Monday, July 30, 2018

Finishing off Ginter Box #3!

I think this year has to be the slowest year that I've ever had in terms of ripping my Allen & Ginter packs.  Of course, I also have a newborn this year so at least I have a decent excuse.  Unfortunately for me though, my work is about to start back up (back to school sales remind me of that) and so I need to get myself back on a more reasonable schedule, baby or no baby.

What does that have to do with cards, you ask?  Well, hopefully I can keep blogging as part of my new schedule.  I may be cutting back a bit here (i.e. you may not see a new post every single day) but I don't plan to walk away at all right now.  Frankly, if it weren't for my blog (and the trading that goes along with it), I would probably have walked away from baseball cards years ago...now I'd kind of like to keep going so that I have some neat things to pass down to my little guy!

That leads me to today's post:  more Ginter.  Being a bit more specific, it's time for the final four packs of box #3.  Then, all I have left to rip is my box for Gint-a-Cuffs...and I actually now have two unripped blasters of Ginter since I grabbed another yesterday while I was out buying baby supplies.

Box #3:
Packs 21 - 24

Just like in the last post, I won't give a card-by-card breakdown of the final packs.  Instead, I'll simply show off the highlights (such as they are).

Nice to get the Mike Trout card from the World Talent insert set.  I really need to collate all my cards to see how close I am to finishing off the various full sized inserts.  I know for sure that I'm nowhere near finishing off the mini inserts (so if you have any of those for trade, keep me in mind please)!

Speaking of minis...Of the four minis in the final four packs, two of them were regular, boring minis while the third was an A&G back of Matt Olson.

Truth be told, I'm not sure which type of mini is actually more boring - the A&G backs have never, ever appealed to me despite their somewhat rarer status than the regular minis.

What does appeal to me though are the mini inserts.  I didn't do well with this box (only pulled 4 instead of the usual 5) but at least two of the four mini inserts were from my favorite set of the year:  Flags of Lost Nations.

Earlier I pulled the flag of Tibet, now I get Yugoslavia.  Yugoslavia is definitely one of the more recent "lost nations" in the set having only been disbanded in 1992.  For comparison, Tibet (my other Lost Nation card of the box) ceased to be its own country back in 1951.

That does it for box #3.  I have to wait for the Gint-a-Cuffs rules to be posted before I can dip into the fourth box but I do have those two blasters calling my name so maybe I'll rip into those next while I wait.  I also have a couple of trade envelopes that have found their way to my house...and my first ever Kickstarter purchase that I'd like to show off too (whenever I have some free time, hah)! 

Until then, it's back to caring for the baby - and I suppose I should be getting ready for the classes I have to teach as well.  So long summer!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Ginter: In a rush!

The baby didn't sleep much (i.e. at all) last night so I'm rushed for time this morning.  I did rip four more packs from my third box of Ginter but all I have time to show off here are the highlights from packs 17 - 20.

Good news:

Finally pulled the Barry Larkin base card!

Good (?) news as well...found my final hit of the box.  Bad news is that it is Dee Gordon.

Four more packs and then I'm done with this box.  The final hobby box is for Gint-a-Cuffs so I'm waiting on scoring rules before I can post that.  I did pick up one more blaster the other day that I haven't yet touched, maybe I'll crack that open next.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Ginter 2018: Box #3 - My First Non-Baseball Autograph!

I hit the halfway point of box #3 and so far I've found one hit plus three mini inserts (in many ways, the "real" hits for a set collector like me)!  Let's hope the next bunch of packs produces some more goodies.

Box #3:

Pack 13:
208.  Kelsey Plum
160.  Matt Olson
112. Yadier Molina
257.  Andrew Stevenson

Fantasy Goldmine:
FG-50.  Bob Gibson

A&G back mini:
7.  Aaron Judge

Framed autograph:
MA-TI.  Tommy Wiseau

Well, there it is - hit #2 of the box.  I fully admit that I have no idea who Wiseau is besides an actor/filmmaker as listed on the back of the card.  This is the second autographed card that I've pulled out of my three boxes which is a nice surprise.

Pack 14:
161.  Austin Rogers
36.  Trevor Story
88.  Kenta Maeda
195.  Tim Anderson
262.  Felix Hernandez
123.  John Smoltz

World Talent:
WT-11.  Yoan Moncada

Regular mini:
294.  Steven Matz

Pack 15:
231.  Michael Brantley
250.  Bryce Harper
324.  Anthony Rendon
97.  Mike Piazza
136.  Maikel Franco
171.  Rougned Odor

Magnificent Moons:
MM-6.  Triton

Black bordered mini:
45.  Dexter Fowler

That's my second black bordered Cardinals card in the box.  Blech.

