August 31, 2011

Still teams left in 2011 Topps Finest Case Break

The Topps Finest case break will be here before you know it.

Here are the teams that are left for the break:

White Sox
Angels
Astros
Brewers
Rays

If you want one, speak up. Team are $40, which includes shipping. The updated release date is Oct. 12. This was done to include some of the rookies that made it up later in the season.

These teams were left out because they are rarely ever bought. If you would like one, email us and we'll see if we an work out a price.

Royals
Pirates
Diamondbacks
A's
Marlins
Padres

August 27, 2011

Sticker Wars Update

Well, now that I have battened down the hatches for Hurricane Irene I figure this is a good time for an update on my 2011 Topps Sticker Collection progress.

After purchasing more packs than I will ever admit to as well as trading with Stale Gum and his partner in crime Chris from the Baseballcardpedia, I am very close to completion. The only stickers I need are the following:

224 259 264

If anyone has these for trade, I have a humongous stack of doubles to trade back.

As for my hurricane plans.... I have none other than hiding in my house and watching tv and using the internet while I have power. The storm just started picking up here so we are in for a long night. To everyone out there in the way of this storm, stay safe.

August 22, 2011

Hobby Box Break and Review: 2011 Bowman Platinum

This years Bowman Platinum has come a LONG way from last year if you ask my opinion. The veteran base cards are on a higher quality card stock than last year, and the design is much cleaner.

I have seen a good variety of the 2011 Bowman Platinum set having opened some rack packs before the hobby box as well as seeing a ton of these cards around the show floor at the National.

The hobby boxes promise 3 autographs per box including one dual autograph game used card. The box retails for around $80 per box, and for that price you do get 3 hits plus a bunch of parallels.

These x-fractor type parallels of the prospects are cool for one reason- the card stock doesn't coil like older types. If you are someone who collects prospects, it's just another version to chase.

I love this years base card design, much nicer than last years design and card stock. There are many times where I hate multiple versions of the same card in different colors, but this set I love collecting the rainbow of colors. When cards are shiny, I think it makes collecting a rainbow more fun.
These were the only two base prospects that are already in top loaders and that I had any interest in holding onto. I really think Ackley is going to be a great player and obviously Bryce Harper will be the next God among men.
Here are the rest of the prospects.
Red parallel of Jayson Werth.
Green parallels (non-serial numbered)
Pedro Alvarez and Dan Haren
Gold parallels (non-serial numbered)

Here is the dual game used autograph card /1166 of Edwin Encarnacion... (whoohoo, party hats!!)
Yankees prospect Anderson Feliz auto

Dodgers prospect Leon Landry auto.
Cito Culver gold refractor /50 might just be the best card in the box. Love that he is pictured doing the "Jeter jump throw" move.
Garrett Richards green refractor /599

This is one of those products where retail and hobby version both have something cool to offer if you are a player collecting, more so a prospect collector. The retail rack packs which you can get in Target (not sure what WalMart offers since mine doesn't carry cards), contain 3 exclusive purple refractors + 3 packs for $8.99. I got a couple of cool purple refractors in my rack packs for my PC.

2011 Bowman Platinum Report Card:

Design: A-

I think the design on the cards is clean and simple while still using some great action shots on some cards. I enjoy collecting the rainbow of these types of cards when they don't coil or bend and look nice in an album.

Value: A-

For what is supposed to be a higher end product, Edwin Encarnacion as the "bigger" of the three hits was just disappointing. Maybe that's just me. However, at around $80 per box, you can't beat three autos and a ton of parallels. Oh and a chance at a Bryce Harper auto that could pay for the box and then some if you flip it.

Quality: A

I couldn't really find anything wrong with the quality of the product from the box. There were no mis-cut cards, no dinged corners and no doubles.

Overall: A

My general opinion of this set is that it's great. I think this set is what kept me interested in cards around this time of year because Ginter and Lineage just did nothing for me. Lineage inserts were great, but the base product left something to be desired. The 2011 Platinum has a solid base set with a nice design, and the back of the cards look like they are a finished product. The inserts and autographs are well done, and we all know I will love any product with a chance to make a rainbow of Cano or Pujols cards.

Did anyone pull any cool auto's from Platinum? Better yet, anyone pull any Cano or Pujols parallels for me? =)

August 21, 2011

Sunday Question

As most of you know Suzy is a sports writer in the South Jersey area. This weekend during what was supposed to be something great to end football double sessions and get the team together there was a completely devastating tragedy.

Four young kids from Mainland High School were killed this weekend when their car flipped several times on the Garden State Parkway. You can read more about this horrendous accident on the Press of Atlantic City's website.

