Monday, February 28, 2011

2011 Allen & Ginter PREVIEW!

Hey guys, Drew back here! I almost passed out when I saw the first headline on the Beckett Blog just a little while ago, seeing this: "First Look: 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Cards!" I look forward to Allen & Ginter each and every year and while it probably shouldn't exist anymore because each year is so similar to the past year, I still love the product. Take a look at some of the photos Beckett provided, in case you didn't get to see them already:

Here's a look of the base cards. Definitely did not expect this design to show up, as I've never seen it before. I'll have to see more than just one of my favorite player's base cards before I judge, but I think it looks pretty nice.

Here are a few mini inserts, one looking to be of flowers. Yawn.

A cemetary set? That is depressing!

Here's a preview of the new autographed cards for this product, this year they're sporting a dark blue border with red flowers in the corners. Each year the design maybe changes a little in color, but I seem to like it more and more every year. This looks similar but better than 2009 Allen & Ginter's framed cards, so that could be a plus.

Tennis great John McEnroe also got a card this season!

And we'll finish off with this beauty. Woah.

Thoughts? See Ya!

2 Quick Boxes of 1998 Donruss Preferred

Hey guys, Drew back here. I'm about ready to grind out another week with terrible weather, snow everywhere, tons of schoolwork, and the typical everyday boredom that goes hand in hand with being a teenager. The things that keep my hope up for a good week is that 1) March is starting and that's 1 more month closer to the end of school, 2) Baseball is coming, and 3) I have a TON of TTMs out! Anyway, a post I've forgotten to post for a little while, are these 2 "boxes" (or tins, whatever you want to call them) of 1998 Donruss Preferred that my Dad gave me along with the 2011 Topps box a few weeks ago. They have a bunch of these for sale at my LCS, and I was a little interested to see what was in it, considering I've never opened a box from the insane insert era.

Each box has a combination of star players on the front of them, with 12 possible combinations. The 2 I got had Hideo Nomo and Roger Clemens, and Greg Maddux and Mike Piazza on the other. The box promises 5 cards per tin, and a search for "precious metals". Wonder what those could be. Well, let's see what the 2 boxes (combined) revealed:

- Ruben Rivera (shown running the bases on the back, hahahaha)
- Jimmy Key (former Yankee!)
- Jay Buhner
- Tony Womack (former Yankee- cool)
- Lance Johnson
- Fred McGriff
- Mark Grace (Mezzanine Parallel)

The first seven cards are the standard base cards, minus the Mark Grace which is probably a parallel to the base of some sort. They have an interesting design, mostly made up with foil, like any other late 90's product. All 7 are for trade if you want them.

Preferred Power Inserts:
- Andy Pettitte
- Ivan Rodriguez
- Scott Rolen

These are pretty nice, very Finest-esque, and I like them over the rest of the cards. They aren't numbered, but they seem to be the main inserts. I definitely am a fan of the Pettitte card, and I'm keeping that one, but the others are for trade.

What do you think of the product? I give it a C, because it's just ok, and another one of those boring 90's products that don't provide the flair needed to be remembered. Thanks Dad for buying the boxes though!

See Ya!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Duke of Flatbush Has Passed Away...

Hey everyone, Drew back here. Today is another one of those sad days in baseball, as a legendary center fielder has passed away today. Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Famer Duke Snider passed away today at the age of 84, after battling some health problems over the past couple years.

Duke began his career in 1947 after being scouted by one of Branch Rickey's scouts in the early 1940's. He joined Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays to become perhaps the best trio of center fielders you could ever imagine. There was even a song having to do with that, called "Willie, Mickey, and the Duke" by Terry Cashman.

Duke played 18 total seasons, 16 for the Dodgers, and 1 season with the Mets and Giants. He hit 40 or more home runs for 5 straight seasons, which is a pretty incredible streak long before the steroid era. While he may have not had the speed of Willie Mays and the popularity of the Mick, Duke was a phenomenal player and one of the greatest outfielders to ever live. With 2,116 hits, 407 home runs, and a life time batting average of .295, he may be considered one of the most underrated players in the Hall of Fame.

