Wednesday, May 30, 2012

2001 Topps Fusion Reprise

I actually posted about this set before, way back in January 2009. Since, according to Blogger that post only got one view, I thought I'd do a reprise. But with different cards from the set. Also, I just snagged a relic card from the set so I've something new to show.

For 2001, Topps had an interesting idea. They put out a set which combined their 'premium' card brands at the time, Stadium Club, Gold Label, Gallery, Finest, and Bowman's Best. It was a 250 card set featuring 50 players. There are 5 cards for each player, one for each brand. What is perhaps most interesting, is that the cards don't feature the actual designs used on the brands in 2001, or in fact, in any year. Instead, the designs are in the style of each brand. The fronts of the cards all feature the Topps Fusion logo at the bottom of the card. The backs of each brand are different, except for a block at the bottom with the Topps logo, copyright info, other logos and the card number. I liked these cards and bought a box in 2001 (at about $0.75/card).

First the new relics.

 They called the relic cards Topps Fusion Feature. I paid $7.25 (including S&H) for this Vidro bat card. And $8.00 for this Todd Helton jersey card.

Relic and auto cards are pretty common today but way back in 2001 they were still a novelty. I pulled two autos from the box. Jason Marquis, in the style of Bowman's Best

and Carlos Delgado, in the style of Topps Finest
And here's a sampling of the 4 card versions.

Topps Gallery

Topps Gold Label

Stadium Club
 and Bowman's Best

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

2012 Topps Archives - First Look (Part 2)

Last week I showed the base cards and most of the parallels. What else did I get in my 2 8-card pack blasters?

2012 Topps Archives 1967 Stickers Tim Linecum
Full-sized peel-off stickers based on a set from 1967. The backs are blank. I pulled 3 of this 25-card set.

2012 Topps Archives 1977 Cloth Robin Yount
This 25-card insert uses the same technology as last year's Topps Lineage Stickers. I pulled 3 but two of them were Yount. I'll gladly trade my extra Yount for either the Carlton or Halladay from the set.

2012 Topps Archives 1968 3D Willie Mays
I pulled 2 cards from this 15-card insert set. These look exactly like an insert from last year's Topps Lineage except they are slightly smaller than regular sized cards. They are basically blank on the back.

2012 Topps Archives 1969 Deckle Edge Ichiro

Another 15-card insert. I only pulled this one. The cards are b/w with a deckle edge and are smaller than normal cards. Also blank on the back.

2012 Topps Archives Gold #127 Evan Longoria
Not only a gold colored border but printed on holographic foil.  These are inserted 1:12 packs and I got 1. The back of the card is the same as the base card.

2012 Topps Archives 1956 Relics Alex Avila says there are 55 of these but doesn't give the odds of getting one. The blaster box says to watch out for autographed cards but doesn't say anything about relic cards, even in the tiny black on dark blue print where they give the odds for each insert.

A pretty good selection of inserts. In addition to an autographed card, I didn't get a 1958 Classic Combo insert or a 1982 In Action insert. To eBay I go!

Monday, May 28, 2012

World's Largest Bosai Tree

Here in League City (the City of the Oaks) we're proud of our oak trees. A 100-year old oak, planted by one of the original settlers of the city is threatened by the reconstruction of a roadway.  Locals were outraged. So at considerable expense (around $200,000) the city is moving the tree.

In this photo it looks like they've transplanted the tree to a giant planter.

Here's a broader view.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Song of the Week - The Blower's Daughter by Damien Rice

This song is from Damien Rice's first album O, which was released in 2002. The album was a pretty big hit for him in England, but he's only released one album since then. This song was featured in the 2004 movie Closer, with Natalie Portman, Julie Roberts, Clive Owen and Jude Law. I had to look it op on but now I remember that we must have seen the trailer for this a million times but never saw the movie. I think I'll be looking for it on Netflix.

Friday, May 25, 2012

2012 Topps Archives - First Look (Part 1)

I saw these in the local Target today. There were loose packs and 8-pack blasters available. I bought two blasters.

The base set has 200 cards featuring Topps designs from 4 different years, 1954, 1971, 1980 and 1984. I pulled about 27 cards from each year between the two boxes with only a few duplicates. So I've got about half the base cards and a pretty good selection. The base set features mainly modern players, with about 20% of the cards featuring former players. Here's a card from each year.

