Gint-A-Cuffs: Just When You Thought It Was Over: The Recap
July 28th, 2010 by slangon

Well, now that my box of Ginter is duly busted, I figured that I’d give my 2 cents on the product itself since in the heat of battle I didn’t really comment so much on the cards themselves.

First off, let’s start with the base cards.

I’m sure at this point everyone is pretty familiar with them. I’m also sure that everyone knows that the background is supposed to be much bluer, but for whatever reason my scanner was scanning them a little on the sickly green side. I figured if I color corrected one of the scans I would have to do them all and I didn’t want to get into that mess. Anyway, this years design is pretty Ginter-ey. As a matter of fact, it looks so Ginter-ey that I feel like I’ve seen it before. Hmm…

Ah, yes. They basically recycled the black border version from 2008. Just make the black parts white and the white parts baby blue. Thinking about it actually, it seems to me that it’s probably a bit on the hard side to keep putting these sets out every year. I mean, the basic design didn’t really change so much from 2006 through 2008 and after 3 years you kind of really have to start mixing it up to keep things fresh. On the other hand though, you can’t really stray too far from that basic design or else you start to loose the look and the spirit of the original Allen & Ginter cards. I think Topps has done an admirable job with the 2009 and 2010 sets with the way they tweaked the design a bit but still kept it looking like a Ginter.

Just because I love the whole Allen & Ginter series and I look forward to it so much every year, I worry a bit that eventually Topps won’t be able to pull another set out without it being stale and lame. I feel like that’s basically what happened to Upper Deck’s Goudy sets. I absolutely loved the 2007 version, but it just got worse and worse each year. I was pretty disappointed about how bad it got just because I loved the inital release so much. I would hate to see that happen to Ginter, but on the other hand how many times can you put out the same set before people stop paying attention.

One of my favorite things about Allen & Ginter through the years has been the inclusion of non-baseball subjects. I know this is sometimes a point of contention with other collectors, but personally I like it. I feel like the non-baseball subjects this year are starting to stretch it a little thin, though. I realize that every year that Allen & Ginter has been produced, there’s been a few stinkers in the oddball subject checklist, but I feel like this year the stinkers are beginning to outnumber the cool ones. I mean, is this card really necessary?

I don’t mean to dog on Max here. I love a good game of Domino Rally as much as the next guy, but come on. At least in the 2009 set, when they had the card stacking dude, the image was of him stacking cards. What makes it worse is that for whatever reason at some point Topps decided to list just last names on the cards so we’re left with this smarmy looking kid with the word “Poser” underneath. There’s a bunch of other non-baseball cards that I’m none too happy with, but Max just gets my goat (and he was the only one that I had a handy scan of).

I almost feel like they should’ve just done a few more ball players and kept the non-baseball subjects to some of the cooler ones, such as:

And while we have that scan there of the Holmes Black Border, I just wanted to mention that I’m not 100% sold on the black border design this year. I get what they were going for with all the little decorative doo-dads around the border, but to me they come off a little more like bad tribal tattoos than old-timey design elements (more so the band right above the name than the corners). Picky, I know, but hey, I make my living with graphic design.

Moving on to another of my favorite features of Allen & Ginter, the insert sets. I guess the main ones would be This Day in History, Lords of Olympus, Monsters of the Mesozoic, World’s Greatest Wordsmiths, Baseball Highlight Sketches, National Animals and Sailors of the Seven Seas. I know that there’s a few other sets, but I feel like they’re so short printed that I won’t bother getting into them. Plus since I didn’t get any of them, I don’t have any examples to discuss.

I sort of consider this particular insert set, along with 2008 State Flags and 2009 National Pride to be not so much an insert set as a nice afterthought. Being that they’re all super thick cards, say about as thick as a framed relic or autograph, their main purpose is obviously as a deterrent to pack searchers. I’m not sure if the 2006 and 2007 Ginter sets had a similar insert since I didn’t get back into collecting by that point yet. Perhaps the Dick Perez Sketch cards from those years served a similar purpose. Whether they work or not, who knows, but whoever realized that making these thick slabs of cardboard into actual cards rather than crappy ads was a genius. All that being said, This Day in History is probably my favorite of the bunch. They look cool and I’m a pretty big history buff.

As cool as the super thick This Day in History set is, the real meat of the insert sets are the mini inserts. To me, thats basically what the original Ginter sets, and most early tobacco cards in general, were all about. Small sets of cards that had a common theme.

The Lords of Olympus set is pretty darn neat. I’ve always enjoyed mythology in general, especially the Greek myths. The cards look really good, but if I were to lobby one complaint it would be about the decision to use photos of statues. I know very well that Ancient Greece was well know for its statuary, but I feel like the illustrations that appeared on pottery from the era looks so much cooler. The statues just seem to be a little boring and don’t tell the story of the individual gods as well as the illustrations.

This is another very cool set, because after all, who doesn’t love dinosaurs. I could actually see this being one of the original Allen & Ginter sets. For all I know it might’ve been. I actually would’ve love this set a little bit more if the illustrations were done in that turn of the century scientific illustration style where everything looks a little bit off.

