Thursday, September 25, 2014

Run with the Pack

I don't buy packs of cards very often.

After all, with my collection goal being what it is, the chances of me finding any cards that I need out of a solitary pack of modern product are slim to none.

I might find a card or two for my Cubs player collections, but I'd eat my hat if I found one for my CATRC - and I'm a pretty picky eater.

That said, I still enjoy opening packs and relish the wonder that takes over as you eagerly sift through the contents.  It's similar to scratching off a lottery ticket.

So, when I wandered into my LCS yesterday, I grabbed a couple packs of 2014 product to lighten my mid-week slump.

First up:

The most recent series to hit the streets.  From what I've seen of the checklist, there are no new names for my CATRC (yet), but I sure wouldn't mind pulling a Kris Bryant anything or a SP Addison Russell.

Sidenote - I can't wait 'til I can add Russell to my CATRC!

Plus, I'm not going to lie, I'd like to add a card of Manny Ramirez in Cubs garb to my collection, even if it's only Iowa.  He was surprisingly helpful to the prospects as a player-coach and seems to have turned his life around.

But, unsurprisingly, I wasn't that lucky.  Not a single Cub for that matter.

I was a huge NASCAR fan when I was in junior high and the first half of high school.  I still enjoy my fair share of auto racing, but my once-encyclopedic knowledge of the sport is no longer there (nor is my fairly large collection of racing cards, unfortunately).

But, I remember that Kannapolis honored their most famous son, Dale Earnhardt, by using his famous moniker as their team name after he purchased a share in their ownership.

I also remember that the very first race I sat and watched all the way through was the 2001 Daytona 500, the race in which Earnhardt died on the final lap.  That sticks with you.

There was also this neat insert of Rays prospect Mikie Mahtook, which documents the 2011 1st rounder's ascent to AAA.

Seems like he had a decent, but not mind blowing year - though apparently he went 5-5 in his debut, for what that's worth.

Plus, seeing that Bull Durham is one of my favorite movies of all-time, pulling a Bull is a welcome experience.

The best scene of a classic movie

The rest of the pack wasn't exciting for me at all.  If anyone wants these cards below (and above for that matter, I'm not really attached), just let me know!

Taillon was the only name I even recognized.  I admittedly don't pay much attention to prospects that aren't supposed to save our Cubbies.

Next up:

As I'm typing this, I'm realizing how hungry I am because a panini sounds absolutely delicious right now.

But, as for the cards, I decided to grab a pack of Golden Age because I adore that they include players from the ancient past of the game in their checklist.  Yea, you've got your Sandbergs and your Banks, but you also get guys like King Kelly.

Plus, the lack of logos doesn't hurt nearly as much with the super old-school uniforms either.

I want the King Kelly from this release because it lists him as a White Stocking/Cub and the Kelly in my collection depicts during his days in Boston.  When it comes to my CATRC, cards that list/depict the players as Cubs trump all.

Also, while I did mention that this set includes mainstay Ernie Banks, it adds an interesting wrinkle by showing him during his days with the Kansas City Monarchs.  

That's how you keep things fresh!

Unfortunately, there was only 1 card in the 6-pack that even caught my eye:

Dr. Pepper is my drink of choice, so it's pretty nifty that I found a card of it's creator nestled amongst the baseball cards.

But, while having a historical figure or athlete from a different sport thrown in here and there is more than ok with me, I'd still like for most of the pack to be baseball related.

Thus, this pack was greatly disappointing:

Four of the six were of the non-baseball variety.  

Also, this might be blasphemy, but I have no love for mini's.  Daresay, I might even just dislike them in general.  But, that's a separate post for another day.

As for the two "actual" baseball cards:

As I mentioned earlier, points to Panini for including oft-forgotten stars.  Unfortunately for me, they are players that hold no interest to me.

Like the Minor League Heritage cards, these are all readily available to anyone that wants them, including Dr. Pemberton.

All I need is an actual bottle of Dr. Pepper, but I guess those won't fit in packs of cards.
But, I did walk out of the shop with one Golden Age player for my collection:

I cheated though; Rabbit didn't come hopping out of the pack.  I threw this single in with my purchase at the last second for some loose change.

Rabbit was a Cub briefly in 1925 and even ascended to player-manager mid-season; however he was claimed on waivers during the offseason by Brooklyn.

All-told, he played an impressive 23 seasons in the bigs and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1954.  It was on the strength of his glove, as his .258 batting average and 28 career HRs illustrate.

Maranville was already enshrined in my CATRC as well with a Conlon card; but, as much as I like that set, the basic design and black & white can get a bit monotonous.  I really like the color and layout of this set, so I swapped it in, seeing as I have so many other players represented by Conlon.

This rabbit was "bounced" out of my binder

And so, I was reminded of why I rarely buy individual packs of baseball cards.  It's simply not productive to my collection or a good deal.
I'll be damned if it ain't fun and a bit of a rush though.

That said, I don't think I'll be "running with the pack" again any time soon.

*P.S. - I caught these guys this summer on their joint tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd with low expectations and I pleasantly surprised, nay, shocked.  Paul Rodgers doesn't sound like he's aged a day since the 70's.


  1. I totally agree about wanting a Manny card in a Cub uniform. It seems like he helped the kids out quite a bit this year in Iowa. I hope he's brought back for another go around.

    1. He sure did; it seems all the kids coming up have had nothing but positive things to say about Manny. Part of me was irrationally hoping that he'd get a September call-up, just because it'd be cool.

      I hope so to, but I think he still has MLB aspirations and Theo seems adamantly against it.

  2. Listening to Bad Company while I write this. For me the best thing about the minor league cards is the team names and logos. If I had the cash I'd be adding more of the caps to my collection. For now I'm stuck on two, the Lookouts and the Biscuits.

    1. The team names and logos in the bush leagues are certainly interesting. My personal favorite has always been the Mudhens, but I'm growing partial to the Akron Rubber Ducks too.