Wednesday, October 31, 2012

2008-09 Upper Deck Basketball


Hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween.  Bonus points if you bought the good candy for trick-or-treaters and had the fortune of not having many show up this evening!

Couldn't let the day go by without a post, and since The Association is just starting up, it was time to dig up a basketball pack...from the Target discount bin, here's a pack of 2008-09 Upper Deck Basketball!

A pack of this stuff has already been posted before, but it's not the same type of pack, so I think that counts here.  The pack appears to be from a blaster box, as I saw no evidence of a bar code on the back.  It's a 266 card set, with cards 201 - 266 the harder to get legends and rookies.  We will not be blessed with a legend or rookie. Here's the pack:

#100 - Andrew Bogut
#37 - Jason Terry
#199 - Gilbert Arenas

Once again, Upper Deck provides some excellent photography.  The format is a variation of the 2008 baseball release, with a slightly different script for the player's last name.  Depending on the photo, the placement of the name makes it hard to read.

#109 - Randy Foye (back)
#193 - Ronnie Brewer
#176 - Jeff Green

Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Love were the big rookies.  Bird, Jordan, Magic, Dr. J, The Admiral, and The Mailman were part of the legends cards.

#BOS-15 - Bill Russell (Celtics Dynasty)
#SQ-23 - Yao Ming (Super-Rare)

The Celtics Dynasty cards were seeded 1:8 packs.  There was a Bulls Dynasty set as well, seeded at the same ratio.  Pretty nice to get something other than a common Starquest.  They were also seeded 1:8 packs.

Anyway, that's the pack.  Here's hoping for an exciting NBA season...Go Bulls!

Oh, and congrats to all the contributors...Blogger says this is the 1100th post on APTBNL!

More later...thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

1979 Topps Star Trek: The Motion Picture Pack


Much like the movie itself, people are going to either love or hate this pack.

Star Trek The Motion Picture came out in 1979, nearly 10 years after the original TV series ended. The timing was largely a response to the overwhelming success of Star Wars. At the time it came out it was the most expensive movie ever produced. The movie was rushed to meet deadlines and was released to largely negative reviews (panning everything from the plot to the special effects). Many Trekkies, myself included, still found some redeeming qualities in the film and even came to love it for all of its quirks.

Merchandising was a huge part of the promotion involved around the movie and the 1979 Topps Star Trek cards were part of this merchandising.


A scene featuring these Klingon Warships opened the film. Though the Klingons played a negligible role in the movie (they made no appearances after the first few scenes) this film introduced the updated look of the Klingon anatomy as well as the intimidating Klingon "Theme" composed by Jerry Goldsmith. Both of these elements lasted the entirety of the Star Trek canon following this movie.


Featured here is the planet Vulcan and refitted USS Enterprise. A large scene toward the beginning of this film was spent showing various camera angles of the Enterprise and Captain Kirk's reactions to seeing it. Some found it creepy, others amusing. I thought it was pretty cool.


Here is a photo of the "Big 3" (Spock, Kirk, McCoy) and another shot of the Enterprise in drydock. The uniforms pictured in the crew photo were featured for the first and last time in this film.


Here is a shot of Lt. Ilia, played by Persis Khambatta. Interestingly enough, the card just refers to her as the "Woman from Planet Delta". The cards have no text on the other side (they form to create a giant poster) so unless you saw the movie or one of the other cards in the set you would not know her name. Oversight? Perhaps this card was designed before they had established a name for her? Who knows.


Another shot of the refit enterprise.


Here is a sticker of Spock. His long hair was present for the Vulcan ritual toward the beginning of the film. He received a prompt haircut upon returning to the crew.


I don't really know whats going on in this shot.


Finally, two alien shots. There were few close ups of the alien crew members in this fact I do not recall seeing either of these for more than a second or two throughout the film. I guess they figured "we got them all made up, might as well take some pictures".

Anyway, I enjoyed opening this pack. It commemorates one of my all-time favorite films. Plus, opening 30+ year old wax is always a blast. No, I didn't chew the gum.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

2001 Topps XFL Football

I was a HUGE fan of the XFL back in its heyday, so I recently purchased a few packs to open.  This was the first one I opened, and I think it was a pretty good mix of players so I thought I'd share it here.

As always, first I have to show the packs.  Here's a front:
I actually LOVE the way these packs are laid out - tell you exactly what could be in there, how many cards in the pack written nice and big, and they have that neat "Inaugural Series" wording which at the time looked cool and now just is kind of sad since there never was a year two.  Well done fronts XFL.

