Archive for Allen & Ginter

That moment when your friend gets his own baseball card in Allen & Ginter

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , on August 9, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

There’s been no shortage of complaining about this year’s Topps Allen & Ginter non-baseball checklist, and sadly one of the figures who had drawn the ire of collectors early on was Yahoo Sports’ Mike Oz, touted on the back of his card #157 as “Baseball Card Video Host.”

The complaining is something that happens every year. Let’s face it: 2006 may have had the greatest non-baseball checklist that Allen & Ginter will ever have The bar was set so high that it was impossible for Topps to match the product year after year.

And so with each year Topps looks to diversify the checklist, and each year that checklist is subjected to scrutiny, fair or not, and the persons who the company selected to appear on official cards draw the ire of hobbyists, many of which who truly believe THEY deserve a spot on a baseball card instead of the subject they can actually find in their packs.

I’m not going to act like I’m above this. I’ve complained about checklists in the past, and have done my fair share of questioning who some of the folks are. But this year has been a bit different.

Mike Oz, the guy who appears on card 157 of the 2019 Allen & Ginter set, is more than just the guy on another card in my collection. That’s the guy who befriended me when we both wound up at the college newspaper together in 2000. That’s the guy who helped me get internships and acted as a peer and mentor. That’s the guy who has been a friend to me for almost two decades and is one of the most liked people I’ve known in my life.

Additionally, that’s also the guy who has done a lot in recent years to bring more attention to this hobby through his work with Yahoo by putting baseball cards in the hands of current and former players and having them tell stories — something that he has been doing before multiple other people started to copy or adapt versions of the format.

But what’s also important to know is that Mike is not just a dude off the street who decided to open cards with players — something that many folks think they also could do given the opportunity. Mike is an accomplished media man — he was a nationally-recognized collegiate sports journalist and a contributor to a major hip-hop magazine and a radio DJ while in college. After school he worked as a professional journalist at a major newspaper in central California covering local happenings, sports and the music scene. He then parlayed that into a dream job covering Major League Baseball for Yahoo, which has evolved to now include the “Old Baseball Cards” series which as gained him notoriety with a whole new audience, which includes the folks at Topps who reached out to him to include him in the 2019 Allen & Ginter set.

I realize that my personal connection to him leaves me in a space where I would not criticize his inclusion on this year’s set. But it is this connection that also puts me in a unique position to share with the hobby who this guy is. So while others are also deserving of being in such a set — which every year by design has more than a dozen non-players on the checklist so I’m sure we’ll see more debate next year — Mike’s inclusion this year doesn’t shock me one bit, and it absolutely gives me a reason to purchase Ginter, as it’s a product that over the years has drawn less interest from me.

The set isn’t for everyone, including myself. It’s not a traditional baseball card release. It wasn’t when the line started in 1887, and it wasn’t when Topps adopted the brand and rebooted it in 2006. And if you expected Topps to change the formula for this year, or for other releases going forward, you’re going to drive yourself crazy fighting a battle not worth fighting. It’s best to embrace the checklist as it is presented each year, or just dismiss the product all together and just wait for the next release, which as history has shown us, is just a few days away anyway.

Collecting Kershaw: The Ginter Stained Glass Mini is lost in the mail …

Posted in Collecting Kershaw with tags , , , , on July 28, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Last weekend while traveling to my grandmother’s 80th birthday I was checking eBay looking at the newly released Allen & Ginter cards of my favorite players. During one search I located one of the Stained Glass Clayton Kershaw minis.

The card was gorgeous. It was listed as a Buy In Now and at the time was one of only three copies for sale. One was at auction, one was listed at $129.99, and this was posted for $89.99. I waited an hour or so, then checked again and the seller had dropped it to $79.99.

It was at moment I decided to pull the trigger.

I purchase was made, the card was mailed and … five days later, the packaged was supposedly delivered. At least that is what the United States Postal Service Tracking Number suggests.

The packaged was reportedly delivered at 5:07 p.m., which is an odd time for the mail to arrive in my area. Nonetheless, the card was not at my door. I figured this was the latest in the unresolved scam of scanning cards a day before their true deliver — something I’d written about in the past — so I didn’t freak out too much. Perhaps it would be delivered a day later.

