Grand Cards: March 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

WOW. Sheffield out of Detroit

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the Tigers have released Gary Sheffield, who currently stands at 499 career Home Runs. Sheffield has had an abysmal spring, but I held out hope that, when healthy, he can still be extremely dangerous. This comes on the heels of the Josh Anderson trade yesterday and creates the following situation, in my opinon:

Anderson and Thames will Platoon in Left Field
Carlos Guillen will move from the projected Left Field starter to DH.

Wow. This is a shocker, given the contract and track record of Sheffield, but I know there are many in Detroit who will be glad to see him go. I'm not necessarily a member of that group, as I feel as though he's always gotten a bum rap, and is incredible at getting on base and smart base running--something that many younger players lack. Still, this move instantly makes the Tigers younger, faster and more versatile and may very well be best in the long run.

Good luck to you Gary, I sincerely wish you well and hope you find a roster spot to hit that next Home Run.

UPDATE: The Free Press article has been updated to confirm that Thames will make the team, indicating that he will be an OF/DH option for the team. Considering that he is one of the nicest players that I've ever met, I'm glad to hear it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

If 06 was 09: First Basemen

With a week before Opening Day, my stomach is twisting and my mind is racing trying to figure out what to expect of the Tigers. Gone are the days of muted expectations, ever since the Tigers' miracle run of 2006 in which they went from Last Place to the World Series. As I attempt to concoct a scenario in which the Tigers do the same thing this season after a crushing 2008, I thought it might be fun to compare the 2006 and the 2009 teams and see how they match up. This will take a number of posts but I'll keep each one short(ish), so let's start with the first basemen.

First Base
2006 Chris Shelton vs. 2009 Miguel Cabrera


Shelton was the Rule 5 pick who stormed out of the gate with a record setting home run streak to start the season. He proceeded to go ice cold after April and was replaced by Sean Casey in the second half.


Casey went on to hit for a respectable average, with no power and no speed, though his defense was an asset throughout the season. He injured himself early in the playoffs only to tear the cover off the ball in the World Series, hitting .529 with 2 homers and 5 RBI.


Miguel Cabrera is among the best offensive players in the game and was they lynchpin of the 2008 blockbuster trade that brought him to Detroit in exchange for the Tigers top two prospects, Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin. He finished in the top 3 in the American League in Home Runs and RBIs in 2008.

In 2005 Shelton was on the team as a backup catcher, so there was no continuity at First Base. In 2008, Cabrera started as a 3rd baseman but was moved to 1st before the All Star Break, he has half a year as starting Tigers first Baseman going into 2009.

So, 2006 or 2009?

Continuity: 2009
Offense: 2009
Defense: 2009 pre-Casey, 2006 with Casey

The Verdict
2009 Easily gets the nod at first base, with one of the game's premier hitters occupying the position. While there may be some defensive liability down the stretch when compared with Sean Casey, the offensive prowess, and acceptable defense more than make up for it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mail Day! (Encore Edition)

Another day, another pair of bubble mailers in the mailbox! Greg at Lake Effect Cards sent me a surprise package of "things off my wantlist" that he had come across recently. I've anxiously waited wondering what that could mean. So when I opened the package, how pleased was I to see...
A 1989 Upper Deck Detroit Tigers Team Set!

Somehow, I had ONE of these cards, despite 1989 being the start of my career as a young collector. I have a bunch of 89 Topps, Donruss, Score, Fleer etc., but very few Upper Decks--maybe because the packs were so expensive at the time. I've been slowly and casually trying to put together sets of Tigers base cards from Upper Deck, but I still only had one from 1989 Upper Deck. Now, thanks to Greg, I have a legitimate starting point for my Upper Deck binder, instead of a haphazard page of random cards from sets that I didn't have enough of to justify a full page. Also, this set features the wonderful card of Gary Pettis looking at HIS OWN BASEBALL CARD FROM THAT SET! See?
Awesome.

Thanks Greg!

The other package was also awesome, but for very different reasons.
2007 eTopps A&G Milestones #10 Curtis Granderson (#/999)


This is the first eTopps card that I've ever seen in person. The pictures that are available online, both through eTopps and eBay belie how shiny these cards are. Good lord! These are really reflective in the way that Topps Co-Signers parallels were reflective and even the smallest bit of light casts a huge refractor rainbow all over the card. All of that makes the card really stand out and is an interesting departure from a normal A&G card. As a whole, I like the card alot--and it uses one of my favorite Granderson shots, the same one from his 2008 Topps Finest Moments card, just Allen & Ginterized. A+ job on this one, even if it is a touch too shiny. It also comes encased in a sealed eTopps container, which is fine, I guess (especially considering I don't have any mini binder pages), but it kind of rattles around in there and will have to go in the box with all of the autos and relics that I have in toploaders instead of in a binder.

The back of the card features a description of his 2007 20/20/20/20 feat, has the serial number and the Topps Hologram for authenticity sake. All in all, a very nice card to add to my collection, and I am much happier that I have it in-hand instead of in the eTopps Vault.


So that's it for packages! What a way to end the week with a flourish. That, and I'm all caught up on sending packages on my end, so I can just sit back, watch some basketball and enjoy the weekend. Maybe while continuing to do some behind the scenes cleaning on checklists etc.

By the way, my Tigers Wantlist, Tradelist and Granderson Checklist are perpetually being updated for those of you interested in Trading with me, although for any pre-2008 Granderson card, glance through my collection first, as my checklist for those is in the process of being updated.

Mail Day!

A couple of packages greeted me the other day, each with small contents that packed a big punch.

