Posts Tagged ‘team set review’

2009 quad cities river bandits team set review

July 24, 2009

2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set

Official Score –  base-clearing DOUBLE

Manufacturer: Grandstand

Sponsors: Names Around Town Photography and Plaza Physical Therapy

Retail price: $ 8.00

What’s the name of that place in Iowa where the players walk out of a cornfield to play baseball and entertain adoring fans night after night? No, not THAT one. I’m talking about the ballpark whose right field skyline includes a monumental 70-year-old bridge that spans the Mississippi River. Yes, Modern Woodman Park, home of the Quad Cities River Bandits. The average fan visiting the facility from out of town would likely require a tour guide to inform them that the renovated stadium is actually 78 years old, making it one of the four oldest pro ballparks in use today.

Just between you and me, three-quarters of a century equals a LOT of baseball! Without a doubt, the Quad Cities (Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa; Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline, Illinois) fans have enjoyed many a fine ballgame in their backyard over the decades. The Quad Cities River Bandits are currently the Class A, Midwest League affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.

The 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set does not have an official checklist, so feel free to print out the one I’ve typed up and keep it with your cards.

Checklist: 30 cards

1 – Ace Adams (pitching coach)
2 – Jarred Bogany (of)
3 – Hector Cardenas (p)
4 – Dave Carpenter (p)
5 – Alex Castellanos (inf)
6 – Paul Cruz (of)
7 – Charlie Cutler (c)
8 – Gary Daley (p)
9 – Ramon Delgado (p)
10 – Steve Dillard (manager)
11 – Jon Edwards (of)
12 – Roberto Espinoza (c)
13 – Joe Kruzel (hitting coach)
14 – Brett Lilley (inf)
15 – Scott McGregor (p)
16 – Travis Mitchell (of)
17 – Osvaldo Morales (inf)
18 – Casey Mulligan (p)
19 – Arquimedes Nieto (p)
20 – Frederick Parejo (of)
21 – Andres Rosales (p)
22 – Chris Swauger (of)
23 – Miguel Tapia (p)
24 – Kevin Thomas (p)
25 – Guillermo Toribio (inf)
26 – Niko Vasquez (inf)
27 – Adam Veres (p)
28 – Brian Puchalski (trainor)
29 – Kevin Welch (strength & conditioning coach)
30 – Rascal (mascot)

I don’t think it is too big of a stretch for me to assume that Names Around Town Photography took all photos used in the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set. The photos are for the most part very nice. The majority of the shots appear to have been thought out, and are unique throughout the set.

Divided into subsets, the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set contains 3 cards of the field staff, 11 pitchers, 2 catchers, 5 infielders, 6 outfielders, and 3 non-baseball player cards (that will not be discussed further in this review). Here is the card of manager Steve Dillard. Nice action shot, and an interesting background to boot.


Each of the cards featuring the Quad Cities River Bandits coaching staff would have been fantastic if some sort of reflector or fill flash had been used while shooting the close-up of hitting coach Joe Kruzel. But such lighting was not used, which leaves us with a pretty nice photo of the River Bandits logo on the front of his cap.

The 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set contains cards of eleven pitchers. This subset illustrates three different styles of River Bandits uniforms, contains a nice variety of different angles, in game photos, posed upper body shots and even the set’s first horizontally aligned card.


This photo of Andres Rosales is perfect for use as a horizontal card. How about that grin folks? Sort of makes one wonder if Rosales is always in a great mood. Let’s check out the back of his card…


Well, I guess this photo answers the question about whether or not Rosales is a constant ray of sunshine. A good team set will not only make you think of  questions, but will also answer them!

I’m including this scan of Arquimedes Nieto simply to increase this blog’s Google strength amongst web surfers hunting for the name “Arquimedes.” I do like the use of the outfield berm as the background, even though the result is that Arquimedes is a tad bit on the dark side. The photo is expertly cropped, allowing fans to see that Arquimedes is pitching while wearing a custom-made left shoe that looks exactly like the Quad Cities River Bandits logo. How wild is that?


There are only two catchers included in the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set, but the designer took full advantage of the opportunity to depict one catcher on defense and the other on offense. That is the equivalent of a one – two – three inning!


The defensive-offensive ratio drops to 20/80 as you flip through the cards of the infielders. Even still, the different camera angles and backgrounds vary so much that each card is as refreshing as an ice cold Mountain Dew.



Infielder Alex Castellanos appears to be watching a foul ball bounce off one of the five arches of Centennial Bridge and plop into the Mississippi River only to be eaten by a giant catfish rumored to lurk in that area.

For those readers scratching your heads wondering about this confounded bridge that I’ve mentioned a couple of times now, here it is in the background of Brett Lilley’s card. Obviously the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set provides you with a golden opportunity if you want to own a card of the all-time NCAA leader in hit-by-pitches.


One-third of the cards of outfielders in the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set show players in the field while the rest were shot in the act of hitting or running the base paths. As with the other subsets, the outfielders show a nice range of the different River Bandits uniforms and provides numerous views of the ballpark, helping make this set a pleasure to flip though. Is it just me, or do players seem happier on horizontal cards?


Structural engineers world wide must be salivating by the fact that the 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set contains more cards with images of a bridge than do the 2006-2009 Topps Allen & Ginter sets combined!

Card thinness is standard for a minor league set, and both sides have a semi-gloss finish. No surface preparation is necessary prior to obtaining autographs. The backs consist of four-color printing including typical stats, biographical data and very nice photos of players that are different from the photos on the front- a very classy touch that helps makes this team set a keeper in all leagues.

The 2009 Quad Cities River Bandits team set is a must have for all St. Louis Cardinals fans who enjoy following the careers of young players as they navigate their way upstream through the Cardinals farm system.

The set is available online for those of you who do not expect to be traveling through the Midwest at any point in the near future. You get all 30 cards mentioned and/or pictured in this review for $8.00. Shipping is right around six bucks, and you may be hit with sales tax. Heck, you might as well have them toss one of their 2008 team sets in your shopping cart for only five dollars and no additional shipping costs. I haven’t reviewed that particular set only because I do not have it.

