Thursday, August 7, 2008

Topps 2008 Series 2 (for the last time!)

I swear I am done with this year's Topps set after this. I was fairly underwhelmed by this set to begin with when I first saw it, but there's something about Topps that always jumps at it you no matter how crappy it looks or feels. I can't think of any Topps set in any year that was released since I started collecting that I genuinely loved, but if you tossed a Topps card from any given year in front of me and asked me what year it was from, I could tell you what it was before you could even blink (aside from the "lost years" when I didn't collect, but even some of those are starting to become familiar to me.)

I bought some Series 1 packs early this year even after reading about the silly gimmicks and seeing the terribly obviously Photoshopped cards (I kind of miss the airbrushed cards, to be honest. Those were amusing, at least.) Series 2 came along and Albert Pujols happened to be on the packs (and the boxes), so I convinced myself that I needed some packs and a "blaster" for my collection. I purchased 2 more blasters of Series 1 that were marked down from 9.99 to 7.49 because I'm a sucker for deals. And I've already documented my hobby box Series 1 eBay purchase which left my Series 1 to Series 2 ratio feeling very lopsided. After striking out at a flea market on Sunday (I did leave with a 50 cent NBA video from the early 90s, so I guess it wasn't a total bust), I decided to head to Target since I had already budgeted about $20 or so for the flea market journey and still had cash in hand. And there was Topps, with the shiny green packaging and Pujols staring back at me. With the promise of a "guaranteed game-used memorabilia card" inside and a realistic chance of it being Chris Carpenter, Troy Glaus or Jim Edmonds as a Cardinal and a surprise sale price of 16.99 instead of the marked 19.99, I was hooked... again.

My relic card ended up being Brad Hawpe. Can a card with a small square of a starting outfielder still in the prime of his playing career yet with no realistic designs on making the Hall of Fame actually be considered a "relic"? Who comes up with these terms? I would call them "memorabilia" cards but that word is equal parts "too nerdy" and "annoying to pronounce." "Game-used" cards? Are the pieces of whatever really used in a game? I don't even want to get into that. Hawpe is a good player, don't get me wrong. My issue is with calling something a "relic" that is neither old nor particularly notable. Stupidly, I ended up opening the sealed plastic wrapper that the card was in thinking that it would fit into one of the "Super Thick" toploader card holders that I had purchased for my other "whatever" cards. This card ended up being as thick as a brick and it turns out that they sell an even more ridiculous toploader holder thing for these even more ridiculous cards. And they call them "Ultra Thick", of course, because they're made by Ultra Pro. I wonder if they block lasers and death rays.

Here are the Blaster results. And please, if anyone knows about the origin of the term "Blaster", I'd be interested in hearing about it. I'm imagining the first one of these retail style boxes showing up at Toys 'R Us back in the 90s with shiny multicolored packages and VALUE PRICE BLASTER written somewhere on the package, very obnoxiously.

Pack 1:

372 - Matt Kemp
338 - Matt Diaz (Born in Portland, Oregon)
638 - Juan Pierre
489 - Joakim Soria (aka "The Mexicutioner")
YR99 - Scott Hatteberg Year in Review (not a fan of these intentionally off-centered cards: nice idea, ugly cards)
TS12 - Vladimir Guerrero Topps Stars
615 - Pat Burrell
398 - Kenji Johjima (MLB 2k8 pronounces his name Joe-HEE-muh as if his name was Hispanic in origin)

Pack 2:
505 - B.J. Upton
461 - Jacoby Ellsbury (Taco Bellsbury was born in Madras, Oregon)
380 - Grady Sizemore
621 - Denard Span RC
484 - Todd Jones
- Checklist 2 of 4
454 - Mike Hampton (did any Atlanta articles use the headline "Hampton Comes Alive" when he won his first game since 2005 recently? because I totally would have)
519 - Travis Buck
400 - Matt Holliday

Pack 3:
642 - Mark Kotsay
576 - Dave Bush
625 - Greg Maddux
593 - Randy Wells RC
558 - John Russell
465 - Huston Street
585 - Brian Bannister
412 - Joel Zumaya

Pack 4:
420 - Nick Swisher
424 - Aaron Harang
512 - Placido Polanco
375 - Fausto Carmona (one of my fantasy busts this year)
411 - Jason Kubel
635 - Michael Young
435 - Torii Hunter
498 - Matt Chico

Pack 5:
383 - Jered Weaver
387 - Sean Marshall
365 - Derrek Lee (back to back Cubs... that's never good)
629 - Eric Chavez

MM61 - Mickey Mantle mystery card (not sure what this is - aren't Mickey Mantle Story cards numbered MMS##?)
408 - Edinson Volquez
486 - Javier Vazquez
342 - Matt Belisle

Pack 6:
647 - Randy Winn
511 - Jeff Francis
627 - Mike Pelfrey
453 - Josh Fogg (I wonder if Reds fans call him the Dragonslayer)
388 - Jorge Cantu
AR102 - Mark Redman 50th Anniversary Topps All-Star Rookie Team (I saw him pitch for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox this year)
- Checklist 3 of 4
590 - Mariano Rivera
471 - Brian Schneider

Pack 7:

485 - J.J. Putz (another fantasy bust)

449 - Braden Looper (BLooper!)
455 - Derek Jeter (aka Eric Jeber when I'm intoxicated)
443 - Greg Dobbs

HCM-1956 - Campaign '56: Dwight D. Eisenhower vs. Adlai Stevenson
TS25 - Matt Holliday Topps Stars
639 - Juan Uribe
345 - Carl Crawford

Pack 8:
418 - Dioner Navarro
395 - Lance Berkman
350 - Mark Teixeira
501 - Elliot Johnson RC
346 - Adam Everett
633 - Adam LaRoche
419 - Bengie Molina
462 - Freddy Sanchez

Pack 9:
487 - Corey Patterson
436 - Joe Blanton
609 - Ted Lilly (ugh, more Cubs)
551 - Erick Threets RC

YR78 - Chipper Jones Year in Review (Lar-ry! Lar-ry!)
612 - Kelly Johnson
586 - Coco Crisp (even in milk)
432 - Jason Kendall

Pack 10:
577- John Buck
477 - Ben Broussard
384 - Carlos Quentin
502 - Alex Cora
583 - Nick Punto
- Checklist 4 of 4
368 - Michael Bourn
541 - Adam Jones
475 - Adrian Gonzalez

Loop ended up being the only Cardinals card in the box, but it looks like it's the first card I've managed to get of him. He's been a decent back of the rotation type of guy. No Kyle McLellan rookie, but I'm sure I'll get ahold of some cards of his someday. The rest of the box was kind of... ehh... but so is their photography and design in the first place. That should be the last of 2008 Topps for me... at least until Updates & Highlights comes out. Ha.


Slette said...

I can't believe you got a Jeter in your blaster. I've bought a handful of those just to find that card... if I was smart, I would try to find it at a local card shop and save my money.

I bet James from Tulo Trader (I think his page is would be interested in your Hawpe jersey card. He's a good guy, and I've sent him a load of Rockies stuff. If you look him up, let him know I sent ya! He's mailing a bunch of Yankee stuff for the Rockies I sent him... he'd probably work out a Cardinals trade with you too.

madding said...

I seem to get a fair amount of Jeters and A-Rods (and Ichiros... always get him.) I just figure that they have more cards than everyone else, or something.

Thanks for the tip on Tulo Trader -I've checked out his blog before, but didn't think about it when I got the Hawpe card.