Thursday, October 1, 2020

When all else fails, make a list

One of the rules I've fallen back on during my blogging career is this: when all else fails, make a list.

In case it hasn't been obvious throughout the history of this blog, I love lists. Something about collecting baseball cards just lends itself to ranking stuff and shifting it around -- maybe it's an extension of the whole sorting/organizing thing. Lists are an all-purpose blogging tool. When I have too much to say about something, I can make a list. When I have nothing to say about something, I can make a list. And in the case of 2020 Allen & Ginter, for better or worse, it's the latter. 

It's not that I don't like A&G. While I'm not nearly as passionate about this set as I once was, I still enjoy it, and I'm glad it's around. It's just that I can never find a lot to say about it. Usually, all I can muster is: here's what A&G looks like this year. Okay. Cool. So, when I somehow got lucky enough to find a few rack packs of 2020 A&G at Target the other day, my mind instantly told me: make a list!

And that, my dear friends, is why you're (unfortunately) stuck with another list from yours truly -- this time it's a list of my ten favorite pulls from last week's introduction to 2020 Allen & Ginter.

#10 -- 2020 Topps Allen & Ginter #67 Mookie Betts

Here's what 2020 A&G looks like...okay, cool.

Further thoughts, let's's definitely been a long time since an A&G design has truly had an impact on me -- probably not since 2008 -- but I will say I like this year's look quite a bit more than any in recent memory. The shadowed paste-board effect is a fine touch. Not really enough to get me truly excited about, but an attention-grabber nonetheless.

Also, I'm still not quite used to seeing Mookie Betts on the Dodgers, which makes cards of him on the Dodgers weirdly thrilling to me, and thus the appearance of this card on the list.

#9 -- 2020 Topps Allen & Ginter "Reach for the Sky!" #RFTS-8 Willis Tower

Say what you want about this set, but there'll always be something in a pack of A&G you won't find anywhere else.

Granted, the non-baseball subjects in the 2020 base set are garbage, and generally off-putting (we've gone over this, Topps: more inanimate objects, less pop culture bros). But there's also an insert set devoted to skyscrapers, and I guarantee you won't see that again in 2020. Plus I was lucky enough to pull the grandest skyscraper from the land of grand skyscrapers here in Chicago.

Still, having lived in the general Chicago area my whole life, I can tell you that this is actually the Sears Tower, just like it's actually Sox Park or whatever else.

#8 -- 2020 Topps Allen & Ginter "Down on the Farm" #DF-CH Chicken

I've never quite understood why people are so appalled by the non-baseball bent of Allen & Ginter.

It's not like there aren't 3,429 other sets with all baseball players to be chasing these days -- is having one set with a card of a chicken so bad?

#7 -- 2020 Topps Allen & Ginter #107 Gary Carter

Topps hasn't really clubbed us over the head with Gary Carter cards (yet), so it's still a thrill to see him fall out of a pack of current stuff.

#6 -- 2020 Topps Allen & Ginter "Longball Lore" #LL-30 Stan Musial

A&G usually features one sizeable baseball-themed insert set each year, and it looks like these "Longball Lore" inserts got the call here in 2020.

I don't have a problem with the execution -- like these Longball Lores, said insert sets have generally been likeable -- it's just that, no matter what theme Topps seems to be going for, they seem to feature the same 50 players every single year.

#5 -- 2020 Topps Allen & Ginter #171 Hunter Pence

Hunter Pence announced his retirement recently, and I was genuinely sad about that -- I feel like he was one of the last true personalities in baseball.

I am, however, glad to have a card of his second -- and probably soon-to-be-forgotten -- 17-game stint with the Giants here in 2020, which instantly places it in my sunset collection.

#4 -- 2020 Topps Allen & Ginter "9 Ways to First" #M9WF-8 Catcher's Interference

These is the kind of quirky stuff that gets me nostalgic for the good ol' days of A&G -- a catcher's interference card!

