Friday, February 29, 2008

2008 Topps Heritage

No one has posted a pack today on A Pack A Day, and I figured I'd better jump in so we live up to our name. I'm worn out, my tooth hurts from a dentist's appointment (the damn thing sure didn't hurt this morning) and quite frankly I don't feel like thinking up something witty about cardboard right now. I'm going to swipe a pack from one of my box break posts and recycle it.

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

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

Yeah I know. It's lame and cheap and a total gyp. Too bad. I'm tired.

Ain't it a crying shame?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

It Came From the 25 Cent Rack: 1992 Score Series 1

The other day I stopped into my local hobby store for my weekly fix of Trading Card History. I still have a hard time walking out of there with just a single card or two, so I grabbed a couple packs of 1992 Score Series 1 from the dollar rack. At least I thought it was a dollar rack; the packs rang up as 25 cents each! That's what I'm talking about. Unfortunately the rest of the selection wasn't as desirable...1989 and 1993 Topps (which I've nearly completed), and the horrors of 1991 Fleer. But maybe I'll get more of these later. You can never go wrong with Score...

Pack 1
120 Danny Jackson - I remember him fondly from the 1993 Phillies.
125 Hal Morris
140 Chris Nabholz
145 Danny Tartabull - While researching for my website, I found an awesome Johnny Oates quote about how the Orioles would deal with Tartabull in an upcoming series back in 1991:

"I'm going to find out what his room number is and call the hotel and say, 'Cancel my wakeup call'. Then I'm going to call the cab companies and tell them not to have any taxis in front of the hotel; we'll make him walk to the ball park. Then I'll tell security not to let him in without and ID. Then I'll tell Freddy (Tyler, the clubhouse man) to burn his uniform, and if he still makes it, I'll walk him."

As you may have guessed, Tartabull hit .523 (23 for 44!) with five home runs in 1991. On with the back...

365 Brady Anderson - Hey, nice! Pictured bunting, because he was a terrible hitter in those days.

380 Jose DeJesus
385 Tom Henke
400 Chito Martinez Rookie Prospect - Oh, the Orioles' road to ruin was littered with "rookie prospects". I can't believe he hit 33 home runs between Rochester and Baltimore in 1991.
275 Steve Howe - Score takes the high road, referring to a "personal problem" as the reason for Steve's absence from the majors.
280 Don Slaught
272 Gene Larkin
277 Mark Lee - A former O's reliever and an astoundingly ugly man.

110 Kal Daniels
2 Nolan Ryan - A 25-year stat line and they still squeezed in one line about his seventh no-hitter in the previous season. Now that's dedication by the copy writers.
18 Terry Pendleton
22 Chuck Crim

Pack 2
195 Eddie Murray - What a way to kick off the pack!

210 Luis Gonzalez - He's the only player in either pack who's still active.
215 Brian Harper
120 Danny Jackson - A double? Boo.
372 Lee Stevens - At least it's not a run of doubles.
388 Rafael Ramirez
392 Dean Palmer
408 Gino Minutelli Rookie Prospect - Winner of the "Who the heck?" award for this pack.
239 Dave Gallagher - I didn't even remember him playing for the Angels.
236 Kurt Stillwell
233 Atlee Hammaker
238 Tim Crews - Second deceased player in two packs. For a set that's less than twenty years old, that's pretty sobering.
22 Chuck Crim - Another dupe, bah.
38 Mike LaValliere - Alright, it's Spanky!

42 Rick Aguilera
58 Jeff Reardon - And we close things out with back-to-back bearded closers. They both pitched for the Mets, Twins, and Red Sox in their careers.

You Guys Wanna Play Baseball?

I do.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

2008 Topps Heritage

It's heeeere... released the first day of Spring Training games too. Oh what a beautiful day.

