Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Masterpieces Hobby

I'm going to end the year on a good note with a hobby pack of 2008 Masterpieces. I have the non-shortprinted set already but I took a gamble on a hobby pack hoping to get a short print or a framed card or a jersey or something. I succeeded.

36 Miguel Cabrera

Miguel's a first baseman now? When'd that happen? I guess you have to get that bat into the lineup somehow.

118 Bob Gibson

Yeeeeaaaah!! Gibson short print! That 1968 season was witchcraft. No way a mere mortal does what he did.

CC-BP Brandon Phillips Captured on Canvas auto

Well I certainly gambled and won on this pack. It looks like Brandon got a little excited and tried to sign the jersey swatch too. I'm sure one of the many Reds bloggers out there would like this card.

13 Curt Schilling

Last year's Masterpieces Schilling card was extremely cool, this years... not so much. Among the many problems with this year's card:
  • Curt's dopey look
  • Curt's turkey neck
  • That big ol' Virginia ham attached to his butt
  • and Curt's CC Sabathia belly.
This artist has to be a Yankee fan. That painting is too good for it to make Curt look that bad.

Ah yes, Masterpieces is good schtuff. If only every pack could be this good.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 Upper Deck Documentary

I recently won a contest over at A Cardboard Problem. My prize? A hobby pack of 2008 Upper Deck Documentary. Can I find something worthwhile in this pack? Will it be a complete dud? Will I find a game involving the White Sox? We shall see.

I love the idea behind Upper Deck Documentary. Showcasing each game played from each team’s perspective. Sounds very interesting… right? It could have been, if Upper Deck didn’t cut some corners here and there.

The first card out of the pack illustrates this perfectly.

2138/BAL78 – Orioles 11 – Cubs 4

Is that a home uniform on the Oriole? I would certainly appear that way. But that can’t be… they’re supposed to be playing at Wrigley.

On through the rest of the pack!

2407/LAA87 – Blue Jays 7 – Angels 5

2715/AZD95 – Diamondbacks 3 – Phillies 6

1006/DET36 – Red Sox 5 – Tigers 1

1045/LAD35 – Astros 7 – Dodgers 1

1035/KCR35 – Orioles 7 – Royals 4

1133/SFG33 – Giants 6 – Pirates 12

1123/SDP33 – Padres 3 – Braves 5

HRD-1 – Josh Hamilton

3234/NYM109 – Mets 3 – Astros 7

3231/MIN109 – Indians 1 – Twins 4

3228/MIL109 – Cubs 11 – Brewers 4

3269/WAS108 – Phillies 8 – Nationals 4

3266/TOR108 – Rays 3 – Blue Jays 2

447/LAD17 – Dodgers 1 – Braves 4 (Gold?)
What was it on the Cosby Show? You can have a steak cooked to perfection with all the trimmings, but if you serve it on the underside of a garbage can lid, you wouldn’t want to eat that steak. That’s how I feel about Upper Deck Documentary. All this cool information was gathered and printed on each card, only to be undermined by a photo that was unrelated to the game being documented.

1991 WCW Wrestling

This was a free pack handed out at the entrance to the card show I reported on at Thorzul Will Rule. I believe that in 1991 I was probably at the tail end of my wrestling interest period. These WCW cards, I believe cover some of the territory during which the classic AWA and NWA franchises folded and morphed into the Ted Turner WCW enterprise. I could be all wrong on this, but that's OK, it's just wrestling.

Let's tear in.

Top Turnbuckle to Bottom Rope:
147 Doom (This is actually a tag team made up of Ron Simmons and Butch Reed. I remember "The Natural" Butch Reed from his WWF days, but have no memory of this team-up. They have Sting in a headlock. This is from the days before Sting changed his persona into a Crow ripoff.)

87 El Gigante (Back copy: "Those who disbelieve the existence of biblical Goliath will lose all skepticism once they lay eyes on El Gigante.")
55 Flyin' Brian (Hometown: Cinicnnati, Ohio)
111 Steiner Brothers (I remember these guys, big time. Rick Steiner was portrayed as being quasi-retarded, and he always wore his Michigan singlet and head gear into the ring. And this is what Scott looked like before he devoured a 55-gallon drum of steroids in one long, hectic weekend and changed into Big Poppa Pump.)

