Saturday, January 31, 2009

1981 Topps baseball

I found a random, loose pack of 1981 Topps [$1.00] - didn't know it what year it was and had to look closer at the wrapper for any sort of year. Ironically I was going to pick up a Harold Baines rookie card and also a Tim Raines [multiplayer] rookie card for $0.50 each, but it went to this pack instead.

It is still 'junk wax,' but a little older than 1987 Topps or 1988 Donruss, so it has that going for it - if absolutely nothing else. Maybe I'd pull a 'star card,' worth $1.00 or so. The 1981 Topps set was sandwiched between Topps sets with a couple of 'true' key rookie cards [Rickey Henderson in 1980 and Cal Ripken Jr. in 1982].

I picked up the pack 'as is,' meaning it may or may not have been resealed - the cards were facing the other direction with the 29 year old stick of gum infront of the pack.

Going from the first card at the bottom facing me - I have to flip the card over to see what number it is.

#502 Chris Bourjos, Al Hargersheimer and Mike Rowland [Giants Future Stars] - Bourjos' son Peter plays for the Angels' farm system, while Bourjos is currently a scout.

#646 Marvis Foley
#525 Mike Torrez

#356 George Stablein, Craig Stimac and Tom Tellmann [Padres Future Stars]
#346 Larry Christenson
#564 Ron Hassey
#399 Mike Boddicker, Mark Corey and Floyd Rayford [Orioles Future Stars]

#144 Allen Ripley

Hit to Win game card - I'm sort of fascinated by promotional cards and non-player filler cards, especially if they are a little more 'animated.'
#270 Greg Luzinski
#378 Dave Rader
#481 Bob Lacey
#246 Ed Ott

#195 Rich Murray - brother of Eddie

#700 George Brett - I'm overtly paranoid with busting any packs and wonder if this card was planted in this pack. The card is off-center, though it is an all-star/Hall of Fame player.

#490 Eddie Murray - along with Brett, another all-star type who actually got to the Hall of Fame. It is a coincidence I find his card in the same pack with his brother's.

29 year old stick of gum - I'm almost tempted to chew the nice, pink, intact stick.

2009 Topps

First pack of the new season!

256 Reggie Abercrombie
170 CC Sabathia
192 Collin Balester
66 Dustin Pedroia 2008 AL MVP
266 Todd Wellemayer
220 Jay Bruce gold parallel #0772/2009
TTT7 Hanley Ramirez Topps Town
Topps Attax code
271 Cliff Lee 2008 AL Cy Young
315 Hiroki Kuroda
19 Edgar Gonzalez
216 Joe Maddon
247 Yuniesky Betancourt

Full scans and commentary on my own blog this evening.

Pack Prognosticator: Super Bowl XLIII

Tomorrow is the Super Bowl, so I thought I'd open a really old pack of football cards, sort of as a prediction as to who will win the game. There's been a pack of 1991 Score Series I lying around my house for the better part of two years. I can't really bear to let is sit for another season, so today's the day.

The Rules:
Since this will determine the winner outright, we have to lay some ground rules.
1. Any Cardinal or Steeler is worth 5 points to that team.
2. Any card of a team the Cardinals or the Steelers beat during the regular season is worth 3 points to that team.
3. Any card of a team the Cardinals or Steelers beat during the post-season is worth 4 points to that team.
4. Any card of a team the Cardinals or Steelers lost to during the regular season costs that team a -2 penalty.

I'd say that these are pretty even odds. The Cardinals lost more games this year, but they played one more playoff game than Pittsburgh. Plus the Ravens didn't exist in 1991. Then again, the Panthers didn't either. (On a related note, I'm calling it that teams who moved but kept their name, such as the Rams, will count, but teams who changed their name, like the Oilers/Titans, will not.)

Let's tear in.

Top to Bottom:
267 Leo Goeas - Chargers (+7 to Steelers via one reg. win and one playoff win; Steelers 7: Cardinals 0)
273 Todd Bowles - Redskins (+3 Steelers (W), -2 Cardinals (L); Steelers 10: Cardinals -2. Looks like a good old fashioned ass whupping in the making.)

287 Daniel Stubbs - Cowboys (+3 to both teams for regular season victories; Steelers 13: Cardinals 1)
293 Jeff Bostic - Redskins (Another dagger to the Cards, +3 Steelers, -2 Cardinals; Steelers 16: Cardinals -1)
307 J.B. Brown - Dolphins (+3 to the Cardinals for an early-season victory over Miami; Steelers 16: Cardinals 2)
337 Albert Lewis Dream Team - Chiefs (No change, K.C. played neither team)
105 Anthony Bell - Cardinals (+5 to the underdogs; Steelers 16: Cardinals 7)

10 Gerald McNeil - Oilers (No change, defunct in Houston.)
15 Emmitt Smith - Cowboys (+3 to both again; Steelers 19: Cardinals 10)