238 Jim Thome
275 Anibal Sanchez
366 Baseball Thrills - A-Rod hits 500th home run
358 Hideki Okajima
394 Ryan Spilborghs
126 Dan Giese
488 Carlos Guillen All Star
264 black Shannon Stewart

The first card from the first pack - Jim Thome. Over/under for Steve's first White Sox card from a Heritage pack - the sixth card from the 47th pack. Place your wagers. The cards look great, but Topps still insists on computer fuzzing some of the pictures to give it a "Retro" feel. Hey Topps, you inserted an original 1959 card in my box. The picture quality was just as good as the unfuzzed cards in the set. The computer crap does not look good nor is it necessary. STOP DOING IT.

Yet on the "Baseball Thrills" cards where the originals were art drawings of the events, you use no fuzz. Guuuuh. This ends the nitpicky portion of our program.

The Rookie subset looks great though. However, I have never heard of Dan Geezy even once in in my entire life.

The All-Star cards look just like the originals too, down to the cartoon on the back. The ones I got have black backs, which is confusing since Topps put in a black back stealth insert. My one question is if this was the absolute best picture Topps could find of Carlos Guillen, why didn't they just make Derek Jeter the AL All-Star shortstop and be done with it?

Oh, and if you haven't heard about the stealth black back parallels, this is what they look like:

Basically the same as the regular cards, just with black ink instead of green. Ok, I need to rip the rest of this box. And while I'm ripping that box, I'm gonna chew me some gum.

1993 Donruss Triple Play

First off, I must admit that I'm a little miffed about not being given the heads up that this was indeed Profanity-Laced Tirade Week. Here's my favorite. Lee Elia is awesome. (The video header is a bit misleading. This wasn't during a press conference. There was actually a reporter in the locker room secretly taping this, so Elia was probably operating under the belief that everything was off the record.)

Anyways, here's a fun pack of cards to rip. (Don't rip the players!)

Let's tear in. (...and PRINT IT!)

Top to Bottom:
26 Action Baseball Game: Twins vs. Angels (Reminds me of a child's Valentine's Day card.)

204 Steve Olin
263 Roger McDowell: Fun at the Ballpark (Nice.)

257 Charlie Hayes
251 Sandy Alomar, Jr.
106 Rick Sutcliffe (Patriotic. Proud. Happy to no longer be a Cub.)

100 Craig Biggio

94 Albert Belle
82 Kirk McCaskill
105 Dave Nied (Ooooh, you just got your s*** traded [expanded] from the Braves to the Rockies. Hope you have a good 15 years in that arm, 'cause that's how long it'll take to get back to the playoffs.)

111 Dean Palmer
92 Mickey Tettleton
98 Juan Bell

Grade: B
Biggio has turned into one of those guys who makes you somewhat happy anytime you get one of his cards. His presence in any pack raises it half a grade.
The McDowell is obviously the highlight of the pack. The back is even more bizarre. Just what exactly is he trying to show us? Bullfrog cheeks?
Dangly earrings?

Quote of the day:
"...a whole shoebox full of 'em...dangly ones."

Name the movie. If you know this one, you are awesome.

1983 Donruss Action All Stars

I was going to rip the pack break to coincide with Wax Heaven's tribute to Oddball cards, but I was a little slow. Go check out the post and the site if you enjoy these old goofy cards. This is a pack I've been saving for a while, it's got two of my favorite players showing on the front and back. Rickey Henderson (as you can see and Braves slugger Bob Horner. There's 4 more cards and a Mickey Mantle puzzle card in there too so lets crack it open and see if there's some more good stuff in there.

22 Rickey Henderson - Pretty Rickey. The first card I ever pulled of him was from 1981 Topps. The photo they used was awful (even for '81 Topps) so I didn't like the card and I traded it away for bupkis. When I found out just how good Rickey was I was horrified and I've lovingly hoarded all his cards I can find ever since.

16 Hal McRae - How can such a happy smiley person have such an epic freakout? You wonder if he just put a beatdown on someone with that bat he's holding.

50 Lance Parrish - Dammit Lance, you're an All-Star! Be happy like Hal! On the back it even says "Has pretty well established himself as the no. 1 catcher in the AL". Ahem.