99 Ricky Morton (Ht: 5'9")
32 Sid Vicious (I think he got to the WWF eventually. Words to live by: "I'm no blonde, prima donna cutie pie.")
141 Doom (Again. " don't want to square off against these two without medical insurance.")
95 Tommy Rich (The back of his card lists his favorite hold as the "Thesz Press." I guess that would make him a disciple of wrestling pioneer Lou Thesz. It's embarrassing that I would know that.)

78 Dutch Mantel (You're going to have to wait until next Card-vent to see this one.)
125 Fabulous Freebirds (Michael "P.S." Hayes' hometown is listed as Badstreet, USA. What a crock. I was doing some reading on wrestling this summer, and some research indicated that Haku was probably the meanest wrestler of all time. He reportedly gouged out the eye of Jimmy Jack Funk during a backstage brawl. More on this here, if you're so inclined. Tonga Fifita (his real name) and Bad News Brown could have shown these two what real tough guys were like.)

22 Lex Luger (Who doesn't remember this guy?)
154 Jim Ross (Commentator, and apparently still at it.)

Not a bad stroll down Memory Lane. To get this I bypassed a rack pack of 1990 Donruss, and I must say that this sure beats getting that Ed Whitson Diamond King for the millionth time.

If you want in on a cheap group break, check this out. Spots are still available.

2000 Skybox Metal

This pack was so shiny and metallic I just had to buy it. I wasn't collecting cards in 2000 so these are new to me. Let's see what's inside...

#24 - Chipper Jones - Atlanta Braves - Can't beat a Chipper Jones right out of the gate.

#150 - Craig Biggio - Houston Astros - Very under-rated player in my opinion, 20th all time in hits and a member of the 3,000 hit club.

#187 - Al Martin - Pittsburgh Pirates
#215 - Lance Berkman - Houston Astros
Fusion 12 of 15 - Roberto Alomar/Manny Ramirez - Cleveland Indians - I don't really see the point of this insert set. I guess they just combine two players onto a card and throw the word Fusion on there in really big letters. Kind of like the dumb "Classic Combos" cards that Topps has had the past couple of years, except at least in this case the guys play for the same team.

#186 - Roger Clemens - New York Yankees - Wow, these things are shiny! They've got sort of a rough finish to them also, and feel a bit like light sandpaper.

#66 - Roberto Alomar - Cleveland Indians - This pack was meant for an Alomar fan I guess, or at least a Cleveland Indians fan.

#154 - Trevor Hoffman - San Diego Padres
#78 - Jorge Posada - New York Yankees - Jorge looks pretty angry here...

#72 - Darin Erstad - Anaheim Angels
Not a bad pack. If you're a fan of really shiny cards the design isn't half bad. It looks like the checklist is fairly small too, so you're bound to get some decent players. I guess it was worth the $1.49.

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008-09 Topps Basketball

The Hawks won their 20th game tonight over Denver, the first time they've won 20 before January first since 1987. Since I unfortunately don't have a pack of '87-88 Fleer lying around, here's a new pack of Topps instead. Is it bad that I like the basketball set waaaaay better than the baseball set this year? The old-school players really make the set. I don't even mind that they short printed the rookies again.

55 Jason Kidd
48 Danny Granger
25 Al Jefferson
145 Jerry Stackhouse
34 Paul Pierce
162 Brendan Haywood
IG8 Damien Wilkins & Dominique Wilkins
32 Shaq-Fu
24 Kobe Bryant
16 Pau Gasol
8 Carlos Boozer
144 Luke Walton

The 'Nique & nephew card obviously made the pack for me. The rest of the pack was pretty awesome too, even if there was a distinct Lakers slant to it. The photography is amazing in this set, why can't baseball be like this? Why do we have Shaq stuffing some hapless blazer in the face, Kobe facing off against King James and Paul Pierce soaring to the heavens in basketball...

and then they give us stuff like this in baseball??

