Friday, August 26, 2011

2011 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions

I bought two blasters of this product back in the first week in July. I had really liked the 2009 version of this set, in fact it was maybe my second favorite set of the year. I was happy enough to get this card of a guy they claimed was Mike Schmidt. But over all I was pretty disappointed.Of the 96 cards in the two boxes there were only 5 baseball players, including this one featuring Carlton Fisk dressed as a lumberjack.
There were no relics or autos, and except for the obligatory mini-card in each pack, precious few inserts. So I put the cards aside and worked on other cards I had acquired. Lots of cards had rolled in from the 2011 Summer Clearance Trade which kept me pretty busy. I'm pretty much caught up which means I have to decide what to do with these Goodwin Champions cards.

Now that I've started to catalog them and scan them, I find that I actually like the cards. It's not a set of baseball cards with a few random other sports and historical figures like Allen & Ginter. It's an entire set of random sports and historical figures. How can I not like this card?
Here are some Houston connections to keep me happy.

An outlaw!
A hockey player smiling so hard he looks like he's going to bust a gut.
Abraham Lincoln! Maybe he can get together with Fisk and split some rails.
An Indian!
And a horse, who also appears to be smiling.
I've got more cards to scan and plan to keep them all. I like the design, maybe even more than the 2009 set. I'm not completely happy. Like I said, no relics or autos and few inserts. At $0.42/per card, they should include some hits in the boxes. There were also a lot of duplicate cards as well. The two boxes had 82 base cards. I got 26 duplicates. That's more than 30%. There are 220 base cards so I think chance alone should have resulted in less duplicates.

A couple of weeks ago I posted some 2011 Topps Wikipedia cards. Next week I'll have a collection of 2011 Upper Deck Wikipedia cards, the Goodwin edition.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

2011 Bowman Platinum

I bought one rack pack of this product while I was in Philadelphia and then decided to buy 4 more single packs when I got home. Outside of trying to pick up some Phillies and Astros on eBay, I probably won't buy any more. Not because I don't like them but because they are pretty pricy. $1.35/card, with little hope of a relic in a single packs, is too much. I think the cards are much nicer than last year's foil board cards. This year the cards have a nice refractive foil background. But then again, a blaster of 2010 Bowman Platinum only set me back $0.62/card.

2011 Bowman Platinum #90 Alex Rodriguez
There are 100 base cards. Many are rookie cards but it looks like a good selection of veteran players. A-Rod is the best card I pulled, although I also pulled Chase Utley (whom I like better).

2011 Bowman Platinum Gold #21 Mark TrumboThere are several flavors of parallels. Here's the only Gold parallel I pulled. These are not serial numbered and are inserted 1 in 5 packs.

2011 Bowman Platinum Emerald #72 Tim LincecumThe 3rd best player I pulled is this Lincecum Green parallel, inserted 1 in 10 packs. There is also a Ruby parallel at 1:20. It looks like none of these parallels is serial numbered.

2011 Bowman Platinum Prospects #6 Zach DayAs Bowman has done for many years now, there is a separate run of cards they call prospects. This is apparently how they get to make cards of players who do not have major league experience. The Prospects cards have a different finish than the base cards. These have more of a mirror foil background. They are quite attractive. There is one per pack.

2011 Bowman Platinum Prospects X-Fractors #80 Brandon GuyerI'm sure you're as excited by or bored by X-Fractor cards as the next person. I pulled 2 of these.

2011 Bowman Platinum Prospects Purple Refractors #14 Ronnie WeltyAlthough the base Prospects cards have a purplish cast when scanned, these cards are really purple. There were three of these in the rack pack (as proudly proclaimed on the wrapper). I don't know about you, but in my opinion the color purple does not belong on a baseball card, unless, of course, the player is with the Rockies (and that's pushing it even then).

Monday, August 22, 2011

2011 Topps Lineage Part 2

My 800th post. Whoot!

Here are the insert cards I got in the blaster box of Topps Lineage I bought while in Philadelphia. Every pack had at least one insert or parallel card. The insert cards are nice but it's a strange collection. Perhaps going with the Lineage theme, the inserts are based on past Topps issues, either cards that were inserts, or cards that were secondary sets.

2011 Topps Lineage Diamond Anniversary Refractors Roy Oswalt #93This should look familiar. The box gives the odds at 1:4 packs. I got 2 of them.

2011 Topps Lineage Refractors David Price #88A parallel set to the base set. The box did not give the odds of pulling one of these. I got just this one.

2011 Topps Lineage Stickers Albert Pujols #49Full sized cloth stickers. There are 50 in the set, inserted at 1:12 packs. I got just this one.

2011 Topps Lineage 1975 Mini Lou Gehrig #50Another full parallel set (200 cards), inserted at 1:4. I got two of them. Since I did not get the base cards of the same players, I don't know if the photos are the same as the base cards.

2011 Topps Lineage 1975 Mini Relics Dustin PedroiaThe box promised a relic and delivered. There are 198 of these, presumably a relic card for almost each mini card.

2011 Topps Lineage Stand-Ups Felix HernandezA 25-card set inserted at 1:12. This is the only one I got. The top of the player is die cut from the background so it can be folded up.

2011 Topps Lineage Rookies Michael Pineda #13Th12 20-card set is inserted at 1:6 packs. The design is based on inserts to late 1980s Topps.

