Tuesday, July 29, 2014

2014 Topps Archives: Hotter Than Roger Dorn's Wife

It's rare that I get to showcase a set so soon after it's release; but I've been fortunate on the Griffey front with this set, so I thought "why not?"

First I should mention that I had to one-at-a-time these via eBay over a few weeks because there was no Archives left in the stores.  More than that, my LCS sold out of hobby boxes twice.  That doesn't happen here in New Orleans, guys, where baseball has about as big a fan base as the League of Scandinavian Chicken Wranglers (nothing against the fine athletes of the LSCW).  People wanted this product enough to pay attention to when it was being released.  That's huge.

I can't fault these folks for their sudden interest in a Topps product for two reasons.  First, the Major League insert.  It kills.  It's a home run of an insert of I ever saw one, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a sequel or perhaps a new insert with a different baseball movie from Topps.  Frankly I think it would be silly of them not to do something else similar.

Second, when I started collecting again a couple of years ago, Topps Archives was the product that I got most excited about.  There's something in the mix of my love for rehashed overproduction-era designs and my emotional attachment to those designs plus the fun, unique inserts and the general feel of the cards themselves that all combine into a perfect storm of wallet-loosening insanity.  I love it more than Ginter, Tribute, and Gypsy Queen all rolled into one.  If I had a little more expendable income I'd buy a case of the stuff (but try hiding that from the wife).

So yes, I am a fan.  Sure they repeat some photos and maybe some of us are thinking "enough already" with seeing the same few dozen retired stars on more and more cards year after year across multiple brands (I really shouldn't complain about that part: keep it going, Topps!), but it's still my favorite pack to bust.  They're just really fun.

When the rush was over to find these cards in the store, I finally ended up getting my hands on one blaster and a couple of rack packs.  From those I got a reasonable cross-section of cards to show you.

Of course I'm showing almost exclusively all those old retirees I was just kinda complaining about a minute ago.  What can I say?  Topps has my number.  Here are the 1980 and 1973 sets.

And the beloved 1986 set.  These look solid - faithful to the originals in every way.  That Larry Doby is probably my favorite pull from what little 2014 Archives I actually bought.

The lettering isn't perfect, but this is the design that hits me hardest in the childhood.  I love 'em, especially the Mattingly and McCovey.  I like the Bench OK, too, but I'd like it more had I not already seen that photo before.

Of course there are parallels which I really enjoy.  It's a fun take on designs you may have thought would never be printed in shiny holofoil.  Pretty neat.  These goldies are #/199.  There is also a silver version #/99 that doesn't look quite as cool.

I love this card!  I know it's a Puig and we're all a little tired of seeing him on cards by now but something about that rainbow over the full wood-grain border.  I get all verklempt.

These, too.  I have so many from the 80's and 90's - it's fun to see updated versions with dates to match.  I miss the gloss fronts which were kind of a big part of the original cards, but it's a great idea for an insert.

I have only one of these original 1969 deckled-edge cards, a Rusty Staub.  I could take them or leave them in terms of modern players reprints, but it wouldn't hurt to have a Griffey.

Here they are, the sought-after Major League insert cards.  A half-dozen other characters spring to mind that didn't end up on cards, but they got a few right including the guy on the only one of these I pulled from a pack:

I was excited about this pull, but I still like the Larry Doby best.  Those are the three I have, and yes I want the other two.  And I also want Cerrano, Willie Mays Hays, Bob Uecker and the rest of the gang when they come out in Archives 2015.

Topps made a set of 5x7's od this insert plus a bonus card that came in a fancy custom wax pack you could buy direct from them.  I wrote another post about those that you can see here.  It includes scans of all the cards and pretty much sums up how I feel about this insert as a whole.

Okay, let's look at some Griffeys:

2014 Topps Archives #75 Silver #/99, Gold #/199, Regular (1980 Design)

That, gents, is the rainbow sans printing plate.  I still like the gaudiness of the gold best despite the scarcity of the silver.  And I love love love that picture.  Great Griffey, Topps!

Here's the back:

They cut the guy off at 2005, but they made up for it with that sweet cartoon.  The pitcher looks freaked out.  I like that.

