Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Group Break: Pack Wars: 2000 Stadium Club vs. 2000 Fleer Focus

It's time for the last major matchup of Pack Wars - Stadium Club vs. Fleer Focus.  Right now, Stadium Club has the best record - but a loss will put them behind Topps Stars by "half a game."  On the other hand, if Focus wins, they will manage a tie with Stadium Club and beat both Pinnacle and HD.  With that in mind, both boxes have a lot to play for!

This time I will bust two packs of Fleer Focus (20 cards) and three packs of Stadium Club (18 cards).  To even it up, the first two cards out of each Fleer Focus pack will count as "one card" in the matchups.  The Fleer Focus cards (and score) will be listed first.  Here we go!

2000 Fleer Focus (packs 13 and 14) vs. 2000 Topps Stadium Club (packs 11, 12, and 13)

Sammy Sosa (Cubs) and Rolando Arrojo (Rockies) vs. Rich Aurilia (Giants)
Sosa was a terrible cheater but even without cheating was probably a better player than Aurilia.  Throw in Arrojo's 4.23 career ERA (up to the year 2000) and Focus steals the first point.  1-0.


Jeff Shaw (Dodgers) vs. Larry Walker (Rockies)

I always liked both of these players, but Walker gets the nod based on his photo.  1-1.


Livan Hernandez (Giants) vs. Pat Burrell (Phillies)
The Burrell card is a future star card which makes it more interesting than the Hernandez.  I'm not sure if the future star cards are short prints or not...  Either way, Burrell wins.  1-2.


Quinton McCracken (Rays) vs. Brady Anderson (Orioles)
Finally, a match up without an NL West team in the fray.  Of course, this round features two of the poorer teams (at the time) in the AL East...but the win clearly has to go to Anderson.  1-3.


Tom Goodwin (Rockies) vs. John Smoltz (Braves)
Sheesh, Stadium Club is running away with this Pack War, at least early on!  1-4 now, Stadium Club with one of the largest leads of any Pack War battle.


Brady Anderson (Orioles) vs. Derek Bell (Astros)

I suppose if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.  Fleer Focus lost to Brady a few rounds earlier, so now they trot out their own version of Brady to beat Stadium Club (and it worked)!  2-4 Stadium Club on top.


Eric Young (Cubs) vs. Christian Guzman (Twins)
Guzman gets the win because he is at least pictured with the team he is on according to the card.  Young is shown in Dodger blue rather than Cub blue.  2-5 Stadium Club.


Angel Pena (Dodgers) #2635/3999 vs. Tom Goodwin (Rangers)

I needed the Pena card for my own set so this is an easy win for Focus.  As it turns out, no one claimed the Dodgers  so I'd get this card regardless of my rules.  3-5 Stadium Club.


Warren Morris (Pirates) vs. Pat Burrell - Stadium Club Chrome (Phillies)

The Stadium Club Chrome preview cards were seeded 1 per box making this a great pull for the Phillies (their second really nice pull of the group break).  Another easy choice, 3-6 Stadium Club after one pack of Focus...  Can Fleer manage a historic comeback or will Stadium Club roll on its way to the championship?


Armando Benitez (Mets) and Jason Schmidt (Pirates) vs. Eric Karros (Dodgers)
I liked Schmidt as a Pirate quite a bit - so I'll give this win to Fleer Focus.  4-6.


Ryan Klesko (Padres) vs. Marquis Grissom (Brewers)

Uhm, two guys I never really cared for one way or the other...there seems to be quite a bit of that with these early 2000s players!  I guess I'll give the win to Grisson based on his goofy picture (and the fact that Klesko is said to be a Padre while in full Braves gear).  4-7 Stadium Club winning.


Justin Thompson (Rangers) vs. Shawn Green (Blue Jays)
Another Fleer Focus card with the player pictured in the wrong uniform.  This is not a trend that I want to see continued ever again - so I'll keep punishing Focus.  4-8 Stadium Club


Albert Belle (Orioles) vs. Kenny Lofton (Indians)

The Lofton photo is so much better - I love the dust flying!  4-9 Stadium Club in a romp so far!


John Smoltz (Braves) vs. Kevin Tapani (Cubs)
This appears to be a night card of Tapani - but that's not enough to beat out Smoltz.  5-9 Stadium Club with a seemingly insurmountable lead with only four cards left!  Can Focus manage to tie it up?


