Thursday, July 12, 2012

More A&G madness, courtesy of the old man

Yes, fellow readers, I know most of you are probably getting sick of "A&G this" and "A&G that" by now.

I promise this will likely be the last time I mention 2012 Topps Allen and Ginter on this blog for a while. In the meantime, let's just enjoy it. After all, it's last set I'll be excited about until Topps Update.

"The old man" (also known as my dad) surprised me with a blaster of A&G this afternoon. I was ecstatic for two reasons:

1) I always love opening some packs, especially free packs.

2) Although I was glad to open some of the product once they hit the shelves on Tuesday, my rack pack and blaster weren't exactly what you'd call a "success". It wasn't bad my any means, but it wasn't one of my best breaks.

I needed an "A&G blaster redemption" of sorts.

This is already my eighth blaster of 2012, compared to only three last year. I've got a little more money in my pocket this year, and so does my dad. And as he likes to say, "If I've got, you got."

While I've said it before, it deserves mentioning again. I couldn't be more thankful to have a family who supports this hobby of mine.

So, would this blaster be a "redemption" for my hard luck on Tuesday? I'll let you be the judge of that.

Although I titled my original A&G post "A Little of Everything", this one exemplified that a hundred times more than my previous blaster.

I'm always interested to hear about the personal preferences of my fellow bloggers and readers. As a result, I'm going to make this more than an ordinary "Look what I got!" blaster post.

I'll be listing every card I pulled from the blaster. What I want from my readers is to tell me what your favorite pack of mine was, and why. (I'll tell you what mine as after all is said and done.)

It'll give me a great perspective on the innumerable different collecting preferences that are out there in the blogosphere, and it might give me some ideas for cards to pull for people at any future flea markets, card shows, etc. that I attend. (Blogger likes to put an extra space after bolded words for some reason, so please forgive that little issue as you go through this post.)

Let's get started, shall we?

2012 A&G Blaster Pack #1:

#267 Neftali Feliz
#105 Arnold Palmer
#97 Max Scherzer
#145 Drew Storen
#MBF-9 "Man's Best Friend", Boxer
#348 Chase Headley SP

The first pack had me thinking this one might be even worse than the first blaster.

Short-prints are always welcome, but I would've preferred to pull one I actually needed. The Scherzer was my only "keeper" card in this pack.

2012 A&G Blaster Pack #2:

#54 Al Kaline
#174 Ubaldo Jimenez
#98 Nelson Cruz
#BH-13 "Baseball Highlight Sketches", Matt Moore
#249 Phil Hughes, mini
#WIN-16 "What's In A Name?", Miguel Cabrera

That's more like it.

All except the Jimenez and Cruz were "keepers" for me. Every time I hear the name "Al Kaline", my mind immediately jumps to my favorite TV show as a kid, Hey Arnold!. Arnold's hero in the series was a fictional baseball player named "Mickey Kaline", an obvious mashup of Mickey Mantle and Al Kaline.

I don't think of the Hall of Famer, or the man who hit 399 career homers. I think of a kid's TV show. (Although I still like to watch it as a 20 year-old.)

The mind works in funny ways sometimes.

As I mentioned in my first A&G post, the Highlight Sketches are absolutely beautiful this year. I was glad to pull one I needed this time around with the Moore.

2012 A&G Blaster Pack #3:

#264 Brian McCann
#102 Huston Street
#99 Sandy Koufax
#219 Ian Kennedy
#195 Jhoulys Chacin, A&G Back mini
#333 Kelly Johnson SP

It may not look too spectacular to most other collectors, but this was one of my favorite packs of the blaster. Chacin mini aside, I needed every single card in this pack.

The Koufax is a masterpiece. Kudos to Topps for not using the same image of him that they've used on almost every other Koufax card.

The Kelly Johnson SP was one of my most wanted short-prints from the set. I collect his cards, and this is only his second issue as a Blue Jay.

Besides, that might be the only time you'll ever see cards of Sandy Koufax and Kelly Johnson next to each other.

This was my favorite of the first three packs. But would it last?

We'll see...

2012 A&G Blaster Pack #4:

#36 Kirk Herbstreit (What is with Topps' apparent fascination with college football in 2012 A&G?)
#234 Carlos Lee
#149 Wilson Ramos
#HTP-17 "Historical Turning Points", The Great Depression
#NNO Jose Tabata, No-Number A&G Back mini
#WIN-1 "What's In A Name?", Joe DiMaggio

This one easily overtook that third pack as "best in the box" up to this point.

The Lee is a great example of the type of the card I would've just glazed over before I joined the blogosphere. I don't collect Carlos Lee, so what use could it have to me? (Unintentional rhyme there.)

While I said that I don't like horizontal A&G cards, I'll make an exception for this one. It's got the famous Wrigley Field brick wall as the backdrop, as well as the Astros' on-deck hitter. (How often do you see that on a baseball card?)

It's cards like this that make me appreciate the blogosphere more and more.

I'm a fan of history, so I'll definitely be going after the "Historical Turning Points" insert set.

Because of that, the first thought that popped into my head when this one fell out of the pack was, "Cool!".