So this week there is no question but we are asking you to please keep their families in your thoughts and prayers. If you would like to leave a comment on the newspaper site, perhaps when things settle down in a few weeks or months and those parents go back and read all these comments they will see how many people were thinking about them and saying a prayer for their families.

August 18, 2011

Topps sneaks a peek at 2012 Baseball

We aren't done with baseball yet in 2011, but the folks at Topps are working hard on next year's product.

Today, Topps' Twitter account gave a little peek at what the flagship set will look like.

(Edit: Beckett provided more pictures for 2012 Topps).

What do you think?


August 16, 2011

1, 2, 3, 4 Stale Gum declared a Sticker War

Since we can't play thumb wars on the internet I suppose a sticker war would be the next best thing. Why would I participate in a sticker war? Why not, is the better question.

While I have my reservations about the need for a product such as this, I will reserve judgment since this does seem like it would be fun. As long as this doesn't count as a release for Topps in their baseball line, I am ok with it.



I asked on Twitter if anyone wanted to see me try and complete a sticker album and Stale Gum suggested a race between me, him, and sruchris of baseballpedia. Hmm.... this could be funner than just doing it on my own so why not. Let's just hope I don't lose interest or run out of funds to complete this semi-ridiculous endeavor. Anyone wanting to sponsor my quest, feel free to send me a pack of stickers.

I ran to Target to get some stickers and an album and I'm ready to get moving. Only one of the two local Targets actually had the stickers so I hope no one else wants to do this around here otherwise that would severely slow this down.

Wish me luck and I will post an update on how many out of 309 I have complete later tonight or tomorrow morning.

August 14, 2011

Sunday Question

While at the National, Topps hosted a meet & greet type of event where collectors could attend and ask questions or voice comments. They did the same thing last year and some of the questions/concerns were directed at sets released in baseball and football. Many people wanted to know why a certain set was discontinued or way they let another run for too long, or just general problems with sets/cards.

If you could bring back one baseball set for a release next year what would it be and why?

For me it would be Turkey Red hands down. I loved this set because a great deal of the autographs were on card, the set was simple while having variety with different colors and it contained no subset mumbo jumbo. Chrome variants were enough to keep this set entertaining for me, but they weren't anything I chased after. This set is also where I pulled my Mariano Rivera on card autograph (even though it was a redemption).

2011 Finest Case Break Update

I just wanted to give everyone an update on the upcoming case break of 2011 Topps Finest baseball that will be released hopefully at the end of September barring no set backs by Topps.

These are the available teams (note: one person paid with no team listed so I am awaiting response):

White Sox
Angels
Twins
Astros
Brewers
Reds
Rays

I have eliminated the following teams but if you wish to purchase any of these teams please contact me to get a price. They were left out because there wasn't much chance of anything major so I would be willing to offer them at a discounted cost.

Royals
Pirates
Diamondbacks
A's
Marlins
Padres

August 13, 2011

Hobby Box Break and Review: 2011 Topps Lineage

This year Topps introduced a new set in baseball cards which features reprints of older Topps cards as inserts, autographed versions and game used versions. The Topps Lineage base set is it's own design and to me, looks a little like a cross between Bowman base and old school Topps Total cards.

Each box contains, on average, one game used relic card and two autographs including one on card autograph. The price per hobby box is around $70-$75 which isn't too bad for three hits.



While I honestly don't care for the back of the cards, I like the front. I like how the team logos are appropriate for the time the player played. If you can get past the fact that the back of the cards look like either promotional cards from cereal boxes, or an unfinished product you probably will enjoy this base set just fine. Personally, I wouldn't have made the back of these cards all different colors like a crayon box.



The back of the cards also have Venezuelan variants, which you can see here.



Clearly the Spanish back cards are not just reserved for those players who speak that as their first language because something tells me Braun 'no habla espanol'.

Each box comes with a box topper which could be a game used relic, however that was not the case here. I kind of like the jumbo card, it's a novelty type card without being a gimmick.



There were three variations of the base cards in this set, the Diamond Anniversary cards much like the ones from Topps Series 1 & 2, Diamond Platinum, and cloth type sticker versions of the base cards.

Diamond Platinum

Diamond Anniversary

Stickers


Next, we have probably my favorite insert set out of this product. I might even try to complete this 20 card set because it was a favorite of mine as a kid. I always tried to trade for these cards when I was younger and was always excited when I saw them pop out of one of my packs.



There are plenty of cool subsets in this product, and if you liked one particular year of Topps cards that are in this newer set it gives you something to chase until the next release. Here are the other inserts that were in the hobby box.

3D cards (which are totally blank on the back...)

Stand Up cards, which I really like. I have a great idea of what to do with that stupid Youk card if I can scrounge up some Yankee stand ups....

