Monday, October 17, 2011

Moving to Facebook

After much deliberation, I'm taking this over to Facebook. You can search for it under Detroit Tigers Cards and Stuff. I started a page over there tonight and got more "likes" in 3 hours than I've had responses here in the last year.

I've run out of ways to bag on the sorry state of the hobby. At least over there I've got 40-50 friends who are Tigers fans who I know will contribute to the discussion about Tigers stuff. Hopefully there will be more interaction, which is what I always wanted for with this blog. I get tired of reading my own stuff. Besides, I never learned anything about the new releases until others chimed in.

Fear not, I'll continue to flex my acerbic wit on Facebook. C'mon over and join in.....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

2011 Topps Lineage Part 2

I'm a goddamned idiot.

I've bought 6 blasters, 14 rack packs, and 8 regular packs of Topps Lineage. I've amassed over 600 cards, counting inserts. I've spent almost $250 so far.

I'm still missing cards of Francisco Liriano and Victor Martinez from the base set. FROM THE FUCKING BASE SET!!!

This is EXACTLY why I quit trying to put fucking Topps set together.

The love I first had for this set is long gone.

I'm NEVER buying a fucking pack of Topps cards again.

At least not until 2012 Heritage.....

PS: All is not lost though. I pulled this sexy little mofo from a blaster box today.....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

2011 Topps Lineage, Topps Stickers, & The National

After successfully staying away from buying any packs of Topps cards since I finished the 2011 Heritage base set, I succumbed to my weakness once again. Fucking Topps. In my defense though they've actually released something interesting enough to warrant it.

Topps Lineage is one of the cooler sets I've seen in some time. It's a tad bit pricy ($3 for a pack of 8 cards, $5 for a rack pack of 14 cards, and $20 for a blaster box of 56 cards and a relic card), but luckily it's a small set with no short prints, so it's reasonably affordable.

The base design isn't anything special, but it's not bad either. It looks like something that would normally be used for a regular Topps set.

I really like the mix of Hall Of Famers, current stars, and prospects. It seems like a quarter of the set consists of about five teams, but overall it's a decent mix. The Tiger checklist is modest for a 200 card set.

43 Victor Martinez
105 Ty Cobb
143 Miguel Cabrera
156 Austin Jackson
187 Justin Verlander

The big draw here of course are the '75 Mini inserts. This is a fantastic tribute to an iconic set. It's a little bloated for an insert set (200 cards, same checklist as the base set) but otherwise it's a great throwback. Hell, most of the ones I've picked up are even off-center, just like the originals.....

The cloth stickers and Venezuelan cards are disappointing. I assumed the cloth stickers would have the 1977 design and the Venezuelan cards would have one of the 60's designs. Instead both have the same design as the base cards. It's not terrible with the cloth stickers, but the Venezuelan cards are completely indistinguishable from the base cards on the front. The only difference is on the back, where the copy is in Spanish and the numbering is slightly different. Yawn.

I'm ambivalent towards the 3D and Pop Up cards. It's odd that the 3D cards have all the elements of '69 Topps, yet are rearranged around the card. I'd like them a lot better if they'd used one of the Kellogg's designs or even the design of the 3D cards from the mid-90's.

Continuing with the throwback theme, Topps has thrown their hat back in the sticker ring again, more or less rebooting the line from where they started in 1981. It's a very nice, simple, clean design (with the names on the front now! No more having to turn the stickers over to tell the difference between Kiko Garcia and Lenn Sakata!!) The set is very basic: 9 players from each team, a 9 player HOF Foil subset, and foil logo stickers. If you were a fan of stickers in the 80's (as I was) then you'll be a fan of these. A pack of 8 is $1, so this should be a fairly inexpensive set to assemble.

64 Alex Avila
65 Austin Jackson
66 Magglio Ordonez
67 Brandon Inge
68 Jhonny Peralta
69 Brennan Boesch
70 Miguel Cabrera
71 Victor Martinez
72 Justin Verlander
298 Tigers Foil Logo

Of course there's a sticker book that can be purchased too. As an avid collector of stickers though, it would be nice if Ultra-Pro or somebody would come out with sheets for the stickers. They are just a bit too wide to put in the tobacco sheets. (Hey Ultra-Pro! If you're reading this, how 'bout making some pages for the 75 Topps Minis and 80's League Leader Minis while you're at it???)

Finally, the National was here in Chicago a few weeks ago. No, not the awesome band, but the National Sports Collectors Convention. It was quite possibly the most disappointing card show I've ever been to. I'd guess that close to half the dealers there were peddling graded cards from the 50's, 60's, & 70's. Probably another quarter were selling high-end memorbilia such as jerseys, helmets, bats, framed/autographed posters, etc. Most of the rest were either grading services, auction services, or tables piled sky high with overpriced recent unopened boxes. I found a whopping three tables that were selling 2011 baseball singles (and a couple of those folks thought they were selling 1952 baseball singles, but I digress.....)

