Thursday, July 31, 2008

2008 A Piece of History

Yeah, I got another pack of this stuff. It's kind of growing on me. Like athlete's foot.

124 Jonathan Meloan RC
180 Led Zeppelin
136 Nyjer Morgan RC
TM-46 Ichiro Timeless Moments
BSM-42 Bobby Abreu Box Score Memories #12/25
8 Tom Glavine
47 Vlad Guerrero
73 Ryan Howard
99 Chad Cordero

I've gotten two packs of A Piece of History and pulled 2 relic cards. Why can't I have this luck with Goudey or Allen & Ginter? I guess it's some sort of variation since it's numbered to 25. Blue foil, I guess. I like how the box score doesn't even have the stolen base stat that's honored on the card. Any Bobby Abreu fans out there? Anyone? Beuller? Not only is there a jersey but a numbered Ichiro insert as well. It's kind of embarrassing actually. The Glavine card is cool because they used a photo from this year's spring training. No photoshop or Mets unis, thankfully. The rest of the pack is good too, Vladdy, Ryan Howard, a couple of rookies and the Hindenberg. That's the only disaster in this pack. Ok, Chad Cordero's a bit of a mess right now, but he's a closer. If a closer can remain effective and uninjured for over a year and a half nowadays they're some sort of freak of nature.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

2008 Upper Deck II

My debut break on APAD is a 2008 Upper Deck II retail pack [$2.99 each] - I'm itching to bust some 'high brow' set builder products [Allen & Ginter and Goudey], but the retail versions aren't out yet. As far as strictly base cards, UD maybe the best product out there on a per pack basis, because there are 18 cards per pack, so it is almost like a 'modern jumbo pack.' It was only several years ago, where UD would only give you 10 cards per pack, for the same retail price.

Pack one [18 cards per pack]
#435 Tacoby Ellsbury - an up-and-coming young player who just does good things on the baseball field.

#481 Andy Marte - an uncorrected error card to add to my collection - sorry UD, but Victor Martinez is pictured.
#408 Chad Tracy - he's been somewhat lost in the desert in the last few years, but still a dependable player.

#604 Ryan Howard - another Howard card, which I don't particularly care for.
#584 Ramon Castro - wearing the shades
#535 John Lackey -
#592 Shelley Duncan -
#547 Jonathan Broxton -
#576 Ryan Church -
#608 Brad Lidge -
#523 Miguel Olivo -
#723 Matt Tolbert -
#765 Josh Willingham - even though the card is a common, it is disappointing to turn the card over and discover it is a team checklist card.
#736 Dustin Pedroia - Season Highlights subset.
#751 Torii Hunter - team checklist card; I hate these cards.

#713 Masahide Kobayashi - I like the reference to the former hot dog eating champion.
#SQ-36 Carlos Beltran Starquest insert - uncommon; whatever that means.

Comments - more cards in retail almost always means no 'hit' cards like autographs or game-used inserts [who needs those anyway?]. For a pure card afficionado however, ripping a pack of 2008 Upper Deck II may just cure the pack ripping craving without having to resort to busting a 'kiddie pack' like Topps or Topps Opening Day.

2008 Press Pass NASCAR

While my beloved Braves continue to self destruct I felt the need for something else. My first box of '08 Allen & Ginter arrived today, but it sits beside me untouched. I knew if I cracked it, I would pull a Teixeira auto and just cry. So I needed a distraction. Something colourful and exciting. That's right boys and girls... it's NASCAR time! (cue the Lynyrd Skynyrd music)

2008 Press Pass Wally World blaster.... with an exclusive Wally subset!!!!!!!

(note Dale Jr on the box showing off his new colours and sponsers... Bud picked a new man... and that man is...)
Kasey Kahne! What a coincidence. He is the first of the two per box Wally exclusive subset. the second of that pack is...
Tony Stewart. Tony is in the last season with Joe Gibbs racing and Home Depot sponsership. Tony is starting his own team next season.