Mini '75 cards


Finally, we have the 3 hits from the box which were exactly as promised on the box.





The on card auto is Fausto Carmona. My scanner for some reason won't recognize the top of the card.


Now for the Report Card....

Design: C

This grade is solely based on the base cards that are original and unique to this set. While I love the front of the cards, the back of the cards looks like they just had better things to do than come up with something or finish what they intended to do. A base set should be uniform in color and this set lacks that, along with anything that could be considered aesthetically pleasing. I think Topps dropped the ball on turning this into a big hit just based on that fact.

Value: B+

Currently the market price for this product is a little bit high for what I got out of the box. There were 157 base cards, and 2 Venezuelan inserts total. So 157/200 in the base set isn't bad for one hobby box. After seeing the sell sheet for this product I thought there would be much more in terms of reprints of older sets than I saw. The upside to the value is that you get a nice variety of inserts, with a chance to pull a couple of cards of your favorite team or player.

Quality: B

The base set card stock is on the same level as the flagship set/Opening Day cards except for much more money. The inserts are what save the quality for me because they are fun and seem to be well received by most collectors. The stand up cards are awesome as well as the 3D cards. I like the mini cards however if you like to store your cards in an album these will be a little tricky to find Ultra Pro sheets in that exact size.

Overall: B

While I have outlined some of the issues I have with this set, I think it has potential to be much more successful in it's second year should Topps decide to put it out there again. I think this would be a better if they put more of an effort into the back of the cards, as well as incorporating more of the vintage themed cards that were on the sell sheet. Maybe even bring back a Bazooka subset of relics or auto's? I was a sucker for the Bazooka sets even if they looked just like Topps Total. The inserts make this set worthwhile as well as the fact that you get two autographs per box. If you are looking for just a fun break without caring about building a set, you will enjoy the break.

Topps Lineage blaster break

Just gonna show off the inserts to 2011 Topps Lineage. I enjoy the inserts a lot. I am not a fan of the base cards so much, I received about 45 or so of those.

There is one relic card in each blaster of Topps Lineage. I actually pulled Kevin Youklis, but the good BF traded it for me a former Yankee. I felt much better after getting rid of the Youk card.

The Austin Jackson in a plain white swatch and the Youklis was a plain gray swatch. I like the look of the relics, but the relic itself just needs some work.


1975 mini insert. These might be my favorite inserts of the set, but I have not seen a 3-D in person yet. So I am waiting on those to pass full judgement.


Just to get an idea of exactly how mini we are talking, I have a Buster Posey scanned next to a George Sisler diamond platinum card from Lineage. They "minis" aren't Allen and Ginter minis, just a slightly smaller version of the base cards. 


Interestingly enough, my two chrome, refractor-type cards are of Walter Johnson and Stephen Strasburg. Both of Washington baseball fame.


These cards can be a little tricky to notice. If you don't check the back closely enough, you may miss the Venezuelan inserts where the backs are in Spanish. I initially thought I did not get an insert in that pack, but remembered these and sure enough found a Starlin Castro.

2011 star rookies - J.P. Arencicia


My little stand up card is of Hunter Pence. I wonder if I could sit him on my desk and look at his high socks all day.


August 12, 2011

I have a problem.

A Cardboard Problem, that is.

Two days before the National I was at Target to get some travel size items and saw that they had 2011 Bowman Platinum rack packs. I also saw you get 3 purple refractors in them. I grabbed two and then kept walking for what I really went there for which was not rack packs.

While I was walking around I almost put them back 4 times because I was wondering why would I buy packs of cards when I was going to the National and could just buy packs there, or get the singles I wanted. However, we all know how this story ends.

Here is what was in the rack packs that I didn't need but bought "for the sake of the blog post". I wish I had tagged posts that contained purchases that I told myself I bought them to see what was inside for blogging purposes and general knowledge. I bet there would be at least 100 over the years. Anyway...

Here we go:




I usually don't pick good packs in terms of getting guys I like or collect but this time I hit the jackpot as far as I'm concerned. 3 purple refractors that I really like out of 6 is awesome. The Jesus Montero, Hector Noesi, and Dustin Ackley are by far amazing pulls and I am glad I didn't put the packs back.

Overall I really like this set based on a small sample size. I have a hobby box here to break so expect a more comprehensive opinion and review coming soon.

Anyone pull either green version (serial numbered and non-serial numbered) of Cano? I'm looking for those two if anyone has them. Also looking for same for Pujols, plus red version.

What can a 31-game hitting streak do for a player's value?


(Editor's note: thanks for the correction)


As of Friday morning, Dan Uggla is up to 31 games. An impressive feat, but still very far off from Joe DiMaggio with 56 games.