Chuck Knoblach (Yankees) vs. Mike Piazza - Luminous (Mets)

And there it is, the win-clinching blowout that is an insert of Piazza (seeded 1:18 packs) versus a Yankee.  Stadium Club up 5-10.


Cliff Floyd (Marlins) vs. Andy Ashby (Padres)
I'm giving this one to Floyd because I'm sick of NL West teams and I don't have anything else to say about these two guys.  6-10.


Tony Womack (Diamondbacks) vs. Shannon Stewart (Blue Jays)
See my comment above for why Womack loses.  6-11.


Mike Mussina (Orioles) and Mo Vaughn (Angels) vs. Mo Vaughn (Angels)
Either I messed up somehow, or else the Fleer Focus pack came with an extra card.  It's exactly that extra card though that pushes Mo plus Mussina up and over plain old Mo.  7-11 Final score - Stadium Club rolls easily.

Final tally:
Fleer Focus 7
Stadium Club 11

Overall Records:
Stadium Club: 3 - 1 - 0

Topps Stars:  2 - 1 - 1
HD:  1 - 1 - 2
Pinnacle:  1 - 2 - 1
Focus:  1 - 3 - 0

Individual card win percentage with actual Win/Loss (for tie breakers)
0.550  Stadium Club:  33 - 27
0.500  Pinnacle:  31 - 31
0.500  HD:  25 - 25
0.500  Topps Stars:  30 - 30

0.458 Focus:  33 - 39

Group Break: 2000 Fleer Focus - Pack 12

I think today is a good day to open more packs than usual - so I'll post at least one more pack before the night is done.  For now, let's crack open another pack from the Fleer Focus box...

2000 Fleer Focus
Pack 12

34.  Curt Schilling - Phillies
83.  Carlos Beltran - Royals
108.  Jeremy Giambi - Royals
112. Kyle Farnsworth - Cubs

Sorry Cubs pile, I needed this card - so into my binder it goes as per my bonus box rules!  I believe I am now only missing three base cards (plus a slew of short prints and inserts).
115.  Al Leiter - Mets
117.  Aaron Sele - Mariners
117.  Aaron Sele - Mariners
There were two of the Aaron Sele cards in the pack - when I took them apart however it was clear there was some damage to the front of one and the back of the other card.
149.  Freddy Garcia - Mariners

I really like the giant team logo on the back of the cards.
144.  Roger Clemens - Yankees
158.  Greg Maddux - Braves

I believe there are a number of bloggers out there that would like this card!
207.  Todd Zeile - Mets

Overall, a pretty good pack - I got a card I needed and plenty of other good cards got doled out to group break participants!

Group Break: 2000 Topps Stars - Pack 15

It's been a fun group break - we found an autograph and a relic already...what other goodies might we uncover? Only one way to find out - keep rippin' packs!

2000 Topps Stars
Pack 15

13.  Jeff Cirillo - Rockies
115.  Rick Ankiel - Cardinals

126.  Dee Brown - Royals
135.  David Walling - Yankees
136.  Geraldo Guzman - Diamondbacks
AS13.  Nomar Garciaparra - All-Star Authority - Red Sox

The All-Star Authority cards are seeded 1:13 packs.  They stand out nicely from the regular base cards thanks to their shiny finish.  This particular card looks nice and sharp - I'm glad they didn't make the team logo foil like the regular cards!  A nice pickup for the Red Sox pile for sure!  The card looks much better in person - the scan makes it appear a bit washed out unfortunately.  

Group Break: 1998 Pinnacle Performers - Pack 15

We are slowly winding down the group break - this is pack 15 out of the Pinnacle Performers box.  Unfortunately, it's nowhere near as cool as last night's Fleer Focus pack!

1998 Pinnacle Performers
Pack 15:

7.  Chipper Jones - Braves
23.  Mo Vaugn - Red Sox
63.  Craig Biggio - Astros
70.  Garret Anderson - Angels
87.  Bobby Bonilla - Marlins
 

I think this set would have been much better had they used shots like Bonilla's on the front of the card rather than the back of the card!
98.  Eric Young - Dodgers
132.  Abraham Nunez - Pirates
134.  Carl Pavano - Expos

15 of 50.  The number 35.
Since this are technically insert cards - I'll be dividing them up and randoming them off to the group break participants.  Maybe you'll get lucky and score your lucky number...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Group Break: 2000 Fleer Focus - Pack 11 - AUTO found!

