Saturday, November 27, 2021

2021 Topps Series 2 Retail


Hope everyone is doing well and had a great Thanksgiving.  As a part-time retail worker, I was very pleased when Target announced that they will no longer be open Thanksgiving.  They invested in their infrastructure and trusted in their employees enough to show they can contend online and therefore saw no need to be open Thanksgiving night going forward.  Huzzah!

This pack was going to be posted sooner, but I happened to find some Update so that got posted first.  My whole family then spent last week in Cancun (all-inclusive resorts are awfully good), and when we got back it was Thanksgiving week.

I happened to have a Target shift a while back when the vendor came by and stocked up the card aisle.  For 6 bucks you get 2 packs of Series 2 plus a green parallel.  The odd thing was it wasn't Topps packaging, it was actually our repack buddy Fairfield.  So did Target give their whole gravity feeder stock to Fairfield since they halted card sales?

Another item of note was each pack has a piece of tape folding the top of the pack down so that it fits comfortably in the package.  Fairfield hired a guy to put a piece of tape on all those packs.  Anyway, there's the better of the 2 packs:

#575 - Jared Walsh
#549 - Marcus Stroman

The man who moved Mr. Pujols leads off the pack.  There's 330 cards in Series 2.  If you want the checklist, go here.

#602 - Delino DeShields
#397 - Isiah Kiner-Falefa

In the 2018 Topps Update set, Isiah was listed as a Third Baseman, Second Baseman, and Catcher.  He was then listed as a Catcher and Third Baseman in 2019 and 2020.  Now he's a Shortstop and a Third Baseman.  Bummer he stopped catching.

#579 - Craig Kimbrel
#387 - Andrew Heaney

Back to back nice cards here.  Topps can choose a nice picture when it wants to.

#353 - Baseball Is Fun! (Checklist)
#377 - Drew Rasmussen (RC)

I got halfway in before I got my first Hot Rookieez.  That's a win in my book.

#646 - HR Handoff (Checklist) (Red Foil Parallel #134/199)
#70YT-49 - Tim Lincecum (70 Years of Topps)
#T65-43 - Joey Bart (RC) (1965 Topps Redux)

The back of the pack says the Red Foil comes one in 119 packs.  The 70 Years of Topps insert comes one in 8 packs, and the 1965 Topps Redux came in every pack.

#462 - Tommy LaStella
#339 - Willi Castro

#631 - Noah Syndergaard
#407 - Steve Cishek
#496 - Carlos Martinez

I'll continue to type it...all pitchers who go sidearm must always be pictured in the middle of their windup!

Here are some backs because "it's good...":

Anyway, that's the pack.   Hope everyone gets their shopping done safely (be kind to those retail workers!), and thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 20, 2021

