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The relic card's demise is your gain (a contest)

A few days ago, I came across an old post of Ben Henry's on The Baseball Card Blog. It was posted during the first half of 2008. It was about the insignificance of the relic card.

Yup, relics were officially dull and boring way back then. More than three years ago. Before I even started blogging.

Since that time, I have read probably dozens of posts about how the relic card doesn't matter anymore. I'm not going to argue the point, because from the perspective that many are coming from, they're right, it doesn't matter. The relic card has lost its ability to impress.

But now it has reached a new low. The relic card has become so unimportant that someone like me is now able to accumulate them without trying. Even I, a common variety set collector who does the vast majority of his card shopping with the other peons at the discount department store, has no trouble pulling relics.

Within a two month period this spring, I pulled 11 relic cards. Eleven. I've never come close to that ever. And I wasn't buying any more cards this spring than I always do.

For me, the thrill of pulling a relic is still there. Maybe almost every other collector is jaded, but I still kind of like them. It's not the best kind of pull, but it still sure is fun.

And I hope it still is for you, because here's the thing:

I'm giving most of them away.

Yup, this is the contest. If you hate relic cards, well, then just move on to whatever Panini is doing, or join one of the 32 trillion other contests going on (my timing is spot-on). But for the rest of you, I've got some cards you can win.

It's really a two-part contest. You can win one group of cards for doing almost nothing. But you can win one group of cards AND a second group of cards if a) you can crack my little code, and b) you get lucky.

Let's see some of the relic cards I pulled.

Here is the only that I pulled that is not part of the contest:

Yeah, I know it's a gray swatch and the card is pink. That's part of its charm. Plus, Jim Thome is The Man and he's a heartbeat away from 600 home runs. So this card stays in the nest.

But enough about what you can't have. Here is what you can have.

The first group is up for grabs to anyone who comments on this post. You don't have to advertise this contest. You don't have to follow. All you have to do is just say, "hey," because I like people who are friendly.

I will determine the winner of the Group 1 cards by the routine. The person listed first after FIVE spins of the random wheel, gets all of the Group 1 cards. Here is what they'll win:

1. A bat card of Geoff Jenkins. I couldn't even tell you if Geoff Jenkins is still in the majors. ... Wait, let me check ...

Wow, is my face red. He hasn't played since 2008. But you can have a piece of his bat! (Yay.)

2. An old-timey relic of Juan Gone Gonzalez. That's kind of cool. Unfortunately, the back of the card says that the relic is an authentic piece of pants worn by Gonzalez in an official INDIANS Major League Baseball game.

Upper Deck was so darling, weren't they? I'm not crazy about the "piece of pants" part either, but we're building to a card climax here.

3. A 2011 Heritage card of former Phillie/present National Jayson Werth. I really like the Heritage relics this year. Can't say the same thing for Werth. Haven't liked him since he was a Dodger.

4. A relic card of another ex-Dodger, Paul Konerko. Look at that neat little stripe there. It's hurtin' me to give away this card, but you guys deserve it.

5. A super shiny Bowman Sterling relic of Hanley Ramirez, numbered 50/199. I actually pulled this from one of those junk wax rack packs. Now you know why I was singing its praises for awhile there.

6. A super snazzy Heritage relic of my favorite player, Clayton Kershaw. I know what you're saying, "why would he give away a relic card of his favorite player? He must have two of them or something." And you would be wrong. I actually have three of them. Really.

So, that's Group 1. Again, all you have to do to win those is comment on this here post.

But there is also a Group 2. If you crack the code that I will show below AND you are selected to win the Group 1 cards, then you win both groups. Why am I splitting it up into two groups? I'll explain that later.

Here is what is in Group 2:

1. It's an Ichiro relic!! I never get tired of relic cards of his. They seem to be easy to pull, but I like them all.

2. A bat card of the Impaler. This is a fun card. I like this card because Guerrero is known for flailing his bat all over the place. This, consequently, is a terrific card of him.