This set I was a little meh about. The world’s greatest authors is an interesting subject, but I just don’t know if it makes a particularly interesting card set. I mean authors are neat and all, but they’re no editors. Maybe I’d feel differently if I had pulled Edgar Allen Poe. Although Confucius is cool.

This is another set that I was a little blah about. I don’t know why. I sort of remember liking them last year. They look alright. I can’t really kind anything glaringly annoying about them. I think the idea of cards commemorating highlights from the previous season is a cool idea. They just don’t jump out of the pack at me. I’m curious though, if they continue this set next year, is it going to consist of nothing but ho-hitters and perfect games?

I almost feel like this set is the closest thing to an original A&G set in this years release. I would actually like to try to collect this set but I feel like it might be a little prohibitive considering the set size (50 cards) and the fact that, although they seem to be a little more common than some of the other sets, I still only got 3 of them in 24 packs. Still, a nice set.

This one is by far my favorite of all the inserts sets this year. It’s actually one of my favorite insert sets that I’ve seen in any year of Ginter. Although they seem to be a bit scarce, I do want to try and collect this set. As scarce as they may be, there is only 10 cards in the set, so it seems pretty manageable. The one thing that sort of bums me out is that after I heard about the World’s Saltiest Sailors set this one didn’t seem nearly as cool. Apparently, the Saltiest Sailor set was all pirates rather than explorers, but they were seeded at 1 per case, or perhaps even scarcer. I couldn’t even find a checklist for that set until I saw this on eBay. If you’re curious, heres the list:

      WSS1 Edward “Blackbeard” Teach


      WSS2 Ned Low


      WSS3 “Calico” Jack Rackham


      WSS4 Stede Bonnet


      WSS5 Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts


      WSS6 Captain Kidd


      WSS7 Sir Henry Morgan


      WSS8 Edward England


      WSS9 THomas Tew


    WSS10 Charles Vane

Lastly, there’s always the hits. Supposedly, a hobby box should contain a combination of 3 hits. The box I opened had 3 hits.

Being a Met fan who lives in the New York area, I don’t really have too much love for the Yankees. A lot of that probably has more to do with being forced to deal with Yankees fans during a stretch where the Yankees are having a ton of success while the Mets are not only bad but just a circus of a team. Despite that, I was pretty happy with this this hit. Robinson Cano is one of the few Yankee players that I can stomach and he is having an MVP caliber season this year. Also, although I don’t dislike jersey relics, I much prefer bat relics. Also, the frame makes me want to take a steamship to Tahiti.

I was really excited to pull this card, mostly because I never pulled a redemption before. Actually, that’s a lie. I got a Red Hot Rookie Redemption a while back, but somehow in my mind getting an autograph redemption is different. Also, now that I think about it, I don’t know why I was so excited to get a redemption card. Everything I’ve ever read about other people trying to redeem them sounds a bit nightmarish. I entered the code a week or so ago and it says it’ll take 15 weeks to get it (which is better than the 30 weeks estimated for the Rookie Redemption). That’s a long time to wait for a card, but I kind of look at it like by the time I get that card, I’ll probably have forgotten about it so it’ll be like a surprise. Also, initially I thought it was a Dale Davis autograph, but then I realized that it was a Dale Davis autograph, which is much cooler.

Another of the many nuances of Allen & Ginter that I really love is the inclusion of players from the Negro Leagues. I think it’s pretty cool that it’s most guys who never made it to the Majors rather than guys like Monte Irvin or Lary Doby who eventually played with the big clubs and made a name for themselves there. So when I saw that I got a Negro Leaguers autograph I was pretty psyched. Actually I was pretty psyched that I got 2 autographs out of this box. The 2 hobby boxes of A&G I busted last year both had 2 relics and 1 auto.

This was the box topper that I got. The subject of Great Engineering Feats is pretty interesting and the artwork looks incredible. The one thing I wish they would’ve done is utilize the back a little bit better. I mean, this card is huge. I’d guess it’s probably 5″x7″ or so. Thats a lot of real estate on the back. All that’s back there though is a checklist of the other Great Engineer Feats in the set. I thought they should had a little write up about the building of the canal. I mean, you could’ve thrown a couple of paragraphs back there with another illustration or two and still had room for your checklist. I do love any card that has Teddy Roosevelt on it, though.

I think that pretty much covers all my thoughts and comments on this years Allen & Ginter set. I really hope Topps has already started thinking hard on how to keep next years version fresh and exciting because this is one product that I really look forward to every year and I would really hate to see it go the way of the Goudey.

3 Responses to “Gint-A-Cuffs: Just When You Thought It Was Over: The Recap”

  1. I too thought the redemption was NBA-er Dale Davis – but after reading the story you linked to, I think the actual Dale Davis sounds like an awesome auto to have.

  2. Max Poser = 2010 Card O’ The Year

  3. Do you still have the sherlock with the black border. I will pay

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