Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Walgreens Repack #8: The Return

I told myself that I wasn't going to buy anymore of these. 

After the last two packs being less than stellar plus loaded with duplicates, I had sworn off of these for an undetermined length of time. However, thanks to a heads up from AJ over at The Lost Collector, the card blogging world was notified of a sale on these for $3.99 each. Never have I wanted to go to Walgreens so bad. When I stopped by there were three of these on the rack, I grabbed two, mainly because the cover card on the other pack did nothing for me. Curiously, they were the regular price. I asked someone who appeared to be managerial about it. Turns out there was an error and the price was wrong but was promised the right price would show at checkout. It did and I brought the packs home ready to tear into them.

Here's the cover card, a 2002 Fleer Focus Jersey Edition Alex Rodriguez. I've never understood the point of calling cards "jersey edition" or the like if they don't actually have a piece of a jersey in them. Regardless, this will go with my 2000-2009 cards for now. I'm not sure I like the way my cards are sorted though, but that's another story for another day.

As with any repack, it's rife with 2012 Topps. These are the best of the lot. A few things to check out here, first there's James Shields in a Rays uniform, a team I'd forgotten he played for. Second, look at the celebration on the Neftali Feliz card. I'm not sure what game it's from but it's definitely a keeper.

There were a ton of 1988 Score cards, nearly 20 to be exact. Again, these are the best of the batch. My favorite here is the Steve Bedrosian, simply because of the way everything just seems to fit perfectly. Plus, it's a night card so that works in its favor too.

1989 Topps ... yay. Interesting little side note, how strange was it that the Twins had a player in the late 80s named Greg Gagne and the AWA, which was based out of Minneapolis, had a wrestler during the same time named Greg Gagne. I wonder if they ever got confused for each other?

As with any repack, it was loaded with junk wax and commons. These four are the best of the junk wax pile that was in the middle of the pack. I'm still baffled as to why Lee Smith isn't in the Hall of Fame. He ranks third all time in saves (478), was a 7-time All-Star, holds a career ERA of 3.03 and appeared in over 1000 games in 18 seasons. Perhaps the fact he was a career reliever might be a strike against him but then again, so was Bruce Sutter and he's in. So why not Lee Smith?

Ah yes, minor league cards. For the longest time, I didn't think twice about these and either added them to my trade box or my discard box (for donations and misc stuff). For some unknown reason, these just spoke to me and I think I'll have to start adding them to my binders. For a fun exercise, I though I would explore the careers of three of the four pictured, the exception being Jon Woodworth because he's listed as a trainer.

Ken Greer - Spent 10 seasons in the minors with various teams. He did make it to the majors though. He only appeared in 9 games combined over the 1993 (Yankees) and 1995 (Giants) seasons. On this particular card, he's featured with the Ft. Lauderdale Yankees, which was the High A affiliate for the Yankees in 1990. During this particular season, he was 4-9 with a 6.45 ERA in 38 games.

Keith Schmidt - Played 6 seasons in the minors from 1989-1994, never advancing above single A ball. Here he's pictured with the Bluefield Orioles, the Rookie League affiliate of Baltimore. That particular season he had a .278/.356/.462 slash line in 55 games.

Larry Walker - No, not that Larry Walker, the other one. I didn't know there was more than two. This particular Larry Walker got into 79 games with the Greensboro Hornets of the South Atlantic League in 1990 hitting .230 with one homer and 15 RBIs. Two years later, he was out of the game, only playing six games at any level above high A.

Two more cards to show off here. First this Sportflics Eric Davis card. I think this might be the first Reds Sportflics card in my collection. I was pretty thrilled when this came out.

Dave LaPoint isn't normally someone I would think about showing cards of, mainly because I'm not familiar with him but this isn't any ordinary 1988 Donruss card. It's from the 1988 Donruss Baseball's Best set. I'm not sure what the distribution method of this set was but I really dig the orange borders. 

The back is nice too as it presents the career stats in an easy to read format with a lighter color and a different orientation that the regular 1988 Donruss cards. 

Had this repack not been on sale, I wouldn't have purchased it as I prefer the 4-pack, 50-card repacks found at Target. However, this wasn't a complete waste as I got a few fun cards and some trade fodder.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Back Packs: 2001 Donruss

I consider my "lost years" of collecting to be in the neighborhood of 1997-2011. During that time, I collected barely any, if at all. Right in the middle of that time period around late 2002 through 2003, I started doing a little more collecting, mainly because I was working two jobs (one of which was at a card shop) and had some disposable income for the first time in my life. So despite this Donruss pack being from 2001, I have no knowledge of this product whatsoever. The pack touts this as being the "20th Anniversary" which technically would be correct, even though this was the first Donruss release since 1998. 

This pack isn't exactly a behemoth, clocking in at only five cards and one "2000 Retro-Active Pack" all contained within one foil wrapper. Speaking of the wrapper, it definitely screams "Texas Rangers" with A-Rod being the cover boy, red as the primary background, a blue star smack in the middle, and small silver stars vertically on each side. 

#1 Alex Rodriguez

Each card has a border around it matching the team's primary color. Also, each card is stamped with a "20th Anniversary" stamp. Something I just noticed as well, each card has stars throughout the background and along the white inner border in each team's secondary color. The logo and nameplate at the bottom have a very similar look to 2000 Fleer Impact. As for this particular card, I'm guessing this was one of A-Rod's early Rangers cards as it's just him against a black background.

