Monday, July 29, 2013

2008 Upper Deck Fan Pack - A Mystery

Has anyone ever seen one of these before?
I recently bought a ML Holdings repack box that was literally stuffed with recent packs of Topps and Upper Deck cards. This 2008 Upper Deck Fan Pack was among them. I also got a Yankees pack.  The pack has cards from five 2007 Upper Deck sets and the 2008 Upper Deck base set. Not a big deal but the cards are, I believe, reprints, not original cards. Again no big deal, but why did Upper Deck release something like this?

I might have not noticed they were reprints except for the 6 cards from 2007 UD Masterpieces.  Here's an original card from the set:
Here's the reprint from the Fan Pack:
This would be a lot easier to see if you were holding the cards. The 2007 set was printed on non-glossy card stock that had a 'canvas' like finish. The reprint is glossy and smooth.

Also included were some cards the 2007 Upper Deck Future Stars set. Here's an original followed by the reprint.
You'll notice that the original has gold foil and that the reprint has silver foil. I compared a few of these cards. The reprints have a muddier green than the originals, especially on the back.

There were samples from 2007 SP Legendary Cuts.  I don't have a good scan of a 2007 card for comparison.
You'll just have to take my word for it that the 2007 originals have gold foil.

How about these 2007 Artifacts?
You'd never be able to tell the difference from a scan alone. The reprints are noticeably thinner, otherwise identical.

None of these cards have any particular monetary value so if you know what they are, no problem. But nowhere on the wrapper or on the cards is there any indication these are reprints. The have 2007 copyright dates on the back.  I'm sure we've all lost track of how many times Topps has produced reprint cards but the fine print on the back reveals they are reprints.

If you're a David Ortiz collector, do you have to have this card plus the original in your set/ If you're a 2007 Artifacts collector, would you consider this card as part of that set? If you're a Red Sox collector, is this a 2007 or a 2008 card?  Weighty questions all.

Just to fill out what else was in the pack:
The only real difference with 2007 Upper Deck is again the thickness of the card stock.

This is from the 2008 Upper Deck set. I would call this a reprint as well, even though it was printed in 2008, because it's thinner than the regular set.

The Yankees set had the same selection of cards but in different ratios.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Song of the Week - Doctor Wu by Steely Day

One of my favorite songs from one of my all-time favorite bands.  I couldn't find a live version that was worth listening to so I going with the little video that someone put together featuring photos of the band.

"You walked in, and my life began again..."

Friday, July 19, 2013

Random Cards From My Collection #46

Card #39422
2012 Topps Pro Debut #217 Alfredo Silverio
Comments on the card:The 'surf board' set in another setting.
When acquired: January 2013.
How acquired: Paid $.30/card for a 185-card hobby box on eBay
Player's season: I was never quite sure that the point of this set was. Silverio made is pro debut in the minors in 2006. And by 2012, he was out of baseball, never having made it to the majors.

Card #12084
1994 Stadium Club #130 Dave West
Comments on the card: The first 3 years of Stadium Club all looked pretty much the same. For 1884, Topps did a radical make-over.
When acquired: Don't know
How acquired: Don't know
Player's season: As a long-reliever and part-time started, Dave had a 4-10 record for the pretty wretched 1994 Phillies.

Card #5139
1990 Classic Yellow #76 Sandy Alomar , Jr.
Comments on the card: The second most yellow card set in history (after 1991 Fleer).
When acquired: March 2003
How acquired: Paid $0.07/card for the entire 100-card set on eBay.
Player's season: Sandy was the 1990 AL Rookie of the Year, made the All-Star Game and won a Gold Glove. Nice year.

Card #29532
2009 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions #142 Zack Greinke
Comments on the card: The highly anticipated 2009 Goodwin Champions set was the best last thing Upper Deck did before they lost their MLB license.
When acquired: May 2009
How acquired: Paid $0.23/card for a blaster box.
Player's season: Zach was 16-8 with a league leading ERA of 2.16 for the Royals in 2009.

