Pack Animal: 2004 BBM Rookie Edition (Japanese)

I took a vacation day on Monday, was running some errands and I almost – ALMOST – gave into temptation and stopped at Target or Five Below to buy a repack… then my “inner mom” reminded me that “You’ve got plenty of unopened packs at home!”

As always, Inner Mom was right. Among the packs I have are a bunch of Japanese packs that I bought at The National the last time it was in Baltimore… which was what – 2012? 2013? All along I intended to pace myself with these packs, but to be honest I pace myself way too much with these.

So this pack, as the wrapper says, is the 2004 BBM Rookie Edition…

In this case, “Rookie” implies two things: 1) I’m thinking this pack will be “gaijin-free” (i.e. none of the players will be from outside of Japan), and 2) Rookie-based sets always have their share of busts. Long story short, I’ll be surprised if I know any of these players.

But it’s an unopened pack, which is what I wanted, and it’s Japanese so every card is automatically regarded as “cool” and goes in my Japanese binder.

Here’s the back of the pack…

And… Let’s rip!

First card: Atsushi Fujimoto of the Hanshin Tigers.

Interesting design, I’ll say that much.

When I Googled on Fujimoto’s name, my first hit was a LinkedIn profile — Not an encouraging sign regarding this guy’s baseball fame… but as I’d find out through other sources, he played for the Tigers up until 2009, and then put in a few more years with the Swallows. Wikipedia says he was on the Bronze-medal-winning 2004 Olympic team.

The card back is pretty typically BBM.

Next card… Masaya Shibata of the BlueWave… and a different card design.

Given that he’s wearing a shirt and tie under his jersey, and given that I can’t find out anything about him through my usual internetty searches, I’m guessing this is a sort of “draft pick” card and he never actually played in NPB. Maybe one of my NPB-fluent readers can fill us in on the details.

Since the back is different, I’ll show that as well.

Next up, another possible draft pick card – even the same pose – for Satoshi Yamazaki of the Lions.

My knowledge of Japanese language and culture is what we in the IT trade would categorize as “knowing just enough to be dangerous”… but the first thing I thought of when I saw the raised fist was “Ganbatte!”… but I think that’s more something encouraging one would say to another (i.e. “good luck” or “try your best”) rather than a sort of “battle cry”.

Maybe I’m giving someone in Japan a good chuckle with my “close but no cigar” knowledge of Japanese language and culture. Anyway…

Yamazaki put in four years with the Lions and played in the now-extinct Hawaii Winter Baseball League in 2006.

Ryota Katsuki of the Buffaloes, also with the fist in the air. This is definitely a “thing”.

Katsuki put in 12 seasons with the Buffaloes, BlueWave and Giants. He may still be active, but if he is it’s not in NPB… or the top level of NPB, I’ve never been clear whether the “minor league” teams are considered part of NPB (or to put it in American terms, whether NPB refers to the “Majors” or to “affiliated professional baseball”).

Yoshinori Ogata of the Carp.

A few years ago I got a few Carp games on my local cable, part of some international sports “fill up broadcast time” package. I watched enough that I almost became a Carp fan. I miss those games, they were a lot of fun to watch.

Ogata played from 2004 to 2009, but has no stats from 2006 and 2008, and only one game from 2009. Either he was in the minors, or he was injured, or both.

Another card with the same design as the first one. Ryota Igarashi… Wait a minute, I know this dude… He used to pitch for my New York Mets!

He also pitched a handful of games for the Jays and Yankees in 2012. This card by itself is worth the price of admission. Before coming to the States, Igarashi pitched for the Swallows from 1999 to 2009. After his stint in MLB and AAA baseball, he went back to Japan, signed with the SoftBank Hawks, and is still active. How ’bout that? (The prior sentence is said in my best Mel Allen “This Week In Baseball” voice).

I have more to say about his MLB stint, but I’ll leave it for the end of the post, just to keep from going off on too much of a tangent.