30 Tim Harris - Packers (No change, neither team dared face this 6-10 juggernaut)
35 Eugene Lockhart - Cowboys (+3 to both; Steelers 22: Cardinals 10)
115 Anthony Munoz - Bengals (+6 to Pittsburgh for two regular season wins. I don't think the Cardinals can recover from that knockout blow. Steelers 28: Cardinals 10)
130 Bart Oates - Giants (-2 to Arizona, though I'm tempted to give both teams 400 points because of the love Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force has for this man; Steelers 28: Cardinals 8)

135 Joey Browner - Vikings (Another team the Cardinals lost to, so -2; Steelers 28: Cardinals 6)
150 Erik McMillan - Jets (The slide continues with another two-point penalty to AZ; Steelers 28: Cardinals 4)
155 Robert Delpino - Rams (The Cardinals salvage some pride with the last card, having beat the Rams twice this season; Final Score - Steelers 28: Cardinals 10)

I'm surprised how well that turned out looking like an actual football score. I was worried for a second that the Cardinals were going to have to pull off two safeties in a losing effort. Have fun watching the game, everybody. And don't forget to bet on Pittsburgh to cover and go with the under. You can all thank me later.

"That pack was totally kick-ass! Reminded me of the time I saw Whitesnake at the Meadowlands in '89!"

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2009 Topps American Heritage

Too busy searching eBay for Olbermann relic.

Limiting myself to seven words per card.

99 Frank Woolworth

Pioneered discount stores, legacy killed by WalMart.

38 Patrick Henry

Cake or death? No! Liberty or death!

28 David Farragut

They had torpedoes in 1864? No foolin...

103 The Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident.

C7 Walt Whitman Chrome

Didja know Whitman was a baseball fan?

54 Frederick Douglass

Abolitionist, orator, journalist and Redd Foxx lookalike.

71 Henry Clay

Is Kentucky Whigs a transvestite basketball team?

86 Duke Ellington

My best pull of '09 so far.

2008 Tristar Projections High # Series

There are five cards per pack with the off-chance of pulling autos, serially-numbered parallels, "ProDebut" cards, and "Reflectives (whatever in the heck THOSE are):"

Ah, yes, remember when you were young (or go ask your Mom or Dad), and the 'high-numbered' cards were the ones to get. Why? Because they came out later in the season and not as many were produced. Or so that's what traditional convention holds. I can only assume companies are banking on the nod to yesteryear with these 'ooo, ahhh, high series' cards. In today's world of digital media and imaging, nothing is rare anymore that is newly produced. Sure, find some of Babe Ruth's hair, maybe. But even that relies on an OLD find. Cards today can be produced in any quantity any time. So why did I buy it? Well, it came 'free' in a multi-pack repack thingy I bought.

Pictured above, we have Jonathan Herrera (Tulsa Drillers) and Michael Watt (GCL Dodgers). I will give some credit to the folks at Tristar. At least they shelled out the cash to be allowed to mention the pro team that drafted the various players. I absolutely HATE all those stupid "TEAM USA" cards that never tell you who drafted the guy, so you have no idea what team to lump him with. In any case, Herrera was drafted by Colorado and Watt by the Dodgers (which worked well for him, I guess, given he was already on their Minor League team).

Now, we find Scott Carroll (Billings Mustangs), Josh Geer (San Antonio Missions), and Danny Duffy (AZL Royals). Is Danny Duffy any relation to Mike Duffy? I wonder. Another thing I like about the cards is the photo credits on the back of each one. That begs the question: If I go to an MiLB game and take photos of the players, can I submit those to Tristar for possible future use? That would be cool. Though the bragging rights would only encompass a relatively small personal circle for me. Well, Carroll went to Cinn City, Geer to San Diego, and Duffy to KC.

I suppose I will be on the hunt for Tribers in this set, and these seen today will be allocated to their corresponding MLB team.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2008 Topps Mayo Football

Just got this pack today, $5.50 at Champion Sports Cards in Kennesaw. I'll let the cards speak for themselves and do a more detailed dissection on my own blog one I've been able to examine them more thoroughly.

24 Matt Cassell

274 John Harvey Kellogg

267 Maurice Jones-Drew

40 Marcus Smith RC

227 Derek Anderson mini

SB39-B Super Bowl XXXIX thick insert

76 Muhsin Muhammad

101 Jerry Porter

To sum up: Topps spent a fortune in black ink. The photos ranged from pretty good (Cassell, Porter) to dreadful (Smith). I'm not impressed by the Pro Set throwback thick Superbowl insert. The mini card is kickass as always, but Derek Anderson? Eecch. I would eat cornflakes for every meal if I could get my mustache to grow the way Kellogg's does. I'm glad I didn't drop $100+ on a Hobby box, but you can bet your sweet bippy that Blasters Shall Be Bought.

2008 O-Pee-Chee Hockey Hobby

The NHL All-Star weekend is behind us (thank God), and now it's time for the stretch run heading into the Stanley Cup playoffs. A great time to be a hockey fan, and a great time for a hockey pack on A Pack a Day. 2008 O-Pee-Chee is my favorite hockey release of the year so far. I recently picked up a wax box, here's one pack from the box. Each pack contains 6 cards, with one of them being a retro parallel designed after the 1979 O-Pee-Chee set (one of the most iconic hockey sets thanks to Gretzky's rookie card).