As someone who almost exclusively collects Tigers cards, there was very little there to justify the $20 entrance fee 9without a single promo/giveaway this year) or the four hours spent walking around only to leave with a handful of Tigers cards and a bunch of $3 boxes of 80's Topps Stickers. The weekly Sunday card show in my neighborhood has more to offer me and the admission is usually free. If you're into big ticket collectibles, then the National is the place for you. Unfortunately, it's no longer the place for me. Which means, of course, that the next time it's in town I'll be back.....

All was not a wash at the National though. I added these two gems to my collection:

One last note. I've got relic cards of the Lineage '75 Minis of Andrew McCutchen (bat), Aramis Ramirez (gray jersey), and B. J.Upton (gray jersey), as well as an on card auto of Fausto Carmona (2008 Topps replica) if anybody might be interested in trading me a similar Tiger counterpart.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ramble On: Confessions Of A Sunday Afternoon Beer Drinker

In no particular order.....

1. I'm not usually a fan of the tobacco era type cards that Topps trots out each year, but I dig the Gypsy Queen issue. The parallel Kaline card with Tiger Stadium in the background may be my favorite 2011 card.

2A. Pro Debut is out. What a set for suckers. I saw these going for $65 a box at a card show today. I have been to two card shows in the last two days and a grand total of one dealer was selling singles. A couple of dealers I talked to who sell singles of new stuff said they aren't fooling with it because nobody buys them. I'll be surprised if Pro Debut is around next year.

2B. Apparently Jacob Turner is in this set for the second year in a row. Apparently I don't understand what "Pro Debut" means.....

2C. I want a Francisco Martinez card real bad...

3. Could there be a worse issue this year than Bowman? Is there a worse issue any year besides Bowman? Another year of an uninspiring design. Another year of an uninspiring player selection. And where are the Jacob Turner cards? Yes, he's in a couple of the insert series, but no base card? C'mon already! (I will admit the Bowman's Best throwback/reprint is pretty bad ass though.)

4. I'm going to be moving in a couple of months. I've got a bunch of team lots with anywhere between 300-500 cards each that are going to be donated to the resale store down the street at the end of August. If you collect another team besides the Tigers and are up for a swap then drop me a line. There are plenty of stars, inserts, and complete team sets in these lots. Seriously folks, there is some great stuff in here and all I'm looking for are lots of Tigers cards.

5. I bought an iPad 2 a couple of weeks ago and it has already become an invaluable tool in my card collecting. Instead of endless piles and printouts of checklists, I've been scanning each page of my Tigers collection and loading them into Photos. Now if I want to see what I'm missing I can pull up a photo in seconds and tell without a doubt if I have a card or not.

6. Picked up this Mickey Lolich 1973 Kellogg's card for free at a recent show. How cool is that?

7. In 15 years of owning Mac computers, I had my first ever hard drive crash about 6 weeks ago. Luckily I had about 90% of my files backed up. Unfortunately I had 0% of my 2011 RobbyT cards backed up. It's really taken the wind out of my sail as I had 20+ cards already done. I'm hoping to get back into it in the second half once real baseball card season dies down.

8. The Tigers are in first place despite some mediocre play as of late. This "Just-in", Verlander's 8th inning last was fucking incredible. That was more exciting than the 9th inning of his no-hitter.

9. The National is coming up in about 6 weeks here in Chicago. If anybody is going to be there and would like to meet up give me a holler.

10. There is a new forum where a bunch of old Detroit Free Press/World Crossing Tiger fans are hanging out. Stop by and check it out. You won't find a funnier bunch of folks around.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Starting Lineup Figures, Detroit Style

I came across the Hank Greenberg SLU pictured above while checking out a new card store last week near my neighborhood. I've never been an diligent collector of SLU's, but over the years if I saw one of a Tiger somewhere (and it was under $10) I picked it up. I've got a box of maybe 10 or so different Tigers in the attic at my folks' house.

After picking up the Greenberg I realized that I've never seen a complete checklist of Tigers anywhere, so I searched around the internets and tried to compile one of my own. As I'm sure I probably missed a few here and there or maybe got a year wrong, I would love some input if anybody has anything to correct or add to the list, which looks something like this:

Willie Hernandez
Jack Morris
Matt Nokes
Alan Trammell
Lou Whitaker

Tom Brookens
Matt Nokes
Luis Salazar
Alan Trammell
Lou Whitaker
Alan Trammell - Jose Canseco "One On One" combo
Team Lineup

Kirk Gibson (it must be noted that his figure is a Dodger, but his prominent card is of him with the Tigers)
Matt Nokes
Lou Whitaker

Cecil Fielder

Cecil Fielder
Cecil Fielder Headline Collection

Travis Fryman

Ty Cobb
Cecil Fielder
Tony Phillips

Mickey Tettleton

Hank Greenberg
Ty Cobb 12"

Tony Clark

Bobby Higginson

Tony Clark

It's a testimony to how bad the '89 team was that Tom Brookens and Luis Salazar have figures. It's shame really that the Tigers were so bad during the era that SLU's were produced. I'd love to have one a Team Lineup of the 1984 or 2006 teams.

I really like the Team Lineup set from 1989 though. Where else can you find Gary Pettis, Alan Trammell, Chris Brown, Lou Whitaker, Jack Morris, Fred Lynn, Matt Nokes, Keith Moreland, and Chet Lemon all immortalized in one collectible of one of the worst Tiger teams in their history?

