From 1986 to '93, the most important thing in my life was collecting cards. Baseball, football and basketball mostly, but even a little hockey and Desert Storm. Honestly, I have the entire set of '91 Topps Desert Storm cards, including the SCUD missile card, which is a keeper.
Since turning 16 and discovering the opposite sex, acquiring a driver's license, etc., however, I've kicked the habit, only succumbing to it upon the annual release of a new series of Topps baseball cards.
This year, that exhilarating rush happened over the weekend when, upon searching Target for a humidifier for my daughter's nursery ("a nice little Saturday", indeed), I stumbled upon the "collectables" section.* Not really. I knew exactly where the "collectables" were. I walk by every time with hope that the 2009 cards have arrived.
Saturday was my lucky day. There they were, staring back at me. This year's cover boy, A-Rod (above) may have been a bad choice, but I gladly purchased one 12-card pack for $1.99, the contents of which were as follows ...
Enough about the packaging and price point. Let's get to the product: How does this year's Topps look? Well, like every other Topps set since the early '90s, it's generic, white, crisp, glitzy, hard to read and, ultimately, forgettable.
Seeing as how I'm also a "D.C. sports-addled" blogger, though, this is one sweet shot of L-Millz:
And, ah, yes, old reliable: the "Topps All-Star Rookie" team. Even if it's the last all-star team Denard Span might ever be a part of:
But at least Topps includes WHIP as a statistical category now. The arching "Six Degrees of Mantle" is a nice touch, though couldn't they have found baseball's Kevin Bacon-equivalent? And who exactly would that be? Rusty Staub? I'm going with Rusty Staub:
As far as inserts go, "Legends of the Game" isn't bad. Anything that teaches kids a little hardball history is to be encouraged. But someone should really tell Topps that George Sisler only played 20 of his 2,055 career games as a Washington Senator:
Rounding out the pack: Edwin Encarnacion, Tim Hudson, Kevin Maas (just kidding), Andy Marte, Kazuo Matsui, Daniel Murphy, Dan Uggla and Jerome Walton (again, JK), none of which are interesting enough to blog about.
* Yes, I realize "collectables" is an acceptable spelling and can be found in a dictionary, but I've never seen it that way and refuse to believe that Target uses British English when labeling its sections.
- Desert Storm