It's hard to believe Allen & Ginter has been around for 14 years now -- it's old enough to be a high school freshman.
At the risk of sounding like that relative we all have, I remember when A&G was just a baby, way back in 2006, right when I was starting to re-enter the baseball card universe. Since then, it's gone through some highs and lows, some successes and black spots, and now it's all grown up. In a lot of ways, I feel like I grew up with it.
A&G isn't the stalwart it once was for me -- it'll probably never compete for Set of the Year honors anymore -- but I still get the warm fuzzies when I see it on the shelf, and I'm always, always
good for a few packs of it, like the ones Dad surprised me with this past weekend.
#31 Jeff Bagwell
First came one of those 14-card value pack things -- while there isn't a ton of fluctuation in the respective A&G designs, I feel like this one is a little more retro than usual, which I like.
And if the fact that A&G is now old enough to be in high school makes me feel old, I must say that seeing guys I grew up watching, like Jeff Bagwell, pop up as "legends" in modern sets makes me feel even older, and I'd prefer Topps not do that, please.
#131 Juan Gonzalez
WHAT DID I JUST SAY?!
#179 Burton Rocks (sports agent)
#12 Blake Treinen
#354 Rowdy Tellez
#NTTZ-6 Panda Cub, "New to the Zoo" insert
I don't chase all of A&G's inserts, but I always like seeing what new subjects Topps conjures up with each passing year.
Now drown in the cuteness of this Panda Cub.
#CC-22 Shih Tzu, "Collectible Canines" insert
I was brought up in a home of animal lovers, so I'll probably be chasing these.
#IE-12 King Arthur's Sword, "Incredible Equipment" insert
The fact that a card of King Arthur's Sword fell out of a pack filled with past and present baseball stars pretty much sums up all that is great and unique about A&G.
#GG-17 Derek Jeter, "Ginter Greats" insert
After cards of Panda Cubs and mythological swords, it seems almost droll to show anything of Derek Jeter, who seems to have about 1,483 cards in every set these days.
#277 Frank Robinson
Just a darn fine baseball card here.
#51 Paul Molitor
#219 Yuli Gurriel
#152 Augie Carton (brewer/podcaster)
Maybe I've just been more attuned to it recently for whatever reason, but the hate for the non-baseball seems to be turned to 11 this year.
My reply to that is pretty simple. Don't like it? Fine. There are absolutely no shortages of retro-style sets to choose from these days. Go collect Gypsy Queen. Or Archives. Or Heritage. Or...you get the point. I don't understand the vitriol, especially because it's not like this is anything new -- did I mention A&G turns 14 this year?
I will say, however, that the non-baseball subjects themselves have devolved to mostly crap in recent years. This Augie Carton fellow is apparently a craft beer brewer and a podcaster, which good luck finding a more 2019 job description than that. I have absolutely no interest in this, or any of the other entrepreneurs or poker players or whoever. I did
have interest in the Einstein card from years past, and the Pluto and Revolving Door. And I would
have interest in other more interesting historical non-baseball subjects -- off the top of my head, how cool would a Groucho Marx card be? or a Sylvia Plath?
History is filled with an infinitude of people more interesting than podcasters, Topps.
#239 Starling Marte
Rack pack -- Gold pack:
#182 Pete Alonso, gold mini
#22 Jose Ramirez, gold mini
#380 Nomar Garciaparra, gold mini
Next from Dad came one of those three-pack thingies with the pack of special gold minis inside -- I pulled the Pete Alonso, which means I can go ahead and retire now, right?
#202 Luke Voit
#186 Wade Boggs
Tobacco-style designs suit Wade Boggs well.
#381 Scott Kingery
#10 Mike Trout, mini
I seem to have awfully good luck pulling Trout cards, and I'm not complaining one bit.
#GG-38 Babe Ruth, "Ginter Greats" insert
Seeing Babe Ruth fall out of a pack of baseball cards is always a watershed event.
#269 Scooter Gennett
#8 Reggie Jackson
I love when Topps decides to feature legends in less-than-familiar uniforms, like this treasured image of Reggie Jackson as an Angel -- because god knows he has enough A's and Yankees cards out there.
#108 Charlie Blackmon
#258 Daniel Murphy
#210 Framber Valdez, mini
#BSS-27 Blake Snell, "Baseball Star Signs" insert
I have little interest in astrology, but I must admit these are pretty darn cool.
#206 Corbin Burnes
#198 David Bote
#165 John Cynn (poker player)
#NTTZ-4 Rhino Calf, "New to the Zoo" insert
#GG-35 Brooks Robinson, "Ginter Greats" insert
I don't have much left to say about these other than the fact that can one really
have enough Brooks Robinson cards?
#7 Albert Pujols
#213 Egg (instagram photo)
As fate would have it, the last card was easily my favorite -- an...egg?
The back tells me that this isn't just a random card of an egg. Apparently a picture of an egg got 30 million likes on instagram last year, which was news to me since I don't do instagram. But even so: this is a baseball card...of an egg.
Just an egg. And it's awesome.
It's the kind of card that reminds me of how thankful I am that A&G is still here, all these years later.