2013 Topps S2 – Packs 5 and 6

The last couple of posts have been about celebrations.  This post is going to be about great plays and faces…as in the faces of men celebrating something or working very hard at doing something.

The first pair of cards feature a very smooth and shaded Jackie Bradley Jr. gliding in to make a very nonchalant catch.  Jackie has a great name and also had a wonderful spring training rendering him the next superstar phenom…unfortunately, spring ended and so did his hot run.  He’s a great young player and is in that always awkward transition of being a major leaguer and a AAA player…he’s too young to say he’s a AAAA guy, plus I think he has a ton of talent.  One thing I can’t seem to understand is that the Red Sox always seem to have a great farm system and the Yankees continue to ignore theirs…or at least the Yanks don’t seem to be able to develop enough major league talent.  The other card is of Andy Dirks and he appears to have made the catch, good for him and better for the photographer for making this photograph.  This is one of the things I love about sports cards.  They can capture a singular moment in time and become eternal images on cardboard (card stock) forever.

13 T Jackie Bradley Jr Andy Dirks

The intensity of these next two faces is both fascinating and extremely disturbing.  Not sure what the expression being exhibited by Adam Dunn is about, but if I had a daughter I would keep her away from him…based on this one photo of him.  I know it’s judgmental, but sometimes you just have to go with your gut.  James Loney.  This is the face I make when i’ve become irregular and having a tough time with my situation.  Both intense faces, both disturbing faces.

13 T Adam Dunn James Loney

These next two cards are the epitome and possibly a little over the top of facial enthusiasm.  The Papelbon card is out of control, but so is Papelbon…this was probably a 38 pitch save in May, and this is how he’s reacting.  So Intense!  The Trouty card is kind of cool.  You have to love this kid.  He doesn’t get the fanfare that Bryce Harper does, for some odd reason?  Both are equally talented and are going to be a whole lotta fun to watch the next 12-15 years.  Wonder if Trout was in DC and Harper was in LA if Trout would get more love?  Harper would get attention regardless due to polarizing personality…just wondering.

13 T Jonathan Broxton Mike Trout

I’m not a Giants fan, I don’t hate them or even dislike them, I just don’t like them like them.  You know what I mean?  They are a solid team and should be successful for a very long time, or at least as long as this kid is healthy.  I have a feeling that this kid’s baby face isn’t going to age much, so I guess that would make him the Dick Clarke of baseball…no?

13 T Buster Posey Chasing History

I’m gonna end it with some mini action.  The Kid and a guy named BJ.  Why a guy would want to go by BJ is beyond me…but maybe that’s just my issue or maybe it’s because his name is Melvin Emanuel.  (ps. yes that is a hair…from my head linking the Kid and Melvin…i’m receding)

13 T Ken Griffey Jr BJ Upton Minis

Road Trip Packs III – The end of the Trilogy.

The second day of driving was great, we finally got out of Texas.  Anyone that has had to drive from one end of Texas to another knows that this takes a total commitment in patience and perserverance…long stretches of nothingness and not a whole lot of beauty along the way unless you like the color brown.

Our second stop was Montrose, Colorado which didn’t have a Wal Mart or Target close by and frankly I was really exhausted from the day of driving…so I didn’t pick anything up that night.  Our third day of driving took us through the remainder of Colorado, Utah and we stopped in Twin Falls, Idaho.  I’ve never been to Utah or Idaho and would definitely love to go back for a visit sometime and see all the beautiful rock formations and landscapes…that will be a road trip for the future and a great way to have some family time during the summer.  By the way, if anyone has stayed in Twin Falls, Idaho I would love to know more about the town.  It seemed like a really great place as we sort of passed through.  The gorge with the waterfalls was quite amazing…and the golf courses looked like they would be great to play.

Enough about non card things.  After we checked in I located the nearest Wal Mart and strolled in around 11:30 and picked up a couple more packs of Topps Archives Football and some Archives Baseball.