The first came courtesy of Marie at A Cardboard Problem. She's been looking out for me ever since I sent a couple of Pujols cards her way and she surely didn't disappoint. In the envelope we had:
2009 Topps Heritage #50 Curtis Granderson

The one and only Granderson card from 2009 Topps Heritage! Somehow, I didn't have this card yet and was very, very pleased when it arrived. I think the design of these cards is excellent, although Curtis, man, it's time to take the bat off of your shoulder in these posed shots. Love the quasi-action stance on the side though--these cards are really, really nice. Thanks Marie! A small courtesy package is on its way to you as of yesterday afternoon.

The other package packed an even bigger punch, thanks to reader Duane, proprietor of the Democratic Roadkill blog. He had offered me something very special that I had had my eye on for a long time but had trouble finding.
2008 Topps Allen & Ginter #RC11 Curtis Granderson Rip Card (#/75)

Wow. I was speechless. Sure, all of the goodies had been extracted:
but that is the beauty of the Rip Card--it had ZERO effect on the front and I was treated to one of the most unique Granderson images in his short baseball card life. Had I known more about this card a few weeks ago, I'm pretty sure that it would have made my Best of 2008 list. Just look at it! High-quality A&G styling, war-fort background, posed but without looking too posed picture. It looks the the Union Army was using Granderson to take out Confederates by hitting baseballs into a valley to pick them off one-by-one and he is looking into the distance as his most recent hit approaches its unsuspecting victim.

Seriously, scroll up and look at the card again and tell me that's not what it looks like.

Duane, a package of wants has been sent in your direction.

Thank you so much to Marie and Duane for brightening what has been a very busy and stressful week!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What Kind Of Blog Are You?

This morning, Jane Wells' Funny Business blog on cnbc.com asked a question: What Kind Of Blog Are You? In it, she introduces the Typealyzer, a device designed to to figure out the persona of a blogger based on a blog's writing style. I was intrigued, and in short order found out that I was in a group known as "The Performers":
The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

They enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.

Oh, and I can't forget the screenshot of my brain-mapping (amazing what they can do with electrodes and USB Ports these days)

How interesting! In my eyes, this lends credence to the theory that blogs can be an expressive outlet that releases thoughts and feelings that would otherwise be cooped up. Clearly, this blog plays into my aesthetic and fun-loving sides and hits a home run with my need for order and detail, which comes through particularly strong in my collecting. As someone who puts on this blog purely for my own enjoyment and to provide useful information to the world, I hope that this blog comes off as fun-loving and enjoyable as my Typealyzer results suggest.

So, I pass the question on... What Kind Of Blog Are You?

UPDATE
They can analyze your Sport Type as well, and I am classified as an "Artisan" which means that I love Motor Sports, Football, Boxing and other sports that "get the adrenaline pumping".

Huh? Analytical Fail. Does this cast into doubt my persona type? Or, are they dead on but fail to understand that baseball gets my adrenaline pumping more than any of those other sports because of all of the high-pressure situations that accompany a game with no clock?

The Ol' College Try

Yesterday, The College Baseball Hall of Fame's 2009 inductees were announced and Big Ten Hardball was quick to point out the Maize and Blue leanings of two of this year's prominent additions. (H/T Bless You Boys)


(From Vintage Card Traders)

Oh wait, I meant:




Go Blue.

5 Questions for the 2009 Tigers

The Hardball Times' series of "5 Questions" has reached the Tigers. And they pretty much hit it on the nose. In my opinion, the change that will make the biggest difference is Defensive Upgrades. An excerpt:

2005 - .713 (2)
2006 - .704 (1)
2007 - .706 (1)
2008 - .712 (1)

First, a little explanation. The first number is obviously the year. The second number is the defensive efficiency of the team that won the American League pennant, and the number in parentheses is that team’s rank in the American League. Bottom line, over the past four years, defense has helped win championships. You have to go all the way back to 2004 when the Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners finished first and second in the American League and neither team made the postseason.

I think that having Inge back at 3rd, Everett and short and Laird at Catcher will make a huge difference for a team that was nagged by poor defense all last year (below the league average in fielding percentage). But I do have a follow up concern: Aren't Carlos Guillen (Knees, Back, not an Outfielder) and Magglio Ordonez (Knees, Slow, slow, slow) liabilities in the Outfield? Granderson has shown that he can help out with his impressive range, but he can't shade to both directions at once. I wouldn't be surprised if we end up seeing some younger blood in the outfield and a rotation of Sheffield, Ordonez and Guillen at DH to make up for it.

Tigers fans, I fully recommend reading this article. For everyone else, The Hardball Times has been doing this for all of the teams, and it is worth checking out.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blog Bat Around #5: It's all in how you get it

The Black Background on the site today is in memory of George Kell, Hall of Famer and Tiger great.

Blog Bat Around #5: What is the best experience you've had acquiring cards or memorabilia?

Thanks to Cardboard Junkie for hosting.

The latest topic for the Blog Bat Around stumped me a little bit. I mean, I have been interested in Baseball Cards and Sports Memorabilia in varying degrees for my entire life, and I have a number of stories on how I’ve come to acquire different pieces.
Of course, there is the most memorable and significant story of the only ball I’ve ever caught as a fan. You might remember that as the saga surrounding my Mark Teixeira Home Run Derby ball. Not wanting to rehash that in all its excruciating detail, I thought about my other memorable stories and tried narrowed them down based on how I felt about them today, knowing full well that one could be more memorable tomorrow as circumstances change.

