Monday, June 30, 2008

2006 Topps Bazooka Baseball

Ahhh...Bazooka. The gum that, on the off chance that you had a few cents left over after buying a couple of packs of cards, you would buy on your weekly trip to the neighborhood drugstore. And if you're like me, when you got your work permit, you got a part-time job at that drugstore. But by that time they didn't sell cards anymore. Because by that time, Beanie Babies took up all of the rotating seasonal shelf space, and all of the end caps, and all of the spare space on top of the opened boxes of cigarettes, opened because the stupid overhead cigarette pack holder could only hold eight packs when boxes came in packs of ten, stupid Beanie Babies, stupid Beanie Babies collectors calling nonstop, asking if a new shipment had come in, forcing it into my brain that there actually existed a Beanie Baby named "Spangle" with a stars and stripes design, stupid Beanie Baby collectors, tying up the phone lines when there are legitimate human beings with legitimate health concerns like diabetes and asthma and seasonal allergies and rickets who should have unfettered access to the phones and the pharmacist and...

Whew... I guess I hated that job. But at least I became a smarter shopper because of it. Here's a little tip for everyone out there: That basket of fun size candy...that one that's sometimes sitting by the register and selling for 3 for 25 cents? Yeah... that's last year's Halloween candy. Good luck with that.

Let's tear in.

Top to Bottom:
214 John Koronka Blue Parallel (RC)
126 Jeff Francis Beat-to-Shit Gold Parallel (Seriously, I don't know how this happened. The top card is fine, but this one looks like it's been used as a teething device.)

12 of 24 Alex Rodriguez Comic

144 Francisco Rodriguez
63 Miguel Tejada

128 Carlos Delgado
2 Scott Podsednik
61 Luis Gonzalez

Grade: C-
Good thing I didn't buy any more of these. The comic is cool, if only that it's unusual to see one not creased from having been wrapped around the gum. Speaking of which, the piece here made me think of Razzles: "First it's a candy, then it's a gum." Yeah for this one, "First it's a gum, then it's a jigsaw puzzle. Suck on that, comsumer."

Read about my Up North Fantasy at Thorzul Will Rule. Yes, I did come back alive.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

2008 Upper Deck Yankee Stadium Legacy promo pack

I'm doing a massive post on this stuff on my own blog so I thought I'd inflict some of these cards on my dear readers here as well. This is another one of those three card promo packs I picked up for a buck each at a card shop a while pack. Let's see who was in this one:

YSL3029 Moose Skowron
Long time first baseman for the Yankees who bit them in the World Series after getting traded to the Dodgers in '63. Moose didn't play in this game, a complete game shutout for Rollie Sheldon.

YSL3132 Whitey Ford
Whitey looks like someone just ran over his dog on this card. He won the game though, an 8-0 shutout over Detroit. Moose hit two doubles in the game.

YSL140 Herb Pennock
Did you know Herb Pennock was in the Hall of Fame? You do now. This wasn't one of his 240 wins, the game was lost by Waite Hoyt, another player featured in this set.

2006 Topps Hobby Edition - Feeding the habit

I am in San Antonio this week, and I just had to feed my habit. I searched online and found a card shop near my hotel. Or thought I had. Turns out the shop was no longer there, but inside the Riverwalk Mall (or whatever its called), I found a sports shop that had packs for sale. I rifled through the offerings and decided to buy a 2006 Hobby edition pack of cards. I did find another shop with packs in the mall, so I may be feeding my habit again soon.

This pack contains the following cards:
Todd Jones (Tigers) - "The Tigers are Todd's 7th team in the last six seasons."
Derrick Turnbow (Brewers) - "Derrick threw an NL-High 40% of his pitches at 95-mph-plus."
Brady Clark (Brewers) - "Brady topped the 2005 Brewers with 94 runs scored."
Orlando Hernandez (D-Backs) - "'El Duque' is known for his unconventional win-up."
Dodgers Team Card
Eddie Guardado (Mariners) - Eddie bested 40 saves in 2002 and 2003 for the Twins."
Scot Shields (Angels) - "Scot's 197 IP over the last two seasons is tops among MLB relievers."
Andy Sisco (Royals) - "Andy is the tallest player in Kansas City Royals history." (Really, that's all they could come up with??)
Buddy Bell (Royals) - "Buddy ranks fourth all time in assists (4,925) by a 3B."
Checklist - Lists nearly every Mickey Mantle card, plus Walmart cards, Opening Day Relics, and OD Inserts.
Roberto Hernandez (Pirates) - "Roberto has now completed 20 seasons in pro baseball."

