Grand Cards: Tigers Gallery Checklist: 2010 Topps Allen & Ginter

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tigers Gallery Checklist: 2010 Topps Allen & Ginter

It's that Allen & Ginter time of year again. Rather than procrastinate and wait until I have images of all the cards to post a gallery--which ultimately leads to galleries being posted weeks/months after their release when nobody cares any more, I thought that I'd actually post a timely gallery this time. It also serves as a checklist, so points for functionality.

A&G is pretty much exactly what you expect it to be, and when you remove all the odd characters and off-beat mini sets and other various wacky elements and boil it down to the team set, you're left with one thing: simple, classy, nice cards. This is the hallmark of Allen & Ginter, and it holds true in the 2010 release as well. With simple design changes from previous years, the set it distinct yet fits in cohesively with other iterations. A mix & match of cards from across the A&G set would not be out of the question, if you were adventurous in your binder-page creation.

The question does remain though: when does A&G lose it's magic? For me, I think that it's already started to happen. Granted, I'm writing this without having any of these cards in-hand yet, but I started to feel this way in 2009, in what I thought was the strongest release design-wise to date. The base cards don't do it for me anymore. I find them too plain.

The minis though are gold. Pure bliss. There is nothing in the card collecting world today that can compare to Allen & Ginter minis, in my opinion. Similarly, the framed autographs stand on their own, with the relics a nice complement. In this though, we need to wonder, can a set sustain itself on parallels and "hits" alone? I mean, ALL the other sets do it, but that's what made Allen & Ginter so unique in the first place. It was supposed to be for the set collector. And I guess it still is, with a checklist that is consistently refreshed with new and interested non-baseball characters. For the team collector though, I think that ship has sailed. The checklist by-team features too few players, too many similar poses, too little aesthetic variety.

But that's ok, as long as I can get my hands on those teeny tiny tobacco era throwbacks. And autograph cards that must induce the most horrifying hand cramps and nearsightedness. And box toppers. And cabinet cards. And more minis. Come to think of it, A&G is still all right with me.

Base Set As opposed to rambling into a review of this (see above), I'll just give you the pictures. There are 10 cards in the base set, including new Tigers Max Scherzer and Johnny Damon and rookie cards of Austin Jackson (wooo!) and the former started 2nd baseman and current minor leaguer Scott Sizemore. Both are Short Printed. WOTS is that another Brent Dlugach RC was on the preliminary checklist but by the mercy of god was removed. Brennan Boesch is nowhere to be seen, in what is, to me, the biggest card disappointment of the year so far. Scans of the full-size cards are here, but you know that I'll show off a mini set of my own as soon as I've got one:

#25 Max Scherzer

#45 Justin Verlander

#93 Brandon Inge

#139 Miguel Cabrera

#197 Johnny Damon

#235 Carlos Guillen

#250 Magglio Ordonez

#256 Rick Porcello

#319 Austin Jackson SP RC

#320 Scott Sizemore SP RC

Mini Exclusives These are some of those things that I love and don't know why. The Extended Mini (EXT) set consists of cards #351-400 and are contained only within Rip Cards, making them extremely hard to find and expensive to collect (Rip Cards are found at a rate of 1 per case). This year there are two Tigers: Rick Porcello and Miguel Cabrera, featuring a different picture of them from their base card. Again, I'm not sure why I like these, but I do. Here are the two extended minis, plus another special treat.

#361 Miguel Cabrera EXT mini

#376 Rick Porcello EXT mini

#PS18 Miguel Cabrera A&G Originals

Yeah, that extra thing is a 1 of 1 "Allen & Ginter Originals" sketch card. It is also only available in Rip Cards and Cabrera's is the only Tiger. It just sold for $380 and looks awesome.

A pat on the back of Jeff Zachowski, the artist.

Inserts I tend to be lukewarm on A&G inserts ever since I saw the old Dick Perez sketches from 2006-2007 that looked horrible. But then 2008 had the players with their home state and 2009 had players with their countries and I was ok with those. This year matches a player's birthday with a historical event that happened on that day. Conceptually, that is an A+. I love the idea. I also like how the cards look, but I feel kind of "meh" towards them. Maybe it's the bad application of a horizontal. I don't know. Anyway, there are three of these in the set:

#TDH14 Justin Verlander

#TDH21 Magglio Ordonez

#TDH45 Miguel Cabrera

Autographs Tigers hit the motherload this year. There are four autographs and they are all gorgeous. Why Ryan Perry has ANOTHER autograph from Topps is beyond me, but when I can round it out with Cabrera, Scherzer and Porcello I won't complain one bit. These look amazing in scans, thanks to the bright frames that get two thumbs way up from me.

#AGA-MC Miguel Cabrera

#AGA-MS Max Scherzer

#AGA-RP Rick Porcello

#AGA-RPE Ryan Perry

Relics One? Hmmm. I'm ok with this, because I tend to think that they're a major overpopulation of relics out there and I'd like to see it cut back drastically. However, there is a huge overpopulation of relics in Allen & Ginter too, and one Tiger means that I have a pretty bad chance of pulling a Tiger as a hit from my box. Double edged swords you know.

#AGR-MCA Miguel Cabrera

Box Toppers For the first time in a some time there are no Tigers featured as part of regular box toppers or cabinet cards. BUT, there are two super-amazing awesome box topper fantasmo cards. Or, officially, an N43 Autograph (Max Scherzer, #/15) and an N43 Autograph/Relic (Miguel Cabrera, #/5). One of the Scherzers already sold, but had a horrible scan that I couldn't grab. I also lost that auction by a dollar, so I'm kind of bitter. I'll keep my eyes peeled for more appearances, though. (Update: Found one!)

#N43BA-MS Max Scherzer (#/15)

#N43BAR-MC Miguel Cabrera (#/5)

Rip Cards Two of these guys also. The only Rip Card that I have is a ripped 2008 Granderson--which I absolutely love. Not sure that the design on these ones is up to the same level, I've seen a lot of non-action poses, for example, but I'd sure love to have one. The Ordonez has surfaced (#/50), while the Verlander is yet to see the light of day. There's some case breaking in my future, so maybe, just maybe one of these will come my way.

#RC32 Justin Verlander

#RC63 Magglio Ordonez (#/50)