And here's the back:
Gives you the rates for all the inserts, of which there are four - a quarterback holofoil card, autographs, jersey piece cards, and football piece cards. The football ones are actually pretty rare and all of these are rare enough that I'll probably just pull base cards, but the base cards are still neat so all is well.  If I do pull some sort of insert, that'll just be gravy!

So let's rip.  Card #1 is Todd Floyd of the Las Vegas Outlaws:
Floyd came out of UNLV, and spent time on the practice squads of the Bills and Jaguars.  He was undrafted in the XFL, and had only three catches for 71 yards in his stint in the XFL.  His greatest one was this back of the endzone touchdown grab.

Card #2 is Rickey Brady, also of the Outlaws:
Brady was an NFL journeyman, with one game played (in his 1994 rookie season with the Rams) and later stops with the Saints, Eagles, Cowboys, Buccaneers, Titans, Dolphins, and Scottish Claymores. All this after being first team All Big Eight out of Oklahoma in 1994.

The XFL was Brady's final stop, and he did pretty darn well there.  He was a 5th round pick (overall pick #37) and finished fourth on the Outlaws in receptions with 15 for 158 yards and a team leading 5 touchdowns (good for 4th in the league).

Card #3 belongs to the XFL League MVP, Tommy Maddox:
Kind of cool to pull a Maddox since he is the guy people think of when they think XFL.  After playing with 3 NFL teams in 4 seasons, Maddox was out of the NFL from 1995 to 2000.  He then signed as an undrafted free agent with the Los Angeles Xtreme, stole the QB reigns from #1 pick Scott Milanovich before game 1, and then played the best football in the league for the next ten games.  His 2,186 passing yards easily led the league, as did his 18 touchdown passes.  And thanks to that XFL time, Maddox was able to rejoin the NFL with the Steelers, first as a guy who started 27 games over the first two seasons and later as a backup to Ben Roethlisberger.

Card #4 is Zola Davis...nice name there:
Davis played 6 games with the 1999 Cleveland Browns, where he caught 2 passes for 38 yards and 2 first downs.  Despite that NFL "success," he went undrafted in the XFL and was eventually signed by the New York/New Jersey Hitmen.  The Hitmen were pretty bad but Davis was a bright point, leading the team with 29 receptions for 378 yards and 4 touchdowns (good for 7th in the league).  He also threw a 74 yard touchdown to Kirby Dar Dar on a gadget play, which could easily be the best combination of names to hook up on a touchdown in modern history.

Card #5 is Vaughn Dunbar, who had some NFL experience with the Saints (picked 21st overall in the 1st round out of IU) and Jaguars:
He was heavily used as a Saints rookie in 1992 with 154 carries for 565 yards, but was injured in 1993 and then played just sparingly in 1994 and 1995.  He's now known as a bust due to those issues.

The San Francisco Demons must've looked at some of the Saints' 1992 scouting tapes on Dunbar, because they liked him enough to select him with their first pick of the draft, 6th overall.  Predictably,  things did not go as planned, and Dunbar ended up 4th on the team in carries, with 25 for 29 yards (1.2 YPC) and a long run of 8 yards.  He did add a reception touchdown and some kickoff returns though.  But I doubt Dunbar (or San Francisco) expected Juan Johnson and Kelvin Anderson to lead the team in rushing.  That was one of the kind of cool things about the XFL - you got to see some ex-NFLers who didn't make it for one reason or another, and the XFL gave them a chance to try to make it.  For a Tommy Maddox, the XFL meant cash money.  For Dunbar, it just meant another unsuccessful flirtation with professional football.

Card #6, Shannon Culver of the Orlando Rage:
Culver, an Arena League journeyman, went undrafted in the XFL.  He finished 6th on the Rage in receptions with 10 for 165 yards, including a 49 yard touchdown.

Card # 7 is Larry Ryans of the Xtreme:
Ryans played 3 games with the Buccaneers in 1996 before joining the XFL (again undrafted, it's crazy how many of these cards are of undrafted guys).  Ryans finished 6th on the team with 11 receptions for 115 yards.

And last but not least, card #8 is Number One Pick Scott Milanovich:
Kind of crazy to be drafted #1 overall and then lose your job to an undrafted free agent who eventually wins the Big Game, but hey, this was the XFL.  Milanovich barely got to play in the XFL's one season, with his final stat line being 2-9 passing for 45 yards with one interception.  He may be the one player in XFL history with a better NFL career than XFL career, as he played one game with the Buccaneers in 1996 where he went 2-3 with 9 yards passing.  He then was a nonactive backup for a few years before the XFL and CFL, and he is now a coach.