–  Kris


On a side note, I would be completely remiss as a historian if I failed to take advantage of this opportunity to hook you up with a link to a bit of the past of the Modern Woodmen of America. If you’ve ever been to a cemetery of any age, you’ve probably seen a distinctive grave marker of one of the members of the fraternal society and wondered what it was all about.

2009 albuquerque isotopes team set (P)review

June 17, 2009


If you already have tickets or otherwise plan to attend the Omaha Royals – Albuquerque Isotopes game on Thursday, June 18, 2009 and do not want to see images of the 2009 Albuquerque Isotopes team set before you have one in hand, DO NOT continue reading. Instead, you should revisit this post after the game if you are interested in my thoughts on the cards.

On the other hand, if you are in the area and trying to decide whether or not you want to go, I urge you to read on and keep in mind that team sets will be distributed for FREE to the first 3,000 fans through the turnstiles. After that, team sets will be available for purchase in the stadium team shop, or via the internet.


2009 Albuquerque Isotopes team set
Official Score – COMPLETE GAME two hitter
Manufacturer: MultiAd Sports
SGA date: Thursday, June 18, 2009
Retail price: tbd

After setting the bar high with their 2008 team set, the Albuquerque Isotopes certainly delivered a first pitch strike by including a checklist on the back of the team photo card- the first of 35 cards in the 2009 team set. The team photo features a crisp, bright image with the players dressed in white uniforms.


1 – Isotopes team photo (checklist)
2 – Tim Wallach (manager)
3 – John Moses (hitting coach)
4 – Jim Slaton (pitching coach)
5 – Greg Harrel (trainer)
6 – Giancarlo Alvarado (p)
7 – Danny Ardoin (c)
8 – Henry Bonilla (p)
9 – Dee Brown (out)
10 – Nick DeBarr (p)
11 – Blake DeWitt (inf)
12 – A.J. Ellis (c)
13 – Shawn Estes (p)
14 – Sergio Garcia (inf)
15 – Charlie Haeger (p)
16 – Jamie Hoffmann (out)
17 – Chin-Lung Hu (inf)
18 – Mitch Jones (out)
19 – Hector Luna (inf)
20 – Luis Maza (inf)
21 – Brian Mazone (p)
22 – James McDonald (p)
23 – Eric Milton (p)
24 – Valentino Pascucci (inf)
25 – Xavier Paul (out)
26 – Miguel Piñango (p)
27 – Dwayne Pollok (p)
28 – Stephen Randolph (p)
29 – Jason Repko (out)
30 – Jovanny Rosario (out)
31 – Scott Strickland (p)
32 – Erick Threets (p)
33 – Jeff Weaver (p)
34 – Sophie
35 – Orbit (mascot)

The cards are non-glossy, and therefore require no surface treatment prior to autographing. The 2009 Albuquerque Isotopes team set utilizes MultiAd’s “Style O” template on the front, and “Style 4” template on the back. Card backs consist of two-color (black and red) printing over white matte, with player stats and short bios. Player headshots on the card backs are essentially a cropped, greyscale version of the image depicted on the fronts.

The light grey borders help lighten the overall appearance of the cards. The set contains one card each of the Isotopes coaching staff, trainer, mascot* and fan favorite Sophie. Manager Tim Wallach and his coaching staff are all depicted in black jerseys. I find Jim Slaton’s card the more engaging of the non-player cards. This card demonstrates that random candid shots make for better baseball cards than posed headshots.


(*There is a non-numbered variation of the mascot card that is not included in the official team set. In a nutshell, the second card was printed with the set, but will be distributed by Orbit during “personal” appearances. If you ABSOLUTELY HAVE to have one, I would recommend asking in the team shop if you can purchase an uncut sheet.)

The 28 player cards include a nice mixture of different uniforms that helps keep the team set interesting. This mixture includes nine black, eight white, six red and five Dodger blue uniforms. Uniform aficionados should note that the blue uniforms are only worn during Sunday home games. Similarly, the team set contains generous helpings of prospects and major league veterans.

Half of the player cards in the set feature pitchers. With the exception of Charlie Haeger, all were shot on the mound. That does get a little monotonous, and it would be nice to see a photo of a pitcher laying down a bunt or running the bases while wearing an Isotopes jacket. Here are three examples that best demonstrate a need for a little more variation when it comes to cards of pitchers.




The 2009 Albuquerque Isotopes team set contains two cards of catchers. Both Danny Ardoin and A.J. Ellis are featured in full gear near the plate. Unfortunately, Ardoin was sent to the disabled list soon after being forced to bend down in order to fit into his awkwardly cropped photo.


The six cards of Isotopes infielders contain the best action photography in the set. This card of Blake DeWitt is a great example of the level of play Isotopes fans are treated to game after game.


“Determination” would be an apt title for the outfielders subset. Again, excellent photography persists as is obvious in this fantastic shot of Jovanny Rosario scrambling back into first base to avoid being picked off.


Whether you are a casual fan or a hardcore baseball card collector constantly on the hunt for night cards, mid-air moments or even umpires, the 2009 Albuquerque Isotopes team set offers something for everyone. You can bet that baseball fans all across Dodgertown will show an interest in the 2009 Albuquerque Isotopes team set given that eight players included in the checklist have either already spent some time with the NL West leading parent club or are currently on board for what is proving a magical season. There is no reason to suspect that the list won’t continue to grow as the season progresses.

This is going to be a fun and challenging set to get autographed!

– Kris

2007 jacksonville suns team set review

February 19, 2009

2007 Jacksonville Suns
Official Score – leadoff SINGLE
Manufacturer: Grandstand
Sponsor: Jacksonville Sports Cards, Comcast, 102.9 the point
Retail price: That ship has sailed.

Again, the Jacksonville Suns served as the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2007 season. Of course if you are searching for individual players, that shouldn’t matter in the slightest. The 2007 Jacksonville Suns team set includes eleven pitchers, two catchers, seven infielders, four outfielders, and six* manager/coach/trainer cards. What, no checklist? That’s right. I don’t think the folks at Grandstand know what a checklist is.

