Sunday, November 30, 2008

2008 Upper Deck Timelines retail

2008 Upper Deck Timelines retail [$1.97 each] - retail packs contain six cards as opposed to eight for hobby. I was thinking of picking up the lone blaster box I see of Tristar Projections High Series, but held off during a trip to Walmart.

#6 Hanley Ramirez - base cards were all off-center; it seems like when I find a nice looking product, you find some lack of quality that detracts you from picking up a full box or something that says, 'I love this product' otherwise.

#42 Joe Mauer - the gray borders on the base cards seems so drab.

#24 Matt Holliday - part of the back of the card was scratching off and onto the next card.

#127 Rico Washington 1992 Upper Deck Minor League style - another off-centered card. While it may not show at all, there are scratches on the card. It kind of feels like a 1992 Upper Deck card that has been handled well.

#333 Clayton Kershaw 1993 Upper Deck SP style - there is a tiny nick on the left-hand corner and while the scan might not show it, the card is otherwise sharp looking.

#277 Derek Jeter 2004 Upper Deck Timeless Team style - he is OK.

1984 Topps

I went to a card show last weekend and there was a dearth of packs to buy. On my way out, I decided I absolutely had to buy something to open up, and I settled on 5 packs of 1984 Topps for $5. It was kinda like Subway, minus the annoying commercials and the mediocre sandwiches. Well, there is the 24-year old piece of gum, but that is more of a chemistry experiment at this point.

183 - Al Williams (Classic set here. Team name down the side, inset photo of the player's head and photography that is, at least, a step up from the 70s and early 80s.)
265 - Donnie Hill (Split time between AAA Tacoma and Oakland in his first major league season. I suppose that would make this his rookie card. Is anyone in the market for a Donnie Hill RC?)
424 - Dann Bilardello (I don't understand people that are named Dann, with two Ns. Other famous Dann's: Dann Florek of Law & Order fame, who also played Mr. Slate in the Flintstone's movie... seriously! Well, okay, he's the only famous Dann.)

91 - Dan Spillner (Just a plain old Dan here. Spillner was coming off a 2-9 1983 season where he posted a 5.07 ERA. Man, is this pack crappy or what?)

696 - Pirates Batting & Pitching Leaders / Team Checklist (Finally, actual good players. Kind of.)
374 - Don Money (Don Money had a name for another line of work.)
441 - Bob Lillis (The Astros manager of the time. I liked these manager cards because they listed their major & minor league playing stats on the back. I learned that Bob Lillis played for the Cardinals in 1961 before moving onto the Colt .45's where he'd finish his career.)
142 - Rich Gale (complete with wax stain)

- Topps All-Star Baseball Game Sweepstakes Card (Whew. It's nice to take a break from all the awful baseball players. I'm well on my way to collecting 25 runs and going to the 1985 World Series. Wait... NOOOOOOOOOOO! Curse you, Don Denkinger!!! You make small, impressionable children cry and question everything in life.)
145 - Gary Lavelle (Actually, this guy was a great lefty reliever in looking at his stats on this card. 7 sub-3.00 ERA postings in 10 seasons and a career-to-date 2.82 mark looks really good.)
46 - Ray Smith (Ugh, another part-time player. This pack obviously contained 12 Mattingly rookies and was resealed.)

538 - Kevin Bass (I'm not sure why, but the Astros team name was a bit purple which doesn't really fit with their color scheme. I played for a little league team that was the Astros and liberally used their team's uniform design, so I have always had an appreciation for the 80's Astros unis. This runs contrary to my feelings about all things Houston these days, however.)

749 - Doug Flynn (Doug Flynn was an Expo, and had 452 at-bats in 1983, so he gets an image of his card here. This is the closest I've gotten to a legitimate full-time position player in this pack, so don't question me! Don't mention the fact that was a career .238 hitter, either. I mean, he played with Joe Morgan, right? So he obviously knew the game.)
642 - Tom Underwood ("Tom pitched 6 innings to record Victory, 6-28-83." Why is "Victory" capitalized? No idea. Why is this remarkable? No idea, either. The line on the back of the card could have easily read "Tom is a spot starter who was born in Kokomo, Indiana." and we would all be satisfied.)

757 - Larry Bowa (When Larry Bowa is the "hit" of the pack, you know things aren't so good.)
275 - Len Matuszek (complete with gum stain)

Alright, I've done enough damage here, so I'll leave you all alone. I was planning on opening the rest of the packs on my blog, but I'm a little apprehensive about it after seeing what happened with this one. Well, they don't call this place A Good Pack A Day, do they?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

2008-09 Upper Deck Hockey

Time for another 2008-09 hockey offering. The Upper Deck base set was actually released a few weeks ago. I picked up two hobby packs, 8 cards a pack. Cards 1-200 are base cards, cards 201-250 are Young Guns rookie cards, which I believe are short-printed. Here's the better of the two packs:

#188 - Tobias Enstrom - Atlanta Thrashers - I'm not going to lie, I have absolutely no idea who this guy is...