On to the first pack....

A Rex White legends card... I love seeing all the old pictures of Nascar drivers, their cars, and *ahem* safety gear....
A Jeff Gordon Raceday bumpy, shiny insert, #4 / 12. Supposedly only found 1 per 3 blasters. Lucky me. Any Gordon fans out there wanna trade?

Ahhh.... the "man" of the year so far. Kyle Busch. Winner of 653 races so far this season... or so it seems. He's doing so well that Nascar told Toyota they had to scale back the horsepower in their engines for this last race and from now on... even though Toyota's engines meet all rule requirements. Nascar just did this to "increase the levels of competition."
Imagine if the NFL told the Dallas Cowboys that they had to use slower wide receivers, just to give the Redskins a fighting chance.

Outstanding young driver David Reutimann.... maybe I like him just because of my love affair with my sweet mistress, pizza. Hmmm.... His other co-sponser is Burger King. Not so good.

My main man Tony again... just struttin'...

Ah yes. The obligatory, one per pack, blue parallel insert. This one of Dale Jr. There are lot of Dale Jr. cards in this set.
A very good pack. Solid A. And I managed to sneak in a dig on the Redskins. Always a plus.

Elvis Has Entered the Building

For my first post on Pack a Day, I present to you a little piece of vintage non-sport. There's no hope for an autograph or costume card in here. Just a really ugly design and a 30-year-old piece of gum that is likely poisonous if eaten.

Elvis may have left us but his legacy is filled with all sorts of merchandise. In 1978 Donruss gave the world a set of trading cards, a year after his death. I don't know much else about the set so join me on this one-pack trip of discovery, good tunes and nasty gum.

The pack:

The title and cartoon Elvis illustration standout nicely to the bright red background. . The back of the pack features and add for "America's Favorite Bubble Gum!" Super Bubble. Never heard of it. But then again, I'm not American.

Time to open the pack.

Ack. It stinks like a chest that's just been opened after being closed for some three decades. Perhaps this symbolic chest will give us some treausre.

First card:

We have wax stais! It's a bright art deco design that looks more akin to the Topps baseball designs from a few years earlier. What a way to kick things off - The King in one of his trademark jumpsuits, singing and dancing in front of the mirror.

For the sake of history, here's the back of the card:

So it's a 66-card set and this is card 35. Each card appears to have a little bit of Elvis trivia, or facts as they liked to call them to seem more important. Elvis fact 35 reads:

He was born January 8, 1935 , in a two room house in Tupelo, Mississippi. The house now has been restored by the city and is a popular attraction among Elvis fans.

Elvis Fact No. 26
Words like Courage, Honor and Virtue, moved Elvis. General MacArthur's "Old Soldiers Never Die" speech was a favorite of Elvis'; he could recite it word for word.

Elvis Facts No. 9
Elvis received the highest fee ever paid for a single guest performance on television. He appeared on the Frank Sinatra Show for $125,000.

Elvis Facts No. 20
His generosity was his way of showing friendship and a way of saying thank you to someone he cared about.

Elvis Facts No. 24
Because of his hit song, Elvis collected "Teddy Bears." Once in Hollywood he won eight teddy bears at an amusement park at Long Beach.

Elvis Facts No. 14
Elvis starred in "Jailhouse Rock" in 1957. He sang seven songs in that movie, they are: "Jailhouse Rock," "Treat Me Nice," "Young and Beautiful," "I Wanna Be Free," "Don't Leave Me Now," "Baby I Don't Care," and "One More Day."

The final card in the pack looks like this on the front:

I flip it over and this is what I get:

Now the gum gluing itself to the card was to be expected. But wait. There is treasure here. If it were 1978 I'd be jumping up and down because I got two, count 'em, TWO sticks of gum! Bubble Gum-jo for me! Except it's 30-years-old and eating gum that old is gross.

