Monday, July 31, 2017

INTERVIEW with Michal Kapral (Joggler featured in 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter set)



A few days ago, I posted a pack break where I pulled a relic card of joggler Michal Kapral.  At the time, I said a few snarky words about it and moved on with the cards without giving it a second thought.  Flash forward a day or so and who comments on that blog post?  None other than Michal himself.  After exchanging a few emails back and forth, I quickly learned that Michal has a good sense of humor about his hobby (running and juggling at the same time) and that he appreciates a little bit of ribbing from random people on the internet like me.  In fact, Michal graciously agreed to do an interview with me for the blog - and since he has a card in this year's Allen & Ginter set, I figured that many of you would be interested in learning what goes into becoming a subject in the set (he has a base card plus an autograph and a relic card).

Below is the interview, edited only slightly by me for clarity.  I would like to once again thank Michal for giving the rest of us a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes of one of my favorite brands of all-time.  My questions are in bold and I copied and pasted Michal's answers below (again, with only a few minor edits such as including active links).

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1.       To most baseball card collectors, you are simply the “joggler” as stated on the back of your 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball card.  What made you take up such a unique pairing of activities? 

When I was kid, I remember reading about "joggling" in the Guinness Book of World Records. I had just learned how to juggle and was amazed how well these two things combined so perfectly. I went out to a park and tried it out, and discovered that I could time each toss of the beanbag with the natural arm swing during running. I forgot about this for years, and eventually became a competitive marathon runner in the early 2000s. I had dreams of making the Canadian Olympic team. I won the Toronto Marathon and some other races, but never got fast enough to a professional runner. After my first daughter. Annika, was born in 2003, I did all of my marathon training pushing her in a Baby Jogger, so I decided to set a Guinness World Record with her for fastest marathon pushing a baby in a stroller. We set the record at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2004 in 2 hours 49 minutes. The people with the charity I was raising money for asked me what I would do the next year, and I just blurted out that I would run the marathon while juggling. That's what got me started on this whole joggling thing. I planned to just do it once as a charity stunt, and in 2005, I set the new record for fastest joggling marathon in 3 hours and 7 minutes, breaking the old record by 13 minutes. Why did I keep going? Well, two months later, a guy named Zach Warren from Boston broke my record by 30 seconds. I couldn't be the second-best marathon joggler in the world, so Zach and I battled back and forth several times for the record before I eventually established the current mark of 2 hours 50 minutes and 12 seconds .Zach and I are actually good friends now.

2.       When joggling (is that even a word?), which is more challenging for you:  the running of the race or the juggling?  Are you currently working towards any more world records?

Yes, joggling is most definitely a word! Ruggling doesn't sound nearly as good. The running is definitely the hardest part, but after 20 miles or so into a marathon when you're completely zonked, the last thing you want to be doing is tossing a catching beanbags. The combination of the exhaustion from running and the hand-eye coordination of the juggling makes for an excruciatingly painful final few miles in a marathon. If you're doing it properly, joggling should give you a nice zen-like feeling, where the juggling pattern puts you into a bit of a trance. It's a funny sport, but it's also really addictive. I am currently taking things to the next level and training for a five-ball joggling marathon, which is kind of insane. Juggling five is about 10 times harder than three. Add in the running and it's going to really push me to the edge of possibility. I like a challenge.

3.       Returning to this year’s edition of Allen & Ginter, talk us through how you learned that you were being considered for inclusion in the set.  Did Topps reach out to you?  Did you need to give them permission to include you?  Did you need to provide the photograph and card back blurb?  At what point in time did you learn you’d actually have a card in the set? 

Topps reached out to me to ask me about being featured in the 2017 Allen & Ginter set. I collected Topps baseball cards when I was younger and still have them, so I was pretty much over the moon when I got the offer, and said yes right away. They sourced the photograph, which was from the Boston Marathon and wrote their own blurb. I thought it was hilarious that they would be including a joggler among their list of World's Champions, but hey, I had worked as hard as any other athlete in setting that world record! I think I knew I'd have a card in early 2017, but didn't know what they would look like until much later.


4.       One of the things that interests a lot of collectors is the unique relics in Allen & Ginter.  I pulled a relic of yours from a pack that was once part of your race bib.  How much “material” did you have to provide Topps for your relics?  Did they request anything in particular?