#142 - Jared Boll - Columbus Blue Jackets

#183 - Manny Fernandez - Boston Bruins - Nice. Manny's been stuck competing with Tim Thomas for ice time, who leads the league in Goals Against Average and has probably been the top goaltender in the Eastern Conference through the first quarter of the season. Still, he's made the best of his opportunities, boasting a 6-1-1 record with a 2.48 GAA.

#165 - Rod Brind'Amour - Carolina Hurricanes - Rod is one of the few remaining players from the era when I began watching hockey. I wonder how much he's got left in the tank?

#8 - Roberto Luongo - Vancouver Canucks - I would love a hockey set containing all horizontal cards like this one. How about it Upper Deck?

#2 - Alexander Semin - Washington Capitals - Despite playing in only 16 games so far this year, Alexander's 13 goals are good for 5th in the league, and he's managed to tally 27 points. If it wasn't for injury this would be your NHL point leader.

#43 - Marc-Andre Fleury - Pittsburgh Penguins - As usual, Upper Deck does not disappoint with the photography on these cards.

#HT9 - Henrik Zetterberg - Detroit Red Wings - Hat Trick Heroes - Alright, I guess Upper Deck has done and insert set to commemorate every hat trick scored last season. This is an instantly forgettable insert set...

These cards are pretty decent, a clean design and good crisp, full-bleed photography. They would look great in a binder, but I won't be putting up $60+ for a hobby box or buying any more 8 cards packs at $3.50 when I can pick up 6 card packs of O-Pee-Chee for less than half that price. I bet you can get the 200 card base set fairly cheap on Ebay...

Friday, November 28, 2008

1990 Donruss Baseball

I've said it before... I love these cards. Maybe because After I moved out of my parents house when I was 18, my Dad used to find excuses to come visit. Like bring over cello packs of these. "I found these at the store... thought you might like them..." he'd say. Thanks Pop. Why don't you come in for awhile? "Well, since I'm here...." and we'd sit and chat for a couple of hours...
Good times.
On with the pack. 1990 Donruss Baseball Cello pack. 37 cards plus 6 puzzle pieces and one cello exclusive Grand Slammer insert. If you haven't read the pack break of these I did over on Waxaholic, you can click here. I still need 21 cards for my set. Damn collation...

First card,
Bobby Bonilla MVP insert - Future Brave!
Dean Palmer - Rangers
Glenn Davis - Astros
Rolondo Roomes - Reds
Checklist - *Yawn*
Marvell Wynne - Cubs
Geaorge Brett - Royals - Alright!
Dave West - Twins
Tom Lawless - Blue Jays
Scott Garrelts - Giants
Paul Assenmacher - Cubs
Puzzle Pieces 46,47,48
Puzzle Pieces 37,38,39
Mark McGwire - Grand Slammer insert..... not once, but twice! Sweet!
Halfway through and still no new cards for my set.... Let's hope for a better second half...

Mike Stanton - Braves!!!!!!!!
Terry Bross - Mets
Larry Sheets - Orioles
Sammy Sosa - White Sox (George Bell??? Really Steve? Really?)
Steve Sax - Diamond Kings
Herm Winningham - Reds
Kevin Tapani - Twins
Jose Nunez - Blue Jays
Greg Briley - Mariners
Scott Coolbaugh - Rangers Rated Rookie - wasn't this guy supposed to be the Second Coming? McGwire, Sosa, Brett, Coolbaugh rookie... this was an awesome pack at the time....
Luis Salazar - Cubs
Keith Miller - Mets
Gary Sheffield - Brewers
Ken Oberkfell - Giants - I remember Ken being a really good player for the Braves. It's funny how the mind can play tricks on you.....
Jay Bell - Pirates
Omar Vizquel - Mariners
Carlton Fisk - MVP insert
Glenn Wilson - Astros
Jeff Brantley - Giants
Mickey Tettleton - Diamond King
Tony Fossas - Brewers
Bob Melvin - Orioles
Dave Bergman - Tigers
Rich Montleone - Angels - YEAH!!!!!
Why the heck am I excited? I need this guy!!! WOOHOOO!!!!!
Mickey Hatcher - Dodgers
That's it? One freakin' card? And only one Brave? Craptastic.
Well, if anyone can help me with my wantlist.... I'd appreciate it. I've got doubles to trade.