1988-89 Esso All-Star Collection

Today we've got a cellophane pack from the 1988-89 Esso All-Star Hockey Collection. (Front and back shown.)
These cards were distributed during that hockey season in packs of six at participating Esso gas stations across Canada. There are 48 cards in the set, and along with superstars of the day like Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, the set also boasts a handful of legends like Gordie Howe, Stan Mikita, and Jean Béliveau.
So imagine that you’re a kid in the back seat of the car, mom or dad says "looks like we've got to stop for gas", and when you pull into the Esso station, the attendant hands you this pack of cards to open.
First off we've got Hall-of-Famer Darryl Sittler. The Maple Leaf legend played more than 1,000 NHL games and scored 1,121 points. An excellent playmaker, Sittler fell just short of 500 career goals, finishing with 484.
Next up, another legend from Canada, Dale Hawerchuk. The 1981-82 Calder Trophy winner (Rookie of the Year) also topped 1,000 games played, and tallied 518 goals and 891 assists for a whopping 1,409 points. In 1984-85 he had a banner season, putting up 53 goals and 77 assists for 130 points.
Here we've got our first of three Montreal Canadiens in the pack, Yvan Cournoyer. He’s a Hall-of Famer with lots of Stanley Cup rings (EIGHT!). Nicknamed “The Roadrunner” for his speed, Cournoyer won the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP for the 1972-73 championship team, leading the league in playoff goals (15) and points (25). He fell just a little bit short of 1,000 games played (968), 500 goals (428), and 500 assists (435), but was a stalwart and fan favorite in Montreal for a very long time, and didn't play for any other team during his 16-year NHL career.
Gilbert Perrault is up next. The 1st-round pick (1st overall) in the 1970 NHL Amateur Draft, Perrault is a Calder Trophy winner and a Hall-of-Famer. In 1,191 games played, he put up 512 goals and 814 assists for 1,326 points. Like Cournoyer above, Perreault spent his entire career with the same team—17 seasons in all. He was part of the famed "French Connection" line with Rick Martin and Rene Robert, named as such because all three players were French-Canadians from Québec. Perreault's 18 career hat tricks place him inside the top 25 all time as of this writing.
Next, another Hall of Famer, Serge Savard. The defenseman is another 1,000-game player, and he won an impressive seven Stanley Cups during Montreal's powerhouse years in the late-'60s and throughout the '70s. He was awarded the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP for the 1968-69 Stanley Cup team.
And last in the pack it’s another Montreal Canadien, goalie great Ken Dryden, who didn't have a long career but put up some remarkable numbers during his time in the NHL. His overall record was fantastic, at 258 wins, 57 losses, and 74 ties. In his 8 seasons, he led the league in wins 4 times, goals against average 4 times, shutouts 4 times, and save percentage 3 times. He won the Stanley Cup in 6 of his 8 seasons in the league.
Now here’s an image of a card back. It’s the same for each card in the set, and features the checklist. Interesting to note, Esso issued a collector's album for this set, and the back of each card could be moistened and adhered to the appropriate place in the album.
All in all, not such a bad pack. No mega-stars like Gretzky, Orr, Hull, or Howe, but it was still fun to open.
If you'd like to read more about this set, I blogged about it a few months ago.
Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 19, 2021

1994 Sportflics 2000 Hobby

Aside from appearing in a box of Corn Flakes or two, Sportflics took a break from baseball cards after 1990. It resurfaced in 1994, rebranded with the confusing name "Sportflics 2000". The brand would change its name once again the next year before disappearing again for good after a couple more years.

154 - Scott Stahoviak - While the cards still use three distinct player photos, the player name really jumps out at you as it appears to be in about ten different positions on the card.

117 - Todd Zeile - Zeile is one of those guys who played forever that everyone knows, but never made an All-Star team.

90 - Ron Gant - Ron Gant was, in fact, an All-Star. He almost helped the Cardinals to a World Series bid against his old team in 1996, before their sudden, violent collapse. (He was probably some sort of double agent.)

33 - Ozzie Guillen - This pack is heavy on name recognition, aside from a couple of cards.

182 - Juan Gonzalez Starflics - One of the great sluggers of the day. This subset only contains the one player photo, which works against the Sportflics core concept.

149 - Butch Huskey - Here's a look at the card back, which was heavily redesigned from the familiar late '80s sets.

53 - Greg Maddux - I wonder how many times in my life I've pulled a Greg Maddux card. It has to be well into the hundreds.

10 - Albert Belle - We end things here with another powerful slugger.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

2020-21 Upper Deck Allure Hockey

The following is a 6 card per pack of 2020-21 Upper Deck Allure Hockey. There are a number of parallels and autographs include in these packs.  I believe this is a blaster pack as I received a Yellow Taxi card (Liam Foudy) which are seated 1 per pack. I also did get a SP # 146 of Alexander Alexeyev. The following pictures are of the pack and each of the 6 cards I received and then finally the back of a card all seem to be the same as the Yellow and SP are same as the base cards.


Base Ryan Getzlaf

Base Miro Heiskanen

Base Rookie Philipp Kurashev

SP of Alexander Alexeyev - 1/3 packs

Liam Foudy Yellow Taxi 1/1 Blaster pack

Base Mathew Barzal

Back of the SP but the Base look the same.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

2021 Topps Update Series Retail


Hope everyone is doing well.  In a wink of an eye we've pushed past Halloween and into the Thanksgiving season (aka pre-Christmas).  The Braves won the World Series, that's cool, and now we wait to see if there'll be a season next year.  We're at the halfway point in the NFL, and my fantasy team is crap (but both of my wins so far are against my kid, lesson?).  