Getting back to the BBM card, I noticed that this card says “1998 Rookie” on the bottom… and I went back and looked at the first card and it says “2001 Rookie”, so this is obviously a subset honoring past rookies, where the shirt-and-tie, fist-in-the-air cards must be the true rookies of the set.

Final card, and it looks insert-y…

The left edge and the “2001 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR” logo are gold foil. Norihiro Akahoshi played for the Tigers from 2001 to 2009, and Wikipedia provides me with some other honors besides Central League ROY… He lead the league in stolen bases from 2001 to 2005, was named to the Central League “Best Nine” from 2003 to 2005 and won 6 Golden Glove awards (if I can count correctly). Wikipedia’s entry sounds like he had to retire after suffering neck and spinal injuries in 2009.

I’ll show the insert card’s back to wrap up the pack.

Before I go, I’d like to touch on Ryota Igarashi and his time with the Mets. I was going to scan one of his cards from his two years with the Mets and was surprised to find that there are none. Nada. Zilch. Bupkus. Bugger-all. Yes, he was a reliever, but he made 79 appearances over two seasons and it doesn’t seem like Topps to completely ignore the opportunity to have a rookie card, even if in the Update set. Perhaps he never signed a contract with Topps.

His Mets career also coincided with my just getting started in custom cards, so I don’t have any customs to share either… but I did save some images from that period, so I’ll use my handy dandy all-purpose 2017 TSR Fauxback design to rectify the situation.

2017 Topps Archives: I’m Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today!

Yesterday, Nick over at Dime Boxes wrote about a “Clerks” base set he got, and the line I quote most from the movie turned out to be very much applicable to today’s post.

Not long ago I decided I wouldn’t even bother with 2017 Topps Archives, yet here I am, about to tell you about the blaster I bought. Generally positive blog posts made me mentally upgrade from “nothing” to “a couple of packs” and finding out that there were honest-to-goodness coins in the blasters pushed me into impulse-buy mode and I ended up with a blaster.

Part of the reason for my initial disinterest was the card designs used for the base set. 1982 has already been done too much (as pretty much everybody is saying), 1992 is a little too similar to last year’s 1991, and I frankly never cared for the 1960 design. However, Topps made some noticeable improvements to the base set and the inserts, so I ended up spending more than I should have.

I opened about half of the blaster, and I’m just going to run through the base cards and the inserts I’ve pulled… No major review here, just some thoughts I have.

Potential legal trouble
Since I bought a blaster, I don’t have a visual aid to go with something I noticed about the Hanger packs.

The hanger says on the front “One 1960 Topps Rookie Star Inside!”  I will point out that it doesn’t put anything in quotation marks or say “One Topps Rookie Star in the 1960 design…”, it says “1960 Topps Rookie Star”.  To my thinking, that’s a Rookie Star card which had been issued in 1960.  I SMELL LEGAL ACTION!!!!

Card Stock

As others have mentioned, the 1960 and 1982 cards are done on a thicker card stock than prior Archives releases. This is good, but is more about righting a wrong… Cards at this price point *should* be on heavier stock than an index card.

1987 Coins insert

These were a surprise to me… I figured they’d be cardboard disks in the style of the coins, but they’re honest-to-goodness coins… and pretty cool.

I’ve seen these referred to as being in the style of the 1964 coins, but they’re actually in the style of the 1987 coins. The differences are subtle but definitive.

Here’s the back of the Bregman:

Base cards:  1960

These cards are largely well done, but there’s one issue I have that I’ve not seen mentioned in other people’s reviews, but for me it was like nails on a chalkboard.

Here’s Edwin Diaz from my blaster.

And here’s an original 1960 Bob Mabe from my binders.

The player’s name should be fully-justified, not left-aligned.  On the Bob Mabe card, “BOB” is aligned on the left with “BALTIMORE” and “MABE” is aligned on the right with “PITCHER”, and the letters should have extra spacing between them to make it happen on shorter names.  The Archives cards look OK for players with longer names, but for the short names, it’s like a bad ventriloquist who moves his lips – it just serves to distract, and all you can see are those moving lips.

I won’t even get into the concept of using a wider font from the same family for the shorter names.

