Minnesota Twins Collection

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What Was Your Favorite Boof Bonser Moment?

Twins pitcher, Boof Bonser, after having spent all of the 2008 season on the disabled list, has been designated for assignment and traded to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later. Bonser had originally came to the Twins, along with Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano in the trade that send A.J. Pierzynski to the San Francisco Giants.

In honor of Boof, where are some autographed cards in the Twins collection.

2006 Upper Deck SP Authentic Chirography
2007 Topps Co-Signers Solo Sigs
2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces Stroke of Genius


Monday, August 3, 2009

2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Two Box Break

Although this year's Allen & Ginter has been out for about a month, I wanted to post my own review and add to the plethora of opinions about one of Topps' most popular sets each year.

Product: 2008 Bowman Chrome - Hobby Box
Packs/Cards: 24 packs/8 cards a pack
Price: $95 per box

Overview: I already know what I was getting when I bought these two boxes... and if you have bought any Allen & Ginter from past years... you probably know what you are getting when in this product. The Allen & Ginter set is a tribute to the original tobacco cards from the late 19th century. Although the majority of subjects are all baseball related, the set also features cards of champions from other sports and historic figures, places and events.

Allen & Ginter is not a set I am looking to complete. While many people love building the A & G set, I decline mostly because, as a baseball card collector, I want to build a set about baseball. Currently, the set is about 80% baseball and 20% everything else. Despite this view, I would like to see an A & G set that is a greater mix of atheletes across all sports, as well as historical figures and events. Topps was pretty successful with the American Heritage and I don't see why they wouldn't be successful with a real tribute to the Allen & Ginter legacy.

With that being written, it was the hits that drew me in to this product. Three guaranteed hits per box and with the wide variety of hits... not just baseball, but other venues... I just had to give it a try.

Results: Box #1
- 131 Base Cards (out of 350)
--- 11 Short Prints (out of 50)

- 3 Code Variations

- 23 National Pride (out of 75) - plus 1 double
- 4 Allen & Ginter Highlight Sketches (out of 25)

- 24 Minis

--- 12 Base

--- 2 Black Border
--- Heinrich Hertz (Scientist)
--- Cat Osterman (Softball)

--- 5 Allen & Ginter Back
--- Diasuke Matsuzaka
--- Loren Opstedahl (Sculpting)
--- Kazuo Matsui
--- Brett Myers
--- Kenshin Kawakami

--- 2 Hoaxes, Hoodwinks & Bamboozles
--- The Bathtub Hoax
--- The Cottingley Fairies

--- 2 National Heroes
--- Switzerland - William Tell
--- Albania - Skanderbeg

--- 1 Inventions of the Future
--- Mental Movies

- 3 Relics
--- Ryan Doumit - Jersey
--- Mark Mulder - Pants
--- Jered Weaver - Jersey

- Box Topper
--- N43 Josh Hamilton

--- Delmon Young
--- Francisco Liriano - National Pride

2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Box 1 Hits

I will admit that the first box left a very bad taste in my mouth. Still, was I a glutton for punishment or did I figure I couldn't do any worse that this first box? Here's the second one.

Results: Box #1
- 130 Base Cards (out of 350)
--- 12 Short Prints (out of 50)

- 2 Code Variations

- 24 National Pride (out of 75)
- 4 Allen & Ginter Highlight Sketches (out of 25)

- 24 Minis

--- 12 Base

--- 2 Black Border
--- Dexter Fowler
--- Evereth Cabrera

--- 4 Allen & Ginter Back
--- Jason Jaramillo
--- Johnny Damon
--- Todd Wellemeyer
--- Vincent Van Gogh (Artist)

--- 1 Bazooka Back
--- John Danks #02/25

--- 2 Hoaxes, Hoodwinks & Bamboozles
--- The Turk
--- Victor Lustig

--- 2 National Heroes
--- Iceland - Jon Sigurosson
--- Jamaica - Marcus Garvey

--- 1 Legend, Myth & Terror
--- Kraken

- 2 Relics
--- Mike Cameron - Bat
--- Ryan Doumit - Jersey

- 1 Autograph
--- Joba Chamberlain (Short printed to 49 copies according to Topps)

- 1 Printing Plate
--- Simpson/Bunker Magenta Plate

- Box Topper
--- N43 Albert Pujols

--- Francisco Liriano - Mini
--- Francisco Liriano - National Pride

2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Box 2 Hits

This second box total redeemed any sour feelings I had about the first box.