Card #7468
1991 Reading Phillies ProCards #1371 Mark Sims
Comments on the card: An enormous minor-league set. I always liked the spiral notebook design.
When acquired: September 2006
How acquired: Paid $3.99 for the 27-card Phillies subset.
Player's season: Mark was 4-3 for the 1991 Scranton/Wilkes-Darre Red Barons, the Phillies AAA affiliate.

Card #30130
2009 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions #144 Cliff Lee
Comments on the card: See two cards above.
When acquired: May 2009
How acquired: Paid $0.23/card for a blaster box.Player's season: Cliff was 7-9 with the Indians before being traded to the Phillies on July 29, where he was 7-4.

Card #26634
2008 Topps Opening Day #40 Josh Beckett
Comments on the card: The reddest set in baseball card history.
When acquired: March 2008
How acquired: Paid $0.16/card for a blaster box.Player's season: A 20-game winner in 2007, Josh was 12-10 for the Red Sox in 2008. He recorded his 1,000 strike-out during the season.

Card #20640
2003 Upper Deck Victory #42 Hideo Nomo
Comments on the card: Upper Deck Victory has a 4-year history and the design changed radically from year to year. In 2003 it became yet another baseball card game. It came with multiple border colors parallels.
When acquired: Don't know
How acquired: Don't know
Player's season: Hideo was 16-13 with an ERA of 3.09. It was his last good year.

Card #9632
1993 Team Stadium Club #23 Ron Blazier
Comments on the card: Team sets distributed in a blister pack.
When acquired: Don't know
How acquired: Don't know
Player's season: Ron was 13-5 for the Single A Clearwater Phillies in 1993.

Card #23343
2005 Topps All-Star Stitches Relics Mark Loretta
Comments on the card: Random inserts in 2005 Topps. I was at the 2004 All-Star Game played in Houston, the only one I've attended. I have several cards from this set.
When acquired: June 2005
How acquired: Paid $5.49 on eBay
Player's season: Mark hit .280 for the 2005 Padres. He lead the league in sac flies, with 16.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Movie Review - The Lone Ranger

I went into this movie thinking I would hate it. The trailers had turned me off completely. So why did I go? Because my wife wanted to see it. Way back in 1981 we went to see "The Legend of the Lone Ranger" at my wife's insistence. I didn't think I would like that movie either and I didn't. But she did. I don't know what it is with my wife and The Lone Ranger but I'm gonna start wearing a mask and a white hat.

Anyway, I thought I'd hate it but I didn't. In fact I actually liked it. My biggest issue going in was Johnny Depp. He looked so ridiculous in the trailers.   But I thought he played the part with a great deal of seriousness, unlike what I expected from the trailers. The movie was, of course, an origin story but it told both the origin of the Lone Ranger and Tonto. You even learn why Tonto spends the entire movie with a dead crow on his head. And it actually makes sense.

The dialog is all early 21st century but that was OK. I wasn't as happy with Armie Hammer as The Lone Ranger. He was a bit too oh gosh naive for me in the beginning. He does grow into the part however.

The movie has issues of course. The special effects were way over done. There is a good story going on here but at times the rushing trains and explosions threatened to derail it, so to speak.

The other thing for me was the scenery. Some of the most beautiful and desolate parts of places other than Texas played a prominent part of the story. I don't think a single minute of the movie was filmed in Texas. Mostly we were seeing New Mexico and Utah. I can get over that. I'm pretty sure the old Lone Ranger TV show was filmed in the suburbs of Los Angeles, not Texas.

Did you know that the First Transcontinental Railroad was built through Texas?  That's what this movie says. This is the unforgivable sin of this movie, to twist history so badly. They clearly wanted trains in the movie so that there would be something technological as a basis for the massive special effects,  but as near as I can tell from Wikipedia there was maybe 200 miles of track in Texas in 1870.

I recommend that you see the movie but bring a big ole bottle of suspension of disbelief with you.