In much, much longer than a wink of an eye, cards are slowly returning to retail.  I keep seeing bloggers reporting various packs at Wal-Mart, but whenever I stick my head in there, there's nothing to be found.  I've been more successful at Target, however.  The vendor was there the last time I worked and there were only 3 card bros hanging out.  You guys will see some packs from there soon enough, including Series 2, which I was going to post first, but latest and greatest, right?   

I checked out the Target by church while the boys were in Sunday School.  That Target had a box of Update.  Target replaced the no cards sign with a purchase limit.  I'm pretty sure it was 5 packs max at this store; I grabbed a couple.  Here is the better of the two:

#US69 - Adam Engel
#US94 - Jose Devers (RC)
#US156 - Ben Gamel
#US17 - Taylor Walls (RC)

330 cards are in the set, but apparently there is no card #142 and two #285's.  If you want to see the checklist, here you go.

I haven't seen too many posts in the blogosphere on Update, so maybe word got around about the set's problems,  Maybe Topps gets a pass, but I'd like to believe Topps has some time to address some problems ("Hello, problems!").

#US40 - Nomar Mazara
#US37 - Ryan Hendrix (RC)
#US216 - Michael Taylor
#US170 - Nate Pearson (Rookie Debut / RC)

There are 87 rookies in Update.  That's a lot.  Nate Pearson's Rookie Debut doesn't count as one of the rookies, but he has the Rookie logo...?

#US110 - Kolten Wong
#US149 - Travis Shaw (Orange Foil Parallel #224/299)
#TC92-47 - Bo Bichette (1992 Topps Redux Chrome)  
#T92-29 - Alex Kirilloff (1992 Topps Redux) 

The Orange Foil looks a little more like red in hand, but I can see the orange more on an angle.  The back of the pack says they come 1 in 85 packs.  Every pack comes with the 1992 Redux (50 cards in the set), but the Chromey version comes 1 in 10 packs.

The other pack I got had an All-Star insert.  Topps made the All-Stars an insert instead of mixing them in with the base set.  I prefer it this way, but also hoped that the design would be different (it looks like the base card but with the ASG logo), and for more player updates and less hot rookieez.  Also, Topps didn't use pictures from the All-Star Game for the inserts.  Maybe because the uniforms sucked

#US85 - Antonio Santos (RC)
#US106 - Adam Cimber
#US220 - Kyle Isbel (RC)
#US217 - Nick Madrigal (Rookie Debut / RC)

I'll say it again, all cards of submarine pitchers must show them in the middle of throwing!

Here are some backs:

The back of the 1992 Redux shows a play inside the ballpark, instead of what the stadium looks like.

Why are the 2 Brewers on their sides?  To show that the back of the card issue from last year's Update carried over to this year!  Again, no rhyme or reason as to why...most unfortunate.

Anyway, that's the pack.  Topps had more to work with this year as opposed to 2020, but there's still problems with Update.  From the lack of trading deadline transactions to random flipped card backs, maybe Topps is mailing it in...or they don't care anymore?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 05, 2021

2021 Topps Fire

Let's take a quick look at a pack of the annual Target exclusive Topps Fire from 2021. I believe this came out of a blaster that I bought online.

73 - Alec Bohm - I had Bohm on my fantasy team this year and he was a bit disappointing. He was one of a number of prominent rookies from 2020 that didn't make their official RC debuts until 2021.

193 - Whit Merrifield - Since these are cards all about the wacky art design (and aimed at a younger audience, possibly) the card backs are just boring Panini style-blurbs with no stats.

36 - Luis Garcia - As for the front of the card, there are several different designs, but they all sort of blend together. The thing that stands out the most is that the player names use different fonts. Garcia was one of three Luis Garcias to play in MLB in 2021.

80 - Luis Campusano Flame - This is one of the "Flame" parallels. It has most of a holo foil look than its base counterpart.

116 - Josh Donaldson - Another fantasy disappointment of mine, Donaldson actually had a 3.2 WAR season but I was hoping for a return to his 2019 form. Injuries were always going to be a risk with him, though.

96 - Ryan Mountcastle - We end things here with one of the better rookies of the 2021 class.