Preview: 2011 Topps Heritage Minor League Baseball

I’m just warning you right now, this is a different type of preview from the normal. You’ll see why just by the way I’m writing.

We are in pennant race season in Major League Baseball and Topps is bringing out…Topps Heritage Minor League baseball? Really? Honestly, I don’t even want to preview this but since everyone in the country has such a love affair with prospects nowadays like Bryce Harper, Topps thought it would be a good time to try and make money off the MiLB. And honestly, I don’t know why. Well I do, but don’t see the point.

Last year we had Strasburg-mania and this year is Harper-mania and next year will be “insert name here”-mania. This seems to be happening a lot recently in baseball. With people jumping all over trying to get these newest rookies like they are the next Ted Williams, Topps has definitely tried to ruin rookie cards even more.

It’s funny, I’m looking at this product sell sheet and there is like 6 different pictures of Bryce Harper on it with autographs and game used pieces. Sure, you get 2 autographs and 1 relic a box in this Heritage themed product, but every card isn’t Bryce Harper and certainly every card will not be Bryce Harper. But everyone wants Bryce Harper like he’s some sort of “Chosen One”. Have you seen his AA stats?

This product will be hobby only and will contain 24 packs per box and as I said will contain 2 autographs, 1 relic, and 4 parallels per box. But it will have Bryce Harper in it! And of course, other great prospects like Manny Banuelos, Luke Jackson, and some Dustin Ackley.

But none of these cards have the rookie logo on them because they are minor league cards. Hey, guess what? Everyone is going to start calling these rookie cards now because some of them are the first cards of these players. Rookie cards were already screwed up in 2006 when the modern rookie logo rules were put into place and now we are stuck with minor league cards put out by a top producer of sports cards. Just more of a headache.

Anyway, enough rambling, this product comes out on September 21, 2011, for around $65. The one thing I like is at least the price is lower than most products out there. I would have pictures of what the cards look like, but I don’t want photos of Bryce Harper on this blog and that’s apparently the main reason to buy this product, according to the Topps sell sheet as seen above.

Review: 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter

It’s hard to believe but this is my first baseball card review. I love baseball cards and I love baseball. The first cards I ever collected were baseball cards. The first boxes of cards that got me back into the hobby in 2005 were baseball cards. I own more baseball cards then anything else. But I’m happy that 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter is my first baseball review because I have always loved Allen & Ginter since Topps brought it back from the dead in 2006.

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter has brought back the success of previous years in one of the most interesting and beloved sets of the year. From baseball players to famous beards and ships, Allen & Ginter is your source of both America’s past time and oddball cards that you can’t find anywhere else. With tons of minis and different types of short prints, it is a set collectors dream. With a large checklist of both sports and non-sports it is just a sports fan’s dream as well.

Base:

Inserts:

Relics:

Rip Card!!!

Design:

Sometimes practically the same design year after year is a good thing. When you’re going for the nostalgic, old school type set and basing your cards off that set, you still have to pay homage to the past. The sketches of the player with the splash of color in the background is what it has always been and that is classic. No frills or anything fancy here, just solid art work on these cards all around. I’ve always loved what they do with the relics as well and that is to put them in a larger frame that usually has like palm trees or something on it in nice colors. Every autographed card is hard signed and rip cards are fun and easy to rip. Nothing new, but sometimes new isn’t always better. Oh, and the Ascent of Man inserts are absolutely GORGEOUS.

Checklist:

I find this product extremely hard to review as far as the checklist goes. You have all the baseball players you need in this product. There are a number of SPs which is great and Ginter backs and Bazooka backs and black parallels. It’s fun to pull the parallels. The famous beards cards was pretty funny and I love the old school famous ships. Some of the people they chose from the world of entertainment, especially in the autographs area is the hard part though. There are some huge name on there, but also names which make you scratch your head. I might as well sign some cards for Topps if they are letting people like Chuck Woolery or the King of Cornhole. Which begs me to ask Topps to let me have some autographs in Ginter next year. I bet my cards would sell better on the secondary market then Jo Frost because I know what collectors like. My inscriptions would be epic. Just saying. Think Olbermann and Hayhurst combined.

Value:

The autograph ratio compared to relics this year is crazy and collation was terrible. If you are going to decrease the number of autographs then drop the price of the box as that is where things get expensive. The relics while nice, are just the same thing as every other product in baseball and Allen & Ginter in the past. Small relics that won’t fetch much on secondary market unless it’s a top celebrity like Shawn Michaels or Manny Pacquiao. The insert ratio of the major hits inside rip cards has been terrible as well. The product has been out a week and no one has seen a mini autograph or really any wood parallels or sketches yet. I know they are 1/1s and the reds are numbered very low but where are they? Maybe people just aren’t ripping the rip cards?