It's time for another pack of 2000 Fleer Focus - and this one is extra good!

2000 Fleer Focus:
Pack 11

59.  Brad Radke - Twins
70.  Ray Durham - White Sox
103.  Joe McEwing - Cardinals
134.  Jeff Bagwell - Astros

140.  Bret Saberhagen - Red Sox
146.  Bobby Abreu - Phillies
175.  Scott Rolen - Phillies

179.  Jose Offerman - Red Sox
192.  Fred McGriff - Rays
210.  David Sequi - Blue Jays
Rico Brogna - Fresh Ink Autograph - Phillies

First, wow!  I definitely hoped to pull an autograph, but I didn't expect to given that they are inserted at 1:96 packs.  The auto is on card which is nice, even if there is a small amount of rubbing off apparent.  Now, technically I didn't have this card which means it ought to go into my collection - but I'm feeling particularly giddy about pulling such a nice card and I want to share it.  Thus, this card WILL make its way to the Phillies pile!  All in all, this was a tremendous pack for Philadelphia, two base cards plus the auto, not bad!  


With the auto in this pack, we've now found TWO hits, both at relatively rare odds - it's been a great group break from that perspective...and there are still plenty more packs to go!

Group Break: 2001 Topps HD - Pack 18

After opening this pack, there will be only two HD packs remaining in the box!  As it turns out, this particular pack is yet another mutant pack - it features five cards (including two inserts) instead of the stated four cards per pack.

2001 Topps HD:
Pack 18:

25.  Andruw Jones - Braves

This is a really ncie looking card - the photography actually does "jump" on some of the cards, this Jones being one of them.
73.  Jeff Cirillo - Rockies
84.  Rick Ankiel - Cardinals
GD8.  Vladimir Guerrero - Game Defined- Expos

The Game Defined are seeded 1:24 packs, making this a bit rarer than one-per-box.  Obviously a nice pull!
IE3.  Ernie Banks - Images of Excellence - Cubs

The Images of Excellence are seeded 1:8 packs - but since it's a retired Hall of Famer, it's a great card!  Not to mention that it looks pretty snazzy on its own!  


Another nice pack out of the HD box, I must say - this box has been great - it's included plenty of "mutant packs" with extra cards, many more inserts than promised plus a rare clear relic card!  Good stuff all around!

Group Break: 1998 Pinnacle Performers - Pack 14

The group break packs are rapidly disappearing - let's lower the 1998 Pinnacle Performers box by another pack right now...

1998 Pinnacle Performers:
Pack 14:

52.  Charles Johnson - Marlins
56.  Moises Alou - Astros

60.  Chan Ho Park - Dodgers
85.  Al Martin - Pirates
95.  Neifi Perez - Rockies
99.  Brett Tomko - Reds
122.  Travis Lee - Diamondbacks
125.  David Ortiz - Twins

12 of 50.  The number 32

Not much to say about that pack, no inserts (other than the number 32) and not a whole lot of interesting cards.  Still, it's nice to see an assortment of teams - that means plenty of different group break piles get to grow a bit!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Delivery Time! Trade with Jim from Sixty Feet Six Inches

I recently completed another trade - this time with Jim from the not-updated-nearly-enough Sixty Feet Six Inches blog. Jim writes a nice blog full of passion - so hopefully he'll get it going once baseball season starts back up!  Anyhow, as for the actual trade - I sent Jim a bunch of Allen & Ginter base, short prints, inserts, etc.   In return, he sent me the following:

2010 Allen & Ginter:
Regular back minis:

82.  Justin Upton
112.  Tyler Bradt
244.  Aaron Cook

I'm still chasing the regular back mini set from this year's Allen & Ginter - if you happen to have any I need, please hit me up via email or in the comments below...

2009 Topps Heritage:
Base:
427.  Ben Francisco
431.  Jason Bartlett
434.  Jon Garland
500.  Billy Wagner

Then & Now (Low Series):
TN2.  Ernie Banks & Ryan Howard
I'm now only missing one of these from the Low Series (plus a whole bunch of the high series Then & Now's)!

Jim also threw in some really nice Reds cards, including a 2009 Allen & Ginter Brandon Phillips No Number mini card (#ed 25/50) and a Johnny Bench Topps 206 American Caramel mini card.

Thanks a lot Jim!  And, as always, if anyone else would like to trade - check out my want list and make an offer!

