Grand Cards: Ultimate Checklist: 2008 Topps (Part II)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ultimate Checklist: 2008 Topps (Part II)

From Curtis Granderson Collection
In this, the second installment of my Ultimate Checklist for 2008 Topps, I will be looking at the full release for the Detroit Tigers. As I have said in the past this site will have space devoted to my Detroit Tigers collection as well. Primarily, that includes good ol' regular Topps, and all of the inserts associated with it, and boy, did 2008 have plenty of inserts. I will be creating a Detroit Tigers "Ultimate Checklist" shortly, which can be found in the sidebar. Unlike the Granderson collection, this will not have links to scans of all the pictures, as I don't have the time or energy to take pictures of each card from the set right now. Anyway, onto the fun:

God was smiling on the Detroit Tigers in 2008--not actually, as he smote the team ever so vengefully to a painful last place finish, but from a Card perspective. There was feast, not famine for the Tigers in this release. More importantly--a sure sign of divine intervention--the Tigers base set exhibited the "Golden Ratio" of card trading. Sure, this term has an "actual meaning", but I am now re-coining the phrase for card collectors. The Tigers base set is 27 cards--evenly divisible by 9--and fits perfectly onto three binder pages. The Carlos Guillen card from Updates and Highlights may be my favorite from the set. Crazy circumstances allowed me to go this game (a story for another time if anybody is interested) and I'm pretty sure that Guillen is ripping the double off the left field wall that I was POSITIVE was going to be the game winning HR.
From Grand Cards
That particular card also happens to be a "Gold Foil Parallel" version.

In 2008 Topps rehashed something that they did in 2007. They released unnumbered parallel versions of all the cards. In 2007, the text on the back of the cards was red, not white. In 2008, the foil on the front was gold, not silver. Of course, the standard parallel versions of Gold (#/2008), Black (#/57) and Platinum (1/1) are also present. While I don't chase the Black or Platinum cards for the Tigers, I have started to track down the Gold ones that I come across. Placido Polanco shows off this year's model:
From Grand Cards

So, there is a 27 card base set with all the parallels. There also happens to be a handful (dumptruck?) of inserts. From the top!

Year In Review
These cards chronicle the 2007 season in newspaper style format. "Part I" showed Granderson's version of the card. The whole set reads:
YR11 Craig Monroe
YR16 Ivan Rodriguez
YR48 Andrew Miller
YR50 Justin Verlander
YR73 Justin Verlander
YR108 Magglio Ordonez
YR115 Ryan Raburn
YR132 Magglio Ordonez
YR133 Placido Polanco
YR158 Cameron Maybin
YR159 Curtis Granderson

Trading Card History
The Trading Card History Set shows current players in old-style cards. The checklist reads:
TCH16 Cameron Maybin
TCH32 Justin Verlander
TCH35 Ivan Rodriguez
TCH40 Gary Sheffield
TCH47 Magglio Ordonez
TCH49 Curtis Granderson

Although not the best looking of the bunch, my favorite of these is Magglio Ordonez's, modeled after a 1951 Topps Red Back. The picture below shows Maggs next to a rookie card of one of the friendliest, most interesting players that I have met--Hall of Famer Monte Irvin, but that too is a story for another time.
From Grand Cards
A series of other typical inserts also make an appearance, All Star Rookie 50th Anniverary Cards, Own the Game, and Topps Stars:
AR17 Justin Verlander
AR95 Ramon Santiago
OTG12 Magglio Ordonez
TS2 Magglio Ordonez
TS17 Miguel Cabrera

There were also a ton of "Hits" in this set. There are Highlights Autographs (HA) and Highlights Relics (HR) that commemorate 2007's achievements. Here's Nasty Nate, sporting a beard very similar to one that I had in early 2007.
From Grand Cards
All of these cards have this design, setting them apart from the main set.
HR-JV Justin Verlander
HR-CM Cameron Maybin
HR-IR Ivan Rodriguez
HR-CM Cameron Maybin
HR-JB Jeremy Bonderman
HA-ED Eulogio De La Cruz
HA-GS Gary Sheffield
HA-MT Marcus Thames
HA-JZ Joel Zumaya
HA-JB Jeremy Bonderman
HA-AG Armando Galarraga
HA-CM Craig Monroe
HA-NR Nate Robertson

Series 1 also had a "Commemorative Patch" relic (CPR-JV, #/539) for Justin Verlander that was shaped like a little jersey and recognized his 2007 All Star selection.

Series 2 featured "Home Run Derby Contest" cards, #/999 for Ordonez, Cabrera and Sheffield. Maggs:
From Grand Cards

In the updates and highlights set, the requisite "All Star Stitches" made an appearance. Carlos Guillen, as the only All Star, was the only Tiger.
From Grand Cards
I love that card, by the way. It really captures the Yankee Stadium game into a classy card. Gold (#/50) Platinum (1/1) and Patch Parallel versions also exist. There is also a "Jumbo Patch Autograph" (ASJP-CAG) that I have not seen, due to it's very limited print run (other jumbo patches from the set have been numbered to as few as 6)

Also featured in the UH Set:
WBC13 Miguel Cabrera (World Baseball Classic insert seen here)
CHR5 Matt Joyce (Chrome Box Loader)
CHR10 Armando Calarraga (Chrome Box Loader)

Three 1/1 sketch cards of Verlander (SKC67), Ordonez (SKC69) and Cabrera (SKC73) close out the set. Or do they?

No, I'm not done yet. The retail outlets (Wal Mart, Kmart, Target) and Factory Sets offered up many more little goodies.

Two "Retail Relics" of Pudge Rodriguez (S2) and Armando Galarraga (UH)that came in $20 blasters at Target and Kmart were relatively difficult finds.
From Grand Cards

Walmart had Dick Perez inserts of Cameron Maybin (WMDP2) and Miguel Cabrera (WMDP13)
Kmart had a VERY HARD TO FIND Gold Rookie of Clete Thomas (RV26)
Target had the NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE Miguel Cabrera card (TB1) brought to my attention by Jaybee earlier this year.

As for factory sets, there is the wonderful 55 card gift set that includes the beautiful card at the top of this post. There is also the Detroit Tigers team set, which really looks similar to the normal cards (same pictures) but is numbered differently. I haven't pulled the trigger on that yet, because in my eyes, those cards look exactly the same as the normal cards do).

Clete Thomas has another hard to get rookie that is only available if you buy the 2008 Factory Set Holiday Edition. It is number 18 of 20.

There is also a special edition Tigers set that features five bonus Tigers cards. Jaybee has the scoop again and it yields Galarraga, Inge, Denny Bautista, Ramon Santiago and Ryan Raburn. (Galarraga and Raburn were substituted for Jason Grilli and Zach Miner according to preliminary checklists).

That, my friends, closes the book on an exhausting and difficult 2008 Topps set for Tigers collectors. There is a lot out there, and it is a wonderful trial trying to complete it, but if you can't quite get there, just take solace in the fact that all of the base cards you need, fit neatly on three standard pages.

A full checklist of this set (in easy to read checklist format) will be in the sidebar shortly.

Two of the autograph highlight cards, HA-CM and HA-NR were egregiously left off of this initial post. The list and cheklist has been updated.

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