1 – [43] Brian Akin (p)
2 – [29] Luke Allen (of)
3 – [14] Alberto Conception (c)
4 – [41] Eric Cyr (p)
5 – [44] Danny Darwin (pitching coach)
6 – [9] Cory Dunlap (if)
7 – [17] Scott Elbert (p)
8 – [15] A.J. Ellis (c)
9 – [25] Juan Gonzalez (if)
10 – [36] Zach Hammes (p)
11 – [13] Chin-lung Hu (if)
12 – [54] William Juarez (p)
13 – [45] John Lindsey (if)
14 – [8] Luis Maza (if)
15 – [23] Marshall McDougall (if)
16 – [5] Mike Megrew (p)
17 – [22] Jonathan Meleon (p)
18 – [50] Alvis Ojeda (p)
19 – [34] Justin Orenduff (p)
20 – [6] Xavier Paul (of)
21 – [11] Anthony Raglani (of)
22 – [7] Matt Riley (p)
23 – [40] Jimmy Rohan (if)
24 – [26] Wilkin Ruan (of)
25 – [12] Luis Salazar (hitting coach)
26 – [12] John Shoemaker (manager)
27 – [16] Wesley Wright (p)
28 – [‘07] Trevor Dorian (strength coach)
29 – [‘07] Yosuke Nakajima (trainer)
30 – Marty McCall (proprietor – Jacksonville Sports Cards)


* Note: the final card in the “manager/coach/trainer” subset features the owner of Jacksonville Sports Cards, whom I’ve arbitrarily designated as the team’s official baseball card coach. Every ballclub should have one! Normally I will not feature scans of non-player cards as part of my team set reviews, but given that this fellow runs a card shop and appears to have sponsored the team’s card set giveaway, I’ve decided to give him the nod. The bio on the back of Marty’s card indicates that he has a green thumb- something I can certainly identify with.

You don’t get a lot of variation in the cards featuring outfielders. Ruan and Raglani are pictured in the batters box, Allen appears to be running out a pop fly, and here is a scan of Xavier Paul taking a conservative lead off third base. I have no idea what it is, but something appears to have been distracting the majority of the fans along the third base line when this photo was taken.


The cards of infielders exhibit considerably more variation than the outfielders. Four of the players are depicted in the field while the other three are hitting and/or base running. For those of you who have placed a wager that I will be including a scan of Chin-Lung Hu from this set, you need to pay your bookie. Instead, I present John Lindsey’s card due to the rare horizontal alignment. This team set also includes a horizontal card of manager John Shoemaker “helping” an umpire be the best that he can be.


Both cards of catchers in the 2007 Jacksonville Suns set are keepers! Both are typical of the overall nice photography that helps make this team set fun to flip through. Ellis in full gear and a huge smile walking from the dugout to the plate gets bumped so I can feature Alberto Concepcion, Jr., who played for the Albuquerque Isotopes for part of the 2008 season.


Without question, the cards of pitchers vary the most from one another as fans are treated with a few posed headshots, and a number of action photos. Although all of the action photos are mound shots, the angles vary enough to keep the photos from becoming stale, and there are even a few that appear to have been taken at night (for those of you into that sort of thing). In deciding which pitcher card to feature, I chose Alvis Ojeda’s in order to highlight his Dodger blue glove.


The card backs consist of typical player stats, short bios and company logos printed over a muted image of a glove and a few baseballs. Easily read, but nothing to get excited about. Graphers in the southwestern United States should note that thirteen cards in this team set feature players that could end up on the 2009 Albuquerque Isotopes Opening Day roster

You can purchase this 30-card 2007 Jacksonville Suns team set online, but not directly from the team. Instead, you are looking at dropping between $8 and $13 per set (plus shipping) on the secondary market. I would say that anything in that range is a fair price for this set.

– Kris

2008 jacksonville suns team set review

February 8, 2009

2008 Jacksonville Suns
Official Score – RBI DOUBLE
Manufacturer: Grandstand
Sponsor: Jacksonville Sports Cards, WQIK 99.1 and WTEV 47
Retail price: $8.00

The Jacksonville Suns served as the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2001 through the 2008 season. A word of warning that the Suns website now contains a tragic collection of hideous advertisements that have absolutely NOTHING to do with baseball that will insult your intelligence until you navigate away, or close your browser in disgust. I guess that is how all minor league websites are going to appear now that they have been taken over by Major League Baseball Advanced Media (BAM). Sad…

The 2008 Jacksonville Suns team set includes three manager/coach cards, a dozen pitchers, two catchers, six infielders, four outfielders, and five cards that barely warrant taking the time to type them up for the official checklist.

1 – [35] Brain Akin (p)
2 – [44] Mario Alvarez (p)
3 – [45] Marlon Anderson (p)
4 – [13] Rick Asadoorian (p)
5 – [38] Mark Bellhorn (if)
6 – [15] Jesus Castillo (p)
7 – [11] Ivan DeJesus, Jr. (if)
8 – [5] Glenn Dishman (pitching coach)
9 – [23] Adam Godwin (of)
10 – [8] Adolfo Gonzalez (if)
11 – [9] Juan Gonzalez (if)
12 – [36] Clayton Kershaw (p)
13 – [54] Zach Hammes (p)
14 – [43] Jamie Hoffman (of)
15 – [7] Greg Jacobs (of)
16 – [28] Shane Justis (if)
17 – [50] Brent Leach (p)
18 – [25] Lucas May (c)
19 – [17] James McDonald (p)
20 – [14] Russell Mitchell (if)
21 – [40] Danny Muegge (p)
22 – [31] Rene Rivera (c)
23 – [3] Luis Salazar (hitting coach)
24 – [12] John Shoemaker (manager)
25 – [37] Eduardo Sierra (p)
26 – [41] Tanyon Sturtze (p)
27 – [6] James Tomlin (of)
28 – [na] Carlos Olivas (trainer)
29 – [na] Trevor Doian (strength coach)
30 – [na] Southpaw (mascot)
31 – [na] Brent Martineau (CBS 47 sportscaster)
32 – [na] “The Big Show” (99.1 WQIK radio personalities)

The two cards of catchers are evenly split with photos demonstrating both the offensive and defensive views of the game. Seems like common sense to break it down like this, but you would be surprised at how many team sets fail to do so. Another plus is that the photo selected for Rene Rivera in full gear actually allows fans to see what he looks like. Well done!