Group Break: Pack Wars: 2000 Fleer Focus vs. 2000 Topps Stars

I'm back with another round of pack wars!  For this round, I'll pit three packs of Topps Stars against two packs of Fleer Focus.  Since Focus has a two card advantage, we'll even things out by saying that the first two cards in each Focus pack will work together to function as a single card.  Let's get started!  (Fleer Focus will be listed first, Topps Stars second).

2000 Fleer Focus (packs 09 and 10) vs. 2000 Topps Stars (packs 12, 13, and 14):

Mark Grace (Cubs) and Bartolo Colon (Indians) vs. Brett Myers (Phillies)
A good start to the Pack Wars - all three players are quite solid.  Unfortunately for Topps Stars, Fleer Focus was able to trot out two solid players to trump Myers.  1-0 Focus.


Shawn Estes (Giants) vs. Mike Piazza (Mets)

This is easy - Piazza is clearly the better player here.  All tied up:  1-1.


Tony Clark (Tigers) vs. Nomar Garciaparra (Red Sox)
Another matchup of solid players - this time Topps Stars gets the upper hand by trotting out Nomar.  1-2.


Sterling Hitchcock (Padres) vs. Kenny Lofton (Indians)
I feel like Hitchcock got an inordinate number of cards over the years just based on his famous last name.  The guy was 60-56 career by the time Fleer Focus was printed...with an ERA of 4.67.  That's simply not good enough to warrant so many cards.  Lofton, on the hand, probably deserves more cards than he's been given over the years!  1-3 Stars.


Doug Glanville (Phillies) vs. Curt Schilling (Phillies)
I really grew tired of Schilling opening his mouth just to hear himself speak...and because of that, I have to give the win to the inferior Doug Glanville.  2-3 Stars.


Eric Milton (Twins) vs. Brian Daubach (Red Sox)
I have no idea who Daubach is - nor why he belongs in a set called Topps Stars.  However, I'd give the win to almost anyone before I gave a victory to Milton after his disastrous stint with my Reds.  2-4 Stars.


Ivan Rodriguez (Rangers) vs. John Sneed (Blue Jays)
Once again, Topps Stars trots out a guy who is most definitely NOT a star...and this time the opponent isn't the jackwagon named Milton.  Focus wins easily.  3-4 now, Topps Stars ahead by one.


Carl Pavano (Expos) vs. Eric Munson (Tigers)
Pavano has been both really good and really bad over the years - luckily for him, he was mostly bad when he was a Yankee...which is good enough to earn the victory here against Munson!  Tied at 4.


Tom Goodwin (Rockies) vs. Ben Christensen (Cubs)
I don't mind rookie cards in my baseball card sets, but if you are going to name your set "Stars" you better be d*mned sure your rookies will become stars, otherwise they simply don't belong.  Goodwin wins.  5-4 Focus now, heading into the last pack of Focus...


Ray Lankford (Cardinals) and Alex Gonzalez (Blue Jays) vs. Cal Ripken - Walk of Fame (Orioles)

It might have seemed like Fleer Focus would get two automatic wins since they were able to throw two cards against one - however, that is not the case since Focus ran into the buzz saw that was the Ripken Walk of Fame card (seeded 1:8 packs).  Tied up at 5 now!


David Cone (Yankees) vs. Pat Burrell (Phillies)
I try to avoid giving wins to Yankees whenever possible - in this case, it is possible since Burrell is a fine player in his own right.  Advantage Topps Stars:  5-6.


Travis Lee (Diamondbacks) vs. B.J. Garbe (Twins)
Apparently, Topps Stars didn't listen to me when I said they shouldn't have crap rookies in their set.  Point Focus.  6-6.


Shane Reynolds (Astros) vs. Ben Petrick (Rockies)
Not much to say here - other than it's another rookie out of Topps Stars who didn't become a star.  7-6 Focus.


Bill Mueller (Giants) vs. Craig Biggio (Astros)
I've gotta give respect to the guy who played his whole career in Houston...  Biggio ties it back up for Topps Stars:  7 all.


Chipper Jones (Braves) vs. Joe Morgan (Reds)

I'm sure most people would give this round to Chipper based on Morgan's unpopular television hosting duties, however, I am not most people.  In my eyes, this is a beatdown of epic proportions - Morgan regins victorious:  7-8 Topps Stars with only three matchups left!


Todd Helton (Rockies) vs. Josh Girdley (Expos)
Hahahaha.  You don't need any analysis here.  Helton wins.  8 all.