Overall:

Again, it’s hard to review something so beloved and at the same time such a wide range of different types of cards you can pull. The design is nothing new, but keeping it old is what the product is and you can’t change that for anything. The checklist is both jaw dropping and head scratching at the same time. Again, I’m going to make my play into the market next year as an Allen & Ginter signer because I think mine would be more interesting then half of the people chosen to sign this year. Not many people would know who I am, but I would make it collectible. Seriously, who wants Jo Frost or even knew who Jo Frost was and collected sports cards? Not really the target market. The collation problems and the lack of autographs while maintaining a higher price is kind of a disappointment as well. But there is nothing we can do about that. This product is often sold by the case because of how much people love it.

So here’s a pretty video of me opening my box of 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter and you can see my reactions as I pull cards. This box will also be used for my 2011 Gint-A-Cuffs submission and hopefully I beat a couple other bloggers out there. But I will post more about my score when the scoring rubric is released.

Videos coming up shortly, uploading to the YouTube. You get to see me try and pronounce Penultimacy with my slight stutter. Not a pretty sight.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mwcSBe6BEE]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fkUuDGxDWg]

Preview: 2011 Topps Tier One Baseball

With 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter so close to release I am psyched right now about baseball products. All that is on television right now is baseball with the lockouts of the NFL and NBA. The NHL is always quiet this time of year unless there are some huge free agent signings. There has been some of those huge signings, but baseball is just at the top of it’s game. Sort of like Manny Pacquiao, top of their games.

Speaking of Manny Pacquiao, he has an autograph in the previously mentioned Allen & Ginter, but also in this brand new product put out by Topps this season. 2011 Topps Tier One baseball. And frankly, I’m not hugely impressed when I really want to be.

Topps has sunk it’s teeth into the 1 pack per box products and this is another one. Each pack will net you 3 base cards, 1 parallel, 1 relic card, and 2 autographs. Every 12 box case will yield 1, just 1, top tier autograph. Top Tier autographs are what everyone will be chasing, but they only fall 1 in 12 boxes. The best part about the autographs though is that they are all on-card, except for cut autographs and the triple autographs. Again, this should not be a selling point but it is.

If you do not hit one of these Top Tier autographs you will probably hit a On The Rise autograph or Crowd Pleaser autographs. There are also dual and triple autographs available to pull as well. The On The Rise subset and Crowd Pleaser autographs look alright, but no where near the Top Tier autographs. At least all autographs appear to be numbered to 25 or less so that should help with some of the value.

You will also find relics that come in patch form numbered to 10 or single, dual, or triple jersey form. And I’m guessing the regular swatches will all be single colored and boring as usual from Topps with their jersey swatches. At least they do a decent job on patches, but they make them so hard to get.

Finally you will find 3 base cards each numbered to 799 and a parallel numbered to 199, 50, 25, or 1.

And for once I am not impressed at all with Topps design on this product. It just looks lazy with a faded background to a single color on the base and parallel. Although the autograph designs look decent.

I can’t find a price on this product but it could fall from anywhere between $85 and $200 if I know Topps correctly. I’m hoping it will be closer to the lower side as Topps doesn’t have many products like this that is around the same price point as Panini Limited or Upper Deck Ultimate Collection. My guess is that it will be higher, kind of like Tribute or Triple Threads because I just have a feeling it will be higher. I hope I’m wrong as right now the product doesn’t stack up and baseball needs a product in that range like Panini and Upper Deck.

We have found a preliminary 2011 Topps Tier One baseball checklist available too so you can see what I’m talking about. Let me know what you think of this product that arrives in November 2011.

Preview: 2011 Topps Lineage Baseball

I’m running out of products to preview. Don’t worry, that is a good thing. That just means this blog is becoming a great source of information on all the products that will be arriving at your hobby shop real soon, exactly what my plans were when I started it. But right now, we have the brand new 2011 Topps Lineage baseball to preview.

First, we know it’s all about the baseball lineage. The front of the packing even looks like Mickey Mantle and Joe Mauer are holding hands. Two great number 7s. I’m sure Joe Mauer has always wanted to hold hands with the Mick and finally he gets his chance other then digging up his grave. But I’m sure you want to know what is actually inside the box…got that information.

You will find at least two autographs per box of this product with at least one being on card. Since this set will pay homage to it’s older sets, hence the name Lineage, by having some of these autographs on reprints of their famous 1952 Topps design. You will find stars of that set with these new autographed reprint versions. Players like Yogi Berra, Ralph Branca and Monte Irvin will grace these reprint autographs. While you will still find the younger stars like Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, and Hammerin’ Hank Aaron on reprints of other famous Topps card sets. Finally, you will find some future legends on the 1952 card design as well with autographs. I’m guessing they will have Topps perennial players like Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols as some of the top hits.

