Sunday, February 28, 2010

Finally a trade goes through!

I can't believe it. After offering around 30 trades, I've finally had one accepted. I got some older cards, but they were of players that I didn't have any connection to. I decided to try and offer them up for some players that I did have a connection to. It's not like I was trying to get Williams or Yastrezemski for commons. Unfortunately, not a lot of peeople seem to be checking their trade offers on the site. Someone finally checked and deemed my trade worthy. Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

I also noticed this while going through my trade offers. Has anyone else seen this on the site? Is it bad to offer to give someone else more than what you're getting in return? That's what the site makes it seem like.

I'm not quite sure what the make of that error message. It's probably because I'm offering some of those super valuable 1987 Topps cards in that stack.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lazy Friday

I apologize for the lack of real content lately, but the state of the third floor just isn’t conducive to doing much of anything.  I’m up here right now for a little while, but I don’t plan on staying for long.  I’ve been told that things should be finished Monday or Tuesday which is cool since I’ve got Monday and Friday off next week and could get a lot done putting the room together and loading it back up.

Pujols2 Topps sent out a PDF with a ton of images from National Chicle.  For a set that was almost universally shit on when the first images were released, I think that this is a set that is going to end up pleasing most people.  The majority of the cards are nice looking and you get two on-card autographs per box.  If the product contains a strong autograph checklist then this product will be popular.

Since these cards were done by a variety of artists, some are better than others and cards that one person loves will be hated by another.  I have a feeling that the on-card autos will sell a lot more boxes than bad paintings might keep away.

Gibson Eck I leave you with a couple of other cards that caught my eye.  A lot of the retired player cards have these same clouds in the background.  I’m guessing they were all done by the same artist.

Love the Eck in a BoSox uni.  He’s become a pretty good analyst for NESN.  He didn’t do that good of a job willing in for Jerry Remy though.

PC_JenningsOne thing that I dislike about many short prints is that you don’t know who is short printed until the company releases a list and without that list you have no way of knowing what is a short print and what isn’t.  That’s why I don’t mind when all of the SP are at the end of a set or on a different card stock.

Panini sent out information about the short printed Rookie Ticket cards in Contenders Basketball.  They just weren’t very specific about it.  Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Jordan Hill, Brandon Jennings and Tyler Hansbrough were all printed to 499 or fewer copies.  There are a lot of numbers that are fewer than 499.The cards themselves aren’t serial numbered so you have no way of knowing just how limited they are.  To me, it sounds like Panini started with 499 copies, threw out any that got damaged and then packed out the rest.  Blake Griffin, Dante Cunningham, Earl Clark, Jonny Flynn, Stephen Curry and Terrence Williams have cards printed to 649 or fewer and I’m assuming greater than 499.

In more Topps news, they’re taking a page out of Panini’s book and offering a prize to collectors who pull a certain card out of packs.  The first person to pull the triple signed Dana White, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz card out of UFC Main Event will be flown to Las Vegas, NV and be Dana White’s personal guests at the UFC Training Center.  There are 10 copies of this card in existence and the other nine people that pull the card will get a pair of UFC gloves signed by the three fighters.

Panini sent out some news about their Adrenalyn Tour.  While it sounds cool for those lucky enough to go to games when the tour is visiting, I don’t think they’ll find enough players by just focusing on game crowds.  They need to be outside of the arenas as well.  If it turns out that they’re inside of the arena when they come to Boston I might have to think about making a trip to the Hoops Hall instead and see them there.  Probably not worth it though.

It looks like the big site news will have to wait until next week.  I’m excited for it to happen and to share it with all of you.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

J.D. Drew

PH2007102001507 Unlike most of Red Sox Nation, I was a fan of the J.D. Drew signing when it happened and am still a fan of it today.  I can understand Sox fans getting annoyed with the fact that Drew tends to be a little injury prone, but I can’t understand fans getting so upset about his salary and an incorrect perception that he’s not playing well enough to warrant that salary.

I was happy to see an article in the Valentine’s Day edition of the Boston Globe explaining “Why the critics of J.D. Drew may be off-base” written by my current favorite Sox writer over at the Globe, Amalie Benjamin.  She’s a breath of fresh air from the gloom and doom, muckraker Dan Shaughnessy.

Benjamin uses data from to show Drew’s “worth” compared to his salary and then she compares it to other outfielders who signed multiyear deals after the 2006 season.  I’ll list the data first and then see if you can guess who is who.

Value: $15.4M
Salary: $25.5M
Difference: -$10.1M

Value: -$5.2M
Salary: $26.2M
Difference: -$31.4M

Value: $33.4M
Salary: $41M
Difference: -$7.6M

Value: $45.4M
Salary: $42M
Difference: +$3.4M

Value: $40M
Salary: $43M
Difference: -$3M

The players are Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee, Gary Matthews Jr., Juan Pierre and J.D. Drew.  Can you match the players with their numbers?

Of those players, only J.D. Drew has a value higher than the salary he was paid.  You can find his numbers 4th on that list.  The only other decent signing on that list is Carlos Lee who has produced $40M of value while being paid $43M.  When you take into consideration that this takes into account a 2007 season where Drew was absolutely terrible until hitting a grand slam in Game 6 of the ALCS, it makes his 2008 and 2009 seasons look even better.  Would Sox fans have preferred that the team sign Alfonso Soriano (3rd on the list), Juan Pierre (1st on the list) or the absolutely terrible Matthews (2nd on the list)?  According to this rating system, Matthews owes money to the Angels.

There are plenty of numbers to back up why fans are wrong about Drew.  Benjamin states that only 10 players had an OPS of .900 or greater in 2008 and 2009: Pujols, Manny, A-Rod, Berkman, Teixeira, Youk, Hanley Ramirez, Holliday, Chase Utley and Drew.  Fans love Youk and his serial killer look because he’s “intense.”  Fans loved weak hitting, slow moving Trot Nixon because he was a “Dirt Dog” and dove after those balls he was too slow to get to.  Fans haven’t taken to Drew because he is quiet and reserved.  They say he doesn’t put effort into the game, but many of those fans were alright with Manny not running out ground balls and pop-ups.