I think my personal favorite is the 1997 Tony Clark with him wearing the awful BP jersey from that era which is identical to the first Tigers jersey I ever picked up.

Researching these led to me looking up info about the subsequent McFarlane figures too, which I'll delve into in my next blog entry.

Anybody got any good SLU stories?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

2011 Topps: Miguel Cabrera

By my count Topps has released 5 issues so far this year:

1. Series 1
2. Opening Day
3. Heritage
4. Blister Pack Team Sets
5. Gypsy Queen

Pictured above are Miguel Cabrera cards from 3 of those 5. (This year's blister pack team sets also include separate sets of AL and NL All-Star teams, which is where the last card comes from)

I didn't even bother to include the parallels, which makes the case even worse.

So tell me again why it's a good thing that Topps is the exclusive manufacturer of baseball cards? Or why the hobby is going in the shitter due to lack of interest?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

2011 Topps

The 2011 Topps Series 1 cards are here and I have a few opinions and observations. (Don't I always?)

The Base Set: Absolutely beautiful! I thought 2010 was the best looking Topps set of the last 20 or so years and they have blown those away this year. I love the the Old English D over the baseball. I love that the elements of the design are very minimal, yet effective and easy to read. My only knock with these cards (hey, you know it as well as I do....) is the continued use of foil stamping on base cards. It adds nothing to the card. I think the cards would look even better if they replaced the foil with the contrasting team colors. I'll look forward to seeing what they do with the Opening Day series, which in my opinion ALWAYS looks better than the regular series base cards because of the lack of foil stamping. But again, major kudos for an otherwise outstanding design this year.

The Variations: Who doesn't love these? For years I have wondered why Topps doesn't just do these as a part of the regular set. To me, these are about the only cards worth chasing the last three years. Hmmm....maybe I just answered my own question. (I am a little more excited this year, as the Hank Greenberg card pictured is the first Tiger variation that I've added to my collection. I'm on the lookout for the Ty Cobb variation. I have 2010 variations of Walter Johnson and Steve Carlton, and a 2009 variation of Duke Snider if anybody is interested in a trade....) I also like that the baseball on the front of the card has a sepia/yellowed tint compared to the white baseball on the base cards. Subtle, and very nice.

The Parallels: The gold cards are gold cards. The diamond cards are nice and sparkly. That's about the best I can do. As a one year thing, the diamond cards are slightly interesting, but if they never return to future Topps sets I won't be heartbroken. They kinda remind me of the 1994 Topps parallels with the funky varnish pattern over the player photos. I'm not too sure about that Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull thing replacing the OED though.

The Inserts, Part I: I'm going to divide this up into two groups. Part 1 is going to be about the reprint cards. If I were to subtitle this even further, it would read something like: Enough With The Fucking Reprints Already. Let me preface this by saying that I have held true to the vow I made last year to not purchase any more packs of baseball cards. 2011 Series 1 has come and gone and I've managed to find all the base cards and almost all of the inserts at the local card show circuit. I found the two Tigers pictured for 25¢ each. No big deal.

I can muster a little love for the reprints that date back before 1980. I suspect that's why Topps continues to do this. But if I was still buying packs and trying to build sets (and I was not a Tigers fan) it would piss me off to no end to pull an insert card that's a reprint of a card that was issued just five years ago!!! Crap like this is exactly why I have given up trying to build sets (Ok, along with a lot of the other insert offerings.....and the fact that you have to buy $100 worth of packs to finish one series when you can spend $50 for a factory set in August.....but I digress......).

Giving credit where credit is due, I dig the "pre-Topps" older cards that have the designation with which I have no clue what it stands for (CMGR = Cards My Grandpa Rolled smokes with?). I'm not a huge fan though, mostly due to the abundance of Tobacco era related cards in the last few years anyways like T206, Turkey Red, Chicle, etc......but I can dig pulling cards of HOFers AS OPPOSED TO REPRINTS OF PLAYERS FROM SETS THAT ARE ONLY FIVE YEARS OLD!!!!! It may be time for me to grab another beer, and to move on from reprint cards......

The Inserts, Part II: There is nothing noteworthy here. Just a lot more bloated, uninteresting sets. Diamond Duos = Legendary Lineage. Nothing more, nothing less. At least Legendary Lineage sounded cool. As for Topps 60, I don't even really get the point? The random statistical categories assigned to these make these humorous at best. Miguel Cabrera: 2008 American League Home Runs? I would be much more interested if it read Miguel Cabrera: My Top Ten Favorite Brands of Scotch. Who knows, maybe that's in the works for Series 2.....

IN CONCLUSION.....I have nothing but high praise for the base cards. It's a magnificent looking set (even if the Tiger selections for Series 1 are pretty sketchy.....I know that by that end of the year there will be cards for everybody....). But Topps has missed the mark on all of the insert sets. Again.

PS: 2011 RobbyT Cards are in the hopper. I'm just waiting on some spring photos to start rolling in. I saw a really great looking mugshot this week to use as my first one.....