Pride of the Program cards are kind of strange.  None of the trios on these cards are all that impressive.  Dwayne Wade, Shaq and… Antoine Walker?  I loved Walker when he was in Boston, but he was a cry baby and a hugely bad influence on Paul Pierce.  Look at how much Pierce has changed on his own and then playing with Garnett and Allen.

They could do this set now, limit it to 4 – 6 teams such as the Celtics, Cavs, Lakers and Orlando who actually have three legitimate stars.


Every now and then, video game related cards will pop up in products.  The first that I remember were the EA cards in NBA Hoops back in the 90s.  This was when Sega Genesis ruled supreme and tons of people played hockey video games whether or not they actually watched the real sport.  Madden wasn’t all that great back then, but the NHL games were great even being immortalized in Kevin Smith’s classic Mallrats.

This card features virtual LeBron James and has a code for NBA 2K7 on the back.  These days, video games and exclusivity are as ridiculous as baseball cards.  EA got exclusive rights to football and a few other sports so now if you want to play a better game made by another company, you have to do so with retired or fake players.  I also pulled Dwight Howard from this set.


For those who don’t know, Topps stopped making basketball cards for most of the 80s.  For most of that time, Fleer was the only game in town and many superstars only had Fleer rookie cards.

Topps has played the “what if” card a few times with various basketball sets.  In 1992-93, Topps released Topps Archives Basketball.  Unlike their baseball counterpart, this was not a reprint set.  This set used the baseball designs from each year to show what various rookie cards may have looked like if Topps were producing cards back then.  It was a fun set and a favorite of scammer trying to sell cheap cards for higher prices as “rookie” cards.  Topps has also revisited this idea with Bill Russell and Larry Bird.  They’re fun cards and are nice inserts.  I put together the Russell set and will be tracking down the other 8 Birds that I need for this set.

Finally, Topps also did something to honor Larry Bird in the base set.  Similar to the 20 different Ken Griffey Jr. cards in 2009 Upper Deck series 2, Topps produced 33 different Larry Bird cards which were numbered 33.  Unlike the Griffey cards whose backs reflect the year pictured on the front, the Bird cards all have identical backs which makes it a little difficult keeping track of which ones you have and which you need.  I’m going to try and track all of these down as well and have already picked up a few more with store credit that I had at

I don’t think I could have been happier with this box.  Sure, I could have pulled an autograph or relic, but for $32 you don’t have to.  I got a full set, but sadly no second Rondo rookie.  I got one more Bird base card than I should have and best of all, each card only cost a whopping seven cents a piece.  There’s absolutely nothing to complain about here.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Box Break: 2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces Baseball


I’ll be posting my box breaks in an order similar to last time.  I’ll start off with the boxes that I was least impressed with and then finish strong.  I’m starting off with 2007 Masterpieces.

This is a set that I really want to like.  The cards both look and feel great.  There are rookies of Dice-K and Lincecum and plenty of Red Sox.  The only road block to pack breaking bliss was the fact that the word “average” seems to have a different definition to Upper Deck.  They also don’t seem to know how to count.

There are 4 cards per pack of Masterpieces and 18 packs per box for a total of 72 cards that should be in a box.  I ended up with 75 cards.  I had one pack with 4 cards plus a “hit” and then another pack with just three base cards.  There was no rhyme or reason to how these cards were packed.  Some packs have decoys and others don’t.  I don’t understand the reasoning behind that.  When all was said and done, for the price that I paid, each card cost fifty-nine cents.

From my box, I got 54 cards towards the set which is 60%.  There were 10 doubles which is 16% of the base cards that I got in the box.  That’s piss poor collation in my opinion.  I don’t understand why there should be doubles when you only get about two thirds of the set in a box.


I received 6 green framed cards.  My favorite being the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.  2003 was crushing and it made 2004 even sweeter.  The World Series was a little anticlimactic after the amazing comeback against the Yankees, but that’s alright.  Fans everywhere rejoiced, history was made and lots of people got free furniture in a promotion from Jordan’s Furniture.  I also pulled Alex Gordon, Derek Jeter, Stephen Drew, Chase Utley and Vlad Guerrero.


I pulled one black bordered card of Roberto Clemente that is numbered to 99.  He just may be the most popular Pirate of all time.  It’s a shame that his life was taken tragically while helping out others.


I pulled one blue bordered card of Sandy Koufax numbered to 50.  This is one of two cards that Koufax has in the set.  For a small set consisting of 90 cards, a lot of players have multiple cards.  There are at least two cards of Albert Pujols and three of Cal Ripken.  A little more diversity might have been nice.

SowersMy autograph was of Jeremy Sowers.  Sowers has a decent rookie season and has been terrible ever since.  At least I got an autograph in the box this time unlike the last two boxes of Upper Deck products that I’ve opened.  Oh wait, I just jinxed myself, didn’t I?


ChutleyHeltonHere are Captured on Canvas jersey cards of Chase Utley and Todd Helton.  My third card is…  oh that’s right, I didn’t get a third jersey card.  I must have gotten an extra Upper Deck Store discount code.  Lucky me.  One of these days I’ll get a box that falls on the other side of “average".”

I like the Helton card a lot due to the purple swatch.  Neither one is a dull, plain, boring, white swatch which is a relief.  I can do without pulling any more of those cards ever.

Last, but not least, I’ll finish with the box topper.  I like it, but I know that I’ve got some fans so if you’re interested in a trade, drop me a line.  I’d definitely like to get some trading going and help people get rid of their extra Piazzas, Red Sox and cards that I need for my sets.