Sunday, May 15, 2011

Guinea pig post, part II

I think everyone knows that they pay a premium for the concept of "new." New movies cost more. The latest styles cost more. The most updated gadgets cost more. New books, new tunes, new grub almost always demand more cash.

The same goes for baseball cards. Everyone knows it. The new stuff always carries a bigger price tag (unless you're comparing it to super vintage). Yet, unlike some of the things mentioned above, I don't necessarily think you're getting more for your value with new cards. Unless you get lucky on one of those Topps Heritage value boxes (which I have), you're paying for "new" and that's about it.

People have gone absolutely bat guano over Gypsy Queen, and I'm like the dog in the corner, tilting my head trying to understand. Aside from the framed paper cards, I have no idea what the hysteria is about, except that it is "new." Now people are getting bunchy about Bowman hitting the shelves. I know I enjoyed one of the biggest pulls of my life with Bowman last year, but really this is a garbage product that makes me hate life after I rip a pack 95 percent of the time. So, again, we're paying for "new," and a variation of "new" (the promise of a Bryce Harper card).

Which brings me to this:

Wait. There's more.

This is the updated version of this pack. Same basic concept -- 100 cards that were not produced in 2011, with a decent amount of overproduced late 80s/early 90s cards mixed throughout.

But unlike the previous packs that promised 10 cards of Hall of Famers and a memorabilia card every 1 on 4 packs, this tells you to look for vintage cards, and memorabilia cards 1 in every 8 packs.

I had relatively good success with the previous version of these packs, so I grabbed one. I had my doubts about the vintage -- I was envisioning early '80s cards -- but come on, these packs are $4.99 for 100 cards. You pay $8.99 for a Gypsy Queen rack pack of 21 cards or a Heritage blister pack of 25-or-so cards.

So, how'd I do?

I'd say pretty good. Like the last guinea pig post, I'll list every card year and brand I received so you can judge whether you want to take the plunge yourself. Like before, you need a little tolerance for junk wax, but junk wax is only part of the story with these packs, and I'll certainly take that "burden" for 5 bucks.

I did pull a relic out of one of the packs, but I'm not going to show it because it will be part of an upcoming contest. All I'll say is it is from 2002 Upper Deck and it is of a noted slugger of the recent past.

The other highlights:

A dozen or so cards from 1994 Fleer, one of the best sets of the entire 1990s. Kruk looks like it took him a day and a half to tuck in that uniform jersey.

A dozen or so cards from 1986 Fleer Update. How cool is that? I it is literally a thrill to pull a Fleer card of Phil Niekro.

This is even better. The man who was so gangster that he freaked out teammate Darryl Strawberry. And this is Kevin Mitchell's rookie card, as a member of the '86 champion Mets.

You have never seen this exact photo on a baseball card. That makes this card worth about a quarter of the 10 bucks I spent on the two packs.

Buice was one of the key players in the start of Upper Deck baseball cards, and there he is on the first set of Upper Deck baseball cards. This is almost as iconic as the Ken Griffey Jr. card from this set, if you ask me.

Griffey's dad (and a few thousand other people) would disagree with the above statement, but you think I care?

This card is from Fleer National Pastime in 2005. Normally, I'd never show a Khalil Greene card, but I like how his jersey matches the card border.

Each pack contained a Dodger card that I needed (although Finley is listed with the Angels). That is also almost worth the cash I paid, too.

One of my favorite non-Dodgers when I was growing up, on one of my least favorite designs.

If boxes of "Just for Men" contained baseball cards, this is what they would look like. That is Scott Erickson, who only belongs on a Dream Team if you're compiling a staff of pitchers who can get your collective ERA above 5.

Now, if I was obsessed over "new," I might have mentioned something about how it'd be nicer if I pulled this card in 2005. But the card is still cool, in a silvery, "what is he wearing" kind of way.

1993 Bowman looks almost as nice as 1994 Fleer, which is probably why I confuse the two all the time.

OK, I've featured 14 cards and still no vintage. But I did get some. This is the vintage portion of the packs:

Maybe you don't consider 1982 Donruss vintage. I don't really either. But some people do. And this is a card I didn't have before. Any card that I don't have between 1977-1984 is instantly awesome.

I traded this card away. And, look! It's back! The first (and, by far, the best) year of the Diamond King.

This was one of the first cards I pulled out of the first pack. I own the complete 1978 set, but pulling cards from 1978 off the retail shelf is worth a fist bump. Many of my '78 cards are in need of an upgrade, and this card was in perfect shape. Upgrading a '78 Bernie Carbo is definitely worth the price of a pack.