The 2008 Jacksonville Suns team set also demonstrates diversity among the twelve cards of pitchers. Featured are four different uniforms, a swell mixture of live action photos with varying backgrounds and camera angles, and a few three-quarter view posed headshots where the only problem is the shadow created by that difficult mixture of bright sunlight and the bill of the player’s cap.

I am posting scans of two pitchers in spite of the fact that they are wearing the same style of uniform. Clayton Kershaw gets the nod simply for name recognition, and I know there are readers who are interested in players who have attained major league status. Enjoy!


James McDonald is included due to my bizarre attraction to baseball cards with horizontal alignment. Again, enjoy!


Of the six cards of infielders, five contain photos of players wearing a baseball glove waiting for something to happen. If Joseph Heller had a card in this set, I would include a scan of it. Since he does not, here is a scan of Mark Bellhorn’s card. At first and second glance, it would appear that Mark is working on employing the hidden base trick by covering it with dirt. You gotta dig minor league baseball!


The four cards of the Jacksonville Suns outfielders also lack variety. In each case, the player is holding a bat and standing either in the batter’s box, or is close enough that anyone could tell you that when each photo was taken would have been a poor time to leave your seat for popcorn or another brew. Representing the outfielders then is Jamie Hoffman- chosen simply because I think he is going to be one of the starters for the 2009 Albuquerque Isotopes.


Speaking of the Albuquerque Isotopes… a whopping TWENTY of the cards in the 2008 Jacksonville Suns team set are of players who are currently on track to potentially appear in the Duke City this season, either on the Isotopes Opening Day roster, or at some point during the season as roster moves in Triple-A are commonplace. Thus, the “value” of this particular team set is quite high right now, and is expected to increase once graphers begin snapping them up on the secondary market as they begin to shake off their sluggish winter habits and start thinking spring.

Overall, the photography is very strong, and the red and blue Grandstand template tends to complement the images. Card thickness is typical for a minor league set.

Surface treatment is of the semi gloss variety. Sharpie testing on the CBS affiliate broadcaster card revealed that although surface preparation is not required prior to obtaining autographs, it may actually help prevent smearing- especially if you are having a player sign more than one card and he wants to slide a freshly autographed card under the others instead of handing it back directly to you. The backs consist of four-color printing over a mottled grey background, typical player stats and short bios, and a significant amount of corporate logos.

If you act now, you can still pick up a 2008 Jacksonville Suns team set online– directly from the team for only $8.00. Just for fun, I entered the maximum allowable number of 100 sets in my shopping cart. I have no idea if they actually have that many sets left, but if they do, and you are interested, that order would run you $879.95 with sales tax, shipping and handling. Once they run out and you are forced to shop on the secondary market, expect to shell out between $14 and $20 (plus shipping) for a single set.

– Kris

2008 louisville bats dav team set review

December 7, 2008

2008 Louisville Bats DAV team set
Official Score – base hit
Manufacturer: Disabled American Veterans (undetermined printer)
Sponsor: Disabled American Veterans
Retail price: FREE SGA– not available for purchase

The Louisville Bats are the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. After running away from the competition in the Western division of the International League in 2008, the Bats’ magical season ended when they flew into the wall that was the Durham Bulls in the first round of the playoffs.

When the home team takes to Louisville Slugger Field for opening day in 2009, they will be playing on a brand new surface of Kentucky Bluegrass thanks to sod recently imported from Indiana. The difficult part of writing that last sentence was deciding whether to end it with a period or a question mark! It is interesting that the Bats front office opted to replace the playing field the season after they hosted the 2008 Triple-A All Star game.

At any rate, a six-card team set hardly needs a checklist. I’m including one just the same because you never can tell who might be Googling for more information on Tom Shearn.

1 – [26] Bill Bray (p)
2 – [27] David Ross (c)
3 – [28] Homer Bailey (p)
4 – [29] Jay Bruce (of)
5 – [30] Jolbert Cabrera (if)
6 – [31] Tom Shearn (p)

I thought I’d start right off with a scan of the Jay Bruce card. So if you are only reading to see that particular card, you won’t need to continue reading this post. Before you leave, wouldn’t this baseball card look sweet with a sticker autograph haphazardly slapped across the front?


Autograph collectors should note that surface treatment is a semi-gloss that requires no special preparation prior to obtaining a signature. That’s right; just add a player and you’ll be cooking with gas!

Graphers won’t get any help from David Ross’s card in the task of identifying the catcher in his street clothes, but this action photo of Ross in full gear will probably look so good signed that you won’t mind the extra effort that might be needed in the effort. I wouldn’t hesitate to assume that Ross is probably on enough cards where his face is visible that picking him out of the crowd outside a ballpark won’t be impossible.


This limited edition minor league SGA team set includes two hitters, the aforementioned catcher and three hurlers. With the exception of the Tom Shearn card, all players are wearing the same style of uniforms. I haven’t the slightest idea why the Bats’ DAV team set contains only six players. As I understand it, teams were allowed to submit entire team rosters if they so desired. Apparently, the Bats did not so desire.


Enter pitcher Homer Bailey… Homer started 19 games for the Bats in 2008, accumulating a record of 4-7 with a 4.77 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. Bailey struck out 96 batters while handing out 46 free passes over 111.1 innings. He was also touched for 10 round-trippers in the process. Lackluster as those stats may be, he didn’t fare nearly as well during his eight starts for the Reds in 2008. Bailey displayed an enormous amount of determination while pitching for the parent club last season. Unfortunately, that determination manifested itself in Homer’s uncanny impression of Josh Fogg.