3. More jerseyness, this time from T.T. If you're a longtime reader of this blog, you probably remember me saying that Chipper Jones seemed to me to be more destined to be a pro ballplayer than anyone I had known since Cal Ripken Jr. Meet Chipper's successor in this area.

4. This isn't a 2011 card. But I think it's time for it to move on. I still don't mind Granderson, but my objective is to have no Yankee hits in my house, even if they're not pictured as a Yankee. I make exceptions only for the ex-Dodgers (I'm looking directly at you, Russell Martin).

5. OK, this isn't a relic at all. But I thought I'd throw it in. Who would turn their nose up at a 1975 Topps Nolan Ryan?  The corners are scuffed, and it's off-center, but if you don't have one, I don't think you'll mind.

And that's Group 2.

So, what must you do to win the cards in Group 2, aside from getting chosen first for the Group 1 cards?

You must ...

That is the code. Each of those letters came from the front of a specific, respective card set of the past 50 years. It is up to you to determine which card set features each letter. There are 29 letters in all, meaning 29 different card sets are represented.

In other words, how much of a Font Freak are you?

Now, I know this might be difficult, so this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to list the answers to each of the letters below. Included will be a handful of sets that ARE NOT included in the code. It is up to you to match each letter with each set while avoiding the few decoy sets listed.

So, for example, if you choose to try to solve the code, you would comment on this post and then list as follows:

C: 2007 Topps; R: 1995 Fleer; A: 1971 Topps, etc., etc., ... all the way to the "L" in "Night Owl."

Sound like fun? Sound like hell? I guess that's up to you to decide. You do not have to solve the code to win the Group 1 cards.

OK, for those of you tackling Group 2 and the code, here is the list of sets from which to choose. Remember, there are a few sets included in here to throw you off, but MOST of them are correct, just in jumbled order:

1. 1993 Topps
2. 2011 Heritage (Rookie Parade)
3. 1991 Swell
4. 1975 Topps
5. 1989 Fleer
6. 1981 Donruss
7. 1982 Topps
8. 2001 Topps
9. 2009 Topps Career Best Legends
10. 1983 Donruss
11. 1972 Topps In Action
12. 1989 Topps Big
13. 2004 Topps
14. 1966 Topps
15. 2008 Documentary
16. 1996 Sportflics
17. 1999 Fleer Ultra
18. 2006 Topps Chrome
19. 1983 Topps
20. 1995 Pinnacle
21. 2005 Topps Chrome
22. 2008 Topps Heritage
23. 1989 Score
24. 1986 Topps
25. 1964 Topps
26. 1997 Topps Stadium Club
27. 1974 Topps
28. 1992 Triple Play
29. 1997 Topps Finest
30. 1987 Topps
31. 2009 Upper Deck Spectrum
32. 1990 Bowman
33. 1988 Topps
34. 1998 Bowman's Best

A few things:

1. I had to blow up the lettering on some cards and decrease it on others, for legibility purposes. I wanted you to be able to read the note! So, don't necessarily go by the size of the letters, although I tried to keep them close to scale.

2. If you know what Dodgers cards look like for certain years, it will help, as some of these letters -- but definitely not the majority -- came from Dodger cards.

3. If I made some sort of mistake in arranging this contest, I reserve the right to change rules or come up with alternate ways of determining a winner. I don't anticipate that happening, but knowing my flakiness, it's possible. But don't get indignant. I mean they're just relics.

4. I have never mailed a ransom note in my life. Just making that clear.

You do not have to be the FIRST person to solve this code. If there are 26 people who solve the code, then they are all eligible to win both groups of cards. The ultimate determiner of the winner -- for Group 1 or Group 2 -- is the selection of the first group of cards. You cannot win the Group 2 cards if you are not selected as the winner for Group 1! Also, if you solve the code and KNOW that you have it absolutely correct, I would appreciate you not saying something to that effect in your comment. Let others solve for themselves. Of course, if 17 people comment with the same pattern, it might make sense to comment with the same thing. There's my pro tip.