Mario Encarnacion - Future Vision (Athletics) vs. Kyle Snyder (Royals)

As per my rules, since the group break didn't fill I'm keeping any of the Focus cards that I didn't have...but wouldn't you know it, I only have two Future Vision insert cards of my own...and one of them happens to be Encarnacion...thus, this card goes directly into the A's pile!  While that's good news for whoever claimed the A's, it's bad news for Fleer Focus because I was hoping to get some more cards that I needed for my own set...point to Snyder for not disappointing me.  8-9 Topps Stars with only one card left....


Jose Cruz Jr. (Blue Jays) vs. Josh Hamilton (Rays)
Uh, I've gotta go with Hamilton here!  And with that, Topps Stars wins!  8-10.


Final tally:
Fleer Focus 8
Topps Stars  10

Overall Records:
Stadium Club: 2 - 1 - 0

Topps Stars:  2 - 1 - 1Pinnacle:  1 - 2 - 1
Focus:  1 - 2 - 0
HD:  1 - 1 - 2

Individual card win percentage with actual Win/Loss (for tie breakers)
0.524  Stadium Club:  22 - 20
0.500  Pinnacle:  31 - 31
0.500  HD:  25 - 25
0.500  Topps Stars:  30 - 30

0.481 Focus:  26 - 28

Group Break: 2001 Topps HD - Pack 17

Yesterday, I pulled a surprise hit out of the Topps High Defintion box...what goodies will today bring our way?  (In the case of this particular pack, a bonus card!)  Once again, Topps HD produces a mutant pack with extra cards - no complaints here about that!

2001 Topps High Definition:
Pack 17


34.  Gary Sheffield - Dodgers
54.  Albert Belle - Orioles

59.  Paul Konerko - White Sox
62.  Tony Gwynn - Padres

74.  Chris Bass - Pirates

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Delivery Time! Trade with Jim from Sharpe Since 92

Another day, another trade complete!  The latest swap I completed was with Jim from the Sharpe Since 92 blog.  I sent Jim a bunch of Brewers, including a few gold parallels, some chrome inserts, and an Allen & Ginter autograph.  In return, Jim sent me another relic that I needed from the Allen & Ginter set plus two autographs...

2010 Allen & Ginter:
Relic:

AGR-RK.  Ryan Kennelly

This card features "an authentic worn bench-press outfit".  I believe that means sweat pants.

Autographs:
AGA-PS.  Pablo Sandoval

I also got an "unclaimed" auto redemption for Cliff Pennington.

Thanks a lot Jim!  And, as always, if anyone else would like to trade - check out my want list and make an offer!

2001 Topps High Definition - Pack 16 - HIT found!

This pack is easily the best pack of the group break so far - we found a (non-guaranteed) hit out of the Topps HD box!

2001 Topps High Definition:
Pack 16

37.  Edgardo Alfonzo - Mets

40. Brian Giles - Pirates
48.  Tim Salmon - Angels
65.  Shawn Green - Dodgers
Checklist
HDCR2.  Vernon Wells - Clear Relic - Blue Jays

First, this is a great pull - the clear relics are seeded 1:108 packs!  Second, it's refreshing to pull a hit card for a "different" team - that always makes the group breaks more fun when multiple teams have a chance to get cool stuff.  Third, this relic is really, really nice!  I don't buy much (or any) high-end stuff, so I can say with certainty that this is the largest relic (in terms of cloth swatch size) that I've ever pulled.  I'm used to the mini Allen & Ginter squares, this thing is big enough to be a blanket for a large bug.  I also like how it is encased in clear plastic - also shades of Allen & Ginter as it turns out!

Group Break: 1998 Pinnacle Performers - Pack 13

Hopefully everyone (including myself) survived Black Friday...  By the time you read this, I'll be on the road heading back to Pennsylvania after spending Thanksgiving in Vermont.  However, just because I'm nowhere near a computer right now doesn't mean the group break fun has to stop - let's crack open another pack of 1998 Pinnacle Performers!

