Monday, January 31, 2022

Modern Monday - a framed relic from A&G

This was an eBay purchase that arrived in the first few days of 2022.

Card Number 911: Allen & Ginter framed mini-relic, 2021; #MFR-TG

The mini card could be popped out of the frame if one so wished to do that. The swatch is a dark blue that could be a Padres uniform from the latter end of Tony's career. The photo is an interesting choice because it isn't the photo used on the Allen & Ginter base card or mini in 2021. Here's a reminder of what that card looked like.

The relic card looks like it has been rendered off the photo used by Topps for the Stadium Club Chrome card in 2020.

I haven't got an explanation why Topps switched out the photos for the mini-relic card. The eBay win included a 2021 Allen & Ginter relic card of Trent Grisham as well, and that used the same photo as his base card. That was a full-sized relic card, though.

The back looks nicer than the average Allen & Ginter card. The card acts as a guarantee of the genuineness of the cloth swatch, except...

... below the logo, it says the memorabilia isn't from "any specific game, event or season". So, what exactly is it from? 

Topps have produced relic cards for Tony for the last few years and I'm beginning to wonder how they are doing this. Surely at some point, they will run out of articles of clothing that Tony touched. This is beginning to feel like the trade in religious relics in Europe in the Middle Ages, when there were enough venerated bits of wood, all supposedly from the cross that Jesus was crucified on, to build a large structure. All those holy relics, ranging from bits of bone from long-dead saints to items touched or blessed by Jesus himself or his mother, often had very vague provenance. Topps seem to be following a similar path in terms of guaranteeing the genuineness of a relic while issuing a subtle disclaimer.

Total: 911 cards

Sunday, January 30, 2022

One Card Only - another crown

Way back in June 2020, I blogged about a card that I really liked, a die-cut Pacific Crown Royale card. It had a special provenance because it was in a repack of baseball cards I bought at the Hall of Fame. 

Well, anyway, that card has been joined by another die-cut crown card now.

Card Number 910: Pacific Crown Royale, 1999; #119

Compared with the other die-cut crown, this is muted and under-stated. 

On the back we get a potrait and a brief paragraph with some salient stats. Tony had a decent year in 1997, hit a milestone in 1998, and they even managed to squeeze in a mention of his opening day performance in 1999.

I also love cards that I learn something from - I did not know that the Padres opened the 1999 season in Monterey. It's inconceivable now that the first competitive games after an appearance in the World Series would be staged in another country!

Total: 910 cards

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Play your cards right

Some oddball cards today. And I mean, literally, some oddball cards today.

Card Number 907: US Playing Card Company Baseball Major League All-Stars, 1990; #NNO (Jack of Diamonds)

Yes, this is from a set of playing cards with colour pictures of baseball players on. This is a very intriguing photo. My guess is that Tony is scrutinising the play while doing some stretches in the on deck area.

The back is a boring card back. It has to be if anyone is going to actually play cards using this set.  I've played a lot of card games in my time - whist, canasta, pinochle. Novelty card sets don't tend to get used for games in my experience. However, judging by the playwear, this card was used in a few hands of some card games.

Card Number 908: US Playing Card Company Major League Baseball Aces, 1992; #NNO (3 of Diamonds)

Tony is still in the diamond suit in this deck, but seems to have been demoted from one of the face cards to a lowly number. 

This photo has been cropped to chop off Tony's feet and the end of his bat. I know that might annoy one of my regular readers!

The back looks more stylish than the cardbacks from the deck released in 1990.

And a bonus "card".

Card Number 909: Cartwright's Aces, 1992-3; #9

This was from a 12-card series issued with the short-lived Cartwright's Journal of Baseball Collectibles, which included trading cards in each issue. The Journal lasted for five issues in 1992 and 1993 and somehow released 9 card series, many with parallels. There is more information in this Wrigley Wax blog post.

The card is rather nicely done.

Despite the playing card imagery in the word 'aces' and the design of the set logo on the back, this isn't actually a playing card.

There is a minimal write up on the back. 

Something that stands out to me is there is no licensing information on this card at all. That's also true of the US Playing Card Company cards as well - but they were licensed and had the relevant logos on the box containing the cards. I suspect Cartwright's didn't have an agreement in place otherwise there would have been some very small print on the card. 

