Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Few From the Nachos Grande Trade Stack

I claimed the Nachos Grande trade stack.  Chris should know that I cannot control my Griffey-lust.  Frankly it’s cheating for him to post them as there aren’t many Griffey cards my addiction will not insist I take.  Shame on you, Chris, for taking advantage of my condition like that.  Here’s what I got:

This card is the reason I pulled the trigger.  I like how Griffey doesn’t have to share his square.  He went first-class while those other guys are ridin' coach.  Muscly, muscly coach.

I also got one of my favorite cards from theis year's Ginter set: comedian Abe "Fish" Vigoda.  Abe has been in everything from The Godfather to Look Who's Talking.

...and the rest.

Thanks, Chris!  If a trade stack ever goes on for too long, just throw a Griffey in there and I'll come a-runnin'.

Also there are still free baseball cards available here.  Everybody go claim some...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

GCRL Sends great cards I really like

I got a yellow envelope from Jim at gcrl last week.  Wanna see?

The star of the show is this great Rusty Staub.  It’s a fantastic picture of Le Grande Orange, which if you didn’t know is French for “the husky ginger.”

Here are some nice 90’s Finleys.

And what kind of trade envelope would be complete without a few Juniors?  An inferior one, that’s what kind.  And I will never complain about dups.  I like to put one in front of each eyeball, and it’s like I’m looking at Griffey in stereo.

Thanks, Jim!  I’ll continue to save double-play cards and Dodgers for you.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

2000 Victory and the World's Griffiest Subset

2000 Victory #159

In my collection: 1 #159, 1 #KG1, 3 #169, 1 #372, one of each but also duplicates of some of #391-440.

Is this a good Griffey card? Yes.  While an otherwise boring set, there is one characteristic that makes 2000 Victory a Griffey collector favorite.

The set: Victory is a budget set in the vein of Collector’s Choice but nowhere near as cool.  There are no parallels, inserts, or auto/relic cards to be had at all - they saved all those for a more premium version of Victory called Ultimate Victory.  The difference between Victory and Ultimate Victory is comparable to the difference between Collector’s Choice and Collector’s Choice SE except that those sets were awesome and these are not. 

I bring up CC a lot in this post because this set reminds me of it so much.  The borders, the printing, the layout of some of these subsets, the visual effects used, the brand’s intended place in the market, and even the time frame of the brand’s release.  Collector’s Choice became UD Choice for one year, then the very next year - boom - Victory.  I see what you did there, Upper Deck.  Anyway, CC had better photography, design, two amazing parallels, and some interesting, offbeat inserts and subsets.  It was better in every way except one.

2000 Victory includes a 50-card Junior Circuit subset devoted entirely to Griffey.

I'd like to get more excited about this set, but one of the problems with 2000 Victory is that the Junior Circuit subset is the only thing I remember about it.  Nothing else really stands out, so it took me months to realize I didn’t have them all then a few weeks to get off my butt and track down the rest.  The holdout was #422, and while none of these cards are worth very much I ended up shelling out two whole dollars to get it.  I was resentful, but handed over the cash without a thought (which, according to my wife, is how I do a lot of things).

We'll get to that subset in a minute.  First, here's the base card:

I think this is a great-looking card.  You get home run derby Junior, trademark backwards cap, and just a hint of All-Star tongue action.  The team-appropriate color tint on the inset is a nice touch, and I even like how they did the name plate on the upper left.  I don’t care for this set, but I can’t fault the base card layout.

And look - we get not one but TWO Griffey base cards:

2000 Victory #KG1

That is actually card #KG1, and it was added to the set presumably last-minute following Junior’s trade to the Reds.  It is the only card that appears outside of the base set.  Makes sense, too - you can’t have a brand that puts so much stock into one player as to give him a whopping 53 cards in a 466-card set and not include a card that depicts the trade.

Here they are side-by-side:


The backs are identical outside of the team logo/color on the inset.  I suspect this was all very last-minute.