You are allowed to comment only once, EXCEPT ... if you want to comment to enter the Group 1 contest, and then wait until you think you've solved the Group 2 code and comment separately with your Group 2 answer, by all means, please do so. But I will not take multiple guesses from one person on the Group 2 contest. (And if you create a separate online identity for the purpose of entering Group 2 more than once, then I really hope you are getting the therapy that you need).

OK, there you are. Happy coding!

Now, I completely understand if you don't want to tackle this. Lord knows, I don't have the time for a lot of the contest hoops that bloggers like to set up. Hell, I understand if you didn't even read this far. But some of you like the challenge, so I thought this would be fun. That's why I have two groups. And I sympathize with the "no time" people, so that's why there's Group 1.

I am going put up a link to the contest on the sidebar, so people can enter over the next few days. The deadline to enter this contest is 11 p.m. EST Wednesday.

Finally, why am I doing this?

Well, I almost forgot until halfway through writing this, but I have just passed 200,000 unique visits and 300,000 page views.

I just wanted to say: "Much obliged."

Hope you still like relics.


John Bateman said…
This is awesome, I can't wait to try to crack the code. This is more about analyzing Night Owl than cracking the code to win.
If you crack Night Owl you crack the code

This maybe the ultimate Baseball Card Contest ever created.
The Dimwit said…
Ok, I have no hope in cracking that code, I don't pay enough attention to the fonts... but thanks for the contest. The thrill of relics still is awesome to me, even when it gets frustrating pulling crappy ones, eventually there'll be someone who doesn't think they are crappy...
Hackenbush said…
Hackenbush says, "Hey"!. My wife likes to do jigsaw puzzles. She's always asking if I want to help. I always say no. Good luck, puzzle people.
Ryan G said…
I'm going to have to try that code, if for no reason else but having nothing better to do. My priorities aren't straight, but they're mine!

And there's nothing wrong with a pink baseball card. Only real men are on pink baseball cards.
Anonymous said…
This is my official entry.
Captain Canuck said…
Thanks bud!

if I can crack that thing by wednesday, I'll post again... but no holding your breath or anything.
Jim said…

I was just thinking recently that I could use more Geoff Jenkins relics cards in my life.

And sorry about the whole Phillies sweeping the Dodgers thing this past weekend.
Dawgbones said…
code or no code, I've got to get dem Phillies!! Oh damn, you just wanted the first stage of horse crap, didn't you?? Well, OK then....


I'll try the code later when I'm not so frustrated...
Cool contest. All I want to add is; Jim Thome has hit 63 of his 598 against the Detroit Tigers. Sick.
TheBrooklynMet said…
I'm one of those people who is still overjoyed at pulling a relic card, and think that 11 relics in two months is incredible!
Spiegel83 said…
Hey! Nice contest,Godfather Night Owl. I may take a crack at that code someday.
Nathan said…
I'll throw my hat in the ring for group one...if I'm really bored tomorrow afternoon I may take a shot at group two
arpsmith said…
Gonna enter for the first group, may try to crack the code later.
Nick said…
I'll try for group 1. Group 2 is a fun challenge to try for.
Eric L said…
It never ceases to amaze me about how many different styles of contests people devise. Each one is interesting and entertaining in its own way. Thanks!
SpastikMooss said…
Commenting for group 1!
In! I'll give the code a try when I get home!
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the contest! I'll give the code a try in the next few days.
Alvin said…
Hey, thanks for the contest. And thanks for the break on the 75 Topps blog. I am trying to complete my set before you reach the last card and every break gives me some extra time!
Greg Zakwin said…
Hey there fellow Greg.
hiflew said…
Wow you complimented a Rockie (and you picked a good one)...Hell hath frozen over. I still get excited over relics too, especially when I pulled that Tulo in my Heritage box this year.
deal said…
Great contest idea, but I am way over my head on that - would have been a great bonus for Spot the Sig! maybe I will steal it.
Anonymous said…

Yep, I'm definitely one of your "I don't have time for this" readers, although I do really like the concept. I do feel like being a football collector hurts my chances at actually figuring this out, so I'm just shooting for Group 2. The only one I absolutely know is the 1989 Topps Big. And I knew that before the options were listed.