I was fortunate enough to get quite a nice little stack of nice Snider cards before his death. I first sent a TTM out to him and got my 2 cards back signed. Next, Dad gave me a certified Nabisco autograph for Christmas of his, and I recently picked up the 1961 Topps card shown above at a card shop for only $5. I definitely will be looking for more of his stuff in the future, to pay tribute to the wonderful life and career of the Silver Fox.

R.I.P. Mr. Snider, you will truly be missed...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

TTM's 48-51! A Record Spring Training Day!

Hey guys, Drew back here. Yesterday I received one of the most unforgettable overall maildays of my card collecting life, with a record 4 TTM returns in one day! All 4 came from either Florida or Arizona, and you know what that means, Spring Training returns! Well I might as well get started with the 1st one I opened:

The first success was from now Toronto Blue Jays closer Jon Rauch! Rauch has pitched 8 seasons in the big leagues, mostly as a reliever, and got his biggest MLB opportunity last season after filling in for the injured Joe Nathan. He is also the tallest player in baseball history, at 6 foot 11 inches tall. Rauch signed 2 cards for me, the first being on a custom card, and the second on a 2010 Topps Update card. The first card is not as pink as it looks, and outside a little minor damage on the corners, it looks great, and while the 2010 Topps is a little bubbled up, it still looks nice. He also inscribed his number 60 on both cards!

The second success from yesterday was of Reds outfielder Drew Stubbs! Stubbs is heading into his second full season in the big leagues after a pretty solid rookie campaign, hitting .255 with 22 home runs and 77 RBI's. They say the best is yet to come from him, which could mean a big 2011 is awaiting him. His greatest moment in the majors so far was his 3 home run game on the 4th of July. How about that for some fireworks! Stubbs signed both a custom and a 2010 Topps 206 card for me, and they both came out outstanding. He has a very nice signature, and I'm very happy with this quick 9 day return.

The third return was from former 1979 MVP Don Baylor! Baylor took the job as the Arizona Diamondbacks hitting coach this season, and due to his successful resume as a through the mail signer, I decided to try him out! He played 19 seasons in the majors, for the Orioles, Athletics, Angels, Yankees, Red Sox, and Twins. He made one All Star team in 1979, his best season, when he hit .296 with a career best 36 home runs and 139 RBI! He had a solid overall career, with a career batting average of .260, with 2,135 hits, 338 homers and 1,276 RBI. He signed 3 cards for me: a 1978 Topps, 1993 Ted Williams, and a "Yankees Greats" custom card. He has a very funky looking signature, and all 3 of these look different from each other. The second card is a little smudged but it still looks nice. The best one was definitely the custom though, and I'm really happy with that! Baylor signed these in 16 days, so it was a fairly quick ST return.

In my opinion, this was the best success of the bunch, Seattle Mariners top prospect Dustin Ackley! Ackley was drafted 2nd overall in the 2009 MLB Draft after Stephen Strasburg, and after recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2008, he came back strong. He was assigned to play in the Arizona Fall League in 2009, and he played so well that he won the MVP for the league! Many people have very high hopes on this kid, and I personally can't wait to see him come up to the big leagues. He personalized the "Stars of Tomorrow" Custom "To Drew", and the card looks really sweet in person! The success took a very short 9 days, and I couldn't be more pleased.

So, now I have gotten 5 successes back out of the 30 I sent to Spring Training, a solid 16% success rate. This hopefully will go up to at least 30-40%, which would definitely make me happy! Any more than that would be considered an incredible Spring Training for me!

Well, there you have it, 4 successes in a day was definitely a pleasant surprise for me after a long boring day of school. What is your record for most successes in a day? And what do you think of my recent successes?

See Ya!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cards from the Blogosphere!

Hey guys, Drew back here. It's getting to that point that occurs once every week or two here at drewscards, and that would be mail day catch up time! I got 3 packages in since the last catchup, and all 3 were very helpful for me and awesome exchanges. First however, we start with the 2009 Blogger of the Year's package to me, Mr. Night Owl Cards.