2000 Victory #169 Stat Leaders

This is really just a checklist, and it didn’t exactly take much to be a stat leader for the Mariners on the pitching side.  Seventeen wins for Freddy as a rookie is awesome, and it's true he was second in the ROY voting; but he also had an ERA over 4 and a WHIP of 1.465, both stats higher than any other pitcher in the running.  Not that it mattered - Carlos Beltran took AL ROY by a huge margin.

But look!  A close-up of some flipped-up shades. 

2000 Victory #372 Big Play Makers

This high-number subset is the yellowest Griffey since 1991.  Unlike its institutionally yellow predecessor, the yellow here comes across more like a warm Summer afternoon.  I also like the way the yellow works with the "Mariners Mariners Mariners Mariners Mariners" uniform.  

One thing about this card: in the bottom left corner of the card front it says UD Profile: “The Kid," but it looks like "Die Kill."  Is that just me?  Maybe just forget I said anything.

Also, it says on the back that Griffey was named Player of the Decade.  So, you know, no big deal or anything.  Just a decade.

On that note, here we go with the Junior Circuit.  This is a 50-card subset comprised entirely of Griffey cards.  Can you imagine a Griffey in every pack?  Elysium….

If you’ve ever bought a Griffey card lot on eBay (and who hasn’t?), you’re probably all too familiar with how dispensable these cards are to most people.  They’re freakin’ everywhere, they are all equally common, and there are no SPs or parallels to worry about - all that adds up to a great set for the budget Griffey collector.

We’re going two-at-a-time with this set because it’s too big not to.

2000 Victory #391 & 392 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #393 & 394 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #395 & 396 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #397 & 398 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #399 & 400 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #401 & 402 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #403 & 404 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory # 405 & 406 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory # 407 & 408 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #409 & 410 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #411 & 412 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory # 413 & 414 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory # 415 & 416 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #417 & 418 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #419 & 420 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #421 & 422 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #423 & 424 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #425 & 426 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #427 & 428 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #429 & 430 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #431 & 432 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #433 & 434 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #435 & 436 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #437 & 438 Junior Circuit

2000 Victory #439 & 440 Junior Circuit


Now, is it possible for me to find fault with such an epically Griffey-exclusive mega-set?  I’m a blogger - what do you think?  Let’s play dig-fence-boggle with the 2000 Victory Junior Circuit subset:

I dig: The photography is great and the set as a whole is loaded with great Griffey imagery of the 90’s.  You get to see every uniform and most of the All-Star jerseys, and the stats from the year described on the card appear on every card back.  It’s also affordable, attainable, has lots of color, and is by no means boring.

I’m on the fence about: The cards alternate between two photos for the orange insets.  Odd cards have front-facing-cap regular season Junior, even cards have backwards-cap All-Star Junior.  The little trio of action poses alternates the same way throughout the set.  Also, some of the pictures used are clearly from the same at bat (those on #432 and 434 are just one example).

I have a boggle with: The photos are cropped in an almost square aspect ratio, so why is the whole set horizontally configured?   Why??  That’s like upgrading to a king-size bed in your hotel room, but still sleeping on just one side.  What a waste.

Moreover, for some reason those last two cards are chroni-illogical.  The events of card #439, the first home run at Safeco Field, took place three weeks after the events of card #440, the last homerun at the Kingdome.  Why they flip-flopped these I’ll never know.  You would think they’d want to end a set dedicated to a guy who is still playing with a new beginning such as, say, starting in a new stadium or moving to another team. 

Obviously this set was all planned out and possibly already printed when the Cincy trade came down.  I forgive that, but the transposition of those last two events still gets to me and that doesn’t excuse the rampant misuse of horizontal orientation. 

Despite these few critiques, the set is better than its almost nuisance availability makes it seem.

No needs list today - I have them all.  Here is the complete Griffey checklist of 2000 Victory:

#169 Checklist (w/ Freddy Garcia)
#372 Big Play Makers
#391-440 Junior Circuit