Pack 16:
293.  Alex Verdugo
87.  Alex Wood
180.  Willson Contreras
44.  Aaron Hicks
190.  Ted Williams
235.  Marcell Ozuna

Fantasy Goldmine:
FG-5.  Roger Clemens

Regular mini:
51.  J.D. Martinez

That was a fun foursome of packs - getting an autograph is always good fun (even if I never heard of the guy).  Only eight more packs in this box and then I'll be down to my final box.  Now is a great time to start shooting me emails if you have any Ginter available for trade - I want to build all of the insert sets, mini sets, and the Natural Wonders box toppers if possible!



Ginter, Ginter, Ginter. More Ginter!

I promise that I have things to show off on this blog that aren't 2018 Topps Allen & Ginter...but those will wait because first I have even more GINTER!  Can you tell I love this brand?!

Box #3:

Pack 9:
307.  Hideki Matsui
38.  Jonathan Lucroy
50. Hank Aaron
137.  Josh Donaldson
200.  Sandy Koufax
183.  Dee Gordon

Black bordered mini:
71.  Matt Carpenter

World's Greatest Beaches:
WGB-4.  Roatan

That is the first black bordered mini out of box #3.  I think that might be the third time I pulled the Roatan beach card...which stinks because I'm 99% certain I haven't yet completed that set!

Pack 10:
187.  Albert Pujols
12.  Eddie Rosario
265.  Carlos Rodon
218.  Christopher McDonald
73.  Adrian Beltre
99.  Pedro Martinez

Regular mini:
154.  Raisel Iglesias

World Talent:
WT-17.  David Ortiz

Well, it's not the Barry Larkin mini that I've been searching for but a Reds' mini is always better than a Cardinals mini!

Pack 11:
154.  Raisel Iglesias
45.  Dexter Fowler
304.  Brandon Woodruff
64.  Daniel Murphy
113.  Randy Johnson
261.  Brooks Robinson

Baseball Equipment of the Ages:
BEA-25.  Batting Helmet

Indigenous Heroes mini:
MIH-22.  Powhatan

That Powhatan mini is somehow a duplicate for me already.  Grr!

Pack 12:
7.  Aaron Judge
309.  Aroldis Chapman
168.  Andrew Benintendi
149.  Steve Simeone
1.  Mike Trout
116.  Ozzie Albies

Regular mini (short print):
303.  Hyun-Jin Ryu

World's Greatest Beaches:
WGB-3.  Trunk Bay

Well, I can't say that was the best four packs that I've ripped.  Getting a duplicate mini insert hurts a lot considering you typically seem to only get 5 mini inserts per hobby box.  As someone who wants to build all of the mini sets, duplicates are a tough pill to swallow, especially this early in the game!


Friday, July 27, 2018

2018 Ginter: 10 Ideas to Fix 2019 Allen & Ginter.

My love for Ginter hasn't dissipated at all with the 2018 edition of the brand.  In fact, if anything I would say that this year's offering is better than some of the previous years' attempts.  That said, it's not perfect...so here are my ideas to improve Ginter and keep it true to what I see as it's "hallmark" which is to say the oddball and interesting.