Oh, almost forgot the back.

Base cards:  1982
I’ve nothing to say about these beyond the usual refrain…. “1982 AGAIN????”  (That’s a rather… tender subject.  Another slice?”)

Base cards:  1992
My only complaint – and it is a minor quibble – is that some teams (Pirates, Giants) should use colored text for the player’s names.

Kudos for using updated ballpark images on the back, where applicable.

1959 Bazooka insert
Of all the sets issued for which I own absolutely no examples of, 1959 Bazooka is easily one of my favorites.  Oversized and beautiful… and unfortunately rare and expensive.  I’ll just have to settle for the “1959 Bazooka Minis” in these Archives packs.

I don’t know why they ran the photo through a filter.  1959 isn’t *THAT* old-timey, the photos were photos… not as crisp as today’s photos due to the printing technology of today, but nothing that should be run through a filter.

I like these but what would’ve *REALLY* been cool is if they printed these in a larger-than-standard size on the *outside* of the actual blaster box. This is an idea I’ve pitched before, but Topps must’ve missed that particular post.

1960 Rookie Stars Inserts
I don’t have anything to say about these. They’re fine. This also falls under in the category of “I don’t care for 1960 Topps except for the managers subset”

Oddly enough, the card stock for these is slightly darker and thinner than is used on the 1960 base cards.

Jeter Retrospective Insert set
I didn’t bother scanning one of these because nobody really needs to see a reprint of a 2008 Topps Jeter. The only think keeping these cards from being used with bicycle spokes is that I don’t currently own a bicycle or a clothespin.

On the whole…
I like 2017 Archives, but after I finish off this blaster I don’t see myself getting anything other than individual cards to fill out my team/player collections.

Pack Animal: 2017 Topps Major League Soccer

Last week I was in Target looking for 2017 Bowman. I didn’t find it during that trip (and when I did find it, it proved just a bit too uninteresting to bother posting about), but did find packs of 2017 Topps Major League Soccer.

The pack is only 6 cards, but it’s also only $1.99, so I pulled the trigger. I don’t follow MLS, so this will be a one-and-done situation.

Before I get to the cards… Is it wrong that I feel bad for MLS?  I think the American mindset is to want the best of the best, but in the case of soccer, that’s the English Premier League, the German Bundesliga, etc. And honestly, if you’re watching the game on a TV or other electronic device, does it make a huge difference if the game is in a nearby city or on another continent?

MLS would like for you to not answer that question.

Anyway, on to the pack.

First card:  Jelle Van Damme, Los Angeles Galaxy

Not a bad design, but I’d like to see more of the background in an unblurred, uncloudy state. In other words, less of the typical recent Topps behavior.

Next up Juan Gaudelo, New England Revolution.

Because of the different border with numbers running down the side, I’d wondered if this might be a parallel, but it’s actually a subset:  “24 under 24”, which is an annual ranking of the top MLS players who are 23 years old and younger. Mr. Gaudelo is #17 on the current ranking.

Atiba Harris, FC Dallas

Chris Pontius, Back Of The Net insert.

Graham Zusi, Sporting Kansas City

I’m going to play the Grumpy Old Man card… specifically my 1992 Star Pics Saturday Night Live Grumpy Old Man card…

…And say that “Sporting Kansas City” is a dumb-ass name for a team.

In my day, teams had names like Expos, SuperSonics and Barons! That’s the way it was, and we liked it!

Finally, David Villa, NYC FC

David Villa recently threw out the first pitch at a Yankees game. NYC FC is part-owned by the Yankees, so it follows that they cross-promote.

I have to say, I’m glad I’m not a soccer fan in NYC: One team has Yankee ownership, the other is named for an energy drink.

I’m of the opinion that NYC FC is another stupid (and awkward) team name, but given the ownership situation, I suppose we should be happy that they’re not called “Yankee United”.

A Compulsive Fool And Three Packs Of 2017 Opening Day

Well, “Compulsive Fool” might be a little harsh.  I like bits of Opening Day, just not enough to justify going into a nearby Target for three straight days looking for packs.