Joba Chamberlain is probably the most overrated player in the Major Leagues today, but I know this auto will pay for the box. This card is now sold on eBay. I will put it this way: if Nick Blackburn played for the Yankees, he would have an autographed card short printed to 49 copies.

I also pulled my first printing plate ever from a box. Perhaps there is an equestrian fan would will want this. This card is also now sold on eBay.

The Bazooka Back is also a bonus. Too bad it's a White Sox pitcher.

(Honestly, I was hoping for either an autograph, printing plate or Bazooka back and I got all three! (Honestly, I wanted a rip card, but I can't always get what I want.)

Set Builders Perspective:
Out of an average 8-card pack, there will be 6 base cards, 1 National Pride card and 1 mini. If a pack contains an Allen & Ginter highlight sketch, you have five base cards. If a pack contains an framed relic or autograph, there will be four base cards. The short prints are packaged one out of every two pack. Assuming you get minimal doubles, you could possibly complete the base set (with short prints) in three boxes.

Of course, the added inserts: National Pride and Allen & Ginter Highlight Sketches, as well as the mini inserts, also adds lots of appeal for a set completist.

Although, from the two boxes I opened, the regular base and the National Pride were almost duplicates. If I were building the set, my progress would look like this.

Set Total:

- Total: 161/350 - 46% complete
--- Base: 138/300
--- Short Prints: 23/50

- National Pride: 26/75
- Allen & Ginter Highlight Sketches: 5/25

Twins Perspective:
I have not had a lot of luck with Twins cards in any of this year's products. Out of these two cards, I only pulled three unique Twins cards, and none of them feature a player named Mauer or Morneau.

Grade: Major League Minnesota Twins

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Trade Deadline Thoughts

It's always a good week when the Twins sweep the White Sox at the Dome. The Twins are now two games over .500. In most divisions, that would be out of the race. In the AL Central, that puts them 2nd in the standings and only two games back from the first place Tigers.

With that in mind, will there be a trade made to show that the Twins will be serious contenders? The Twins were rumored to have been seeking Freddy Sanchez from the Pirates, but he is with the Giants now. The Twins are also seeking Orlando Cabrera from the A's, but do not want to give up third base prospect, Danny Valencia, who is in Triple-A.

The rumblings now have been that the Twins' big three: Mauer, Morneau and Nathan have pleaded to the front office to make a big trade. With Mauer's contract running out in 2010, there is speculation that he will leave the Twins if the front office does not add another star to the lineup.

It was thought that the biggest needs have been a middle infielder with a bat and relief pitching. Now, with Kevin Slowey out for the year, a starting pitcher will be necessary.

Unfortunately, I've grown accustomed to a trade not happening from my favorite club. In the past, the Twins have been able to get by without making a major trade and the trades that were made were more to subtract from team than add on. In 2004, the Twins traded Doug Mientkiewicz for a Single-A prospect who is no longer with the organization. In 2007, the Twins gave away Luis Castillo and told everyone they would upgrade, but didn't. What does the 2009 trading deadline hold for this club?


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cuddy Does It!

With these late West Coast games, I've been missing many of the Twins games this week. Thus, I never read the bad news or the good news until the next day. It was a great surprise to read this morning that the Twins beat the A's in the 10th inning with Michael Cuddyer hitting the triple to drive in the winning run.

I know I seem very critical of Michael Cuddyer in the posts I've made, such as my thoughts about the end of Monday's game or, still, the out at home in Game 163 last year. The truth is that I'm a big fan of Michael Cuddyer. He embodies everything the Twins have always been about: his tireless work ethic, his blue collar grit, and his humble playmaking.

