Thursday, August 27, 2009

Final Thoughts on 2009 Allen & Ginter

After opening 2 hobby boxes, 8-10 blasters, 7-8 loose retail packs and 6 hobby "hot" packs worth of 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter (for the sake of my mental health I have decided not to add up the total cost of this), I feel that I am finally ready to render my judgment on what has become arguably the hobby's most popular product of the year. I loved opening every single one of these packs, but I got burnt out when I saw my 10th Chris Volstad shortprint and will likely finish up my set through eBay or trades with other collectors. Like any product, A & G is not without its shortcomings, and there are a few things I would like to see Topps change for 2010. So I compiled a list of what I love and hate about this year's A & G which can be found below, and I would love to hear what you think of this year's Ginter offering (maybe we can start a petition!) But first, a look at my drool-worthy pulls...

Hits: Evan Longoria Autograph, John Higby Yo-Yo String SP, Ichiro Suzuki Bat, Tim Lincecum Jersey, Mike Metzger Auto/239, Carlos Quentin Jersey, David Wright Batting Glove, Jim Thome Bat, Vladimir Guerrero Bat, Manny Ramirez Jersey, David Wright Jersey, C.C. Sabathia Jersey, Rich Harden Jersey, Josh Johnson Auto, Miguel Cabrera Jersey, Justin Upton Jersey, B.J. Upton Jersey, Travis Hafner Jersey, Jimmie Rollins Jersey, Magglio Ordonez Jersey, Yunel Escobar Jersey, Adam Dunn Bazooka Back (#8/25), Blake Dewitt No-Number Back (sent to Nightowl), and the extremely rare Here-To-There-O-Matic mini (roughly one per case).

If you would like to trade for any of these cards, except those in red, just let me know and I am sure we can work something out (first crack at the Wright Batting Glove & Jersey cards to the gals at Dinged Corners).


1) Base Set Design: Adding the borders to the cards was a great idea and really classed up the set. I also love the cards with non-pastel backgrounds...aren't the Joe Mauer and Clayton Kershaw cards some of the best looking base cards you've seen in a long time?
2) Non-Baseball Cards: While the public seems to be split on this debate, I really enjoy pulling a Richard Gatling or an Electron from a pack. It brings some variety to the set and makes it more accessible to non-baseball collectors.

3) Creatures of Legend, Myth & Terror: How cool is it to pull a card of a Kraken or a Unicorn from a pack of baseball cards? This was my favorite insert set of the year and here's hoping Topps can come up with something like this for 2010 (Natural Wonders of the World?)

4) Black Bordered Cards: The intricate design is much more appealing than the past straight black border and they are attainable enough that it is not out of the realm of possibility to complete the entire set (if you have a big wallet and lots of free time).


1) Poor Collation: Despite the fact that I have opened nearly 140 packs (plus another hobby box belonging to my brother) of Allen & Ginter this year, I still have not completed a standard 1-350 base set of the cards; that seems wrong to me. How is it that I can manage to pull 10 of a particular shortprint, but still be missing numerous cards falling between 1-300? By the way if you are interested the cards I still need are: #34, 54, 68, 93, 125, 168, 248, 305, 338 and 343. I would be forever indebted to you for your help in helping me bring in my white whale.

2) Small Autograph Checklist: While there are some great players featured in A & G (Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, Evan Longoria) and cool non-players (Michael Phelps, John Higby, Hannah Teter) the checklist as a whole leaves something to be desired, and I think the set would really benefit from adding more baseball players. How quickly would this product sell-out if there was a guaranteed auto in every box?

3) Sketch Cards: Not to go all Stephen A. Smith on you, but quite frankly these aren't very good looking cards. I would much rather pull another base card than one of these monstrosities (same goes for the National Pride cards).

4) Griffey-less Ginter: In what may be his last go-round with the Seattle Mariners, Ken Griffey Jr. was inexplicably left off the base card checklist. It's not like this is a small set either, if there's room for Bobby Crosby and Melvin Mora, then there is certainly a spot in the set for the only active member of the 600 HR Club. Not coincedentially my second favorite player, Ben Zobrist, was also not included in the set. Topps clearly was not creating A & G with me in mind, how thoughtless.

Of course I would buy Allen & Ginter next year even if they didn't change anything, but I think there is still room for improvement. What is your opinion of 2009 A & G? What do you love/hate?


  1. A&G would have to seriously botch the set for me to dislike it. It remains a great set.

    I agree on all your points. (I didn't even realize Griffey wasn't included -- out of sight, out of mind, I guess). I get sick of pulling people like Bobby Crosby and (no offense) Kenji Jojihma.

    I don't get the sketch cards. You really have to do a fantastic job for me to care about sketches.

    I would add I don't like the parallel crack-the-code cards. I know some people do, but it looks like the players are crowded out by the design.

    Totally agree about the collation. You busted an insane amount of product and you still need that many base cards? (I will be adding #34, #54, #68, #93, #168, #248 and #338 to the stack for you).

  2. Whoa, the DW batting glove. Did we already email you about this? If so we apologize, we are in a dizzy frame of mind.

    Excellent A&G recap, you said it all.

  3. Really nice post. Count me among those who didn't realize Griffey wasn't in the base set...that is unfortunate considering some of the players that made the checklist. I don't want to tell you how many blasters I bought and I don't have the three cards Night Owl couldn't help you with. I would like that Adam Dunn Bazooka back if you haven't had an offer for it yet. I'll shoot you an email.

  4. Dinged Corners,
    I haven't heard from you about the DW batting glove, but I would love to work out a trade. Email me at

  5. I would love to get my paws on that BJ Upton relic if it is still available...Nice post!

  6. i would love that miggy card and mannywood too please let me know... thanks!