Card of the Day: 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Joey Chestnut

When it comes to sports cards, I’m pretty much a straight baseball guy. I’ve collected all sports in the past, and what I found is that I was just buying them for the sake of buying new cards. So for about three years now I have been baseball exclusive. But there is one baseball product on the market right now that makes it damn near impossible not to pull a card of another sport — Topps Allen & Ginter. This is a baseball product, make no mistake about it. But within the base set and inserts, there are cards featuring all sorts of things, such as Big Foot the monster truck, and people, like Joey Chestnut.

I know what you’re thinking: Chestnut is the guy who took down the Japanese dude last year in the July 4th hotdog eating contest on ESPN, right? Why does he have a baseball card? Answer: because he’s a world champion.

I bought a few packs when it was released Wednesday, and I did so without looking at the checklist. And looking through the cards, one made me stop dead in my tracks: Joey Chestnut. There he was with that semi-constipated look on his face, almost like he crapped his pants and was facing mommy for the first time since dropping the duece.

By this point I’d already pulled one of the rare Silk/Cloth framed cards (only 10 sets exist), but this is the card that made me stop and actually appreciate this year’s product.

Baseball card sets are typically constructed the same way. You get the same 200 stars and then another 50 or so rookies to give collector’s some reason to believe that they are actually investing their money wisely. But not this product. Sure it’s got it’s run of rare cards, autographs and even piece of Abe Lincoln’s hair (I’m not kidding), but the base set is so interesting that it’s almost worth buying for that reason alone. I mean where else can you pull this type of eight card pack: Carl Crawford, Jay Bruce, Jake Peavy, Robinson Cano, Francisco Cordero, John Bowker, Les Miles and Joey Chestnut?

What I really love about this set is that it makes you stop and think about what you’ve purchased. Because most sets are so contrived and even predictable, many collectors rip packs and seek out only the shiniest card, the one with a piece of jersey embedded in it, or the one covered in the depicted player’s signature. If there are none of those, the rest go right into a box, or worst case scenario into the trash can. People don’t actually read their baseball cards anymore. It’s kind of sad. Need to know how many home runs Jeff Francouer hit in 2006? No need to go find his 2007 Topps card and read the back to get the answer. All you have to do is go online. It’s even easier if you’re a fantasy baseball guy.

Anyhow, here’s a sneak peek at some of the other odd cards I managed to pull today:

Billy Mitchell, Champion Pac-Man gamer: It’s too bad that he wasn’t a Nintendo champion. This pose would have been classic for “Nintendo Thumb.” Also, he kind of looks like Buddy Christ. Jesus Christ. Now that’d be a hell of an A&G card.

Pete Webber, Champion Professional Bowler: As much as I hate his wannabe Degeneration X crotch chop, it still would look better than this image. He looks like he’s at a funeral, or like he’s some kind of mobster. I love bowling, but this guy is a real douche bag for trying to turn the sport into professional wrestling.

Bigfoot, monster truck: Sunday, Sunday, Su … ah screw, it. That joke is old and tired.

Jeanette Lee, Champion Billiards Player: Sure as hell beats a card of Karen Corr.

Kevin Van Dam, champion bass fisherman: Love the idea for the card, but this picture would have been better, especially on a horizontal card. Note to photo editors: Pictures of fisherman should have the angler holding fish, particularly when using such a design as Allen & Ginter.

and perhaps the coolest card not featuring Joey Chestnut:

Andrew “William Ocean” Litz, air guitar champion: This guy is living every man’s dream: Gain international notoriety for your savage air guitar skills, AND get a baseball card of you doing said activity. Classic.

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