I have a number of non-traditional stories that make different pieces of my collection memorable and special. Ernie Banks, Lloyd Carr, Monte Irvin to name a few. These are stories for another time I suppose—because for some reason one sticks out to me above all others. The quest for Al Kaline’s Autograph.

In the summer of 2007, I was lucky enough to travel up to the Hall of Fame induction ceremony that featured Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn. Having never been to an induction before, I was completely unprepared for the chaos that is induction weekend. I had checked out the schedule for autograph guests—a record number of past Hall of Famers were attending the ceremony that year—and saw that Al Kaline, Mr. Tiger himself, would be signing for a short 2 hour window. I can’t remember the exact time, but let’s call it 1-3pm. The trick was that the bus that I was on wasn’t scheduled to get into Cooperstown until 1:30, and that was without accounting for traffic.

Here’s the thing about Al Kaline. He is the greatest living Tiger and among the greatest Right Fielders of All Time. His name is revered in Detroit and elsewhere. He is a Baltimore kid who made it big in Michigan, I’m the other way around (substituting “made it big” for “holds a job”). More importantly, he is my Dad’s all-time favorite player, and his Birthday was coming up.
My dad had actually met Al Kaline once before, as a kid growing up in Cleveland. Surrounded by fans of the Tribe, he grew up a Tigers fan, having lived in Detroit from birth through early toddler-dom. In Cleveland, he could easily wear #6 on teams, or get Tigers baseball cards from schoolmates because nobody down there cared about Kaline or the Tigers. But my dad sure did, so much so that when he finally had a chance to meet him, he was too shy to introduce himself. Thank goodness for Moms. Yep, after a game at old Municipal Stadium against the Tigers, my Dad and Grandma spotted Al Kaline leaving the stadium. After trying to get my dad to go up to him, she yelled out and said “Mr. Kaline, you’re my son’s favorite player. Will you sign this program for him?” With that, he walked over and with a ballpoint pen, signed that beautiful signature of his on the somewhat glossy cover of my dad’s program.

After he left, my dad looked down and saw…the indentation from the signature, where no ink from the pen had flowed.
Years later, as an adult, my dad saw Kaline again, this time at Detroit Metro Airport where he was waiting for a flight with his wife. Always courteous, and feeling as though it would be rude to bother him in public like that, he simply observed from a distance.

When I was a little kid, I had already heard these stories and knew how much of a Kaline fan my dad was. If I recall, I was going through the same thing with Travis Fryman at the time (or was it Milt Cuyler?). During the winter at a local card shop, I had seen an autographed Kaline ball that I knew that he would love. When my mom and I went back closer to his birthday to get it, it was gone. I got him a big poster instead—which, after sitting in a closet for 10 years as punishment for not matching any of the home’s d├ęcor, was lovingly framed and installed in a newly finished basement a few years ago. Still, that Kaline autograph, for a man who had no other memorabilia other than his card collection from the 60s, remained elusive.


The bus got in at 2—I had one hour to go. I raced around the main drag of Cooperstown trying to find the signing location. Bingo. I bought a baseball and a ticket with an inscription and went to wait in line. If I could only find the end. With all of the signings going on, lines slithered this way and that, and Kaline’s—remarkably—was the longest one of all. I got to the back of the line, and began my wait. An autograph collector in his early 30s and a full supply of photographs, bats and balls to have signed for resale came by and started chatting to the Yankees fan in front of me.
“Who’s signing?”
“Al Kaline”
“Al Kaline? Why is the line so long?”
enthusiastically “Kaline was a tremendous ballplayer, one of the best there ever was.”
“Oh, ok” (leaves)

I’ve never heard a non-Detroiter express those thoughts before. A little sense of pride swelled up. Looking around the line and seeing people wearing hats or jerseys from at least fifteen major league teams, and knowing that they were waiting for Kaline when a dozen other Hall of Famers were signing simultaneously made me feel even better. I’m not just a homer, this guy is one of the All-Time Greats.

But the clock was ticking—it was a quarter to 3. At 3pm, would he just get up and leave? I mean, the line was across and down the street at this point and I was still a ways away. Turns out, Kaline got in an hour late, according to a fellow line-mate. Relieved that I no longer had to sweat it out, I resumed literally sweating it out in the hot mid-day sun. When my time came I stepped up and, never knowing what to say in these situations, simply said: “Can you write “Happy Birthday Steve” on it? It is for my Dad and you were his favorite player.” He smiled, happily obliged and a month later I was able to give my dad the Birthday Present that was 50 years in the making.

And, if I was going to go through all that trouble for my Dad, I might as well get one for myself too, right? :) For all of those reasons, and just the pure aesthetic of Kaline’s signature (not to mention the months of trying to find this particular baseball on eBay), this proudly stands as the centerpiece of my collection and is hands down my favorite autograph to date.

RIP George Kell

The Detroit Free Press has just reported that Tiger great George Kell has died at age 86.

The Hall of Fame Third Baseman and Tiger great will surely be missed, and I personally remember him as a broadcasting parter with Al Kaline towards the end of his career. Look forward to many glowing articles recollecting the life and times of this All-Time Tiger legend.



Update

Bless You Boys
Shysterball
Daily Fungo (with interview)
WXYZ Channel 7
AP
Detroit News
Wax Heaven
MLB.com

Mail Day!

When I walked in the door last night, I was greeted with the most wonderful sight of all...a yellow padded envelope. This one was courtesy of Baseball Dad over at All Tribe Baseball who decided to send me a package out of the goodness of his heart. And what a package it was!

Following up on my completion of the Topps "Black" Tigers set, I set my sights on the Target Throwbacks. Having only pulled 3 in the group break, I was thrilled to see two new additional starting back at me when I opened the envelope up.