Total: 909 cards

Friday, January 28, 2022

Base Metals

Here's a 'back to base' post, as I have acquired a run of Tony's base cards from the Skybox range called 'Metal Universe'. These were once high end cards sold by the Fleer Skybox conglomerate. There are probably people who love these cards. I find Skybox cards are almost always off-kilter in some respect, usually odd word choices (like on this insert card!) and sometimes the overall concept is uncanny. 

Metal Universe cards are all super-shiny so I had to use my overhead scanner on them.

Card Number 903: Skybox Metal Universe, 1996; #235

How could you tell that this garish, shiny card with a weird image of Tony mashing milk out of a giant blue sponge ball was issued in the mid-90s? Apart from everything? This is compter-generated imagery from the 90s... on acid. 

The photo on the back is strangely old-fashioned. The unflattering comparison that came to my mind was Joey Tribbiani's explanation of "smell the fart acting". Tony looks mildly troubled by something. 

The interlocking gear teeth image at the bottom is part of the 'metal universe' theme. There are worse ways to waste space on the back of a baseball card. 

Card Number 904: Skybox Metal Universe, 1997; #219

I've over-exposed this scan slightly. But otherwise it just scans incoherently. Instead of making a dash for first base, Tony is running though a fantasy cave complex pursued by bats. I'd like to think the bats are because Tony was an extraordinary wielder of the baseball bat. But there could be a more mundane reason, like using up leftover graphics from a computer game.

There's a more natural photo on the back. The cardback design has a steampunk look. Props to them for giving Tony a number containing the number 19. (No bonus points though!)

Card Number 905: Skybox Metal Universe, 1998; #178

This is probably the nicest of the cards I'm showing in this post. The shiny front has Tony batting... on a sand dune... with the ocean in the background... and it looks very nice. Completely bizarre, but I'm always up for something a bit different. And this is a happy trigger for a digression.

Back in 2004, when I went on a road trip around California with my wife Cathy, we drove down Highway 1 all the way from San Francisco to San Diego, so photos of that Pacific coast bring back good memories. We went to Cardiff-by-the-Sea and sent postcards back to all our friends living in Cardiff. Because we like irony. 

Anyway, back to the card, and the cardback. Ho, boy! This would have looked five or six years out of date in 1998. That kind of graded background was from the beginning of the decade! And turquoise! That was the colour of 1993!

The stats boxes designed to look like a scoring chart are nicely done though. 

Card Number 906: Skybox Metal Universe, 1999; #47

A bonus scan this time to explain the difference the overhead scanner makes. First, here is the flatbed scan.

And here is the overhead scan. 

The rivet marks make this card look like it should be embossed. It's not embossed. Given their usual commitment to gimmicky stuff, this feels like a real missed opportunity for Skybox.

The rivets continue on to the back. It's an odd photo, with Tony looking frustrated. He looks like he is walking back to the dug out after a flyball was caught. I'd also ding this card a point for having unreadable stats information perpendicular to the card. 

And that's it for the Metal Universe. The range only lasted 4 years. There were cards released in 2000 with the brand name 'Metal', and that was the last hurrah for these shiny cards. The Metal cards in 2000 were also the end of cards being sold under the Skybox brand.

Total: 906 cards

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Feeling Invincible in 2022

I realise it has been several weeks since I last blogged some cards. I have had my evenings occupied with other things so have neglected this a little. However, here we are in 2022. I have added a few cards to the collection while the blog has been on hiatus, so the number of cards waiting to be blogged has increased. (And I feel the pressure!)

I hope to get back to blogging regularly before the month is out. Meanwhile, here are some "Invincible" cards because we want to feel positive about the new year and invincibility is just positivity set to maximum!

Card Number 901: Pacific Invincible, 1998; #139

I like these cards with their little acetate windows of clarity. This one is really shiny, so this is an overhead scan of the front. 

And a bilingual back! Because it's printed on acetate, the image of Tony is reversed out. 

Card Number 902: Pacific Invincible Reyes del Diamante, 2000; #25

A variant on the phrase 'Diamond King'. I'm surprised DonRuss let Pacific get away with that!

There were 30 Kings of the Diamond in this insert series, and a further 20 Diamond Aces who were all pitchers. Although they look like playing cards, they all have the same value so would be rubbish for actually playing card games. 

The back is done to look like a playing card. Apart from the tell-tale player name!

And that's the first post of 2022 done. I will be back blogging regularly soon!

Total: 902 cards