Nachos Grande’s Ginter Bracket

A couple weeks ago I received a notification that Chris (Nachos Grande) was sending me a package. I was very confused. He’s been running a lot of cheap fun breaks but I’ve not signed up for any in a long time.* And I couldn’t think of why else he would be sending me cards.

*This is a reflection of my collection becoming large enough that it no longer makes sense for me to buy into a break for the off chance I get one card I don’t have.

When the package arrived it all made sense. Way back in July he ran an Allen & Ginter mini set bracket on his blog. I took part because the insert minis are really the only thing I actually like about Ginter. I was a bit disappointed that the winner was a baseball set but it was a fun way to learn about all the different mini sets Topps has created. I very much like the social studies and science based sets and how they remind me of how interesting card collecting used to be.

Chris had multiple contests set up to reward people who were voting and participating and I ended up on a list of prize winners. Since I wasn’t participating for the prizes (and given everything else that’s gone on in the world since July) I promptly forgot about expecting a mailing. It took him a while but my prizes arrived a week and a half ago.

The list of offerings was all kinds of stuff. Sets, relic cards, autographs, etc. When I submitted my list of what I preferred I think I prioritized the autographs. Despite being somewhat lower on the pick list  it looks like other people wanted other items since I ended up with two of he autographed cards.

The Trevor May framed mini is pretty cool. I’ve never handled a Ginter framed mini card before. It’s an interesting object with the card floating loose in the middle of a cardboard frame and two plastic sheets on each side to create a nice little display. Much to my surprise the resulting object isn’t that thick and in fact fits just fine in a 9-pocket page.

I’ve been a bit curious about these since I wasn’t sure how they were manufactured nor how they handled. They’re definitely neat little cards and I very much like them over relics. I’m less impressed at the plastic feeling since it seems at odds with Ginter’s overall brand but there’s no other way to do this kind of thing.

Griffin Jax meanwhile is still in the Minors. He bounced between AA and AAA in 2019 and scored a non-roster invite to Spring Training last season. No call-up to the Majors but he remains on the bubble.

He’s more interesting though for what he’s going through to play baseball. As an Air Force Academy graduate, he’s been jerked around a bit by the military in terms of being allowed to pursue a baseball career instead of being active duty. It’s very interesting to note that he can’t be paid by the Twins and is still fulfilling his reservist duties while playing baseball.

Chris also tossed in a dozen or so Giants cards to “make up” for being so late with the package. Definitely not something he had to do especially since this was a free package anyway but I’m certainly not complaining.

A lot of these I have already so they’ll go on the duplicate pile that I’m using to create piles for my kids. My youngest for example will love the Metal Mark Gardner and the more 2013 Heritage World Series cards I can give them the happier they’ll be.

There are however a handful of new ones that I’m very happy to add to the album. The 1998 Upper Deck Darryl Hamilton doubles the number of Giants cards I have form that set. As does the Pacific Bill Mueller. The Jesse Foppert is new to me as well and reminds me of a name I’ve not even thought of in decades. He was such a prospect back in the day. The Upper Deck Goudey Noah Lowry is an interesting retro design. I don’t know if I hate it or love it but I like that it didn’t try to make the photo a fake painting. And the Pinnacle Buster Posey is a fun addition from Panini’s first year back in the hobby.

Very cool stuff Chris and thanks for both the  cards and running the bracket/contest.

Merry Christmas from Nachos Grande

I’ve been following Chris (@Nachos_Grande) for a while now. He’s a Reds fan, Barry Larkin supercollectorm and LEGO enthusiast who blogs over at It still took me way too long to figure out that his blog was “Fan of Reds” and not “Fan o’ Freds.”

Chris has put together a couple great affordable vintage box breaks over the years that I’ve taken part in and filled in cards from my years in the wilderness. Great to deal with and a blog I enjoy reading. He recently put out a call for his season of giving which is his way of clearing out unwanted base cards he’s accumulated.

I put my name in the hat because what the hey free cards and I’ve been enjoying putting together piles of extra Giants cards for my kids so they can both catch up on cards from the past as well as get a sense of what sort of products they like.

Last week a small flat-rate box arrived and inside were all kinds of goodies wrapped in a fantastic New York Giants pennant that was apparently too large for Chris’s card room. I’m not sure where we’re going to put it here but there’s definitely a place for it and the boys will love it very much.

To the cards. Lots of duplicates but a surprising number of cards I still don’t have. So going chronologically. Two 1988 Bigs I didn’t have. Topps Big was one of my favorite sets when I was a kid and I appreciate it even more as a 1980s take on the 1956 design.

The 1994 SP John Burkett is also new to me. I didn’t sniff much of the fancy stuff when I was a kid so all those premium cards are nice to see now. The 1995 Ultra Matt Williams and 1997 Metal Shawn Estes are also new to me. I only have a couple 1997 Metals and they’re wild as all hell and are a perfect example of cards that I don’t want a bunch of but appreciate the variety they add to the binder.

And a stack of 1997 Collectors Choice. Rick Wilkens is showing because I like the photo but there’s a Jose Vizcaino in there that I actually needed too.

Moving to 1998. The Score Jeff Kent is a need. I’ve never seen the Pinnacle Performers set at all. I actually need both of the Collectors Choice cards as well as the Estes SQ insert.

1999 Upper Deck Choice is another new to me set. I was under the impression that Collectors Choice had been replaced by Victory and MVP this year but it looks like a smaller variant set of it was still around. Collectors Choice is one of the releases I really like from the late 1990s in that it mostly feels like what I want cards to be like so it’s great to discover some new ones. The Pacific Armando Rios is also new to me as a set. I collect the Spanish-Language Pacific cards but haven’t ventured into the English-language ones. I do appreciate Pacific’s  over-the-top designs though.

To 2000. The Barry Bonds Topps Stars card is a set I’ve not seen before. I need the Fleer Shawn Estes. I didn’t have any Fleer Focus from this year. And a couple of the Impact and Skybox Dominion cards are needs too. As someone who can’t keep up with the dozens of releases that Topps is putting out nowadays I have no idea how people used to keep track of multiple companies with dozens of releases.

Anyway, there were also two 2002 Topps Total cards that I didn’t have as well as a Fleer Maximum card which is new to me.

I have to admit that these years really blend together for me. This is partly because I wasn’t collecting but also just too many releases, few of which with any real identity behind different snazzy jazzy effects. Some have foil. Others have spot UV. The only ones I kind of like are the Fleer Traditions that mimic 1954 Topps and Collectors Choice.

And to the last batch. I need both the 2004 Topps Total Michael Tucker and both Fleers. I admire Topps Total’s intent. It’s great to get cards of guys who are deep down the roster but what a challenge to release in a way that makes the packs enjoyable to open. 2004 Fleer meanwhile echoes 1990 Fleer  and while the printing and photography is better, the design takes up too much real estate for my taste.

In the 2005s I found a Kirk Rueter I needed as well as the Edgardo Alfonzo Opening Day. Two Upper Deck Past Time Pennants are brand new and a nice-looking set of older players. The Monte Irvin is especially nice

The 2007 Heritage Billy Sadler is a name I don’t recognize at all. The Turkey Red Barry Zito is my first of this set. As is the Tristar Pre Debut card. I did not realize until I got this card that the Pro Debut logo is an MLB thing.

That’s a 2009 Johnny Mize insert and a decent stack of 2013 Heritage which included a bunch of the World Series cards that my kids are going to love. I needed Sergio Romo and Ryan Vogelsong. The Romo is one of the better-looking cards of the Giants cards I have.

And that takes us through the stack. Thanks Chris and Merry Christmas to you too!.