Monday, December 26, 2011

The (baseball card) joys of Christmas

Christmas was fantastic this year. Is it ever not?

The only thing that would've made it a little better is if there was some snow on the ground. Maybe I'm just thinking that because I don't drive very often, otherwise I'd be on my hands and knees thanking the weather gods for keeping the snow away from Chicago.

It's been so abnormally warm here so far this winter that we actually grilled some of our Christmas dinner outside. Grilling on Christmas. Definitely a first.

You know what else Christmas means! Baseball cards! I was lucky enough to rip open quite a few packs this Christmas. It's always a blast to open free packs, I could care less what set they're from. 

My dad also got me a special baseball card gift, but I'll be saving that one for a later post this evening as this one is already jam-packed with goodies.

My baseball-card Christmas day started out with my mom's gifts. (It actually started yesterday, as I got a $15 gift card to my local mall from my mom's side of my family, which will no doubt be going to baseball cards of some sort.) I found a couple packs of 2011 Topps Heritage and 2011 A&G in my stocking. She also bought me an awesome Roberto Clemente plaque that's going to look amazing on the wall in my room.

Not much in the handful of packs from my mom. I did pull a Heritage SP need for one of my player collections with the Keppinger.

Plus, what says "Christmas" more than a card of an axe murder?

Me and my dad's side of the family spent Christmas afternoon at my uncle's house (where I had one of the most unbelievably good meals of my life). I'm not sure how I did it, but I managed to watch almost an entire NBA game over there, the first I've seen in about five years.

One of the gifts I received from my uncle was a $30 gift card to Target. Hopefully I can save it until 2012 Topps come out in February, but you never know when you're gonna get a sudden pack-ripping itch.

My uncle also got me a rack pack of 2011 Topps Lineage. Again, not much luck. The Cabrera sparkle and Mantle were the two best cards in the thing.

At night, I went back to my dad's house where we watched the Bears get devoured by the Packers (I can stand watching football games).

My dad got me an absolute smorgasbord of cards this year. (The best of his gifts will be featured in my next post.)

He put a couple random packs into my stocking. One of them was from 2008 UD Documentary. Not a huge fan of this set; this was the first pack of it I'd ever opened. It's tough to tell who's on the fronts of some of these cards, but the two shown above are of local hero Tom Gorzelanny and comeback-kid Jacoby Ellsbury.

Among the "stocking packs" were a few packs of 2010 Upper Deck. Considering they couldn't use the team logos, I think this is a rather fine set.

I managed to pull a gold parallel (the stadium shots are nice) and a base Pujols, who's appearing to be admiring one of his many home runs.

The "hits" from the 2011 Bowman Draft rack pack I received. I'm not much into prospects, but hey, it's free cards! A purple refractor of someone named Travis Harrison and a base Mike Moustakas.

It's always fun to open one of those 100 card rack-pack things that they sell at Target. If nothing else, I've found that those types of deals are great for blog material.

Featured above are some minor league cards I pulled from the pack. The Roa one is surprisingly neat. You don't usually see anything like that with minor league cards.

The card on the right is apparently the Richmond Braves trainer. So now I'm the proud owner of a trainer card. Not only that, but a minor league trainer card. Yeah, awesome.

I just wanted to see what these looked like when I scanned them. Not bad, eh?

Ron Robinson looks vaguely like how I imagine Santa Claus would've looked in his thirties.

There's Ernie Young, praying to improve upon his .200 batting average in 1995. I don't think he did, because I've never heard of him.

These 100-card rack packs guarantee three "vintage" cards. I was guessing that they'd all be no-namers from a '70s Topps set. Two of them were precisely that.

To my surprise, the 1959 Topps card you see above fell out of the pack. I've never heard of Billy Klaus (his last name is kind of Christmas-y), but he's reportedly a "fine amateur golfer", according to the back of his card. A 52 year-old card from a $1.50 rack pack? It's a Christmas miracle!

Finally, I received a 2011 Topps American Pie blaster.

Does anyone want this card? Anybody? I don't. This guy apparently appeared on "The Sopranos" (look up his character's nickname on that show if you don't know it already for a laugh). Seriously, what am I supposed to do with this card?

Memorabilia cards aside, I've mentioned how excited I was to get my hands on packs of these before. I already ordered the complete base set online a few days ago, but I was excited to get a look at these cards before my set arrived! I love these history-based sets, and 2011 American Pie is one of the finest released in a long time. I'll feature more of the better base cards from AP once my set comes in the mail.

The memorabilia card I got was actually my least favorite from the blaster (mainly because I didn't pull the Jersey Shore or Kanye West cards).

These two are from the "Fads and Fashions" insert set. I was gonna buy the telephone booth card separately after my base set came, but no need to now! How did something like that start? The record for one booth is 25 people, according to the back.

How exciting. A card featuring some guy with sideburns. I can hardly contain myself. (Okay, maybe the memorabilia card was my second least-favorite from the box.)

The Jaws 3-D card, on the other hand, is awesome. It's a buyback from one of the gaggle of entertainment card sets they released in the '70s.

It's tough to tell from the scan, but the card on the left is one of the "spotlight" parallels, which are numbered to 76. (It's ironic that a card of a bar code didn't scan too well.) They're cool to look at in-person, but of course I had to get one of the dullest cards in the base set.

The foil parallels make any card look good. "Thrilling", in fact. (Buh-doomp-boom.)

Two of the greatest entertainers ever.

These come from the "Hollywood Walk of Fame" insert set, and are among the finest cards I got from the blaster. Like the telephone booth card, I was going to buy these two anyways after I saw them on the checklist.

If I didn't collect baseball cards, I'd probably collect records. I'm glad that music makes a few appearances throughout the 200-card base set. Although I wish they would've had a Nirvana card rather than a card documenting the death of Kurt Cobain.

Two of the greatest musicians. Ever. That's probably the best picture I've ever seen of Hendrix.

There was one more baseball card-related gift, but I'll be posting about that one later tonight. It's one of the best gifts I've ever received!

I hope Santa was good to all the other baseball card collectors out there! I know he was to me.


moremonkeys138 said...

The fact they even included anything dealing with Kurt/Nirvana was a big hit for me. I love the music portion of this set. The Ramones, Chuck Berry, Lennon, Cobain, Hendrix, ALL big favorites of mine. Initially I was hesitant on this set until I saw the cards dedicated to musicians. Then it totally turned my opinion around and now I want to collect the set. I have some duplicates so if you need some, let me know and I'll send 'em over.

Nick said...

I actually just ordered the complete set online a few days ago, I'm really excited to get the Ramones one. All the base ones I got from these packs are gonna be extras once my set comes in, so if you're looking for any specific ones from the set, I'd be glad to take a look and see what I've got.