I've mentioned before that I am trying to get a Griffey card done in every single classic Topps design.  I'm really close, too, but I should mention that I already had one of this 1980 design:

I really love that picture, particularly the background.  This is one of many rehashes of old Topps designs done by a baseball card magazine of the 90's.  There were a lot of these, apparently, and it's actually pretty faithful.  Of course Topps did a much better job emulating their own card back design.  Here's the one from this oddball:

Now-defunct card collecting magazines are the most prolific provider of Griffeys on classic Topps designs second only to Topps themselves.  Here's hoping that future Archives designs will fill the holes I have in the classic Topps design timeline.

Here's all the Griffeys I am missing from 2014 Topps Archives:

#75 Printing Plate 1/1 (four, one per color)

Griffey had no autographs and no cards in the throwback hockey design insert (which I would love to have seen), but he got a pretty great base card.  I feel good about that.

My Cardboard Mistress' Tricky PWE

This is from a PWE I got from Adam at My Cardboard Mistress.  I'll let his note do the talking:

He's right.

Both of these cards are tricky.  That 1992 Classic Best showing Junior in a pre-rookie uni used to throw me off all the time.  Back in the day I believed I had something really valuable until the day I noticed the big, honking "1992" emblazoned across the top.  Still, a unique card that was ahead of its time (and there are like five different versions, so I guess that concept was ahead of its time, too).

The Jimmy Graham card is a bit of a trickster, too, listing the star receiver on the card back as a tight end.  Nice try, every card brand in America.  This guy is clearly a wide receiver.  "That'll be millions of dollars, please." - Jimmy Graham (not really).

I poke fun, but I love the Graham card, and I do believe the guy deserves every dollar he can get out of this gig even though he is most definitely a tight end.  The guy's a beast, but that argument was unwinnable.

Thanks for thinking of me, Spankee!  Any other cool Saints cards you get, new or old, I'm definitely interested.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Remember the Astrodome Miscellaneous 90's Cardboard Spectacular!

The problem with getting behind on a project as work-intensive as a card blog is that the it can be tough to catch up.  Then it can get so far gone that catching up seems like an insurmountable feat.  Despite all that, cards keep coming in the mail that need your attention.  That sounded like a complaint, but it's not, especially in the case of the awesome stack I got from Marc at Remember the Astrodome.

Marc put up a post of items he had for trade, and I claimed a stack of non-sports cards from the 90's.  You might remember these from the Desert Storm set.  The actual cards looked like this:

Look at Cheney's awkward-Dad Glamour Shots pose.  I can't laugh too much here because he actually looks a bit like my Dad.  I'm a big fan of the A-10 "Tankbuster," too ever since I was a kid.  There were lots of these cards in Marc's trade - these are just a few favorites.

Ghostbusters II, one of the best sequels ever made, IMHO.  That would be Bill Murray on top, so it's going in my Bill Murray collection for sure.  Plus we have the late, great Harold Ramis immortalized on cardboard.  I love these.

I think Slimer was in the second movie for only a moment as a bus driver - still, why did they need artwork?  He didn't change at all from the first one apart from the bus driver cap.

It's still amazing to me how big this movie was when it came out.  It's really weird, and I'm not sure Pacino even claims it as one of his.  I need to re-watch this out of pure curiosity.  The last time I saw it was in the theater in 1990.

Can't go wrong with these bad boys.  How about April O'Neil in that yellow jumpsuit?  Mm-hmm.  You know what's up.  Even eight-year-old me knew that thing was made to come off...

Mikey is either saying they are #1 or flipping off somebody behind him.

You may remember those lassoing robots from "TMNT: the Arcade Game."  They were a serious pain the the shell!  Get it?  Turtles?  Yeah, I can do it too...  I love that one of Bebop and Rocksteady before they were mutated by Shredder.  And look how hard they had to force the "TM" in after Splinter's name before the apostrophe.  Geez.

These are from the movie, obvy.  Shredder wore pajamas and a basket on his head - if you haven't seen the previews, the new Shredder looks much scarier.  I was always a fan of Casey Jones because he made good use of sports equipment and because he was the only character who could conceivably get April out of that tight little jumpsuit.

Here's a sentence you'll never hear again: Superman III is my favorite Superman movie.  I don't know what it is - maybe I just saw it at just the right time in my formative years for it to endear itself to me.

The first Batman is also my favorite of that series (not counting the Christian Bale reboot).  Best villain, best Batmobile, best acting - best pretty much everything.  These cards rock.