To improve Ginter:
  1. More non-baseball relics.  Bring back the bits of rope, playing cards, dominoes, and paper airplanes from years past.  Make the relics correspond once again to "world champions" no matter the sport or event.  I don't want my A&G relics to feel like they could just have easily been pulled in Topps' flagship.
  2. Fewer box loaders.  Allen & Ginter is a set collector's dream, but the box loader sets are simply too large...and there are too many of them for even someone who buys a case of Ginter to think about trying to complete.  I'd love to see a return to only the N43 box loaders for baseball players and then maybe one full-sized set like the coin cards from a few years back for a non-baseball box topper set.  Box loaders are a key component to the draw of Ginter but it'd still be nice if they were actually collectible.
  3. More inanimate objects in the base set.  To make room, ditch all of the retired baseball stars.  There are plenty of sets where collectors can pull cards of Roberto Clemente, Babe Ruth, or Hank Aaron.  Ginter doesn't need to be yet another set like that.
  4. Bring back the frames for all relics.  The non-framed relics are fine enough, but they simply pale in comparison to the framed versions that became ubiquitous with Ginter over the years.
  5. Keep the framed autographs.  Those are easily the best looking in any set that I buy.
  6. Either don't make 10 card full-sized insert sets OR make them tougher to pull.  There isn't much that's more boring than pulling my fourth copy of the same exact moon card (though don't get me wrong, I do like the concept of the moon set)!
  7. I'd like to see mini insert insertion rates lowered to 1:3 packs OR reduce the number of mini insert sets.  As a set completionist, I will have 4 hobby boxes and 2 retail blasters at my disposal and I'll probably be well over 50% short of every single mini insert set. 
  8. How about a baseball card blogger insert set next year?  I volunteer to be in the set.
  9. If retired stars are necessary to the product, put them in only as relics and autographs (or maybe as the N43 box loaders).  Make the stars of yesterday actually feel special.  I shouldn't yawn when I pull a Tom Seaver or Willie Mays card.
  10. Keep trying new things. The fun of Ginter is the surprise - whether that be stealth mini inserts, glow-in-the-dark goodies, cards hidden in the boxes themselves, or whatever else Topps dreams up.  Let Ginter be the set where you try the craziness...treat Ginter like late 90s Pacific treated almost all o their baseball sets!

In my mind, those 10 idea would help to keep Ginter feeling special moving forward from this year.  I have read a number of blogs where people are sort of ragging on Ginter (which I get) but for collectors like me, if Ginter goes then all of the sudden there isn't that one big yearly release that truly excites me!

I'd love to hear your ideas for Ginter - even if they go directly against some of my suggestions.  While you think about that, let's rip a few more packs.

Box #3:
Pack 5:
246.  Travis Shaw
232.  Chance Sisco
207.  Ronald Acuna Jr.
63.  Luiz Gohara
24.  Trey Mancini
5.  Kris Bryant

Regular mini:
264.  Reggie Jackson

Fantasy Goldmine:
FG-28.  Ozzie Smith

Pack 6:
140.  Alex Bregman
252.  Gio Gonzalez
3.  Babe Ruth
196.  Tyler Mahle

Regular mini:
84.  Marine National Monument

Fantasy Goldmine:
FG-37.  Tom Seaver

Relic:
FSRB-DO.  David Ortiz

There's the curse of the boring gray cloth bit again.  I know a lot of you probably would love to pull this Ortiz...so you might be in luck as I'd love to trade it for something I'd like more!

Pack 7:
16.  Austin Hays
345.  Tyler Glasgow
224.  Starling Marte
201.  Miguel Andujar
163.  Byron Buxton
294.  Steven Matz

Magnificent Moons:
1.  Moon

Flags of Lost Nations:
FLN-3.  Tibet

The Moon card of the moon is great but the highlight has to be the Tibet mini.  I love the flags set a lot - so the more of these I can get now, the happier I am!

Pack 8:
82.  Justin Upton
139.  Michael Rapaport
269.  Phil Coyne
47.  Dansby Swanson
115.  Ian Happ

A&G back mini:
261.  Brooks Robinson

World Talent:
WT-1.  Gleyber Torres

Home Run Challenge:
HRC-MR.  Mark Reynolds

At least that Home Run Challenge isn't my third Giancarlo Stanton...that's all I have to say about that.

Eight packs down...and ten ideas to improve the 2019 edition of Ginter.  As always, I'd love to hear what you think - so feel free to chime in on the comments!

Cracking 2018 Ginter Box #3: Best Box Loader so Far!

I'm down to my final two hobby boxes of 2018 Allen & Ginter...and while I had to cut back on my purchases this year due to budgetary reasons, I will say that from what I've opened I've had a blast so far (despite not pulling anything of great value or rarity).  I'm a set collector at heart so that is always my focus with Allen & Ginter...as long as I keep getting new mini inserts and maybe a Barry Larkin mini card or two, I'll be pleased!

Enough jibber-jabber though, you are here for more Ginter and I don't want to keep you waiting any longer.  As always, let's start with the box topper...and for the first time in three boxes, it's not one of the full-sized baseball player cards (which I'm very happy about).

Box #3:
Box topper:

Natural Wonders:
NWB-3.  Zion National Park

According to the checklist, there are a total of 10 different Natural Wonders cards - and I want them all!  I have no plans to go after the full-sized baseball players though so maybe I can flip a couple of my box loaders for some of these...let me know if you have one for trade.  For posterity, here's the full checklist of the set.

