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Tag Archives: Retro-themed Baseball Cards

21 packs per box:
17 regular packs/7 cards per pack
4 jumbo packs/20 cards per pack

Base set completion: 138 of 178 (78%)
Short print set completion:10 of 22 (45%)
Base doubles: 45





This seemed like a reasonable enough deal — Charm City does these hobby boxes for $55. With that many cards coming in a hobby box, it seemed pretty feasible that a single box would yield the entire set. Well, it came close. A shame, since better collation would’ve easily taken care of the base set. Maybe not the SPs, but there were clearly enough doubles (45 altogether) to come a lot closer to finishing the remaining 40 I need now.

As far as all the shiny baubles, it comes with the requisite game-used cards. The Schilling card is nice enough, although I have a lot of trouble referring to a square-inch or so-sized swatch of jersey as a patch. I don’t know, but when I say “patch,” I’m thinking something a little bigger than what you normally get. It would’ve been nice had I owned these two game-used cards in, say, I don’t know, 2004. But hey, I’m sure there’re still plenty of Giambi and Schilling fans out there.

I wasn’t around in 2004 to know whether this was intended as a retro set to compete with Heritage, but it clearly pays homage to 1984 Fleer. I also can’t recall if 1984 was a particularly important one for Fleer, or why, if they did, want to commemorate the occasion 20 years later.

mattinglyWhile I’m clearly a sucker for the obvious retro-themed sets (i.e. Heritage, Masterpieces, etc.), it does seem a little odd to look to the overproduction era for inspiration. Then again, I dove in and went after both 08 Timeline and 07 SP Rookie Edition, so perhaps even the 80s/90s era has untapped potential.

I can’t imagine, however, that time will ever produce a yearning for 2039 Topps Heritage, which would bring back the ever-popular 1990 design out from the dustbin.

Overproduction era or not, mid-80s Fleer does have that nice, clean look that translates well to a modern card, as evidenced by 2004 Platinum. And just like the old days, card numbers are randomly assigned — that is, the set isn’t ordered alphabetically by teams, like any modern Upper Deck set. Different teams are scattered about the checklist as they have been in the past — at least for Upper Deck/Fleer, anyway.

plat4Speaking of hearkening back to the past, I found the “Unsung Heroes” subset particularly interesting in that it reminded me so much, visually, of all of those late-80s drugstore issues. I remember those cards well — every time we’d drop by a Sav-On Drug or Woolworths, I’d beg forever and ever for a pack. Mom and dad rarely relented, but I did manage to save at least two sets — 1988 Topps Woolworth and 1988 Topps Kmart.

I remember loving those cards so much — so glossy! They had to be “worth more” sabothan those cheap cardboard 50-cents-a-pack regular issues. Two decades later, I came to the sad realization that they weren’t worth much in dollars, but they were certainly worth the childhood nostalgia. Their lack of value, however, hasn’t stopped some folks from locking them up in PSA holders,  however.

Anyway, enough nostalgia. Although there were some obvious collation issues, this was not a bad box to break overall. It’s not a massively oversized set, and the short prints aren’t a hideous task to compile either. A single box could conceivably knock out an entire base set, and that’s always added value. As far as completing the set, I don’t know that there’re too many doubles of these cards floating around on the Bench, but we’ll see.


It appears my local hobby source won’t be getting their load of 2009 product until at least Tuesday, so it looks like I’ll be stuck with retail packs until then.

As a history buff, and a teacher of sorts, the idea of Topps American Heritage is absolutely one I am on board with. Just thinking of the myriad ways I could use these cards as a learning tool is awesome.

I bought two retail packs, and here’s what caught my eye.


It saddens me how often I have to remind others of how important the right to vote is, and for some groups, how relatively new these freedoms are.


Forget voting — how important is the simple freedom of being in a desegregated classroom?



As a Los Angeles native, there’s an obvious appreciation for J.P. Getty. Strangely enough, however, in all my years in LA, I never once managed to visit the Getty Center. This in spite of commuting past it twice a day at one point.


Never been a big fan of the Kennedy brothers, but this is a great picture. I also loved his portrayal in the movie “13 days,” about the Cuban Missile Crisis.



This reminds me — not only did my scanner refuse to scan this card properly, I really need to frame the “Three Umpires” Rockwell print my wife gave me for Christmas.


Oh yeah, I bought some baseball cards too!


In an unintended ode to Upper Deck Documentary, this card commemorates Manny’s efforts against the Cubs in the NLDS. And the picture on the front? It’s from a day game, odd considering all three NLDS games were in the evening. Judging from the brick background, it looks like this was taken at AT & T Park in San Francisco.