There are no statistics on the backs of these cards. Instead you’ll find the same standard ad for the Disabled American Veterans as on all of their cards distributed in 2008. One of the things that I find most appealing about these DAV minor league baseball cards is the fact that only a few thousand sets were created in the first place. That, combined with the high probability that few sets will survive given that the average person who attends minor league baseball games probably doesn’t make any effort to retain baseball cards, should result in a collectible item that will prove extremely difficult to obtain even before a number of these players retire.

I’d like to think that I do a pretty decent job of monitoring the secondary market for these DAV team sets in order to have a little information to pass along about their value. That typed, I have yet to see one of the 2008 Louisville Bats DAV team sets up for auction on eBay. Given the limited supply of these cards, I would expect that this six-card set might fetch between four and five bucks in auction, and the winning bidder could expect to add an additional three to eighteen dollars (depending on the fine print) to have the cards shipped to their home or office.

– Kris

2008 new britain rock cats dav team set review

November 3, 2008

2008 New Britain Rock Cats DAV team set
Official Score – walk
Manufacturer: Disabled American Veterans (undetermined printer)
Sponsor: Disabled American Veterans
Retail price: FREE SGA– not available for purchase

Behold, here is another limited edition subset of the even more limited 2008 DAV minor league baseball master set. I’ve chosen to review the New Britain Rock Cats cards as a special thank you to Cards in the Attic reader and South Dakota geography expert Mike who recently helped me figure out the difference between Sioux Falls and Sioux City- about 50 miles! Mike is a Twins fan and baseball card collector, but I don’t believe he has a blog.

The New Britain Rock Cats have been the Double-A (Eastern League) affiliate of the Minnesota Twins since 1995. Some 365,758 fans attended Rock Cats games in New Britain Stadium at Willow Brook Park in 2008, setting an all-time high water mark that I am predicting will be surpassed in 2009. Obviously if you find yourself in New Britain, Connecticut, this ballpark is a must see destination.

Rock Cats fans attending the game on Monday, July 7, 2008 received these baseball cards absolutely free of charge. Unfortunately, the Rock Cats dropped that game to the Connecticut Defenders by a final of 5 to 3.

The 2008 New Britain Rock Cats DAV team set contains only eight cards, three of which are mascots. Crazy! I know, enough with the preliminaries, and on with the checklist (an exclusive feature sponsored by the hard working folks at the Aardvark Trading Company)!

1 – [159] Francisco Liriano (p)
2 – [160] Justin Morneau (inf)
3 – [161] David Ortiz (inf)
4 – [162] Glen Perkins (p)
5 – [163] Scott Baker (p)
6 – [164] Blooper (mascot)
7 – [165] Rocky the Rock Cat (“star” mascot)
8 – [166] Toner the Copy Cat (mascot)

I guess I really only have two complaints about this “minor league” team set. First, a whopping 37 percent of the set is dedicated to mascots. Definitely overkill, but at least the mascots are still part of the current Rock Cats family.

My second complaint is that this is really more of a minor league alumni set. I honestly don’t understand the concept here. Why not take advantage of this generous DAV promotion to highlight several current players? Or if you are going to issue an abbreviated alumni baseball card set, how on earth could you not include Pat Neshek in the checklist?

Seriously, does anyone really need another David Ortiz card, or another card of Justin Morneau? (Of course I’m not talking about THIS GUY (who needs to set up his RSS feed before worrying about getting more Morneau cards).)

Similarly, the rest of the players included in this set need no introduction, so here they are in random order.

The photography employed for these cards is like looking at some Ansel Adams shots after my recent review of the Sioux Falls Canaries abomination. Of course it isn’t truly THAT good. It may just take my optical nerves a few more days to adjust.

You cannot purchase this limited edition New Britain Rock Cats DAV team set at the ballpark or via their interweb store. In fact, I haven’t even seen one of these things show up on eBay. That said, I would imagine that the set could easily fetch five bucks or more if you are lucky enough to find one on the secondary market.

In spite of the fact that the New Britain Rock Cats have not submitted any of their team issued sets to Cards in the Attic for review, I will take the high road and mention that you can pick up team sets from 2006-2008 for just under seven dollars each by following this link to the Rock Cats online Third Base Shop. I notice they also have a deck of team logo playing cards for sale. I’m of the belief that getting something like that autographed would result in a highly valuable collectible simply because not many people are going to think of doing something like that. Besides, it would look really neat.

– Kris

2008 sioux falls canaries dav team set review

October 31, 2008

2008 Sioux Falls Canaries DAV team set
Official Score – RAIN OUT – no make up date scheduled
Manufacturer: Disabled American Veterans (undetermined printing source)
Sponsor: Disabled American Veterans
Retail price: FREE SGA– not available for purchase

Who doesn’t love FREE baseball cards? It would be impossible to not like FREE baseball cards, right?

…. er, not so fast ….

The 26-card Sioux Falls Canaries limited edition subset of the 2008 DAV minor league baseball set is a complete tragedy. The cards themselves are well made- and certainly well intentioned, but the photography is atrocious. I toyed with the notion for a while that they might be so bad that they are actually kinda “good,” but no, they are worse than that. They are so frighteningly bad that I think Halloween is the most appropriate day of the year I can choose to blog about them.

I won’t pretend to be all knowing about the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, but I will make the assumption that the majority of the players, coaches and staff involved in the league work very hard to put a quality product out on the field for their fans. Therefore, I believe the players and coaches of the 2008 American Association Champion Sioux Falls Canaries deserve to have had their photographs taken by someone who has a better understanding of the workings of a camera than my grandmother. Sure, grandma may have somehow always managed to get her thumb into each and every shot, while sometimes accidentally cropping off the top of the head of the tallest person in the photo, but at least her shots were in focus.

Catcher Andrew Barbaro stands at the plate thinking, “Is it just me, or does the ball seem sort of fuzzy coming off the mound?”

No Andrew, it isn’t just you. Your entire team is out of focus.