The first was of a diving Edgar Renteria, showing the athleticism and range that were notably absent during his time in Detroit. I actually think that he performed better than the prevailing wisdom would indicate, but was still the uninspired result of what may still go down as being the worst trade in Tigers history.
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #253 Edgar Renteria

The next shot is of former Catcher/Utility Player/3rd Baseman/Catcher, and current 3rd Baseman Brandon Inge. Here he is showing of his Catcher's gear for the first time since 2004. Also, when I first thought this, I thought that it was some bad-ass post action shot or walk back to the dugout after an inning ending putout picture. Then I saw the Gatorade bottle in the glove and realized that he's probably walking from the bullpen to the bench on a day when Pudge Rodriguez was starting, which is kind of sad:
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #34 Brandon Inge

Here's his last Topps card as a catcher, performing a very nice no-look tag:
2004 Topps #199 Brandon Inge

Those two cards chopped my wantlist for the throwbacks down to 4. But the real gem of the package is what came next:
2009 Topps Attax Curtis Granderson
Now, there doesn't seem to be a number on these cards, and I didn't realize that he his the change-up with enough proficiency to warrant a "94" on the Topps Attax scale of which I have no working knowledge, but this card is fantastic--and the first 2009 Granderson that I've received from the goodness of another blogger's heart. With only 16 Granderson cards released in 2009 sets to date, this card was actually a great leap forward for my collection so far this year.

Thanks Baseball Dad and may your future packs be loaded with Indians!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mail Day!

The other day I received a bubble mailer with contents that were short but sweet--the last two cards that I needed to complete my Tigers team set from Walmart's Topps "Black" cards. I put together a trade with Nachos Grande in which I sent him a dozen or so of my Topps "Black" cards for the two remaining Tigers that I needed. Now, before you all go and start sending me cards expecting me to send 6x or more in return, I suggest you read my trading philosophy. He had something that I needed + I had something he needed=trade. This offer is on the table for anybody else who is interested.

Anyway, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera's League Leaders card are now a part of my collection. Since Topps has wonderfully decided to produce the Tigers in the "Golden Ratio", I can fit all of Series 1 onto one page. For your viewing pleasure, here's a quick shot of the whole team on these fun blacked-out cards.


I've got to say, I'm a little disappointed in Topps for their Series 1 selection. I realize that the Tigers were a last place team last year, but out of the 9 cards, 2 are league leaders, 2 aren't on the team anymore and one is an unheralded rookie who won't make the 25-man roster. We're left with the Ace Verlander (oh, for the love of God please be an ace again), super-beast Cabrera, loveable bench player Thames and fan-favorite position chameleon Inge. Maybe I'm just Bitter with no Granderson, or am just cognizant of how sad it is that Upper Deck has 19 cards compared to Topps' 9. I hope that Series 2 has a little more pop.

I do apologize for the slow posting this last week. I'm hoping that as work settles down, March Madness gets under control (Congratulations Michigan, on a respectable showing), and life gets back into order that I'm free to post some more. It doesn't help that I feel as though we're in a baseball "dead period", where everybody has drafted their fantasy teams, but the season is still a few weeks away and we're all just chomping at the bit for things to start. Oh well, Opening Day for the O's on the 6th, and I'll be back in Michigan for Tigers Opening Day that Friday (which reminds me, I need to book my flight).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Granderson is Burning

Devoted blog reader and fellow Curtis Granderson uber-collector Jake was kind enough to inform me that Curtis Granderson will be a guest correspondent on Jim Rome is Burning at 4:30pm on ESPN and 5:30pm on espn2. Perhaps his inclusion will make watching Jim Rome tolerable...

I'll be at work and unable to watch, but isn't this why God invented Tivo and remote program scheduling via the internet?

Thanks for the heads up Jake!

Coming to a Mailbox Near You...

I apologize for the slow posting recently, work got an unexpected shot in the arm and has been quite hectic this week. However, I wanted to let everybody know that all of the cards from the "Throwback" group break were dropped off at the post office this morning and will be finding their way to your homes shortly. Mark, this includes your package from the previous break, which I can't believe wasn't sent out before. My apologies.

If anybody doesn't receive their cards in the next few days, let me know and I'll go into reconnaissance in my apartment for packages that were misplaced or knocked behind a desk by our cat etc.

Hopefully things will settle down a wee bit and I will resume posting with some normalcy shortly.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Curtis Granderson Interview

Light posting today, as I recover from two fantasy baseball drafts last night and the thrill of Michigan being selected to their first NCAA basketball tournament since 1998 (watch out Clemson!), not to mention the major card organization that I've been doing to try and get cards shipped out for the last box break (by Wednesday, at the latest).

However, I got an email this morning from friend of the blog Butter, who pointed me to a nice audio interview of Curtis Granderson (prior to his disappointing 0 for 3 performance last night vs. the Netherlands). This comes from the new yahoo sports blog "Big League Stew."

Enjoy!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mail Day!

This post comes a few days removed from when the cards actually came, but they deserve to be recognized nonetheless.

The first pair of cards comes from Baseball Dad. In exchange for a Roberto Clemente "Legends of the Game" card that went unclaimed in the Topps "Black" Group Break, he sent me two beauties to help me get close to polishing off the team set.
2009 Topps Walmart "Black" #76 Marcus Thames
2009 Topps Walmart "Black" #176 Hamilton/Morneau/Cabrera

That leaves me with only 2 to go (Verlander & Cabrera/Quentin/Rodriguez)! Thank you so much!