No Legends of the Game inserts this time, but I’ll gladly take another Turkey Red. I never once even remotely thought about this set when it was a full set, but as an insert set, they’re incredibly appealing to me. Weird.

And I even managed to buy football cards for the first time in really, a decade. I haven’t bought football cards (aside from the ones I occasionally buy for my nephew) since I collected them in the early 90s. But the idea of revisiting another classic tobacco card set from Topps drew me in.

I didn’t recognize anyone from the pack — my football knowledge is really limited to superstars and whoever’s currently playing for the St. Louis Rams. I did get this nice Matt Forte mini, however.


And it’ll likely be the only card I end up keeping. This an awesome looking set, and I hope Topps continues on its tradition of reviving old tobacco card sets.

24 packs, 5 cards per pack
Retail price paid: $83

Base set completion: 98 of 100 (98%)
Insert/parallel set completion: Not even close!
Base doubles: 8, out of 120 total cards in the box.


Diamond Kings DK-48 Stan Musial AU 22/25
Baseball Americana BA-47 Eddie Matthews GU 91/100
Autographed Rookies 132 Engel Beltre AU 96/465
Autographed Rookies 137 Brian Friday AU 1107/1249
Autographed Silver Rookie 87 Yefri Carvajal AU 154/999
Silver Century Proof 2 Dale Murphy 63/100
Green Century Proof 100 Elvis Andrus 20/100
Baseball Americana BA-8 Ernie Banks 219/500
Century Legends CL-14 Pete Rose
Century Stars CS-1 Carlton Fisk
College Greats CG-11 Steve Garvey
College Greats CG-12 Fred Lynn
Diamond Kings Framed Red DK-29 Bobby Doer 44/100
Diamond Kings Silver DK-52 Gordon Beckham 8/250
Diamond Kings DK-36 Pete Rose
Diamond Kings DK-37 George Kell


A current hobby box producing 98% of a base set? See, I knew it was still possible. The manufacturers have merely been lazy, or worse yet, indifferent to this concept. So when a hobby box produces this much of a base set, I am definitely happy.

The cards themselves are what 08 SP Authentic could be if UD’s designers put a little more effort into it. Sure, there’s a white background, but it’s mostly filled, with a sepia-toned (for the HOFers) or full-color photo background shadow that fades to white. Love the thicker card stock as well.

The team names are missing from the cards — only the teams’  home cities are listed. I’m guessing this is part of the lack of MLB/MLBPA licensing for Donruss. In many instances, team names/logos in the photos are obscured as well. This technicality must’ve forced Donruss to use many less-than-ideal side view and profile shots for these cards. I do hope MLB/MLBPA grants Donruss a license again, as the lack of logos/team names does take away from what is otherwise a beautiful card.

I wasn’t intending on buying a box, but I couldn’t stay away knowing how many HOFers/retired stars are featured in this set. And I certainly can’t complain about the Dodger inclusion here. Obvious subjects such as Don Sutton, Duke Snider, and Steve Garvey are in, as well as not-so-obvious subjects such as Carl Erskine and Double-A Jacksonville slugger Andrew Lambo — and I suppose you can add Eddie Murray (depicted in an Oriole jersey), Kirk Gibson (Tigers), and Don Mattingly (Yankees) to the list of “Dodgers.”

As weird as it is to think of Don Mattingly as a Dodger, it’s still nowhere near as bad as it was thinking of JACK CLARK as a Dodger.

Anyway, back to the cards. Given that Elite Extra Edition is going to be out soon, I’m not really all that thrilled with the inclusion of 50 minor leaguers in the set. Don’t get me wrong — I love minor league cards. I’ll be buying a box of 08 TriStar Prospects Plus, and I’ll probably grab more than a few packs of Bowman Draft and Razor’s first offering into the minor league card market. But it seems really odd to find cards of Madison Bumgarner and Carlos Carrasco in the same pack as Willie Mays and Mike Schmidt. I don’t buy that Donruss needed the extra subjects to fill a 100-card base set. They could’ve easily filled it out with more HOFers/retired stars. I mean, just look at 05 UD Classics. No need for prospects there!

If they HAD to do prospects, I would’ve preferred this year’s draftees. Then again, with so many of them signed exclusively to Razor, there wouldn’t have been many to go around. So it makes more sense to fill the checklist with more HOFers and retired stars.

Still, in spite of the quips I had about this set, it’s one of my favorites for the year. It also doesn’t hurt that I pulled nearly an entire base set, a load of good inserts, and two HOF auto/gamers.