Night Owl and I traded the basic team/set needs for team/set needs, and we both came out winners. First, he sent me 13 Topps Update cards for my set that slowly is being built, and those were really appreciated.

What a funky pose on that Valverde!

He also threw in a 2010 Bowman Platinum Lance Berkman, and a 2010 Bowman Throwback of A.J. Burnett. I needed them both and they're both very nice cards!

Lastly, 2 AWESOME refractors of Derek Jeter and CC Sabathia from 2010 Topps Chrome. I have a few variations of Jeter's Chrome cards this year, but this may be my favorite yet. Throughout all these years, x-fractors haven't gotten old to me yet. The orange refractor of CC (which scans like it's red) is also sweet. Chrome sets hadn't used a lot of orange yet, so it was nice to see a fresh color change. Both are un-numbered, but are sweet cards to add to the Yankees collection!

Thanks a lot Night Owl! Now onto the next package, this one coming all the way from Felix in Canada! Felix just started to buy boxes and get into the hobby, so he checked my wantlists and asked if I'd be interested in some cards off the list. Of course!

Starting off the bunch were 4 very nice cards of Pettitte, Sabathia, Rivera, and Cano. Looking back on 2010 Allen & Ginter now makes me feel that it was weaker than past versions of the product but still had some really nice cards, especially those two on the bottom row.

Felix sent me some 21 cards I needed for the Topps Update set, another huge help. As you may have noticed with the Wainwright card being in both trades, the set wantlists got a little mixed and I got maybe 2 or 3 doubles from these 2 trades, but that is absolutely no problem with me! I really like the Arencibia rookie card, that kid's gonna be good.

Thanks so much Felix and good luck with your collecting future! And, lastly, what would one of these posts be without a guest appearance by William of foul bunt. The most recent box he sent me included some stuff I need to help him out with and some CD's, but the best things were these 2 items:

First, a commemorative puck from the 2011 NHL All Star Game! William went down to some of the NHL All Star events this year and got me this as a souvenir, which was truly awesome. This isn't just a puck however, it is also signed by one of the All Stars on the team! He's not too sure who the player is that faintly signed the puck, and the signature doesn't help much because the only part I can see is his number inscription. Our assumption is that the autograph is of Edmonton Oilers left wing Taylor Hall, but we're not really sure. I don't know much at all about hockey, but this is my 1st puck, so it's pretty cool!

The final card in this post is this 2006 Upper Deck Rookie Debut autograph of Jets 2 time pro bowl offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson! He picked this card up for me at his former card shop just before it closed down, and boy I'm happy he did. Da Brick has a sweet signature, and is one of the best Jets on the team, so I'm very happy to own this card!

Thanks so much William! You're such a great friend, and I'll just add these to the never ending pile of awesome things you've given me over the years!

Well that'll just about do it for this edition of "Cards from the Blogosphere"! Thank you so much to the 3 of you that made this post possible! I couldn't have done it without you. I'm your host Drew, and I'll See Ya!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Let's Play Juice, Fluke, or Truth! Nice Pickup!

Hey guys, Drew back here. I've got a new game for all of you, I don't know how often we'll play, but the idea started when I recently bought a nice new card on eBay. First, I'll let you check out the card:

From 2010 Bowman Platinum, a Jose Bautista auto relic card! For about maybe $8 shipped, I felt like it was almost necessary for me to pick it up. It looks much better in person, with a lot of shine and rainbow. Numbered to only 740, this isn't the most rare card I've seen by any means, but after his monster season last year, why wouldn't I even bother to question my purchase?

Jose Bautista's 2010: .260 Batting Average, 54 Home Runs, 124 RBI
Jose Bautista's Previous Career Stats: 59 Home Runs, 211 RBI in 6 Seasons!

Obviously he had a monster year, but unfortunately in today's age of baseball, we need to question: Juice, Fluke, or Truth? So I ask you, what do you think? To clear things up for all of you that don't understand, juice refers to using steroids during his big year, fluke means that he's a one year wonder, and truth means he's here to stay. Vote in the poll below and feel free to leave comments as to why you feel that way.

