Thursday, July 16, 2009

Going GaGa Over 2009 Allen & Ginter Dodgers

The internet is a flutter as a result of the recent release of Topps 2009 Allen & Ginter Baseball cards. Well, at least the card blog community is. Everywhere you go there are post singing its praises. As you can see below, you'll soon find out why.

The design is flawless. A lightly drawn black border surrounds the footer and portrait. The drawings are colored in soft pastels with an almost bleach-white background which allows the colors to swirl. The players last name sits in a box while resting above the trademark. The Allen & Ginter name is done in a style reminiscent of its grandfather card set. The original vintage A&G set was created in 1887 and were inserts within packs of cigarettes- such were the origins of all card collectibles.
Brooklyn, New York on the very bottom is a nice touch. Nevermind that it has nothing to do directly with the Dodgers. It represents the original birthplace of the Topps Company.

Below I have pulled out photos from eBay and GCRL (I hope you don't mind) of every Dodger card in the set I could track down. There are numerous variations available and I figure it would only be right to show them all (at least what I could find) since most may never reach our hands. As soon as I start I hope to gather up just the base cards for my set.

The Billingsley above is a base card- meaning it's a regular part of the set. So far I count 12 Dodger base cards. As I said above, there are plenty of rarities as well. Below is a "rip" card of Chad Billingsley. A "rip" card is very rare as they come only one per case. They are essentially a card within a card. On the reverse is a small pull tab that when opened hides a short printed mini card the size of original tobacco cards. You'll see an example a little further down. Chad's card is one of only fifty available. They also come in print runs of 99, 25, 10 and 5.
Here is a very well done base card of Clayton Kershaw. I love how he sports a menacing stare as he shows us his fastball. He is almost daring you to hit him.
Another rare variation is the Kershaw short printed mini card below that was found in a "rip" card. I don't know if I could ever open up one of those cards. It's like playing the lottery. You could get something worse than what you already have. Of course, card collecting is like gambling so who am I fooling? I'd rip one open.
There are also randomly inserted autographed card of your favorite players like Kershaw below. It is signed on a mini card that has been encased in a plastic frame. You are sure not to damage these cards.
Russell J. Martin seems to always have great looking cards. Below is his base cart to the set.Rafael Furcal's base card is below.
Now here is one of the coolest limited inserts available in the set. Below is a Furcal silk card. Every card in the base set has a parallel version like this one number to just 10. I couldn't imagine anyone trying to put together a complete silk set. That would be maddening and expensive.Are you seeing a trend here? Most of the cards have the players sporting very serious looks. Their eyes are piercing or their expression muted. Casey Blake's base card makes him look a little angry. Even on Manny's base card he can barely give a smile.
Below are three different insert mini cards of Manny Ramirez. Within each pack of cards comes some base cards and one mini card. The mini cards mimic the base cards They also have there own limited variations. To the left is a black border mini, at center a rare mini A&G back variation, and to the right is the mini base card. Are you confused yet? Too many variations and parallels to boggle the mind.
Each base card has a normal size card, a mini, a mini silk, a black bordered mini version and a A&G back variation card. On top of that, there are short printed mini cards found in "rip" cards that are in addition to the 350 card base set (making a truly complete set at 400 cards) like the Kershaw above and the Manny Ramirez below. Whew!Oh, no! There's more. Within each box of 18 packs is a box loader. A box loader is a special pack that holds a larger size card. These cards are fashioned after the vintage A&G N43 set from 1888. Below is Manny's card.There are even cut game-used uniform pieces within the N43 subset like the Manny below.
There are also several subsets like the National Pride card below of Manny Ramirez.So you can't get enough of Manny, right? Well, how about the below two inserts of bat and jersey pieces.Andre Ethier continues with the theme of sternly posed game faced portraits in this base card below.Oh, wait! I have led you astray. You can also pull a rare 1 of 1 wood card mini version of the base set. We are up to 6 different versions of each card.
Ethier's "rip" card is numbered to 25. James Loney looks straight at you when he wants to challenge you.
Loney's "rip" card shows off his follow through. His eyes show total concentration. Blake DeWitt almost smiles. Alas, it's just a knowing grin. DeWitt's wooden card is below.
DeWitt also has a autographed insert and bat cards in the set.
The Bison, Matt Kemp, snarles at us in his base card.
Kemp's "rip" card has him gazing in the direction of where he will be hitting the ball- way out there.Matt Kemp was also kind enough to sign a few as you can see below.
Hiroki Kuroda, in his base card below, looks as stone faced as Moneymaker at the poker table.
Kuroda also has his own National Pride card.
Last, but not least is James McDonald's rookie base card. He is posed below in a poormans multiple exposure pose of him delivering his pitch.
This is all for now. There are still a couple of more cards I have yet to stumble upon. So, as you can imagine, completing a truly complete Dodger set would be very difficult.

Photo Help from eBay and GCRL:
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