The great thing is Uggla is currently batting .224. He has been horrendous this season, but during his 31-game hitting streak, he is hitting .355 with 12 homers and 29 RBIs.

This hitting just might get collectors to notice him because it definitely wasn't the five-year $62 million contract he signed.

His cards haven't seemingly hit staggering prices since starting his hitting streak. Two of his 2006 rookies, both Topps Chrome red refractors /5 sold for more than $100 on eBay, including one for $147. The next best cards that was sold on eBay was a 2006 Sweet Spot Update bat barrel with blue ink /10, which went for $75.

Can this hitting streak save Uggla?

As you ponder that, in the meantime check out some of Uggla's best cards:

2005 Topps Total Silver #723 D.Uggla/E.Schindewolf
2006 Bowman Blue #227 Dan Uggla AU
2006 Bowman Sterling Refractors #DU Dan Uggla
2006 SP Authentic #285 Dan Uggla AU/199 (RC)
2006 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #DU Dan Uggla/75
2006 SPx #158 Dan Uggla AU/999 (RC)
2006 Sweet Spot Update #115 Dan Uggla AU/125 (RC)
2006 Ultimate Collection Game Patches #DU Dan Uggla
2006 eTopps #5 Dan Uggla

August 10, 2011

Hobby Box Break and Review: 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter

When reviewing products I know the goal is to be as objective as possible. I know this but sometimes it's hard, like right now. I opened up this box rather quickly, and was impressed in a few areas and let down in others. You all know how I feel about this product if you have talked to me before or read this blog however, we will just leave that out of it (or try to).

I broke down each type of card in the box down to a number just to satisfy my curiosity.

Base cards: 127 total, 17 of non-baseball subjects
Short prints: 12

Honestly, if anyone can make themselves look like a clown it's Dirk Hayhurst. Not sure this guy could be any more full of himself. Hard to be "cool" when you look like a total jackass on a baseball card. Topps should be smacked for allowing this idiot to look like this on a card. Then you have a guy like Manny who retired in March as a short print. Yes, I am fully aware that they are adhering to a checklist however there are those little words on all of the pre-sell sheets that say, "checklist subject to change". How about having removed him and put a guy in that plays everyday? At least someone on the 40-man roster.

Now the upside. I like that Topps attempted to make these cards a little bit more than just a player on a white background. The border on the cards and the bottom logo is far better than any base set of years past. They are definitely moving in the right direction trying to change things up a little bit while keeping the same type of design.

Hometown Heroes: 18

I like this subset because it is all baseball and it has a nice design element to it.


Code cards: 2 gold, 1 black
Sketch cards: 4

The sketch card highlights are always one of the better parts of Ginter each year and they are usually the ones I look to grab before base cards. To me, these always look nice but never warranted buying an entire box for just a couple of them.
Now what can I say about the mini cards? I love mini cards so in my eyes Topps can never go wrong with them. Mini cards seem to be a hit amongst almost all collectors and we all love chasing down our favorite players. The mini cards are another element of this product that make it popular if you ask me.

Mini regular back: 8
Mini A&G back: 6
Mini back border: 2

I like that the borders have changed this year. They kind of look like a marble notebook which is fun.
Animals in Peril: 2

Not a fan. I see no need to include animals in this set. Create some other type of baseball subset.
Uninvited Guests: 2

World's Most Mysterious Figures: 2
Portraits of Penultimacy: 2
Step Right Up: 1

As soon as I saw this card I began singing the Big Apple Circus commercial theme song. Snooze set.
Ascent of Man: 4

Honestly, if any of us cared to learn this or see the picture progression we would be reading a science book on the theory of evolution not picking up a pack of baseball cards with the hopes of getting our questions answered.
Minds that Matter: 3
Floating Fortresses: 3
Ryan Dempster Game Used Jersey
Billy Butler Game Used Jersey
Tim Hudson Game Used Jersey
Report Card

Design: B+

This year Topps made an attempt to do something a little nicer for the base cards and give it a fresher look. I am a fan of the borders this year and like the way the cards look. The mini black border cards are especially nice looking as well.

Value: A

This grade is based on the price of the box (somewhere in the $85 ballpark) and that you get 3 hits per box and an assortment of all inserts. It's nice when you buy a product to have a chance at getting cards from all subsets or of your player in a subset.

Quality: A

There were no doubles in the box, no damaged cards, and the cards show continuity in card stock from years past.

Overall: A-

While this set isn't for everyone, I can see the appeal to other collectors who enjoy pulling a card of someone from another sport or walk of life and even having a chance at an auto or piece of their clothing. If all these elements make this product a hit for Topps, I know they will keep making it... Just doesn't mean I have to like it or buy it. Again, there are plenty of upsides to this product if you can deal with the huge variety of non-baseball subjects.