Big box of 2014s

While I haven’t been pursuing more-recent Topps sets, I have expressed an interest in chasing sets from when the Giants won the World Series. About a week and a half ago Jenny Miller sent me a message that she had a ton of 2014 Topps that she’d happily send me if I covered the shipping costs. I figured it was worth a shot to see what was up and when I returned from Thanksgiving I found a nice big box stuffed with cards.

It was fun to sort through. Having become accustomed to Topps’s more recent photography, I was pleasantly surprised by the character of the photos on the 2014 set. Topps just doesn’t feature cards like Coco Crisp’s anymore. It’s not a design I particularly care for but it’s much more enjoyable than I was expecting.

I also surprised myself by liking how so many of the cards feature the colored alternate uniforms. I usually hate those uniforms and the cards that feature them but something about the splash of color they provided in this set really worked for me.

That was the good news. The bad news? The entire box was only Series 1 so instead of putting together 80% of a complete set I only put together 80% of half the set. Doh. Oh well my kids will have fun with their own partial sets of Series 1 as well.

As a result I’m not sure whether or not I’m chasing this set. I’m only missing the following Series 1 cards (crosschecking with a real checklist will show that I didn’t get any Cubs or Twins cards) but many of these are the big-name stars.

1 12 24 36 42 45 46 59 71 83 88 91 93

100 103 104 108 112 120 123 125 133 134 162 168 179 183 195 199

200 210 211 217 220 221 231 239 246 248 254 265 272 275 276 288 290

318 321 325 326 331

Series 2 is a completely different story. I only have the Giants and Stanford guys in the set (plus a handful I’ve found in repacks) and yeah, it feels really weird to list a needlist consisting of most of the set.

332 333 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 348 349 350 351 352 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 387 388 389 390 391 393 394 395 396 398

400 401 402 403 404 406 407 408 409 410 411 413 414 415 416 417 419 420 421 422 424 425 429 431 432 433 434 435 436 437 438 439 440 441 443 444 445 446 447 448 449 450 451 452 453 455 456 457 458 459 460 461 462 463 464 465 466 467 468 469 470 471 472 473 474 475 476 477 478 479 480 481 482 483 484 485 486 489 490 491 492 494 495 496 497 498 499

500 501 502 503 504 505 506 507 508 509 510 512 513 514 515 516 517 518 519 521 522 523 524 526 527 528 530 531 532 533 534 535 536 538 540 542 543 544 546 547 548 549 550 552 553 554 555 556 557 560 561 563 564 565 566 568 570 571 572 573 574 575 576 577 578 579 580 581 582 583 584 585 586 587 588 589 590 592 593 594 595 596 597 598 599

601 602 603 604 605 606 608 610 611 612 613 614 616 617 618 619 620 621 622 623 624 625 626 627 628 629 630 631 632 633 634 635 637 638 639 640 641 643 644 645 646 647 648 649 650 651 653 654 655 656 657 658 659 660 661

Anyway, if I find a cheap batch of Series 2 maybe I’ll add this to the set needs page but until then this is where the needs will reside.

Still, I enjoyed the exercise and definitely feel much more in touch with the 2014 set than I used to.

Also, Jenny included six team bags of Giants cards and those were very enjoyable to go through. As a much more varied mix I chose to photograph them.

Some junk wax which, somewhat surprisingly, included a bunch of cards that I didn’t have or which—like in the case of the Aldrete—duplicates are welcome since he’s both a Giant and a Stanford guy.

The Fleer Ultra Robb Nen is some kind of gold parallel which is doing some interesting things with regard to the background image on the card. The Upper Deck Black Diamonds are new to me as well. The more I learn what was going on on in the late 90s the more I don’t regret at all having missed it. Just an insane number of sets and all kinds of shiny “premium” things to chase it makes me tired just thinking about it. I do however enjoy being surprised by something new now though.

A lot of 2001 Bowman which reminds me of some old names (Ainsworth and Feliz are blasts from the past) but also confirms how much Bowman is not a set for me. I not only cannot distinguish the sets from each other, I also find myself not caring.

A decent number of 2001 Fleer which is a design I really like and only wish that Fleer hadn’t used that horrific Photoshop filter on the action photos. The three other Fleer releases I don”t quite understand. They all have a similar feel to me—modern for their time and semi-premium—and I don’t understand why there are three different ones. Heck Futures and TriplePlay are doing nearly the same thing with their photo treatments too. One’s putting a glow around the player silhouette, the other’s using a drop shadow. At least the TriplePlay photos look to have a little more character with that JT Snow being especially interesting.