Ah yes, the relics! I made a big sacrifice for my used memorabilia to donate for the cause. I wanted to give something that had some meaning, so I sent away my race singlet and bib number from the 2016 Chicago Marathon. This was the first joggling marathon I completed without dropping a ball once, finishing in 2 hours 55 minutes. The race got an overwhelming amount of media coverage, from Runner's World to NPR to ESPN SportsCenter Top 10  was pretty wild.

The white and red relic in your card is the race bib number; the dark blue and white is from the running singlet. So you have a piece a joggling history there from the fastest no-drop joggling marathon.

5.       In addition to the base card and the relic card, you also have a framed autograph card in the set.  Do you know how many different autographs you had to sign for the set?  How far in advance of the set’s release did you have to sign all the cards?

I signed about 300 autographs on three different styles of cards, with red, blue silver or black ink (if I remember correctly), all witnessed by a Topps representative. This was about two months before the release. When he showed up with the box of cards to sign, that was the first time I saw what they looked like. I was really impressed with the design.

6.       You might not be able (or want to) answer this, but does Topps pay you for included you in the set?  Do they pay for the various “relics” that you provide them?  We know they pay baseball players to sign cards, but what about people outside the jurisdiction of MLB and the MLB Players’ Association?

Yes, I got paid a flat rate for everything. It didn't make me rich but was a nice unexpected bonus.

7.       You mentioned that you once collected Topps baseball cards.  What set(s) did you collect?  Did you have a particular card that was a favorite?  And now, are you going to try and collect the different versions of your own card (or does Topps give you a copy to keep)?  

I collected the standard Topps baseball cards in the 1980s. I'm from Toronto so I tried to collect all the Blue Jays, and I was obsessed with Rollie Fingers and Phil Niekro. My mom recently found the old box of cards in my parents' attic and gave them back to me, just a couple of months before I heard from Topps that I would be getting my own card! Topps said they'll be giving me a bunch of my own cards, but it would be cool to collect some of my relic cards.

8.       How strange is it to see cards of you pop up on random blogs or even eBay auctions?  For those that are interested, are you interested in signing autographs of your base card through the mail?  And, if so, how would you like people to reach out to you?

This whole joggling this has been one weird and awesome experience, but definitely seeing a Topps card of myself listed on eBay and on various blogs is one of the most surreal things I've seen. I wanted to see what the different versions looked like, so I googled "joggler" and found your blog. Yes, I'm always happy to sign autographs of the base card through the mail. People can get in touch at joggler1@gmail.com or on Twitter at @mkapral and Instagram at @marathonjoggler. My blog is updated sporadically.

9.       Finally, is there anything else you’d like to add?  Do you have any suggestions for future inclusions in the Allen & Ginter set?

I think it's cool that the Allen & Ginter set includes some offbeat personalities. I'm friends with Corey Bellemore, who also has a card as the world-record holder for the beer mile (four beers, one before each of the four laps around a 400m track). He's another case of someone doing something funny, but he's an incredible athlete. I'd like to see them continue to include a selection of sporting misfits and weirdos in the Allen & Ginter collection. And I'm honored to be one of the oddballs in 2017.

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Once again, a huge thank you to Michal for taking some time to discuss his hobby and the Allen & Ginter set.  I think it's awesome that he used to collect cards and now he gets his very own card.  As a fan of Allen & Ginter, maybe I should find some sort of strange hobby duo to master so that I, too, can get my own Allen & Ginter card.

I know that I hope to send one of my base cards of Michal to him to get him to sign it for me.  I haven't really discussed one of my future goals much on the blog yet, but basically I have a display case that holds 20 cards - and I'd like to get 20 different Allen & Ginter cards signed to display in it (ideally cards that have some particular meaning or connection to me).  I think Michal's card would fit perfectly in that plan...right next to my signed Ivan Rodriguez Ginter card!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Trade Stack 81: Are You Watching the Dodgers Battle the Giants? Beltre's 3000 Hits. Let's Combine Them.

Here is how this works:
Every so often (i.e. whenever I feel like it), I will add a card to a "Trade Stack".  Whenever the stack becomes appealing enough to someone, that person needs to comment on the post saying they'd like to claim the stack AND tell me which card they are sending off of my want list.  That's all you have to do - trade me ONE card (or more, of course) card from my want list for the entire stack of cards that I'm offering.  Each time, it will be first come, first serve...so act quickly (unless of course you are a gambler and hope to wait it out until there are 10+ cards in the stack that you want in exchange for a single 2004 UD Vintage card that I am looking for)!