It feels good to be able to feed the habit, even if there was only about a day's worth of missing a pack......

Saturday, June 28, 2008

2006 Turkey Red

I got this pack in that Wal-Mart cube I started posting a couple of weeks ago. I'll finish it off eventually, no hurry. This was the pack that prompted me to get the box. I really liked this stuff at the time although I've cooled on it since then. I thought it was worth a shot at a short print though. Let's see what's in here.

429 Johan Santana
316 Alex Rodriguez New York Yankees variation
629 Dan Uggla RC
620 Travis Ishikawa RC
493 Tadahito Iguchi red parallel
571 A-Rod Safe at the Plate checklist
616 Reggie Abercrombie RC
593 Jeremy Hermida RC

No short prints unless you count the red parallel of Iguchi. Parallel cards of short prints weren't short printed themselves, and as a result my binder of Turkey Red is very colorful. I got a kick out of how Topps took the 'red' part of Turkey Red literally for their parallel. I did manage to get both A-Rod cards that weren't short prints though. Oddly enough I already had both short prints of Alex in a Mariner and Ranger jersety (in the red version of course) but not A-Rod's common card in a Yankee uniform. I also got Johan and no less than three Marlin rookies. Two A-Rods and three Marlins make for a really weird pack. Tadahito and A-Rod filled two more pockets in the binder so this was a pretty successful pack overall.

Friday, June 27, 2008

2008 Tristar Projections

While at Wal-Mart (yes, again.. Look, there is not much in the way of big-town card shopping around these here parts.. LOL), I spotted one of the 16-packs-per-box chase package for a 1954 and/or 1957 pack of Topps/Bowman. I decided to plunk down the twenty bucks, and basically waste my money in the name of opening packs for APAD. :-)

The first pack out of the box is a 2008 Tristar Pro-Jections. The pack has 8 cards per pack, and one may find "Pro Debut" cards, Mirror cards, etc.

The cards themselves are actually pretty nicely laid out. The player is featured as a "cut-out" with no background. There is a red stripe that runs across the midsection of the card that has baseball stitching (my guess would be The player's name is in silver foil, as is the team name. The upper right corner features the TriStar Projections logo, and the bottom center of the card features the minor league team logo (or MLB team logo if the player has been invited to the bigs).

I actually pulled a mirror card in this pack - Wilmer Font of the Rangers. The mirror card is a very nice 'throwback' to the days when parallels were simple!

As you can see, Casey Crosby has nothing better to do than study the cup in his hand - perhaps he is contemplating his future as big leaguer and drug testing....

It's a neat pack of cards, and a nice break from the 'big boys' who seem to have forgotten what collectors actually like...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

2008 Topps Chrome

Yay! More Chrome! But this time the pack is BLUE! WoooOOOooo! Hobby pack red, retail pack blue. Got it? Now you can buy your Topps Chrome just like you vote for your political candidates: wasting your precious capital on worthless junk you'll hate in four years You can choose the Red pack or the Blue! Don't bother with the green packs, you're just wasting your vote... So vote for the Red party for the Autographs, or go with the Blue for some extra refractors. While you guys are discussing politics, I'll be ripping this retail pack here.

75 CC Sabathia
ARC23 Dustin Pedroia 50th Anniversary All-Rookie Team

211 Blake DeWitt RC Refractor

199 Hiroki Kuroda RC
Another pack with two inserts. This stuff is loaded with inserts, too bad they couldn't squeeze in a Fukudome rookie. CC will probably end up in a package headed to Arkansas. Not much else to say about this pack really.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

2007 Fleer Ultra Hobby

We all know what happened to Ultra last year... Upper Deck tried to rebrand it as a premium product and their plan went over kind of like this:

The twenty dollars a pack, hundred dollars a box premium version of Ultra can now be found pretty easily for under forty a box. I found this pack for eight and figured why not. It sure beat the similarly plummeting Co-Signers that were on the table next to it.