Archives is doing some tall boys for the baseball version and this guy is becoming a very very special player.  Not the best photo ever of him, but the card design is cool and classic.  Glad to see Miggy  get his career and hopefully his life straight after the DUI a couple of years ago…always room for redemption.

13 TA Miguel Cabrera Mini

Pablo is way too big, like scary big.  When his career winds down, he’s going to have some serious health issues with his ballooning weight.  Look at that guy busting the bottom button loose…and that face!  Obesity in America is a serious thing and seriously needs to be addressed.  I hope the Giants are hooking this kid up with a nutritionist and a 24 hour personal trainer.  That much weight is bad for the joints and not to mention his heart.  Let’s get fit America!

13 TA Pablo Sandoval

The Griff card is pretty amazing.  Look into those youthful eyes.  So much hope and promise in that young face.  Griffey was never one of my favorite players, but I always loved the way he played.  Now living in the Northwest, his importance to the game and the way he played is magnified, especially with the constant PED issues the MLB has had the past several years.  I LOVE THIS CARD.

13 TA Ken Griffey Jr

I also LOVE THIS CARD.  I would have been happy with the die cut…but now i get a transparent “stained glass” card!  I guess these cards were issued at a time when I wasn’t collecting so therefore I have no recollection of them…but they are awesome.  Love that Topps has included them in the set this year.

13 TA Roberto Clemente Gallery of Heroes

Now for the Football version of Archives.  The first card out of the pack was this Adrian Peterson in the 1985 Topps version.  I’ve said many times here that this is one of my all time favorite sets, along with the 1986 Topps baseball…it’s probably the black border thing and the superfonts.  AP came back nicely from his ACL tear, here’s hoping RG3 can do the same…or better! – HTTR!

13 TA Adrian Peterson

I also pulled this Arian Foster.  Loved that two of the prominent running backs were in the ’85 Topps version.

13 TA Arian Foster

There was also this nice looking Gronk mini card.  Wonder if he still hangs out with BiBi?

13 TA Rob Gronkowski Mini

Last up.  This little gem.  A Cornelius Bennett auto.  The autograph is pretty sweet and you can never go wrong with an autograph from a great NFL Linebacker that played in 4 Super Bowls.

13 TA Cornelius Bennett Autograph

 

Box Break: 2013 Bowman

Bowman is one of those in between sets for me.  Do I buy packs?  A box and build the set?  Pull my favorites out and part ways with the rest of them?

I’m not a prospector, but I love to pull some of the great rookies that I read about.

I don’t put together too many sets, but I love to buy packs and sometimes a box of cards that I enjoy openings packs of.

I like inserts, but too many of them become overwhelming.

Bowman has a way of providing a response to each of these contradictions in my collecting habits.  When Topps brought back the Bowman cards in 1989, my friend Alex and I were all in.  The cards were weird and big and didn’t fit well anywhere, but they were cool and had a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card.  Griff was the man in 1989 and his rookie cards were something every kid in America that collected cards wanted.  I had them all, and loved the oversized Bowman version (after the Upper Deck version of course…)  Although the cards weren’t that great.  The photography was a little grainy at times and the overall design was weak…plus the stat on the back were quite confusing and took some getting used to.  Either way I was going to collect this set…and all other versions that would come out in the future.  That was, until 1992 rolled around.  The card quality became significantly better and the rookie class was pretty stellar at the time (I still have my Raul Mondesi in a screw down holder, iknowright!).  1992 was also the time I began to realize I can’t collect everything…because I couldn’t afford it.  So I never completed the set and ended up getting rid of my other sets from the previous years.

13 BB Mariano Rivera Chrome RC Reprint

Fast forward to the future that is today.  The card quality has improved exponentially and in relation to the other stuff that’s being issued, Bowman is quite affordable.  I’ve purchased a box of these the past three years and took a bigger step this year and bought the jumbo pack box from Dave and Adam’s card world.  Here is my review.