NWB-1 Big Sur
NWB-2 Mount Kilimanjaro
NWB-3 Zion National Park
NWB-4 Vatnajökull Glacier Cave
NWB-5 Amazon Rainforest
NWB-6 Na Pali Coast
NWB-7 Phang Nga Bay
NWB-8 The Antarctic
NWB-9 Banff National Park
NWB-10 Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Now, on to the packs!

Pack 1:
170.  Bradley Zimmer
258.  Parker Bridwell
152.  Ben Lecomte
256.  Jake Arrieta
133.  Johnny Bench
247.  Lance McCullers

Regular mini:
288.  Mike Leake

World Talent:
WT-35.  Francisco Lindor

The World Talent set isn't overly tough to find...but at 50 cards it is going to take some trading in order for me to actually complete the darn thing.

Pack 2:
332.  Max Kepler
179.  Tyronn Lue
181.  Khris Davis
229.  Roger Maris
238.  Pat Neshek
169.  Mike Clevinger

World's Greatest Beaches:
WGB-1.  Paradise Island

The World's Hottest Peppers mini:
WHP-12.  7 Pot Barrackpore

The 7 Pot Barrackpore pepper is apparently even hotter (on the Scoville heat unit scale) then the famed ghost pepper which is supposedly a cousin to this particular pepper.  That's some serious heat!

Pack 3:
341.  Rickey Henderson
197.  Kenley Jansen
138.  Ernie Banks
300.  Bo Jackson
69.  Anthony Banda
54.  Carlos Gonzalez

A&G back mini short print:
327.  Kevin Kiermaier

Baseball Equipment of the Ages:
BEA-12.  Modern Baseball


Pack 4:
57.  Lindsey Vonn
80.  Ryan Bruan
104.  Michael Fulmer
274.  Domingo Santana
289.  Wade Boggs
120.  Cody Bellinger

A&G back mini:
148.  Luis Severino

WT-6.  Joey Votto

Woo!  A Reds insert...I don't pull many of those historically speaking.  As Votto enters the 2018 season, he is third among all Canadians in terms of MLB hits.  Can you name the only two players that were ahead of him?  Side note:  As of this moment, Votto is now second among all Canadians in hits as he passed one of the two players this year.

That was a very solid four packs (plus box loader).  Those Hot Pepper minis are great - and I now own two of the 15 in the set.  Plenty more to come from this box...stay tuned!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Retail Side of Ginter (Part 2): With a Hit!

I began the process of opening up my second 2018 Allen & Ginter blaster this morning.  Tonight, it's time to finish the thing.  Four packs remain, let's dig in.

Blaster #2:
Pack 5:
303.  Hyun-Jin Ryu
67.  Ozzie Smith
226.  Lucas Giolito
204.  Samesong Park

A&G back mini:
244.  Orlando Arcia

Baseball Equipment of the Ages:
BEA-3.  Modern Glove

Pack 6:
261.  Brooks Robinson
43.  Champ Pederson
222.  Total Solar Eclipse
111. Brian Dozier

Regular mini:
31.  Joc Pederson

Fantasy Goldmine:
FG-11.  Roberto Clemente

I don't mind the occasional Clemente card in modern products.

Pack 7:
165.  Ben Zobrist
113.  Randy Johnson

Regular mini:
177.  Dallas Keuchel

World Talent:
WT-26.  Ichiro

Relic:
FSRB-KS.  Kyle Schwarber

Alright, getting a relic from a retail blaster of Ginter is always a pleasant surprise!  Ilike the pinstripe, makes for a nice looking card.  The group B relics are slightly more common (1:66 packs) than the group A relics (1:70 packs).  Still, with only eight packs in a blaster, don't expect to get either type of relic typically!

Pack 8:
348.  Josh Hader
25.  Andre Dawson
205.  Scott Rogowsky
225.  Lou Gehrig

Regular mini:
229.  Roger Maris

Magnificent Moons:
MM-2.  Europa

Well, the minis weren't much to write home about in the second half of the blaster but the pinstriped relic was a nice surprise to balance things out.  My one major complaint about the blaster is that I didn't get one of the retail only Exotic Sports minis...that was the whole reason I bought retail in the first place!  They are seeded 1:8 packs so I should have gotten one in the blaster...but alas, I did not.  I guess I'll have to settle for the Baseball Superstitions mini instead.



The Retail Side of Ginter

As a math guy, I've been keeping track of exactly what each hobby box and retail blaster of 2018 Ginter has actually produced for me.  While there is obviously the small sample size argument to be made, I still think that there is some value in my little experiment.  Heck, I even set up a full Excel spreadsheet in order to keep track and make some comparisons between the various Ginter load outs. 