I like the Upper Deck Vintage even though it’s a total Topps rip off. This Donruss Diamond Kings set is fun too.

A lot of 2003 Upper Decks here. Some needs for the base set. A bunch of 40-man cards including the last Giants World Series card (yes I’ll probably go for the four Angels cards eventually). I find myself really liking the 40-man design and should look into this set more. Plus some SP and MVP. SP is another new set to me. Not my thing but an interesting design.

Two Topps Total silver parallels. These are really weird since the silver ink is nearly the same color as the grey boxes in the design. Putting the 50% black screen next to the solid silver spot ink is a bad look.

Playoff Honors is interesting. As is that SP Zito. And yeah those three different Bowman designs are indistinguishable from the 2001 design earlier. Yes I can see the differences. But as far as my brain is concerned they’re all from the same set/year.

Into 2010 and that Randy Johnson card might be my favorite in the entire box. Two Brandon Crawford rookies are fun to have. The Eli Whiteside 2012 is a nice photo. And at least 2012 Bowman looks dramatically different from what’s come before (though if memory serves the following few years all look exactly like this).

This looks to be a complete Giants team set of Bowman too (or if it’s not, I have the missing cards already so it completes my team set). Seeing them all together like this makes me realize that it’s a horrible horrible design decision to place a small logo so that it’s right on top of a player’s crotch. I kind of like this design by itself but the the way the logo interacts with the photo is disastrous.

Oh look more 2014 cards. I didn’t notice the colored jersey thing because only Petit is wearing orange in the Giants team set. Also, the Giants photos are pretty boring compared to the photos in the rest of the set.

Yeah 2014 Bowman is pretty close to 2013. Bowman logo breaks up the design symmetry otherwise I’d have big problems distinguishing it from 2013. Some colorful Bowman Platinum livens up the photo. And it’s funny. I have the mini 2015 team card and now the gold one but I still don’t have the base card.

Finishing up the team bags. This is my first 2015 Stadium Club. That Belt Ginter mini is fun. The Tomlinson rookie is a bit wistful since we just let him go. And the Duffy Heritage is a nice vintage looking card that I needed.

Very cool. A shame that the 2014 set build didn’t happen but the Giants cards are a lot of fun and sorting through everything was a nice way to unwind after driving five hours in the bucketing rain Thanksgiving weekend.

Stadium Club mailday!

Stadium Club is a set which I really love. As a photography geek I appreciate how much more varied the images are and how they’re often the things which we don’t see on regular cards. It’s a set which reminds me of how interesting baseball cards can be and gives me hope for the future of the hobby.

Unfortunately, I started running into tons of duplicates very quickly last year. Before I even had a third of the set complete I had purchased a hanger pack which was 100% duplicates. Not impressive. I mentally expect a duplication rate roughly comparable to the percent of the set which I have completed. Getting a pack of 100% duplicates so early was my sign to stop buying the product.

Jenny Miller (@JennyMiller521) is a relatively new arrival to card twitter and card blogging but she hit the ground running with positive contributions to the community, some nice cheap card sales, and a bit of trading. She got a lot further in her Stadium Club set build than I did but one of the last handful of cards she was missing was one of the stack of duplicates I’d ended up with. So I sent it off in a plain white envelope since it’s always nice to help someone complete their set.

As a response, Jenny got ahold of my set need list and realized she could help me out with a ton of my missing Stadium Club. And by a ton I mean a ton.

This is extremely generous and I’m going to have to figure out a proper response to thank her. There’s too much here to go one-by-one through each card but this is a set which I’ll just enjoy looking through. Action shots, posed shots, candid shots, telephoto shots, wide shots, pre-game shots, post-game shots, there’s so much variety in the images reflecting the variety in the game.

With Topps having an exclusive license which gives them almost a monopoly on current baseball cards, we’ve lost a lot of the variety in photo editing that we had in the 80s and 90s. Fleer, Score, and Upper Deck in particular all had very different taste in what kind of images they felt made good cards and together they forced Topps to up its game by 1991. Now, most of the Topps sets can almost be defined by their dominant photo style. Heritage harks back to the exclusively-posed images of the 1960s. Flagship meanwhile is mostly tightly-cropped action and exertion.

Stadium Club though has a bit of everything. It’s going to be interesting next year when Heritage moves to the 1970 design since that year’s photography has a bit of everything too.