Monday, November 16, 2009

1996 Bowman's Best

You gotta love a 180 card set from 1996 that's called "Best" and only contains TWO Tigers cards....

The 1996 Bowman's Best Detroit Tigers:
5 Cecil Fielder
69 Travis Fryman

...and Cecil was negligible by 1996......

1996 Bowman

I think there are a couple of new readers around here since I blogged about the last Bowman set so I'll reiterate what it is that I love about Bowman sets. I love looking back at the ineptitude of the Tigers' organization to draft and develop talent. I love getting to a Bowman set in the binder just to count the Tigers that I have no recollection of whatsoever and this year's set is no different. I was living in Memphis in the pre-internet days, and the Bowman set was often how I found about who the Tigers prospects were. In almost all cases, it was never good.....

The 1996 Bowman Detroit Tigers:
100 Cecil Fielder
106 Travis Fryman
138 Luis Garcia
162 Greg Whiteman
164 Tony Clark
182 Cameron Smith
214 Justin Thompson
247 Mike Darr
268 Juan Encarnacion
276 Greg Keagle
352 Raul Casanova
358 Richard Almanzar

Add Garcia, Whiteman, Smith, and Almanzar to the list of Tigers prospects I have no memory of. The only reason I remember Darr is that he was killed years later in a car wreck after being traded to the Padres.

There was a lame parallel set that replaced the cool 1968ish Topps patterned background with a solid silver metallic one. (That's the Garcia card, which doesn't scan well obviously.)

And So On And So Forth.....

I totally blame Meijer for this. I really do.

Since I've all but finished putting together a Topps Series 2 set, I went back to see what else I could maybe work on. (Despite my claims that I would never again buy a pack of Topps cards. Yes, I am a liar and a hypocrite.)

The natural continuation would be to go ahead and build the 2008 Updates & Highlights set, since one, Meijer has plenty of blasters of these, and two, Topps didn't bother to offer this one as a factory set that I could pick up after spending over $100 trying to complete it (see Topps, 2007...)

So a building I a went!

It didn't help matters any that Meijer has these heavily discounted too. Well, actually it did help matters. These blasters were $19.99 marked down to $11.99. On top of that Meijer is currently discounting all cards 25%, so these are only $8.99. That's not horrible for a box that has 80+ cards and one jersey or bat card per box.

I picked up four blasters of the Updates & Highlights and one of the combo Heritage Update with Updates & Highlights blasters too. The collation of these is even worse than Series 2. Out of the five blasters, I got a total of 305 base cards. Out of that, I got 173 different cards in addition to 132 doubles. Damn near half the cards were doubles, and I'm still only about halfway to completing the set.

Enough bagging on Topps for now though. I think I've complained enough so that I'm starting to sound like a broken record. The funny thing is that there are some great things going on with this series.

I collect a set each year almost as a scrapbook or sorts of that season. Therefore, I dig the subsets a lot, and there are no shortage of them in this series. I really like the All-Star and Highlights cards. I could live without the Home Run Derby cards, as I'm not a fan of the contest itself, but all in all I think this is the best series of the three. And as much as I hate insert cards, I love the WBC insert cards. I like the Year In Review Cards, but would have preferred that they be base cards. What better time to release a 180 card subset than in the final series of the year? The Ring Of Honor cards are ok even if the player selection is not. (Jesse Orosco? Dave Justice? David Cone? Mike Lowell? Thank god I got a Bruce Sutter...)

The political cards are even worse this time around, as there is a First Couples card showing a pic of each President and the First Lady. I would really rail on these, but then I pulled a Tricky Dick card and his smiling face made me laugh so hard that it was impossible to be too upset about these.

It's time for me to go back to blogging about old Tigers team sets for awhile. Which is infinitely more fun than ragging on Topps.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reaffirmation Of Why I Fucking Hate Topps, Part 3

6 more rack packs purchased today x 36 cards = 216 cards - 6 insert cards = 210 base cards.

For those of you following at home, that is now 26 rack packs and a total of 910 base cards.

To build a 330 card set.

26 rack packs that originally had a $4.99 sticker price. ($129.74 in 2008)

26 rack packs that I've only paid $2.39 per pack ($62.14 in 2009)

26 rack packs to finally finish my Series 2 set. Priceless.


Cards I need to finish my 2008 Topps Series 2 set:
472 Shawn Marcum
507 Mark DeRosa
543 Carlos Lee

Unbelievable. I really don't know what else to say. This is 2007 all over again, and I haven't even started on Series 3 yet. I now could've bought the entire factory set for what I've spent trying to build a Series 2 set. That's what I've spent in 2009 too, not what I would've had to spend last year. For that kind of money I could've bought TWO factory sets.

Gee Topps, I wonder why you keep losing customers year after year? Perhaps 50 years of fucking over good paying customers has finally caught up to you. As it should.

If anybody has these three cards and they would like to trade me for the 583 doubles I have, please drop me a line. Before I go and buy more packs.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Reaffirmation Of Why I Fucking Hate Topps, Part 2

20 packs opened total x 36 cards per pack = 720 cards - 20 insert cards = 700 base cards.