For today, we are going to add to our sample size pool and open up the only other retail blaster of 2018 Ginter that I've been able to locate.  As before, this one came from Wal-Mart (not sure if there are any differences this year between Wal-Mart blasters and Target blasters).  Each blaster has 8 packs which should make for a nice rip for today - I'll try to do half this morning and the second half this evening.
Blaster #2:
Pack 1:
298.  Jameson Taillon
31.  Joc Pederson
56. Justin Bour
73.  Adrian Beltre

Black border mini:
45.  Dexter Fowler

World Talent:
WT-10.  Yasiel Puig

Pack 2:
99.  Pedro Martinez
41.  Didi Gregorious
28.  Jack Flaherty
216.  Rafael Devers

A&G back mini:
36.  Trevor Story

Fantasy Goldmine:
FG-24.  Wade Boggs

Pack 3:
315.  Christian Villanueva
267.  Garrett Richards
122.  Jimmy Nelson
174.  Corey Seager

Baseball Equipment of the Ages:
BEA-6.  Early Catcher's Mask

Baseball Superstitions mini:
MBS-14.  Mismatched Socks

Hooray, a nice mini insert that I needed!  The first half of the blaster is already a success even before I see what pack #4 holds.

Pack 4:
308.  Brett Gardner
244.  Orlando Arcia
220. Theo Epstein
74.  Eric Hosmer

World's Greatest Beaches:
WGB-10.  Harbour Island

Indigenous Heroes:
MIH-19.  John Ross

And another mini insert - good stuff here!

Retail has been pretty good to me so far...but full results will be made public once I finish ripping the latter half of the blaster.  Still, two mini inserts is a great start.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

2018 Allen & Ginter: The Last 4 Packs of the Hot Box

We've reached the end of my second box of 2018 Allen & Ginter.  This particular box was a hot box which meant all of the base cards are a glossy parallel.  The one base card that I really want is the Barry Larkin...and so far, no dice.  Still, I have four packs remaining so let's see if I can work some late inning magic here.  I also have one more hit to go which promises to be interesting since I've already found both of the "boring" hits (the version A and version B relics that are essentially one-per-box each).

Box #2:
Pack 21:
126.  Jon Lester
111.  Brian Dozier
272.  Ryan McMahon
349.  German Marquez
268.  Jose Berrios

Regular mini:
200.  Sandy Koufax

Fantasy Goldmine:
FG-41.  Brooks Robinson

Home Run Challenge:
HRC-GS.  Giancarlo Stanton

If that Stanton looks familiar it is because I pulled the exact same card in my first hobby box.  

Pack 22:
222.  Total Solar Eclipse
109.  Sonny Gray
346.  Dwight Gooden
177.  Dallas Keuchel
225.  Lou Gehrig
214.  Josh Reddick

Magnificent Moons
MM-7.  Phobos

A&G back mini:
114.  Jim Thome

The Total Solar Eclipse was pretty cool last year.  Where I live, we didn't get the total eclipse but I was fortunate enough to be on the college campus where I work and so I was able to view the eclipse using some cool telescopes.  I even was able to snap a photo using my camera through the telescope...
From my instagram account

Pack 23:
337.  Dennis Eckersley
100.  Shohei Ohtani
205.  Scott Rogowsky
148.  Luis Severino

World Talent:
WT-24.  Shohei Ohtani

Black border mini:
207.  Ronald Acuna Jr.

Framed relic:
MFR-JV.  Joey Votto

Woah!  Would you look at that pack!  An Ohtani, an Acuna, and a Votto framed relic.  Yeah, I'd say that was the best pack of the box so far...(and with only one pack remaining, probably safe to say this is the best pack of the box period)!

Pack 24:
191.  Freddie Freeman
220.  Theo Epstein
49.  Luke Weaver
107.  Roberto Clemente
74.  Eric Hosmer
26.  Marwin Gonzalez

Regular mini:
87.  Alex Wood

Baseball Equipment of the Ages:
BEA-1.  Vintage Glove

That does it for the second (of four) hobby boxes.  Overall, I was a bit disappointed to not pull the Barry Larkin glossy base card but I did get a Joey Votto framed relic which made up for it.  I'll have more Ginter goodness soon as I still have one more retail blaster and two more hobby boxes to work my way through!  So much typing and scanning...but for Ginter it is worth it!

