Happy Independence Day!
So I went another route with this Retro thing. I mostly have just bought baseball-themed Retro sets, but I did buy Goodwin Champions last year from Upper Deck. I actually loved that set. I voted Heritage as my 2011 set of the year, partly because I have an affinity for those wood grain borders, and partly because it was my first time collecting. But if I hadn’t, I bet I’d have picked Goodwin Champions. I’m really excited for when (if?) it comes out this August. But that release date got pushed back from its original May timeframe, so I’ve been stuck without that Multi-Sport retro set I was hoping for :)
So what did I do? I supplemented it with something else. I had read about the higher end Sport Kings product. Sport Kings was a beautiful square card set issued by Goudey in 1933. The cards feature a color photo (taken above the waist) of the player with a white border. There is a multi-person caricature of the player’s sport at the bottom by his or her name. The set contained some of the greatest living athletes from the time – Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Knute Rockne, Red Grange and Jim Thorpe are the notable guys from the 2 big sports. But there are others, including Jack Dempsey, Bill Tilden, Babe Didrikson, Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen and Howie Morenz. You can take a look at each of the cards at this link. Duke Kahanamoku was the coolest card from my view. He was a great Olympic swimmer, but he’s even better known for expanding the sport of surfing. I went to Hawaii on my honeymoon, and he’s a local legend there. There’s a statue of him I saw on Waikiki beach, and he sounded like a real interesting dude.
Well, I bought this year’s version of Sport Kings, which has been a running set that started 5 years ago. Series E is this year’s version of it. There are 48 base cards, numbering 209 to 256 (with the first 208 cards coming earlier in series A through D). And, the kicker for me, this series has both Ken Griffey Jr. and Rickey Henderson – 2 of my 3 favorite players ever. They always seem to dis Eric Davis!!!
The cards are sold in a 5-card pack, with only one pack coming in each box. The “box/pack” cost me around 85 bucks, so this is definitely high-end. I’ve never really bought packs/boxes that are this expensive per card, and normally I wouldn’t. I’d never go for the Tier One or Tribute cards. It’s basically gambling. But, I decided I really like these cars and I figured I’d try to get a box of it just to see. Maybe I’d get a great hit and could recoup my cash, but I kind of chalked it up to an expensive bit of fun either way. Here’s my first card.
Taiho Koki, who was the 48th Yokozuna in sumo wrestling. Like I said, they have some different sports in here. He wrestled from 1957 to 1971, and is considered the best sumo wrestler after World Ward II. His 872-181 record is the best at his level.
Here’s the next card:
There’s someone I recognize! Rod Carew. Little introduction needed. Hall of Famer. 3,000 hits. Lots of batting titles. Next up:
Another guy I know of! Isiah Thomas, possibly the greatest point guard of all-time. Definitely a top-5 PG. This is a mini card. These minis are the same size as the original set – I wish at this price point that they hadn’t done mini parallels. For 20+ bucks a card, I’d prefer them all be minis like the originals. Regardless, I still think these cards are gorgeous.
Next up – one of my favorites:
Rickey! Rickey’s card is blue, but it has a letter on the back. Officially, this is called the “Premium Back”, which is a redemption program. The letter on the back means it can be combined with some other cards with a letter on the back, and if you spell Sport Kings, you can send in for a special super-rare card. I’d rather have a base card! Wouldn’t you want to keep Rickey!?!?
Last up is the “hit”.
Paul Hornung of Notre Dame fame. Another pretty cool card, though I don’t think this would get me anywhere near the price of the box.
Overall, I love the card design. They’re really well done. I wish they just did the minis, and a few more cards per pack/box would be nice. Also, the auto above is pretty nice, but they could have done it more in line with the original design if you ask me. I’m going to try to put together the full set of these at some point. Tune in tomorrow, when I’ll show the other box I got (series D).