The second package that came contained the first Upper Deck addition to my Granderson collection this year.
2009 Upper Deck #GJ-GR Curtis Granderson
I must say, this relic card, although not particularly well designed (what's with the fake "CG" swatch?) is a pretty nice looking card, and it looks like the more advanced UD cards (Dual, Triple & Quad Jerseys) are even nicer. As it is, this is the type of clean, crisp card that you can expect from a regular issue like Upper Deck.

I would also like to thank Marie from A Cardboard Problem for sending me her old Detroit Tigers as part of her '80's card liquidation. As expected, I had that vast majority of the cards, but she helped me fill a few holes off my wantlist. Thanks Marie!

So that's it, a short but sweet Mailday--thank you for everyone for the trades. Oh, and if you want to trade, just take a look at what I have and/or what I want, and send me an email to get things rolling!

Breaking Down the Group Break: Target "Throwback" Edition

Well, that actually went pretty well! Maybe not quite as well as the last break, as two of the Commemorative Patch cards were unclaimed and the third blaster was full of doubles. However, we pulled some different cards, and on balance, most teams actually came away the same or better than they did on the last break. Perhaps taking some of the luster off of this break was the fact that these cards just aren't as unique or cool as the Walmart "Black" cards, so pulling a typical player doesn't carry with it the same cache as it did in the other break.

Having spent the better part of a day sorting through and looking at these cards, I have found that I actually like them a lot. The common complaint that I've heard is that they are not really distinguishable from the base set. That is true. The "throwback" logo on the front is really not that special--at least not as special as I would have expected it to feel when I first saw the cards. Yet, as is often the case in card collecting, the pictures do not do these cards justice. Printing this set on a gray cardboard stock is tremendous. Even if it didn't harken back to my days as a young collector, these cards just feel "right." If you pulled a person off of the street and stuck one of these cards in their right hand and a regular base card in their left and asked them to close their eyes and tell you which one they prefer, they would go with these throwbacks. They are that much nicer to handle.

Therein lies the problem. By releasing these cards after the initial release of Series 1, most people have already bought the regular cards. If they've decided to pursue the set, there is little motivation to pursue a set of the "throwbacks" as well. Contrast that to the "Black" cards, which are fundamentally different in both look and feel and that extra motivation is there. However, in the event that somebody was on the fence about collecting the set and stumbled upon the "throwbacks," I believe that they would choose to collect that set over the regular issue. Maybe I don't know enough about these things, but Topps should learn a lesson from this--could it be time to switch the regular set back to cardboard? I know there have been calls for this from other blogs, but here is the first direct comparison from cards from the same set and I think the cardboard wins out. I wouldn't mind seeing what they look like in a Matte finish too, but baby steps, people.

So, back to our break (In alphabetical order of Claimed teams):

Angels: 6 Throwbacks
Cubs: 5 Throwbacks, 1 Toppstown
Dodgers: 7 Throwbacks (1 Double)
Indians: 9 Throwbacks (3 Doubles), 4 Toppstown (3 Doubles), 1 Toppstown Gold
Marlins: 10 Throwbacks (2 Doubles)
Mets: 11 Throwbacks (2 Doubles), 1 Toppstown
Orioles: 6 Throwbacks, 1 Legends of the Game
Phillies: 13 Throwbacks (3 Doubles), 1 Toppstown, 1 Gold
Rays: 10 Throwbacks (2 Doubles), 1 Toppstown
Red Sox: 11 Throwbacks, 4 Toppstown (3 Doubles), 1 Gold
Reds: 6 Throwbacks (1 Double), 1 Toppstown, 1 Toppstown Gold
Tigers: 3 Throwbacks, 1 Turkey Red (Granderson!), 1 Gold
Twins: 5 Throwbacks, 1 Toppstown Gold
White Sox: 6 Throwbacks (1 Double), 1 Toppstown, 1 Turkey Red (Quentin)
Yankees: 10 Throwbacks (3 Doubles), 2 Toppstown (1 Double), 1 Gold, 1 Comm. Patch (Ruth)

The final call: Most teams did the same or better than last time (in terms of "base" cards), even with the doubles taken into consideration. Breaking down the net base card haul for each team compared to the Walmart Break (because really, the "base" cards are why we did this break in the first place, to help build our team sets):

Angels: +0 (same number of unique base cards)
Cubs: +0
Dodgers: -3
Indians: -1
Marlins: +0
Mets: +2
Orioles: +3
Rays: +0
Red Sox: -1
Tigers: -2
White Sox: +0
Yankees: -4

For returning teams, then, we did 6 cards worse as a group than we did on the last break--almost entirely because of the doubles. Unfortunately, Night Owl may have had the roughest break comparatively, as he also had a treasure trove of inserts to live up to. Still, 7 teams did the same or better than last time, compared to the 5 teams who did worse, so by that measure it wasn't too bad.

I certainly had fun doing this again and I hope that you all enjoyed the break and that these cards help you out with your aspiring team sets. Thank you very, very much for participating, as I couldn't have done it without you.

If there is enough interest, I plan on doing this again come Series 2, which I know is down the road a ways. I may tweak a couple things (like giving multi-player cards away at the end based on who has fewer, instead of via randomization, trying to add 1-2 more teams to lower the cost for everyone back to $5), but I think that, in general, these two breaks went pretty well. As always, if you have any questions, or would like to add some additional cards to your lot before I send them out (as part of a trade, for example), you can always Email Me. Also, since I came up woefully short of putting a team set of Tigers together, I will trade heavily in anybody's favor to fill the remaining 6 holes that I need.