I'm fascinated by these -- like most A&G insert sets, it'll probably take me 13 years to complete -- and I'm really glad I didn't get one of the boring ones, like a single or a walk (yawn!).

#3 -- 2020 Topps Allen & Ginter #51 Roberto Clemente

Not the most exciting Clemente card, but it's a Clemente card no less -- and that makes it awesome.

#2 -- 2020 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini #316 Billy Williams SP

For whatever reason, the rack pack that held this excellent Billy Williams contained 15 cards -- they're only supposed to have 14 --  so I'm gonna pretend this was the mysterious bonus card just to feel like I got away with something.

#1 -- 2020 Topps Allen & Ginter #325 Mark Grace SP

I'm torn here.

As a Cubs fan, I'm not supposed to like cards of Mark Grace on the Diamondbacks. But I kinda like this card of Mark Grace on the Diamondbacks. Grace is a top-tier player collection of mine, and he's basically been ignored by card companies since he retired. Plus the few post-career cards he does have almost all show him with the Cubs (rightfully so, of course). 

So not only was I thrilled to see Grace pop up in the short-printed portion of 2020 A&G's checklist (SPs which feature all sorts of strange names like Darin Erstad and Jermaine Dye this year), but a small part of me was actually glad to see him in a Diamondbacks uniform. Being a card collector is weird sometimes.

That's 2020 A&G for you, and that was way more fun to write than any A&G post I've done in a long time -- guess this whole list thing does come in handy after all.


bbcardz said...

Glad to see a Dodger make your list. I like your "when all else fails, make a list" idea, too. I'm not even a fan of Allen & Ginter product but this was a great post.

Brian said...

9 ways to first looks like a fun insert set - I like that design, too. The base cards were going to have a tough time surpassing last years, though, which was my favorite so far in the re-boot.
These are right on the edge of being pictures of baseball cards on baseball cards, which sometimes drive me crazy.

Good stuff!

Mike said...


And you got the chicken,I got you the rooster...what about the hen? Something's missing!!

...somethin's missing,all right...

Jeff B - Wax Pack Wonders said...

Love the Grace and generally don't mind his Diamondbacks cards, but would have liked to see him as a Cub on this one.

A list is always a winner. Enjoyed the post.

Elliptical Man said...

Sears Tower? What you talkin' 'bout?

I'd prefer historical people over buildings and farm animals. Mob bosses, Old West, generals, etc.

Carter - Expos

Grace - Cubs

Clemente deserves better than #3, but I guess you're a Cubs fan. So it is what it is.

Fun read.

Johnnys Trading Spot said...

I hadn't noticed before this post, that Billy's head looks a little too big for his body.

shoeboxlegends said...

Fun cards, thanks for posting Nick! Let me rip some A&G vicariously through your post!

Fuji said...

List posts rule. Part of the reason I love baseball and sports in general are because they are always surrounded by lists. Not sure why I'm so drawn by that chicken card. I'd much rather have a juicy steak, some sushi, or eat five or six slices of bacon... but that card is really cool. I like the overall design and the picture.

And I totally agree with you on Pence. He would fire up the Giants dugout and was so passionate. Very entertaining.

Bo said...

I really like the look of the skyscraper cards this year from what I have seen on the blogs. I've been in Willis (post-Sears) a few times - nice building but the security/elevator situation is more time-consuming than in similar NY buildings.

acrackedbat said...

The nicely designed Field Generals - set completed. NINE Ways to First would be fun to chase but if nothing else, I will get a copy of Interference. Initially, I liked the base cards. Now I see an old design with a shadow and frame. Wish I cared more for them but I just don't.

Tim said...

I agree with you about the non-baseball cards in Allen & Ginter. They are my favorite part! I can get just baseball cards in so many other sets. I wish A&G would lean more into the quirky. Also a big fan of the 9 ways to first insert.

Xavier Higgins said...

"That's Perverse!"