I've decided to pull the lever for "nay" when it comes to Topps Allen and Ginter this year. That's not to say that I have any disagreeable feelings about the set, but it makes more financial sense to skip a year right now.
That being said, I've gone on to realize the criminality of withholding my visionary commentary from the world for so long, so I picked up a couple of packs. Hopefully, this will go better than the alcoholic who claims he can "stop after two beers tonight."
Upon opening the packs, one tendency really came to light. This third go-round with the A&G format has revealed that the genre of the throwback card has become solidified. We've come to expect certain themes in the set, the same way one might expect Danny Tanner and Uncle Jessie to react a certain way to a predictable situation, say, if someone were to drive a car into their San Francisco row house. We have come to depend upon things like stealth shark inserts and geographical odes. The "I can't believe they made a card of that guy " factor comes into play again, complete with more inanimate objects. With Topps dipping into genre territory, they've come to depend upon an arsenal of stock characters to further their plot. This first pack is full of them.
Let's tear in.
Top to Bottom:
131 Todd Helton
Todd's thick winter fur suggests an ability to survive alone in the wilderness than few possess. Think Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson.
A loner, Helton is as comfortable in the enveloping folds of beaver pelts as he is in the high thread count sheets of a road series hotel. Sheathed knives that end up in the Rockies bat racks contributed to Helton's legend. Why else do you think he plays for the team most remote from all others?
44 Adam Wainwright
Adam has truly flourished after being thrust into extraordinary situations, most notably his relief pitching performance in the 2006 playoffs. He has stepped into every role where he was needed since then with gusto.
Mini BI10 Ty Cobb
The Unpleasant Man
When there are accounts of you stabbing an elevator operator for "acting uppity," this is the title you are saddled with. Cobb's stock history goes back as far as 319 BC, when Theophrastus, a student of Aristotle, outlined his 30 basic character types. Cobb may also have fit into the Repulsive Man or the Offensive Man character types as well.
(Editor's Note: About two weeks ago I tried to watch the Tommy Lee Jones biopic Cobb. When I put the library VHS cassette into the machine, the static overlying the picture made the film unwatchable. Another attempt to screen the film will be made at a later date.)
313 Harriet Beecher Stowe
Hooker with a Heart of Gold (see also, Tart with a Heart)
At first look, Suffragette or Female Abolitionist come to minds of the uninitiated. Heck, it even says Author/Abolitionist on the back. Such labels further prove my genre theory, but Topps got this one wrong. Faulty is the assumption that Stowe was giving it away for free. According to legend, Abraham Lincoln, when meeting Stowe, said, "So you're that little woman who wrote the book (Uncle Tom's Cabin) that made this great war!" Dig a little deeper, and you find that Lincoln later privately remarked, "That Harriet is the best little f--- machine you'll find north of the Mason-Dixon line."
US17 Brandon Webb - Kentucky
The Nice Jock
This stock character is probably typified by Scooby-Doo's Fred. Athletic, nice, and perhaps not too bright. Let's see how well Webb fits these traits.
Athletic: Owns the best sinker in the majors.
Nice: Established the Brandon Webb K Foundation, benefitting at-risk children and their families.
Dumb: Maybe...He is from Kentucky, but this is all conjecture.
128 Golden Gate Bridge
Overzealous Fake Tanner
Not known to most, the GGB was supposed to be a nice, deep, even brown. Then they applied some of what must have been an off-brand bronzer, and...well...you can see how things turned out.
147 James Fenimore Cooper
Follow me on this one. Don't you have to be a little bit of a braggart to write a 480-page novel like The Last of the Mohicans? "Stay alive, no matter what occurs. I will find you." Roll credits. Done.
There you have it, folks.
Thorzul Will Rule