Cuddy was the Twins' first round selection in 1997. He made his Major League debut in 2001 and worked on and off the starting lineup and playing a number of different positions until he established himself as the starting right fielder in 2006. In that year, he set career highs in batting average, home runs and RBIs. People do not talk much about his defense, yet he lead the league quietly in outfield assists in 1997. While he has been critized for not performing to his 2006 levels, Cuddyer has become one of the solid spots in the lineup this year.

I had met Michael Cuddyer at TwinsFest in 2007. I had a baseball in my bag that still needed an auto. The line for Cuddyer was relatively short so I stepped in. When I handed my ball to Michael, we chit-chatted for a few seconds, he signed my ball, thanked me for being at TwinsFest and I thanked him for signing. One of the very classiest guys in baseball today.

In honor of Michael Cuddyer, here are the rookie card I have in the collection.

1998 Bowman - Michael Cuddyer
1998 Topps - Michael Cuddyer
1998 Topps Stadium Club - Michael Cuddyer


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Disappointing Loss

It's been a long while since I've posted, but for some reason it takes blowing a 10-run lead to bring me back.

I do not have Fox Sports at home, so I did not see any of the game, but I did catch the end of the game with GameDay at It was very disappointing to see the score at 13-14 in the top of the ninth. At least with Cuddyer on second, Gomez on first and Delmon at the plate with two out, there was a glimmer of hope. Next thing I see it the 'WILD PITCH' sign on GameDay followed immediately with '3 outs.' After the wild pitch, Cuddyer tried to score from second and was out at the plate. Given that I did not see the play on TV, I imagine it looked something like this:

That's right! Game 163. And after getting tagged out, A.J. taunts him with the ball in his face.

Of course, my questions and thoughts:
* Originally Jason Kubel had been on first, but was substituted with Gomez. If you are trying to get the tying run, wouldn't have made more sense to sub for Cuddy? I know that Kubel is slow, but he's not that much slower than Cuddyer. If Go-Go were the lead run, considering his speed, he probably would have scored.
* Why are you trying to score from second on a wild pitch? For sure, you could get to third with no problems. I don't know if third base coach, Scott Ullger, told Cuddy to run home right away or if Cuddy had to slow down third before going home.
* Why is it that every time Cuddyer trying to run home always ends in a whimpy slide? You would think that after getting schooled by A.J. in Game 163, he would be more aggresive and bowl over anyone cover home... including a pitcher.
* If Cuddyer stops at third, you leave Delmon Young with a very favorable 2-0 count. Delmon is not exactly the player I would count on when the game is on the line, but at least you give him a better chance of scoring the tying... and possibly... winning run. Either the pitcher throws ends up throwing a strike down the plate or another wild pitch and allow Cuddyer to score.
* There are some rumblings that the ump screwed up the call in the final out and that Cuddyer should have been safe. All of that becomes a non-issue if the Twins do not give up a 10-run lead.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Twins All-Stars

Congratulations to Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan on their selections to the American League All-Star team again this year. Mauer was voted in by the fans to start and Morneau and Nathan were voted in on the players' ballot.

2009 Topps Minnesota Twins - Joe Mauer 2009 Topps Minnesota Twins - Justin Morneau 2009 Topps Minnesota Twins - Joe Nathan

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Mail Day - Freedom Card Board Break

Yesterday, I received the cards from markakis8 from the Freedom Card Board break.

Below is a much better scan of the featured card.

2007 Upper Deck Exquisite Rookie Signatures - Kevin Slowey

Here are some of the other cards from my share of the break.

2007 Upper Deck SP Rookie Edition - Joe Nathan

2008 Topps Stadium Club Photographer's Proof - Justin Morneau

In addition, I had also received some additional cards from the raffle of unclaimed hits.

All of the extra cards will be going out to their respective teams.

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The Team Collectors