I also upgraded a '78 Duane Kuiper and a '78 Ron Schueler, as well as a couple of early '80s cards (the '81 Topps Sam Mejias, however, was damaged at the top left corner).

More good stuff. My 1977 Rick Manning card was pulled from a pack when I was 11 years old. It doesn't have corners anymore. This one does.

Awesome. This card belongs at the end of any summation of 1960s baseball cards. Burlap design? Check. Olive green coloring? check. Hatless ballplayer? Check. Accountant glasses? Check. Roundish corners? Check.

Worth the 5 bucks per pack?


Here's the rundown of the cards in the two packs (I've combined the contents, but both packs were essentially the same. Also, I'm not listing all the players this time or putting them in chronological order. It's raining outside and I'm lazy):

17 - 1986 Fleer Update
16 - 1987 Topps
14 - 1994 Fleer
11 - 1989 Topps
11 - 1988 Topps
9 - 1989 Upper Deck
8 - 1990 Kmart
6 - 1989 Donruss
6 - 1990 Score
5 - 1991 Donruss
5 - 1991 Bowman
4 - 1978 Topps
4 - 1990 Donruss
4 - 1991 Upper Deck
4 - 1992 Fleer Ultra
4 - 1992 Donruss
4 - 1993 Donruss
4 - 1991 Stadium Club
3 - 1990 Fleer
3 - 1993 Leaf
3 - 1990 Topps
3 - 1995 Pinnacle
2 - 1993 Fleer
2 - 1982 Donruss
2 - 1988 Donruss
2 - 1991 Fleer
2 - 1988 Topps All-Stars
2 - 1992 Stadium Club
2 - 1981 Topps
2 - 1998 Score
2 - 1991 Score
1 - 2005 Donruss Classics
1 - 1991 Leaf
1 - 1996 Donruss
1 - 1977 Topps
1- 1992 Fleer
1 - 1993 Bowman
1 - 2002 Upper Deck SPx
1 - 1992 Upper Deck
1 - 1992 Studio
1 - 1994 Donruss
1 - 1993 Select
1 - 1989 Bazooka
1 - 2005 Fleer National Pastime
1 - 1994 Score
1 - 1994 Upper Deck
1 - 1968 Topps
1 - 1999 Pacific Private Stock
1 - 1994 Ted Williams
1 - 2000 Upper Deck MVP
1 - 1986 Donruss
1 - 1992 Score
1 - 2005 Donruss Elite
1 - 1995 Classic Sport
1 - 1991 Star
1 - 2006 Topps National Baseball Card Day
1 - 2006 Upper Deck Artifacts
1 - 1991 Topps
1 - 1987 Topps All-Stars
1 - 1995 MegaCards
1 - 1985 Topps
1 - 1982 Topps
1 - 1990 Ames
1 - 1987 Hygrade
1 - 1990 Bowman
1 - 2002 Upper Deck unnamed relic

Now, although I bought these packs and I can totally get into them as an alternative to the current cards, I am not completely immune to "new."

I just don't subscribe to it as my card-collecting mantra.

But along with the two Jumbo rack packs, I did also buy a discounted pack of '09 Bowman (hoping by now I'll have heard of some of the players), a blister pack of Heritage, and a rack pack of Gypsy Queen.

I did pretty good there.

The Bowman pack yielded this:

He's supposed to be pretty good. At least that's what all the Braves fans say.

The Heritage blister pack yielded this:

It is almost unforgivable that Billingsley did not win that game last night.

Finally, the Gypsy Queen pack yielded this:

If I'm spending 9 bucks on one of those things, I feel almost entitled to get something like this, especially considering how dull I consider the base cards.

I will not give up this David Wright item easily. I'm thinking a Dodger relic from this current year (a GQ one especially) would do the trick.

After all, "new" is fun, and will draw lots of views to your blog.

But in the end, I find 200 cards for 10 bucks -- not all of it junk, mind you -- much more satisfying.


  1. Do you have the Kemp framed relic from GQ? Because I think I'm ending up with two.

  2. It's supposed to be coming to me in another trade.

  3. Good pulls from your packs. I only like new sets because it gives me a lot of new Dodger cards to pick up. I may not buy a lot of packs of new but I do trade for a lot of it. Gypsy Queen isn't at my Wal-Mart yet so, I have had to trade for the cards I need from the set.

  4. Ah. If for some reason it doesn't, let me know.

  5. Man, I need a way to get that Wright card from you so I can send it to the girls over at Dinged Corners!