Donruss' gum looks and feels kind of like pink sandpaper. It's got little sparkle flecks. I hope it's sugar. I did manage to pry the gum of the final card and let's just say it's got a gum stain on it. Our final tidbit of the day reads:

Elvis Facts No. 4
Elvis had four number one hits in 1956. His first recordings for R.C.A. were "Heart Break Hotel," "Hound Dog," "Don't Be Cruel" and "Love Me Tender." It (1956) was definitely the year for the King.

2005 Upper Deck Classics

I got this pack for 2 bucks. For a legends product with 3 relics and 1 auto for box it sure is cheap. You can get a box for under 50 bucks if you look around. It's not the greatest looking set in the world as the bronzed borders are kind of strange, but it's full of a bunch of great players. I picked a pack with Eddie Mathews on the wrapper for good luck.

100 Yogi Berra
18 Carl Hubbell
40 Graig Nettles
61 Ken Griffey Sr.
UD Rewards ad
13 Boog Powell
89 Ted Lyons
44 Howard Johnson
39 George Kell

No inserts or short prints but not a bad pack at all. Yogi is a bona fide Legend with a capital L and is worth it all by himself. Carl Hubbell, Ted Lyons and George Kell bring up the Hall of Fame count to four. Ken Griffey had a kid who will be in the Hall eventually. Boog Powell isn't in the Hall but he's a Baltimore icon for his barbecue as much as his playing days. Graig Nettles played for 22 years but card collectors know him as the guy with the misspelled name. Howard Johnson is a hotel. Not too bad, one of these days a box will prove too tempting.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What? MORE 1989 Topps?

Seems to be a run on this stuff over the past week. That's probably because we've all been buying up those marvelous repack boxes. I've already completed this set, so I ripped and posted this pack for giggles. Heck, since dayf just posted a pack of 1989 Topps, why don't we make this an impromptu Pack War? Leave a comment on this post with your pick for the winner. Yoips, and away!

648 Sandy Alomar (Jr.) Future Star - Man, I thought this card was awesome when I was a kid. It was a rookie card of a player I'd heard of, how could it not be valuable? Ah, youth.
sandy by you.
633 Daryl Boston - A guy named Boston, and he never played for the Red Sox. Fancy that.

195 Ozzie Guillen - Back-to-back White Sox! Maybe this pack was meant for Steve.

382 John Smoltz RC - Hot dog! Check out the glorious dirtstache on Smoltzie.
smoltzie by you.
51 Angels Leaders - Pictured is Mark McLemore, who led the Angels in no offensive category. Okay then.

71 Mike Boddicker - To date, he is my first and only through-the-mail autograph. A decent pitcher who had a couple amazing years at the start of his career with the O's.

698 Keith Atherton - I always assumed he was signing a baseball in his photo. A closer look shows that he's just holding the ball and staring longingly at it, as if he dreams of some day being asked for an autograph. Keep reaching for that rainbow, Keith!

663 Hank Aaron Turn Back the Clock: 1974 - I've heard that this guy was pretty good. But Hank Aaron XXIV was a real loser.
hammer by you.
Topps Company Store: High quality Puffy-lettered Sweatshirt! - I was a pretty lame kid, but even I never had one of these shirts.

595 Teddy Higuera - Wow, this is before his arm fell off. Through 1988, Teddy was 69-38 over four seasons with 31 or more starts each season. From 1989-1994, he topped out at 27 starts and went 25-26.

267 Jeff (M.) Robinson - Hey, it's that schlub the Orioles acquired for Mickey Tettleton. Grr.

42 Jim Eppard - According to the B-R Bullpen, he won four minor league batting titles between 1982 and 1990. That and four bucks will get you a Blizzard at Dairy Queen.

249 Tim Leary - This cheating sack of crap broke Chris Hoiles' wrist with a pitch in 1992. Johnny Oates suspected that he was doctoring the ball, but of course Leary got away with it. Stinkin' Yankees.