Benjamin also states that in the three years that Drew has been in Boston there have been only three players with a better on-base percentage than Drew’s .390 and they are Manny (.412), Holliday (.403) and Ordonez (.397).  Adam Dunn has also gotten on base at a .390 clip over that span.

Critics always point at Drew’s low RBI and HR totals while ignoring his high run total and the number of times he gets on base.  Fans will continue to call him “Nancy” and unfairly criticize him.  I’ll continue to root for him knowing what he brings to the team.  He’ll never get credit for playing in 2007 when all he probably wanted to do was spend time with a sick child.  Now it has come out that he was battling a sore shoulder in 2009 which was his best season in Boston.  He’s the best defensive right fielder that the Sox have had since Dewey who was the best ever.  He’s never going to be the guy that carries the team on a daily basis, but he’s the type of player that you need on a winning team.  His contributions are going to be especially important this season on a team that is a little bit weaker on offense than normal.  He has to get on base for those rare occasions when Mike Cameron closes his eyes and makes solid contact with the ball.  I think it happens 20 or so times a season.  2010 would be a nice time for fans to accept Drew because they’re going to have enough to complain about with Cameron and Beltre hitting around .260 and not getting on base much more often than that.  As the Amalie Benjamin article showed, things could be a heck of a lot worse.

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Topps Releases Details on Series 2 Baseball


Even though collectors are feverishly ripping through packs of the all-new 2010 Topps Baseball Series 1 and Opening Day is still over a month away, it’s never too early to start talking about…2010 Topps Baseball Series 2!

Whether people are collecting for the excitement of the Million Card Giveaway, all the cool inserts, the hobby and retail exclusives, the great photography or all of the above…one thing is for sure: Topps, the exclusive producer for MLB Trading cards, and its flagship brand, Topps Baseball, is loaded with excitement.  And Series 2 features everything collectors love about Series 1 and much more. (image attached)

From the addition of T206 cards in the Million Card Giveaway to the all-new 4th of July Hat Logo cards, Series 2 plans to pick up the momentum of one of the best Topps baseball products in years.

Here’s a closer look:



  • Gold Parallel (330) sequentially #’d to 2010
  • Black Parallel (330) sequentially #’d to 59 HOBBY ONLY
  • Platinum Parallel (330) Platinum-bordered cards #’d 1 of 1
  • Printing Plates (330) Printing plates of the base cards #’d 1 of 1 HOBBY ONLY
  • Silk Collection (100) sequentially #’d to 50. HOBBY ONLY
  • Black Background (330) WAL-MART ONLY
  • Throwback Parallel (330) TARGET ONLY


  • The Cards Your Mom Threw Out (58) Inserted 1:3.
  • The Cards Your Mom Threw Out Original Backs (58) 1 per box
  • Topps Vintage Legends Collection (25) Retired legends featured on vintage Topps designs on which they’ve never appeared. (1:4)
  • History of the World Series (25) Inserted 1:6.
  • Turkey Red (50 subjects) (1:4).
  • 1962 Mickey Mantle Reprint Relic (1 subject) Sequentially #’d to 62.
  • Legends Cut Signatures #’d 1 of 1.
  • Hall of Fame Buybacks (500) Repurchased cards of Hall of Famers are inserted in packs.
  • Legendary Lineage (30) Inserted 1:4.
  • Legendary Lineage Relic…Sequentially #’d to 50.
  • Peak Performance (50) Inserted 1:4.
  • Peak Performance Autographs (30)
  • Peak Performance Relics (40)
  • Peak Performance Relics Blue Parallel (40 subjects) Sequentially #’d to 99.
  • Peak Performance Dual Relics (15 cards) Sequentially #’d to 50.
  • Peak Performance Jumbo Relics (20) Sequentially #’d to 20. HOBBY ONLY
  • Peak Performance Autographed Relics (10) Sequentially #’d to 50. HOBBY ONLY.
  • Red Hot Rookies (10 subjects) Redemption cards for the ten hottest rookies of the new season, to be announced as the season progresses. (1 per box) HOBBY ONLY
  • Sketch Cards #’d 1 of 1. HOBBY ONLY.
  • Manufactured 4th of July Hat Logo Cards (160) #’d to 99. HOBBY ONLY.
  • Topps Attax plus pin code (30 subjects) 1 per pack.
  • Topps 2020 (20) Kid-focused foilboard cards featuring the stars of today on their 2020 Topps base cards. (1:6).
  • Million Card Giveaway 1:6
  • Create Your Own Sketch Card 1:24.
  • MLB Logo Man Manufactured Patch Card Continuity Program – 5 subjects. #’d to 50.
  • Manufactured Event Patch Cards (50) 1 per Retail Value Box.
  • 1951 Topps / Walmart (15)
  • 1951 Topps / Target (15)
  • Cereal Box Chrome Refractors / Wal-Mart  (10)
  • Cereal Box Chrome Refractors / Target  (10)

My take: Those of you who thought that there were too many insert sets in Series 1 are really going to hate Series 2.  The Cards Your Mom Threw Out return and are joined by cards of legends on set designs they never appeared in.  Mike Schmidt on a ‘52 Topps?  Why not!  George Brett on ‘61 Topps?  Sure.  These could be cool, but I’ll have to reserve judgment until I start seeing some of them.  It looks like these take the place of Tales of the Game from Series 1.

History of the World Series replaces History of the Game.  Turkey Red continues through Series 2 as do the 1951 Red and Blue Walmart and Target exclusives.  Peak Performers continue as do all of the relic and autograph versions of these cards.

The 1962 Mantle Reprint Relic seems odd.  This is the type of card that Topps has previously included as a bonus card in factory sets, but this time the card is going to be extremely limited with only 62 copies existing.

The Million Card Giveaway continues through Series 2 and is joined by 500 Hall of Fame Buybacks.  I guess Topps went overboard and ended up purchasing 1,000,500 cards.  There are an awful lot of Hall of Famers in the 1997 set isn’t there?  Just kidding.  If they do as good a job on these as they have with the cards being awarded on the website, collectors will love these, but with only 500 available it won’t affect many box breakers.