But there I was…. and I found some packs on Friday.  Given that they’re a buck a pack, I bought three.  I’m not sure I will buy more, but I’m not sure I won’t.

So anyway, it’s the same deal it’s been for a while.  The base set is largely a parallel of the flagship set, but it’s the inserts and the base cards which differ from flagship which interest me.

I’ll tell you up front that, much to my disappointment, I didn’t get any mascot inserts.  Those are among my favorite Opening Day inserts, and I rarely get mascots… and I NEVER get Mr. Met.

So we’ll start off the festivities with a Matt Kemp card (Update:  I had said that this card was photoshopped, but I was reminded in the comments that he was traded last July in a deadline deal.)

I like the way they incorporated the Opening Day logo into the design…

…but not so much on the horizontal cards.

Hanley Ramirez is another player who’s in Series 2; I’m guessing the card will look like this one.

In the first pack, I got a Jose Altuve Opening Day Stars insert.

Not a bad card, but I long for the day when the “Opening Day Stars” inserts were 3-D.

Adam Eaton Superstar Celebrations… You can just barely see Eaton in the mob.

Here’s a fairly interesting card….

Not only is Cameron Maybin photoshopped into an Angels uni… it’s a different photo than the Series 1 Maybin card. Most excellent.

Second pack… Another photoshop!  Adam Eaton (again!) with the Nationals…

And once again, a different photo.

Here we have an “Incredible Eats” insert, a foot-long hot dog from Coors Field.

Um, yeah. Can’t say I “get” this insert set. I can’t even get interested in watching cooking shows, I’m certainly not going to chase down cards of food.

Moving on to the third pack, we’ve got another Superstar Celebrations!
di
OK, I know which one is Giancarlo Stanton… but do I want to know what’s going on here?

So those are the highlights of my three packs. Yay.

…But I was at least happy to pull a few photoshop jobs, so I got some value for my $3.

I’ll wrap up with a list that someone will hopefully find useful… I bumped the Opening Day checklist against the Series 1 checklist and made a list of players who are listed with different teams in the two sets, plus those players who aren’t in Series 1 but have changed teams over the winter, indicating that the Opening Day cards might be different from the flagship equivalent:

# name team note
2 Reynaldo Lopez Chicago White Sox Diff. team from S1
7 Drew Smyly Seattle Mariners Diff. team from S1
22 Lucas Giolito Chicago White Sox Probably photoshopped
25 Adam Eaton Washington Nationals Different Photo and photoshopped
29 Wilson Ramos Tampa Bay Rays Diff. team from S1
46 Kendrys Morales Toronto Blue Jays Diff. team from S1
74 Yoan Moncada Chicago White Sox Diff. team from S1
81 Jean Segura Seattle Mariners Diff. team from S1
116 Chris Sale Boston Red Sox Diff. team from S1
119 Cameron Maybin Angels Different Photo and photoshopped
161 Brian McCann Houston Astros Diff. team from S1
173 Edwin Encarnacion Cleveland Indians Diff. team from S1

 

 

Pack Animal: 2017 Topps Heritage (Two 20-Card Hanger Packs)

Yesterday I ran over to Target during my lunch break, expecting it to be the first of many wasted trips… but much to my surprise, they had wax packs and hanging 20-card packs.
opened-2017-topps-heritage-hanger-wrapper
As the hangers were a slightly better value, I shelled out $12 for two of those …and another $2.50 for a box of Trix.  With cards and Trix in hand, I silently thanked Target for their new self-checkout lane.

When I was a kid on Long Island in the mid 1970’s, there weren’t many avenues for obtaining cards and the oldest cards I was able to get my hand on was 1968 Topps. Because of that, 1968 had a certain “cool because it’s almost as old as I am” appeal to me which is somewhat above and beyond what is deserved for an admittedly middling design.

So the question for me this year is whether my own fondness for the small handful of dogeared 68T cards I’ve had since childhood will carry over to this year’s Heritage.

