So in my habitual reading of other card blogs, I'd learned that Topps, never one to shy away from a good (or even a bad) gimmick, had stealthily added short-printed parallel cards to its base set in 2009. These cards featured some of the greatest retired players from the game, and were numbered as if they were a part of the set, yet there were already base cards that had the same number. (i.e. the Frank Robinson card above is numbered 400, but there is a card #400 in the base set for Alfonso Soriano.) There were 17 Legends each in the first and second series, but it was all a hypothetical matter to me. Since 2009 Topps launched early in the year, I've bought them in all sorts of formats: regular packs, fat packs, cereal boxes, and blasters. In all those hundreds of cards, I hadn't unearthed one short-printed Legend...until today.
On my way home from work, I stopped in White Marsh to pick up my tuxedo (as well as my Dad's) for my sister's wedding on Friday. I also wanted to pick up something extra that was on my sister's bridal registry at Target, so I dropped in there as well. Upon printing out the registry in the store, I realized that the item I had in mind didn't match what was on the registry, so it looked like I'd wasted a trip. Of course I hate waste as much as the next guy, so I started wandering until - oops! - I was in the trading card aisle.
I wanted to knock a few cards off of my 2009 Topps checklist, but they only had Series 2 cello packs with 22 cards and a stick of gum (which tasted terrible even by Topps standards. Very sour). The benefit of cello packs is that you can see the card on top and the card on bottom, allowing beggars to be choosers. After making a spectacle of myself by knocking several packs off of the rack in my efforts to see the rearmost packs, I settled on one pack with Jarrod Washburn and Kyle Davies showing...slim pickings, I tell you. But there was also one single solitary pack with a Legend showing in front, and that man was certified badass Bob Gibson. So I had my second pack. When I got home and opened that one up, I couldn't believe what I'd found. Here is a card-by-card account of the first eight cards:
First, the aforementioned Gibson card, #415b.
Next, Juan Marichal, #476b. Back-to-back SPs? What are the odds?
Card the third is Tony Gwynn, #520b. Ho-ly...
Crap! Jim Palmer is #355b! Not only am I cleaning up, I got an awesome O's card!
Uh-oh, I hope these 22 cards aren't just those first four SPs in a repeating pattern.
Ryno breaks the pattern! Ryne Sandberg is - you guessed it - short-printed as #350b. Is the whole pack SP?
Frank closes it out; the remaining 14 cards were from the base set. It was fun while it lasted, though: eight SP Legends cards, six unique (out of 17 total in Series 2), two of them Orioles. Talk about your pack mojo! That makes up for the pack I pulled out of my blaster that had three or four cards with severely bent corners. I've read other bloggers' "OMG you'll never believe it I pulled some sort of ludicrous souped-up hot pack" posts with envy, and now that I've struck gold myself, I really believe that every collector should get lucky like this at least once in their lives. We've certainly given Topps, Upper Deck, and their departed rivals enough of our money, haven't we?
P.S.: Speaking of Upper Deck, the player pictured on their Series 1 and Series 2 Combo Packs is none other than Matt Wieters. My heart leapt with joy when I spotted him, especially considering that certified jackass Josh Beckett had been the company's cover boy for previous rack pack products this year. The future is closer every day, folks.