I’m disappointed to see Red Hot Rookies return after Topps did such a blah job with them last year.  I don’t think any of them were autographed and they weren’t even refractory.  For the amount of time that you have to wait on these, couldn’t Topps slap stickers on 2 or 3 of them or on 10% of the print run of each card and then send those out randomly as they are redeemed.  I’m at the point where I’m about fed up with redemption cards.  Who knows what year it will be when my 2009 Finest Tommy Hanson autograph will show up.  If I’ve waited this long for it to arrive with a sticker on it, I’m going to be pissed.

For some reason sketch cards are going to be in Series 2.  Other than being 1/1, is there really a big demand for sketch cards of baseball players?  I just couldn’t picture someone going to a comic book convention and asking an artist to sketch Albert Pujols for them.  Then again, a Todd McFarlane drawn piece could be awesome.  Maybe I should have had Terry Moore sketch Big Papi for me instead of having him draw Francine from Strangers in Paradise.  Nah!

There’s also a one-per-box Create Your Own Sketch Card which has been done before in Collectors Choice packs.  Depending on what they are like, these could be cool for sending out to artists for commissions.

The very popular hat logo cards return, but this time they are 4th of July Logos which I think means that the logos will be red, white and blue.  These will be cool if this is it, but if Topps keeps revisiting this idea year after year then people will tired of these as quickly as they have plain white swatches and sticker autos.

Topps Attax looks like it replaces Topps Town.  If these cards look as good as the inserts in Opening Day then this is a huge upgrade.  Heck, it’s a huge upgrade even if it’s only the gold versions of the inserts that look that way.

Topps 2020 looks like it replaces When They Were Young.  Unless the 2020 design that they come up with is really sharp, I don’t see this as being a popular insert set.

I don’t see myself putting together any of the insert sets other than Turkey Red, but I’ll be buying a jumbo box right when they are released.  Maybe I’ll be lucky and 2 out of 3 of my hits won’t be Yankees next time around.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

State of the blog

The power is currently disconnected up on the third floor for this part of the construction so I'm posting from my wife's computer (and finishing up at work). That means no scanner, no Windows Live Writer to compose my posts and none of the files on my computer. All of the insulation is up, they've started framing one section of the new wall and will hopefully have the room finished by the end of the week. I can't wait.

I will also have some great news concerning the blog to share by the end of the week. Part of this news is dependent on my having access to my scanner, but that should be the case by the time I'm ready to share this news.

Also, I had an idea for a group break that I wanted to throw out there and see if people were interested. It's just in the planning stages for now, but I wanted to see what people thought and maybe get some input for fine-tuning it.

The break would be a case of 2006 Upper Deck Future Stars and 2007 Future Stars. These sets are loaded with great autographs. Unfortunately, they're sticker autos, but by focusing on young players, Upper Deck was able to get a lot of great names into these sets.

As far as the autographs go, the break would be hit based. With 30 slots, each slot would get 4 autos. There might be one extra hit in each case if the multiple signature case hits don't count as one of the 4 hits in the box it comes in. For the base cards, people would be able to pick their teams. If more than one person selects a team, the team will be assigned randomly amongst those who selected it. The selected teams would also apply to the numbered parallels. World Baseball Classic cards from the 2006 set would be randomly distributed since not all of the players are on MLB teams.

Since these are small sets, there will be a lot of copies of each card pulled from the cases. You can choose to have all of the base cards, one of each or none sent to you. Any cards not sent out will either be given away on the site or donated.

Based on the regular retail prices of the cases, supplies and shipping it looks like slots would be around $45 a slot, but I'm hoping that we'd be able to get a decent discount on the cases to bring that slot price down even more. Even at that price, you're paying a little less than the cost of a box and will be getting the same amount of autographs, but will also be getting all of the cards of your team from the two sets. There will also be an opportunity to trade autographs before they are sent out to increase the chances of getting cards that you'll keep in your collection.

So, let me know what you think. Is there no interest in these sets? Would it be better to break two boxes of 2006 which I think has a slightly better autograph checklist? Would a one case, 2 hit, $25 break be more desirable? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What is Upper Deck up to?

I’m not quite sure what Upper Deck is thinking.  After all, they were the ones who started this exclusivity thing back when they signed a deal making them the only company able to produce cards licensed by the National Hockey League.  It didn’t seem like such a good idea once other exclusive deals meant that Upper Deck would no longer be able to produce licensed cards of Major League Baseball or National Basketball Association players.

I’m puzzled why Upper Deck took the course of action that they did with their 2010 baseball sets.  If they really knew their diehard fan base, they would have focused on a sharp looking, well designed set that only included on-card autographs of the hottest rookies and big stars.  No autographs that leave you wondering why they were included.  They could still do the great patch cards that they are known for because I doubt that a partial logo would violate the exclusive deal between Topps and MLB.

High end collectors would have been all over a set such as that one, but it would have required a lot of work by Upper Deck.  They could have had their own photo shoots to get pictures without logos or they could have airbrushed them out of existing photos.  Upper Deck arrogantly decided that they didn’t have to do either.  They decided that they would use the same pictures that they’ve been using all along and if necessary they’d have their day in court.  The only change that they’ve made on their 2010 cards is that team names aren’t listed on the front of the card.  What’s even stranger is that they don’t take the logos off of the cards, but they spend time photoshopping different variations of cards for a contest.

In spite of all of that.  In spite of the fact that Upper Deck counterfeited thousands of YuGiOh cards.  In spite of the fact that some believe that Upper Deck did the same with the 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. RC.   In spite of the fact that Upper Deck has been caught using forged autographs in products.  In spite of all of that and every other transgression Upper Deck has committed, part of me is rooting for Upper Deck to win its case against Major League Baseball.  Not for the good of Upper Deck, but for the good of the collectors.

How can Upper Deck winning this lawsuit be good for collectors?  Hopefully, it would lead to the end of exclusive deals for card companies.  I can’t be the only card collector who doesn’t care for anything that Panini has released for basketball this year.  Many people would love to see Donruss return to Major League Baseball cards.  Hockey fans would love to have another option out there besides Upper Deck hockey cards.

