Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A slice of American Pie

How could I not feature a card about blogging?

My 2011 Topps American Pie base set arrived in the mail today. It's the first complete set that I've ever purchased, surprisingly. Two-hundred cards of fun.

I have to say, this is one of the most unexpectedly good releases in recent years. I didn't even hear about it until a couple days after its release.

The set captures moments in American history from the end of WWII (which is card #1 in the set) to the present (Hurricane Irene is the final card). I'll feature a few cards from each decade, as well as my favorites from the music-themed cards in the set at the end of the post.

Also, I'm looking for many of the foil cards and other inserts from this set if anyone happens to have any for trade.

The set kicks off with the decade of the 1940's. A couple of fantastic photos here. Abbott and Costello in the middle of their famous "Who's on First?" routine, what better shot of them to use for a baseball card of theirs?

I'm not a huge boxing fan, but this Joe Louis shot is among the finest in the set. Louis staring calmly into the distance while chaos erupts around him.

On to the '50s. The "Most Boring Day" card is one of the best pieces of trivia I picked up from this set. According to calculations, it was determined that April 11, 1954 was the most boring day of the 20th century. I'm not sure how, but they managed to nail it down to a single day.

Another great boxing card with the Rocky Marciano issue. He's well on his way to one of his 49 career boxing wins (without having lost a fight).

I bet that very few people my age even know who these two guys are. No big deal, only two of the greatest comedians of the 20th century, of course. I've never met anyone at school who knows who the Marx Brothers are.

The 1960's. The times are a'changing. I'm not a huge fan of horror films, but how could I leave that Hitchcock card out of this post?

Topps did a fantastic job of choosing which comedians to feature in American Pie. Lenny Bruce was arguably the most influential comedian since...well, ever.

The '70s was the best time for comedy (thanks mostly to Lenny Bruce's influence). Just watch anything of Carlin or Pryor. None of this Dane Cook junk.

More from the '70s. A great picture of one of the most daring feats in recent history by Philippe Petit.

A card of John Belushi. This set gets better by the minute!

The "Miracle on Ice" card is one of the greatest from the set. I wish I were alive to watch that game. I can't fathom anything like that happening in sports today.

The "Seinfeld" premiere managed to sneak into the '80s (the pilot was in 1989). It will always be my favorite TV show.

There weren't a whole lot of great ones from the last two decades. I had to settle for showing cards of Napster and the Unabomber.

Social networking galore. I was a Facebook holdout until about a year ago. I have to say though, it's a good way to keep in touch with people after high school. People didn't have that advantage twenty years ago. You can tell that's a picture from Facebook's early days because it's still called "TheFacebook" (see, I did learn something from "The Social Network").

A not-so-discreet plug for Topps in their card featuring the advent of Twitter (which I will never join, mark my words).

I told you this card would eventually be in my hands. I think this is now my favorite card of my non-baseball collection.

Topps did a great job of spreading musical figures throughout the checklist (save for the unfortunate appearance of Kanye West and Taylor Swift). Kudos, Topps.

I already featured a few music cards I pulled in the American Pie blaster I got for Christmas. Here's some of my other favorites.

Can't say that I'm a huge fan of Hank Williams or Johnny Cash, but I certainly respect what they did for music. But that was the best picture of Cash you could find, Topps?

On the other hand, that is a great picture for the "Rock Around the Clock" card. Featuring Bill Haley and the Comets in full swing mode.

There was a card featuring Motown in the 2001 American Pie release. I'm glad they brought it back again in 2011. The history of music wouldn't be complete without it.

I'm not quite sure why "Sir Paul" is on a card featuring the Guinness Book of World Records. But hey, it's Paul McCartney!

I have a hard time choosing between the Beatles and Ramones for my favorite band. But few performances were more groundbreaking than the Beatles' performance at Shea Stadium. Where's Ringo in that shot, though?

Queen isn't one of my favorite bands, but Freddie Mercury is one of the best and most influential frontmen in rock history.

Boy do I wish MTV was still as unpretentious as it was when it started in the early '80s. When they re-aired MTV's first ever hour of programming a few months ago, I was surprised to find that a brief clip of the Ramones found its way in. Good luck with finding anything like that nowadays. I know it wasn't exactly perfect in 1981, but it's better than the junk they're showing now, right?

I know most baseball card collectors don't go out and buy much of this type of product, but do me a favor and try a pack the next time you're at Target or Wal-Mart or wherever.

It might grow on you.


Hackenbush said...

Great summary. I do think buying a complete set is the way to go.

Mike said...

Great post,this set looks really cool.....35 years ago I was discovering the Beatles,Ramones,Marx Bros,etc.....I'm so glad you did too!