Even Bronski Beat wants to know why...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2006 Upper Deck Football

I think everyone is watching football and stuffing themselves with Christmas leftovers (including me) so I'm going to recycle a pack opening from my Repack Crap Thingy. '06 Upper Deck was the best of the four packs so I'll share it here.

3KP-BF Brett Favre 3000 Yard Passing Club
146 Brian Westbrook
107 Brad Johnson
159 LaDainian Tomlinson
19 Willis McGahee
77 Domanick Davis
31 Rex Grossman
239 Darrell Hackney Star Rookie

This was an odd pack, all quarterbacks and running backs. Even weirder is half the base cards have the position stamped in capital letters (LT, Johnson and Westbrook) and the others are all in lower cases. I tried to scan the foil, but you see how well that worked. LT's card is cool, but the Rex Grossman card is hideous. He looks like a flailing turkey. The photos on these cards are either great or terrible. Westbrook, McGahee and Davis are all in the middle of runs, while Brad Johnson is taking the snap for a field goal. The guy is a Super Bowl winning QB and Upper Deck shows him on his card like he's Lucy Van Pelt. The Favre looks good though and Hackney is still hanging around the league holding the clipboard for the Broncos. A lot of people love the design for '06 UD but I hate it. The foil name on another name is nearly impossible to read unless the foil hits the light right. The cards are just good enough though that I don't mind getting them in repack boxes anymore.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

2009 Press Pass Racing

I got this pack today for three reasons: 1) Racing fans get no love on this site 2) There wasn't a damn thing interesting in the card aisle at Wally World 3) I wanted to be the first person to open a 2009 pack here. I don't really follow NASCAR at all, but the only baseball pack I was remotely interested in was Timelines and I've got a hobby box on the way. So why not try something different, I thought. It actually could have been worse, I saw a repack box of wrestling cards with a Jake the Snake chrome card showing that I almost got. If there had been a pack of Topps Heritage showing I would have gotten it. They also had Upper Deck Documentary blasters. 120 cards for 20 bucks. Good, right? WRONG. There's 8 billion cards in that set and there wasn't even an extra insert in th box. Blech. Instead I got some Press Pass to post and a Football repack to open tomorrow while I watch the Falcons. I really don't know anything about racing, I can't even figure out who this is on the pack. Looks familiar though. Who's 88? Basically, I like Bill Elliott because he is from Dawsonville, GA and he is awesome, and I like Tony Stewart just because. So if I get one of them or something shiny I'll be happy and the rest will end up in a package for some race fan. Let's open.

95 Tony Stewart/Greg Zipadelli

Yeah! Tony Stewart right off the bat. Everything else is gravy. This is some sort of subset and has a facsimile autograph in foil. Pretty cuil.

29 Sam Hornish Jr.

Hey there's stats on the back... Sam's finish in the first 26 races and the money he won in 2008. Too bad it's not the entire year's races. Sam didn't finish higher than 13th, so I'm not going to bother with a scan. He has some nifty sideburns though.

TP5/9 David Ragan Tradin' Paint

Tony Stewart and a Shiny Card. All I need is Awesome Bill for my racing Trifecta. This is a one in twelve pack insert card showing off an alternate paint job on the driver's car. Appropriately enough this one features some Boston Red Sox logos that were added (above the AAA logo on the hood, if you squint) for the race in New Hampshire. All you people grumbling about a racing pack on your baseball blog feel pretty foolish now, doncha?

53 Mike Skinner Blue Foil

This dude races trucks. He came in third at the race in Atlanta so I guess he's ok. this is one of those obnoxious blue foil one per pack parallel that Press Pass loves so much. I hates them and will not show them off.

28 Dave Blaney

I don't understand racing. Dave hasn't finished better than 9th in a race, but he beat Sam in a bunch of races but still made a lot less money than Sam in those races. Dave drives a Toyota while Hornish drives a Dodge so maybe NASCAR is discriminating against the Japanese.