Enjoy your cards everyone!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Summary Post Delayed

Sorry folks, looks like it will be tomorrow morning until I can get a nice summary post up.

See you then.

In the meantime:
Cincy Reds Cards (Reds), Garvey Cey Russell Lopes (Twins) and Dinged Corners (Phillies), please send me your entry fee via paypal at your earliest convenience. If you have any questions about your slot, pricing, additional cards etc. please feel free to Email Me

Good Night!

2009 Topps "Throwback" Group Break: Box 3

Box 1. Box 2.
Box 3:

Commemorative Patch: LPR-6: Mel Ott. I almost died when I opened this and saw the patch. Turns out, it wasn't a double of Jimmie Foxx. It was Mel Ott! Phew.
2009 Topps LPR-5 Mel Ott


Pack 1:
35 David Price- Rays
140 Brandon Webb- Diamondbacks
173 Manny Delcarmen- Red Sox

OH COME ON! If I pull another one of these, the picture will be of its ashes, smoldering in the alley behind my house.
2009 Topps My Greatest Nemesis

TTT3 Grady Sizemore- Indians: Toppstown
51 Will Venable- Padres
27 Jonathan Niese- Mets
298 Jonathan Van Every- Red Sox
204 Andy Sonnanstine- Rays: How about a bearded shot of the Rays' least heralded fireballer?
2009 Topps Target "Throwback"#204 Andy Sonnanstine


Pack 2:
117 Ron Gardenhire- Twins
243 Chase Headley- Padres
36 Kevin Slowey- Twins: I'm a sucker for landscape cards, it seems
2009 Topps Target "Throwback"#36 Kevin Slowey

28 Mike Lowell- Red Sox
TTT2 Roy Halladay- Blue Jays: Toppstown
97 Willie Harris- Nationals
318 Manny Acta- Nationals
272 Chan Ho Park- Dodgers

Pack 3:
255 Joe Crede- White Sox: A Southsider (well, formerly. Now a Twin)
2009 Topps Target Throwback #255 Joe Crede

295 Derrek Lee- Cubs: And a Northsider:
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #295 Derrek Lee

205 Miguel Tejada- Astros
5 John Lackey- Angels
TTT16 Ichiro- Mariners: Toppstown
108 Alcides Escobar- Brewers
90 Justin Morneau- Twins
304 Jason Kubel- Twins

Man, it's been Twins heaven the last couple packs. Already exceeded my Tiger count so far.

Pack 4:
106 Marlon Byrd- Rangers
324 Mark Reynolds- Diamondbacks
TR48 Nate McLouth- Pirates: Turkey Red
TTT1 Alex Rodriguez- Yankees: Toppstown
121 Greg Golson- Rangers
14 Jon Rauch- Diamondbacks
245 Pat Burrell- Phillies
274 Alex Hinshaw- Giants

Uh oh. Doubles.

Pack 5:
60 Mariano Rivera- Yankees
128 Johnny Cueto- Reds
230 Justin Upton- Diamondbacks
301 Clint Barmes- Rockies
298 Jonathan Van Every- Red Sox: Gold #0241/2009. Am I the only one who has no idea who this is?
2009 Topps #298 Some Guy

TTT25 Daisuke Matsuzaka- Red Sox: Toppstown
102 Garrett Atkins- Rockies
165 Matt Kemp- Dodgers

More Doubles. Not Good.

Pack 6:
70 Jermaine Dye- White Sox
73 Shane Victorino- Phillies
39 Stephen Drew- Diamondbacks
LG25 Cal Ripken Jr.- Orioles: Legends of the Game. Mandatory picture inclusion:
2009 Topps LG25 Cal Ripken: Legends of the Game

TTT24 Jay Bruce-Reds: Toppstown
137 Angel Salome-Brewers
281 Tug Hulett-Mariners
234 John Russell-Pirates

Pack 7:
308 Chris Duncan- Cardinals
180 Cliff Lee- Indians
264 Dave Bush- Brewers
18 George Sherrill- Orioles
TTT23 Josh Hamilton- Rangers: Toppstown
145 Matt Tuiasosopo- Mariners: One of this year's hot rookies.
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #145 Matt Tuiasosopo

159 Matt Antonelli- Padres
242 Ricky Nolasco- Marlins

Pack 8:
310 Johan Santana- Mets
103 Kyle Kendrick- Phillies
113 Chris Young- Padres
314 Matt Treanor- Marlins
TTT19 Carlos Quentin- White Sox: Toppstown
169 Juan Miranda- Yankees
72 David Dellucci- Indians
11 Fernando Tatis- Mets: Loved him with the Cardinals many years back, glad he's back in the game.
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #11 Fernando Tatis


Doubles Disaster.

Pack 9:
151 Carl Pavano- Yankees
329 Gil Meche- Royals
40 Carl Crawford- Rays
164 Bob Geren- A's
TTT21 Chipper Jones- Braves
275 Alex Rios- Blue Jays
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #275 Alex Rios

83 Ryan Garko- Indians
149 Juan Uribe- White Sox

Abandon Ship...

Pack 10:
174 James Shields- Rays
252 Brandon Wood- Angels
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #252 Brandon Wood

95 Andrew Miller- Marlins
209 Alfredo Amezaga- Marlins
TTT22 Tim Lincecum- Giants
13 Ryan Langerhans- Nationals
158 Ray Durham- Brewers
207 Joe Blanton- Phillies

Well, that did not end well. Nice to see that we got entire packs of doubles towards the end. Sigh. I guess we just had particularly good fortune in the Wal Mart boxes. As for Tigers, it was really feast of famine, no? After a killer second box, there were ZERO Tigers in this box. Come to think of it, the Gold Tiger in the first box allowed me to ignore the fact that there were no "Throwback" Tigers there either. I guess that's what trading is for...