Also, I probably should have used this box for Gint-a-Cuffs...a hot box with a Reds' relic in it?  Yeah, I would have done alright.  Oh well.

2018 Ginter: The Final Third of the Hot Box

I've finally made it to the final third of my hot box of 2018 Allen & Ginter.  I should have two more hits to discover...and if all goes well, the "hot box" parallel version of Barry Larkin's base card for my own collection. 

Here goes nothing!

Box #2:
Pack 17:
194.  Justin Smoak
216.  Rafael Devers
143.  Hunter Pence
323.  Erick Fedde
128.  Dellin Betances
28.  Jack Flaherty

Regular mini:
127.  J.P. Crawford

Fantasy Goldmine:
FG-47.  Steve Carlton

I'm still not enamored with the Fantasy Goldmine set.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I'll try to complete the full set (plus an extra one of the Barry Larkin cards for my Larkin binder) but that doesn't mean I'll actually like the set much.

Pack 18:
121.  Dustin Pedroia
155.  Hunter Renfroe
174.  Corey Seager
239.  Evan Longoria
312.  Carlos Santana
129.  Stephen Piscotty

World's Greatest Beaches:
WGB-10.  Harbour Island

Folio of Fears mini:
MFF-10.  Scotophobia

Scotophobia is the fear of the dark, common in children but also in some adults.  The photo on the card is probably enough to give anyone the fear of the dark!

Pack 19:
122.  Jimmy Nelson
70.  Jason Heyward
68.  Yasiel Puig
298.  Jameson Taillon

A&G back mini:
265.  Carlos Rodon

World Talent:
WT-27.  Dovydas Neverauskas

Relic:
FSRA-SF.  Sonny Fredrickson

Fredrickson is a boxer which I only know because the card told me.  The relic bit seems to be more rubbery than anything...not really sure what it is from but I appreciate that it isn't a boring white or gray bit of cloth (I'm now 2-for-2 on avoiding the most boring relics in the box)!

Pack 20:
277.  Willie McCovey
204.  Samesong Park
188.  Zack Cozart
125.  Brian McCann
226.  Lucas Giolito
21.  Noah Syndergaard

World's Greatest Beaches:
WGB-7.  Venice Beach

Indigenous Heroes mini:
MIH-21.  Jim Thorpe

Not a bad set of packs - a relic plus two mini inserts.  No complaints from me...and we still have four more packs (and one more hit) to go.  The only downside?  Still no Barry Larkin glossy base card parallel. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Ginter 2018: In Which We Learn Something New

I'm about to finish off the middle third of the "hot box" of 2018 Allen & Ginter.  You can't easily tell from the scans, but each base card in this box is actually a glossy parallel (not to be confused with the extremely rare serially numbered glossy parallels which I have not yet found).  This morning, we found our first hit of the box (a nice blue relic).  What will the next four packs hold?

Box #2:
Pack 13:
141.  Archie Bradley
329.  Josh Harrison
4.  Cameron Maybin
27.  Sean Manaea
156. Edwin Encarnacion
342.  Carlos Carrasco

Regular mini:
78.  Jason Kipnis

World Talent:
WT-9.  Jose Abreu

Hmm, not much there of note.  Let's hope the three remaining packs for tonight's post are a bit more interesting. 

Pack 14:
118.  Sean Doolittle
101.  Matt Kemp
15.  Giancarlo Stanton
233.  Roger Clemens
249.  Kyle Schwarber
211.  Rhys Hoskins

A&G back mini:
65.  Clint Frazier

Baseball Equipment of the Ages:
BEA-24.  Baseball Hat

Time to learn something new: 
The baseball hat originated way back in 1860 according to the card back.  The 1849 New York Knickerbockers are cited as the first team to wear a hat of any type (they wore straw hats) but it was the Brooklyn Excelsiors who first wore the modern cap in 1860. 

Pack 15:
310.  Matt Chapman
127.  J.P. Crawford
144.  CC Sabathia
19.  Yoan Moncada
132.  Masahiro Tanaka
184.  Andrew McCutchen

Black bordered mini:
165.  Ben Zobrist

Fantasy Goldmine:
FG-31.  Roberto Alomar

That is the first black bordered mini from this box.  I have pulled three A&G back minis however so far.