Instead of taking this route, I wish that Upper Deck had played by the rules, produced the same great looking high end cards that they just released and kept the logos off of them.  The product still would have sold well and they could have thumbed their noses at the Topps exclusive.  If Upper Deck played by the rules and still sold a ton of cards, how much is that exclusive deal really worth?  That could lead to card companies rethinking whether or not it’s wise to pay so much money for these exclusive deals.  Instead, Upper Deck is showing that it is a valuable deal because they felt that they couldn’t release cards without team logos on them.

It’ll be interesting to see how all of this plays out.  With the position that Upper Deck has taken in regards to the logos on cards, they either believe that they can win the court battle against Major League Baseball or will do what they want and just don’t care about the consequences.  After reading the brief by Upper Deck, it clearly seems like they think they can win this legal battle.  Whether or not that will be the case will be determined in a couple of months.

At the very least, Upper Deck has taken a hit in customer confidence and trust.  Some of their recent patch cards look a little too good to be true and have many people questioning them.  Collectors are suspicious in light of the counterfeiting of YuGiOh cards.  With the future of the company at risk, good luck to anyone with outstanding redemption cards.  (Has Upper Deck shipped any of the Goodwin Etymology cards yet?)

I’m of the mindset that this is Upper Deck’s last hurrah.  They don’t think that they’ll be able to survive after the Konami lawsuit with only the NFL and NHL licenses to work with.  If they can’t win this lawsuit and continue to produce baseball cards the way that they want to, they aren’t going to be able to raise the kind of revenue that they need to survive.  The jumbo swatches in Ultimate make it look to me like Upper Deck is clearing out their relic inventory.  The ugly, non-design of the 2010 flagship set shows that they were just trying to rush the product out there before those first three 2010 releases caught the attention of Major League Baseball.  Upper Deck could have easily played by the rules, but the fact that they chose to fight this fight would lead one to believe that it is a fight that Upper Deck needs to win.

A Closer Look: TRISTAR Pursuit


I’ve received some more images from the upcoming TRISTAR Pursuit set that I wanted to share.  The first image is the short print image variation of two-sport star D’Vontrey Richardson who was drafted by the Brewers.  The regular card pictures Richardson swinging the bat and this variation has him running with the pigskin.  There are five of these variations within the set.


Here’s an example of one of the inscription cards.  The inscription cards will be very limited with versions numbered to 25, 5 and single copies.  Due largely to Upper Deck, inscriptions have become very popular within the hobby as of late and these unique cards should be very popular with collectors.


Next up is an example from the Full Name Autograph variants.  I know that at times athlete’s signatures can be illegible, but it is easy to see that this signature begins with a V and not a C.  That is because Carter’s full name is Vernon Christopher Carter.  I doubt that you’ll find any other Carter cards which are autographed in this way.  These cards are numbered to 5 and single copies.


I have a feeling that this will be one of the more popular cards in the set.  You’ve got an all-time Braves great on the same card as the potential future of the Braves organization.  It also does a good job of showing the major difference between autographs from players of days gone by and current players.  Dale Murphy’s signature is very clean and legible while Heyward’s looks like “8tu” in cursive.


Last, but not least, here’s one of the triple signature cards featuring Grant Desme, Alexander Colome and Brandon Waring.

There are 6 dual signature cards to be pulled with 2 of them being short prints.  You can find 3 triple signed cards with one of those being a short print.  There are also two quad signed cards with one of those being a short print.

This will be an interesting set when it comes out.  For those only interested in the base set, you can break open a set and sell off the 15 hits or you can see if any prospectors sell off the set cheaply after pulling out the autographs.  For those looking for autographs there are a bunch of different kinds in different levels of rarity.  Should be something for everyone who collects minor league cards.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sell Sheet: TRISTAR Pursuit


TRISTAR kicks off their 2010 release schedule with Pursuit Series 1 which will be released on March 26th.  Pursuit will be a very limited product with only 60 24-box cases produced.  Like every TRISTAR release, all boxes and cases will be individually numbered.  Click on the image of the sell sheet on the left to view a larger version.

So, what do you get in each box of Pursuit?  Each box guarantees 15 hits and those hits break down the following way:

6 Autograph card numbered to 80 or less
4 Parallel cards numbered to 50 or less
3 Short Print Cards
2 Obak ‘10 Short Print Preview Cards

The other 75 cards in the box will be the base set of cards 1 – 75.  For those who enjoy a chase, they can go after the rest of the short printed cards as well as the Obak previews which will each have a variation.


Topps’ exclusive deal with MiLB does mean that no logos will appear in this product, but it looks like TRISTAR did a great job removing them from the cards.  Judging by the cards depicted on the sell sheet, it looks like they chose a lot of pictures where body parts did the obscuring naturally and it leads to nice looking cards.

Whether it be Minor League or TNA sets, something that TRISTAR excels at is fun autograph cards.  This set is no exception.  You’ve got Dual, Triple and Quad autographed cards.  Braves fans will love the Dale Murphy/Jason Heyward dual auto and I’m sure that the Roger/Koby Clemens cards will get plenty of attention as well.  There are also inscribed autograph cards to be found.  Inscriptions are currently the hot thing in the hobby when it comes to autographs and you can find them here.  There are also cards of players signing their First, Middle and Last names.  No tiny little squiggles to be found here.



I leave you with the checklists for the set.  You can find the base set and 8 short print cards on the left and the extensive autograph checklist on the right.  The Obak Preview checklist can be found on the TRISTAR website.  The highlights of that set are autograph cards of Jason Heyward and Kyle Drabek numbered to 10 copies.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I love that one card can finish at this price and then 5 hours later it can finish at this price and become a part of my collection. These cards are beautiful manufactured or not.

Construction is set to start today. I'm running on just two hours sleep, but I got everything ready. When this is done I can do a little cyber construction.