2007 Topps '52

While everyone else is out shopping and fighting over slightly discounted iPhones and robotic squirrels (or whatever is the new must-have gadget this year) I'm inside sports that I don't care about and trying to organize stacks of cards that need my attention. He's a pack I got a couple of weeks ago in the Target bargain bin. It's a simple concept: a set full of players that made their major league debut sometime in 2007 with a "heritage" style card stock and using the classic (and incredibly overused) 1952 Topps design. Of course, it's Topps, so they had to mess it up by short-printing cards and creating silly variations. Still, it's Heritage-esque so I had to buy it and try it out.

66 - Jailen Peguero (Buh? It looks like this guy started the 2008 season with the big club, was quickly demoted and then got a call-up when the rosters expanded in September. He'll be 28 next season, so I think I'll hold off on investing in him.)
106 - Eric Stults (Huh? Have I heard of Stults or do I just have another card of his laying around somewhere? He apparently made his debut in 2006, which throws off my unfounded theory about this set a bit. He'll be 29 next season and made 7 starts for the Dodgers last year.)

214 - Kevin Hooper (Beckett tells me this is an SP. Oh thank you, mighty overlords! Hooper looks like he's posing at the park down the street from my apartment. I don't feel like looking him up to find out what he's up to.)
113 - Mike Schultz (Another soon-to-be 29 year old Diamondbacks pitcher. He's pitched exactly 1 inning in his major league career and was AWOL for 2008. I'm starting to turn against this set.)

130 - Tim Lincecum (Alright, fine, Topps. You win. This is apparently the more common variety of Lincecum card from the set.)

163 - Juan Gutierrez (Gutierrez was part of the Jose Valverde deal last offseason and spent the entire 2008 season in AAA for the D-Backs affiliate.)

There was a second pack of these that I've already opened, but I think I'll spare you all the gory details. I need to find the rest of the Cardinals in this set (all I have is Kelvin Jimenez) and put it behind me forever.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

2008 Upper Deck Football Masterpieces Hobby

I splurged last weekend and got a pack of Hobby Football Masterpieces. I spent too much and I probably would have been better off getting Heritage High Series or some Donruss Threads, but I crumbled in a moment of weakness. Didn't do too bad though, let's check it out on this Turkey Day full of terrible, terrible football. All the blowouts you can eat!

56 Kevin Smith

This is my third Kevin Smith card from this set. They are really promoting the hell out of Zach and Miri Make a Porno.

68 Peyton Manning

Got the guy on the wrapper, nifty.

58 Limas Sweed

I don't know who any of these rookies are. This guy sounds like the title character of a Dickens novel.

CC56 Ray Rice Captured on Canvas

Who? It's a pretty purple jersey swatch at least...

8 Brett Favre

Some old drama queen. At least the floating spectre of Vince Lombardi isn't haunting the card.

89 Wes Welker

Eh, another double.

Got a hit of someone I don't know who it is, so that's a good pack right? I did better on my baseball pack. Did I mention I got a baseball pack? Well I did. I might show it off sometime. Or, maybe I might just save it for myself. We'll see.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

2006 Upper Deck Series 2

These damn '06 Upper Deck packs are mandatory inclusions in every repack box nowadays. Either they let the presses run like it was 1990, or everyone ignored them like me. I think it's the latter as Upper Deck started offering meatier packs the following year. I wasn't crazy about this set when it first came out, but it's actually not as bad as I thought it was. Upper Deck's newer offerings are far superior but I don't mind ripping this stuff anymore.

799 J.J. Putz
743 Ryan Franklin
867 Ramon Ortiz
811 John Rodriguez
961 John Koronka RC
558 Rob Mackowiak
671 Lance Carter
II-27 Daisuke Matsuzaka WBC Inaugural Images

What the heck?? There was a Dice-K card in 2006 packs? Then why did we all go gaga over his rookie cards in '07? Ok, it's an insert, and he's playing for Japan, but still. I love these WBC cards and I'm looking forward to the tournament this spring. Bud Selig has done a lot of stupid stuff in his reign as acting commissioner for life, but the Wildcard and the WBC were good ideas. The rest of the pack doesn't have much going for it. I know we all want larger sized sets with more players in them, but when you realize that this 8 card pack originally cost 3 bucks you want a little more than JJ Putz. Upper Deck actually has their base set pretty tight right now, two 400 card series (just over 792!) some highlights cards, some team checklist cards, it's a pretty good set. I'd prefer the team checklists be replaced by league leader cards or some other subset but it doesn't wreck the set. Maybe just save the team checklist cards for the second half and put both series on the back. One per series isn't necessary. Oh wait, this is a 2006 pack rip. Um... Rob Mackowiak's card looks cool. That's all I got. Looking forward to 2009 Upper Deck though...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2004 Topps Traded and Rookies

I ripped a crapton of this product back in 2004. When I saw a"4 packs for $6" repack hanging with that red white and blue wrapper peeking out the front I got it for old times sake. What does it say about the present day when I'm nostalgic for 2004? Let's try not to think about it and drown our sorrows in a good Topps design.