50 Erik Darnell

Another trucker dude. Hey! He actually won a race! The Cool City Customs 200 on June 14th. Good jorb, Erik! I shall scan your card in honor of your triumph.

I'll say one thing for Press Pass, they've figured out a good looking design for cards and they stick to it like glue. these cards have the same style and quality as the 1998 football cards that I bought like crazy hunting for Mannings ten years ago. I'm happy with this pack, maybe I'll open another racing pack in 2010.

1987 Donruss

I recently volunteered to perform a card rescue organized by the truly excellent blog Stats on the Back. Okay, fine, he was threatening toss perfectly reasonable baseball cards in the trash and I had to do something about it. This was more about public safety and the health of the environment than my unsettling interest in tiny pictures of baseball players, I swear! Possibly the most fun and unexpected thing about this card rescue, however, was that my package came with a bonus: bona fide unopened wax packs! There was an unopened pack of 1987 and 1988 Donruss, fresh from my days as a middle school card collector. I haven't quite yet decided what to do with the 1988 pack as I'm afraid that if my collection takes on anymore '88 Donruss cards that the entire box will spontaneously combust and produce amazing amount mold at the same time. However, I knew exactly what to do with the '87 pack - rip it open!

16/17/18 - Robert Clemente Puzzle
359 - Steve Jeltz (I got to see him play in person during the mid-'80s with the Portland Beavers)
227 - Scott Bailes (The back of the card boasts of his "outstanding rookie season" in which he went 10-10 with an ERA close to 5.00.)

94 - Fernando Valenzuela (Flash forward to my high school years. I was working at a card shop, and word started getting around that Fernando was going to be pitching for a AAA team facing the Beavers one weekend. I forget which team, but it was during one of his comeback attempts. He eventually made it back with the Orioles.)

577 - Jeff Lahti (An Oregon native.)
444 - Kelly Gruber (Gruber had a big year at one point in his career, but I can't recall which one.)
312 - Jim Winn

303 - Andres Galarraga (I just can't like him, after his awful season with the Cardinals. He ended up going on to have some big years with the Rockies and Braves.)
300 - Checklist
274 - Rob Deer (I still tend to think that Adam Dunn is a glorified Rob Deer.)

142 - Kal Daniels (Kalvoski Daniels! This was a nice pull back in the day. He only lasted 7 years in the majors.)
624 - Angel Salazar (One of my favorite things about Donruss cards was that they printed the player's contract status and details on how they were acquired. Salazar was "Traded from Mets to Royals 4/1/86 for P Tony Ferreira")

492 - Barry Larkin (Even better than Kal. If only I was a Reds fan. I always held a bit of a grudge against Larkin for challenging Ozzie Smith's supremacy as the best NL shortstop around.)
360 - Ed Whitson

228 - Rickey Henderson (Your 2009 first ballot Hall of Famer.)
95 - Andy Allanson (Not to be confused with Allan Anderson.)

This was a great pack in both 1987 and (almost) 2009. I'd have to say that throwing in unopened packs is a great way to sweeten up a trade or any packaged gift.

Friday, December 26, 2008

2008 Topps U&H Presents 2008 Heritage High Number Series retail jumbo 'hanger pack'

2008 Topps U&H Presents 2008 Heritage High Number Series retail jumbo 'hanger pack' [$4.99 each] - about double the number of Heritage High Number cards and a little less of the Updates and Highlights cards.

2008 Topps Heritage High Number cards

#630 Ryan Ludwick - after his breakout year in 2008, I suddenly need more cards of him.
#645 Masahide Kobayashi - the retro 'Topps News Rookie Stars of 2008' design does nothing for me.

#671 Chris Davis - Texas Rangers' rising star
#603 Joel Pineiro - he was poised to be an ace, but flamed out. Maybe he will 'breakout' in 2009, with the help of Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan. His spelling of his last name always got me confused. Is it 'ei' or 'ie' in 'Pineiro?'