Press Release: Topps Million Card Giveaway


Rare ‘52 Mantle Rookie is Among One Million Original Vintage Cards Available in Topps’ First Exclusive Product

New York, NY, February 16, 2010 — The Topps Company, the leading creator and marketer of sports cards and the official baseball card company of Major League Baseball®, today unveiled its first exclusive MLB® product with 2010 Topps Baseball Series 1.  As part of this year’s product release, Topps is truly re-connecting fans of all ages with the original vintage cards that “their mom threw out.” Topps has scoured the vaults and is making available over one million original Topps cards, including EVERY Topps base card produced since 1952 such as rare rookie cards of Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr., as part of this promotion.

Special code cards will be inserted in one out of every six packs of 2010 Topps Baseball Series 1*. Fans can then enter the code online ( and receive an original vintage Topps card.  The year-long program also includes 2010 Topps Baseball Series 2 and 2010 Topps Updates and Highlights and each code redeemed will allow that fan to vie for the opportunity to win a 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie card worth over $20,000.

This year’s 2010 Topps Baseball Series 1 leads off the MLB® season with a celebratory anthology of baseball’s past, present, and future, with 330 base cards, exclusive autograph, cut signature, relic, sketch, and insert cards including:

  • The History of the Game – The history of baseball through photography, spotlighting: famous venues, locations, stars and legendary moments;
  • Tales of the Game – Commemorating baseball apocrypha, such as: Eddie Gaedel, pine tar incident;
  • Hall of Fame Buybacks– Original Topps cards of Hall of Famers such as Mickey Mantle and Jackie Robinson;
  • Legendary Lineage – Dual player cards link a current star with a past legend;
  • When They Were Young – Featuring photos of current MLB stars as Little League, high school, or college players.

“It’s truly thrilling to unveil Topps 2010 Baseball, our first exclusive product as the official baseball card company of Major League Baseball®,” said Warren Friss, Topps V.P. –General Manager.  “Topps’ million card giveaway is our way of giving back to our fans by allowing them to get back the cards they collected as kids.”

This is Topps’ first exclusive product since they announced a multi-year licensing deal in 2009 to become the official baseball card of Major League Baseball®.  Topps has exclusivity on MLB®, Jewel Event and Club trademarks, logos and other intellectual property, for use on baseball cards, stickers and certain other product categories featuring MLB® players.

In August 2009, Topps became the first exclusive baseball card company of MLB® in nearly 30 years, as the company looks to expand its ongoing efforts to invigorate the category, continue launching ground-breaking products, improve the retail and collecting experience and make cards more relevant to children.

As part of the iconic company’s plans to expand into the digital space, and to strengthen its connection with kids, Topps unveiled a multitude of new and innovative products over the past two years including, Topps Attax, a new trading card game,, an online sports community developed just for kids and Topps 3D Live trading cards, the first augmented reality consumer product that brings your favorite MLB® players to digital life. 

Packs of 2010 Topps Baseball Series 1 are now available in local retailers and hobby shops for $1.99.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Completed my first Topps Million Trade

I traded away my 1987 Wade Boggs for a 1983 Dwight Evans.  I’ve already got the Dewey, but I just wanted to make a trade on the site.  I wouldn’t pay to have the Boggs shipped to me, but I would pay to have the Dewey shipped.  Now I’m curious as to what happens when someone makes an offer for a card that you own.  Does it send an e-mail?  This offer was accepted fairly quickly so I’ve got to assume so.  I’m hoping that I can trade some of my other 87 cards for Evans or Hrbek cards just for the heck of it.

Cards I Should Throw Away a Second Time?

It’s the moment of truth.  I’m going to enter my 10 Topps cards to see if I get something worth shipping to me or if these are cards that I should have some mom throw out again.  I’m not feeling too confident since the recent cards awarded all seem to be 1997 Topps.  I’ve already got plenty of those and don’t want anymore.

Card 1

1985 Jeff Jones.  Can’t say that I’ve ever heard of him.  I’ve also got a bunch of 1985 Topps from buying vending boxes for the Clemens, McGwire and Puckett cards.  Disappointing start so far.

Card 2

1987 Wade Boggs.  I’ve already seen one other person get this card and I haven’t read most of the result posts yet.  Someone should try and trade for all of the 87 Boggs cards that are given away in this promotion.

Card 3

1989 Twins Leaders. Next!

Card 4
1987 Tom Seaver. I guess it could be worse and I could be getting 1987 commons instead of Red Sox Stars, but I could probably pick up a whole set of this stuff for less than what I’d have to pay to have this one card shipped to me.

Card 5
1960 Charlie Neal All-Star Selection.  This is more like it.  Very happy with this card.

Card 6

1963 Bob Scheffing. Nice!  Another vintage card.  Don’t care who is on the card, getting something from 1963 in this is great.

Card 7

1962 Chuck Hiller. Three vintage cards in a row all from different years.  Can’t complain about these last three cards at all.

Card 8
2002 Mike Darr. Hated it.

Card 9

1974 Denny Doyle. 4 out of 9 vintage cards is nice.  Will I be lucky enough to go 50% on the vintage cards?  Drumroll please…

Card 10

1987 Robin Yount. It looks like they’ve loaded this thing with stars from the 1987 set.  I’d much rather get 10 older commons than more 1987 kindling.

Final thoughts.  It looks like there will be 4 of 10 cards that I may get delivered to me depending on the costs.  I’ll see what I can do as far as trading the other six cards.  Maybe I can swap all of them for one other card and upgrade.  Now on to read what some of you have won through this promotion.

Box Break: 2010 Topps Baseball Series 1 Jumbos


I had some overtime on my paycheck, so it was time to order a box of 2010 Topps jumbos.  I love the jumbos and won’t touch the regular hobby boxes as long as these things exist.  I’ve had more luck with the basketball jumbos than I have the baseball jumbos, but my 2009 series 2 jumbo box was pretty loaded.

What’s not to love about jumbo packs?  You get one of each insert in every pack as well as a gold card and a Million Card Giveaway card.  Each box has one Mother real back, black parallel, autograph, relic and hat logo card.  For what some of the hat logo cards are selling for on eBay right now, you can get a jumbo box, sell the hat logo and end up with a lot more cards for a little more than the price of a hobby box.

