For Christmas this year, my grandfather got me a few shares of stock (Home Depot!) and a gift card to Target. (He is very generous and wonderful.) Typically, I end up using gift cards to Target on a bunch of boring stuff, like mouthwash and snacks, but this year I decided to use at least a portion of the money to buy something FUN. So, as I assume most 29 year olds would do, I went out and bought some baseball cards.
One of the packs I got was from the 2013 Topps Allen & Ginter set. I really enjoy the cards that Allen & Ginter put out; I find their stylized illustrations and goofy insert sets to be both fun and charming. They provide just the right amount of WHIMSY. The scrollwork border on these cards is also very nice. Anyway, I opened this pack last weekend and I thought I'd share its contents on this here baseball blog. Here we go!
From top to bottom, position-wise in the pack:
#235 Carlos Beltran
I really appreciate the picture on the front of this card; we see Carlos staring off to his left, batting gloves clenched tightly in his fist. Does he wear a look of concentration? Or remorse? Or maybe it's simply the weary expression of a man nearing the end an impossibly long 162-game grind. Beltran currently has a career WAR of 68.4, which is just a touch higher than Edgar's (68.3). He still has one more year left on his contract with the Yankees; it'll be interesting to see how much support he gets for the Hall of Fame once he decides it's finally time to hang up the ol' baseball cleats.
Jupiter - One Little Corner insert
Woo! This is from one of those goofy insert sets I mentioned. This set contains a variety of celestial bodies including planets, asteroids, comets, moons, and constellations. The text on the back of this card says:
About 318 Earths could fit inside Jupiter, which is more than twice the size of all the other planets combined. Primarily gas, it is solid only at its core. The exploratory craft Juno headed there in 2011, and will arrive in 2016.
2016? That's this year! According to NASA, Juno will assume orbit around Jupiter on July 4th. While there, it will analyze the planet's composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere. Space is so cool! The color palette for this image strikes me as somewhat odd (why would you make the Great Red Spot blue?), but I do still really like this card.
#63 Jose Bautista - black bordered mini parallel
An Altuve-esque Joey Bats? Yes, please! This card measures ~1.5" x 2.5" and is just as small as Bautista's bat flip in the ALDS was big.
#282 Tim Lincecum
Oh, Timmy. I probably would've been more excited about this card a few years ago, but I still love this guy and his wonky delivery and his wonkier hair. The fact that he's a Husky has endeared him to me for life, even if he's been hurt and bad and less valuable than Kyle Kendrick over the last four seasons. Maybe getting an opportunity to pitch outside of San Francisco will give him a chance to jump-start his career (assuming that MySpace guy doesn't buy him and trap him in the Bay Area forever). Hopefully he's able to come back strong from his hip injury.
#87 Ken Griffey Jr.
Yesssss. I imagine this applies to many people, but Junior has always been the player I've been the most excited to see when I tear open a pack of cards. It's nice to know that this hasn't changed. I admit that I've always thought that it was kind of strange to include retired players in smaller sets of cards (there are 300 cards in this base set) when there are 750 gentlemen on active rosters in MLB on any given day. That being said, I suppose Griffey is probably a bitter more exciting than the ineffectual LOOGY that nobody has ever heard of or everybody hates. Long live The Kid.
#303 Wade Miley
Hey. A new Mariner! Wade looks so happy in this picture. Hopefully he looks just like this after every single one of his Mariners starts this season. Let's match that rookie season, Wade. Make it happen. Go M's!
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Man. These are all great! When your least favorite card is a potential future Hall of Famer, you know that you've lucked into a pretty excellent pack of cards. Thanks, Gramps.
Writing this up (and, by extension, having an excuse to buy some baseball cards) was a lot of fun. If you're a card junky and would like to see more posts like this in the future, let me know in the comments. (I have a few more unopened packs, so I could maybe make this an every-once-in-awhile kind of thing.) Also, if you feel like sharing, let me know about the coolest card that you've ever been lucky enough to pull; I love these silly pieces of cardboard and I think this kind of stuff is great to talk about.