Summary post to come later this evening. I hope you all enjoyed the break got some great cards for your collections! Thank you again for making this happen!

2009 Topps "Throwback" Group Break: Box 2

Box 1.
Box #2:

Commemorative Patch: Oh no. LPR-5 Jimmie Fox. Boo.

Pack 1:
100 David Wright- Mets For the Ladies:
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #100 David Wright

323 Vicente Padilla- Rangers
206 Santana/Lincecum/Peavy- Mets
221 Lee/Halladay/Matsuzaka- Indians/Red Sox: Randomizer Says: Indians
TTT12 Justin Morneau- Twins: Toppstown Gold
224 Max Scherzer- Diamondbacks
297 Bud Black- Padres
19 Edgar Gonzalez- Padres

Pack 2:
330 Diasuke Matsuzaka- Red Sox
31 Ian Steward- Rockies
126 Orlando Hudson- Diamondbacks
246 Upton/Crawford/Longoria- Rays
2009 Topps Target "Throwback"#246 Upton/Crawford/Longoria


Pack 3:
115 Kevin Youkilis- Red Sox
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #115 Kevin Youkilis

45 Aubrey Huff- Orioles
259 Lincecum/Haren/Santana- Mets
TTT3 Grady Sizemore- Indians: Toppstown. Jesus Christ. Enough with the Sizemore Toppstown.
22 Longoria/Price- Rays
283 John Baker- Marlins
320 Miguel Cabrera- Tigers: First Throwback Tiger! Keep 'em Coming!
187 Jon Garland- Angels
TTT4 Brandon Webb- Diamondbacks
12 Andrew Carpenter- Phillies
216 Joe Maddon- Rays
247 Yuniesky Betancourt- Mariners

Pack 4:
312 Ryan Sweeney- A's
195 Tim Lincecum- Giants
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #195 Tim Lincecum

119 Craig Counsell- Brewers
278 Philadephia Phillies WS- Phillies
227 Freddy Sandoval- Angels
TTT5 Evan Longoria- Rays: Toppstown
197 Ronnie Belliard- Nationals
185 Randy Johnson- Diamondbacks

Pack 5:
262 Mike Gonzalez- Braves
265 Carlos Zambrano- Cubs: I love pictures that show the pitchers with the lumber. Do you think Zambrano's expression is more "Ahhh, Majestic Home Run" or "Ahh, Damn. Routine Fly Ball"?
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #265 Carlos Zambrano

145 Alex Gordon- Royals
LG3- Christy Mathewson- NY Giants
TTT6 Johan Santana- Mets
282 Chris Lambert- Tigers: Another Tiger for this box!
269 Hunter Pence- Astros
168 Mark DeRosa- Cubs

Pack 6:
143 Matt Joyce-Tigers: Tigers two packs in a Row!
284 Luis Ayala- Mets
257 George Kottaras- Red Sox

HOLD EVERYTHING.

2009 Topps #TR24 Curtis Granderson "Turkey Red"

TR24 Curtis Granderson- Tigers: Turkey Red. Yes! Yes. Yes. Yes.
TTT9 Ryan Howard- Phillies
10 Dan Uggla- Marlins
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #10 Dan Uggla


Pack 7:
150 Kosuke Fukudome- Cubs
288 Guillermo Guiroz- Orioles
65 Mike Pelfrey- Mets
TTT21 Chipper Jones- Braves
292 Francisco Cervelli- Yankees
7 Mickey Mantle- Yankees
200 Chase Utley- Phillies
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #200 Chase Utley

148 Ty Wigginton- Astros
251 Greg Smith- A's
91 Cody Ross- Marlins

Pack 8:
26 Jason Giambi- Yankees: In a picture truly befitting of a retro card.
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #26 Jason Giambi

110 Hideki Matsui- Yankees
61 Berkman/Lee- Astros
290 Albert Pujols- Cardinals
TTT25 Diasuke Matsuzaka- Red Sox: Toppstown
293 Brian Bixler- Pirates
9 Dallas McPherson- Marlins
54 Dusty Baker- Reds

Pack 9:
38 Eric Wedge- Indians
254 Cito Gaston- Blue Jays
24 Frank Thomas- A's
258 Casey Kotchman- Braves
89 Lester/Bay- Red Sox
TTT20 Lance Berkman- Astros: Toppstown
84 Rod Barajas- Blue Jays
112 Hideki Okajima- Red Sox

Pack 10:
107 Pedro Feliz- Phillies
77 Jed Lowrie- Red Sox
41 Mike Mussina- Yankees: Gold #0255/2009
TTT3 Grady Sizemore- Indians: Toppstown Gold ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
299 Cole Hamels- Phillies
131 Joe Torre- Dodgers
2009 Topps Target "Throwback"#131 Joe Torre

104 Brandon Moss- Pirates
96 Dexter Fowler- Rockies

MONSTER box for me there! It looked like a pretty good box for everyone else too. I'm not really sure--I was kind of fixated on one card while I ripped and typed the others on autopilot. I was only jarred from my haze when when another Grady Sizemore Toppstown reared its media-friendly, all-american head.

2009 Topps "Throwback" Group Break: Box 1

Commemorative Patch: LPR-1 Babe Ruth.
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" LPR-1 Babe Ruth Comm. Patch
Another Yankees Commemorative Patch for RogerL aka IDK...3rdBase, following up on his Mickey Mantle from the "Black" Group Break. Pretty much just paid for his entry fee with this one.

