Grand Cards: Tigers Checklist: 2009 Topps Unique

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tigers Checklist: 2009 Topps Unique


That's my reaction to going through this "set," such as it is. The base set and inserts were no trouble, but the problem with a set called "Unique" is that there's a bunch of really rare crap. Also, in the Topps world of "Unique," there is a bunch of stuff that is only marginally differentiable from card to card. That, combined with a sometimes intuitive and other times random numbering philosophy made this all quite the handful.

For example, this Ivan Rodriguez Patch card (numbered to 99):
2009 Topps Unique #PTP-95 Ivan Rodriguez (#/99)

Is different from THIS Ivan Rodriguez Patch Card (numbered to 99):
2009 Topps Unique #PTP-27 Ivan Rodriguez (#/99)

Add to that the fact that a bunch of Current Tigers are on cards of another team (Cabrera on the Marlins, Ordonez on the White Sox), and former Tigers, like Rodriguez, are wearing the Old English D, and it makes tracking down these cards confusing and Beckett-checklist fact-checking by team non-existent and impossible.

However, releases like Topps Unique are the reason that I wanted to start going these "checklist galleries." So many of these cards will never been seen by collectors, and after they sell on eBay or wherever, they'll go in somebody's collection never to re-emerge. These galleries are intended to capture images of these cards so that we have a record of what they looked like. Just imagine how much better our lives would be if someone had done this in the 90s. I still don't know what was produced then, and much less what it looked like.

So let's start this up, first things first.

Base Set I'm back and and forth on this set. I think the photos look nice, in general, but that the very heavy black borders are ultimately detractors. Parallel Versions in Red, Bronze and Gold are a bit too much--just an example of unnecessary paralleling. Rookie base cards in this set are numbered to 2699, for some reason that I can't even begin to understand.

#23 Justin Verlander
#53 Curtis Granderson
#75 Miguel Cabrera
#79 Magglio Ordonez
#103 Aubrey Huff
#117 Carlos Guillen
#157 Wilkin Ramirez RC (#/2699)
#172 Rick Porcello RC (#/2699)
#174 Ryan Perry RC (#/2699)

Inserts Just two Tigers inserts, and I've profiled them before. They're throwbacks and get a smiley face from me, although they're not quite as nice as I thought they were when I first saw them.

#UU11 Curtis Granderson
#UU14 Justin Verlander

Relics and Autographs Onto the heavy lifting. I had to lump these categories together because of design continuity and so many AutoRelics that it just didn't make sense to separate them. We've got the following basic categories: "Sure Shot", "Dual Distinction", Buttons, Bat Knobs, Patches, Jumbo Patches, and Logoman Patches. I'm pretty sure on the numbering for "Sure Shot" and "Dual Distinction," Button numbering is a educated guess based on other Button Cards--they seem to follow a UBA+Initials format. I'm 100% on the Cabrera Bat Knob, and following the pattern of the set think adding an "A" for the Maybin KnobAuto makes sense. Patches are 100%.

The Jumbo Patch is a mystery. Magglio has two, one with the White Sox, and Beckett lists it as "MO", which I'm sure is half-right. Logoman Patches are even more confusing. Each is a 1/1, and Beckett has them numbered LMA with a number following. However, the Pudge patch I saw is listed LMA-IRS, so I think that there are letters involved. I've seen two of these, shown here, and will add as I find more.

The real challenge is that it is impossible to know who is shown and a Tiger and who isn't. For example, Cameron Maybin has a button card. Is it as a Tiger? He also has Three Logoman Patches. Tigers? Similarly, Miguel Cabrera and Pudge Rodriguez have Five logoman cards each. How many are Tigers? Even Andrew Miller has one, and is also a question mark.

I recommend the checklist for a full list, as it's pretty massive and confusing. To clear your mind, here's some pretty pictures:

#SSA-CG Curtis Granderson
#SSR-MC Miguel Cabrera (#/275)
#DDA-PP Porcello/Price (#/25)
#DDAR-MC Morneau/Cabrera (#/10)
#DDR-CP Cabrera/Pujols (#/99)

#SSA-RP Rick Porcello
#DDR-VP Verlander/Porcello (#/99)
#UBA-CG Curtis Granderson (#/6)
#UBA-JB Jeremy Bonderman (#/6)
#UBA-IR Ivan Rodriguez (#/6)
#UBA-AM Andrew Miller (#/6)
#BKA-CM Cameron Maybin (1/1)
#BK-MC Miguel Cabrera (1/1)
#PTP-7 Andrew Miller (#/99)
#PTP-27 Ivan Rodriguez (#/99)
#PTP-81 Andrew Miller (#/50)
#PTP-95 Ivan Rodriguez (#/99)
#??-MO Magglio Ordonez (#/22)
#LMA-IRS Ivan Rodriguez (1/1)

#LMA-?? Jeremy Bonderman (1/1)
#LMA-JVE1 Justin Verlander (1/1)

This is a set that I would never buy, but think that some of the "Unique" cards in the set are actually quite cool. Bat Knobs and Jersey Buttons? I've got to say that I'm a fan. There's a lot of other craziness in there, but in all these are nice cards that I can see collectors appreciating. It seems like the only drawback is with the Sticker Autographs, which don't look to bad given the nature of the cards. At such a high price point, I understand the gripe, though.