Saturday, December 17, 2011
Blog Bat Around: The Best and Worst of 2011 in Cards
I guess it is my turn at the plate. Since I am a relatively new acquisition, this will be my first plate appearance in a Blog Bat Around. 2011 was a rough year for me personally, but it will always be the year that I published my first ever blog. I really enjoy writing about something as simple and fun as baseball cards. Nowadays I am a team collector, but I will delve into my full set collecting past to answer the bat around question posed by future American-Japanese Ryan G.
The 2011 baseball card collecting season is finally over -- other than Bowman Sterling. What set or release stands out as your favorite from the year? What set or release brings your lunch back up in your throat?
2011 had many ups and downs as far as card releases go. Some sets that people didn't like, I loved and some that the majority loved, I could do without. I have always believed that you should start with the bad news so that the good news lifts you back up. With that let's take a look at what I thought were the weakest offering of the 2011 baseball card season.
5. 2011 Topps Allen and Ginter base set
This will probably be my most controversial pick, but the cards above are precisely why I do not like Allen and Ginter. I don't want these guys in a baseball card set, actually these three are not the biggest problem because they are at least sports-related. The biggest problem for me is cards of people like the Iron Chef winner, Guy Fieri, and the weird looking moose guy. Sure some people love this set with it's colorful gas cloud behind the picture, but it's doesn't work for me.
4. 2011 Topps Heritage Minors
As you will soon read, I love 2011 Heritage. The biggest problem is that instead of an additional "High Number Series" or "Update" showing additional major league players, we get minor league prospects. This isn't Bowman Heritage, it's Topps Heritage. I was disgusted when I first learned that this would be the fall offering for Heritage instead of High Numbers. Then I saw the cards and it was even worse with the over-tinted #'d parallels and no mention of major league affiliations. Again some may have loved it, but not me.
3. Cognac and Hope Diamond Update parallels of Series 1 & 2
This is a BAD precedent to set. Including in a new set parallels to an older set. What is stopping Topps from giving us liquorfractors of 2008 Topps in the 2012 Series 1? The cards look pretty cool, but I just don't like this practice.
2. 2011 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions
This is another set that has spring up on a couple of others "best of" lists. I think it is HORRIBLE. The Bill Walton at the piano card is my nominee for worst card of the year. I always liked Mike Schmidt, but I didn't need a card of him looking like George's father from Seinfeld. And Grant Hill shows off the millions of dollars
he made as an NBA superstar by purchasing a hoodie from Wal Mart for $3.99. I am sorry if you like this set, but to me it is garbage.
1. 2011 Topps History of Topps insert set
2011 Topps Series 1 had SO many insert sets, but this one was by far the worst of the bunch that included one set that was an exact copy of a 2010 insert set. I almost made this a dual #1 including the 60 years of Topps insert set, but then I realized this particular set deserved to stand alone at the bottom. I am as big a history fan as just about anyone, but did we need a card that showed when Topps had an IPO? Or when it moved across town (I thought Brooklyn was in NYC)? Or the day a rich guy bought stock in the company? Some of the cards weren't as bad, such as the first Topps Traded set or standardizing the size, but they weren't nearly good enough to save this from being the garbage set of the year.
Now that I have given many of you reasons to comment about how I know nothing about what a good set is. Let's move on to what I loved about cards in 2011.
5. Cognac and Hope Diamond parallels of Update cards
After complaining a bit earlier, I would like to state that I do like these parallels when they are current. Liquorfractors (kudos to Spankee for the best new card term of the year) and the Hope Diamonds (which need a cool nickname, how about icefractors) really added to this year's Update set. I guess I am more excited about these because Colorado wasn't forgotten about in 2011 Update like in 2010 with their 4 cards. Either way these had to be included on my "best of" list.
4. The Topps Diamond Giveaway
Sure it is basically a carbon copy of last year's Million Card Giveaway, but I missed the majority of that one. I absolutely love this site, especially now that most of the bugs are out of the system. I have yet to acquire any of the 3 Rockies DDCs, but I am still trying. And the best part about this site is the major dent it put into my rookie cup collection. Just think about it for a second, I (in effect) pulled out of a 2011 pack a 1960 Topps rookie card along with a lot of others. Yeah I could have probably bought them from somewhere else for the price I paid to ship the cards from Topps, but where is the fun in that. As of today I have completed 296 trades on the site with hopefully more to come. I hope the Golden Giveaway is as much fun.
3. 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen
I was initially read to hate Gypsy Queen, because as you read earlier I am not usually a fan of retro sets in general. I was VERY pleasantly surprised by this offering. The cards themselves look great with the stylish arched window design and the framed parallels (both bronze and green) are gorgeous. I even liked the minis which is something I am not usually a fan of. The most surprising great looking thing about this set is the printing plates. Most of the time they are just a piece of metal that you vaguely recognize as that particular card. Here they were framed with the color of the ink and looked really great. I will show off my GQ plates once I get an operating scanner. The ONLY reason this set isn't higher is because there were exactly 0 Rockies in the inserts, relics, and autographs. That shouldn't happen to ANY team, let alone mine.
2. 2011 Topps Opening Day set
Most of the time I considered Opening Day to be at best redundant and at worst garbage. This year's Opening Day set I consider superior to the flagship set. The base set looked better without the foil and the blue parallels looked much better than the gold, black, or bedazzled parallels in the flagship. However, the best part of Opening Day was the insert sets. There was not one single insert set i the flagship that I liked, conversely there was not one insert set in Opening Day that I didn't LOVE. From the glow-in-the-dark Stadium Lights set to a political insert that made sense in Presidential First Pitches to something for the kid in all of us like the Mascots, OD was just a thing of beauty this year. Any other year and this set would have occupied the #1 spot.
1. 2011 Topps Heritage set
I had been looking forward to this set ever since I rejoined the hobby in 2006. Was it perfect? No, some of the head shot photography was not great and the overused gimmickry is getting old, but this set is still absolutely my favorite set that starts with 20--. What added to the greatness was I did not like the previous two years of Heritage, because I think 1960 and 1961 were two the worst designs Topps had back then. I completed this set through great trades with the blogging community and spending probably too much money on eBay for short prints (which are also getting old). The wood design is just as good now as is was in the 1962 set. I am really forward to the next few years of Heritage because the years 1962-65 were probably the best four year run Topps ever had.
If you have you own blog, post a Bat Around it's fun and makes you evaluate your hobby. If you don't, no worries, just comment below with what you think was the best and worst of 2011. Also feel free to call me moron or a Philistine for not liking A&G. It won't change my mind, but don't you feel better now.