2011 Topps Lineage Venezuelan Ichiro #14And to round out this strange collection of inserts, is this 25-card set (inserted at 1:12). The back looks just like the base cards, but in Spanish.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Song of the Week - Winter Wine by Caravan

From their 1971 album In the Land of Gray and Pink. Caravan was a part of the British Progressive music scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I'd have to say they were under appreciated. So under appreciated in fact, that the band does not have a page on Wikipedia. I've included the lyrics.

Winter Wine
How you're always flowing, blowing in my mind
Like a stream, these magic waters move me to a dream
Of travelling with you, drifting carefree
Dropping downward through fresh grasses
Bubbles merrily as it passes
Never knowing where you're going
Carry me with you
Carry me with you

Be conjured up in a midnight dream
Ancient castles dark
As wandering minstrels play tunes of yesterday
When dragons roamed the land
Knights in armour cold charged on horseback bold
The maids were saved, the dragons slain

Sail scene, sea green
Sailing forward to a new land
Treasure waits, paradise gates
For the taking, don't start waking
All you need, but take heed
Remember it pays to pay the sandman well
Make no fuss, for you must – in stardust
He puts all the colours in your dreams

Bells chime three times
Naked dancers enter slowly
Smoky room, scented gloom
Audience eating, fat men drinking
Candles burn, a dull red light
Illuminates the breasts of four young girls
Dancing, prancing, provoking
Dreams are always ending far too soon

Life's too short to be sad
Wishing things you'll never have
You're better off not dreaming of the things to come
Dreams are always ending far too soon

Sounds of a distant melody
Once played, lost from memory
Funny how it's clearer now you're close to me
We'll be together all the time

Sounds of a distant melody
Once played, lost from memory
Funny how it's clearer now you're close to me
We'll be together all the time

Sail scene, sea green
Sailing forward to a new land
Treasure waits, paradise gates
For the taking, don't start waking
All you need, but take heed
Remember it pays to pay the sandman well
Make no fuss, for you must – in stardust
He puts all the colours in your dreams

Friday, August 19, 2011

2011 Topps Lineage Part 1

Hopefully, you've noticed I've been gone for over a week and missed me. I was on vacation with the family back to Philadelphia, where it was blessedly cool and rainy. Not like the furnace called Houston where I currently live.

Some new product came out while I was gone, Topps Lineage and Bowman Platinum. I bought a disappointing blaster of Lineage and a couple of rack packs of the Bowman Platinum. Here are some base cards from Topps Lineage. I'll feature some insert cards and the relic card I got in another post.

I'm not real excited about this product. The design looks like a reject from the regular Topps set. The photography is pretty much conventional baseball card stuff. The player's name, the set name and the player position is in silver foil that does not scan well. The backs are about as boring as you can imagine.I got a few players I collect, 2 Phillies (Hamels and Halladay), and one Astro, Hunter Pence, now also a Phillie (yeah!). As an aside, I managed to find a Phillie Hunter Pence tee-shirt while in Phillie and can hardly wait to wear it to a Phillies-Astros game in September.

I like the veteran cards, and who wouldn't like a Cal Ripken card. There do not seem to be all that many post-career Ripken cards about.

Some of the veteran player cards feature a pose from their rookie year along with the old (and huge) Topps All-Star Rookie Cup. There may be a later career card of McCovey as well. I got two Joe Morgan cards, one as a rookie with the Astros, one as a Red; and two Tom Seaver cards, one as a rookie with the Mets and the other as a Red. These cards are cut so badly that I don't want to bother showing them.
And that's my major gripe with this product, the poor quality. Of the 47 base cards in the box, 19, an unacceptably high number, were miss-cut. This Chad Billingsley card is typical. Note that the top of the card has the border cut off. It's hard to tell from this scan but the card is not square either. Others have the bottom border cut off. None of these miss-cut cards are square. When you pay 35 cents/card, you expect better quality.

The back has part of another colored card showing at the bottom. And is cut way short at the top.

Monday, August 8, 2011

2011 Topps Wikapedia

Has anyone noticed that Topps seems to have relied on Wikipedia for pictures on cards featuring historical subjects in 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter?

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter #107 L. L. Zamenhof
Wikipedia link

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini Step Right Up! #2 Fire Breathing
Wikipedia link

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini Portraits in Penultimacy #1 Antonio Meucci
Wikipedia link

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini Portraits in Penultimacy #3 John H. Watson
Wikipedia link

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Minds that Made the Future #37 John Deere
Wikipedia link

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Minds that Made the Future #38 George Eastman
Wikipedia link

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Minds that Made the Future #23 Florence Nightengale
Wikipedia link

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Floating Fortresses #18 HMS Devastation
Wikipedia link

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Floating Fortresses #9 USS Merrimack
Wikipedia link.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

2011 Allen & Ginter Code Cards

I've never been too interested in the Allen & Ginter code puzzles. For one thing, I'm not very good at this sort of thing. For another thing, I'm never going to get enough of the cards to be able to figure out the puzzle anyway. I bought 12 rack packs, which netted me 3 code cards and a hobby box which netted me 3 more. $150 for 6 cards (that's $25 per). I'm going to guess that 6 cards isn't going to be enough. Here are the three I got in the hobby box.

One of these is not like the others (or the other three I have). The Belt card, in addition to being a rookie card, has gold colored thingies at the corners. Can anyone tell me the significance, if any, of that?