Saturday, April 21, 2012
Another Gypsy Queen post (rack pack + blaster)
By now, I'm sure most of us have seen our fair share of 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen already throughout the blogosphere.
I didn't quite get why this set was so popular last year. I mean, it was okay, but I didn't love it.
But that's part of the greatness of baseball cards. To each their own. (I'm sure a lot of people didn't like Topps Total in its day.)
I had bit of a pack-ripping itch today and it was one of those rare times where I actually had a little bit of extra cash on hand. Put those together and what do you get?
A blaster and a rack pack of Gypsy Queen.
My dad actually treated me to the rack pack, so let's start with that. The only condition was that I had to open it during lunch, as I usually like to wait until I get home to open anything. (Thank you, Dad!)
I opened it before we started eating so I didn't get any barbecue sauce on them.
A single rack pack was all I bought of GQ last year. I didn't have much of a budget for any loose packs last year. I think I only bought two blasters in all of 2011. (I've already gotten four this year.)
The fact that I was broke for pretty much all of last year pained me a little bit. I always enjoy ripping open a good pack every so often. The thrill of it never goes away. Even if it's just a pack of 1991 Donruss or something, I still get a little bit of a tug whenever I split the wrapper open and see that first card.
I've certainly had my fill of pack ripping thus far in 2012, something which I'm very grateful for.
The main draw of the Gypsy Queen rack packs are the framed paper parallels, but we'll get to those in a bit.
I pulled the above card of the late Gary Carter in the first pack of the rack pack. I thought it was a nice touch on the part of Topps to include him. Even though I don't really collect Carter, I think I'll keep this one as a tribute to "The Kid".
At first, I thought I liked this year's base design better, but now I'm not so sure.
The 2012 design is a bit loud for my liking. I didn't realize that until I had the cards in-hand. I think Topps overdid it a bit, so I'll give the advantage in the base design to last year's GQ.
However, any card of Reggie Jackson is cool to me, especially one of him in the "Swingin' A's" jerseys from the '70s.
It pains me to say it, but I have to. I collect Albert Pujols. Cards of him in an Angels uniform, at least. I always enjoy getting cards of guys on their new teams, and this the first time the baseball world has seen Pujols in a non-Cardinals uniform.
The variation SPs are a bit annoying.
I had to go through each card I got and see if it was a short-print. Thankfully, this was extremely helpful.
At least I got one of a guy I collect in Cliff Lee.
Let's just get everything I don't like about the set out of the way first.
Minis are good, in moderation. I think someone forgot to tell Topps that when they released this set.
From just the rack pack and blaster I counted five or six different mini variations. Seriously, do we really need green minis of Matt Cain? (That's what they're called, I looked it up.)
I struck out on the minis in the rack pack. I didn't need any of the three I pulled.
The inserts are okay, although I think there was some wasted potential with the "Moonshots" set. A night sky background or something could've made those fantastic, instead of a plain purple border.
While I might complain about Mickey Mantle cards being in every set of Topps nowadays, I still can't turn down a good ol' card of "The Mick".
The Mantle was actually the first card I saw out of the first pack I opened today. I don't know what it is with me and "The Mick" this year. My first card of 2012 was a Mantle.
Any HOFer insert set is fine with me. So yes, I do like the "Hallmark Heroes" cards, even if another plain border leaves something to be desired.
Now onto the big "draw", the framed paper parallels.
These are great. Topps set the bar high with them last year, but they matched (if not succeeded) it in 2012.
While I went 0-for-3 with the minis, I went 3-for-3 with the framed paper parallels. I'll take that tradeoff all day long. (The one not pictured was of Jacoby Ellsbury.)
I absolutely love the Seaver. It might be the best card I pulled today.
That caps off the rack pack.
Once again, thanks Dad!
Now on to the blaster.
I'll say it now. I didn't pull the Yu Darvish autograph. Apparently, his cards were super short-printed and are going for big bucks.
I'll pull something like that one of these days. When that day comes, I'll never know...
But I don't need a super high-value card to be satisfied with my breaks. All I need is a Willie Stargell card. Or perhaps even a Sandy Koufax.
The fact that I got both of the above cards out of the same pack made the entire blaster worthwhile to me. It was probably the best pack I've opened thus far in 2012.
I'll never get sick of cards like these.
To this day, I don't think I've ever seen a bad picture of Brooks Robinson. Gypsy Queen continued that trend.
Night Owl says that some of these GQ shots make the players' uniforms appear to be dirty. Upon a close examination, I have to agree with him. (Another astute observation.)
But I'm pretty sure Fisk's jersey is actually dirty in that shot. Definitely one of the highlights of the base set.
When I was pulling cards to scan for this post, I had to stop myself and remember to show some current players.
Since I love cards of HOFers so much, I tend to focus on them a little more. But that doesn't mean I don't like cards of current guys.
In fact, the Aramis Ramirez was one of my favorite pulls of the day. I love the fact that Topps photoshopped him into an old-school Brewers uniform. Plus, the spectacular Wrigley Field backdrop still works because the Brewers are an NL Central rival.
I don't know why, but something about that shot of Brian Wilson (and his beard) just fits with this year's Gypsy Queen design.
If I ever figure out exactly what it is, I'll get back to you.
From left to right, we have the Straight Cut mini. Then the black border mini. Then the Gypsy Queen back mini.
And, oh yeah, the regular mini, the DiMaggio being one of my better pulls of the day.
Here's a couple other cool minis I pulled.
Just the boring old regular ones. My favorite kind.
Here's the other short-print variations I pulled.
I'm keeping the Pedroia, but I'm sure someone out there will want the Griffey.
In terms of design, these are my favorite inserts in the set.
Perfectly executed on Topps' part. The Gypsy Queen logo is nice and small on these cards, allowing more space for the picture, a fantastic action shot at that.
I just wish I could've pulled one of somebody I collect.
Another card of "The Mick", this time from the "Hallmark Heroes" inserts.
I love that Dave Concepcion is visible in the background of the Johnny Bench shot. (Now there's a guy I'd like to see more cards of, Topps.)
I still think Bench is the greatest catcher ever. I just wish I could've seen him play.
Let's close out this post with a couple more "Moonshots" inserts I've pulled, featuring two guys that Topps hasn't gone overboard with yet with Ralph Kiner and Willie McCovey.
In fact, I'd have to say that the Kiner was indeed my favorite of today's pulls. I can't remember the last time anyone made a card of him.
Overall, I think I liked last year's Gypsy Queen set a little better than this year's (although I'm still not all that high on either one).
But all in all, Gypsy Queen's 2012 offering definitely has its high points. Pulling a card of Ralph Kiner was definitely a pleasant surprise.
I'll have my wants/tradeables from this set posted on my links on the sidebar later tonight for anyone who wants to do some trading. I still need a ton of base and inserts from the set.
While I doubt I'll pick up much more of this set, I still had an absolute blast opening them with my dad this afternoon.
I still maintain that few things beat the simple joy of ripping open a pack of baseball cards.