The Trade Stack:
Last update: 7/30/17

Today saw Adrian Beltre get his 3,000 hit (congrats to him) and now the Dodgers and Giants are facing off on Sunday Night Baseball.  Today's addition to the Trade Stack will try to tie the two topics together...you can get a nice insert of Beltre when he was a Dodger.  

Remember, you get the entire Trade Stack in exchange for one (or more) cards off of my want list.

1999 Upper Deck Collector's Choice:
Star Quest insert (blue):
SQ27.  Adrian Beltre (Dodgers)


1997 Fleer Sports Illustrated:
Great Shots insert (mini poster):
GS-25.  Kirby Puckett (Twins)


If you want the stack, remember - all you need to do is offer up any one card from my want list.  



Want the card(s) in the stack?  Act fast - tell me which card you will send me off my want list in the comments below!  You must leave a comment on the trade stack post in order to claim the card - no more claims via email!  If no one claims this card within a reasonable amount of time (a few hours up to a few days, depending) - I'll add another card to the stack and the process will start again!


Previously Claimed Trade Stacks:
Stack 01:  2 cards by dayf
Stack 02:  8 cards by Justin
Stack 03:  17 cards by Cam
Stack 04:  4 cards by Cam
Stack 05:  9 cards by Daily Dimwit
Stack 06:  4 cards by The Lost Collector
Stack 07:  1 card by Baseball Dad
Stack 08:  1 card by M. Spiegel
Stack 09:  6 cards by bwsmith25
Stack 10:  6 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 11:  1 card by Patrick
Stack 12:  5 cards by Matt B.
Stack 13:  4 cards by Steve G.
Stack 14:  3 cards by ShaneK
Stack 15:  7 cards by Ryan G
Stack 16:  1 card by longlivethewho
Stack 17:  4 cards by hiflew
Stack 18:  4 cards by Potch
Stack 19:  2 cards by Axemanohio
Stack 20:  5 cards by by Play at the Plate
Stack 21:  5 cards by BA Benny
Stack 22:  1 card by IkesCards
Stack 23:  8 cards by Axemanohio
Stack 24:  1 card by BA Benny
Stack 25:  2 cards by Jeff P.
Stack 26:  10 cards by Axemanohio
Stack 27:  1 card by BA Benny
Stack 28:  7 cards by ThingsAreFunnerHere
Stack 29:  3 cards by TheBrooklynMet
Stack 30:  4 cards by Adam C.
Stack 31:  10 cards by Play at the Plate
Stack 32:  8 cards by Josh D.
Stack 33:  6 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 34:  1 card by Potch
Stack 35:  9 cards by Cool Breeze
Stack 36:  11 cards by Kev 
Stack 37:  6 cards by Tunguska
Stack 38:  12 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 39:  8 cards by Spiegel83
Stack 40:  1 card by Kyle4KC
Stack 41:  4 cards by dayf
Stack 42:  1 card by AdamE
Stack 43:  1 card by madding
Stack 44:  10 cards by Commishbob
Stack 45:  1 (almost complete) puzzle by Baseball Dad
Stack 46:  8 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 47:  5 cards by The Junior Junkie
Stack 48:  4 cards by dayf
Stack 49:  9 cards by Swing and a Pop-Up
Stack 50:  9 cards by Commishbob
Stack 51:  3 cards by Need More Cardboard
Stack 52:  1 card by Play at the Plate
Stack 53:  12 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 54:  4 cards by The Junior Junkie
Stack 55:  9 cards by Spiegel83
Stack 56:  2 cards cards by Joe Frecker
Stack 57:  4 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 58:  2 cards by Chunter
Stack 59:  9 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 60:  8 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 61:  13 cards by Mark Hoyle
Stack 62:  9 cards by Nick
Stack 63:  9 cards by buckstorecards 
Stack 64:  7 cards by Mark Hoyle
Stack 65:  2 cards by Play at the Plate
Stack 66:  10 cards by Roger
Stack 67:  14 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 68:  5 cards cards by Jeff Jones
Stack 69:  17 cards by Steve D.
Stack 70:  2 cards by Jeff Jones
Stack 71:  8 cards by defgav
Stack 72:  24 cards by Trevor P.
Stack 73:  1 card by NIght Owl
Stack 74:  3 cards by David
Stack 75:  4 cards by Trevor P.
Stack 76:  14 cards by Trevor P.
Stack 77:  15 cards by Dayf
Stack 78:  29 cards by Chris
Stack 79:  26 cards by John H.
Stack 80:  14 cards by David G.
Stack 81:  ?? by ??