Mickey Mantle Puzzle 46, 47, 48 - This is the only place you can find the Mantle Puzzle from Donruss, and unlike most of Donruss' other cello packs they hid the puzzle piece in the center so you couldn't cherry pick your way to a set. The completed puzzle is actually worth about twice as much as the set according to my price guide. I was lucky enough to pull the Mick's ass and armpit from this pack.

58 Gary Carter - I've never liked Gary and I never will. At least he's in an Expos uniform. He looks like someone just ripped a deadly one too. Whoever smelt it dealt it, Gary.

52 Cal Ripken Jr. - Now that's the ticket! Second year Cal Ripken, the All Star with those pretty eyes that wouldn't necessarily make manly men switch teams, but they'd think about it a little bit. Cal's beautiful baby blues are gazing at his action shot while wondering why the hell Donruss chose a photo of him fouling a ball he obviously got totally fooled on off his ankle.

46 Bob Horner - My absolute favorite hitter growing up. Everyone else loved Murph, but I was a Horner fan. Dude could knock the crap out of the ball ever since jumping to the majors from Arizona State. The back of his card lists 'video games' as a hobby. Why, *I* like video games too! We're like brothers or something. If he only had just one good knee... Just ONE. Damn. Barry would still be chasing his record right now.

There's your in-depth look at an '83 Donruss Action All-Stars pack. Wasn't it beautiful? Now go out and build your own set so you too can stare deeply into Cal Ripken's eyes.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Let's Rip Some More 2006 Topps Series Two

I'm trying to deny the urge to pick up a box of 2008 Topps Heritage. You're killing me, guys. At least wait a month before picking my pocket again! Anyhow, here's my second pack from the 2006 Jumbo box.

521 Jose Cruz, Jr.
593 Sam Perlozzo MGR - Poor schmuck.
410 Miguel Cabrera
345 Andruw Jones
440 Scott Kazmir
336 Ted Lilly
393 Brian Schneider
637 Conor Jackson RC
391 Casey Blake GOLD 1176/2006 - It's nice to get back to a set that doesn't have lame red back or gold foil parallels. The gold cards actually look different enough and are scarce enough that they mean something.
SC-RS Roger Sherman US Constitution - Heh, he was featured in 1776, a damned entertaining musical.
378 Tony Clark
361 Chad Cordero - This is a great shot of the Chief directing traffic on a popup. In general, the photography in this set is much better than 2008 Topps, I have to admit. 2008 is mostly generic mid-range action shots.

353 Claudio Vargas
459 Mark Hendrickson - This guy used to kill the O's.
595 Terry Francona
539 Juan Rincon
508 Danny Haren
530 Carlos Guillen
512 Eric Milton - One of the rare ex-Maryland Terps to play in the majors. Given his ERA and home run rates, I guess there's a reason for that.
526 Ryan Wagner
450 Derrek Lee
419 Omar Vizquel
Checklist 2 of 3
MHR41 Mickey Mantle Home Run History #41
348 Reggie Sanders - The drawing on the back of a player straining to pack his suitcase sums up Reggie's career quite well.

447 Jacque Jones
424 Tony Womack - When I say "Wo", you say "Mack"...
504 Phil Nevin
643 Willie Eyre RC
532 Scot Shields
416 Roberto Hernandez - Speaking of guys who have been around forever and played for everyone.

426 Dustin McGowan
607 Cubs Team Card
647 Twin Fundamentals: Rondell white and Lew Ford - Twin Fundamentals? That's a stretch.
603 Mets Team Card
606 Astros Team Card

Monday, February 25, 2008

2003 Upper Deck Victory

Last week I shared a bunch of stuff a reader from England sent to me. As a break from our ongoing pack war, I've decided to post the first of these packs.

It goes by the name of Upper Deck Victory, though I'm not entirely sure the Bicycle Playing Card Co. didn't have a hand in their manufacture.

Let's tear in.