2010 Topps has a great design.  Yes, the logos are large, but Topps did a great job of making sure that they don’t get in the way of the pictures.  Oh, the pictures.  The pictures in this set are beautiful.  Each time I go through the cards, I find something new that catches my eye (but unfortunately, none of the eye catching things have been a super RedSoxshort printed Abe Lincoln card).

I hate to dwell on the comparisons between Topps and Upper Deck’s flagship sets, but you have to do it.  While Upper Deck’s stadium cards are some of the drabbest, most boring cards that I have ever seen, Topps has some beautiful stadium pictures on their Franchise History cards.  Take this Red Sox card for example, this picture sums things perfectly.  You’ve got the historic Green Monster covered in banners celebrating the 2004 and 2007 World Series victories.  Yes, there are other World Series victories including the first ever, but none of those are as important as the first one after 86 years was.


Then there are cards such as this one.  How old is Randy Johnson these days and he’s still making plays such as this?  Great action shot with the ump in the background looking on to make the call at first base.

I don’t think that the backs of these cards have gotten enough attention at all.  The front and backs have similar designs which is nice.  The gradients look great.  Best of all, full career statistics.  Topps definitely didn’t phone it in on their first set with the exclusive MLB license.


It’s not all great though.  There are a few too many insert sets.  The ToppsTown cards aren’t all that great looking, but if kids like them then I’m fine with them being included.

I pulled silver cards of Lincecum, Mauer, Adrian Gonzalez, Longoria and Miguel Cabrera.  I pulled gold cards of Halladay, Tejada, Vlad, Manny and Ichiro.  I redeemed the codes, but I don’t think that I’ll be putting the set together.


I’m not a fan of the When They Were Young cards at all.  What’s worse is that Topps went and recycled pictures from previous cards.  What am I talking about?  I’ll tell you who I pulled from this set first and then I’ll show a card that most people probably haven’t seen before.  I pulled Little Papi, Little Damon, Little Berken, Little Beckham and Little Wright.  Luckily, these are the cards that are replaced when you get one of the one per box hits so you only end up with 5 of these ridiculous things.

There’s a company out there called Team Baby that makes DVDs for little ones to get them rooting for the team that their parents love.  Back in 2008, Team Baby struck a deal with Topps to include special cards in the DVDs of a player as a child.  The Red Sox DVDs contained David Ortiz, Mets DVDs had David Wright, Yankees DVDs had Johnny Damon and Dodgers DVDs had Russell Martin.  I haven’t seen the other cards from the DVDs, but I’m guessing that they have the same pictures that are in the When They Were Young insert set.

My daughter was given the Red Sox Team Baby DVD, but it came with a 10 card set of cards based on the 2008 design.  The cards were navy blue instead of white and the team name was in the Red Sox font.  They’re nice looking cards and show that the 2008 design was close to being a really nice one.


I’m not a huge fan of the History of the Game cards either.  This is something that I’d buy as a complete set, but not something that I’d chase to complete.  I do like the fact that I got a card of the first World Series with a picture of the old Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds.  These days you’ll find Northeastern University on those grounds, but there is a nice statue of Cy Young where the mound used to be.  I pulled cards 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 14, 23 and 24.


These cards are sort of blah and the relic versions aren’t all that better.  Players have holes cut in their legs and crotches for the insertion of the relics.  It works better on some cards than others.  My Peak Performers were Lincecum, Braun, Cy Young, Steve Carlton, Morneau, Stargell, Miguel Cabrera, Chipper, Pujols and Pedroia.  I won’t be chasing this set either.  There just isn’t anything appealing about this set to make me chase it.


Now this set is more fun and has more character to it.  These Tales of the Game capture some of the great things that make this sport so fun.  Everyone has seen Carlton Fisk’s game winning home run, but I wish that they had put the actual tale behind this shot on the card.  I’ve written about it before, but there’s a great story about why the camera was on Fisk and not the ball.  Give it a Google and I’m sure you’ll be amused.  I also pulled Pesky’s Pole which is nice.  The Sox later named the left field pole Fisk’s Pole in honor of his 1975 home run.  I also pulled a card of the David Ortiz jersey that was buried under the new Yankee Stadium and one for the Curse of the Bambino that I might have to burn.  I also got cards of Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Josh Hamilton, Ozzie Smith, Prince Fielder and 1952 Topps cards going for a swim.


The Lineage set, like the Peak Performances set, is good for player collectors, but that’s about it.  I’m not quite sure what Yaz and Youk have in common other than last names starting with Y.  Some players are grouped by team, some by position and others by a statistic they excel in.  The set is just all over the place.  I pulled 1, 2, 10, 11, 12, 17, 20, 22, 29 and 30.  I’ll most likely be sending these off in trades except for the Y Sox.


I thought that I would like these cards, but I’m not sure if I’m going to collect them.  I’m still working on the Trading Card History set from 2008 and I like that set more.  The reprints of the vintage cards just don’t look right and it bothers me.  Even the 87 Topps doesn’t look right.  It’s far too light.  My reprints were Aparicio, Mantle, Musial, Robinson, Palmer, Munson, Schmidt, Ozzie, Bo and Ichiro.  My real back card was Ryne Sandberg.


I’m still enjoying the Turkey Reds.  I think it would be nice if Topps could rotate sets though.  Next year bring back Topps Gallery and then the year after that do Cracker Jack.  My Turkey Red cards were of Howard, Tejada, Braun, Mantle, Victor Martinez, Greinke, Holliday, Kinsler, Sandberg and Josh Hamilton.  I still haven’t finished the 2009 Turkey Red set, but I’ll be starting this one as well.


You get 10 gold cards per jumbo box and these are now numbered to 2010.  My gold cards were Tommy Hanson, AL Home Run Leaders (Pena, Teixeira & Bay), Yankees Anthem in the Bronx (A-Rod, Jeter & Cano), Yankees Franchise History, Will Venable, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, Nick Johnson, Asdrubal Cabrera and Mike Gonzalez.  All of these are up for trade as are all of the gold cards that I’ve accumulated over the years.  I want to clear all of these things out to player and team collectors.  So, drop me a line if you’re interested.