Barry Larkin Collection 539: 1990 SCD Baseball Card Price Guide Monthly - #46

Barry Larkin
Year:  1990
Brand:  SCD Baseball Card Price Guide Monthly
Card number:  46

This is another one of those magazine cards that someone else cut out for me...quite honestly, I no longer recall how I ended up in possession of this card but it's a nice little oddball for my Barry Larkin Collection.  You can tell the card is from a price guide since the backside of the card contains card "values" for some of Barry Larkin's cards of the time.  I don't think you could get $3.50 for a 1987 Donruss card of Larkins today...and I'm sure you couldn't get that much for one back in 1990 but who cares, value!  One thing the card did get right is that Larkin was indeed a long-term superstar (even if his cards don't go for a superstar premium usually).  For me, as a Barry Larkin collector, I'm perfectly fine with Larkin's cards staying affordable...if they weren't, how else would I add to my collection?!


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Trade Stack 81: Starting Anew with a Mini Poster

Here is how this works:
Every so often (i.e. whenever I feel like it), I will add a card to a "Trade Stack".  Whenever the stack becomes appealing enough to someone, that person needs to comment on the post saying they'd like to claim the stack AND tell me which card they are sending off of my want list.  That's all you have to do - trade me ONE card (or more, of course) card from my want list for the entire stack of cards that I'm offering.  Each time, it will be first come, first serve...so act quickly (unless of course you are a gambler and hope to wait it out until there are 10+ cards in the stack that you want in exchange for a single 2004 UD Vintage card that I am looking for)!

The Trade Stack:
Last update: 7/29/17

I am back with another, brand new Trade Stack!  This one probably won't last long since the first "card" in it is actually a 5x7 mini poster of a great player for the Twins.  Will I end up having to add a second card to the Stack or will the pile be claimed immediately?  Only time will tell I guess!

Remember, you get the entire Trade Stack in exchange for one (or more) cards off of my want list.

1997 Fleer Sports Illustrated:
Great Shots insert (mini poster):
GS-25.  Kirby Puckett (Twins)


If you want the stack, remember - all you need to do is offer up any one card from my want list.  



Want the card(s) in the stack?  Act fast - tell me which card you will send me off my want list in the comments below!  You must leave a comment on the trade stack post in order to claim the card - no more claims via email!  If no one claims this card within a reasonable amount of time (a few hours up to a few days, depending) - I'll add another card to the stack and the process will start again!