279 Scott Bradley - Hit only 18 home runs in his career, but 2 came off of Dave Stewart.

219 Jim Clancy - One of the original Blue Jays, he stuck with the team for a dozen years and trails only Dave Stieb on the franchise's career wins list.

597 Terry Taylor - The only Terry Taylor I know is this guy.

Wow, that pack really ran out of steam. But does it have just enough to edge out dayf's pack? Let your vote be counted!

2002 Upper Deck Piece of History

I know there will be conspiracy theorists that will argue that I am intentionally making a point regarding packs featuring Griffey Junior, but all I can do is swear the packs are randomly pulled from a bunch of packs I bought while suffering severe pack addiction relapse over the past month or so.

In any case, here we have another pack featuring Junior. This one is VERY green. Collectors can find "21st Century Phenoms Rookie Cards" and "Piece of History" Game-used cards (in multiple versions, no less) in random packs.

First up (pardon the pun) is the Big Unit, Randy Johnson (Diamondbacks). I like the design of these cards - horizontal layout with a single color tint as the background. An action shot of the player in full color is on one side of the card (usually the left side) and a close-up mug shot of the player in the tinted color is on the right. It gives the illusion that the player photo takes up the whole card. The player's name is in silver foil in all-caps of varying sizes with the team and position in one-sized all caps underneath. Then there is a timeline (1900-2000, with dots before and after to show continuity). Under the timeline is a silver foil ruled line. The bottom of the front includes a silver foil UD logo, a mini full color picture that is the same as the large tinted one above. There are also a couple player highlights. The backs of the cards feature the same action shot as the front with the player's name, bio info, career stats, and a paragraph about some of the player's accomplishments. "'The Big Unit' has won three NL Cy Young Awards in Arizona," and "(He) Pitched his way to World Series MVP honors in 2001."

(Frank Thomas, White Sox) Next in the pack is my man, Frank. Come on Frank, sing that song... Oh, sorry, throwback reference to the Sugar Hill Gang there... According to his card, "A 12-year veteran for Chicago, Thomas is a two-time AL MVP" and "Ranks 12th among active players in homers with 348." I think the writers wanted to incorporate that "12" in there for aesthetic purposes.

The 'hump' card in the pack is Joe Carter (Blue Jays). I say that because there are five cards in the deck, and he is number three. I am i no way referring to Mr. Carter as a 'hump' player. His action shot is a very cool shot of Carter taking a swing at a ball that is just at the knees. Carter is "best known for his World Series winning homer in 1993" and he "drove in 100 runs in a season 10 times." Excuse me, but 'best known' for a WS-winning homer? I'm not sure 'best' should be in that sentence. He is best-known for a lot of things, and one home run out of his career is not it... Heck, even the second point on the card is more impressive than the 'best known' item. Bizarre choice by the writers there.

Well, well, we have TWO Joe's in the pack. This one is Joe Mays (Twins). Mays was a "2001 All-star and the Twins' leader in wins (17)." He also "has thrown four career shutouts in a Minnesota uniform." Very nice, indeed.

Last, but not least, we have Carlos Delgado (Blue Jays). That's two Jays in a pack of five cards. Delgado "has led the Blue Jays in homers for three straight years" and is the "Blue Jays all-time leader in home runs."

Well, there you have it: Two Joes, Two Jays, Two Pitchers, Two MVPs, and a Junior on the label.

2008 Goudey

Why did Allen & Ginter and Goudey both have to be released within a week of each other? I have a mortgage to pay, dammit. I know I've already opened a pack today, but what the hell, let's open a second one.

No. 111 Delmon Young
Well, here's your first look at Goudey. The photos are artwork now and the backgrounds are lame compared to last year's set. The got the Lou Gehrig/Derek Jeter says... bit right though.

No. 59 Grady Sizemore
Nope, not as good as last years...