There are 330 cards in Series 2.

Cards I need to complete Series 2:
331 Dave Roberts
350 Mark Teixeira
354 Edwin Jackson
360 David Ortiz
375 Fausto Carmona
395 Lance Berkman
407 Johnny Damon
411 Jason Kubel
418 Dioner Navarro
421 Brandon Backe
431 Delwyn Young
436 Joe Blanton
472 Shawn Marcum
473 Joe Maddon
487 Corey Patterson
489 Joakim Soria
507 Mark DeRosa
537 Scott Moore
543 Carlos Lee
558 John Russell
569 Brad Hennessey
593 Randy Wells
594 Mike Morse
604 Wily Mo Peña
607 Ryan Spilborghs
611 Garret Anderson
618 Pat Neshek
621 Denard Span
623 Trey Hillman
636 Rafael Betancourt
638 Juan Pierre

330 cards in Series 2 - 31 cards I'm missing = 299 cards total I have.

700 cards total I bought - 299 cards I have = 401 doubles.

I have 6 cards of Chris Capuano, plus 5 cards of at least another dozen players.

$50 spent on these cards, and I'm still missing 31 to complete the set.

Fuck you Topps, FUCK YOU!

Sadly, I'll shell out another $20 or so tomorrow to buy the last 6-7 packs that Meijer has left. If that doesn't complete the set, then I'll start buying blasters.

And then I'll never buy another pack of Topps cards again. EVER.

I'll wait until the end of summer and buy that fucking factory set.

Thanks Topps. I've been building your sets since 1978. But now that's over with. I'm done trying. Once upon a time, it was a fun night in the RobbyT household to buy a bunch of Topps packs/boxes to sort and put together a set. That time has past.

Thanks for the memories, fuckers......

Reaffirmation Of Why I Fucking Hate Topps, Part 1

Ok, so my long (14 months) self-imposed pack buying boycott came to a crashing halt Saturday afternoon. I totally blame Meijer for pricing these so low that I just couldn't say no. But I did, and I'm still just as mad as I was 14 months ago. This looks like a great place for me to bitch awhile as well as pontificate about the state of the hobby in general.

The packs that got me were the 2008 Topps Series 2 baseball. I already had a set of Series 1 that I put together by buying somebody else's leftovers but I never got around to picking up a Series 2 set. I was hoping to wait a couple of years and just find a good deal on one of those Tiger versions of the factory sets. But these cards were too discounted for me to pass up.

These were the jumbo packs of 36 cards that were priced at $4.99 when they came out. Meijer had them marked down to $2.99, with an additional sale of 20% off all cards, bringing the final total down to $2.39 a pack. I shuffled my feet for awhile, looked down at the ground, and then held my breath as I picked up 10 packs and checked out at the register.

Perhaps ready to give Topps a second chance, I eagerly opened the packs when I got home. Some good, some bad, but mostly the feeling I had afterwards that I was wasting my time and money trying to collect a fucking Topps base set.

The good and the bad are sort of related. I absolutely hate insert cards. That's because so many of them are piss poor I don't get who the hell would be interested in them. The Topps Stars are among the worst inserts ever. (Even though I did get one of .26...) The Year In Review cards are a cool concept, but a 180 card insert set spread across three series? Really?

The one that chaps my ass most of all is the card of FDR and Herbert Hoover. Where did this marriage come from? I didn't read FDR's biography hoping there were five pages about Hank Greenberg in there somewhere! Not only do I not give a rat's ass about political cards, but these are printed on cheaper stock then the unnumbered checklists. Seriously, the Toppstown game cards that come in every pack are nicer than these.

Ok, I'm done with that rant. Now for the good. I like these jumbo packs because you only get one insert per pack. In a pack that only has 6 cards that makes it virtually impossible to build a set. But in a pack that has 36 cards, that's a ratio I can take of having to write off a card that's not part of the set.

That left 350 cards to try and build a 330 card set. Not since mid 80's Fleer could you pull something like that off, so I was prepared that I wasn't going to get the whole set. But how many different cards did I get?

Two hundred and twenty one. That's right I got almost exactly two-thirds of the set. That's ridiculous. Knowing just enough about probability as I do, that means I would likely have to buy another 10 packs to have a realistic shot of finishing this set. And that's where I really get juiced.

Yeah, I only paid $23.99 for these 10 packs. With tax it was a hair over $25. Which means that I'm going to have to shell out another $25 to try and complete this set. That's $50 for one fucking series of Topps if I'm lucky. That's outrageous, and that's not as bad as it could be. These were originally $5 packs of cards. Last year you would have had to shell out $100 to try and complete this series. HEY TOPPS, NO WONDER YOU ARE LOSING LONGTIME CUSTOMERS LEFT AND RIGHT!!!

Well, I'm almost finished with my second beer and now I'm done ranting. Yes, my sucker ass went and bought 10 more packs today that I need to open, so I'll have more to bitch about later. (And while I'm scanning a few cards, I opened the first card and got a card of Abe Lincoln. If anybody has some Tigers inserts they'd be willing to trade for these crappy political cards, like Abe Lincoln, I'm all ears. Get it? All ears? I'm done.)