13 BB Josh Hamilton Chrome RC Reprint

Card Design – 3 of 5

The overall design of the cards is quite simple, which I love.

13 BB Robinson Cano

13 BB Hanley Ramirez

No extra weird things going on here, just some simple graphics and all the basic information you need on a baseball card.  I do like the subtle variation on the front of the card that differentiates the Bowman Prospects from the Major Leaguers.  Bowman also carried this through as they do on the back of  the card with the numbering and color of the card stock.

Photography – 3 of 5

The photographs are your typical action photos mixed in with awkwardly posed for photos of young men in uniforms.  There are a lot of beards and facial hair in general around the world these days and the major league baseball franchise is no different.  I’m thinking Panini needs to do a facial hair card set.  Maybe Josh Reddick get the coveted #1 card?

13 BB Matt Kemp Bryce Harper Gold Border

Hits – 4 of 5

Like I said before, I’m no prospector.  I simply don’t have the patience or wherewithal to invest in people I don’t know and Bowman counts on people doing this.  That’s what makes this set so wonderful though.  If you do pull a great auto of a young talented player or a refractor you have a nice piece of cardboard.  If you don’t, well, you have something shiny to look at i guess.  Another thing with the hits is that you have to wait a couple of years for these guys to pan out and get a year or two under their belts.  Just because you are a top 100 prospect doesn’t mean you are going to be a star in the bigs.  All that said, It’s nice to get the ‘First Bowman card’ of a potential star.

13 BB Eddie Rosario Dorssys Paulino Top 100

Another thing that i really enjoy about the Bowman cards and the young stars is the names of these kids.  Damn.

13 BB Oliberto Amaya Calderon Maldonado Chrome

Review

Bowman is always fun to open and the cards are always a very solid quality.  I’m not sure if I will buy a jumbo box next year unless i plan to start building the sets again…but getting 32 cards in a pack is pretty cool.

13 BB Rodriguez Bundy Reed Rowen Gold Sparkle

The overall look and feel of the cards is great, nothing to complain about here, plus the price is right with Bowman, especially for what you get.

Mini’s are cool.

13 BB Skaggs Hanson Bradley Hensley Minis

So are Flags…

13 BB Davis Upton Alonso Maurer Hometown

and blue or maybe purple cards?

13 BB Brett Gerritse Blue Refractor 60:250and who doesn’t love them some autographs!

13 BB Eddie Butler Auto

13 BB Yordano Ventura Refractor Auto 79:500

13 BB Alex Meyer Auto

Rickey and Donny Baseball

The only real reason i became a Yankee fan was because my favorite player, Rickey Henderson was traded in the winter to the Bronx Bombers.  I was a 9 year old kid that was easily led astray and more than willing to change my allegiance as i saw fit.  At the time, the Yankees were ok.  They did have the history which I was really not that aware of at the time but something i was more than willing to embrace.  Gehrig, Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle…endless names of a great sports franchise.

13 GQ Rickey Henderson SS

Through the years, my friends have given me a hard time about being a Yankee fan and question why i’m not an Astros or Rangers fan.  My response is always the same…Really?  Astros or Rangers?  I couldn’t get down with those rainbow sherbet jerseys that Mike Scott and Nolan Ryan rocked in the 80’s.  As for the Rangers, they played in the Dallas area and I associated that with the Dallas Cowboys…and there was no way i was signing up for that team, ever.  So, I stuck with the Yankees and embraced the team.  Granted, i have always had a little piece of my heart set aside for the Oakland Athletics since they were the first team i followed and the one that Rickey is most associated with.

13 CO 13 GQ Rickey Henderson

At our Portland show this past Saturday, i wanted to get some new Henderson cards…and do a little digging through the nickel and dollar boxes.  As you all know, there is a certain time and physical commitment involved in searching through these boxes, but it’s always worth it.  The thing i love the most about doing the digging is finding cards that i have never seen and were issued at a time when i wasn’t collecting.