182 Mark Teixeira
177 BJ Upton
106 Justin Morneau
118 Carlos Beltran
155 Brian Giles
143 Zach Duke
181 Ty Wigginton
195 Frank Thomas
DM-WI Dontrelle Willis Dual Materials #070/160
69 Dan Uggla
9 Jeff Francoeur
58 Matt Holliday
55 Todd Helton
78 Craig Biggio
18 Melvin Mora
215 Mike Rabelo Ultra Rookie

Heh, Upper Deck goofed on the wrapper and put 5 cards per pack instead of 16. The hit of the pack was a Dontrelle Willis dual jersey with a stripe. I've had a lot of luck pulling Dontrelle this month. More luck than he's had recently at least. The rookie of the pack is Mike Rabelo, who has his own problems right now. The base cards ain't too bad though. Tex, Biggio, Big Hurt, Frenchy, Uggla, Helton, Holliday, Morneau, Upton... You could do worse. I wonder if '07 was Ultra's swan song or if UD will allow the last vestiges of Frank H. Fleer's legacy to survive just a little longer. I see some pre-sell info for '08-'09 Hockey at least so maybe there's still hope.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

2006 Fleer Tradition

This is another of the $1.59 packs I picked up target last weekend. It's marked "Retail" and features Ken Griffey Jr on the pack. I have taken a lot of flack over a comment I made earlier about Junior being a "possible" future HOFer (most of it off-site flack). My main argument was that I do not believe he will be a 1st round pick for the Hall. Will he get in eventually? Now that he's 600+ home runs, that is more likely than ever. I do not count that as a bad thing. But, when I think of Griffey Jr, I think more of injury-plagued seasons than I think of ball-playing. That's just my 2 cents. Being a Tribe fan, I have my own share of disappointments for sure. Now, let's move on.

The first three cards in the pack are Ichiro Suzuki, Carlos Lee, and Rich Harden. Not a bad lineup for the first three cards out of the chute.

Next up, batting clean-up in this pack is Alex Rodriguez, followed by Griffey Junior, And Josh Wilson. Regardless of how you feel about either of the first two players, they are both nice pulls in a pack that seems heavy on the bigger-named, popular players. And, as always, I enjoy pulling the card of the featured player on the pack!

The last three in tonight's line-up include Johnny Damon, Bronson Arroyo, and Ramon Hernandez. Seriously, is this a normal pack for this set? By and large, I'm pretty happy with what I got. Well, mostly. I haven't pulled a Triber out or anything....

Well, lookie here! Not only a Triber, but a Diamond Tribute Sizemore to boot! Excellent! (though I may already have the card, I'll check later) Sizemore is a back-to-back AL All-Star and has a chance to go again this year, too.

Of course, pulling a Triber made the pack for me, but there are a nice number of stars (league and team) for 2006 in here. The cards will go into my trade team packs, so future traders, you may end up with one(s) for your team(s).

2008 Topps Chrome

Topps Chrome is out in the shops with a lovely red wrapper featuring the many moods of Ryan Howard. I liked the one per pack refractors from last year, but it looks like they have been replaced with just a barrage of insert sets this year. Refractors are still one in three packs, but there are also Heritage chrome cards, 50th anniversary cards, Trading Card history cards, Mickey Mantles and of course the good ol' autographs. It's almost so you're lucky to even pull a base card anymore. I found a few packs for $3 a pop which is at least a buck cheaper than I'll find it anywhere else. I'm a sucker for a bargain, even then the item is horribly overpriced to begin with. Here's my first pack of '08 Chrome.

129 Geovany Soto - I don't care if he's the leading catcher in this year's All-Star voting, Brian McCann is better and he's got the stats to prove it.

MMSC47 Mickey Mantle - At least it's a Mantle Story insert and not a Home Run card.

C147 Freddy Sanchez Heritage Chrome #/1264/1959 - Topps finally decided to extend the Heritage Chrome parallel into the Chrome set. I've been pulling Freddy Sanchez cards like mad this year for some reason.