Previously Claimed Trade Stacks:
Stack 01:  2 cards by dayf
Stack 02:  8 cards by Justin
Stack 03:  17 cards by Cam
Stack 04:  4 cards by Cam
Stack 05:  9 cards by Daily Dimwit
Stack 06:  4 cards by The Lost Collector
Stack 07:  1 card by Baseball Dad
Stack 08:  1 card by M. Spiegel
Stack 09:  6 cards by bwsmith25
Stack 10:  6 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 11:  1 card by Patrick
Stack 12:  5 cards by Matt B.
Stack 13:  4 cards by Steve G.
Stack 14:  3 cards by ShaneK
Stack 15:  7 cards by Ryan G
Stack 16:  1 card by longlivethewho
Stack 17:  4 cards by hiflew
Stack 18:  4 cards by Potch
Stack 19:  2 cards by Axemanohio
Stack 20:  5 cards by by Play at the Plate
Stack 21:  5 cards by BA Benny
Stack 22:  1 card by IkesCards
Stack 23:  8 cards by Axemanohio
Stack 24:  1 card by BA Benny
Stack 25:  2 cards by Jeff P.
Stack 26:  10 cards by Axemanohio
Stack 27:  1 card by BA Benny
Stack 28:  7 cards by ThingsAreFunnerHere
Stack 29:  3 cards by TheBrooklynMet
Stack 30:  4 cards by Adam C.
Stack 31:  10 cards by Play at the Plate
Stack 32:  8 cards by Josh D.
Stack 33:  6 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 34:  1 card by Potch
Stack 35:  9 cards by Cool Breeze
Stack 36:  11 cards by Kev 
Stack 37:  6 cards by Tunguska
Stack 38:  12 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 39:  8 cards by Spiegel83
Stack 40:  1 card by Kyle4KC
Stack 41:  4 cards by dayf
Stack 42:  1 card by AdamE
Stack 43:  1 card by madding
Stack 44:  10 cards by Commishbob
Stack 45:  1 (almost complete) puzzle by Baseball Dad
Stack 46:  8 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 47:  5 cards by The Junior Junkie
Stack 48:  4 cards by dayf
Stack 49:  9 cards by Swing and a Pop-Up
Stack 50:  9 cards by Commishbob
Stack 51:  3 cards by Need More Cardboard
Stack 52:  1 card by Play at the Plate
Stack 53:  12 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 54:  4 cards by The Junior Junkie
Stack 55:  9 cards by Spiegel83
Stack 56:  2 cards cards by Joe Frecker
Stack 57:  4 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 58:  2 cards by Chunter
Stack 59:  9 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 60:  8 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 61:  13 cards by Mark Hoyle
Stack 62:  9 cards by Nick
Stack 63:  9 cards by buckstorecards 
Stack 64:  7 cards by Mark Hoyle
Stack 65:  2 cards by Play at the Plate
Stack 66:  10 cards by Roger
Stack 67:  14 cards by buckstorecards
Stack 68:  5 cards cards by Jeff Jones
Stack 69:  17 cards by Steve D.
Stack 70:  2 cards by Jeff Jones
Stack 71:  8 cards by defgav
Stack 72:  24 cards by Trevor P.
Stack 73:  1 card by NIght Owl
Stack 74:  3 cards by David
Stack 75:  4 cards by Trevor P.
Stack 76:  14 cards by Trevor P.
Stack 77:  15 cards by Dayf
Stack 78:  29 cards by Chris
Stack 79:  26 cards by John H.
Stack 80:  14 cards by David G.
Stack 81:  ?? by ??

Friday, July 28, 2017

Barry Larkin Collection 538: 1990 Baseball Card Magazine - #8

Barry Larkin
Year:  1990
Brand:  Baseball Card Magazine
Card number:  BC8

The Baseball Card Magazine issued a 72 card set in 1990 that was clearly based on the 1969 Topps set.  As it turned out, the Reds had two players in the first ten cards of the set (the other being Eric Davis with card #5).  In addition, the Reds have two other cards in the set (both dual player rookie cards, one with John Wetteland of the Dodgers and Joe Oliver of the Reds and the other featuring the two Reds Scott Scudder and Rosario Rodriguez).  Based on the team checklist, I think one could track down the Larkin and the Davis cards and forgo the other two...eesh.

Returning our attention to the card of the post, it should be noted that you must have had to cut these cards out (or else someone took some scissors to my only copy of the card for an unknown reason).  I know I could never cut things out super nicely, so I don't mind the odd little divot on the side of the card...  It gives it personality and character, right?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

2017 Allen & Ginter: A Pair of Rack Packs

Looking to trade for some 2017 Allen & Ginter cards?  I've got plenty of base cards and insert cards (regular sized and mini) available for trade.  Check out my full list of trade bait here.

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I found myself at my local WalMart to pick up some groceries the other day...and so I had to stop at the card aisle "just to see."  There were no more 2017 Allen & Ginter blasters, but there were two rack packs.  I figured the pack searchers had already determined the two packs to be duds, but I bought them anyway because I'm more interested in the mini inserts anyhow.

So, how did I do?  Well, let's dig in, shall we?!

Pack 1:

Each rack pack only contains 14 cards for something like $6.  That's not a good deal in my book.  My first rack pack had 10 regular base cards (one of which was a short print of Warren Spahn).

Amazingly, of the 10 base cards I actually needed three of them for my set.  I'll take it!

Next, the pack had a pair of full-sized inserts.  The first was a What a Day card of Addison Russell which I already had.  The other was a Sport Fish & Fishing Lures card of the Yellowfin Tuna which I also already owned.  So basically a pair of duds there.

The minis were a bit better at least.  I got a regular back mini of Addison Russell (a Russell hot pack I guess).  I'm not going after the regular mini set this year (except for all of the Barry Larkin variations) so this one is available for trade.