Pack 1:
206 Miguel Tejada- Astros
106 Marlon Byrd- Rangers
301 Clint Barmes- Rockies
39 Stephen Drew- Diamondbacks
TTT10 Jake Peavy- Padres: Toppstown
137 Angel Salome- Brewers
14 Jon Rauch- Diamondbacks
245 Pat Burrell- Phillies

Pack 2:
60 Mariano Rivera- Yankees
128 Johnny Cueto- Reds
264 Dave Bush- Brewers
34 Brandon Inge- Tigers Gold #0251/2009--Woah, a Gold Tiger in Pack 2 (and my first of the year)! A taste of good things to come?
2009 Topps #34 Brandon Inge: Gold (#/2009)

TTT25 Daisuke Matsuzaka- Red Sox: Toppstown
274 Alex Hinshaw- Giants
102 Garrett Atkins- Rockies
165 Matt Kemp- Dodgers: The possessor of major skills--primed for a big year.
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #165 Matt Kemp


Pack 3:
180 Cliff Lee- Indians
174 James Shields- Rays
83 Ryan Garko- Indians
2009 Topps Target "Throwback"#83 Ryan Garko

275 Alex Rios- Blue Jays
TTT24 Jay Bruce- Reds: Toppstown Gold
164 Bob Geren- A's
158 Ray Durham- Brewers
207 Joe Blanton- Phillies

Pack 4:
252 Brandon Wood- Angles
95 Andrew Miller- Marlins
149 Juan Uribe- White Sox
314 Matt Treanor- Marlins
TTT3 Grady Sizemore- Indians: Toppstown
169 Juan Miranda- Yankees
40 Carl Crawford- Rays: One of the most talented and under-appreciated players in baseball
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #40 Carl Crawford

329 Gil Meche- Royals

Pack 5:
310 Johan Santana- Mets
103 Kyle Kendrick- Phillies
113 Chris Young- Padres
319 Brian Fuentes- Rockies
TTT2 Roy Halladay- Blue Jays: Toppstown
184 Bobby Parnell- Mets
151 Carl Pavano- Yankees
72 David Dellucci- Indians

Pack 6: Let's kick this into high gear for the second half, shall we?
300 Ichiro- Mariners
67 Andrew Jones- Dodgers
50 David Ortiz- Red Sox
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #50 David Ortiz

79 David Eckstein- Diamondbacks
TTT1 Alex Rodriguez- Yankees: Toppstown
196 Jason Motte- Cardinals
11 Fenando Tatis- Mets
189 Jay Payton- Orioles: Nice shot of one of the O's fine defensive outfielders:
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #189 Jay Payton


Pack 7:
129 Angel Berroa- Dodgers
154 A.J. Pierznski- White Sox
114 Chris Dickerson- Reds: Phenomenal action shot of the young Red on the bases. I think he's about to get gunned down. Thoughts?
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #114 Chris Dickerson

TTT15 Alfonso Soriano- Cubs: Toppstown
276 Geovany Soto- Cubs: Was supposed to be a sleeper in my draft last year, that went three picks before I was going to nab him. Absolute star in the making.
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #276 Geovany Soto

249 Jack Hannahan- A's
55 J.J. Hardy- Brewers
294 Brandon Boggs- Rangers

Pack 8:
212 Denard Span- Twins: Another rising star who will either tear it up or strikeout in a fashion that makes it look like he just picked up a baseball bat for the first time in his life. So frustrating.
2009 Topps Target "Throwback"#212 Denard Span

56 Edwin Encarnacion- Reds
162 Mike Cameron- Brewers
81 Howard/Dunn/Delgado- Phillies: A little league leader action from some big boppers:
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #81 Howard/Dunn/Delgado League Leaders: HR

TR29 Carlos Quentin- White Sox: Turkey Red: These Turkey Red inserts are really, really nice.
2009 Topps TR29 Carlos Quentin Turkey Red

TTT25 Daisuke Matsuzaka- Red Sox: Toppstown
194 Jeremy Guthrie- Orioles
306 Javier Vazquez- White Sox

Pack 9: 136 Tim Hudson- Braves
193 Zack Greinke- Royals
43 Mauer/Pedroia/Bradley- Twins/Red Sox/Rangers: Randomizer says: Red Sox
LG5 Walter Johnson- Senators
TTT3 Grady Sizemore- Indians: Toppstown
273 Brian Roberts- Orioles: Still the face of the franchise and a highly productive player, I think signing him to an extension was a good call
2009 Topps Target "Throwback"#273 Brian Roberts

29 Jerry Hairston- Reds
33 Jose Guillen- Royals

Pack 10:
37 Erick Aybar- Angels: Wearing his Robocop glasses. There is a weird indentation on the top middle of this card. Nice going Topps.
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #37 "Robostop" Erick Aybar

211 Ryan Rowland-Smith- Mariners
4 Jones/Pujols/Holliday- Braves/Cards/Rockies
299 Cole Hamels- Phillies: Gold #0196/2009 Bottom of this card is also dinged up, I guess it's going to the right people then.
2009 Topps Target "Throwback"#299 Cole Hamels Gold (#/2009)

TTT2 Roy Halladay- Blue Jays
271 Cliff Lee- Indians: AL Cy Young
142 Brad Penny- Dodgers
156 Carlos Pena- Rays: The former Tiger with tremendous (but streaky, at least in Detroit) power.
2009 Topps Target "Throwback" #156 (Former Tiger) Carlos Pena