On a random note, I wonder if he and Larry Ryans ever chatted since they both played for the 1996 Buccaneers?

2012 Topps Gypsy Queen Retail Packs

Some of the last packs I bought in America were retail packs of this year's Gypsy Queen.  I'm not sure if I'm the only one out there who does this but I'm much more likely to buy retail packs from products that "guarantee" a mini.  Pack #1 gives me a mini Albert Pujols which is his first mini in the Angels uniform.  

Pack #1
Besides the mini in each pack, being able to pull base cards for Mike Schmidt and Carl Yastrzemski again are another advantage to this series of cards.

Pack #2

And for in Pack #3 we find...only four cards?  Have I been short changed?

Pack #3

Nope, the Card Gods have shined on me and given me a Ryan Zimmerman relic!  When I see "Zimmerman" and "Nationals" together on a card  I'm hoping it's a Jordan Zimmerman relic but I'll happily settle for Zim.  And is that the best Nationals fans can do for a nickname for him?

2012 Topps Gypsy Queen #GQMR-RZ Ryan Zimmerman Jersey Relic

Thursday, October 25, 2012

2012 Platinum League Hip Hop Cards

Another very scary pack...this time we open 2012 Platinum League Hip Hop Cards.  --David opened a pack of these back in May but I thought these needed the full video treatment and a Pack From Hell designation!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2008 Upper Deck First Edition & First Edition Update

As we get closer and closer to Halloween it seems appropriate to open some of the scariest packs in baseball history...2008 Upper Deck First Edition and First Edition Update.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

2012 Topps Star Wars Galactic Files


Hope everyone is having a great weekend.  We had nice weather this weekend in Chicagoland.  Unfortunately, the suburban lights prevented me from catching any of the 2012 Orionid meteor shower.  Well, if you did try to catch it, hope you enjoyed the show.

While we're on the topic of outer space (what a segue!), here's a pack of a product that's been catching my eye whenever I peruse the Target card aisle.  Here's a pack of Star Wars Galactic Files!

That's a crease in the package, not Yoda  wielding  Force thunderbolts.

Technically, this Jumbo Pack is in the Target card endcap in their toy section, but there are 9 card gravity feed boxes in their card aisle (if someone posts the 9-card pack, I'll update my article title).

The set is billed as "The most comprehensive Star Wars card set.  Ever."  My guess is this set is so big to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Star Wars.  If that's the case, I'd like to remind the card manufacturers that the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who is next year and Star Trek's 50th is in 2016.  Wow me.

There are 350 cards in the set, with several subsets, with the ones getting the most attention being the  Sketch Cards (1:96) and the 17 possible autographs to get, lead by Indiana Solo himself, Harrison Ford.  There are also parallel cards...Blue (#/350), Red (#/35), and Gold (1/1).  Plus, Topps went ahead and confirmed info about printing plates and card variations.  It's like a Topps Star Wars Update Series or something like that.

Anyway, here's the cards, starting with the Top part of the Jumbo Pack:

#5 - Anakin Skywalker
#22 - Mace Windu
#211 - Anakin Solo

As you can see, this line is incorporating the 6 movies as well as the "expanded universe".  I've never explored the "expanded universe", so this is my first exposure to Anakin Solo...if the middle card was Han, it'd be a cool mini-game.

#22 - Mace Windu (back)
#327 - Clone Pilot
#268 - Star Destroyer

Just showing the back of Mace for you all to see (it wasn't a duplicate).  They got a Transformers-like Tech Specs for the specific characters at the top, as well as how the character is associated with other characters at the bottom of the card.  The Clone Pilot back just has general information about the overall group.

Hi Max!  Everyone wave back at Max!  And they couldn't get a better picture of Colt 45, er, Lando?

#180 - Max Rebo
#156 - Lando Calrissian
#119 - Biggs Darklighter

Moving on to the Bottom part of the Jumbo Pack:

#23 - Boss Nass
#76 - Darth Vader
#214 - Ben Skywalker

Apparently, Vader is one of the variation cards, but the one above is the common one (the rarer one is scowling Anakin).  Ben's from the "expanded universe", the son of Mara Jade and Luke Skywalker.