Unless the photographer was also responsible for selecting and editing the images, then submitting them to the DAV representative who coordinated the free card promotion, I would say that more than one person should share in the diSTINKtion of having created one of the worst team sets in the modern era. Even the printer should have called the DAV rep and asked if they were positive that they wanted to go forward with this project.

I’m trying to think of something positive to say about this card of Canaries pitcher Angelo Morales. Beyond the fact that it is rectangular, I’m drawing a blank.

Perhaps it comes down to being a toss-up between inexperience (ie., never having seen a real baseball card before) or taste. It may be worth adding that Ballpark Digest recently named the Sioux Falls Canaries as having the “Best New Food Item of the Year” (2008). How intriguing! What on earth could it be? Try “Fowl Balls” on for size. That’s right; deep-fried turkey testicles. Honest.

I’m not sure if it is worse for the player who may only find himself on a single baseball card in his entire life- and that card is part of this set, or of it is worse for those players with minor and/or major league experience who may have become accustomed to being depicted somewhat realistically on their other cards.

I feel very sorry for each and every Pat Mahomes supercollector who is going to have to scramble to get one of his cards from this train wreck of a set. After accumulating more than 450 strikeouts in the major leagues while pitching for the Twins, Red Sox, Mets, Rangers, Cubs and Pirates, I guarantee you that Pat never saw a batter miss by a margin equal to the substandard execution of this set.

Mahomes isn’t the only player with major league experience included in this compost. Manager Steve Shirley pitched in some eleven games for the 1982 Los Angeles Dodgers. Don’t be shocked if you recognize more names when you scan through the checklist that I have gone to the trouble of typing up. Ex-big leaguers and determined young dreamers such as Kris Regas coming together to play baseball in places like “the Birdcage” in Sioux Falls, South Dakota should be celebrated instead of having their season tarnished by a product such as this. Even for FREE, these cards are overpriced.

If you really want one of these sets, you should expect three coach cards, four outfielders, five infielders, eleven pitchers, two catchers and one mascot- whom I suspects steers as clear of the “Fowl Balls” concession stand as possible.

1 – [166] Andrew Barbaro (c)
2 – [167] Alex Bardeguez (inf)
3 – [168] Lenny Bays (p)
4 – [169] Kennard Bibbs (out)
5 – [170] Kelly Casares (p)
6 – [171] Benny Castillo (hitting coach)
7 – [172] Ryan Ford (p)
8 – [173] Ryan Grant (p)
9 – [174] Tim Hutting (inf)
10 – [175] Travis Kane (p)
11 – [176] Josh Kite (p)
12 – [177] Pat Mahomes (p)
13 – [178] Mike Meyer (pitching coach)
14 – [179] Ben Moore (p)
15 – [180] Angelo Morales (p)
16 – [181] Josh Patton (inf)
17 – [182] Kris Regas (p)
18 – [183] Patrick Reilly (inf)
19 – [184] Grant Richardson (inf)
20 – [185] Mark Roberts (p)
21 – [186] Steve Shirley (manager)
22 – [187] Will Smith (out)
23 – [188] Paul Smyth (c)
24 – [189] Beau Torbert (out)
25 – [190] Ben Van Iderstine (out)
26 – [191] Cagey (mascot)

As is the case with all DAV baseball card releases, cardstock is thin, yet the cards are reasonably sturdy. There are no stats on the backs of the cards- standard for DAV sets. Surface treatment is a semi gloss that doesn’t require preparation prior to autographing.

I wonder if there are any graphers living in Sioux Falls. If so, I would love to find out if the baseball cards given away on August 12, 2008 are different than these, or these are the only cards fans have to commemorate the Canaries championship season. Normally, the DAV lists dates that they appear at ballparks, but for some reason Sioux Falls was omitted from the 2008 list. Possibly that is because the Canaries are not associated with major league baseball, or someone got a look at these things at the DAV after they were printed, but not early enough to cancel the giveaway, and removed that line from the website.

At any rate, you can’t buy these cards from the Canaries. Possibly you can find them on eBay or from some other secondary source, but I’m not going to even waste my time to look. Neither should you.

– Kris

2008 fresno grizzlies team set review

October 29, 2008

2008 Fresno Grizzlies team set
Official Score – HIT BY PITCH
Manufacturer: MultiAd Sports
Retail price: $10.00

Consider yourself warned that you should turn your computer speakers WAY down before you click on this link to the Fresno Grizzlies website.

Okay… perhaps in the future you will take my warnings seriously.

I’ve been sitting on this team set for too long while trying to decide if I like it or not. Some days I think it is very nice. Other days I get annoyed as I thumb through the set, but I’m not sure if that is due to the overall darkness of approximately one-third of the cards, or if because I am of the opinion that the team logo in along the left portion of the cards is a bit much. I guess I’m getting ahead of myself.

The 2008 Fresno Grizzlies 35-card team set contains no printed checklist. That is countered by the fact that the set only contains two non-essential cards. Here’s what you get:

1 – Nate Schierholtz (out)
2 – Geno Espineli (p)
3 – Jim Bowie (hitting coach)
4 – Bartolome Fortunato (p)
5 – Todd Jennings (c)
6 – Patrick Misch (p)
7 – Brad Hennessey (p)
8 – Guillermo Rodriguez (c)
9 – Eliezer Alfonzo (c)
10 – Matt Palmer (p)
11 – Ivan Ochoa (inf)
12 – Emmanuel Burris (inf)
13 – Dan Rohn (manager)
14 – Alex Hinshaw (p)
15 – Dayton Buller (c)
16 – Kevin Gryboski (p)
17 – Brian Bocock (inf)
18 – John Bowker (out)
19 – Julio Cordido (inf)
20 – Clay Timpner (out)
21 – Justin Leone (inf)
22 – Scott McClain (inf)
23 – Nick Pereira (p)
24 – Anthony Reyes (trainer)
25 – Eugenio Velez (inf)
26 – Brian Horwitz (out)
27 – Brett Harper (inf)
28 – Randy Messenger (p)
29 – Ryan Sadowski (p)
30 – Eli Whiteside (c)
31 – Victor Santos (p)
32 – Jesse Foppert (p)
33 – Mike Caldwell (pitching coach) [talking to Victor Santos]
34 – Travis Denker (inf)
35 – Parker (mascot)

While I generally make it a rule to not post scans of mascot cards in my blogs, I’ve decided to make an exception in this case as I am offering this card as the prize in a fun little contest. Meet Parker. He’s a bear. I suppose he’s a grizzly.