128 Adrian Gonzalez - A #1 overall pick of the Marlins in 2000, he's finally come into his own and has 21 homers already this year while playing in spacious Petco park. The guy's pretty underrated if you ask me.

Nice looking stuff, I'll probably grab a few more packs on impulse while I wait for Goudey and Allen & Ginter to completely suck all the money out of my bank account.

Monday, June 23, 2008

2008 Baseball Hall of Fame "Enriching Education"

One of the hats I wear at work includes bringing educational content from around the nation into the schools served by our Arkansas Education Service Center. Last year, I had the privilidge to bring the National Baseball Hall of Fame to students in rural Arkansas through the use of Distance Learning - specifically, compressed interactive video (live, two-way video and audio from south Arkansas to Cooperstown!). Later this summer, I will be bringing several of the programs offered by the BBHOF to Arkansas teachers for professional development.

The BBHOF has a set of baseball cards that go along with the educational programs they offer. After several attempts to acquire the cards, my mailbox contained a surprise for me today at work!! The slide show below show all the cards, but I will also post a couple 'statically' so you can get a good view of them. Of course, you can also simply click on the cards in the slide show to be taken to my Picasa folder...

The cards come in two cello wrappers. Each pack of cards comes with a "title" card and nine cards (representing each position on the field) with matching "stripes." There is a "red" set and a "yellow" set. The back of each title card explains the education program at the BBHOF.

Each of the cards features a picture predominately displayed on the front. There is also the "team color" (red or yellow) in a banner with the HOF logo, the subject area the card relates to, and the position of the "card" (in this case, outfield). The photo is identified under the logo (in this case, Hank Aaron). There is also a photo credit along one edge of each card in tiny print.

The back of each card features a "Fast Facts" area at the top, a blue 'separator' with the subject area and HOF logo, and a section at the bottom. The bottom section relates the educational subject area to the card and baseball with four bulleted high-points (in this case, how Communication Arts and Baseball go together). For example, did you know that in the 'old' days, radio stations often recreated the games after-the-fact??

As I mentioned, there are also "yellow" cards. This one discusses Women's History in relation to baseball. The cards are identical to their red counterparts, except that the 'banner' is, well, yellow and the text is black instead of white...

The back of Satchel Paige's card discusses how Civil Rights played a part in baseball, and how baseball played a part in Civil Rights.

This has to be one of the coolest "oddball" sets I have ever owned. I hope one day to be able to visit the BBHOF in person, but until then, I get to learn about baseball in new and different ways, tie that knowledge to education, and visit the Museum virtually through compressed interactive video!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

1992-1993 Upper Deck Basketball High Series

Here's a pack of Hoops cards to honor the Celtics' return to relevance. Doc Rivers was my favorite player when I was a kid, so I was rooting for the Green. Not really rooting hard enough to watch any of the games, but I was rooting in spirit. 92-93 Upper Deck is one of the best overall basketball card sets ever made. The great design, the Shaq rookie and Trade card, and the ridiculous 510 card checklist just makes it an all-timer. This is a high series pack so pretty much everything can be found in here including Larry Bird Heroes cards and a 15,000 point club insert. I found one for a buck and a half, which is a bargain at half the price. Let's check it out.

90 Checklist 1-90
79 Rex Chapman
173 Todd Lichti
166 Duane Ferrell
224 Anthony Bonner
232 Rick Fox
PC6 Mark Aguirre 15000 Point Club
416 J.R Reid
389 Trent Tucker
374 Seattle Supersonics
413 Doc Rivers
510 Birdman and Agent 23
433 Dominique Wilkins All Star
474 Shaquille O'Neal Top Prospect
463 Latrell Sprewell Top Prospect

So I sing the praises of this set and the first card is a checklist. Some early shenanigans were going on here as we see the 1a NBA Draft trade card for the Shaq rookie that Upper Deck wasn't allowed to release until 1993, as well as 32a Magic Johnson and 33a Larry Bird cards. Apparently these are short prints, although I'm not sure what the plain ol' boring cards 32 and 33 were. Let's go through the rest of the cards one by one since it's Sunday and we don't have anything better to do, shall we?

Rex Chapman - Never liked him. I guess he was a decent player.