In my opinion, its hard to tell. Adjustments can go a long way, and if I had to choose, I think he's just a fluke. I'm not sure how I'll fare with that answer as the year goes on, but I hope I'm right or else the Yankees are gonna have to be prepared to get beaten badly by him. I like him for now, because he led me to the fantasy baseball championship! And the card isn't for trade

Well, what do you think? See Ya!

Monday, February 21, 2011

2011 Topps Hobby Box Break Review!

2011 Topps Series 1 Baseball Hobby Box - Click Image to Close

Hey guys, Drew back here! So about a week ago, Dad bought me a box of 2011 Topps to break, and I got really excited! A week previous to that, we went to the card shop to see if any Topps was in, but the snow had delayed it. Nothing could top a fresh box though! Well, I know this is gonna be a long post, so let's get it started with the product information:

36 Packs Per Box
10 Cards Per Pack
360 Cards Per Box
1 ToppsTown Insert Per Pack
12 60 Years of Topps Inserts Per Box
6 Diamond Giveaway Redemptions Per Box
9 Diamond Anniversary Parallels Per Box
9 Kimball Champions Mini Inserts Per Box
9 Diamond Duos Inserts Per Box
9 Topps 60 Inserts Per Box
4 Reproduction Inserts Per Box
3 60 Years of Topps "The Lost Cards" Per Box
2 History of Topps Inserts Per Box
Look for Gold Parallels /2011 As Well
1 Autograph or Relic Card Per Box

Topps continues to have an addiction to plenty of inserts, especially to recycle the wonderful past designs of Topps history. That was supposed to be sarcastic. More on that later. Also, for the first time in a few years, we didn't have Turkey Red, which may have been a good idea to rest it a little. We've got a lot to break, so let's rip!


Base Set: 251/330 (76%)

The base cards this year are ridiculously nice! A lot of bright action photos, many unique from one another, prove that Topps has obviously stepped their game up over the last 3 years or so. I love the Swisher card, probably my favorite of any of the cards I pulled, and only a little because of my bias towards him. I also really like the Brian Wilson base, mainly due to his amazing beard and intimidation he brought to the hitters in the postseason last year.

Gold Parallels: 5/330 (1.5%)

- Edgar Renteria
- Andre Ethier
- R.A. Dickey
- Ike Davis
- Andrew Cashner

A staple of Topps' flagship brands throughout the years, the gold parallels are always pretty cool. This time I pulled a few Mets, iww. I think these cards are more rare this year than they have been in the past, so they may be trying to increase the value of them.

Diamond Anniversary Parallels: 9/330 (2.7%)

- Mark Ellis
- Jonathan Papelbon
- Ryan Raburn
- Jorge Cantu
- Brian Matusz
- Mike Napoli
- Mark Buehrle
- Wade LeBlanc
- Rafael Soriano

These cards have created some of the biggest buzz of all of the cards released in this product, and there's good reason why. These are really cool looking, and while an occasional blogger hates on them, I feel that they are the nicest cards in the product. I didn't pull the strongest group of players, but I didn't mind Mark Buehrle and Rafael Soriano.

Black Parallel: 1 (Andrew Bailey)

Oh man, that's nice. Not too bad of a pull, numbered 11/60 of one of my favorite closers in baseball. The card is off center but I love the black border concept, so this probably will be a keeper for me.

ToppsTown: 36/50 (72%)

Topps, I know you really want to get kids involved in this, but coming from a kid (me), this insert set sucks. It's improved this year, I will say, but the concept, design, and boringness (if that's a word) is extremely stupid. I will beg and beg that these are gone next year.

60 Years of Topps: 12/59 (20%)

- Roy Campanella
- Frank Robinson
- Reggie Jackson
- Mike Schmidt
- Robin Yount
- Dennis Eckersley
- Greg Maddux
- Barry Larkin
- Mariano Rivera
- Alex Rodriguez
- Vladimir Guerrero
- Troy Tulowitzki

Ok, so what exactly are we supposed to do with these? Can't we just, you know, GET THESE CARDS? Instead of having to get some stupid "insert", either take this garbage out or put some buybacks in! I do like the Campanella one though.

