Pack five, so that means the halfway mark has been reached in my Jumbo box of Topps Series 1. Here's the highlights of the next fifty cards:
Best three cards (in reverse order):
#3 – Brian Fuentes (#54): There were a whole bunch of stock-standard baseball card poses in this pack. It was quite difficult to find three cards with personality. The Fuentes card makes the top three purely on the basis of the look on his face.
#2 – Howie Kendrick (#118): I'm not sure how we're supposed to regard Howie Kendrick. Is he living up to his promise, or is he a disappointment? To listen to Bill Simmons, Kendrick was the second coming of Roberto Alomar. At least, Howie was when he was still in AA and Simmons had him stashed on the reserve roster of his carryover fantasy team. Should I even be making my talent evaluations based on the fantasy blatherings of a national general sports columnist? Kendrick's probably doing okay.
He might want to get that right arm checked out, though. It looks like it's nailed on backwards.
#1 – Ryan Braun (#1): The first time I saw this card on someone else's blog, I fell in love with it. This card is, basically, a four-color card: white, blue, yellow and black. Yes, there's some doofus in the background wearing a red shirt to a Brewers game, but I bet you didn't even notice him until I said something. The appearance of the double-knit pullover (there's that nostaglia again), my favorite uniform number, and one of the best players in the game today makes it a superstar card. The fact that it's card #1 on the checklist is just icing on the cake.
Milton Bradley (#224). If the Michael Saunders card exemplifies how a background can make a card, then this card from his outfield teammate shows how a background can ruin one. All you can see is the lightbulbs from the advertisment behind him. Milton himself seems lost in the shuffle, and it looks like he's standing in front of the world's largest Lite-Brite. By the way, this is the second straight year that Topps has snapped Milton in front of an electronic scoreboard and used it as the picture for his card.
Jamie Moyer Award for best card back:
Brennan Boesch (#175). A cautionary tale for the kiddies: always keep your cell phone charged up and ready to go.
Troy Tulowitzki Topps 60 (Slugging percentage from clean-up spot, 2005-10? I think they're scraping the bottom of the barrel on these categories...
...And he's not even first on the list!)
Ian Kinsler/Elvis Andrus Diamond Duos (Not quite sure how I feel about these Diamond Duos featuring teammates)
2010 Albert Pujols 60 Years of Topps (Want a laugh? Check out the asking price for the original back version of this card on COMC - $4.75! You can get the actual card for 25 cents. Or you can pay 15 times as much for what is essentially a fake.)
Ty Cobb 1911 General Baking reprint
Mickey Mantle Kimball Champions (No, that's not a scanner mistake - the card is miscut)
Was there a hit? Is it available for trade?:
No, and with three already pulled I don't expect there to be any more.
Any Diamond Parallel cards?:
Yes! Randy Wolf (#14). Three printing errors out of five. I am definitely going to demand restitution from Topps - this is unacceptable.
Card I was most happy to see: AL ERA Leaders (#235) gold parallel (1985/2011). A gold parallel I actually care about. This one is going straight into the King Felix binder.
Card I was least happy to see: History of Topps insert card. I really thought I had dodged a bullet and wouldn't get any of these cards. Who cares which card it is? This self-aggrandising backslap-fest is the worst idea for an insert set since, well, last year's "When They Were Young."
Which is worse? I guess I'm going to have to give the nod to WTWY. At least the History of Topps isn't a pedophile's dream. But I have the feeling I'm not going to be able to get rid of any of these HoT cards, just like the little league cards.
A few too many duplicates for my liking, but my completion percentage still remains higher that the percentage of packs that I've opened. At the halfway point in the box, I've found all three hits, more than 50% of the cards in the set, three damaged Bedazzled cards, and a partridge in a pear tree. As long as I don't find Michael Eisner's face.
Set Progress: 184/330 (55.8%)
Lyle Overbay sightings: 1