My other mini ended up being the highlight of the first rack pack:

That's another World's Dude mini.  This time honoring the Scout Dude.  According to the card back, the neckerchief is included in the scout uniform not just for ceremony but because it can be unrolled and used as a triangular bandage for first aid.  I was a scout for a year or two as a kid and I never knew that (shows how much I paid attention while in scouts I guess).

In the end, I got four cards I needed (including one mini insert) for about $6.  I don't think that's a great deal, but it certainly could have been worse.  Let's see if the second rack pack is any better for me.

Pack 2:

Much like the first pack, this pack also contained 10 base cards including one short print (Dallas Keuchel).  Also like the last pack, I got three more base cards that I actually needed!

Obviously the Bench is my favorite of the three, but I'm happy to get that much closer to completing my set.

Moving on to the inserts, I once again got two full-sized inserts including another Fish card (which I owned) and a What a Day card of Andrew Benintendi (which I also owned already).  Two more full-sized duds.

Luckily the pack had some other surprises in it for me including an A&G back card of Sean Manaea.

And, the best card for me:  A Required Reading mini of the Canterbury Tales.

I'm ever-so-slowly working my way towards completing the various insert sets!

Oh yeah, I had one more card in the pack...

Isn't that swell?  A freakin' buyback of a card that no one wanted in the first place.  Ugh.

Still, I landed four more cads in the second pack that I needed for my set - eight cards in total from the two packs.  At this point in time, I probably couldn't ask for much else (and notice no hits to be found, stupid pack searchers).


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Barry Larkin Collection 537: 1990 Panini Stickers - #253

Barry Larkin
Year:  1990
Brand:  Panini Stickers
Card number:  253

I'm not much of a fan of sticker cards like this, though I will admit that I still love team logo stickers (weird, I know).  That said, this is probably one of the nicer sticker designs that I've seen - and it even shows Larkin in a not-so-common pose (apparently watching the first base coach for some signs prior to getting ready for the pitch)?  I will say the back of the "card" is quite dreadful...a couple of large logos and an advertisement blurb.  Nothing much to see there.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

More 2017 A&G: WalMart Blasters (x3)!

As you probably know, I love Allen & Ginter...but I don't love it enough to fork over $125 for another hobby box (which is the going rate at the moment).  So, I ventured to my local WalMart and as luck would have it, they had three blasters of 2017 A&G in stock.

Not wanting to let a good thing pass me by, I grabbed all three (along with some groceries and other items) and called it a day.  Since I was hoping to get something cool from the blasters, I recorded myself ripping all three in one video.  

Truth be told, not a lot cool.  *shrug emoji*




Although I didn't strike it rich, I did get a few nice cards for my set including the first three Horse in the Race minis!

If you have any Ginter for trade, please check out my want list as I am still needing a lot of cards!

For those wondering, here is the final tally of how I managed to do with my three blasters...

Note:  The number in parenthesis is the number of cards that I pulled that I actually needed for my set out of the total number I was missing at the time.

Base cards:  84 - including 5 duplicates  (9/47)
Base short prints:  12 (2/4)
Revolutionary Battles:  2 (0/0)
Sport Fish & Fishing Lures:  5  (0/2)
World's Fair:  5  (0/1)
What a Day!:  12  (4/53)
Constellations:  1 (1/8)
Magicians & Illusionists:  1 (0/11)
Horse in the Race:  3 (3/25)
World's Dudes:  2 (1/35)

I also ended up with 8 regular minis, 2 regular mini short prints, 5 A&G back minis, 1 A&G back mini short print, and 1 black bordered mini.

Overall, I landed 20 new cards for my set, 9 of which were inserts of some sort.  I guess that's not terrible, but it definitely wasn't worth the $60 I spent either.  On the bright side, I do have plenty of trade bait now...



Monday, July 24, 2017

2017 Topps Allen & Ginter: Box 5: Packs 17 - 24

This is it, the final eight packs from my purchase of five boxes of 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter.  I'm definitely wishing I had had the cash to buy a few more boxes, this year's set is great.  However, I'm still happy with what I did get...and let's see the final few cards from my purchase.

Box 5:
Packs 17 - 24:

You knew I'd show off the fish cards first.  The sailfish card is particularly cool, though even the Yellowfin Tuna card looks nice.  The mixing of the fish and the lure works particularly well - I still love this set and I haven't tired of it despite getting five cards from the set per box!

Another set I haven't tired of is the World's Dudes set.