I'm not a big Quinn Early enthusiast, but that's a great-looking card.  I can't imagine kids reading Sports Illustrated being excited about Willie Roaf, but I do remember Jake Delhomme being pretty popular here in NOLA in his day.

Thanks, Marc!  I have a bunch of Astros coming your way.

And if you come across any more April O'Neil cards, you know where to find me...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

2x3 Heroes PWE: Pog White Envelope

I got a gentle nudge from Jeff of the great 2x3 Heroes asking that I "get [my] ass back to [my] blog."  It was a coincidence, too, as I was just sitting down to start scanning some cards.  I've been really, really behind lately as I have been getting used to the new laptop running Windows 8.1, trying to make my HP6500 work with the new laptop (you'd think it would be simple), and trying to remove the forced use of iTunes from my life.  I'm making huge strides with all three, by the way, but these combined with two long trips and a car accident (not my fault, no one hurt, etc.) have put blogging on the back burner.

While I haven't been reading or writing much at all, I continue to acquire cards thanks to my blogging friends.  Here is the first in a series of posts looking to make it right with my trade partners who have sent me stuff even while I have been incommunicado in the blogsphere.

The above note is from Jeff.  I know this because Jeff's signature looks like "Jlo."  He always sends great stuff, too:

When I saw "pog" on the note I was thinking just a small, circular card; but this is an actual pog.  The thing that makes is a pog and not a small, circular card is that it makes no sense.  First we have the texture which is unscannable.  That's OK - lots of cool cards are unscannable, but this has almost a denim quality to it.  It's very liney, but not quite as much as this scan would have you believe.  Then we have the word "Hawaii" across the bottom there.  Why?  I don't know.  The only reason I can think of is that it's a pog, and you're not supposed to get it.  The little signature is cool, though.

Let's flip it over for a little explanation:

Okay, I see nothing about Hawaii.  It's a matte black with silver foil that reads "Signature Caps."  The signature I get because his signature is, indeed, on the front.  I don't know where caps come into play.  He's wearing a batting helmet on the front, and the reference to Hawaii remains unexplained.  At least we can take solace in that only 25,000 of these were made.

I poke fun, but this was a really cool surprise to get in the mail.  Pogs are stupid, but I freaking love it and all its mystery.  If anyone has any info about it, please pass it along.

I was delighted to see Griffey on this Topps design for 2014 Archives.  I'm trying to get Griffey on every vintage topps design through 1988, and I'm now only eleven years short.  Excellent picture, too.  Absolutely love this card.

And you can't go wrong with a pair of Bones.  This is just before he started with the famous goatee.

Thanks for the cards, Jeff, and the kick in the pants.  I will try and get back to my former regularity now that things are getting back to boring around here.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Pair of Holy Grails

You haven't heard from me much lately - I've been Spring cleaning, selling off my surplus of collectables on eBay like hotcakes to finance a new laptop.  Don't worry - no Griffeys were lost.  In fact I've picked up a bunch.  In lieu of the many, many necessary trade posts I owe to several generous bloggers out there, here's a pair of recently acquired Holy Grail cards I've been chasing for years:

I'm not just a Griffey collector - I also collect a few non-baseball guys like Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and O.J. Simpson.  The most difficult collection to build, however, has been my Bill Murray collection.  Mr. Murray is a fan of the game and has owned several teams.  For that reason he's made it onto a precious few baseball cards.  This Salt Lake Trappers card is the crown jewel.

I decided a while back to keep quiet about my Bill Murray collection until I could land this card, and it on finally popped up on the 'Bay for more than a reasonable person would otherwise pay.  Just look at that picture.  It's Murray's '89 Upper Deck #1, his '52 Topps, his on-card-autographed 1/1 quad-patch with genuine hair relic.  Chivers, eat your hearts out.

Now what kind of Holy Grail post would this be without a Griffey?

I made a nice chunk of change on eBay in the last few days, so I thought I'd grab a little something just for me.  I may never have the dual-signature version, but at least I can say I was able to land this beauty.  It's even prettier in person what with the excellent blue-to-green background and perfectly rendered dipositions of both Junior and the Mick.  An amazing card to say the least.

I have a million other posts to write in the coming weeks, but I thought I'd share these two proud acquisitions to hold over any Junior Junkie...well...junkies of which I'm certain there are thousands.

Thanks for reading!