Friday, August 26, 2011

2011 Bowman Platinum Baseball Box Break Recap and Review

When you think of Bowman, you think rookie cards and you think prospects.  2011 Bowman Platinum Baseball is a premium offering in the Bowman line.  It’s not the top of the line, which is reserved for Bowman Sterling, but it is a regal package.  Normally with premium cards the emphasis is put on big hits, monster auto and relic cards.  While Bowman Platinum offers 3 auto cards per box, the strength of this set comes from the different colored parallels and xfractors.  It is a gold mine for “rainbow” PC collectors.   Without this understanding, Platinum can appear to be a hugely hit or miss kind of product, when, in fact, it delivers on its intent quite well.

Bowman Platinum falls under our premium cards category.  Each box contains 20 packs with 5 cards per pack.  Each box delivers 3 autographs, 2 Chrome and 1 auto/relic and each pack contains 1 Chrome Prospect.

Here are some of the cards we pulled from the box.

 Ryan Howard base, front and back

Joe Mauer, Miguel Cabrera, Brandon Belt
Evan Longoria, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz
Robinson Cano, Michael Pineda, Freddie Freeman

 Gold Parallels - Billy Butler, Josh Rodriguez
Kyle Drabek, Brent Morel

 Green Parallels - Carlos Santana, Jon Lester

Red Parallel - Jose Reyes

The Prospects.

Manny Machado base, front and back

Cito Culver, Matt Harvey, Mike Foltynewicz

Bryce Harper Xfractor

 Xfractors - Jameson Faillon, Alex Wimmers
Jonathan Schoop, Kolbrin Vitek

Chris Archer - Green #/599

Sammy Solis - Blue #/199

And the 3 autographs
 Matt Harvey Autographed Refractor

 Trevor Bell Auto Relic

Miguel De Los Santos Auto #/399

Overall Look
These are sharp looking chrome cards with great photography.  Configuration of auto cards and relics are very nice.

Quality and Variety of Players
As with all prospect sets, quality can fluctuate with the success of the player, but prospectors know this is part of the deal.   The checklist for current players is very high quality.   Even at it's compact size, it offers enough variety to please everybody.

Do the Hits satisfy?  Are the cards too base heavy?
If you have an understanding of what this product delivers, you will be satisfied. Rainbow collectors will revel in trying to secure every parallel of their favorite players.  There are some really nice prospect autos to be found and as with other Bowman products this year, the big chase is for Bryce Harper autos.

Will you keep coming back for more?
If this is the type of collecting you do, yes.  Multiple boxes is easy to see.  If you are looking for a specific card or player from this set, aftermarket singles are the way to go.  And for those of you looking to hit it big in the Harper Lottery, you will probably purchase as many boxes as your budget will allow.

 4 out of 5

For the right collector, 2011 Bowman Platinum Baseball delivers a premium experience.

Review box provided by Topps

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Twins Trade Jim Thome To The Indians

Jim Thome, the newest member of the 600 Home Run Club, has accepted a trade from the Minnesota Twins back to the team he started with, the Cleveland Indians,.  The Indians hope the addition of Thome will help them overtake the first-place Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.

Thome had to waive a no-trade clause in his contract so he could return to Cleveland. This comes at a time when the Indians have lost six of their last seven games and have had to endure a series of injuries.  Currently, only two players who were opening day starters are healthy enough to play.  Hopes are that Thome will be able to step in for designated hitter Travis Hafner, who was put on the disabled list August 22nd and may need season-ending foot surgery.

The Twins waived Thome on Monday, the day Hafner was put on the DL.  Cleveland put a claim in for Thome on Wednesday, two days later.  Once the Indians were awarded Thome, the clubs had 48 hours to work out a trade.  As part of the final deal, the Twins will receive a player to be named by Oct. 15.

Thome spent 12 seasons with Cleveland from 1991-2002, hitting 334 homers, a team-record, and helping the Indians get to two World Series.  He signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent in 2003, leaving Cleveland for a six-year, 85 million dollar deal.  

It is anticipated that Thome will arrive in time to be in the Indians' lineup Friday night. 

The New York Yankees Become The First Team To Hit Three Grand Slams In One Game

After losing two troubling games to the Oakland A’s, the New York Yankees came back today with a win in historic fashion.  But the score of the game, 22-9, was not nearly as significant as the way the Yankees got over half of those runs.  Twelve of those runs came off of three grand slam home runs, one each by Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson.  The Yankees now stand alone as the only team in major league history to hit three grand slams in a single game.

The day did not start off well.  With the Yankees trailing 7-1 after three innings, the game was stopped for rain, causing an 89-minute delay.  After the delay, the Yankees came on strong.

Robinson Cano was the first to hit a grand slam.  His four run shot in the fifth pulled the Yankees to within one of the A’s lead.  Russell Martin pushed the Yankees into the lead the next inning with his grand slam.  Curtis Granderson rounded out the trio of slams in the eighth.

While the three grand slams are a record, there could have been even more. The bases were loaded 17 times during the game for the Yankees.  Derek Jeter alone got four tries at a grand slam.