2012 Topps Archives #50 Albert Pujols
The cards are printed on thin white card stock with a hard but not glossy finish. They have a nice crisp feel.  I don't have a lot of 1954 Topps but this looks like a pretty good facsimile.

2012 Topps Archives #77 Chipper Jones
The original 1971 cards featured a different closeup photo of the player rather than a cropped version of the front of the card like these do.

2012 Topps Archives #108 Cliff Lee
I chose Phillie Cliff Lee to represent the 1980 cards because the Phillies won their first World Series in 1980. The backs are pretty close to the actual 1980 cards although the color is off. Also, the 1980 set had the copyright in a box at the bottom of the cartoon.

2012 Topps Archives #187 Nolan Ryan
I didn't check all the former player cards, but the original 1984 Ryan card did not have this photograph. And the back is different since this card features Ryan's entire career. The original cards also had color team logos on the back.  This is the only Astro I pulled from the box. Astros cards have been very scarce this year. I've bought 971 cards so far and only 12 of them feature Astros, which is way under average. By contrast, I have 73 Phillies cards which is way over average.

2012 Topps Archives All-Time Fan Favorites #221 Jim Abbott
Cards numbered 201-241 are called the All-Time Fan Favorites. They are all past players except #241 which has Bryce Harper. These are inserted 1 in 4 packs. I only pulled 2 of them in 16 packs. These feature a past player on some randomly chosen card that was issued during the player's career. The photo is not the same photo as is on Abbott's 1992 card but the back is a reprint of his 1992 card except for the card number. Confused yet?  1992 was the first year that Topps issued cards on white card stock. This is the first post-career card of Abbott that I know about.

2012 Topps Archives Rookie Reprints Cal Ripken
This is from the 50-card insert set which is supposed to be a reprint of the player's rookie card. I got 4 of these. You can tell this card apart from the 1984 cards in the set in that it has a "Topps Archives" logo in gold foil on the front. Also, the team logo on the back is in color. The card has the same number as the original card. This is a nice card but Ripken's rookie card was 1982.  The other three I have are reprints of the player's actual rookie card.

I'll post the other inserts in a few days.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Trade with Spiff

I haven't traded cards with anyone since last summer. Perhaps anticipating my annual Summer Clearance Trade (coming in June), Spiff sent me a pile of Phillies cards. So I sent him the Rangers cards I had pulled for the Clearance.  Here's some of what he sent me.

2004 Fleer Tradition #439 Vincente Padilla
 Cards numbered 401-500 of this set were short prints which I don't have many of.

2008 Upper Deck X #77 Chase Utley
Did anyone like this set? I had the die cut Utley card but not the regular one.

2009 Topps Update #18 Cliff Lee
 This was the card from this set I really wanted and now I have it! Thanks Spiff!

2010 Topps #122 Carlos Ruiz
I had the Phillies Team Set and the Walmart Black versions of this card but not the base Topps card. Chooch is having an MVP season so far, hitting .365 with 7 home runs (his career max is 9) and 29 RBIs (max 54). There were a few Ruiz cards in the mix that I didn't have.

2010 Topps Cards Your Mom Threw Out #110 Cole Hamels
I had the Original Back version of this card. Hamels is also super hot with a 7-1 record in 9 starts and an ERA of 2.17.

2010 Topps Cards Your Mom Threw Out Original Back #89 Steve Carlton
I had the non-original back version of this card. 40 years ago, Carlton was 27-10 with a terrible Phillies team. In his first 9 starts he was 5-4 with an ERA of 2.22.

2010 Topps Heritage #217 Carlos Ruiz

2012 Topps #117 Carlos Ruiz

2012 Topps #190 Cole Hamels

2012 Topps Heritage #139 Carlos Ruiz

2012 Topps Heritage #161 Ryan Howard
Ryan is in rehab at the Phillies Single A club in Florida and should be back sometime in June. Man do we miss him.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Movie Review - The Avengers

We finally got to see this over the weekend. I'm not going to write a review, other than to say I thought it was fantastic, since there is nothing I can add to what's already been written. The only reason I can think of for you not to have already seen the movie is that you were waiting to see what I had to say about it, which seems pretty unlikely.

In my opinion it's the best of the Marvel superhero movies, and maybe the best superhero movie ever. At least until The Dark Knight Rises comes out in July. My daughter says I'm wrong, that Thor was better, mainly because it had more Thor than The Avengers. The charms of Chris Hemsworth appeal more to her than to me.