And I also have to apologize for my scanner washing out some of these images… I admittedly rushed this post out, so I didn’t have time to try to compensate for the washout.

First card:  Giants team.
2017-topps-heritage-giants-team-card
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. I’d rather have managers, who are absent from the checklist this year.  Boo, Topps!  Can you at least include managers in the High Numbers update set?

For a player card, here’s Danny Valencia… with the M’s?
2017-topps-heritage-danny-valencia
I’ve gotta say, that’s some pretty nice photoshopping.

The backs seem excessively yellow… or maybe I’m just used to time-faded ink.
2017-topps-heritage-danny-valencia-back

This answers one question I had:  fine-weave and course-weave in the same pack.
2017-topps-heritage-yasmani-grandal-javier-baez

Ha!  Richie Shaffer, one of the guys who did the “Grand Tour” this winter.
2017-topps-heritage-richie-shaffer
You might remember my talking about Shaffer in one of my Hot Stove posts.  This offseason he went from the Rays to the M’s to the Phillies to the Reds to the Indians before passing through waivers and getting outrighted to the Indians AAA team.  He was in the Reds organization (on paper) from 12/23 to 1/26, so the photoshopping happened (or at least started) during this window.

Strikeout Leaders. They need to crop these portraits tighter.
2017-topps-heritage-nl-strikeout-leaders

Aaron Nola!  He’s a player I collect after being impressed with him in a minor league outing.
2017-topps-heritage-aaron-nola

Then and Now.
2017-topps-heritage-then-and-now-frank-thomas-nolan-arenado
I like the design a lot more than I like the theme.

I do like these All-star cards… Sorry, All-Topps Selections
2017-topps-heritage-mike-trout-all-star

And there’s a Mike Trout puzzle on the back!  Sweet!
2017-topps-heritage-mike-trout-as-back
(I know it’s Trout because I pulled another piece later on).

Hatless Herman Perez. Seems like we need at least some hatless guys.
2017-topps-heritage-hernan-perez

I wasn’t going to open the second pack right away, but what the hell. I want a Game card!  And Mets and Orioles!

World Series cards. Oh, sure, Cleveland gets a card while the Mets got shut out last year.
2017-topps-heritage-world-series-game-1
Topps is just working towards annoying me now.

Got a SP in the second pack in the form of Mr. Kyle Schwarber.
2017-topps-heritage-kyle-schwarber

And those are the highlights of my two packs.

Now that I’ve gone through 40 cards, I’m a bit mixed about this set. The cards are generally pretty well done, but as they would say at my place of employment, I’m not sure the “Return On Investment” is there. For $12 I got one of 100 SP’s, 38 base cards, 1 uninteresting insert, no Mets, no Orioles, no Game cards – which I was really hoping for after recently completing the original set. Not even any parallels or variations (admittedly, these would likely get traded or sold on COMC).

I understand it’s a small sample size, but this was a mildly disappointing first time through.

And yet I find myself thinking “Maybe if I bought a third pack…”

Pack Animal: 2017 Topps Series 1 Hanger (Target)

Yesterday on the way home from work, I was greatly relieved to find hanger boxes of 2017 Topps in my local Target.  The past couple of years, I’d be checking in stores for at least a week before finding them;  this time it was just three days.

When I pulled the cello-wrapped brick of cards out of the box, this is what I saw first:
2017-topps-1987-alex-reyes-back
Kind of an odd flashback…  I turned 22 in 1987, so I fully remember seeing backs like this on the bottom of cello packs.

This is the first base card I saw.  (Every time I see Homer Bailey, in my head I hear Marge Simpson disapprovingly say “Oh, Homer…”)
2017-topps-homer-bailey
I have to say, I kind of like these cards, the slanted perspective on the border and the logo is an interesting touch. I wish the player’s position on the left were more legible, and the team name below the player’s name is almost completely useless… In terms of uselessness, it reminds me of the little colored “folder tab” along the right vertical edge of 2014 Topps.