And there were even more feats of historical significance.

Martin homered twice and doubled, setting career highs with five hits and six RBIs.

Former Yankee catcher Jorge Posada made his first career appearance at second base.

Derek Jeter lined a leadoff triple in the first passing Rickey Henderson for 21st place on the career hits list with 3,056.  Jeter also scored which put him past Jimmie Foxx for 20th on the all-time runs list with 1,752. 

Babe Ruth, Sandy Koufax and More Legendary Players Added To The 2011 Topps Tier One Baseball Cards Relic List

Topps is taking the name of their all-new baseball card release, Tier One, to heart and is upgrading its hits in a big way.  The list of relic inserts has been enhanced with several Hall of Famers and retired stars such as Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax and more which replaces a list of lower-level active players.

Here is the list of what has been added.

Thurman Munson - New York Yankees®
Jimmie Foxx - Boston Red Sox®
Rogers Hornsby - St. Louis Cardinals®
Roy Campanella - Brooklyn Dodgers™
Johnny Mize - St. Louis Cardinals®
Pee Wee Reese - Brooklyn Dodgers™
George Sisler - St. Louis Browns™
Tris Speaker - Cleveland Indians®
Babe Ruth - New York Yankees®
Johnny Bench - Cincinnati Reds®
Ty Cobb - Detroit Tigers®
Rickey Henderson - New York Yankees®
Lou Gehrig - New York Yankees®
Sandy Koufax - Dodgers®
Mickey Mantle - New York Yankees®
Don Mattingly - New York Yankees®
Brooks Robinson - Baltimore Orioles®
Ryne Sandberg - Chicago Cubs®
Tom Seaver New York Mets®
Willie Mays - Giants®

They will replace the following.

Andre Ethier
Steve Garvey
David Ortiz
Brandon Phillips
Carlos Quentin
Matt Cain
Jimmy Rollins
Gaylord Perry
Jay Bruce
Pablo Sandoval
Drew Stubbs
Adam Jones
Billy Butler
Heath Bell
Fergie Jenkins
Carlos Marmol
Evan Longoria
Madison Bumgarner
Johnny Cueto
Clay Buchholz

This hobby exclusive release, due to hit shelves early November, will include 1 pack of seven cards which will include 2 Autographs, 1 Relic,1 Parallel and 3 Base cards features all hard-signed autographs (except for Triple Autographs).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One Final Look At 2010-11 Panini Dominion Hockey Before The Release

We have been talking about the "hat trick" of Hockey releases by Panini to end the 2010-11 Hockey collecting season, Luxury Suite, Zenith and Dominion.  After a small delay, it looks like Dominion is finally ready to be packed out.  One of our favorite internet stops, The Knight's Lance, has provided a last look at some of the cards that have just come in.  We won't show you all of them.  To see the entire group of amazing cards, you will have to follow this link.  It will take you to the post on "The Lance" where you can look at them all and check out all the other cards that have been released for your viewing pleasure.
 Henrik Lundqvist Tape Auto

Bryan Trottier - Jonathan Toews Dual Auto

 Tyler Seguin Auto Patch

 Charlie Hodge, Rogie Vachon, Patrick Roy, Casey Price Quad Pen Pals Auto

 Sidney Crosby Auto -  NHL Shield Patch

Martin Brodeur, Ed Belfour, Felix Potvin, Curtis Joseph Quad Pen Pals Auto

The Topps Prime 9 Redemption Card For Week 6 is Hank Aaron!

We told you about the release dates for the Prime 9 redemption cards found in 2011 Topps Baseball Series 2 hobby and jumbo boxes.  Week 1 was Johnny Bench.  Week 2 was Albert Pujols.  Week 3 was Jackie Robinson. Week 4 was Derek Jeter.  Week 5 was Mike Schmidt.  Now for Week 6 if you have one of these...
...its time to go visit your HTA Local Hobby Shop and redeem those cards.  Here is what you will get.
A Hank Aaron Prime 9 limited edition Chrome Refractor card.  Very cool! Aaron’s “Prime 9 Moments” include played shortstop for Indianapolis in Negro Leagues, first player with 3000 hits and 500 homers, and held all-time home run mark from 1973-2007.  So get to your participating LCS and redeem those cards.  And don’t forget to fill out the back of your redemption card to be entered into a sweepstakes.  You could win a trip to the 2012 World Series.

Check in next week to find out who is on the card for week 7.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Current List of Players Signing Autographs For 2011 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects.

The deadline has past MLB teams to sign their recent draft picks.  Now, with a better understanding of player and team assignments, Topps has released an updated list of confirmed signers, for Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects. With some significant recent additions to the 21 now-confirmed signers, the list is impressive.   20 of the players signing were selected in the 1st Round of the 2011 MLB Draft, which includes the supplemental 1st Round.

Topps is not finished. There are plans to report additional signers within the next week!