#217 - Lumiya
#287 - Desert Skiff
#315 - Sarlacc

#315 - Sarlacc (back)
#BF-2 - "I've got a bad feeling about this" - Anakin Skywalker
#140 - General Veers

Again, showing the back of the Sarlacc card.  I did not scan a back of one of the vehicle cards; they listed general information about the vehicle like maker, capacity, and speed.  The "bad feeling" card is a subset, seeded 1 in 4 packs.  I think it has every character who said the line and why they said it within the context of the movie.

Anyway, that's the pack.  Younger me would be pretty excited to try to complete the set.  Older (and broke) me would like to get more packs, but really can't justify the $3.19/pack or $5.29/Jumbo Pack price tag (hooray for multiple Target discounts for this purchase).  Perhaps in a year or two this will pop up in the Target discount bin and we can all partake in the Force.

That's it for now.  More later...thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

1983 Topps Baseball Album Stickers

Hey an Angel on the wrapper!
That's Reggie Jackson, whiffing no doubt.

Got his pack as part of a lot of different 80's packs on Listia.
The glue, or crimping, or whatever holds the front of the pack to the back of the pack was virtually missing and it fell apart in my hands.  I don't suspect any tampering though. 

#34 Dennis Eckersley

#176 Steve Charlton.
Did Steve's half of the sticker-star connect to the previous number #175 Jim Palmer?

#225 Dick Tidrow.

#42 Geoff Zahn.

#228 Dan Driessen.

There was a foil version of each sticker, though not necessarily inserted 1 per pack.
My was #51 Greg Luzinski.

I did a pretty good job, 6-for-6 guessing who the players were without their names on the front.
Years of flipping baseball cards will do that for you.
And it's always a fun challenge.

The back of the stickers had the name of the player and repeated the sticker number as well.

Monday, October 15, 2012

1990 Collegiate Collection Notre Dame

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish... you either love 'em or hate 'em.  And let's just say... I don't love them.

But if you're a college football fan, it's hard not to admire their history:

11 National Titles
7 Heisman Trophy Winners
48 Players/Coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame
469 Players Drafted by NFL Teams
10 Players in the NFL Hall of Fame

And for the first time in a decade, they're off to a 6-0 start.  So to honor the resurgence of Notre Dame football, I figured why not bust a pack of their overproduced, junk wax era 1990 Collegiate Collection.

But before we take a look at what's inside of the pack, let's reflect on this product's history.  Back in the late 80's and early 90's, Collegiate Collection started producing cardboard for collectors interested in colleges, ranging from North Carolina to Oklahoma State University.  The unique thing about their products was that each box contained 36 packs of players & team cards from one specific college.  In other words, Notre Dame boxes only contained packs with Notre Dame players.

I've busted boxes from different schools and from my experience, each pack contained 8 cards and there were 200 cards per set.  One major flaw was their decision to use see-through cellophane wrappers in addition to collation that allowed collectors to search packs.

You'll see what I'm talking about in a second.  But before I do, I want to mention one more thing about this product.  Collegiate Collection was one of the first companies to insert autographs and serial numbered cards into their packs.  For example, you could pull Thurman Thomas autographs out of the OSU product and a special serial numbered card of George Gipp in the Notre Dame packs.

Alright... let's check out what I pulled:

#104 Wayne Millner, #103 1924 National Champions, #102 Peter Vaas, and #101 Gary Darnell

Can you see the pattern?  If you knew the number of the card you wanted and had access to the packs, you could easily find what you were looking for.

Which is exactly what I did to find the Joe Montana below:

#42 Terry Hanratty, #41 Robert "Rocky" Bleier, #40 Joe Montana, and #39 Blair Kiel

I knew Joe Montana had three cards in the set:  #1, #40, and #200.  So, I looked at the back of my packs, found a number close to one of those three numbers, and voila... I pulled a Montana out of my first pack.

Now before you condemn my actions... I assure you that I'm not a pack searcher.  I fully intend to bust the entire box... or at least until I complete the 200 card set.  I just felt it was important to show collectors what they're getting into if they decide to bust single packs of these products.

Last, but not least... let's check out the card backs:

So far, I've discovered three different back designs:  career summary, career stats, and one that shows their schedule from a championship season.

Okay... I'm off to bust the rest of my box.  Hopefully, I'll be able to build at least one set.  However, in the past I always seem to come up short.  I think they did this on purpose to encourage trading and to get people to buy multiple boxes.

I'll try to add an update in the next couple of hours.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Box Break Update

I just busted the whole box and came up two cards short:  #100 and #110.  If anyone has these two singles, I'd love to work out a trade.  I pulled over 50 doubles from this set.