Pack 16:
76.  Ryan Zimmerman
303.  Hyun-Jin Ryu
182.  Greg Bird
254.  Jackie Bradley, Jr.
2.  Derek Jeter
263.  Jose Ramirez

Regular mini:
160.  Matt Olson

World's Greatest Beaches:
WGB-4.  Roatan

Man, I keep hoping to pull the Barry Larkin "hot box" parallel base card but so far no luck.  I still have eight more packs remaining in the box - so there's still hope!  I also have only found one of the three promised hits so far which makes me have even higher hopes for the final third of the box.  I'll probably get to rip into the remaining packs tomorrow if all goes well.

2018 Topps Allen & Ginter: Continuing with the Hot Box

Yesterday, I started ripping into my second box of 2018 Allen & Ginter and very quickly discovered that I had a "hot box" on my hands.  While I'm still up in the air in terms of how I feel about the hot boxes in general, I will admit to a bit of an adrenaline surge when I first discovered what I had on my hands.  What I didn't find, however, were any hits in the first third of the box - so I would anticipate the latter portion of the pack posts to be chock full of goodies, right?  That's how that should work.

Box 2:
Pack 9:
13.  Sonny Fredrickson
22.  Michael Conforto
276.  Chris Davis
248.  Aaron Nola
77.  Adam Duvall
308.  Brett Gardner

Magnificent Moons:
MM-4.  Mimas

The World's Hottest Peppers mini:
WHP-13.  Red Savina Habanero

Yes, yes, yes!  My first of the Hot Pepper minis!  As a vegetable grower myself, I love the idea of this insert set...and while my garden doesn't feature many exotic peppers (only green bells, jalepenos, sweet banana, and a Cayenne blend) I am still excited about the prospect of this set.

Pack 10:
34.  Scott Blumstein
8.  Ryan Sickler
281.  Salvador Perez
212.  Mark McGwire
215.  Brandon Crawford
230.  Tim Beckham

A&G back mini:
129.  Stephen Piscotty

Fantasy Goldmine:
FG-40.  Jim Thome

This might be the first pack without a short printed base card in it (something that I found to be odd in terms of how many short prints I pulled in the first half of the box).  In fact, I have pulled eight base short prints in 10 packs to date, that seems to be out of line with the 1:2 pack odds.

Pack 11:
315.  Christian Villanueva
266.  Franklin Barreto
185.  Joe Panik
290.  Ty Cobb
42.  Jackie Robinson
275.  Justin Verlander

Regular mini:
151. Don Mattingly

Baseball Equipment of the Ages:
BEA-18.  Fungo Bat

Nothing much to see here, moving along.

Pack 12:
243.  Yuli Gurriel
59.  J.D. Davis
348.  Josh Hader
199.  Garrett Cooper

Regular mini:
168.  Andrew Benintendi

World Talent:
WT-4.  Luiz Gohara

Relic:
FSRB-CC.  Carlos Correa

Well, there it is - the first hit of the box.  I do appreciate the fact that this isn't the usual gray or white jersey bit.  Instead, it's a nice blue color - and the card as a whole actually looks pretty sharp.  Easily one of my favorite relics that I've pulled thus far from 2018 Ginter!

We have now hit the halfway point of box #2.  For me, the highlight has to be the Hot Pepper mini but I can't complain about the Correa relic either.  Good stuff - let's hope the second half continues to deliver even more fun!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Hot, Hot, Hot - It's a Ginter Hot Box (Part 2)

Earlier today, I started tearing into my second box of 2018 Allen & Ginter which just so happened to be a hot box (basically all glossy base cards rather than the usual base cards).  Does a hot box mean I'll also do better than usual with the promised hits?  Only one way to find out - keep ripping!

Pack 5:
147.  Walker Buehler
98.  A.J. Pollock
37.  Yu Darvish
340.  Andy Pettitte
264.  Reggie Jackson
82.  Method Man

Regular mini:
97.  Mike Piazza

Fantasy Goldmine:
FG-16.  Randy Johnson

This relatively clean looking Randy Johnson sported a 28.5 K% in his career.  That value ranks sixth all-time apparently, though I would imagine he may fall further down the ladder with today's game being so strikeout heavy.  I admit that I've grown somewhat tired of the retired legends in Allen & Ginter but the Fantasy Goldmine set has impressed me at times with some of the lesser used player selection (such as Randy).

Pack 6:
209.  Fernando Rodney
91.  Victor Caratini
285.  Jackson Stephens
61.  Randal Grichuk
242.  Yoenis Cespedes
301.  Whit Merrifield

Magnificent Moons:
MM-9.  Miranda

Regular mini:
15.  Giancarlo Stanton

Uhm, nothing much to see here since I think I've pulled that moon card three times already now. 

