Topps redeems itself with one of its best efforts in years.
I've been bored with Topps at best this year, and at worst... well, I'll save the grumbling for another night. The latest edition of Allen & Ginter (the more favored moniker over "Allen & Ginter's"), the eleventh since Topps revived the old tobacco brand, is threatening to be one of my favorites. Just look at that wrapper! It's almost perfect. The cards I found inside the blaster I bought earlier this month weren't too shabby, either.
The base design is fairly solid. I liked the older, more minimalist approach, but Topps did a nice job with an old timey font, reminding me of a sign you might see hanging above a store in a dusty old Western town. Trayce Thompson is the son of former Blazer Mychal Thompson, his brothers being basketball players Mychel and slightly more famous Klay. What crazy names this family has!
Okay, okay, calm down Cubs fans. You don't get this card, a black bordered mini of your "All-Star" shortstop. I was hesitant to even show it, but you probably don't want it anyway because the pack sealer got ahold of the corner of it. It's got those dreaded wavy lines all over it. I swear there are 99 fans of the Cubs for every 1 fan of every other team in MLB right now, and they all email me after I post Cubs cards on this blog all of a sudden. Sheesh!
Yay!!!! That's all I have to say. Yayyyy!!!!! I wish we had these tiny, pissed off looking birds in the wild in my neck of the woods, but sadly we do not. Lots of pigeons and giant noisy crows, though.
The Numbers Game is this year's common baseball player related insert concept. The backs of each has lists of achievements and other players who wore the same number, which is fun. Speaking of fun, Jacob DeGrom did not look like he was having fun last night against the Cardinals. Maybe he needs a haircut.
Please tell me that Portland's mayor is not in this set. Our local government is a disaster.
Eck! I always appreciate cards of Dennis Eckersley, even when he's not wearing red like he did late in his career.
Pretty much the most important number in baseball.
Ha! Marlins guy is in this set. I wonder if Deadspin has anything to do with this.
I complained (? - maybe not the right word) that we already had mini cat inserts in a past A&G set ("Little Lions") but I was told by the female of the household that these are different kinds of cats. And yet, she hasn't opened any Allen & Ginter packs this year. Hmm.
Two different Willie Mays cards were in the blaster, fortunately showing off two different photos. Again, this is something that Topps seldom gets right anymore, so it's happy news!
So the card stock is noticeably different this year. I kind of like it. It's hard to describe, but it almost seems more like one of Panini's more recent heritage-focused designs, like maybe the 2013 Hometown Heroes set or something similar. Anyway, it's a nice change without being too much of a change. The cards have a bit more of a grainy quality.
Any Silver Jews fans out there?
Well, you knew there had to be other reasons that I was excited about this box. Here's a good one of them.
Hmm, black sand... nothing I've ever seen before. Must be nice!
And finally, this full-sized Kolten Wong relic also fell out, completing my run of luck with this first Allen & Ginter blaster of the year. This card is soft and bright and doesn't seem to share much in common with the regular cards of this set, but I'm not complaining. Wong played himself out of regular playing time this season, so it will be interesting to see what his future holds. I'm guessing my near future doesn't hold many more Cardinals hits from randomly selected blasters, so I'm just going to call this a huge win.