Go me.

And for the record, I still like relics, too. They're a pain to resell on eBay sometimes, but I still like pulling them. I guess I'm a child of the 90s.
Anonymous said…
My head hurts.
Spankee said…

guys, it's not rocket science. Trust me, I do rocket science. This is way harder.
Wilson said…
That, good sir, was a long post.

Here's my entry for group 1, and you'd better believe there's at least a shot in the dark guess coming for group 2.
Justin McLeod said…
I'm in for Group 1. And I'm going to definitely try my hand at the code.
Fuji said…
Thanks for the contest... I figured out a few of the fonts... but a pain in my temples kicked in. Will have to try again in a few hours.
Don said…
In on part 1. I will try and crack your code this weekend. There are a couple of sets that I think I know off of the top of my head, but I will have to check the list of sets to see if I can match them up.
Heeeeeeey yaaaaaa!

Thanks for the contest - cool stuff!
BA Benny said…
I'm in, I will try for group 2 when I get the time off the picket line at my job.
PunkRockPaint said…

I spend a lot of time with fonts, so I suppose I'll be taking a stab at the contest too.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the chance at free cards. Love the blog and congrats on so many views and hits!
Alrighty, I'm going after the code. I'm unfortunately not around all weekend and fear that one of you smarty pants will likely beat me to this, so I'm going for it early. It's about the best I can do and is probably about 90% right, but there are one or two that are head-scratchers. Anyways, still wanted to give it a whirl. Here goes:

C: 2008 Topps Career Best Legends
R: 1991 Swell
A: 1992 Triple Play
C: 1989 Fleer
K: 2005 Topps Chrome

T: 1996 Sportflics
H: 2008 Heritage
I: 1981 Donruss
S: 1987 Topps

C: 1983 Topps
O: 1990 Bowman
D: 2008 UD Documentary
E: 1999 Ultra

H: 1966 Topps
E: 1982 Topps
A: 1974 Topps
D: 1964 Tooos

L: 2001 Topps
O: 2011 Heritage Rookie Parade
V: 1989 Score
E: 1998 Bowman's Best

N: 1972 Topps In Action
I: 1986 Topps
G: 2006 Topps Chrome
H: 1993 Topps
T: 1997 Finest

O: 2007 Topps
W: 1997 Stadium Club
L: 1989 Topps Big

I doubt it's 100%, so I just gave a bunch of you a head start. Send me a relic when you win.
Drew said…
Heyyy Night Owl thanks for the contest!!
Ryan said…
Hey! Long time reader, first time commenter here. Thanks for the contest Night Owl!
Cooler Brian said…
Sweet post, congrats on 200k and 300k!
Unknown said…
Just here to say "Hey!" and get my name in the drawing for the contest before I waste my life away cracking the code.
madding said…
Dude. I don't even know what to say.
John Bateman said…
R - 1991 SWELL
C-1989 FLEER

I-1981 dONRUSS
S-1987 Topps

c-1982 topps\

H-1975 TOPPS]
E-1983 TOPPS
A-1974 TOPPS
night owl said…
John B. ~ You left out guessing on the "Love Night Owl" portion. There are 29 letters to guess in all.
John Bateman said…
I became so absorbed in finding the answers to the code that I forgot to scroll down and see the rest of the message. I knew that you mentioned there were 29 letters, I got so caught up into it that I thought you made a mistake. (Once, In College I thought I finished an exam but I did not realize until 5 minutes to go that I had to turn the page because there were more questions on the other side - that exam did not turn out well)

I probably will have to guess the rest because I may not have time to finish it by Wed.

