I got my first 2016 Allen & Ginter card in a PWE from CommishBob (of The Five Tool Collector), and I was startled by the fact that I really liked it.
…And yet I wasn’t entirely sure exactly why I liked it, especially given that I normally don’t get excited about Allen & Ginter, or “Faux-bacco” sets in general. My tastes in many things…. Baseball, music, cars… runs post-WWII and forward.
Intrigued as I was by this A&G card, the next time I was in Target I decided to try an entire pack… and right now, I’m going to sort of “live blog” my way through the pack.
First card… Luke Maile rookie card. He was a September callup in 2015, and has been with the Rays since July this year. I don’t get the impression that he’s a tremendous prospect, but it’s a rookie card, so one has to work those into products, doesn’t one?
It’s not a bad card, but not as nice as the Carter.
Matt Harvey… At least that makes the pack worthwhile for this Mets fan, but this is about as unflattering picture of Harvey as I’ve seen.
At this point, I’m starting to wonder if Carter is the outlier in this A&G dataset.
LeMahieu… This is more like it.
I think one of the things I like about this years design is the multiple layers of faux watercolor background. That, and the fact that the player’s image takes up a good chunk of cardboard real estate. Those early A&G cards had too much empty space. That might’ve been more “authentic”, but I found it uninteresting.
A Numbers Game insert… I really like the concept; this card is just OK.
For some reason, when they listed players who wore #28, they left out John Milner and Steve Pearce. Hmmph!
…Not to be confused with Minnie Mendoza, a Cuban infielder who played 16 games for the Twins in 1970.
Last card… Dexter Fowler
OK, pretty good cards, I feel like I got my money’s worth.
But the question on everyone’s lips: “Would Joe buy another pack?”
As I alluded to before, I’m generally not a tobacco/faux-bacco card guy… And when it comes to the quirky features, A&G is more miss than hit. That’s why I gently parodied the set a couple of years ago with customs like this one (ostensibly from the “American Traffic Signs” subset):
…And honestly, my reaction to pulling one of this year’s U.S. Mayors inserts wouldn’t be a whole lot different than pulling an American traffic sign.
Even though 2016 possibly ranks as the BEST! A&G! BASE! SET! EVER! (in my book, anyway), I still view this as a set solely for my team and player collections. I can see myself eagerly raiding a dime box for these, but I don’t see myself buying another pack.
One last thing… for (at least) the 9th time this year: It’s better than flagship Topps!