03 PP Rickey Henderson

It also reminds me of the endless amounts of teams Rickey played for…I honestly forgot he played for San Diego.

94 FU 01 FF Rickey HendersonI do remember those fun Met years.  This is actually a pretty cool card to.  The technology and card design in the late 90’s and early 2000’s was special wasn’t it?

99 PI Rickey HendersonThe last Rickey card may or may not already be a part of my collection, but it only set me back one nickel…so i couldn’t pass it up.

84 OPC Rickey Henderson

Here are a couple Donny Baseball cards i was able to find.  I LOVED the Stadium Club cards, but was never able to get a Mattingly card.  It’s been a long time coming Mr. Mattingly.

05 DZ 91 SC Don MattinglyAs a side note, this is my 42nd post.  My wife and I got a little date day Saturday afternoon and went to see the new Jackie Robinson movie, 42.  Although there were a few parts that were campy and overly sappy for my liking (it is a family movie after all), I felt the movie was very well done and gave a great description of his role with integrating baseball.  It was a 2 hour movie, so there is only so much you can comment on and everything cannot be addressed, but I would highly recommend it if you have time.  Jackie Robinson Day is tomorrow, so get your 42’s out!

 

My GQ Post

Each year when Gypsy Queen comes out, I get a little excited about the cards…but it’s always tempered.  I think the cards look great and the photography is really nice, but i don’t love them.  Don’t hate them either.  Kind of indifferent I guess.  My annual buy in is maybe a few hobby and retail packs, possibly a blaster or two from target, but that’s about it.  I think my aversion to the cards is the lack of statistical information on the back…or it could be the overly ornate border?  As an architect, i’ve been trained to have a dislike for ornament and decoration so i guess that has carried in to my hobbies as well.  The celtic-like border is nice, just not my cup of tea.

13 GQ Yasmani Grandal AJ Ellis

One thing that i really do like about GQ is the inclusion of age old veterans in the base set.  Topps does a nice job with these and making them blend in nicely with the other modern players.  Rarely do the players appear dated and they are never irrelevant to current collectors.  PLUS, i always think it’s great to include HOF’ers and past great players so the young kids can learn a little history about the game and have a card from someone their parents or grandparents enjoyed watching play.

13 GQ Dwight Gooden Tony Gwynn

I also do enjoy the inserts that GQ comes up with.  The two cards below are  a great example of this.  It’s nice to have the a highlight reel play represented on a card.  We all remember the Trout catch last season as it was shown incessantly on the MLB network as well as the mothership.

13 GQ Mike Trout Jayson Werth Glove Stories

Mini’s.  Can’t go wrong with minis and you can’t go wrong with these two guys.  One thing i enjoy about the mini cards is that i can put them at my desk at the office for a little while to enjoy the new pieces of cardboard.  How great was Eddie Mathews?  When people talk about the all time greats, i feel like he is always forgotten.  Imagine if he played in New York how much more popular he would be?  And just look at Lou Brock…chillin…total GQ pose…the other one.

13 GQ Eddie Matthews Lou Brock Minis

Not overly excited about these inserts, but both pitchers are/were pretty great and the photos capture their intensity well.

13 GQ Nolan Ryan NH Felix Hernandez DA

Here is a ‘hit’ from the rack pack i bought.  It’s Jacoby Ellsbury.  He’s pretty big here in Portland since he played at Oregon State and from Madras…but he’s a Red Sock, so i’m not too excited about him…he is pretty great though.  Love that they mention how great a player he is when he’s healthy.

13 GQ Jacoby Ellsbury Blue Border 45:499

And the best has been saved for the very last.  Mr. Cano donchaknow.  Pretty cool to get the base and a retail white border card in the same rack pack of a player you collect.  Wonder why Topps removed teh vertical portion of the elegant border on the left and right sides as well as the name panel on the bottom?

13 GQ Robinson Cano Base and White Border