1998 Pinnacle Performers
Pack 13

21.  Albert Belle - White Sox
57.  Dante Bichette - Rockies

61.  Justin Thompson - Tigers
91.  Alan Benes - Cardinals
97.  Todd Walker - Twins
100.  Mike Cameron - White Sox

The photo on the back of Cameron's card would probably be used as a Facebook profile picture today...
103.  Jeff Suppan - Diamondbacks
148.  Checklist
44 of 50.  The number 64.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Group Break: Pack Wars: 2000 Fleer Focus vs. 2001 Topps HD

It's time for another Pack War - once again it's Fleer Focus taking on a new challenger - this time 2001 Topps HD.  As of now, Topps HD hasn't yet won a battle - and Fleer Focus hasn't yet lost a battle...will this match-up be a one-sided affair or will Topps HD show up swinging for the fences?

I will list the Fleer Focus card first, the Topps HD card second.  Let's get it started!

2000 Fleer Focus (packs 07 and 08) vs. 2001 Topps HD (packs 12, 13, 14, and 15):
Note:  Each Topps HD pack is advertised to have only 4 cards in it - however, we've already discovered that the Topps HD box had some mutant packs - as it turns out, all four of these packs had five cards in them...which means the numbers work out perfectly - 20 cards per brand!

Darryl Kile (Cardinals) vs. Juan Gonzalez (Tigers)
The Kile card shows him pitching batting practice which is kind of cool, however, he's pictured in full Rockies gear while only the cap on the border says that this is really a Cardinals card.  Gonzelez wins for being consistent.  0-1 Topps HD out to an early lead.


Manny Ramirez (Indians) vs. Chad Petty (Tigers)
Rookie cards are fun (I guess) when the depicted player is still a rookie...and rookie cards are certainly great when the pictured player has proven himself...rookie cards stink though when the pictured player never made it.  Manny wins easily:  1 - 1 now.


Magglio Ordonez (White Sox) vs. Mike Piazza (Mets)
I'll give this round to Piazza, though both players were quite good in their prime!  1-2 HD.


Troy Percival (Angels) vs. Jorge Posada (Yankees)
Once again, I've got to give the win to the catcher...even though it pains me to pick a Yankee.  1-3 HD.


Delino DeShields (Orioles) vs. Manny Ramirez (Indians)

Once again, Manny is victorious, only this time for Topps HD.  1-4 HD after the first pack...and as of now, Topps HD really brought its A-game!  Will that continue through the next three mutant packs?


Travis Fryman (Indians) vs. Jason Kendall (Pirates)
I don't think I ever knew Fryman left Detroit to play for the Indians.  I bet that was weird for both Tribe and Tiger fans!  On the hand, it's no surprise whatsoever that Kendall left the Pirates...pretty much all decent players bolt the Pirates as soon as they can!  Fryman wins, though this was more of a toss-up than you probably think:  2-4 HD still leading.


Royce Clayton (Rangers) vs. Jeff Kent (Giants)
I don't know much about Clayton really, he never played for teams I rooted for - and hardly ever played against them.  Kent, on the other hand, is actually more of a villain in my eyes than Bonds...  Clayton wins, 3-4 HD clinging to its lead.


John Olerud (Mariners) vs. Jeff Segar (Yankees)
Another rookie who never made it versus a battle-hardened veteran.  Olerud wins this easily...and with that, we are all tied up at 4.  Clearly this pack of HD was a let-down!


Alfonso Soriano - Prospect #0168/3999 (Yankees) vs. Dean Palmer (Tigers)

Wooo!  I needed the Soriano card so that makes this an easy win.  Remember, all the Fleer Focus cards that I don't need for my set are being distributed...but since the group break didn't completely fill up, I get to keep the ones that I do need.  5-4 Focus in the lead.


Gabe Kapler (Rangers) vs. Todd Helton (Rockies)
I always thought Helton was an underrated player - he was really, really good for a really long time!  I'll give him the respect he deserves and award him the victory this round.  And with that, at the halfway point we are knotted up at 5 wins each.


Jose Canseco (Rays) vs. Sammy Sosa - The Game Defined (Cubs)

The Game Defined insert set is seeded 1:24 packs - the parallels are seeded 1:72 packs.  I have no idea what differentiates the two, so I don't know for sure which version this card is.  Either way, it's better than a knucklehead Canseco card.  5-6 HD back in the lead.


Troy O'Leary (Red Sox) vs. Hank Aaron - Images of Excellence (Braves)

Oh my, this one isn't even close is it?  Aaron wins easily:  5-7 HD now.  The Images of Excellence cards are seeded 1:8 packs - and I believe this is the non-parallel version...though I already pulled the rarer parallel version of this card earlier in the break!


