Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blog Bat Around - My Turn

This year's Blog Bat Around is hosted by This Card is Cool - My Life in Baseball Cards.  The topic:

The 2011 baseball card collecting season is finally over - other than Bowman Sterling (coming out December 21st). What set or release stands out as your favorite from the year? What set or release brings your lunch back up to your throat?

I was really looking forward to the 2011 line up of baseball cards.  It would mark my 2nd year of collecting cards again and the release calendar was full of great product.  Trying to name one set as my favorite of the year is card so I'll go with my top three.

1) 2011 Topps.  Since I decided to go back to 2008 and start building the flagship base set of Topps I've enjoyed what each set has brought to the table.  I loved the early pictures I saw of the 2011 design and knew this would be a fun set to build.  The one thing about the base set each year is the focus on the cards and inserts (to some degree) and you don't have to worry about the hits.  While Topps has gotten better in my opinion with their autos and relics in the base set most collectors would agree that is not the reason you buy the base set.   

 2011 Topps Update Julio Teheran Next 60

At least by the time the Update set rolled around at least there was something outside of manufactured patches of a Braves player I wanted to chase (see above).  I now have a new view of collecting parallels going forward, but the 2011 set was not short on offering up many different types of parallels.  My favorite (as a Braves collector) are the red boarded factory set exclusives.  On the insert side I was immediately sucked into the small Kimball Champions.  I guess blame my love of A&G on that.

 2011 Topps Finest Brian McCann Refractor   2011 Topps Finest Randall Delgado Bronze Refractor #32/99   2011 Topps Finest Mike Minor Gold Refractor #04/50

2) 2011 Topps Finest.  I've never been able to afford the mid-level stuff outside of a few base cards I've been able to pick up here.  When the chance to jump in a group break of Finest was presented I didn't want to hesitate.  Thanks to the guys over at Community Gum and their purchase of a case from Turner Field (not really) I was able to land several fantastic Braves cards.  The base design was great looking for starters and the insert/auto/relic checklist was loaded with Braves talent.

2011 Topps Finest Mike Minor auto Dual Relic #459/499   2011 Topps Finest Brandon Beachy auto Dual Relic #359/499
2011 Topps Finest Freddie Freeman auto #056/499   2011 Topps Finest Randall Delgado auto #326/499   2011 Topps Finest Craig Kimbrel Freshmen

It helped that the Braves had a lot of great rookies on the roster during the 2011 season and Topps did a great job at including most of these great young players into the Finest set.  If it hadn't been for the group break opportunity I probably would've missed out on this great set.

 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen Dan Uggla Mini relic

3) 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen.  I can't put my finger on it, but there was a lot of buzz in the hobby over the new GQ set and I was eagerly awaiting my chance to bust open a few packs.  Being on a tight budget and not having a very good card shop locally I have to rely on retail to get my pack fix.  I bought several rack packs and blasters early on and continued to one not only be impressed with the card set itself but two with the number of relics and autos I pulled.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the GQ set the first to utilize on card autos in 2011?  With the set coming out earlier in the season I was excited about getting some of my first Dan Uggla cards as a Brave and I was fortunate enough to land this mini bat relic of his right out of the gate.  I'm still working on finishing the set, but I was thrilled to hear that it's coming back for it's sophomore season in 2012.

Honorable Mention:

2011 Topps Marquee and 2011 Topps Lineage.

2011 Topps Marquee Martin Prado Gametime Mementos #019/199   2011 Topps Marquee Jason Heyward Gametime Mementos #057/199
2011 Topps Marquee Titanic Threads #11/99

Marquee was my first ever high end product that I got to open myself.  Granted it was part of a group break I hosted earlier this year, but the level of anticipation and excitement I had around the release of this product was so high.  While the set was the home run I think a lot of collectors were hoping that it would be I was happy with many of the cards I ended up with.

The one thing about Marquee that intrigued me the most was the Museum Collection auto cards.  The cards are printed on metal with shiny gold trim.  The front of the card is a refractor like sheen with the on card auto being done in silver ink.  The cards are heavy and super super nice.  I count this Tim Hudson card #04/10 as being the single best card acquisition of 2011 if not of all time for me.

2011 Topps Lineage Brian McCann 1975 Mini Relic   2011 Topps Lineage Jason Heyward 1975 Mini

Another set that had some people licking their chops was 2011 Topps Lineage.  I know a lot of collectors were thrilled to see the inclusion of the 1975 minis.  I wasn't alive in 1975 so I can't say that I was all that impressed with the early images, but after buying a blaster with a guaranteed relic I immediately saw the appeal.  The guys at Community Gum hosted a case break of Lineage several months ago and I too was fortunate enough to beat out my fellow Braves bloggers and claim the team.  They didn't disappoint me either as they pulled not only one but two great on card autos.

2011 Topps Lineage John Antonelli  '52 auto   2011 Topps Lineage Freddie Freeman auto

I'm still trying to figure out the overall purpose of the Lineage set. If you know what it is please share with me!  While the base card design was lacking (don't get me started about the horrible card backs) I was more than pleased with the parallels, on card autos and the 1975 minis.

The topic also asked about our least favorite set of the year.  For me that would be 2011 Bowman Platinum.  While the 2011 effort was far better than 2010's I just didn't feel the need for this set.  I bought exactly one pack - a rack pack at that.  One may have though that with Freddie Freeman being on the pack I would've bought more - nope.  One pack was enough - although I wouldn't mind having a empty blaster to cut up.

I guess my love for all things Bowman has continued to wane as this set didn't do anything for me.  When it was first released I made some effort to obtain a few of the red parallels of Braves players, but that effort quickly evaporated.

So there you have it.  My take of Blog Bat Around.  Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. This year's BBA? I hope these things are more than annual!

    I don't think I had enough Finest in my possession to really like it. It's a very attractive design, though.