I admit that when I saw this was the "large" mini set, I wasn't overly enthused.  But seeing the cards in hand (and reading the interesting backs of them) has completely changed my mind.  The set is awesome and I'm definitely going to work hard to try and track down all the cards that I'm missing from the set.

On the other hand, the Magicians and Illusionists set sounded interesting when I first saw the checklist but I find the actual cards to be less inspiring than expected.

I'm not sure why exactly (the write-ups on the back are perfectly fine).  I guess the set doesn't really feel all that different than some of the other sets Topps has done in the past.

One set that is quite different is the constellations mini set.

These are cool in that you get a glow-in-the-dark representation of the constellation on the front of the card.  The card back gives you a bit of information about the constellation and the stars that make up the constellation.  Once again, Topps has exceeded my expectations with this mini set!

And finally, my third hit of the box and the final card of my five box break:

Yep, another full size relic card.  At least this one has a blue strip to add a bit of variety and interest to it.

That does it for my purchase of 2017 Allen & Ginter.  Given the high prices of boxes at the moment, I don't see myself buying any more for awhile.  That means it is time to trade - so hit me up if you have any cards that I need and hopefully we can work something out!

2017 Topps Allen & Ginter: Box 5: Packs 9 - 16

This is the second post from my final box of 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter.  In the first part (posted earlier this morning), I pulled yet another autograph from the set.  What will we get this time around?

Box 5:
Packs 9 - 16:

Once again, we look at the fish card first.

I didn't get a whole lot worth mentioning in this middle set of packs, but I did land a pair of mini inserts which I'll take all day.  The first was another Required Reading card.

That's Wuthering Heights and I'm starting to think I haven't read a single one of the works on the Required Reading set checklist.  That makes me feel like a bit of a bad scholar if I'm being honest.  I'll have to check the list to see what other literary masterpieces are on there, hopefully there is at least one that I've read.

The other mini insert was one of the World's Dudes cards, this time the Violin Dude.

According to the card back, playing the violin burns roughly 170 calories per hour, or about 100 more than reading or watching television.  Maybe instead of reading great works of literature, I should take up the violin?

And finally, our (underwhelming) hit:

That's Manny Machado in the full frame relic version A (at least that's the better design in my opinion).  Not much else to say about that other than when you pull an autograph first you can't expect much out of the remaining two hits in the box.

Only one set of packs to go and my 2017 Allen & Ginter experience will be over.  I really enjoyed this year's set...it's too bad that the hype machine for Aaron Judge has pushed individual boxes up over the $125 mark (as of the time I'm typing this post at least).  I could see myself buying a couple more boxes but not at those prices, there's almost no way you'll make your money back - or even half of you money back at that kind of price point.

2017 Topps Allen & Ginter: Box 5: Packs 1 - 8

It's hard to believe it but my five boxes of 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter are almost completely ripped.  At this point, I am down to the fifth and final box of my purchase...  Let's get to it!

Box 5:
Box loader:

This time around, I scored Alex Bregman.  I may not have a lot of interest in the box toppers this year but at least I managed to pull five different cards (and they have interesting backgrounds if nothing else).

Packs 1 - 8:

As usual, I must start with the fish cards.  I'm interested to see if I managed to score the entire fish set from my five boxes (the set has a total of 20 cards and you get five per box).  If I had good luck with the collation, I should have the entire set...but we shall see when I get to sort everything out!

Next, a black bordered mini of my current favorite non-Reds player:  Jose Altuve.

No real reason to show that card off other than the fact that I love Altuve.

I did get one mini insert in this set of eight packs - another Bust a Move card (which I needed).

Who knew that the Break Dance had actual dance moves?  Certainly not me.

And finally, my third (!) autograph in five boxes (that's much better than in previous years).

That's Tom Arnold, actor and comedian...and it is a great way to start the final box break!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

2017 Allen & Ginter: Box 4: Packs 17 - 24

Edit #1:  Looking to trade for some Allen & Ginter cards?  I have a BIG TRADE BAIT PAGE here.
Edit #2:  Looking for some of my better Allen & Ginter pulls, including the relic from this post?  Here's a link to my current eBay auctions which include a lot of 2017 Ginter (and also a bunch of short prints from 2008 Topps Heritage).

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I'm back with the final eight packs out of my fourth box of 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter.  This box has proven to be a decent one with an autograph and a Brooklyn back mini leading the way.  Can we find something else to make it a truly great box?  Let's find out together.