Apparently Johnny Depp and company planned this to be a new franchise. The movie cost a staggering $250 million to make. So far it's grossed $75 mil. That looks like box office failure to me. By the way, the 1981 movie only cost $18 million (which was real money back then) and only grossed $8 million. And what ever happened to Klinton Spillsbury who had the title role? It was his movie debut and the last movie he ever made.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

2013 All-Star GAme National League Starters

Better late than never. I'm composing this post while I'm waiting for the game to start. It will post on Wednesday.  I'm not making any predictions.

Catcher: Yadier Molina 2013 Topps Heritage Chrome Purple Refractor #4
Including this year, Yadier is a 5-time Al-Star. He's currently batting .284.

First Base: Joey Votto 2011 Bowman Platinum #43
In his 4th All-Star Game, Joey is leading the league in on-base percentage at .418

Second Base: Brandon Phillips 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter #285
 3-time All-Star Brandon sure has a million-dollar smile. He's leading the league in sacrifice flies with 7.

Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki 2011 Topps Update All-Star Stitches
3-time All-Star Troy is batting .332 with 16 home runs.

Third Base: David Wright 2007 Topps Flashback Fridays #5
All-Star favorite, returning for his 7th All-Star Game, David is batting .304.

Outfielder: Carlos Beltran 2013 Topps Heritage Memorable Moments
An 8-time All-Star, Carlos is having a good season so far, batting .309 with 19 home runs.

Outfielder: Carlos Gonzalez 2010 Topps National Chicle #204
The other Carlos in the outfield, is in just his 2nd All-Star Game. He's leading the league with 25 home runs and a .610 slugging percentage.

Outfield: Bryce Harper 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects #1
Making his second All-Star appearance in his 2-year career, Bryce is batting .264 with 13 home runs.

Starting Pitcher: Matt Harvey 2013 Triple Play #54
This is Matt's All-Star debut. He has a 7-2 record and it leading the league in strike-outs with 147.

There were two Phillies named to the team.

Pitcher Cliff Lee 2012 Topps Museum Collection #58
This is Cliff's 4th All-Star Game. He is 10-3 with a 2.86 ERA.

Outfielder Domonic Brown 2010 Bowman Topps 100 Prospects #18
This is Domonic's first All-Star Game. Given a chance to be a starter this year, Brown has reacted with a .273 batting average, 23 home runs, and 67 RBIs.

I looked up and down that NL list 5 times before I remembered that the Astros are in the American League this year. I've only seen one game of theirs in 2013, the home opener. As you might expect there is only one Astro at the game.

Catcher: Jason Castro 2012 Topps Red #568
This is Jason's first All-Star Game. He's batting .269 with 12 home runs.  Not bad for a catcher.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Even More Fairfield Repack Fun

Yesterday I featured some recent repack cards that go right into the reference binders. All in all, I pulled 98 cards from these 2 packs that I didn't have. Here are some more.

1981 Topps #309 Luis Salazar 
 1980's era uniforms. Gotta love 'em.

1983 Topps #246 George Bamberger
George seems pretty happy considering the Mets were 16-30 in 1983 when he was fired.

1984 Topps NFL Football Stars #15 Kellen Winslow
Wait a minute, what's this doing here?

1985 Topps #288 Jeff Kunkel
Nothing really special about this card, except that 22-year-old Jeff looks like he's about 12.  But the very next card was this.
This is about the most poorly cut card I've ever seen.

1988 Topps UK Minis #45 Don Mattingly
There were a bunch of these in one of the packs. I've got nearly the entire set now. The "Talkin' Baseball" feature on the back defines a 'runner' as "an offensive player advancing toward, touching or returning to any base. A team can have as many as 3 runners on base at the same time." Can you have more than one runner on a base?

1993 Upper Deck #289 Jeff Huson
Nice shot. Is that Kenny Lofton on the ground?

1994 Conlon TSN Burgundy #1126 Johnny Mize
I used to see a lot of cards from the Conlin sets in repacks but not so much anymore. The Burgandy version of the cards is rarer than the black-bordered version.

1989 Score #224 Bob Walk