Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Welcome back, Walmart

I don't like that I go to Walmart as often as I do. I'm not there every day, but I stop by probably every other week when you average it out.

It's just a necessary evil when you live where I do. It's a small city, and it's far removed from anywhere else. So it's just a fact that if you want certain things, you're going to have to do the dirty deed and walk through those electronic doors.

Besides, there are baseball cards there -- or at least there were baseball cards there until Aaron Judge mania hit.

Ever since May or June, the Walmart closest to me has been devoid of baseball cards. Lots of football cards. Plenty of basketball cards. A whole bunch of those magic/funko/other junk taking up valuable shelf space meant for baseball cards. But no baseball cards.

My trips to Walmart of late still always include a stop at the card aisle. But I don't really expect to see anything I want.

Today, I needed to go there to get some Christmas lights. I am way ahead of the game this year. I've actually started Christmas shopping before December hits (this never happens) and I have all the outside lights up, too (this also never happens). But I needed to add a few more strings because the people who sell Christmas lights are even more dastardly than those who make baseball cards, and still to this day, have not figured out how to make lights last longer than a year.

Walmart has the only kind of red lights that I need (yes, I realize that the reason my lights aren't lasting more than a year is because I'm buying them at Walmart, stop hassling me, all right?). So after grabbing a couple boxes, I detoured to the card aisle.

I was stunned by what I saw. Stuffed amid the sea of football and basketball was a bunch of Topps Update blasters and hanger boxes. And next to all of that Aaron Judge was a bunch of hanger packs and blasters of ... huh, Topps Gallery?

Not even a week ago, I had not a clue that Topps Gallery was a thing in 2017. I thought it was coming out next year. Then I saw it on the Waiting 'til Next Year blog and realized that the hobby was going too fast for me again.

I wasn't all that impressed with what P-Town Tom showed so I didn't bother with a blaster. I grabbed two hanger packs for $5.98 each (12 cards a pack) and got the hell out.

This reboot of Topps Gallery comes after reboots of Gold Label and Tek. I personally didn't care about these sets the first time they came out (heck I wasn't collecting then). But I guess the 10 people who were collecting in the late '90s have nostalgia, too, so, sure, I'll play along.

Pack 1

#114 - David Dahl, Rockies

The cards are of average Gallery card stock, maybe a bit skinnier, with a slight gloss to them. The look of the cards is fairly boring, but, like I said, I was never that thrilled with Gallery. (I did like the 2002 version).

#66 - Maikel Franco, Phillies

#105 - Daniel Norris, Tigers

#MP-13 - Albert Pujols, Angels, Masterpiece insert

Masterpiece inserts appear in every other pack on average. They're glossier than the average cards and they look pretty swell. These are my favorite cards of the ones I pulled.

#35 - Jose Altuve, Astros, Gallery Heritage insert

Topps seems to be pushing Bowman in every set this year. At least it's using an early '50s Bowman look. The Gallery Heritage inserts are 1 every 4 packs.

#HOF30 - Mike Piazza, Mets, Hall of Fame Gallery insert

This insert is also 1 every 2 packs. These do nothing for me.

Because this is a modern set, it's chock filled with retired guys and rookies. I found the rookie logo four times in each pack.

#127 - Rick Porcello, Red Sox

That's your back. Mayumi Seto does the sketch cards in this set and I guess she worked on the base cards, too. Many of the pictures shown in Gallery are actual photographs, so I'm not certain what she did (I have no graphic design knowledge).

#52 - Paul DeJong, Cardinals

#53 - Kenta Maeda, Dodgers, canvas parallel
#100 - Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, canvas parallel

These are the two canvas parallels that are promised in each pack. Although they only look like canvas and don't feel like canvas (boo), I couldn't have picked a better pack.

#19 - Carson Fulmer, White Sox

#84 - Trey Mancini, Orioles

Rookies, rookies, rookies!!!

Pack 2

#91 - Dinelson Lamet, Padres

#MP-12 - Adam Jones, Orioles, Masterpiece insert

#24 - Yadier Molina, Cardinals, Gallery Heritage insert

#HOF-8 - George Brett, Royals, Hall of Fame Gallery insert

#94 - Jesse Winker, Reds

Look familiar?

There you go.

#47 - Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox

#81 - Magneuris Sierra, Cardinals

Look familiar?

Probably would make sense to collect just one set a year, that is if I collected current sets anymore.

#134 - Matt Duffy, Rays

#55 - Jose Bautista, Blue Jays, canvas parallel
#54 - Jose DeLeon, Rays, canvas parallel

Not as awesome as the previous pack. Only one former Dodger.

#76 - Stephen Piscotty, Cardinals

#63 - Kendall Graveman, Athletics

There you are.

I'm probably done buying any more of this, unless I find myself in Walmart between now and the end of the year, which would mean I am having a no-good-terrible-very-bad-time-during-this-festive-time-of-year and need cards for survival.

The cards shown today will go to usual trade partners (except the Dodgers, of course).

My card desk shows that there have been a lot of one-and-done sets this year (one purchase and that's it), so it's not like I neeeed to have Walmart's shelves stocked with baseball cards all the time.

It's just nice to know that they're there again.


  1. I was almost completely blindsided by Gallery... I found out about it a couple of days ago and ran to WalMart the first chance I got, but I came up empty. So far my record is WalMart - 2, Shlabotnik - 0.

    I like the artwork... I find the card design to be pretty 'meh'. I frankly would've preferred the entire set to be done a la 1951 Bowman.

    I'll try a couple of packs of this... if the "Judge-mental" people will leave me any.

  2. I'm interested in the Winker and the Altuve if you need homes for those.

    1. Altuve's taken, all of a sudden there are Astros collectors galore.

  3. I've enjoyed Topps Gallery since the mid 90's... but I don't see myself picking any blasters or hanger packs of this stuff. If I can find a complete set for $20 on eBay, I'll grab it. But I can't picture myself spending more than that.

  4. Mayumi drew all the base cards. While what she drew were off actual images, these were drawn on 5x7 pieces of canvas, scanned and then sized for cards.

  5. Good for you scoring the Kershaw. Not a huge fan of these. But will trade you for the Bosox.

  6. Canvas parallels aren't packed into blasters, which is what I bought. I really like the look of them, but am saddened to learn they don't have a canvas like texture to them. Congrats on pulling two Dodgers out of the four!
    I only pulled one Dodger out of my blaster, but two Brewers. (I must have found the one blaster in the world Tony L. would've been happy with. LOL) I'll send the Dodger your way. Thanks for the shout out!

  7. I like the design of the masterpieces, other than that pretty bad overall base design.

  8. Gallery was one of the first high end boxes I purchased in the early 2000's. I'll probably just cherry pick some Pirates on eBay at some point.

  9. If I pulled an actual 1/1 sketchcard like these in another product, I'd be very impressed. But a mass-produced art card set? Zero interest from me here. But then again, I never really cared for the old Diamond Kings and whatnot either. Unless we're talking oldschool vintage, I want real photos.