Todd Lichti - Awesome rainbow uniform and the crazy hair.

Duane Ferrell - Another favorite of mine. A Hawk who played at Georgia Tech, what's not to like?

Anthony Bonner - I don't remember anything about the guy. He's apparently a high school basketball coach now.

Rick Fox - Mr. Pretty Boy. The Tarheel won some rings with the Lakers, married Vanessa Williams, screwed that up and is now an actor.

Mark Aguirre - Woohoo, got an insert card! Aguirre was a beast with Dallas, it's a shame no one remembers that anymore.

J.R Reid - Another Tarheel in the pack. He got picked by the Hornets back when choosing a player from the local college neamt North Carolina instead of LSU.

Trent Tucker - Trent has a rule named after him from a last second shot he took with the Knicks. Do you have a rule named after you?

Seattle Supersonics - Since there were only about 350-400 players in the league at the time, Upper Deck had to do some serious padding to get the set up to 510 cards. This subset isn't a team checklist, it's a team history card. It's got Gary Payton on the front and a bunch of factoids on the back. The Seattle Sonics pretty much are history now, at least once the lawsuit is settled.

Doc Rivers - Has an NBA title under his belt now. Literally, he keeps the trophy in his pants. Ok, not really, but I sure would.

Birdman and Agent 23 - There are no words for this card.

Dominique Wilkins All Star - There are only two types of photos on 'Nique cards. He's either dunking or shooting a free throw. This card has him doing both.

Shaquille O'Neal Top Prospect - SHAQ!!! Ok, it's not his technical for real official rookie card, but it's a first year Shaq card so who cares.

Latrell Sprewell Top Prospect - Spree was a nice player other than that whole "crazy strangler"thing.

That was a damn good pack to close out the season with. Only six more months 'till the Hawks drop under .500 again!

2007 Fleer Ultra

This is one of the Target packs I picked up from the $1.59 bin. I don't know what these cost originally, but I have a feeling the 'discount' price is not much less than the original retail price. In any case, had I opened the pack even seven months ago, I could have had a chance to be an "MVP in NYC." A day late and a dollar short....

The first card in the pack is the Astros' Roy Oswalt. The Ultra cards feature a red, white, and black "Fleer" logo in the upper corner with a silver foil "Ultra" just beneath the logo. The player's last name is written in a team-color script with silver foil around the lettering. Beneath that, the player's name is typed out with the team name and position. The back of the card features a still headshot in the upper left corner with the last name in script to the right of the image. Bio info, a blurb about the player, and stats from previous years fill out the back. Oh, under the player's pic is the team logo. And, we cannot forget the "Upper Deck Kids" code in the lower corner of the card (ZEMU). Since someone is already out there stealing codes they find online, I figure I would just make it easier for them to find.

Second up in the pack, we have Erik Bedard of the Orioles. Is it just me, or does the guy behind him at shortstop have a different colored hat on? Was this photo taken at an all-star game, practice, or just victim to bad photoshopping? The world may never know... PBZZ - That's not a bodily noise, that his code...

Third up is Chien-Ming Wang getting ready to hurl a ball toward the plate for the Yankees. I am just immature enough to get a chuckle at his blurb on the back of his card - "Wang was a pleasant surprise for Yankees fans..." Wow, so much could be said here... 458E

Next up, we have the 2007 Topps Spokesperson, David Wright (Mets). According to the back of his card, he is the "up-and-coming" third baseman. I don't really follow the Mets, but it's weird to think of Wright as only "up-and-coming..." Hasn't he already arrived for the team? That is, isn't he already a team star and more? L2XN

The last player card in the pack is a "Lucky-13" card of Delmon Young. I don't understand the reference to "Lucky-13" in relation to the information about the player... No where is the number "13" mentioned... Oh well... It's an interesting card that will go into my "Devils Rays to trade" box. CD3R

And, finally, there is the MVP-in-NYC entry card. One could go to the web site shown and type in the code for an entry to win a trip to the All-Star game in New York. Once again, I am posting the code. Why? Well, if the dingleberry who is pilfering codes comes across this one, he (or she) will discover the web site no longer resolves... Aww.. Poor, thieving bast'ad...