#10 Jeff Bagwell

2001 was the first season since 1997 where Bagwell's batting average dipped below .300 and he would finish the season with a .288/.397/.568 slash line along with 39 HRs and 130 RBIs and finished seventh in the MVP voting. The card stock its worth noting feels pretty flimsy. Also, this picture seems a bit off, almost like the image of Bagwell following through on his swing was super-imposed on a background with a Cubs catcher.

#49 Adam Piatt

Perhaps the least notable name I pulled out of this pack of five, Adam Piatt only lasted four years as a back-up outfielder in the majors, the majority of which where with Oakland. The most action he saw in a season was 61 games split between Oakland and Tampa Bay. In the 2001 season, he only logged 36 games and put up a .211/.300/.284 slash line.

#204 Chipper Jones FC

At first I though this was some type of insert card but come to find out, it's actually part of the base set. Cards 201-220 are part of the "Fan Club" subset. The design is quite different in that the photo is cropped to fit inside a home plate. The stars in the background are gone, replaced with vertical lines in the primary background and two stripes with the primary color of the player's team on each side. This particular card has a red 20th anniversary stamp on it unlike the normal base cards that have a silver stamp. I'm not really sure that makes much of a difference though.

#111 Chuck Knoblauch

After orchestrating a trade from the Twins to the Yankees in 1998, Knoblauch was on the downhill side of his career come 2001. Primarily a second baseman, he was moved to left field when his defense started to slide and he developed problems throwing the ball to first base. 2001 would be his last year in the Bronx, hitting a meager .250 with 9 HRs and 44 RBIs in 600 plate appearances. 

Here's the aforementioned "retro active" pack. Since this was a retail pack, it contained one card labeled as Donruss 2000. Hobby packs contained cards labeled as 1999 Donruss. Regardless, there's only one card in here so it's tantamount to opening a one card pack from a cereal box. Anyway, here's what's inside ...

#2 Alex Rodriguez

And wouldn't you know it, another card of A-Rod, this time representing the Mariners. The design on this isn't bad and I like the concept of getting cards from the "lost years" but maybe those could have been insert cards instead of a bonus pack. I'd say this was a nice comeback effort from Donruss but it felt kind of generic and heavy on star power (and I don't mean star players). Donruss would hang on for a few more years, putting out one final release in 2005 before MLB limited their licensing options. Panini would eventually acquire the brand in 2009 and it would stay stagnant until a third relaunch under the Panini banner in 2014. 

For 50 cents, this was a fun rip but I wouldn't really pay any more than that for a pack.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Gypsy Queen and Heritage

As mentioned a few posts ago, I was out with the family on the day before Easter and we wound up the neighborhood of Maverick's Cards and Comics. I was a bit rushed for time as we were trying to get back to the house for lunch and wasn't able to rummage through some of their bargain boxes as I would have liked. Instead, I took a gander and what packs they had available and lo and behold they had Heritage and Gypsy Queen! Score! I grabbed three packs of GQ and two packs of Heritage. First, the Gypsy Queen ...

My initial thoughts on the design is that it's really cool. I like it a lot better than last year which seemed sort of bland. I also like the fact that it's been streamlined and overhauled somewhat. Gone are the minis in every pack and the relic cards (for the most part). Now it's two autographs per box and the price tag is much less. Last year, I remember the card shops had packs for around $6-$6.50 each, now packs are about $5 each. I can stomach that.

I didn't get any short prints in the packs nor did I get any Reds. I did wind up with these two Indians cards though. I won't complain too much about that.

As for the variations and what have you, I didn't get any of the capless variations, nor did I get the "gum back" variations. I did get this ... whatever "this" is. It's some sort of faded, washed out deal but I couldn't find much info on it. As a matter of fact, Edwin Encarnacion isn't listed anywhere on the list of variations on both Beckett and Cardboard Connection. Both articles mentioned there were "unannounced variations" floating about so perhaps this is one of those.

Remember how I said the relic card were pretty much stripped from the product and autographs were the only hit now? Well this came right out of the first pack I opened. I really like the design and layout on this. Eovaldi has been a pretty decent pitcher the last few years so I'm OK with this hit.

As I mentioned, I also nabbed two packs of Heritage. Showing off the fronts of the Heritage base cards at this point pretty much amounts to beating a dead horse. So I'll spare you that and show you some of the other highlights.

The back of this J.J. Hardy card is notable for two things. The first being that I had forgotten that J.J. Hardy had been around since 2005. The second is the cartoon. One of the best things about Heritage is that it brings back the cartoons on the back and this is the best one of the cards in the packs I opened.

I got an insert in each Heritage pack, at least I consider the All-Star cards an insert. They may as well be with the puzzle on the back. I've always liked the Then and Now inserts.

I'm digging the use of buybacks in different products this year. This is the first one I have from 1985, or the 80s in general, and it's a pretty notable player so it's a welcome addition to the collection.

Speaking of notable players, this Heritage Chrome Clayton Kershaw is pretty nifty. I don't think it's a refractor of any sort, just a standard card and it's going to be set aside to be put in the shiny card collection when I eventually start that up.

I'm pretty happy with these, especially the Gypsy Queen. I'm definitely going to pick some more of that up, be it at the card shop or at one of the big box stores.