I never realized how exhausting this would be. Fun, though
Scott Crawford said…
What the heck, I'll jump in for Group 1. I looked at the codebreaker thing, and my brain exploded, so I'll have to live with winning some of this stuff, but not all of it, if I win. Good luck to everyone!
Anonymous said…

And in the interest of my laziness, my code guess is the same as whoever wins.

I win?

Thanks for the contests though bud. You rock.
Slangon said…
I'll give it a go.

C 2009 Topps Career Best Legends
R 1991 Swell
A 1992 Triple Play
C 1989 Fleer
K 2005 Topps Chrome
T 1996 Sportflics
H 2008 Topps Heritage
I 1981 Donruss
S 1987 Topps
C 1983 Topps
O 1990 Bowman
D 2008 Documentary
E 1999 Fleer Ultra
H 1966 Topps
E 1982 Topps
A 1974 Topps
D 1964 Topps
L 2001 Topps
O 2011 Heritage (Rookie Parade)
V 1989 Score
E 1998 Bowman's Best
N 1972 Topps In Action
I 1986 Topps
G 2006 Topps Chrome
H 1993 Topps
T 1997 Topps Stadium Club
O 2004 Topps
W 1997 Topps Finest (This one stumped me something fierce so that's a complete guess)
L 1989 Topps Big
Terry said…
Throwing my hat in the ring.
Morgan said…
C – 2009 Topps Career Best Legends
R – 1991 Swell
A – 1992 Triple Play
C – 1989 Fleer
K – 2005 Topps Chrome

T – 1996 Sportflics
H – 2008 Topps Heritage
I – 1981 Donruss
S – 1987 Topps

C – 1983 Topps
O – 1990 Bowman
D – 2008 Documentary
E – 1999 Fleer Ultra

H – 1966 Topps
E – 1982 Topps
A – 1974 Topps
D – 1964 Topps

L – 2001 Topps
O – 2011 Heritage Rookie Parade
V – 1989 Score
E – 1998 Bowman’s Best

N – 1972 Topps In Action
I – 1986 Topps
G – 2006 Topps Chrome
H – 1993 Topps
T – 1997 Topps Finest

O – 2004 Topps
W – 1997 Topps Stadium Club (No idea - I think you made this one up!)
L – 1989 Topps Big
The Big Kahuna said…
Well if my ADD would let me focus on the code....ahhhhh look at the kitty cat. Thanks for the contest!
flywheels said…
I'd tackle the code...but I suck at puzzles. That's more my wife's game. So I'll just stick w/ the friendly "Hey" instead.
Ryan H said…
Here's my official entry.

Here's my official crack at cracking the code:

C 9. 2009 Topps Career Best Legends
R 3. 1991 Swell
A 28. 1992 Triple Play
C 5.1989 Fleer
K 21. 2005 Topps Chrome

T 16. 1996 Sportflics
H 22. 2008 Topps Heritage
I 6. 1981 Donruss
S 30. 1987 Topps

C 19. 1983 Topps
O 32.1990 Bowman
D 15. 2008 UD Documentary
E 17. 1999 Fleer Ultra

H 14. 1966 Topps
E 7. 1982 Topps
A 27. 1974 Topps
D 25.1964 Topps

L 8. 2001 Topps
O 2. 2011 Topps Heritage Rookie Parade
V 23. 1989 Score
E 34. 1998 Bowman's Best

N 11. 1972 Topps In Action
I 24.1986 Topps
G 18. 2006 Topps Chrome
H 1. 1993 Topps
T 29. 1997 Topps Finest

O 13. 2004 Topps
W 26. 1997 Topps Stadium Club (looks more like 94 Stadium Club to me though)
L 12. 1989 Topps Big
Josh D. said…
Group 1, here I come!