My black bordered card was Roy Halladay numbered to 59.  I scanned it, but don’t feel like posting the picture of it.


My relic hit was a Melky Cabrera gray jersey swatch.  Just my luck to pull a Yankees card.  I was hoping to pull something Pedroia related, but my luck wasn’t with me.  I’m so over plain jersey swatches so most of these go right into the trade pile and this is no exception.

Here you can see how Topps just took the regular Peak Performance card and stuck a jersey swatch into it with no regard for the picture behind it.  Most of the pictures seem to be set up with that in mind, but it still doesn’t look all that great.  Does it look any better on the autograph card?  Let’s go find out.


Nope, it doesn’t look any better on the autograph cards.  In fact, since the sticker is larger these cards look even worse.

Aesthetics aside, I’ve wanted a Hanley Ramirez autograph for a while now.  I’ll hold on to this for now, but I’ll definitely have to upgrade to an on-card autograph at some point since this auto goes off of the sticker in 5 or 6 places it seems.  Ugh.  I understand why autograph stickers are used, but I’d rather have fewer autograph cards available and have them all be signed on-card.  Similarly, I’d rather have fewer jersey cards and have them all be something special.  If it’s going to be one color it should be almost the full size of the card and it should be autographed.


Another Yankee?  It figures.  The insert set that prominently features team logos gives me the middle finger.  Ruth seems to be one of the most popular players in this insert set even though he has two or three different cards.

I definitely need to pick up one of the Red Sox cards in this set.  I’ve checked out a few on eBay and those are just beautiful cards.

The only other thing is the Million Card Giveaway cards.  I got a set of 1 – 10 in my box and will attempt to redeem my codes tomorrow evening when I get home from work.  I’m hoping for something from the 70s or later even if they’re commons.  I’m also curious to see what kind of condition these cards are in.

So, that’s everything.  Even though I’m not a huge fan of a few of the insert sets, I still like this year’s set a lot.  I got a full set out of the box which is a big deal for me.  It’s worth buying the jumbos to not have to chase the set.  I’ve got plenty of trade fodder and can hopefully transform it into something nice to add to my collection.

On the strength of the great design, photos and variety of inserts this set gets an A- from me.  As usual, the jumbo boxes get an A+ in value.  MY box in particular would rate a B.  I got some nice Red Sox inserts, but two of my three big “hits” were Yankees cards.  The Ruth card is still a great pull regardless of the team.

Best of all, I think that I’m finally up to date on new boxes of sports cards that I wanted to buy.  Now I can bounce around a little bit.  I’ve been wanting to check out stuff like the late 90s Score Red Sox boxes and older Finest baseball and basketball boxes than can be picked up cheaply.  I do have one more box break waiting to be posted though and hopefully I can get that up tomorrow… er, later on today.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Once the dust (and wrappers) have settled…


There’s just something Zen about sorting out cards from a box break to put a set together.  Here, I’ve got my stacks sorted by hundreds at the far edge of the table and the first 99 cards sorted by tens closest to me.  I’ve blurred out the hits so as not to spoil the box break which will probably be posted in about a week at this rate.

The good news is that the work that I want to have done up on the third floor will start next week.  The bad news is that I’m going to have to temporarily pack everything away once again.  After that, I’ll finally be able to set up everything how I want it and get my collectibles out on display.

I’ve got some other things planned for the blog as well, but I may not have the time to get around to them in the near future.  I’m excited about it though.

Back to sorting!

P.S. Forgot to mention how much I like the backs of 2010 Topps.  I like the repeated curve from the front and the gradients.  Good stuff.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Panini Adrenalyn


Panini to Distribute Four Million Adrenalyn Packs and 2.5 Million Game Boards to Kids through the Remainder of the NBA Season

Cyan Magenta Yellow Black ARLINGTON, Texas (Feb. 11, 2010) – Panini America (, a subsidiary of The Panini Group, the leading global publisher of sports and entertainment collectables, will launch a new NBA-themed interactive trading card game – Adrenalyn – with an event at the Bailey Junior High School in Arlington, Texas. Dallas Mavericks Guards J.J. Barea and Rodrigue Beaubois will participate in the event along with multi-platinum singer Brian McKnight as part of NBA All-Star 2010.

Adrenalyn is an interactive trading card game, geared to children ages 6 to 11, that brings together the excitement of the NBA with the thrill of collecting a 450-card set featuring NBA stars Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade and NBA rookies Tyreke Evans, Blake Griffin, and Brandon Jennings, among many others.

The front of each Adrenalyn card features an offensive, defensive, and overall rating so kids can play the game using the Adrenalyn game board. The unique authorization code on the back of each card allows kids to upload their cards online to a virtual collector’s album and play the game at, a safe and secure site. Adrenalyn cards, collector’s kits and starter sets are available at all major retail stores including Wal-Mart, Target, Toys “R” Us, Kmart, and The Dollar Store, and online at and at the NBA Store in New York City.

“I’m really excited about Panini and Adrenalyn.  We both share a vision about how we can bring energy back into the trading card category, and Panini has a great strategy to do that.” said Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers guard.

During NBA All-Star 2010 in North Texas, Panini will distribute one million packs of Adrenalyn cards at various NBA events, including NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas, the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam, and various NBA Cares events throughout the week, as well as to the record crowd on hand at the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. The day of the All-Star Game, Sunday, Feb. 14, the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram will distribute more than 250,000 packs of Adrenalyn cards.

Panini will distribute four million Adrenalyn trading card packs and 2.5 million game boards to introduce the interactive game to kids across the country throughout the remainder of the NBA season.  Distribution will take place through a multifaceted program that includes newspaper insert activations, Adrenalyn Nights at NBA games and a multi-city Adrenalyn Tour that will visit retail locations, high-traffic areas, NBA arenas and youth sports organizations.  An integrated advertising campaign geared toward kids, which will include TV, print, radio, online and viral campaigns featuring NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant, will support the Adrenalyn product.

