Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Allen & Ginter, past & present
I scheduled kind of a bummer of a post for today, which still may be coming, that depends entirely on the distributors to my local big-box stores.
Fortunately, things are a little more upbeat around here today because the 2018 Allen and Ginter checklist is out!
We've reached the baseball card crunch period of the season. The new Big League Baseball set supposedly hit streets today. I still haven't seen Stadium Club, which released a couple of weeks ago. Series 2 isn't a month old. And now Allen and Ginter is scheduled for release next week.
As much as I like Stadium Club and as promising as Big League Baseball is, my heart remains with A&G. The checklist release is the most interesting of the season and this year is no exception. The baseball players are the same as usual, a mix of current stars, rookies and legendary players (the legends are getting pretty damn stale, but that's a post for another time).
But the excitement lies with the non-ballplayers and the inserts. Also, the relics and autographs, but there are plenty of other sites that will flip out over those. I'll focus on cards that are achievable, despite my Gene Hackman autograph pull last year.
I will update my sidebar with 2018 A&G's list of non-ballplayers soon. But some of the highlights are Joc Pederson's brother, Champ, SABR godfather Bill James, women's tennis players Genie Bouchard and Sloane Stephens, actor Christopher McDonald (Shooter McGavin in "Happy Gilmour"), Theo Epstein, golf hottie Paige Spiranac, Biz Markie (oh, baby, youuuuuuuu!) and cards of a total solar eclipse, bomb cyclone and bullpen car!
I think I'm most interested in some of the insert sets, particularly two of the baseball-themed ones. Here's the announced checklist for "baseball equipment for the ages":
Some of those cards might turn out to be pretty boring, I'm not sure how much you can spice up a picture of shin guards. But it's fun to collect the baseball tools that we all know.
Here is another baseball insert set:
This is my favorite one so far. I hope it's not one of those difficult-to-obtain inserts, like last year's "Required Reading" minis (I still have none). Here is yet another opportunity to own a baseball card of baseball cards!!!
There are several other interesting inserts like "the world's greatest beaches," "magnificent moons," "exotic sports" (roller derby! dog surfing! beer pong!), "folio of fears" (various phobias) and "the world's hottest peppers". Fantastic stuff.
I think I am getting more and more interested in the A&G inserts than the base set over the years. Part of that is because the base set has become less interesting as I documented last year (less historical figures, etc.).
I completed the A&G base sets from 2008 through 2013 in increasingly lackadaisical fashion. But just the other day I completed the 2014 A&G base set, four years after it was issued!
These three cards arrived from Dennis of Too Many Verlanders, who whittled my Nebulous 9 list down to a single card! (It'll bounce back by next week, I assure you).
I used to run a list of the day I completed my Allen and Ginter sets, but slacked off on that when I started slacking off on completing A&G sets. It's time to revive it, at least just this once:
2008: Nov. 20, 2008
2009: Dec. 10, 2009
2010: Nov. 22, 2010
2011: June 15, 2012
2012: Jan. 27, 2013
2013: Aug. 6, 2015
2014: July 9, 2018
Did you notice the apathy creeping in? There is almost no chance I complete the 2015, 2016 and 2017 A&G sets (probably 2018, too). But seven in a row is pretty good. I haven't done that for anything other than Topps flagship.
Let's see the other two Nebulous 9 cards Dennis sent that are definitely not Allen & Ginter:
The Drake's Pedro Guerrero is from 1988. As most of you '80s collectors know, the late 1980s Drake's cards are kind of a bitch to snag, especially in decently trimmed shape. So happy to add this.
The Topps Bunt Julio Urias from last year is the last base set need for the Dodgers. Who knew it'd take this long?
July is often the month that features the most desirable new baseball cards, for me anyway. I have much more restraint, though, than I did six or seven years ago, so you'll probably see a blaster break or two, but not much more than that. If I find I really must complete some of the new A&G insert sets, I'll track them down online.
Even if I'm much more into older cards, it's nice to have new cards to get excited over.