T77 Bill Bray Draft Pick
T24 Andy Pettitte
T88 Erick San Pedro Draft Pick
T109 David Parrish
T56 Tom Gordon Chrome
Checklist Puzzle card 40 of 110
T62 Braden Looper Chrome
T116 Kazuhito Tadano Gold parallel #0903/2004
T172 Paul Bacot First Year
T11 Kelvim Escobar
T15 Billy Wagner

Billy covering first! Now that's a professional. The veterans in this pack ain't too shabby. Wagner, Andy Pettitte, Tom Gordon and Kelvim Escobar are all solid. This is a Traded set though, so no one gives a rat's patootie about the veterans. BRING ON THE ROOKIES

This set has a pretty solid group of rookie, um, first year cards. Felix Hernandez, Phil Hughes, Huston Street, Fausto Carmona, Joel Zumaya, Howie Kendrick, Blake Dewitt (Notice any familiar names from this year and last?) Josh Fields, Homer Bailey. I didn't get any of them though. Here's the rookie/draft pick/first years I did get:

Bill Bray: Solid relief pitcher for the Reds. Relievers are critical in today's game so this is a win even though it's not going to book in any quarterly price guides from an outdated publisher.

Erick San Pedro: Injury prone catching prospect who is bouncing around organizations at an alarming rate. As far as I can tell, he's in the Nationals system right now. Maybe.

Kazuhito Tadano: Somewhat infamous pitcher (Google it yourself) who spent a couple years with the Indians. HE's back in the Japanese league having some success with the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Paul Bacot: Yay! I got a Brave! Boo! He never got past single-A and hasn't pitched since 2005!

Ok, that's enough of that. This is the really cool stuff in the pack. Each pack either had a super thick, puzzle on the front, glossy on the back checklist card, or some stupid relic card. I wanted only the puzzle pieces and even tried to build the set. The problem was when I asked dealers if they had any of these cards because I was building a set of them they gave me a look like I had just asked them the question in Russian and sprouted horns on my head while dancing the Charleston. Naked. The flea market dude found me a nice pile of 'em (I guess he likes my dancing?) but I never got a single one besides them other than in a pack and my set remains sadly unfinished. I don't know if I need this one or not, but I'm afraid to check lest I be tempted to resume the hunt. This card features prominently the name that will go down as this generation's Dick Pole: Jung Bong. Pass that over here, man.

Monday, November 24, 2008

2005 All Star Classics

Shane Diaz of Shoebox Legends sent me this pack along with a John Smoltz patch recently. Shane has sent these packs to me before, I guess he bought a case of 'em one time. This is a really nice set that flew under the radar when it was first released but holds up well. It has a mix of veterans, rookies and legends in the base set the normal bunch of inserts and parallels and of course hits. Memorabilia cards in one per 12 packs and patch cards numbered to 25. A lack of autographs might have ultimately sunk the set. That just means you can pick it up cheap now. Let's open 'er up.

32 Mark Prior

Mark will be 28 next year, hasn't pitched since 2006 and is a free agent. 2009 is a pretty critical year for ol' Mark.

35 Mike Piazza

I don't mind seeing Piazza in a Mets jersey. He was looking kind of odd in those yellow and green A's unis. He'll be a Hall of Famer in 2013.

MSP-IS Ichiro Suzuki Midsummer Patches #03/25

Wha-wha-WHAAAT?? Holy shnikes!

There's six colors on that patch! The only time you see a patch like that is in fake patch reports on forums and blogs. I gotta send Shane something good. This pull was a bit of a shock to me, here is an approximation of my reaction upon seeing this card:

I was way less coherent than Batman though. That would have been a fun one to get on video.

62 Jason Bay

Who cares about Jason Bay? I wanna look at that patch again.

Dayum! that's a nice patch!

91 Lou Brock

I love the legends in this set. Lou's been really underrated since Rickey danced all over his records in the '80s. The guy had 3000 hits, 900 RBIs and scored 1600 runs. He also hit .391 in the World Series with 14 stolen bases. That's clutch right there.

70 Mark Teixeira

Not even moneybags can spoil this pack. What a freaking hit, I've never pulled a patch like that before. It's pretty obviously a bit off the top of their compass logo. I opened this pack last week but I'm still kind of speechless about it. Go click on Shoebox Legends and, um there's no ads to click, so uh, leave a nice comment or send him something for being generous. Or at least try to get him to trade you one of these packs!