Group 2...not even gonna try.
Don said…
My crack at the code

C - 2008 Topps Career Best Legends
R – 1991 Swell
A – 1992 Donruss Triple Play
C – 1989 Fleer
K – 2005 Topps Chrome

T – 1996 Sportflics
H – 2008 Topps Heritage
I – 1981 Donruss
S – 1987 Topps

C – 1983 Topps
O – 1990 Bowman
D – 2008 UD Documentary
E – 1999 Fleer Ultra

H – 1966 Topps
E – 1982 Topps
A – 1974 Topps
D – 1964 Topps

L – 2001 Topps
O – 2001 Topps Heritage Rookie Parade
V – 1989 Score
E – 1998 Bowman’s Best

N – 1972 Topps In action
I – 1986 Topps
G – 2006 Topps Chrome
H – 1993 Topps
T – 1997 Topps Finest

O – 2007 Topps
W – 1997 Topps Stadium Club
L – 1989 Topps Big
Anonymous said…
Here's my go at it:

C – 2009 Topps Career Best Legends
R – 1991 Swell
A – 1992 Triple Play
C – 1989 Fleer
K – 2005 Topps Chrome

T – 1996 Sportflics
H – 2008 Topps Heritage
I – 1981 Donruss
S – 1987 Topps

C – 1983 Topps
O – 1990 Bowman
D – 2008 UD Documentary
E – 1999 Fleer Ultra

H – 1966 Topps
E – 1982 Topps
A – 1974 Topps
D – 1964 Topps

L – 2001 Topps
O – 2011 Heritage Rookie Parade
V – 1989 Score
E – 1998 Bowman’s Best

N – 1972 Topps In Action
I – 1986 Topps
G – 2006 Topps Chrome
H – 1993 Topps
T – 1997 Topps Finest

O – 2004 Topps
W – 1997 Topps Stadium Club
L – 1989 Topps Big

Thanks again!
Ryan G said…
C '09 Topps Career Best Legends
R '91 Swell
A '92 Triple Play
C '89 Fleer
K '05 Topps Chrome

T '92 Sportflix
H '08 Heritage
I '81 Donruss
S '87 Topps

C '83 Topps
O '90 Bowman
D '08 Documentary
E '99 Ultra

H '66 Topps
E '82 Topps
A '74 Topps
D '64 Topps

L ???? '98 Bowman's Best
O '11 Heritage
V '89 Score
E '01 Topps

N '72 Topps In Action
I '86 Topps
G '06 Topps Chrome
H '93 Topps
T '97 Finest

O '04 Topps
W ???? '97 Stadium Club ????
L '89 Topps Big

It's time for dinner.
Here's my attempt at the code. I missed three lunch breaks for this, but I lost 4 pounds so it was worth it.

C-2009 Topps Career Best Legends (Duke Snider?)
R-1991 Swell
A-1992 Triple Play
C-1989 Fleer
K-2005 Topps Chrome (Kemp or LaRoche?)

T-1996 Sportflics
H-2008 Heritage
I-1981 Donruss
S-1987 Topps

C-1983 Topps
O-1990 Bowman
D-2008 UD Documentary
E-1999 Fleer Ultra (At first I thought it was 2004)

H-1966 Topps
E-1982 Topps (Fernando?)
A-1974 Topps
D-1964 Topps

L-2001 Topps
O-2011 Heritage Rookie Parade
V-1989 Score
E-1998 Bowman's Best (Eric Young?)

N-1972 Topps In Action
I-1986 Topps
G-2006 Topps Chrome
H-1993 Topps
T-1997 Finest (By process of elimination I'm not 100%)

O-2004 Topps
W-1997 Stadium Club (same as 1997 Finest)
L-1989 Topps Big

night owl said…
The contest is now CLOSED. Thanks for playing!