#367 - Marty Turco - Dallas Stars - I'll go ahead and state it for the last time, these base cards look awesome. They are a huge improvement over O-Pee-Chee designs from recent years, and incorporating the team colors in the border really ties the cards together nicely.

#10 - Cory Murphy - Florida Panthers
#120 - Paul Martin - New Jersey Devils
#131 - Nicklas Lidstrom - Detroit Red Wings - Lidstrom is at the center of an All-Star controversy at the moment. He and fellow Red Wing Pavel Datsyuk were each suspended one game for refusing an invite to last weekend's All-Star festivities. I think it's kind of silly to suspend two star players for refusing to attend the game because they felt they needed to rest, but at the same time I guess the NHL has to do something to prevent everyone from ducking out of the festivities. Does anyone else have an opinion on this?

#586 - Grant Fuhr - Edmonton Oilers - Legends - Cards 561-600 are short printed Legends cards featuring the greats of the NHL's past. I think this is a great subset and really sets this year's O-Pee-Chee release apart from others. I would like hockey card releases to do more to honor the NHL's past. The Legends short prints and this year's Masterpieces hockey set have done just that.

#392 - Phil Kessel - Boston Bruins (Retro Variation) - These retro cards are the highlight of the set as far as I'm concerned, absolutely awesome cards. I would love to complete a retro set but I don't think I have the time or the funds to chase them all down. Maybe some day.

Kessel is one of the young stars that have helped the Bruins rise to the top spot in the Eastern Conference. This guy's only 21 years old, and his 24 goals are good for 6th in the league, despite already missing 5 games due to illness. Hopefully he can return to the Bruin's lineup soon.

If you want to check out the box break you can do so here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

1990 Michigan State Spartans All Time Greats

Between the Bipped boxes, the boatload of '94 Pacific, and these, I feel like I'm becoming the Duke of Bad Wax on this blog (chemgod is the king, of course).
For your viewing (or cringing) pleasure, here is a pack from one of two boxes I got from a friend. He paid $2 a box. 200 card set with eight cards to a pack. The wrapper is that stretchy plastic that you should almost cut instead of rip. Notable athletes include, Magic Johnson, Steve Garvey, Kirk Gibson, Rod Brind'Amour, Joe DeLamielleure, Gene Washington, Ron Saul, Eric Allen, Earl Morrall, Ron Perranoski, Bubba Smith, Morten Andersen, Sam Vincent and Billy Joe DuPree. Set includes all four sports, coaches, and combo cards. Still doesn't make it that collectible, even if you live in Michigan....

First, the box:

Now the pack:

Most packs consist of two-, three-, or four-card runs of consecutive numbers.

148 Sam Vincent (basketball) - Boston's first round pick (20th overall) in the 1985 NBA draft.

147 Dan McFall (hockey) - Had most goals by a defenseman in a season, 1983-84.

146 Ron Mason (hockey) - Coach who was entering his 12th season that year. Second winningest coach in NCAA history at that point.

145 Kelly Miller (hockey) - Taken in the 9th round of the NHL draft by the Rangers. Starred as a Washington capital.

11 Brad Van Pelt (football) - Five time Pro Bowler for the New York football Giants from 1976 to 1980.

12 Andre Rison (football) - Five time Pro Bowler (1 First team), drafted 22nd overall in 1989. Played for Falcons and Chiefs among others in 11 year career.

30 LeRoy Bolden (football) - Led MSU in rushing and scoring in 1953 and scoring in '54. Played two seasons with the Cleveland Browns, primarily as a kick returner.

29 Bill Simpson (football) - Free safety with the Buffalo bills for eight years.

Some other notable cards from the set:

Bubba is just a badass. Can you picture Garvey on the Rams and Gibson on the Lions?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

2005 Topps Fan Favorites

At the local mega-retailer, where the colors have gone from blue and gray to some weird sandstone mix, I picked up a repack blaster pack with three packs of cards inside. I saw the face of Mike Schmidt staring out at me. How could I pass it up?

Each pack has six cards inside. The first two here are Jeffrey Leonard (Giants) and Jose Oquendo (Cardinals). Leonard averaged 16 home runs and 17 stolen bases in each of his six years with the Giants. Oquendo played 10 seasons with the Cards and he was the first National Leaguer to play all nine positions in a single season. Talk about a utility player:

Next up, we have Gary Gaetti (Twins) and Reggie "They named a chocolate covered rice crispy treat after me" Jackson (A's). Gaetti sits in the top-ten home run hitters for the Twins (or did in 2005), and Jackson... Well, Reggie is flippin REGGIE JACKSON, hello!? Though he played for various teams in his career, he began and ended his time in the Bigs with the A's:

And, rounding out the pack, we have Monte Irvin (NY Giants) and Bill Freehan (Tigers). The Irvin card is done up in a Play Ball game card style. Freehan was an AL MVP 11 of 15 seasons:

I always did like these cards, but obviously missed out on the call to vote. Exactly how did that work anyway? I'd love to see Topps bring these back again and give us a chance to 'update' the deck of cards!