Minnesota Twins Collection

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Incoming - Freedom Card Board Player Break

It's been a long while since I've been able to post, but I thought I would start off the post with a highlight of my share of the break.

2007 Upper Deck Exquisite - Kevin Slowey

This is the second break I have done with markakis8 on Freedom Card Board and each time he has run it smoothly. This second break, in particular, was a break of 18 different boxes, in which you would receive the player you drafted for each slot you buy in the break. 150 players total were drafted. I drafted the following players:

Joe Mauer
Justin Morneau
Torii Hunter
Glen Perkins
Kevin Slowey
Joe Nathan

The Slowey card was the highlight of my share. I do not recall which other cards I received from the other players. Of course with any break of this sort, there is a chance that you do not get any hits with your players.

Despite having 150 players drafted, there were plenty of hits of players who were not drafted. One cool thing about this break was that the unclaimed hits were raffled off based on the number of slots you bought. I won cards for 5 out of my 6 slots. I do not recall which cards I won, but those will go out to the respective Team Collectors.

The cards are on the way, so I will have another post when they arrive.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft

The Major League Baseball draft never gets the attention that the other major sports yet. With the NFL and NBA drafts, you will see players that will make an immediate impact on their teams. In baseball, a drafted players may not make the club for another few years.

This year's draft is a little different with the hype surrounding Stephen Strasburg from San Diego State. However, from this year's draft, I will be following Kyle Gibson from the University of Missouri.

Twins First Round Draft Pick - Kyle Gibson

The Twins drafted Kyle Gibson in the first round of the draft on Tuesday. describes Gibson in this way.

Gibson certainly looked the part of a top college starter in the early part of the season. He has three pitches he can throw for strikes in any count and he shows a lot of poise and a competitive streak on the mound. Scouts love his size at 6-foot-6, though some might worry he's a little too thin. Most look at his combination of stuff, command and mound presence and see a sure-fire first-round pick.

LaValle E. Neall III from the Star Tribune also writes more in-depth about Kyle Gibson.

To be honest, I had no idea who Kyle Gibson was until he was drafted. Unlike the other sports, there is little reporting and speculation about who a team will draft. Also unlike other sports, there are 50 rounds of players and most of them will never make never set foot on Target Field. Who knows if Gibson will even make it this far.

Here is a run down of the Twins recent first round picks (including compensation and supplemental picks) and where they are now.

2008 - Aaron Hicks - Rookie League GCL Twins CF
2008 - Carlos Gutierrez - Class Double-A New Britian Rock Cats SP
2008 - Shooter Hunt - Class A Beloit Snappers SP
2007 - Ben Revere - Class A-Advanced Fort Myers Miracle CF
2006 - Chris Parmalee - Class A-Advanced Fort Myers Miracle RF
2005 - Matt Garza - Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher and ALCS MVP
2005 - Hank Sanchez - Class A Beloit Snappers DH
2004 - Trevor Plouffe - Class Triple-A Rochester Red Wings shortstop
2004 - Glen Perkins - Twins starting pitcher
2004 - Stephen Waldrop - Class A-Advanced Fort Myers Miracle RP
2004 - Matt Fox - Class Double-A New Britian Rock Cats SP
2004 - Jay Rainville - Class Double-A New Britian Rock Cats SP
2003 - Matt Moses - Class Double-A New Britian Rock Cats LF
2002 - Denard Span - Twins starting outfielder
2001 - Joe Mauer - Twins All-Star catcher and AL batting champ

From a baseball card point of view, we could see Kyle Gibson in this year's Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects... and, hopefully, not in Razor.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

2008 SP Authentic By The Letter

To best honest, I had not been very familiar with the By The Letter cards found in SP Authentic... or with other similar letter cards found in other products. I do find it ironic that cards featuring letters from named embroidered on jerseys found in a product called "Authentic" are anything but.

As a little more background information, the By The Letter cards are inserts found in packs of SP Authentic. Each card features a embroidered letter patch autographed by the player and the letters altogether spell either the player's name or the team name or a nickname. The letters themselves are made to appear as though they come directly from a jersey, but the letter are, in fact, manufactured only for the cards. In 2008, By The Letter cards were distributed one per box.

However, I did receive this card from one of my fellow Team Collectors.

2008 SP Authentic - Joe Nathan - O

According to the card on the back, the letters should spell out either "Joe Nathan" or "Minnesota Twins".

I am a Twins Collector and I am also a Joe Nathan fan. Now that I have a By The Letter card in hand, I can see why other collectors go out of their way to get the other cards for their player.

Based on eBay sales, I could probably expect to spend over $20 for each additional By The Letter card. One of my local shops had a By The Letter card priced at $40.

The one thing I do not quite understand is the serial numbering.

This card was numbered 2/10.

The letter "N" currently up for auction is numbered out of 5. There are only 5 letter "N" total in "Joe Nathan" and "Minnesota Twins", which would indicate to me that you need all 5 to spell out both.

The letter "H", which can be bought now on eBay is numbered out of 50. A couple of letter "M" that were sold are numbered to 50 while a letter "I" that was not sold is numbered to 10.

The Beckett listing for the card seems to indicate that there are 365 cards total regardless of letter.

My question is this: Should I make my next quest to complete the Joe Nathan By The Letter?