Oh, and since it’s Topps 60th birthday, the celebration autographs will also be randomly inserted like it has been through most products this year.

Next there will be 1 relic per box. Some of these will be printed on reprints of the 1964 Topps Giants series if you’re old enough to remember these. I’m not old enough as my father was barely born at this time, but I definitely know about this series. These will be numbered low with jersey and bat relics and will be a box loader only. Again, I love the return of the box topper and it should be in every product. You can also find 1975 mini relics as well as more 60th Anniversary relics and jumbo relics with patch versions.

Finally, we have everything else. These past couple years have been the return of the inserts and this product has a ton of them with parallels. Anyone remember 1968 Topps 3D? That one I’m not familiar with but that concept will return as an insert set using life-like 3D technology and inserted 2 per box. Their words, not mine. You will also find 2 stickers per box based off of the 1972 cloth stickers set. Hablas espanol? You will find 2 Venezuelan Spanish versions of the base cards per box as well. These next two insert sets are my favorite. The first is the rookies on vintage 1980s style designed cards. I grew up grabbing these cards from my friends so it is definitely a great nostalgia trip. The second is the 1964 Topps stand ups that will be reprinted or have current stars on that design. You can bet your bottom dollar I will find the Red Sox versions and have them standing around my man cave. But look at all those inserts! They will be everywhere, don’t worry they won’t be taking up your precious base.

You will find 8 base cards per pack printed on several different Topps designs over the years. There will be an All-Time Rookie Cup set of rookies in the base set as well highlighting the greatest rookies ever. With these cards you will be able to find mini versions, printing plates, canary diamond parallels, diamond anniversary parallels, and platinum diamond parallels.

Releasing August 3rd, 2011, this product looks to be full of awesome legends and even more awesome current players. You will find 24 packs in a box and apparently 8 cards per pack. Apparently 8 cards in a pack even though it says there are 8 base in a pack. I’m guessing there will be 6 base per pack and the others will be inserts or parallels. You will find this product at around $100 for a box.

One last thing to mention. If you’ve been trying to get the 60th Anniversary ring in the Topps Diamond Giveaway…well there is now another way to get it. Randomly inserted in hobby boxes of Topps Lineage is a redemption to receive a ring. All of you who have been buying up Series I and Series II to collect the rings and can’t find that Mantle to finish your collection? You have another redeeming chance.

Let’s change this up a bit and feature a card almost certainly everyone had at one point or another, without the autograph, this Nolan Ryan which can be found in these boxes.

Preview: 2011 Bowman Platinum Baseball

…and the Bryce Harper chase continues. Harpermania continues with the release of 2011 Bowman Platinum baseball on July 27th, 2011. Bowman Platinum is personally my favorite of all the Bowman brands Topps puts out each year, even more than Bowman Chrome. Why you ask? Autographed relics and the insertion of some veteran autographs. See, I’m not a huge rookie collector or rookie person so I like products with some chances for veteran autographs as well and Bowman Platinum provides this for me and collectors like me.

With on card autographs and use of the Chrome technology, this makes 2011 Bowman Platinum one of the best looking sets of the baseball season. You will find 2 Chrome technology autographs per box in the regular and all of the different refractor versions that you can pull. Green, blue, gold, red, and super refractors can be found as well as printing plates. There is a checklist of 41 minor league stars to fill these autographs out, including the Messiah himself, Bryce Harper. These cards look sharp with chrome technology and on card autographs.

At one per pack you will also find refractor prospect cards with a nice 100 card checklist. Don’t worry, I will have a link to the checklist at the end of the article. Speaking of refractors, you can also find two regular refractors per box in all the colors I mentioned above plus the X-Fractor. Plus you will have your base parallels found at about 7 per box.

My favorite addition in Bowman Platinum the past couple years is the autographed relic. This autographed relic contains either regular jersey cards or prime patch cards. The patch autographs are numbered 25 or less in their refractor versions. The other refractors numbered higher are just the regular jersey cards. These don’t appear to be on card autographs though, but would definitely look better being on card.

Case hits in this product are multiple autographed cards. Dual autographed relics, dual autographs, triple autographs, and hexagraph autographed book cards with either a manufactured patch or just 6 six autographs. Finally, the 60th Anniversary autographs will be randomly found in this product as well continuing on previous Topps releases in celebration of their 60th anniversary.

In all you will find 24 packs in a box with 5 cards per pack for a little over $100. The design of this product is very solid although it looks kind of similar to last year with very small differences in the base design. Still, it’s Harpermania and these will be snatched up quick to try and pull a Harper autograph. I hope the delay in this product will bring a Harper autographed relic, kind of like Strasburg last year.

But enough about Harper. He’s an image from my favorite National League team, the Atlanta Braves.

I promised a 2011 Bowman Platinum checklist too, didn’t I?