Which was followed by severe guilt, because the Great Depression was not cool. It was one of the lowest points in American history.

I still like the card, though.

It's always soothing to know that you "beat the odds" with a pack of baseball cards, is it not?

Even though I don't collect Jose Tabata (who was recently sent down to Triple-A), this was one of my better pulls for precisely that reason.

The odds of getting a no-numbered mini from a retail A&G pack is 1:148 packs.

It should make for a nice tradebait piece, at the very least.

2012 A&G Blaster Pack #5:

#278 Fatal1ty (I think Topps was trying to appeal to the "younger generation" with this guy, but even I have no clue who he is. Apparently, he's one of the first "superstars" of online gaming. That's assuming there is such a thing.)
#262 Justin Verlander
#182 Colby Rasmus
#220 James Brown (The NFL analyst, not the soul singer. Personally, I think the latter would've made for a much more awesome card.)
#337 Matt Holliday SP, mini
#303 Ivan Nova SP, mini
#324 Cal Ripken Jr. SP

This was far and away the most interesting pack of the bunch, and one of the oddest I've opened in my lifetime.

Ripken is up there with Jeter and Pujols as the best "tradebait" players. It seems like a lot of collectors drool over his stuff, so a short-print of his should garner some nice value in the trade market. (I was going to send it to fellow blogger William, but it looks like he already nabbed a copy.)

By now, you might have noticed what was so interesting about this pack.

Most A&G retail packs are limited to six cards a piece.

This one had seven.

Someone at Topps screwed up, because this pack contained two minis. And both of them were SPs, to boot.

Even though I was only five packs in by this point, I could already tell that this blaster was way, way better than that first one. It was certainly the "redemption" I was hoping for.

One of the packs in the first blaster netted me a dinged Mariano Rivera mini. But not all quality control issues are bad, I guess. Look no further than the two short-print minis that this pack yielded.

Just call me "Even Steven".

2012 A&G Blaster Pack #6:

#179 Cole Hamels
#39 Brad Peacock
#124 Jered Weaver
Greg Keely, A&G code card
#ML-10 "World's Greatest Military Leaders", Dwight D. Eisenhower
#WIN-58 "What's In A Name?", Rickey Henderson

Pack #6 was a bit of a let-down after all the quality control excitement of the previous pack. At least I added a new card to my presidents collection with the Eisenhower.

Moving on...

2012 A&G Blaster Pack #7:

#43 Josh Johnson
#287 Hiroki Kuroda
#AGR-BP Brandon Phillips Framed GU Jersey
#73 Jordan Zimmerman, Black Border mini
#316 Adrian Gonzalez SP

This is my first jersey "hit" of 2012. I've pulled two autos so far, but no relics.

If anyone wants the Phillips, it's for trade. While I don't delve into the game-used market much nowadays, I'll admit that these are pretty nice.

In terms of the "personal value" factor, the Gonzalez was actually a better "hit" for me.

It's satisfying enough to pull a base card of a guy I collect, but pulling a SP feels about twice as good, because let's face it, short-prints are a hassle to obtain.

If Gonzalez and a normal old base card in this year's set, I probably wouldn't have much trouble acquiring it. I might've had to wait weeks, months, perhaps years to get this one for my collection had I not pulled it from this pack.

Another example of those "little victories" that make collecting so fun.

2012 A&G Blaster Pack #8:

#157 Roger Federer
#34 Alex Gordon
#61 Richard Petty (Someone please help me get this card out of my house. I don't like NASCAR, to put it lightly.)
#WTB-5 "World's Tallest Buildings", 1 World Trade Center
#199 Ricky Romero, A&G Back mini
#WIN-8 "What's In A Name?", Cliff Lee

The eighth and final pack was a bit of a letdown, but I'm not sure what could've matched the greatness of the last few packs of the blaster.

I wonder if Cliff Lee ever considered going by his middle name, Phifer. (Like Lynn Nolan Ryan or James Hoyt Wilhelm.)

Probably not.

All in all, this A&G blaster absolutely demolished the last one I bought. A jersey, a quality control issue that worked in my favor, and an insert seeded at one every 148 packs.

That's some variety, all right.

I'd say only the first and last packs of the blaster were disappointments. That's a seventy-five percent "success" rate. I'll take that every time.

My favorite of the eight packs was probably #5, thanks to that quirky collation issue. It was going to be hard to beat two short-print minis in one pack, after all.

My dad insisted on grabbing the first blaster on the shelf this afternoon. If you remember this post of mine, you'd know that I never, ever do that. They're too ripe for pack searchers, or so I thought. But it was his money, so I was happy with whichever one he picked.

After drooling over the greatness that this blaster contained, I might have to reconsider my pack-buying strategy.


Sbsugar said...

I liked pack #7...not because of the relic, but the short print Adrian Gonzalez. Ok...the relic was pretty cool too.

AdamE said...

Pack 7 but not for the relic, I want the Gonzalez SP. Relics do nothing for me.

Mark Kaz said...

I must side with the author on this one, but mostly because of the Ripken SP. That's a great card!

Zayden said...

Im going to go with pack 4 because of the great depression card and the dimaggio whats in a name.