#513 Darin Erstad - looking back at his career, it could have been so much more, but I don't think Erstad has had any regrets as the all-or-nothing, lay it out on the line, grinder.
#618 Matt Diaz - after having a breakout season in 2007, kind of disappeared in 2008.
#616 Brian Schneider
#563 Doug Mientkiewicz
#641 Omar Infante
#541 Jon Rauch
#555 Jeff Keppinger

#TN 6 Del Crandall/Russ Martin - Then and Now insert
#C207 Geovany Soto - Chrome parallel insert serial #'d 1306/1959

2008 Topps Update and Highlight cards
#UH 104 Omar Infante
#UH 51 Fernando Tatis
#UH 78 Dallas Braden

David Wright - Students Work Hard, Get Cards

Influenced by this APAD post - I decided to pick one up for myself and while I don't it was such a great pack of 'content,' it was OK.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

1998 Fleer Tradition Series 1

I found this unopened pack in the basement while emptying a box of junk. I'm not sure why I never opened it up before, but why not open it up now? This was a pretty decent base set for the late '90s, clean design on the front, colorful on the back and a hefty 600 card checklist over two series. Since it's Fleer there are inserts a plenty and a couple of short printed shiny subsets. Every pack also has a retro design '63 Fleer card, a Million Dollar Moment game card and a useless points card that no one outside dealers busting a truckload of cases had any use for. Time to open 'er up and free the contents from their 10 year imprisonment.

25 Mark McGwire
19 Juan Gonzalez
136 Paul Molitor
28 Kirk Rueter
6 of 20 PG Jose Cruz Jr. Power Game
Vintage '63 7 Rafael Palmeiro
217 Jim Edmonds
178 Orlando Cabrera
134 Quilvio Veras
291 Wally Joyner
Diamond Ink - 1 point Jose Cruz Jr.
25 of 50 Maury Wills Million Dollar Moments

Jeez, imagine opening this sucker in 1998! Big Mac, Juan Gone and Mollie 1-2-3 in the pack. Thankfully Kirk Rueter brings us back down to reality before hitting the inserts. Four straight good cards before landing into the inserts might have caused me to faint. The insert is an embossed teal card with purple foil of Jose Cruz Jr. Jose had two homers against Kansas City his rookie season which qualified him for the high honor of an insert card featuring Charlotte Hornets team colors. The '63 card is the fifth card in the pack so far that was awesome in '98 and not so much now. I'm starting to think Raffy got jobbed now that all the wonderful details about Miggy's pharmacological history have come out. Who shares Vitamin B12 shots though? Eh, I'm probably too trusting. BURN 'EM ALL. THROW THEIR SHRIVELED CHESTNUTS RIGHT ON THE YULE LOG. MERRY CHRISTMAS JUICERS!!!

Ok, that's out of my system. I haven't bought all my presents yet so I'm a bit hIGH StRUnG today. Sorry 'bout that. Anyway, the rest of the pack is pretty decent too. Jim Edmonds, Orlando Cabrera MLB Debut (not rookie) card and Wally Joyner were all pretty good cards in '98. Veras and Rueter are the only stinkers in the whole pack in 1998 terms. The Diamond Ink cards are stupid though, you had to collect 500 points to get an autographed baseball of the player on the card. They were one per pack and there were eleven different players you could pull in 1, 5 or 10 point cards. Mostly one point cards were all you found though. For perspective, at one point a pack, 500 packs equals about twenty one hobby boxes. So, yeah. These were junk. The last card in the pack was another giveaway contest, you had to collect a 50 card set of "Million Dollar Moments" to win (what else) One Meelion Dollars! Of course the last 5 cards in the set were horrifically short printed so it was damn near impossible. According to my price guide, the 1-45 set could be exchanged for a full 50 card set, something I didn't know back in 1998 or I would have done it. The set is actually pretty nifty, the one I pulled features Maury Wills with the stolen base that broke Ty Cobb's single season record.

This was a pretty dang good pack as long as you're in a late '90s mindset. Senator Mitchell kinda screwed up the pack though. Ah well. Still, it was a nice random unopened pack out of nowhere to open.