Sunday, July 27, 2014

2014 Topps Pro Debut

Even with the minimalist design and the logos that I can't quite always put my finger on,  I like Topps Pro Debut.  Since the first release (in 2009, I want to say and am too lazy to look it up), I liked the idea of hitting prospects early and starting to collect their cards from the minors.  Plus, Debut has never been too expensive.  That's key for a frugal collector.  But, I've snagged some nice stuff out of Pro Debut in the past...a Mike Trout jersey, a Cardinals prospect signed printing plate, patches, etc...

The minor league card concept his hardly a new one.  Teams have been coming out with their own sets of player cards since seemingly the beginning of time.  Yes, in the past they were mostly regional and were hard to get if you never got to that particular ball park.  Then came the internets!  Then came Pro Debut!  The minor league card had gone nation wide!

Anyway, this year's installment of Topps Pro Debut just carries on the tradition of the past.  A clean, white border with solid photos and a tiny team logo in the corner.  That's it.  Simple and nice.  Perfect for having players sign.

The set has 222 base cards and a bunch of SP's a parallels and colors (oh my!).  But, the basic set collector...this is easily do-able.  Of course there are autographs and patches there, too for us 'hit' chasers out there.

A few autographs in the checklist:   Clint Frazier, Kyle Hunter, Nick Ahmed, Trevor're getting the drift here aren't you?  These are the kids.  These are FUTURE players.  One thing most people like is that for a box of Pro Debut to show if it paid off or not is that one must wait.  Not just months, either.  Oftentimes, years.  In our culture of immediacy this sort of thinking and waiting is just intolerable.

But, to me, that's what makes Topps Pro Debut so fucking great...

*Cardboard Connection once again "loaned" me some info.

Oh yeah, I bought two packs.  You know, because research... Anyway, I didn't get shit.  Except for a base Carlos Correa and base Bubba Starling.  Come to think of it...I'm not actually sure what I got.  I'll just have to wait and see!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

2014 Goodwin Champions

While the newest version of Allen & Ginter is completely awesome.  The newest version on Goodwin Champions is just...shit.

The cards themselves are hideous.  Gold (maybe brown-ish) card stock.  The ever present 'hand painted' images are just sort of...blah.  In fact, the whole set just seems kind of lackluster.  It really makes me feel like we may be witnessing the death spiral of the whole GC series.  Upper Deck will have to do something pretty soon in order to revive this dud.

One redeeming quality is the collation of autographs.  Supposedly, there are 3 per box.  This is higher than just about every other product out there.  So, that's a plus.  But, you just might pull an Ickey Woods, Joel Rosario, or a Will McGirt auto.  However, knowing that this is an Upper Deck product the company is likely smart enough (and they ARE on the checklist) to sprinkle in a Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, or Wayne Gretzky auto in here and there.  This alone should keep people buying.  Maybe.

Of course there are subsets galore.  Monsters, WWI cards, blah blah blah.  For my tastes, and I'm sure for the tastes of the readers (both of you!) of this blog...there just ain't enough baseball in there.

So, for that fact alone I give this set a solid D+.

For research purposes, I bought a single pack.  I like Paul Coffey but a base card AND a mini of Paul in the same pack?  Sigh.  I did pull a Theo Fleury Goudey card so that was kind of cool.  But, I did not get ONE baseball player.  What the fuck, UD?

Verdict:  Skip it.  Buy something else and pick up singles of Goodwin Champions as you see fit.

*As always, Cardboard Connection is rad for the info hookup.

RIP Tony!

2014 Allen & Ginter

I know, it's been forever since I have posted about the hobby.  Maybe it's because I am feeling disenchanted with the prices and the products that are hitting the shelves in recent years.  Yes, they look awesome.  But...normal folks can't afford fifty bucks a pack (Five star, Museum, etc...I'm looking at you!).

Then comes the new edition of Allen and Ginter.  Once again, Topps does this one right.  The 2014 set of A&G is absolutely amazing in it's simplicity and class.  As always, it's a high quality product, pleasing to the eye, and not to heavy a hit on the checkbook.  Kudos, Topps!

The set itself looks like a do-able situation for those set collectors out there with a reasonable 350 card base.  Of course there are the inserts, the minis, etc...which are a separate animal on their own.  But, I am one of those rare creatures that just loves the mini cards.  Don't know why.  Maybe it's just because I have an affinity for small things!  Topps has thrown in a 'metal' mini card set too.  I may have to check that subset out.

The autograph selection looks nice, as well.  They've got Biggio, Glavine, Trout, Myers and a whole host of other signers in the series.  The variety of the baseball autos looks solid.  Then there are the non-baseball autos.  Here they've got Anthony Bourdain, Snoop (Dogg) Lion, Kevin Smith and others.  To me, it's a very weird set of non-sport autographs.  Other than a few, I would probably be disappointed if I pulled one.

Topps has also thrown in a booklet card subset, which is a nice touch.  I don't remember if they had these last year (don't think they did).  But, the subjects of the booklets looks REAL strong.  Josh Hamilton, David Wright, Evan Longoria, Tulowitzki, and Darvish are all represented.  These may take some luck to pull or some coin to procure, but may be worth the cost/risk.

Just chock full of subsets and inserts, the 2014 version of Topps' Allen and Ginter will guarantee that with each pack you'll likely be surprised.  Which is a good thing.  Me?  I bought one pack (trying to pay of debt, here) for research purposes.  What'd I get?  Not much.  A McCutchen base mini and a Kershaw base that will likely go out TTM for an auto.

The verdict:  Buy it.  But lots of A&G.  As Snoop Lion would say, "It's the shizzle".

*Once again, much love to the folks at Cardboard Connection for their info and images.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

2014 Bowman Inception

Bowman Inception is a product that I am completely torn about.  On one had, I love the look and feel of the card.  They really are cool looking.  On the other hand, there is one pack per $100 box.  One pack!  Five cards for a hundred bucks.'s got me a little turned around because I avoid those one pack boxes like the plague.  But,'s just cool.

Ok.  So, here's the run-down.  2014 Bowman Inception is pretty friggin' sweek, looks-wise.  Here's a shot of one of the cards:

That's an on-card autograph of soon-to-be-slugger for the lowly Cubs, Kris Bryant.  Anyway, you just had to take a look at the card to get an idea.  Bowman keeps getting better and better with the look of their Inception line.

Each box is around a hundred bucks.  DA Card World had them for $95, I think.  Within each said box is a pack of five (5) cards.  So, around twenty bucks a card.  At least they are all autographed.  Yup, every single one.

So, there is no base set.  There are no SP's and SSP's to chase after.  If you are a set-collector...well, keep fidgeting with your ball sack because Inception ain't the product for you.  Go after regular old Bowman...a set collector's wet-dream.

Here's a copy of the checklist from the folks.  You can see that Bowman Inception for this year is heavy on rookie auto's and minor-league prospects.  This here is a prospector's product.  However, the Autographed LetterBooks sub-set looks pretty friggin' stout with Trout, Harper, B. Hamilton, and Bryant all representin'.

If you have the scratch and wherewithal to shell out a hundred bucks for five autographed cards that may or may not be worth a cent in future years, 2014 Bowman Inception is for you.  However, if you are like me and wish not to piss your money away on a product (that really looks awesome) that may tank in value in coming some other stuff. a wise man told me when looking at box of this stuff at the LCS:

"Dude.  Just wait and buy singles from that shit.  You'll get what you want, at least."

Very sage advice.