Jose Rosado (Royals) vs. Craig Biggio (Astros)
As much as I'd love to have a Royals player actually win...there's no way I could justify that in this case.  Biggio keeps HD rollin' along.  5-8 now HD leads!


Andy Ashby (Phillies) vs. Jason Kendall (Pirates)
Since I already pulled the Kendall card during this pack war, the victory goes to Ashby.  6-8 HD.


Todd Hundley (Dodgers) vs. Luis Cotto (Royals)
Once again, how can I justify having the Royal win the battle?  I simply can't.  Hundley adds another victory for Fleer Focus as they pull within one point.  7-8 now!


Shannon Stewart (Blue Jays) vs. Pat Burrell (Phillies)
I don't have much of an opinion on either of these guys - however, Burrell did his part to have the Reds win in the playoffs by striking out approximately eighty-bazillion times.  Just for that, I'll give him the win.  7-9 HD.


Jay Buhner (Mariners) vs. Roberto Alomar (Indians)
Once you spit in an umpires face, it's difficult for me to call you a winner ever again.  Buhner takes it.  8-9 HD with only three cards remaining.  Can HD hold on and secure their first ever win?


Bobby Higginson (Tigers) vs. Tim Salmon (Angels)
Two solid players, though I think Salmon was quite a bit better over time.  He gets the win...which is enough to ensure at least a tie for HD.  8-10.


Frank Thomas - Focal Points (White Sox) vs. Josh Hamilton (Rays)

Normally I'd give the win to Hamilton, despite the Thomas card being an insert.  However, I needed the Thomas card so that pushes the Big Hurt over the top.  9-10 now, it all comes down to the final card!


Rico Brogna (Phillies) vs. Stuart McFarland (Blue Jays)
Eesh, what a dud of a finale...two players who don't deserve the win.  I guess I'll give it to McFarland since this is his rookie, making it a slightly better card than Brogna's...though neither are anything special except to their respective mothers.  9-11, Topps HD wins for the first time (and Focus loses for the first time)!



Final tally:
Fleer Focus 9
Topps HD  11


Overall Records:
Stadium Club: 2 - 1 - 0
Focus:  1 - 1 - 0
Pinnacle:  1 - 2 - 1
HD:  1 - 1 - 2
Topps Stars:  1 - 1 - 1


Individual card win percentage with actual Win/Loss (for tie breakers)
0.524  Stadium Club:  22 - 20
0.500 Focus:  18 - 18
0.500  Pinnacle:  31 - 31
0.500  HD:  25 - 25
0.476  Topps Stars:  20 - 22



Interesting results this time - three of the five boxes are at .500 exactly in total individual card wins.  The other two sets are either +2 or -2...so basically, everything is a toss-up as to which pack may have the better card at this point!

Group Break: 1998 Pinnacle Performers - Pack 12

After this pack is complete we are officially half-way through with the Pinnacle box.  What "performers" are lurking in pack #12?  Let's find out!

Pack 12:
2.  Frank Thomas - White Sox
13.  Andruw Jones - Braves

14.  Hideo Nomo - Dodgers
It seems like I pull way too many Nomo cards...
32.  Manny Ramirez - Indians
35.  Jim Thome - Indians
101.  Karim Garcia - Diamondbacks
117.  Paul Konerko - Dodgers
I like the rookie cards in the set - they stand out nicely (yet also fit in) with the base card design.  Kudos to Pinnacle.
46 of 50.  The number 66
61.  Justin Thompson - Peak Performers Parallel - Tigers

Well, that wasn't the most exciting pack ever - but they can't all be winners right (except for the Tigers who picked up their second insert of the group break)?  I think the entire set would have been better if the regular base cards looked like the Peak Perfomers parallels.

Group Break: 2000 Topps Stars - Pack 11

Happy Black Friday everyone.  While you go crazy shopping online, be sure to check out the blogs too...  For your viewing pleasure, I have another pack of 2000 Topps Stars for you!

2000 Topps Stars
Pack 11

26.  Fernando Tatis - Cardinals

29.  Mark Grace - Cubs
81.  David Justice - Indians
161.  Cal Ripken Jr. - Orioles

188.  Rafael Fucal - Braves
AS6.  Barry Bonds - All-Star Authority - Giants

The All-Star Authority cards are seeded 1:13 packs and are a nice and shiny gold color on the front.  I think this might be the fifth Bonds card I've pulled in the group break already!