No. 172 Scott Rolen
Scott's card is even more boring so it's a good card to show off the back. The copy on the back has nothing to do with what Derek Jeter says... They didn't even have a ghostwriter act like he was doing commentary by Jeter and then put a fake signature on the card like in the original '34 Goudeys. There are also stats on the back this time which is another departure from the originals. The backs are not too bad overall though. There are no Red/Green variations on the large size base cards either.

No. 186 Josh Hamilton mini card
Aw yeah, THIS is more like it! Why couldn't the whole dang set be like this?? It worked last year, why mess with success? Spectacular card. Mini cards have red backs, so UD didn't completely abandon the color choices.

HPC-25 Reggie Jackson Hit Parade of Champions
Upper Deck swipes the 1951 Berk Ross set design for this insert. I'm not sure why they went with black & White photos when the originals were in color, but I'm a total sucker for this old obscure Retro crap so I love it. Plus it's Reggie!

No. 120 Billy Wagner
Billy just smelled a fart. As you can see, Derek Jeter doesn't get all the glory in this set, Ken Griffey Jr. gets his face on all the National League players' cards.

No. 16 Melvin Mora
The orange background is appropriate I suppose.

No. 295 John Elway Sport Royalty
Oh goody. The year I decide not to bother with football cards, I pull an Elway card out of my first Goudey pack. Ah well, it's a nice looking card. And a short print. I still don't have a Sport Royaly card from last year's set, so I suppose it's nice that us low rollers are allowed to have such cards this year.

Overall it's not as nice as last year's set. Once again, they only put 8 cards in a $5 hobby pack so retail is the way to go for set builders most likely. It certainly is not a bad product though. Not as good as Heritage or Allen & Ginter certainly, but this definitely won't be the last pack I get of this stuff.

1989 Topps

I've got a lot of newfangled packs to rip this week, so I'm taking a quick breather to open up something old. You gotta remember to go back to your roots occasionally in this business, or you'll go mad. I picked up this pack in the junk box that netted me the Erstad jersey. I also got a pretty good pack of Ultra in it too, but no one's voted for it on my Lucky 13 post, so I guess you guys don't want to see it. You can vote twice you know...

Topps Company Store - Deluxe Quality Binder
433 Albert Hall
156 Dave Gallagher
149 Doug Dascenzo
623 Fred Toliver
23 Mike Fitzgerald
171 Braves LEaders
76 Terry Blocker
631 Dave Bergman
354 Larry Parrish
37 Bob Stanley
696 Don August
245 Jim Rice
642 Argentis Salazar
238 Eric King
761 Dante Bichette

On my deathbed I may have many regrets, but the most bitterly painful one will be failing to pony up the $10.60 for the Deluxe Quality Topps Binder.

Gotta love three Braves in the pack even though they all suuuuuuck. If that was Mark Lemke on the Braves leaders card standing next to Andres Thomas it would be way cool, but alas, I think it's Tommy Gregg. The back of Albert Hall's card mentions the cycle he hit on 9-23-87, which is the only thing anyone ever remembers about his surprisingly long career with the Braves. This is how obscure he is: Albert's page doesn't come up until page twelve of a Google search for "Albert Hall". I'm just trying to restrain myself from finding a hole punch so I can see how many holes it takes to fill his card. Jim Rice is the undisputed king of the pack, this time next year he will probably be inducted into the Hall of Fame. His is a great looking card too. There's a lot of strange looking photos in this pack. Doug Dascenzo doesn't look all there. Fred Toliver is trying to block something chucked right at his face. Dave Bergman is chillin' in the batting cage. Argenis Salazar had no earthly idea someone was taking his photo. The pack finishes up with an awesome Dante Bichette rookie card. Check out those rookie eyebrows. This card has to be worth something. A buffalo nickel, a canceled three cent stamp, a gumball, something. I don't think I can live in a world where a Dante Bichette rookie card isn't worth at least a gumball.