Pack 7:
55.  Biz Markie
75.  Christian Yelich
178.  Jon Gray
110.  Honus Wagner
186.  George Springer
271.  Jose Canseco

Fantasy Goldmine:
FG-10.  Mark McGwire

Regular mini:
143.  Hunter Pence

I guess writing these box posts goes a lot faster when I don't pull a card that I deem as scan worthy.  #lookingatthesunnysideofthings

Pack 8:
320.  Corey Dickerson
158.  Yonder Alonso
240.  Gleyber Torres
151.  Don Mattingly
103.  Lucas Sims
162.  Chipper Jones

Baseball Equipment of the Ages:
BEA-8.  Batting Gloves

Baseball Superstitions:
MBS-6.  Pre-Game Meal
That's my first Baseball Superstitions mini card this year.  The card back (predictably) mentions Wade Boggs' fired chicken fetish but it also mentions Stan Musials egg-pancake-egg (in order) meal and Justin Verlander's Taco Bell meals.  I hadn't heard of either of those two guys' quirks before - just another reason to love Ginter as you get to learn things from the most unlikely sources...about the most unlikely topics!

Interestingly, I've now ripped through an entire column in the hobby box without finding a single hit.  In the first box, there was exactly one hit in each column.  It probably doesn't mean anything but as a math guy I'm always looking for patterns.  More from this box yet to come...and as you can see, I'm starting to accummulate a fair bit of 2018 Allen & Ginter trade bait so keep me in mind if you end up with unwanted inserts, minis, or other Ginter goodies!

So Apparently Hot Boxes are a Thing Again this Year in Allen & Ginter...

It's time to crack into my second hobby box of 2018 Topps Allen & Ginter.  After ripping the box topper pack, I ripped into my first regular pack of cards and ended up with a surprise.  This is one of the one-per-case (I think) "hot boxes" where all of the base cards have a more glossy finish to them.  I ended up with one of the hot boxes from last year's Ginter set and those cards are still sitting on my table while I try to decide what to do with them...I fear this year's cards may suffer the same fate but we shall see.  Let's get to it!

Box #2:

Box loader:
Mark McGwire

Meh, nothing much to see with the baseball box toppers.  I mean, they aren't bad it is simply the case that Topps has gone to this particular proverbial well one too many times for my taste.  I'm simply tired of full-sized cards of random baseball players.  Yes, if there were a Barry Larkin in the set I'd want that one but otherwise, meh.  Even worse, McGwire is featured as an Oakland Athletic here so that hurts his trade value in the baseball card market!

Pack 1:

135.  Chris Sale

334.  Sandy Alcantara
65.  Clint Frazier
117.  Corey Kluber
71.  Matt Carpenter
139.  Michael Rapaport

Magnificent Moons:
MM-2.  Europa

Indigenous Heroes:
MIH-22.  Powhatan

It isn't easy to see from the scan but the base cards have a clear, shiny finish to them (not really foil like last year's set).

Pack 2:

23.  Jordan Montgomery
66.  Paul Goldschmidt
62.  Justin Upton
172.  Buster Posey
48.  Manny Margot
326.  Elvis Andrus

Regular mini:
278.  Paul DeJong

World Talent:
WT-39.  Gift Ngoepe

I'm 0-2 on full-sized inserts that I actually need so far.  The moon from pack 1 and the Ngoepe from pack 2 are both duplicates.

Pack 3:

221.  Jeff Bagwell
331.  Todd Frazier
53.  Mike Zunino
287.  Paige Spiranac
115.  Ian Happ
236.  Luis Castillo

A&G back mini:
125.  Brian McCann

World Talent:
WT-30.  Didi Gregorious

Pack 4:

245.  Mookie Betts
40.  Max Scherzer
343.  Sean Newcomb
83.  Cryptocurrency
29.  H. Jon Benjamin
295.  Xander Bogaerts

Regular mini:
77.  Adam Duvall

World's Greatest Beaches:
WGB-1.  Paradise Island

Nice to get a Reds mini card, even if it Duvall rather than Barry Larkin. 

So, it was a fun little surprise to open the first hot box pack but given that I could only afford to buy four boxes of Ginter this year, it sort of hurts my chances at collecting the entire base set since one of my four boxes is useless in that department.  I should note that all of the inserts are "normal" as are the minis so I can at least make progress on my various insert sets (if I can start avoiding duplicates that is).

Plenty more to come since I've barely dipped into the box.