Box 4:
Packs 17 - 24:

Once again, I must show off the fish card.

Walleye are popular fish among fishermen in my area though I can't say that I've ever eaten Walleye before.

Only two minis worth mentioning this time around, both are inserts including another World's Dude card (which I love).

The University Track Dude is kind of hilarious looking.  The photo is perfect for a set like this, kudos to Topps for that.

The other insert is another one of the Bust a Move cards - this time for the Tango.

I can't dance to save my life - and I'm not sure the written step-by-step instructions on the back can save me...but I do appreciate the card design.  Once again, kudos to Topps.

For all of the complaining I hear about Topps, I have to say that they brought their A game (for the most part) with this year's edition of Allen & Ginter.  I think the worst part of the design is the box loaders - they aren't awful but they simply don't interest me the way some of the more oddball designs used to.

Speaking of not really interesting me, the non-framed relics are pretty dull in my eyes.  My final hit of the box was Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox.

Not the most exciting ending to a box, but I'm still happy to have landed two more mini inserts for my set.  I've greatly enjoyed this year's edition of Ginter (I wish I had had the cash to buy a case) but at least I have one more box remaining to open.  Let's hope for more magic in that one!

2017 Allen & Ginter: Box 4: Packs 9 - 16

I pulled an autograph in the first eight packs out of box #4.  What else could be in store for us?

Box 4:
Packs 9 - 16:

Once again, we start with the fish cards because I like them a lot.

In my opinion, those are some of the best full-sized inserts that Topps has done for Allen & Ginter in quite some time.  The fronts are well designed and the backs are informative.  Good stuff all around!

I haven't scanned most of the base minis that I've pulled this year, but I do think that this black bordered Frank Thomas is worth the effort to show off!

It's not a short print or anything, but I thought the black bordered looked good with Thomas' black White Sox hat.  I also like the bits of blue behind the black border.

The middle packs of the box produced a pair of mini inserts for me (yay!).  The first is the Machinist Dude from the World's Dudes set.

I like this set a lot - and I can't wait until I own all 45 cards in it (so if you have any for trade, hit me up as I am missing the vast majority of the cards still)!

The other mini insert was from the Magicians & Illusionists set.

I can't say that this set interests me as much as the World's Dude set (or even the Fish set).  However, I'm a sucker for most things Allen & Ginter so I will be chasing, however foolish that may be.

And finally, we found our second hit of the box - a relic of Justin Verlander.

That does it for the middle packs.  Only eight packs remain in this box and then it is on to the fifth and final box that I bought.

2017 Allen & Ginter: Box 4: Packs 1 - 8

I busted all five of my boxes on the day they arrived but I've been spacing out the posts for two reasons.  One, I didn't have time to scan the cards and write the posts for all five boxes on the first day, and two, I figured it would be Ginter overload to put everything in a single post.  That said, I did manage to get some of my cards listed on eBay in between the time you read these posts and the time I wrote them.  In fact, the Aaron Judge relic that I pulled in a previous box sold within 5 minutes of me listing it on eBay (clearly I could have upped my "Buy it Now" price).  That's fine by me though, I'm happy to rid myself of the Judge and, simultaneously, come a tiny bit closer to making my money back on the boxes I did buy.

All that said, there are still contents for two more boxes to show off, so here we go!

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Box 4:
Box loader:

Once again, I find a "boring" baseball player box loader, though I suppose most people wouldn't consider Jeter boring.  I don't get what is going on in the background of the photograph at all - where were these things taken?!

Packs 1 - 8:

The first eight packs were mostly devoid of highlights, but what I did get was quite good (albeit limited).  First though, the obligatory fish card.

I think I have already pulled that same card two times before but I don't care at the moment.  The fish cards are awesome (and I'll for sure have some trade bait - pun intended).

Next, a gorgeous Brooklyn back mini of Ben Smith numbered 5/25.

Ben Smith is a Crossfit athlete so I doubt there is a huge demand for his cards...but still, pulling a Brooklyn back mini is tough (seeded 1:170 packs) and I managed to land two of them in my four boxes (so far).

And finally, my second autograph that I've found in my boxes:

Jharel Cotton isn't a superstar or the autograph that most people are probably going to chase this year, but I'm still happy with it.  Getting autographs in Ginter is always exciting and it definitely made for a good start to box #4.

I'll have more from this box soon!  Stay tuned.