It was my birthday a few weeks ago and one of the presents I got from a lazy family member who will not be mentioned was a $100 Target gift card. Now, I am never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, but most people who know me know that I never want money or impersonal gifts; my mandate when it comes to giving stuff to me is "entertain me" and you can use that phrase to mean anything you want it to. But I made the most of my gift card and decided instead of buying something practical or regifting the thing (something I do with gift cards nine times out of ten) I would go and break all my rules of buying new product and blow it all in the card section of the local Target store.
So what did I come up with? Well, let's see the big pile before I tore it all to hell:
I bought some blasters and some loose packs and some rack packs (just to relive my childhood a little). I also picked up some pages but I forgot that the retail store pages are pretty cheapo, oh well. I will find a use for them no matter what. That shiny piece of plastic on top is the aforementioned gift card.
I grabbed a series 2 Topps blaster, pretty much because it was the newest thing they had. I got a couple cool things in it, one of which you will see in a second, the other was this:
I got not one but two whole packs of red Target parallels. Is this normal? I bought a Target blaster of series one and got exactly zero parallels. Is this a new thing? A new thing for series two? Just a lucky snag? Anyway, I made a page out of them. As usual with colored borders, the similar teams look awesome, illustrated here by the Red Sox, the Angels, and, unexpectedly, the Twins. Even the contrasting ones don't look too bad. This is a good color red all around.
I had read various things about the new Topps Archives. Since I am a sucker for faux vintage, I decided to dive in head first. I grabbed a blaster and then saw some rack packs, so I grabbed three of those too.
I made this page with the vintage stars from packs. Well, I only got eight of them to be honest, but Brian from 30-year old cardboard had been nice enough to send me that sweet 1980 Strawberry, so it found its way onto this page as well. The highlight in my opinion is that 1984 style Clemente; it uses a picture we haven't seen 1000 times before (coughcoughtheTyCobbcoughcough) and it really captures both the player and the card set very well. The Schmidt, Rice, and Berra also look great, though the 1984 Rice seems a little redundant since he had an actual Topps card in 1984.
Since in my three rack packs and blaster I got 7 doubles, I decided to make a contemporary page as well:
I see how people think of this more as Fan Favorites than Archives. I would also throw Heritage into that mix as well. This effort from Topps was either half assed or not thought all the way through. Typical Topps no matter what you may think of this stuff. They have a pretty good idea but then cannibalize their own brands by not committing completely and following through. Plus they have all these extra rules about players past and present to abide by that makes these retro products extra difficult to pull off properly. All that criticism aside, I kinda like the cards anyway.
Plus, I did pull a nifty Frank Howard autograph from one of those rack packs, a pretty cool pull from a retail pack:
Also shown here are my awesome obligatory manufactured patch from the Series Two blaster, and it was a great one - my favorite player Gary Carter. I can live with the fact that it is an Expo, what I cannot fathom is why they used a rookie year photo of him wearing #57 when the patch is his more familiar #8. Just more sloppiness from Topps. That Mantle is from the Gypsy Queen rack packs I got, I believe it is the short print. It will join my other nouveau Mantles regardless.
In a fit of madness, I broke down and grabbed some Gypsy Queen rack packs.
These cards are just as ugly in person as they are on screen. I got some cool minis out of the packs, but the rest were very underwhelming. I will not be making a page out of any of them. This was not the best use of my gift card dollar.
I suppose if I had waited until mid July, I could have gotten this year's Allen and Ginter, but since I didn't break a single pack of last years, I decided on a blaster of 2011 A&G.
Once again, rather underwhelming. I am glad I was not spending my own money on this stuff.
To fill out my electronic C-note, I grabbed a discounted blaster of last year's Panini Americana, since I didn't even know they made this set, I figured I would make a page out of them:
And there it is. Usually, it is the women in these sets that are the highlight - heck, I don't even know who Noureen DeWolf is, though I do know she is easy on the eyes - but for a Star Wars nerd like me, the Kenny Baker card is primo. Having an astronaut and a Monkee is also a plus. Good non-sport page all around.
In a bout of patriotic blindness, I also snagged five packs of the Topps USA Olympic team. At a buck a pop, I figured these would be fun and possibly even educational.
I suppose you get what you pay for...in those five packs (10 cards each) I got twelve doubles. Obviously, collation is not high on Topps priority list for low end packs. I know I have been bashing the hell out of Topps in this post, but come on, what the hell? Twelve doubles in five 10-card packs?!? Anyway, this made my choices for the page pretty easy. If anyone is putting this set together, email me and I will gladly send any or all that I have that you need...in fact, that goes for the other stuff in this post too.
So there were plenty of highs and lows in my reintroduction to retail pack ripping. In the long run, I have made a wise choice by not taking part in this low grade lottery anymore, but honestly, this was a pretty fun way to spend my Sunday night, especially on someone else's dime.