“We believe the best way to introduce this exciting new product to kids is to get it in their hands. No one in the card industry has ever supported a new product to this level with this amount of sampling,” said Mark Warsop, Chief Executive Officer of Panini America. “The Adrenalyn game is a fun, engaging game that we believe kids will enjoy because it brings the collecting experience online.”

Kobe-Adrenalyn TruckThe Adrenalyn Tour will begin in North Texas during NBA All-Star 2010 and visit 13-NBA markets, culminating with a series of events in Los Angeles at the end of the NBA regular season.  The Tour, anchored with a rock star-style Tour Bus, includes an NBA regulation-size half-court for kids to participate in basketball clinics with NBA players and basketball-related skills contests to help promote participation in the sport. There is also an interactive gaming area and trading card area where kids can learn how to play the game. To learn more about the tour and event stops, watch videos, and view photos from each tour stop, visit

Adrenalyn Tour Dates:

February 11-14 NBA All-Star 2010, North Texas
February 16-20 Houston, TX
February 22-24 Dallas, TX
February 26-March 1 Atlanta, GA
March 3-5 Miami, FL
March 7-9 New York, NY
March 11-12 Boston, MA
March 13-14 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield, MA
March 15-16 Secaucus, NJ
March 19-21 Indianapolis, IN
March 22-25 Milwaukee, WI
March 26-29 Minneapolis, MN
April 1-3 Sacramento, CA
April 9-18 Los Angeles, CA

My take: This seems like a fun game for the intended age group, but I don’t think that many people outside of that age group will play it.  I’ve tried out the online version a couple of times and I see glaring problem and that is that it doesn’t have any type of limits.  Once you get the 5 best cards in the game, you aren’t going to be beat.

That being said, these are my favorite cards that I’ve seen from Panini yet.  They look nicer than the flagship set and aren’t as busy as a lot of the high end sets.  As a parent, anything that combines sports and learning is something that I’ll give a try.  My daughter is a little young for comparing numbers up to 100, but she’d love to have her own cards of KG, Big Baby and Paul Pierce since she sees them on TV all of the time.  I’ll be taking her to the tour date to check out the game and see if she likes it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mailday: Dude, where’s my cards?


Dude, Lost is back on the air and I couldn’t be happier.  I’m a full fledged Lost fanatic and really get into all of the mythology and details of the show.  My favorite character on the show is Hurley.  So, when I saw that Rittenhouse Achieves was offering this Hurley promo for free with SASE, I had to have it.  Their recently released Lost Seasons 1 – 5 set looks pretty good.  I definitely think that I’ll be busting open a box of that in the near future, but first I’m going to get myself a box of 2010 Topps Jumbos.

PivenI  Sticking to the non-sports department, here’s another Jeremy Piven letter to the phrase “Hug It Out.”  It doesn’t look like many people are breaking Icons anymore since I don’t see many of the Hrbek or Piven cards that I’m looking for.  Looks like I should have jumped on that one H from the Hrbek set that showed up on eBay, but it went for about four times what all of the other letters were going for.


This was a great lot that I won on eBay.  The cards themselves only cost .99¢ and shipping was the usual $3.  Now I’ve got a Pierce for the set and will need to pick up another one for my player collection.  I’ll keep plugging away on this set as I find cards that I need at great prices.

This is another sweet lot that I picked up on eBay.  I picked up the base, refractor and Xfractor cards from 2005-06 Finest.  I like the design of this set and all three of these cards are sharp looking.  The refractor is numbered to 349 and the Xfractor is numbered to 139.


I also added another Big Baby autograph to the collection.  As long as he’s coming off of the bench, his cards will probably be available cheaply, but I think that’ll change in a couple of years when there’s no longer a Big Three in Boston.

Davis was a big factor in the Celtics’ last win over the Nets.  There’s no way that the game should have been as close as it was, but the Celtics were without Paul Pierce and still don’t have Garnett at 100%.  The game finally turned around in the 4th quarter with the bench players in the game.  Davis played some tough defense on Brook Lopez and had some huge offensive rebounds that allowed the Celtics to pull away behind the hot shooting of Eddie House.  Oh yeah, he also scored in double digits off of the bench.


Here’s a jumbo swatch from a Mike Piazza Padres jersey.  I didn’t have any Padres relics of Piazza so I figured that I would pick this one up.  Since this isn’t a sick mojo patch, I think that I’m safe in trusting Upper Deck when they say that this is accurate.  Pot shots at Upper Deck aside, this is a nice looking card with a fairly low serial number.


I wouldn’t have known that this card existed if I didn’t have an eBay search set up for Fenway Stamp.  There were some items made with this stamp’s image on it that I was interested in as well as the Dwight Evans Leaf Century Collection autographed card with the Fenway Stamp.

This is a nice looking card featuring an actual stamp and not something manufactured on  The low numbering and high number of Red Sox fans made this cost a little more than I would have liked, but at least I didn’t pay the price that the first 2 or 3 of these sold for.


These were two separate lots from the same seller, but the discount on shipping made it worthwhile.  I’ve always liked the oversized Donruss Action All-Stars sets and I thought it would be cool to have unopened packs with Dewey showing on the top.  This set is so small that it is probably easy to find any card in the set showing on top and I’m glad that someone had done so and was now selling those packs.  I’ll keep these sealed in my collection because I already have both of these cards loose.  I may upgrade them if I ever find them in better shape since these are still the original card that I had from when I was younger and these was nothing good for storing cards these size in back then.


This is a card that I had been chasing for a little while now and when you look at it you can see why.  This is a great looking card that leaves plenty of room for Evans’ beautiful signature.  I have a lot of Dewey autographs including two that I’ve gotten in person and this one is my favorite that I didn’t obtain in person.  I could do without the silver TeamTopps Legends stamp, but that’s about the only downside to this card.

I couple of these cards sold for more than what I wanted to pay.  The strange thing was that I was willing to go a little higher on this card when it was listed, but I ended up not having to.  Sometimes being patient can pay off.  That’s important when you’re collecting on a budget.  If this card never came down to a price that I was comfortable paying, then I just wouldn’t have the card in my collection, but I’m glad that it did.