Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Some thoughts on 2011 Allen and Ginter

I went to Target yesterday after work to see if they had received any Allen and Ginter early and sure enough they had a gravity feeder and rack packs. It looked like they stocked their shelves with the product on Monday because the gravity feeder was already disheveled and picked through and there were only a few rack packs and no blasters. So I grabbed a rack pack and two loose packs to sample until I can find some blasters.

Overall I really enjoyed opening the packs. Allen and Ginter is always a fun product to open because of the wide variety of subjects and inserts you may find in your pack. The base cards are nicer in person with the extra color and border in the design. There looks like there may be more horizontal action cards in the base set, than last year, since I pulled a hand full from my three packs. I apologize for no scans here but everyone will be bombarded with these images soon enough in the next few days.

As far as the inserts, I didn't pull any hits. I really wanted to buy two blasters to get a better sampling of the different mini's and inserts, but my packs yielded two "Uninvited Guests" minis. I also pulled a "Minds that Made the Future" insert of Leonardo da Vinci. This insert set is not in mini form but the size of a regular card and replaced the "Hometown Heroes" card in the pack. I pulled a Allen and Ginter back mini and two "Hometown Heroes" cards to round out the inserts. I really like the design of the "Hometown Heroes" insert set but was disappointed no Orioles are listed on the checklist.

My lone Orioles for my pc from this break is currently demoted double A Zach Britton. I also pulled a code breaker promo card. I'm not even going to attempt the Ginter code. I'm not very good at that sort of thing and don't have any time if I were to devote to it. Since everyone will have the product soon I will email you the clue on the back of the card, leave me a comment if you are interested.

Overall this is another solid release and I like the base design and some of the mini insert sets better than last year. I will be collecting any Orioles and the Floating Fortresses, World's Most Mysterious Figures and Minds that Made the Future.

Friday, July 8, 2011

2011 Topps Mark Reynolds

This years Topps issue again features excellent photography, combined with a clean simple design. I'm not a big fan of foil and feel Topps could use a little less on the base product. This example is a nice action shot of Mark Reynolds. Mark is having a nice season offensively. After a slow start to the season, maybe caused by a adjustment to American League pitching, Mark's power numbers are steadily climbing. He is producing exactly the way the Orioles hoped when they traded for him, adding a power threat that the Orioles lineup has sorelyy missed the last few years. Going into the last series before the All-Star break, Mark has 20 home runs, 49 RBI and a OPS of .849. He has even cut back on his strikeouts and is hitting around the .220 mark.

On the defensive side, Mark is on pace to have the most errors in his career. He currently leads the American League with twenty. His season has been highlighted by great plays featured on highlight reels to simple routine plays he has botched. His inconsistent defense has dove tailed with the Orioles inconsistent play and the Orioles are currently mired in a terrible slump mostly caused by a starting rotation that is in disarray and giving up ten runs or more the last three games. The All-Star game cannot come soon enough and hopefully Buck Showalter can right the ship for the second half.

Friday, July 1, 2011


The card featured in this post, I redeemed on the Topps Diamond Giveaway site. At first glance, the card is a common from the 1961 issue. I didn't think much of it since I'm not a fan of the 61' design and decided I would use it as possible vintage trade bait on the the site. Then recently someone offered me a 1959 Topps for my Stallard rookie. I was a little surprised, but a few traders on the site will offer a older card for a card they really want and I assumed he was a Red Sox collector. So I almost completed the trade until my curiosity got the best of me and I did a quick wikipedia search of the pitcher.

Surprisingly, this card features a history lesson in MLB. It turns out Tracy Stallard is best known for giving up Roger Maris's 61st home run in the last game of the 1961 season against the Yankees. In the fourth inning, Stallard fell behind Maris 2-0 and threw a fastball that Maris blasted into the seats. I'm not sure if the trader knew who Stallard was, I wasn't aware of the name and Stallard had a pretty undistinguished career, except for this historic moment. Stallard himself was even quoted afterwards saying he was glad Maris hit the home run off him, otherwise his name would have been forgotten in baseball. Sadly, for most collectors today it has.

Vintage cards are a great piece of baseballs history and a card that represents a historic event like the one above can be obtained rather cheaply, and would make a nice addition to anyone's collection whether you are a beginner or experienced collector. Now my 1961 common has a lot more meaning to me and this card will evebtually become a part of my permanent collection.