Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Covering the Bases, Pt. 7: Top 5 non-baseball A&G subjects

For certain matters, opinions on this hobby seem to be split fairly evenly.

Personally, I think tonight's "Covering the Bases" topic is one of the best examples of that train of thought.

From what I've seen, opinions on A&G's non-baseball subjects are almost perfectly divided amongst collectors. Some absolutely love them, while others basically see them as irrelevant and somewhat pointless.

While I can understand the views of the dissenters, I've always been in the camp of the former. I absolutely love the odd, perhaps borderline-crazy subjects that have found their way into A&G checklists over the years.

A large part of A&G's unique charm comes from the non-baseball side of things. Although the "oddness" hasn't been as strong in recent years, Topps knocked it out of the park with their selections for the set's early years.

As it happens, my "Top 5" list for this topic ended up including a single card from each of A&G's first five years of existence. An honorable mention goes to the X-Rays card at the top of the post, courtesy of 2010 A&G.

In fact, 2010 is where this countdown begins.

#5 -- 2010 A&G #286 Revolving Door

I'll admit, I wasn't a huge fan of this one at first.

I mean, seriously...

A revolving door?

If nothing else, you have to admit that it was certainly an interesting choice on the part of Topps. I'd love to know how they came up with the idea of including a revolving door card in that year's checklist.

As the months wore on, though, the charm of the revolving door started to grow on me. It's just so...odd. But, then again, that's what I've come to love most about it.

These days, it's easily one of my favorite cards in A&G history.

#4 -- 2008 A&G #119 Billy Mitchell

I recently rated A&G's 2008 release as the best in the brand's history.

A large part of that is due to the set's non-baseball selection. From Pluto to Picasso, I'd argue that '08 was the "peak of odd" from A&G's tenure in this hobby.

However, I'd have to rate Mr. Mitchell here as my absolute favorite non-baseball subject from the checklist. As noted on the back of the card, he completed a perfect game of "Pac-Man" in 1999.

For what it's worth, 3,333,360 points are needed for a perfect score in the classic video game.

I'm far, far from what you'd call a "gamer" (I don't own any video game consoles), but there's something about such an obscure accomplishment that I've always enjoyed.

In many ways, the recognition of people like Billy Mitchell epitomizes why I love these non-baseball cards so much.

#3 -- 2006 A&G #347 Billy the Kid

From what I can remember, this was the card that first sparked my love affair with A&G.

I pulled it from one of my first packs of A&G's inaugural release in 2006. Given my love for U.S. history (and especially the Old West), I was beyond excited. After all, it featured the only photograph ever taken of Billy the Kid.

From there, I sought out all the other non-baseball subjects from the checklist. After seeing the types of names included in the product, I knew Topps had struck absolute gold with this newfound A&G thing.

And, in a very uncharacteristic move, I willfully sought after multiples of the Billy the Kid piece for my collection. As it stands, I currently own four different copies of this historic card.

Without it, I'm not sure that I ever would've become such a huge A&G fan.

#2 -- 2009 A&G #158 Sigmund Freud

Psychology was one of my first true passions as a student.

I took two different classes on the subject during my high school years, even scoring a perfect 5 out of 5 on the AP (Advanced Placement) Psych test as a senior. I'm hoping to minor in the subject in the coming years.

Given all that, you can probably see why I love this particular piece so much. Sigmund Freud, after all, was arguably the most influential figure in the history of psychology.

In fact, I brought this very card into my senior year psychology class. My teacher, a fellow baseball buff, wanted to see it after I mentioned Freud's A&G issue in a conversation.

Now, if only Topps would make a B.F. Skinner card...

#1 -- 2007 A&G #228 Jack the Ripper

As humans, I tend to think we have a natural interest in the unexplained.

I know I do. I guess that's why the chilling tale of Jack the Ripper has always been so fascinating to me. I'm sure most of you know the story already, so I won't go into it here.

Seeing as how his identity was never found, producing a card of Jack the Ripper was certainly quite the undertaking on Topps' part.

While it's certainly the spookiest part of my collection, I've always held it in extremely high regard as far as A&G goes.

Such strange subject matter is the absolute epitome of A&G's brief history.

I don't think anything has emphasized that more than Jack the Ripper.


Mike said...

Wow,Wee Man didn't make it??..hahahaha!

Ball Nine said...

I like how the cigar is absent from Freud's hand to spare the owner of any smoking advocacy in the picture.

Fuji said...

Love A&G's non sports cards... and excellent top 5 selections. It's hard to argue against the Jack The Ripper card as the #1 pick.

Ana Lu said...

I'm on your team. Really, the love I have for A&G is precisely the odd insert sets they have.
2011 was is my favourite release and the Mini Portraits of Penultimacy are great but my favourites are mini World’s Most Mysterious Figures and Floating Fortresses.

That's the perfect set for me. You get baseball and other flavors.