60 Years of Topps Original Back: 1 (Frank Robinson/Brooks Robinson)

The actual card is nice, but the reprint. Yawwwwwnnnnnn.

60 Years of Topps "The Lost Cards": 3/10 (30%)

- Bob Feller
- Stan Musial
- Duke Snider

The difference between this set and the set I just showed is that these cards never existed. Topps maybe didn't have a contract with the players at the time or the set got cut off or due to some certain circumstances, these players didn't have cards in the sets they are shown in. The 3 I got I'm definitely keeping, I have autos of Feller and Snider and boy I wish I had Musial. I love the looks of the Feller card, I bet that would be a famous card if it existed.

Reproduction Set: 4/30 (13%)

- Babe Ruth (BOS)
- Babe Ruth (NYY)
- Honus Wagner
- Johnny Mize/Enos Slaughter

Apparently since Topps is the "Exclusive Trading Card of Major League Baseball", they won't have to worry about getting sued by other companies. Here they use a couple of the oddball sets from before their time, to show off some of the cooler vintage pre-1952 Topps. 1916 Sporting News was Babe Ruth's official rookie card, and it's extremely valuable due to how rare it is. We also see 1921 National Caramel, 1910 Tip Top Bread, and 1941 Double Play of these 4 cards. Interesting concept, but still, not really needed.

Kimball Champions Minis: 9/50 (18%)

- Ryan Braun
- Ty Cobb
- Roy Halladay
- Mike Stanton
- Joey Votto
- Jon Lester
- Stephen Strasburg
- Hunter Pence
- David Ortiz

Now here is a cool insert set. I'm pretty sick of retro designs outside of Allen & Ginter, but these are a hit in my mind. These are modeled after the 1888 N184 Kimball Champions cards, and boy did Topps do a great job bringing these cards back to life. If I'm going to want to complete any insert set from this series, this would be the one. The backs are really pointless though, and they only show the checklist and card #. I'll probably be sick of these by the end of the year because we all know how great of a job Topps does at making us throw up by the sights of a legendary product gone haywire.

Diamond Duos: 9/30 (30%)

- Ryan Howard/Jason Heyward
- Evan Longoria/Ryan Zimmerman
- Tom Seaver/Aroldis Chapman
- Jason Heyward/Freddie Freeman
- Ian Kinsler/Elvis Andrus
- Hanley Ramirez/Mike Stanton
- Carlos Gonzalez/Troy Tulowitzki
- Tommy Hanson/Mike Minor
- Joe Mauer/Buster Posey

Our wonderful insert overkill continues with a set that looks EXACTLY like a pointless set from last year, but even worse! I liked the Legendary Lineage series from last year but it got worse as it went on, especially in the stat comparison they give for these combinations. Ryan Howard: 253 HR, 748 RBI, .279 average, Jason Heyward: 18 HR, 72 RBI, .277 average. What kind of comparison is that? Really Topps? Tom Seaver: 311 Wins, 3640 Strikeouts, 2.86 ERA, Aroldis Chapman: 2 Wins, 19 Strikeouts, 2.03 ERA. Wow...

Topps 60: 9/50 (18%)

- Mickey Mantle
- Ian Kinsler
- Alex Rodriguez
- Carl Crawford
- Keith Hernandez
- Josh Johnson
- Adam Dunn
- Shin-Soo Choo
- Hanley Ramirez

Alright, these don't look too bad. Not needed, but better than half of the other inserts we have here. I think a good idea would be to cut down the amount of inserts per insert set, because when they bring these sets through 3 products as a continuation, 150 cards is a RIDICULOUS amount of cards for an insert set. I like the Mantle and A-Rod but could really care less about the rest of them.

History of Topps: 2/10 (20%)

By far the WORST insert set I've ever seen. I NEED these out of my house.

Diamond Giveaway Code Cards: 6

The concept of this is simple. Million Card Giveaway + Other Prizes= Diamond Giveaway. The cards you unlock with these could be 1/1 base parallels that you can order to receive in person. After you get your card, you get to dig up certain parts of a baseball field, and the parts typically give you a virtual ring, but you have chances to win more.

