It's August and Gint-a-Cuffs is in full swing throughout the blogosphere, or blogiverse, or whatever it's referred to as. I like Allen & Ginter cards, I really do. That being said, both my interest in the cards and my desire to try building the set have waned as the years have gone by. In fact, I've never purchased a hobby box of Allen & Ginter. Now that there are so many card blogs out there and this great contest takes place every year, I get more than my fill of A & G just from perusing the posts.
Anyway, starting a couple of years ago I began to think of creative alternatives for the money that would've gone to an Allen & Ginter hobby box. In case you want to check out the results from the last two summers here are some links:
2009 - Cheated and purchased an entire base set with SP's, the 75 card National Pride insert set, and the 25 card baseball highlight sketch insert set.
2010 - Got a bit more creative. Used the money to make a variety of purchases...a Jim Lonborg auto, some pretty cool graded cards from Sirius Sports Auctions, finished my 1991 Topps Stadium Club Series 1 set, expanded my Will Clark collection by 125 cards (if you're a Clark fan definitely click that link), added to my 1993-94 SP hockey set, grabbed two graded second-year cards Red Sox legends, and finally got my first Will Clark auto.
For this summer's alternative I had an idea that I thought would be pretty interesting to try. I used the money I would've spent on a hobby box ($85.95 when I checked initially) to build my own custom hobby box on Check Out My Cards. I'd never used the site but had seen enough people raving about it that I had to check it out. I really took my time with this and tried to mimic an A & G box in quite a few ways. I have 24 "packs" to show. There's an over-sized box topper, and a mini in every pack. There's an insert in every pack, and I've included a random assortment of cards that feature oddball subjects just like the real thing. And yes, there will be hits.
There are some differences as well though. After all, this is my alternative to an Allen & Ginter hobby box. I have 7 cards per pack, not 8. You will see some hockey cards in addition to baseball. There's going to be quite a few Red Sox cards. The cards will span every decade from the 1950's through the 2010's. There will be base cards, minis, parallels, autos, jersey/sweaters, serial numbered cards, inserts, rookies, and maybe even a sticker or two.
I'm going to post my haul two packs at a time. But before we get to packs 1 and 2 though, here's my over-sized box topper:
Options were limited for a box topper, but this over-sized Fisk fit the bill. It's one of my favorite cards from the '84 Topps set, so having a gigantic version is pretty cool. If you've never seen these before here it is next to Fisk's Topps base card so you can get an idea of the scale:
Check Out My Cards automatically shipped this in a large toploader for me (there is a small additional shipping charge for large objects), which was appreciated since I don't have any toploaders of this size. Alright, let's see some cards!
In retrospect $1.71 might have been a bit steep for this one. Then again, Krejci is a Stanley Cup Champion now. I've had my eye on this card for quite a while, and it puts me at 40 cards in my Krejci collection. This parallel set was a great idea by Upper Deck, but poorly executed as the card stock is about the thinnest I've ever held.
Pops! Confession...I may already have this card. I'm ashamed to admit that I bought a giant lot of '80 Topps months ago (wait...is it years ago now?) that has remained unsorted in my closet. I think a lot of the stars are missing though. Not to mention, when you're trying to purchase 169 cards for $86 and include hits, it's nice to pick up a great card like this for just 15 cents. Plus, it's hip to like the Pirates now right?
Yup, there will be a few more Clark cards this year, but I promise there won't be 125 of them. I know the Emotion cards are cheesy, but they're a collecting guilty pleasure of mine. I can never seem to find a hobby box of this stuff for sale anywhere.
This one might seem a little odd, but it's one off the Want List. Getting closer and closer to finishing this set off. It may be hard to tell, but this is actually a coach card. On the back we learn that Smith was the first captain in Sabres history:
You can question the fact that Landis seemed to perpetuate baseball's color line in his time at the helm, and hey, you can't argue with the facts. He was baseball's first commissioner though, and you can't argue the fact that he had a tremendous impact on the game. He's one of baseball's most important historical figures, and every good collection should have a Kenesaw Mountain Landis card.
Really excited to get this card for 30 cents. It's definitely mint.
I don't buy Bowman. Ever. I don't like prospecting, and every set just looks the same to me. I did like Bowman's Best back in the day though, and have wanted one of these inserts since I first saw them months back.
The 1970's O-Pee-Chee WHA cards feature some great teams and sweaters, and this Chicago Cougars jersey is no exception. Dave is Ken Dryden's brother, in fact they're the only brothers to oppose each other as goalies in a game in the history of the NHL.
I've never heard a goalie's glove referred to as a "trapper glove". Then again, I wasn't even alive in the 70's.
A nice early card of Gwynn, from what has recently been dubbed The Blue Painter's Tape set. Love the old school Padres logo.
Gordie is going to show up a few times in these posts, but this is definitely my favorite of the Howe's I picked up. I never pass on a chance to add a Whalers Howe to my collection. The shoulder patches on the late 70's Whalers jerseys were great.
I'd never seen this card before, but it reminds me of a time before Manny ruined his career and reputation. What a shame.
This was a great card to end up with regardless, but it was also on my Want List and puts me a bit closer to finishing this set out. Just 10 cards to go!
There's even Allen & Ginter in my Check Out My Cards hobby box. This year's set has the Fabulous Face Flocculence inserts celebrating great beards, so I thought it would be appropriate to go with this mini of the 2007 World Beard and Moustache Champion.
Boy, considering how badly I ragged on the Bowman base sets they certainly seem to have a few inserts I like. Who doesn't like 1992 Bowman though, and these cards are done right. Even the backs are accurate:
I have to confess that although I was obviously aware of his time with the Twins organization, I had no idea that Ortiz was drafted by Seattle all the way back in 1992. He was dealt to Minnesota without ever appearing for the Mariners.
Box Topper: $.50
Pack 1: $3.39
Pack 2: $3.46
Running Total: $7.35
I hope you enjoyed packs 1 and 2. I'll be attending the game at Fenway tomorrow night, so I will likely have packs 3 and 4 posted Friday.