Sometimes, no matter what you do, you just get the short end of the stick. Sometimes, you luck out and miss it. In 2009 Upper Deck released a Goudey set full of washed out cadaverous freak cards. The Tigers were mostly spared, and for this the baseball card Gods were thanked. With 12 artists in National Chicle, you're bound to see a wide range of both styles and quality. Unfortunately, I think that the Tigers set falls just short of where I would have liked it to be.
I can't say I didn't see it coming, but I'm disappointed now that we're here.
But instead of blaming the Chicle release, or blaming Topps, I think that it is fair to blame the people responsible for the select number of letdowns and abominations in the set. As a former amateur and aspiring artist, I'm not one to hand down this criticism easily. But I think that there comes a time and a place when it is appropriate to say "I'm sorry, but that sucks."
So while National Chicle, the set, continues to be a very nice release on the whole, someone needs to bear the consequences of a relatively sad Tigers offering. Who's to blame?
The number one offender in my opinion. There are 8 Tigers cards in the set (plus a Cobb SP still to be acquired by me). Hobrecht did two of them. The first you've already seen.
|2010 Topps National Chicle #71 Miguel Cabrera by Dave Hobrecht|
Cabrera looks as though his soul has been removed. His glazed over, out of frame focus suits lobotomy patients or is representative of the blinded by drunkenness crowd. For shame on you Mr. Hobrecht, if in fact that was your commentary on this card. In case you hadn't heard, we're not talking about that any more.
Am I being unfair to Dave for one bad card? Maybe. But as Wrigley Wax showed us, he was responsible for this card too.
That's not to say that Hobrecht can't paint--JD's Wild Cardz clearly showed that not to be the case when they highlighted this card:
To call that card anything less the spectacular would be an understatement, but clearly that "A" game was not put into all of Hobrecht's work in this set. As for his other card, of Johnny Damon, it is a generally acceptable image, barring some slightly odd features. The most egregious part is the fact that he painted the WRONG D on Damon's hat (I'm pretty sure he got it wrong on Cabrera's turtleneck too). Still, this card falls in the "meh" range on the set.
|2010 Topps National Chicle #40 Johnny Damon by Dave Hobrecht|
But this is a whole lot of griping for me about just one card. Geez Dan, relax.
|2010 Topps National Chicle #271 Brent Dlugach RC by Paul Lempa|
It must be really hard for Dlugach to play shortstop with a deformed midget arm. I am not a fan of this painting at all. Lempa seems to have issues with shadows and perspective. From JD's again:
Not so good, Paul. Also, I'll take this moment to criticize Topps here. Why is Dlugach in this set? (Twice??) He must this year's Mark Woodyard or Chris Lambert or Eulogio De La Cruz. If you don't recognize any of the names I just mentioned, it is because they were former Rookies that Topps decided needed billing across multiple card sets despite the fact that they weren't even on the 25 man roster and never had any impact on the team whatsoever. The card companies are rookie-obsessed, feeling obligated to make sure that each team has a rookie in a release, even when no qualified rookie exists. At least, that's my opinion on the matter.
With that, you've seen the two worst offenders in the Tigers set, plus a middle of the road Damon card. Out of an 8 card set, these are not particularly satisfying inclusions. It does get better, but even the cards that should be good have things about them that just screw them up.
|2010 Topps National Chicle #47 Brandon Inge by Jason Davies|
Human Fly Anyone?
And this one is just off, and not enough for me to really complain about, but I think that I at least need to mention the feminine eyes that Justin Verlander is sporting.
|2010 Topps National Chicle #85 Justin Verlander by Jason Davies|
Hmm...That one is Davies too. Listen man, it seems like you do good work and you get this close to making really nice cards and just screw it up a little bit at the end. Don't ever be a closer and you'll be fine.
But seriously, what's with this crap? Two Hobrechts and Two Davies? and a Lempa? Has it gotten to the point where I need to collect these cards based on their artists instead of the players? What do you think the Beckett Value is on a Hobrecht versus say, a Zachowski?
Anyway, I would have liked to have seen a little more diversity among Tigers artists. Out of an 8 card set, 6 artists sounds good, but with 12 to choose from it's really not--especially when the two repeats you have put out some of the lesser works in the set. I mean hey, I wouldn't complain if you had to give me a second Monty Sheldon
|2010 Topps National Chicle #224 Al Kaline by Monty Sheldon|
I will be posting a full Tigers gallery of National Chicle in the next day or two that shows off all the Tigers cards. This set really does look quite good, and some of the artists have done phenomenal work. I recommend reading posts from Cardboard Junkie, Wrigley Wax,JD's Wild Cardz and A Pack To Be Named Later (although no artists on that one) for plenty of images to give you a well rounded view of the set. In the meantime, we'll see if the Tigers grow on me, or if all is saved by the inclusion of a beautiful Brian Kong drawn Hank Greenberg relic that's on it's way to me.