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

2008 Bowman Chrome Box Break

Product: 2008 Bowman Chrome - Hobby Box
Packs/Cards: 18 packs/4 cards a pack
Price: $54

Overview: Bowman Chrome is a prospect heavy product. While the set includes 220 MLB players, it also features another 110 prospects currently in the minor leagues. Bowman Chrome includes refractor variations of each card, as well as the long sought after superfractor. Autographed cards of prospects are a highlight of Bowman Chrome, with one autographed card per box.

The appeal of Bowman Chrome are the prospects. I am not a prospect collector, but I do look for the Twins, both with the big leagues and those in the farm system.

- 64 Base Cards (out of 330)
--- 30 MLB Veterans and Rookies (out of 220)
--- 34 Prospects (out of 110)

- 1 Autographed Prospect: Daniel Bard (Red Sox)

- 6 Refractors: Billy Butler, Jermaine Dye, Kosuke Fukudome, Vladimir Guerrero, Brad Hawpe, Lyle Overbay.
- 1 Xfractor: Glenn Gibson (Rays)

- 1 Kosuke Fukudome Japan variation

There were a total of 73 cards. One pack contained five cards and that pack contained the Fukudome variation. Sometimes the variations are cool and sometimes they are not. The Fukudome variation is definitely cool. Last year, Fukudome was the next big Japanese baseball star to jump to the Major Leagues. While I am not a fan of Fukudome, I liked the idea of the Japanese variation being included in the set.

Set Builders Perspective:
The cards are packaged 2 MLB Players and 2 Prospects per pack. With 220 MLB Players total and 110 Prospects total, it will be easier to complete the Prospects set than it would the MLB Players set. (This is the complete opposite for the regular Bowman set.) If each box includes about 30 MLB Players, not counting refractors, it would take a minimum of eight boxes to complete the set. The Prosects set would take a minimum of four. If you are a set completist, Bowman Chrome would take a lot of effort to complete.

Twins Perspective:
While the MLB chrome cards are typically parallels of the regular Bowman counterparts, there are a couple of Twins in Bowman Chrome that were not in Bowman: Denard Span and Matt Tolbert. In addition to the base MLB and prospect cards, there are also six autographed Twins prospect cards include as part of the product. However, in my box, I only received one Twin: Nick Blackburn. Even so, I had already had the Nick Blackburn.

If not an autographed Twin, I was hoping for at least a refractor. Though, a superfractor would be very nice. Not a lucky box for me, but I don't have reason to believe another box wouldn't go in the Twins favor.

Grade: Double-A New Britian Rock Cats

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Monday, June 1, 2009

1998 Pacific Online Box Break

Note: Why do a review of a box break for a product that is more than 10 years old? One of the things I wanted to do on this box was to post my own box breaks, but with a Twins angle. I'm still experimenting with a format. There are some formats I have seen on other blogs that I like and will work on incorporating it to my own. Of course, as a collector, I don't want to limit myself on opening only new cards. Sometimes, I like to go back and open old product as well. Some people may have already seen this break, others may not, and others may just want to feel nostalgic.

Product: 1998 Pacific Online - Hobby Box
Packs/Cards: 24 packs/9 cards a pack
Price: $15

I stopped at one of the local card shops in the area looking for a card fix. In their bargain section was this box. Since there were still some Twins cards I still needed from the set, as well as possible gold foil variations and the cheap price, I jumped on it.

For me I thought Pacific cards generally look like they were designed by a high school art student. Pacific Online looks like that high school art student graduated and applied to vo-tech. At least the design was better than I used to seeing from Pacific, but I wouldn't see anything better than so-so.

At a time when card companies were making smaller sets, Pacific Online went the opposite direction with a larger set that included 750 players. Pacific Online also happened to be the largest base set they had made.

The Online part of the set are long URLs for each player and each team at the top of each card. Consider the gold foil variations of each card with a code on the pack and it encourages an interactive feel to the card. However, the URLs were always a distraction to a so-so design in 1998 and are now a huge eye sore over time with old inactive links.

Another facet about this set is that there are 20 players who have two versions of the same card.

All Twins cards will either go in my collection or be forwarded on to my Tier 2. All other cards will go to respective Team Collectors.

Set Builders Perspective:
The set consists of 800 cards total with 750 players (20 players have two versions) and 30 team checklists. This comes down to a 25-man roster for each team. Each pack also includes one gold foil web variation.

In this box, I ended up with 186 base cards, 24 gold cards and 6 doubles. With a large set, I would have hoped that I would have had absolutely no doubles, but, considering the number of doubles I've seen in other boxes from 1998, only 6 doubles is not too bad.

Part of my set building perspective is that I am a fan of big sets with many different players. From that point, building a Pacific Online set satisfies it. However, with a possible 192 different base cards, you would need to open a minimum of 5 boxes to complete a set. At this point, boxes of Pacific Online are difficult to find, but very inexpensive once you find them.

Twins Perspective:
The box included 7 Twins cards: Eddie Guardado, Mike Morgan, Alex Ochoa, David Ortiz, Terry Steinbach, Mike Trombley and Twins Checklist featuring Paul Molitor. No gold cards.

Eddie Guardado
Mike Morgan
Alex Ochoa
David Ortiz
Terry Steinbach
Mike Trombley
Twins Checklist

For a set like this, other players who did not normally have cards made, such as Mike Morgan, are included. Including the Pacific Online cards already in the collection, I am 11 cards short of the complete team set. I have not sought out the Twins cards actively from this set, so I am not sure how easily I can attain the remaining cards from the set.

Grade: Triple-A Rochester Red Wings

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