First card back… Unfortunately it’s one with no twitter or Instagram handles on it.
2017-topps-homer-bailey-back
I’m very happy about the legible card number; If the hobby is truly aging as some say it is, then the card companies have to remember that us middle-aged people can’t see as well as we used to.

There is also the much talked about and Donruss-like 5 years of stats. I honestly don’t have a problem with that. I rarely look at the stats anyway.

The team logo is kind of awkwardly placed on the right, I’d rather see more of the write-up filling that space.

Woo! The Yankee Clippard!
2017-topps-tyler-clippard

First Met: Jacob deGrom
2017-topps-jacob-degrom
Time will tell if we’ll ever again have a deGrom card that doesn’t have him in motion… The hair flying everywhere is apparently too much for card makers to resist.

I’m torn on these league leader cards.
2017-topps-nolan-arenado-ll
On one hand, it’s better than the recent leader cards which cram three action shots of players on to the card.  But on the other hand, this is an entire subset of players who already have other cards… And how many people are clamoring for an extra Matt Kemp card because he finished third in the NL in RBI?  I guess as a set collector I don’t care for it, but as a team/player collector it would be a lot more appealing to have a single Mark Trumbo HR Leader card than to have him squished on a card with Nelson Cruz and 3 other guys who had tied for third.

Yaay! Marcus Stroman!  (He’s a player I collect)
2017-topps-marcus-stroman
Boo, Canada Day uniform!  (Apologies to our great neighbors to the north, I have nothing against you, I just don’t like the Jays’ Canada Day Unis).

This card from the “5 Tool” insert set is really… Ecch.  No, you know what they are?  They’re 1995 Fleer-like.  Topps, in case you didn’t know, that’s a very bad thing to be like.
2017-topps-5-tool-kyle-seager
Hmmm… “5 Tool”… Maybe I should send all of my “5 Tool” cards to The Five Tool Collector

Just kidding, I would never do that, I like him too much.

First Pitch card! Do I come across as old if I have no clue who Chris Lane is?
2017-topps-first-pitch-chris-lane
OK, he’s a Country singer.  I’ll write my ignorance off as a cultural difference rather than an age difference.

The question on everyone’s lips:  Is there, anywhere in this world, an intersection of Chris Lane and Houston Street?

I *almost* like these Awards cards… They would be really sharp if the design didn’t dominate the entire card.  This one is a Target exclusive.
2017-topps-awards-anthony-rizzo-gold-glove
You know what’s odd?  The checklist downloaded from Topps.com says “Gold Glove Award”, the card is numbered GG-6… But the card and the “Only At Target” banner on the box say “Fielding Award”.  Do Topps, Target and Rawlings not want to play nice when it comes to the undoubtedly-copyrighted phrase “Gold Glove”?

I guess I should be happy that a “Fielding Award” card shows Anthony Rizzo actually fielding… or at least out in the field.

Just after the inserts in my pack are a whole bunch of horizontal cards. I guess they’re somehow processed separately.
2017-topps-mark-reynolds
I just read that Mark Reynolds turned down an offer to be the highest-paid baseball player in Korea. He could have made $3M guaranteed with the KBO, instead he signed a minor league contract with the Rockies with $2M plus incentives if he makes the team.  Funny how buyer-friendly the market was for 1B/DH types this winter.

“Thor And The Dark Knight”.  As 21st Century combo cards go, this isn’t too bad.
2017-topps-thor-and-the-dark-knight
The comic nerd in me objects to this pairing, as Thor is Marvel and Batman is DC.  Of course, the comic snob in me is not happy with the direction either publisher has taken over the past decade and declares “A pox on both your houses!”

When I started to go through this pack, I decided to look at everyone’s Twitter handle and pick out the one that I liked best.  The winner is… @moosetacos8
2017-topps-mike-moustakas

Wrapping up the pack, here’s the front of that Alex Reyes card.  My scanner washed out the wood grain on the border.
2017-topps-1987-alex-reyes

My brain was telling me that the Cardinals logo looked wrong and somewhat plain, and sure enough, in the 1987 set the Cardinals had a different logo;  a different bird on a bat in front of a baseball and surrounded by a red ring.