Top to Bottom:
68 Bobby Abreu

47 Jacque Jones
4 Darrin Erstad
53 Roberto Alomar

152 Eric Chavez Laying it on the Line
12 Gary Sheffield (Green Parallel?)

Information Play Card

Grade: B
Doubling as a strategy game has not historically been kind to card makers, but every once in a while an attempt is made. I showed the back of the Alomar card, so you can see this game probably isn't too complicated. But let's face it: The century-plus of baseball's existence has produced a number of great, time-honored sim games, so there's not really a need for another. As cards, this pack was fine. Not really any personal favorites in here, but whatever.

What I'd really like to address has to do with yesterday's posting of Panini stickers. In the comments, someone lamented the difficulty of getting new packs.

PACK WAR - 1988 Donruss

Somehow I managed to rally from behind and take last week's battle. A rag tag band of misfits ganged up to destroy the best card in the set. Hey, I ain't complaining. Now it's all tied up, we're both bloody and bruised and facing off mano a mano like two kung fu masters. Of course we're battling 1988 Donruss this week so it will likely end up more like this:

Campaign 5: 1988 Donruss

Dayf's pack:

Stan Musial Puzzle - 55, 56, 57
BC-21 Don Mattingly - aww yeah, starting off the pack with a Donny Baseball non-insert insert.
320 Kent Hrbek - I've always wanted to get Kent's autograph in person. That way when he's signing the card I can grab his leg and dump him on his ass to see how he likes it.
110 Wally Joyner - Wally!
235 Bill Doran - Wow, another solid 80's minor star with the epic Astro rainbow sleeves. When is this pack going to start sucking?
618 Gene Garber - Gene just doesn't look right in anything but a Braves jersey.
455 Dave Meads - FINALLY. A bum. This is the '88 Donruss I know and love!
20 Mark Langston Diamond King - Dick Perez goodness.
111 Bob Forsch - I didn't know he pitched TWO no hitters...
51 Roger Clemens - there is a 93.7% chance that this card will one day be the guaranteed star card in a TriStar pack.
44 Gary Thurman Rated Rookie - forget the rest of the pack, this card beats Thorzul by himself. Don't believe me? Tell it to Zeus.
67 Ken Oberkfell - w00t, a Brave
601 Jose Mesa - Look at the size of Joe Table's head! It's got it's own weather system! The Jheri curl and unfortunately designed Orioles cap sure aren't helping matters.
185 Luis Aguayo - coming down from the awesomeness
234 Jose Oquendo - Not a bad player for the Cards
582 Rene Gonzales - Another Oriole with the cartoony hat to finish up the pack.

Thorzul's pack:

Stan Musial Puzzle Pieces 13, 14, 15
475 Dave Anderson
474 Joel Skinner
473 Dave Clark (Man, this numbering is getting fishy.
Let's see if #472 is next.)
472 Dave Stewart. (Sho 'nuff. At least it's Stewart.
Whenever I think of Oakland's elephant mascot,
Stewart pops into my head. No Stomper here, but at
least we get an eyeful of that gorgeous green.)

470 Dale Mohorcic. (This is getting ridiculous now.
I swear I didn't just reach into a factory set and
pick a consecutive string of cards. This is an actual
pack, people.)
41 Jody Reed Rated Rookie. (Okay, the string has been

469 Paul Kilgus (Kind of looks like how Will Ferrell
might play a role in a baseball movie. Don't think
this won't happen, people.)

468 Hubie Brooks (I suddenly have an urge for some JELL-O
Pudding Pops

467 Steve Ontiveros
466 Bill Pecota (Ugh, it's happening again.)
465 Andy Allanson
464 Tim Crews
463 Dan Pasqua
462 Oil Can Boyd (WOO-HOO! Sequential numbering has
paid off at last! A guy nicknamed after his ability
to pound beer after beer! That's the way you end a
pack! Big ups to Donruss for not listing him as

Thorzul's Final Thoughts:
1988 Donruss always looked to me like one of those
school photo backgrounds that appealed to white trash
families. You know, the ones with pink and blue
lasers zinging behind the child's head. This set
always bored me, but that was a fun pack to open.

There's the packs now VOTE FOR TEH WINNAR!!!