The next day there was no Kershaw.

And the day after that? There was still no Kershaw.

And the day after the day after the day? Yep, no damn Kershaw.

As a buyer I’m sort of screwed, because it’s assumed that the seller did all that he was supposed to do. He added tracking information and for his part it does show Delivered in the appropriate city. Yet here I am with another crappy story of failed delivery.

I’m still holding out hope that the package arrives at some point in the next few days. But I’ll believe it when I see it. Until then, I’m sort of SOL.

Project Organize: Big Problem With Small Cards

Posted in Misc., Project Organize with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

As mentioned recently, the only real hobby goal I have for 2019 is to be more organized.  What that will eventually look like is somewhat unknown.  But my initial plan was to move a lot of cards out of boxes and into binder pages.

I set the ground work for this on Black Friday when I purchased a box of 100 BCW 15-pocket pages from Blowout Cards to house tobacco size cards. (side note, I prefer Ultra Pro Products but a sale is a sale.) Up to this point I had a few hundred already in a binder, but I had several hundred more just sitting in other boxes.  The odd size makes them fun, but also presents storage challenges.

So Wednesday night while watching the Golden State Warriors take down the New York Knicks I decided to get cracking on this “small” problem.

I located two plastic boxes that housed my Gypsy Queen, Allen & Ginter, Golden Age minis … and then I located even more in another box. And as I kept looking I kept finding these little cards mixed in all over the place. It was akin to when you visit someone with a pet – suddenly you start finding cat and dog hair everywhere.

So I culled them (at least what I was finding in front of me) and placed them on my ottoman. Then I located my binder of minis and realized I have a HUGE problem with these little cards: I freaking love them … but do I love them all? Like do I love them all enough to keep them all?

Am I the only one with this problem?

I know of at least one other guy, (what’s up, Olds?) who also enjoys the minis, but does anyone else actually collect them, or are they merely piling up because they feel special and you can’t get rid of them?

Personally, I really enjoy the Ginter minis, but I’ve yet to really find a focus with them. And while I am building a 2014 Gypsy Queen mini set (I’ll post a need list later), a lot of the stuff – including dupes — just sits there.

If you’re in search of anything from 2010-present with minis let me know, I’ve probably got something you need.

Blaster Break: 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , on July 20, 2017 by Cardboard Icons

There was a time when the brand name “Allen & Ginter” set off all sorts emotions for me as a card collector. I would get caught up in the craze that seemingly came with the set.


What major non-sport stars would have signatures in the set? What weird relics would Topps include this year? Would there be a Ginter Code, or any other secrets such as the time Topps embedded unannounced 1/1 parallels within the panels of some hobby boxes?

I’d buy one or two hobby boxes, and then do damage at buy ripping blaster after blaster.

But those are emotions and actions of yesteryear. For me, the appeal of Ginter has waned. I no longer feel the need to hit the Local Card Shop on release day, or do an online break, or even hit retail stores with a fervor. Instead it’s become a product that I open every year in lesser quantities, partially because I feel the quality and bang for the buck has diminished, but also because my interests as a collector have changed.

I know some have argued that the product has jumped the shark and call for its dismissal. I’m not one of them. I’m just saying that I personally consume less Ginter each year.

That said, here I am with a blaster and “fat pack” of this year’s version in my hands and I am going to break it here, show a few, and share some opinions. It’s a bit of an old school ‘Icons act for a pseudo retro product.

I’m not going to do a product break down, link you to checklists and try to act like I am the greatest source of your information. I’ll spare you the bullshit. I bought a random blaster and a fat pack that had my favorite player (Roger Clemens) clearly visible through the front of the wrapper. These are my results; your’s will vary.

The Fat Pack:

Yes, I looked at the front of the packs to see what players were visible. No there was no Aaron Judge otherwise I would be showing that here.  Instead I saw one with my boy Clemens on top and decided to rip it. I don’t care if you consider that unethical. Really. I don’t.


From the moment I opened the pack I could see the middle was a bit different. I had two minis in this pack (which I think is typical for the Fat Packs) and I could see a wood grain border, which turned out to be a 1987 Topps Tom Brookens (silver stamp) buy back. At least this card was mint. I did pull an ’87 buy pack from a Topps Series One pack that was creased across the middle. Go figure.