Of the cards, this 1967 Ron Herbel was the only card worth noting. But I did pull a sweet prize in the Diamond Dig...


Yeah, its a bad photo, but I dug up the 2011 Topps factory set! That means, for the cost of shipping, when this set comes out, I can get it for pretty much nothing! Wooooot! I may still build the set though, because, what else will I build for those months? I'm really pumped about winning this though.

Topps 60 Relics: 1 (Manny Ramirez)

Manny is almost never a bad pull. Having played a lot of his career with the Red Sox and now joining the Rays, I have no clue why I still don't really hate him. I guess I've always liked his personality, and while he certainly doesn't look like he's exerting a lot of effort in games, he has fun and plays the game the right way- outside of steroids of course. This isn't the worst pull, but the value of this compared to the box retail value is just not there. This is for trade of an equal Yankee relic from the new product, but may be negotiable for something else.

Overall Thoughts: I'm a big fan of the new base design this year, but after that, there's not a whole lot more that I'm excited about. The Diamond Parallels and Diamond Giveaways are fun though, and I hope to win some more cool prizes in the future. I think the vintage reprints and stuff really need to be cut down on before they wreck the love we have for some of the greatest cards ever produced. I wouldn't be saying that if they hadn't done it also for the "59th Anniversary of Topps". Also, the duo cards should go, because if you include them as a set based off another design, out of what I pulled, there were 6 insert sets on old designs or concepts. That is sad. Be creative Topps! Even though there's no competition between companies, there's competition between good and bad in collector's minds, and if it's good, you make money, if it's bad, you make less money. Make it good. Grade: B-

Do you agree with me? And what did you think of the box? See Ya!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

TTM #'s 45-47! Two Goods and an Unfortunate Ugly

Hey guys, Drew back here! Over the past few days, TTMs have been starting to roll into the mailbox, and it hopefully is the start of awesome things to come! Unfortunately, the first one was a great auto but a bad environment surrounding it. Take a look:

So, first of all, it's an awesome looking Jim Bunning autograph on a Hall of Fame custom! The 9 time All Star and Phillies great took his time to sign the card for me in only a couple of days, which was very cool. Sadly, the mail wrecked up the card and if you can tell, there seems to be roller marks or something odd right above the auto as well as a little below the auto and on the sides. I love this auto, but I'm really disappointed about the card. I'm planning on writing Bunning another letter, explaining what happened and hoping I can get a nice clean auto this time around. Wish me luck on that one.

While Bunning was the best player out of this trio, these successes may have been a little nicer due to better condition of the cards.

Next we have a nice success from former Pirates center fielder Bill Virdon! Virdon was the last of 4 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates World Series Champs that I recently sent to that I got a success from, and while it took 18 days, a little longer than the rest of them, it was still a very fast success. In 12 seasons in baseball, Bill recorded 1596 hits, in 1583 games, with a career batting average of .267. As you see on his awesome index card inscription, he was the National League rookie of the year in 1955, after batting .281 with 17 home runs, 68 RBI, and 150 hits with the Cardinals.

After his playing career, Bill managed for the Pirates, Yankees, Astros, and Expos, for a total of 14 seasons, and a winning percentage of .519 (995-921). So, a pretty sweet success from a baseball great, with 2 great autographs.

Moving right along to our final success, I actually received my 1st 2011 Spring Training TTM back already! After being in camp for less than a week, this guy already received, signed, and sent back my 2 cards I sent him.

Washington Nationals closer Drew Storen signed my cards for me, and while his autograph is wild, I think it's pretty cool looking myself. At a young age of 23, Storen took on the relief role for the Nats last year, and was a very underrated rookie due to well, you know, that Strasburg guy. He went 4-4 with a 3.58 ERA, and saved 5 games for them. From what it looks like, Drew will be the closer for them this upcoming season, and I wish him the best of luck! He took 9 days to sign these cards for me and gets the special honors of being my first of hopefully many many more Spring Training TTM successes!

What do you guys think of the new autos? See Ya!