Here is the current list of autograph signers in Bowman Draft Picks:
Javier Baez - Cubs
Matt Barnes - Red Sox
Trevor Bauer - D’Backs
Jed Bradley - Bewers
CJ Cron - Angels
Jose Fernandez - Marlins
Tyler Goeddel - Rays
Sonny Gray - A’s
Jake Hager - Rays
James Harris -  Rays
Francisco Lindor - Indians
Brandon Martin - Rays
Kevin Matthews - Rangers
Brandon Nimmo - Mets
George Springer - Astros
Corey Spangenberg - Padres
Trevor Story - Rockies
Dan Vogelbach - Cubs
Keenyn Walker - White Sox
Kolten Wong - Cardinals
Joe Panik - Giants

Bowman Draft Picks, set to release November 23rd, guarantees a Chrome on-card autograph in every hobby box. 

2011 Topps Lineage Baseball Box Break Recap and Review

Topps newest offering, 2011 Lineage Baseball, could be in the running for one of the better sets they’ve put out this year if you only look at the front of the cards.  Flip them over and you have an entirely different scenario.  Base, mini and cloth sticker cards have the same short write-up with a single color background while most inserts, that pay homage to cards of the past, have completely blank backs. Otherwise, Lineage provides the kind of elements normally reserved for premium cards with multiple auto cards, a high quality checklist and fun retro inserts.

2011 Topps Lineage Baseball falls under our classification of trading cards.  Hobby boxes contain 24 packs with 8 cards per pack.  Each hobby box yields three hits with 2 autograph cards, with at least one 1 on-card auto and 1 relic card.

To give you an idea of what to expect, here is a look at the cards we found in our box, front and back.

From the base set.

 Mickey Mantle, front and back

Here are some more base cards, front and back.
 Sandy Koufax, Frank Robinson, Josh Hamilton
Brendon Belt, Johnny Bench, Ichiro
Willie McCovey, Nolan Ryan, Buster Posey
Jackie Robinson, Cal Ripken, Jr., Ryan Howard

Other base variations include
Rookie of the Year
Willie McCovey, Joe Morgan, Cal Ripken, Jr.
Chipper Jones, Ichiro, Tom Seaver

 Diamond Anniversary (Like Chrome Refractors)
Buster Posey, Reggie Jackson, Jason Werth
Pedro Alvarez, Hank Aaron, Franklin Gutierrez

Platinum Aniversary
Carlos Beltran, Carlos Zambrano, Michael Young
Joe Morgan, Frank Thomas, Andre Dawson

Cloth Stickers based on the 1972 set - Ty Cobb and Stan Musial (same backs as the base cards)

To the left, 1975 Mini cards based on the 1975 set, shown with the base card for size comparison.

Again, same backs as the base.

Our box yielded six minis
Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia
Freddie Freeman, Roy Halliday, Gordon Beckham

 From the 25 card Venezuelan parallel, based on the Venezuelan League cards of 1960,1962, 1964, 1966, 1967 and 1968.  Big difference here, only one Venezuelan player in the 2011 set.
David Price and Chipper Jones, front and back

Those were all from the base set, here are the inserts.

 3D cards based on 1968 set.  True to the set, the backs are blank.
 Troy Tulowitzki and Buster Posey, front and back

 Stand-Ups based on the 1964 set.  True to the set, the backs are blank.
 Ryan Braun and Joey Votto, front and back

 Rookies based on sets from the '80s and '90s
Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Hank Conger
Dominic Brown, J.P. Arencibia

Topps Giants based on the 1964 set, found as a boxtopper.
Miguel Cabrera, front and back

Sam card shown up against Cabrera's base card for size comparison.

Now for the hits.

Elvis Andrus '75 mini relic

David DeJesus '52 style autograph card

Pablo Sandoval reprint on-card auto

Overall Look
Base card design is works well on the fronts, but is minimal on the backs.  Inserts are based on previous releases.  Love the 1975 style mini on the front, but wish Topps would have carried the theme all the way to the back of the card, duplicating the ’75 look for the entire card.  All of the Autograph cards and Giant boxtoppers look great.   Nice choices with the Stand Ups, based on the 1964 set, and 3D cards, based on the 1968 set, which have blank backs.  This wouldn’t have been as noticeable if it weren’t for the backs of the base set.

Quality and Variety of Players and Subsets.
This checklist is excellent.  Not prospecting here.  Just Legends, Stars of today and top rookies. 

Do the hits hold up?
Autographs.  That is were these hits excelled.  Auto reprints and ’52 styled autos featuring both modern and past players are excellent.

Will you want to collect them all?
You might want to, but putting together a master set is going to be a real challenge.  Even if you defy the odds and never pull a double, you would be looking a minimum of 1000 packs just to build the 200 card ’75 mini base set, none of which are SPs. Other cards are inline with set building norms.

3/12 out of 5

2011 Topps Lineage Baseball is a set that runs hot and cold.  There is a lot that is good here and with some adjustments, Lineage could become a powerhouse of a set in the future.  While there are some excellent autos, inserts and a great checklist, the set will be best displayed doubled up, back to back in 9-pocket protector pages held in a 3 ring binder.

Review box provided by Topps