08/09 Upper Deck Champs Hockey preview

10 12 2008

Do you like Allen and Ginter baseball, but just wish it was done with hockey players and said “Champ’s” on the bottom instead of the Allen and Ginter bit?  Well then 2008-09 Champ’s Hockey (ppt file) is the release for you!

The cards are named after a 1924/25 hockey card release by the Champ’s Cigarette Company of Canada.  The original release was a 60 card set of minis (so they’d fit in the pack) and featured a black and white picture of the player with a white border and the players name in small type on the bottom.

The cards that Upper Deck are putting out, however, look nothing like their namesake originals and almost exactly like Topps A & G cards with a different name. Exactly.

The base set features 200 cards with 100 short printed rookies seeded one in two packs.  Pretty standard stuff for Upper Deck hockey.

But that’s not all, and here is where I think the set becomes more annoyance than novelty. There’s a mini parallel set (like A & G) that actually doesn’t parallel the base set all that much. It’s a 480 card set that features 192 base cards, and 95 short printed rookies (1:8).  The rest of the set will feature such superstars as the Hippopotamus, the Kakapo, and the rookie card of the Iguanadon. Yep, animals.  And not just fifteen or twenty of them, but close to 200 animals and dinosaurs get their due as part of the “Natural History Collection” subset. Even better, Upper Deck’s decided to short print them all (1:3). Bonus.

Upper Deck’s reincarnation of Champ’s also canabalizes the Upper Deck Goudey release by including memorablila cards of athletes from other sports as well called “Hall of Legends.” As if that weren’t enough, there’s 14 different “Fossil and Artifact” cards that feature actual fossils and artifacts from history, including dinosaur teeth and trilobites. It all feels very roadside novelty stand to me.

Plus there will be Upper Deck’s usual assortment of odd colored parallels inside as well.

One thing I do like the look of is the mini signature cards, and I imagine the mini relic cards will be just as nice.

I guess I shouldn’t complain about Upper Deck Champ’s Hockey too much, though.  After all, the base set isn’t too outlandish here.  But that mini set is something else, isn’t it? Close to 200 cards of just animals? Anyone else think that’s a bit of overkill?

The box features 24 packs of 5 cards each, and each box will contain 2 mini signatures, 1 mini threads card, and 1 brown back parallel as well as the assortment of short prints.

The raptor teeth and trilobites relics are case hits, as well as the non hockey memorabilia cards.

No release date or price point is available at this time. Animal lovers stay tuned, I guess.

UPDATED:  Finally figured this thing out.  Images, courtesy of the sell sheets here. Beware the Jaguar!





Updated more: Presells are up and running around $90 a box.


Presenting your newest Cincinnati Red

10 12 2008

He’s a pretty good catcher…


… about three years ago. For his services, the Reds give up Ryan Freel (oft injured, but fun to watch), Justin Turner (AA 2B who hits for average only) and Brandon Waring (Class A 3B with good power potential). The Reds also get around $1 million to pay Hernandez’ salary.

For Orioles fans, it’s addition by subtraction. For Reds fans, there’s a passive indifference tinged with optimism and a bit of wonder as to how this is going to work. Does this make Hernandez the main man behind the plate for ’09? Does Hanigan still get his shot, or is he backing up a guy who could still hit 20 out of Great American?

I’ve been down on ’09 since the loss of Adam Dunn.  And the realist in me says that’s where to start.  But with a new season and new players, the optimist in me is getting a little excited once more.

*UPDATED*  It appears that Reds get $3 million in return.  That’s a little better.  Deals like this depend on how the prospects work out, because Freel is no great shakes all by himself.