Anyway, I’m glad I locked down the Clemens base card for my collection; an SP of Seung-Hwan Oh, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a Mini SP of Willie Stargell, and a Required Reading mini that are seeded 1:30 Fat Packs.

The Blaster:

There are eight packs as usual in the blaster and when I opened the first one, there was clearly a framed hit inside. This has been one of the joys of this product over the years.  It’s also been fun to see the shiny frame of a mini hit in the middle of a desert of white base cards. 


As my luck had it, the first single pack of the year held a Framed Mini Relic of Rockies star Nolan Arenado, which to my surprise is a tough pull considering the framed mini relics are seeded 1:733 packs, almost four times HARDER than a framed mini autograph. It’s an interesting ploy by Topps to make these mini relics appealing to some collectors by making them more scarce.  But let’s face it … unless you’re a master set collector, or in dire need of a framed mini relic of Arenado, it’s not paying the bills, not even for this one blaster.


In the third pack I hit an Aaron Judge rookie card, which could be one of the most boring looking rookie cards of the game’s hottest player. But, it is what it is — read: in demand and not something at which to scoff.


In Pack Five I got a rookie card of Mitch Haniger the Mariners’ prospect who hails from my home town.


In Pack Six I got a base card of Clayton Kershaw — the only active player I actually collect — and another one of those Required Reading minis, which are seeded 1:50 regular packs.


And Pack Eight held perhaps one of the coolest Ginter cards to date, that of my friend — and that of like 8 million others — Tom Anderson, co-founder of MySpace. I literally laughed out loud when I saw the photo chose for this card. So so good. It deserves a thumbs up, honestly.


Final Thoughts:

Even though I’d heard some people say this year’s design wasn’t good, I actually disagree. It feels like the base cards are spin on Transcendent, which if was by design, is smart because it plays on the subconcious of those seeking high-end stuff. The brand itself needed something new, and I think this portrait frame design look does it.


I actually dig the fish and fishing lure set — because I like fishing and this is somewhat of a proper homage to the early Ginter sets. And while I applaud Topps for including a slew of other random inserts celebrating animals and events of the world, it all just gets lost in the shuffle for me. Like I said, my personal tastes have changed.

Oh, and I still dig the minis. The design actually looks really good in the minis.


Would I buy more? Probably. But as has been the case in recent years, it’ll be less. I’ll likely steer entirely clear of hobby boxes — if for no other reason it’s already crazy expensive.

 

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Blaster (x4) and Hobby Box results. RIP CARD video

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , on August 7, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

Happy Allen & Ginter Day.  Enjoy the condensed version of the results.

 

Thrift Treasures 55: 120+ year-old card at antique store

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on December 29, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

Earlier this week, my wife and I made a trip to a local town to hit the antique and thrift stores.  We spent six hours bouncing in and out of stores.  She did a lot of spending; I did a lot of looking and lamenting at what could have been if I looked around just one more corner, or on one more shelf.

In the end, I wound up with just three cards on the day.  I had more lucrative trips than this one, but what I found was pretty cool.

tt55mitch

tt55ripken

We’ll get these two afterthoughts out of the way real quick.  In the second store I found a box of cards where everything was priced for a quarter each.  Lots of commons. LOTS of commons.  But I found a 1987 Fleer Mitch Williams rookie and n ball 2000 Pacific Backyard Baseball Cal Ripken Jr.  Price for these treasures: 50 cents.

And just two stores down the street I came across this 1889 Allen & Ginter Types of All Nations Syria card priced at $5.

tt55syriafronttt55syriabackIt’s not really a baseball card, but it is a trading card from a cigarette card set that has seen some increased interest in the last five years due to Topps’ stroll down memory lane with its version of Allen & Ginters World Champions.  Kinda bummed it’s Syria and not Portugal, which is the country from which my wife’s family hails.  Of course I see that Mr. Brony showcased a Portugal card just like this six years ago.

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click HERE

2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Blasters #4 and #5

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , on July 15, 2012 by Cardboard Icons