I get that it’s the 30th anniversary of 1987 Topps… and it’s kinda depressing to me that it’s the 30th anniversary of that set… But 1987 Topps?  It’s not that great of a set, especially given all the minis and various other inserts which have already been thrown our way. I guess I should count my blessings that they didn’t do a 20th anniversary insert for 1997 Topps (one of my all-time worst Topps sets).

All this is well and good, but how do these cards look in a binder?  Let’s stick two into my current Mets binder and see…
mets-current-roster-page-2-4-17
Not too shabby.  I like these cards better than a lot of bloggers do, and nobody will argue that they’re not better than 2016 Topps.  I don’t see myself chasing the whole set, but I’ll happily buy packs throughout the year (and open packs which come in repacks a year or three down the road, just because those things always have Topps packs).

Let’s see how the base set breaks down by team:

20 cards – Chicago Cubs
16 – Boston Red Sox
15 – Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays
14 – New York Mets
13 – Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals
12 – Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals
11 – Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres
10 – Angels, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants
9 – Atlanta Braves, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers

Don’t It Just Figure: Out of 72 cards in my hanger, only two teams were not represented: The Marlins (no big loss) and my other favorite team, the Orioles.

Pack Animal: 2000 Topps Gallery

This pack came from a purchase of about 50 packs, all discounted and mostly from 10-15 years ago.  I didn’t buy any Topps Gallery cards back then, because the cost-to-fun ratio wasn’t there for me.
2000-topps-gallery-wrapper
The tag line for Topps Gallery was “The Art Of Collecting”, and when I saw these packs of 2000 Gallery, I thought “Woo-hoo! Cards made from paintings!”

Unfortunately, I’d forgotten that the first year of Gallery didn’t use paintings for the base set, the cards featured photos. Nicely printed and glossy, but still photos. Oh, well. I would’ve bought these packs anyway.

If you’ve never seen one of these before, the card stock isn’t particularly thick, but the glossy photo is further set apart from the white border by the border being textured and with gold foil stamping for the name and team.  The photo scans well, the gold stamping… not so much.  The letters look almost ghostly in the scans.
2000-topps-gallery-craig-biggio

Here’s the back of the Biggio.  Biggio is from near where I grew up on Long Island, and yet I don’t collect him.  Don’t ask me, I don’t understand it either.
2000-topps-gallery-craig-biggio-back

I guess Carlos Delgado is doing some sort of post-homer celebration, but it looks more like he’s throwing his bat at something that scared him.
2000-topps-gallery-carlos-delgado
EEEEK!

Jason Kendall and Mark Grudzielanek tangle at 2nd base.
2000-topps-gallery-jason-kendall
A great picture and one i’ll keep even though it doesn’t really fit into any of my numerous collections.

Kevin Brown… Not a terribly interesting card that’s supposed to be “The Art Of Collecting”.  The card is saved by pronounced Dodger blue and grass green.
2000-topps-gallery-kevin-brown

Larry Bigbie! One of my favorite Orioles from the early 21st century. He came up to the bigs with several other players, including Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons.
2000-topps-gallery-larrry-bigbie-students-of-the-game
Bigbie was the 21st overall pick in the 1999 draft, but never quite lived up to the first round expectations. He peaked in 2004 when he batted .280 with 15 homers, 76 runs, 68 RBI and 23 doubles. He tailed off in 2005 and before the July deadline he was traded to the Rockies for Eric “Captain America” Byrnes… A deal which didn’t work out for either team.

Wrapping things up with a Yankee.  Booo!
2000-topps-gallery-orlando-hernandez
Under a previous collecting mindset, I would’ve held on to this card given that El Duque pitched for the Mets at the end of his career and I was hanging on to anybody who’d played for the Mets, regardless of which team he is pictured with on the card.  Now, I realize I have way too many cards and can’t be hanging on to cards just because the player was one I’d cheered on at one point.

Even though wasn’t quite what I expected, but it was still a fun pack to open… and, like I said,  it was relatively cheap, so it’s all good.