Parker was named “best mascot in all of professional sports in 2007.” Why am I always the last to hear stuff like this? Possibly it is because I am extremely cynical, or because I am about as anti-mascot as one could be.

If there were a time and a place for mascots in professional baseball, I would accept that it MIGHT be making silly videos during the off season- when the rest of the grizzly population is hibernating. You don’t need to purchase anything to enter this contest, but you will be required to watch at least some of this- “The best minor league baseball off-season show on the entire internets…” Afterwards, simply leave a comment with your guess as to which part not only made me laugh out loud, but also caused A&W Root Beer to squirt out my nose.

(Content warning: Video contains country music, so you may prefer to leave your speakers turned low.)

A note to the winner: I will ship this card directly to your home or office as you wish. Alternatively, I will be happy to ship this card gift-wrapped in your name to your favorite card blogger who collects cards featuring mascots, musical folding chairs and/or smiling kids- all courtesy of Aardvark Trading Company.

Photo credits for the entire 2008 Fresno Grizzlies team set go to Don Davis. Don has some very nice photos on his website. I was going to include a link to an image that includes ex-Isotopes first baseman Derek Wathan, but I think many of you will really enjoy this photograph more.

The Grizzlies opted for MultiAd’s logocentric (Style D) template for their 2008 team set. (What I’d really like to find out is if any team used MultiAd’s fantastic (Style K) template.) Card thinness suggests that the Fresno Grizzlies are doing their part to conserve natural resources by selecting the thinnest cardstock available. Hey, it isn’t like cardboard grows on trees.

The 2008 Fresno Grizzlies team set contains the aforementioned mascot, one trainer, three coach cards, a dozen pitchers, FIVE catchers, nine infielders and four outfielders. And that concludes this review.

Just kidding…

Five catchers in the same team set? I find that somewhat puzzling. Apparently so does Todd Jennings.

Another catcher card that has earned the distinction of being featured in this post is Eli Whiteside since he was CAUGHT IN THE ACT of signing autographs for fans. Thanks Eli!

The nine cards of infielders include a nice mixture of players fielding, hitting and running. This shot of Travis Denker represents the better end of the images in the set.

This shot of Eugenio Velez is representative of what I consider to be overly dark cards. I can’t help but wonder just how much quicker this young speedster would be if his rear pockets weren’t loaded down. It appears that besides a batting glove, Velez is also toting around a pocketful of baseball cards- possibly to trade with the infielders of the opposing team as he rounds the bases.

The four cards of outfielders are evenly split depicting players batting and fielding, as well as sporting different version of the Grizzlies’ uniforms. Well done!

John Bowker gets the nod for inclusion here since he helped my 2008 fantasy baseball team with some badly needed homers at times when my regular outfielders were on the mend. In fact, John spent more time on my fantasy team than he did with the 2008 Fresno Grizzlies where he accumulated only 27 at bats.

Of the dozen cards of pitchers in the 2008 Fresno Grizzlies team set, seven feature a Grizzlies pitcher in a white uniform, the other five in a black jersey. And that is where the variety ends. To be fair, the shots are from slightly different angles and capture the pitchers in slightly different stages of their delivery- but only slightly. This subset is clearly the weak link in the product, and could have been improved simply by including a photo of one pitchers laying down a sacrifice bunt, or another charting pitches in his street clothes. Since none of the cards stand out as being above or below the others, I’ve chosen to include a scan of ex-Isotopes pitcher Randy Messenger to give you an idea of what these ALL look like.

Surface treatment appears to be a semi-gloss that shouldn’t require preparation prior to obtaining autographs. (Normally I would perform a Sharpie test using a mascot card, but I won’t in this case since I will be sending it to someone else- possibly YOU!)

The card backs consist of two-color (black and orange) printing over white matte, player stats and short bios. Greyscale photos of the players on the backs aren’t particularly useful in player identification since they are simply tightly cropped headshots from the same photos used on the front. If you are a fan of nighttime baseball cards, the 2008 Fresno Grizzlies team set might be for you. Then again, if your résumé fails to note that you are a big time supporter of the San Francisco Giants and their farm system, then perhaps not so much.

Personal bias completely aside, the 2008 Fresno Grizzlies team set is a MUST HAVE any self-respecting grapher who lives in, or frequently visits a Triple-A city. In addition to the 2008 team set, the Fresno Grizzlies’ online store provides the opportunity to pick up team sets from 2002-2004 (for only THREE BUCKS each!!!), plus the previously reviewed 2008 PCL Top Prospects set for $10. Shop smart and save on shipping!

– Kris

2008 memphis redbirds team set review

September 24, 2008

2008 Memphis Redbirds team set
Official Score – TWO RUN HOMER
Manufacturer: MultiAd Sports
Sponsor: Superlo Foods
Retail price: $6.00

This may be the first set of MultiAd cards I’ve reviewed that does not contain a checklist. But don’t sweat it, the cards are numbered # of 35 on the back. Besides, you have already figured out that when it comes to official minor league team set checklists, Aardvark Trading Company will never leave you hanging. That said, take a look at the players (as well as non-players) included in the 2008 Memphis Redbirds team set:

1 – Colby Rasmus (out)
2 – Chris Perez (p)
3 – Bryan Anderson (c)
4 – Jaime Garcia (p)
5 – Clayton Mortensen (p)
6 – Mitchell Boggs (p)
7 – Joe Mather (out)
8 – P.J. Walters (p)
9 – Blake Hawksworth (p)
10 – Jarrett Hoffpauir (inf)
11 – Mark Worrell (p)
12 – Mike Parisi (p)
13 – Jason Motte (p)
14 – Brian Barden (inf)
15 – Hugo Castellanos (p)
16 – Ron Flores (p)
17 – David Freese (inf)
18 – Cody Haerther (out)
19 – D’Angelo Jimenez (inf)
20 – Gabe Johnson (c)
21 – Mark Johnson (c)
22 – Josh Phelps (inf)
23 – Anthony Reyes (p)
24 – Matt Scherer (p)
25 – Nick Stavinoha (out)
26 – John Wasdin (p)
27 – Rico Washington (inf)
28 – Nick Webber (p)
29 – Chris Maloney (manager)
30 – Blaise Ilsley (pitching coach)
31 – Mark Budaska (hitting coach) & Colby Rasmus
32 – Chris Conroy (trainer) – Ryan Eubanks (batboy) – Tony Martin
33 – Jake Fitts (strength coach)
34 – RBI (Returning Baseball to the Inner City kids)
35 – Rockey (mascot)

The Memphis Redbirds chose MultiAd’s (Style C) template in the creation of their team set for the 2008 season. This style was one of the more popular choices in 2008 (see also 2008 Omaha Royals and 2008 Iowa Cubs). I am a big fan of the greyscale cigar-band style strip across the lower margin of the cards where the player name, number and position are printed along with the team name and logo. The designers of the Memphis Redbirds team set elevated this product to a higher level with the inclusion of facsimile autographs. Sure, you are probably thinking that they passed that additional cost of that feature on to the consumer… That is simply not the case.

Facsimile autographs are particularly useful in determining whether a player really would have preferred to not sign your card. I suppose if you’d rather not know that about players, you may not be that excited to have the facsimile autograph on the front of your cards to tempt you into comparing them.

Card thinness is average for a minor league sets. The card fronts are coated with a semi-gloss leaving them ready for autographing without any surface preparation. The backs consist of four-color printing over white matte, typical player stats and short bios. Color player headshots in the upper right corner of the backs are extremely useful in helping you identify the players in street clothes in spite of the fact that they are all wearing hats in the photos.

Photo credits for the 2008 Memphis Redbirds go to Allison Rhoades. All are first rate- a few perhaps even bordering on Pulitzer Prize material. The vast majority of the backgrounds are light and ideal for autographing. In fact, Rico Washington’s card has one of the darker backgrounds, and he will compensate by turning his card at an angle- then sign his autograph up the length of his white uniform pants.

As entertaining it is that the Redbirds have a strength coach named “Fitts,” I’m not amused enough to include a scan of that card in this review. There are also cards of the 2002 Eastern League Athletic Trainer of the Year and his pals, kids from the Redbirds RBI (Returning Baseball to the Inner City) Program, and Rockey the mascot for people who enjoy baseball cards of non-baseball players.

The 2008 Memphis Redbirds team set contains three coach cards, including manager Chris Mahoney filling out a lineup card, pitching coach Blaise Ilsely tossing batting practice, and hitting coach Mark Budaska coaching third base and chatting with outfielder Colby Rasmus. Regardless of what team or league you follow, it is always a good sign to see one of your top prospects standing on third base wearing a batting helmet and taking off his batting gloves. This isn’t the only card in the set that inspires optimism.

Since I have already mentioned Rasmus, I might as well preempt my discussion of the pitching staff and just move on out to the four outfielders included in this set. Of the three cards featuring outfielders on offense, Rasmus is the only one not holding a bat in his hands. I suspect it is much easier to take photos of Colby on the base paths since he spends more time there than in the batter’s box.

Nick Stavinoha’s photo suggests that he his eyeballing the trajectory of a homer, while Joe Mather’s photo captures him poised to knock one out of the yard as well. Cody Haether’s card not only depicts him in the outfield having just tracked down the fly off an opponent’s bat, but while wearing one of four different Redbirds uniforms included in the set. My point being that this team set offers a wide variety of poses that will please every fan except those who prefer redundancy.

How about Haether’s game day signature compared to the facsimile? I’d say that is close enough to say it is consistent.

Readers expecting me to move on to the infielders will undoubtedly be frustrated as I instead take this opportunity to focus on catchers. This set contains three of them. Each depicts a backstop in full or nearly full catcher’s gear. Sure, the helmets do obscure the players’ faces, but graphers may use the full-color headshot on the back of the cards to help identify the players they do not recognize. This set scores high points for that alone!

Personally, I find that Mark Johnson’s card is the weakest of the three catchers, but I chose to include a scan of it here because of the background. No, I’m not a Nashville Sounds fan. Instead, I like the fact that you can see a dedicated fan recording a “2-6 CS” (caught stealing) in her scorebook even before Johnson fires a bullet down to second base. If you don’t absolutely love minor league baseball, I’m assuming you’ve never been to a game. Try to knock that off your “to do list” next season.

The 2008 Memphis Redbirds team set contains cards of six infielders. Three are batting, one is navigating the base paths and two are fielding. As much as I feel that each of these cards warrant scanning and including in this post, I think the proper thing to do is to pick one* and urge you to purchase a set from the Redbirds so you can enjoy seeing them for the first time in person. (*Note: Having already stated in a prior post that I would include a scan of Jarrett Hoffpauir’s card saves me from having to decide which of the infielder cards is my favorite.)

Of course I can’t even begin to think about ending this review without mentioning the various cards of pitchers contained within. There are 15 in case you didn’t keep track earlier when you were scanning through the checklist. Even though all were captured while pitching, the different uniforms, backgrounds and angles employed combine to add a great deal of variety to the team set. Although there is only one horizontal card in the set, all photos used have been expertly cropped.

Castellanos is captured in the process of delivering a pitch to the plate while his teammates lounge in the sunny bullpen and discuss the likelihood that Hugo will have his card featured in Cards in the Attic simply because of the horizontal orientation. So it goes!

Another method of ensuring that your card is included here is to get called up to the majors soon after signing a card for me, and ultimately wind up as one of the players on my fantasy baseball team roster – a strategy that Jason Motte has wisely chosen.

If a stronger minor league team set was produced in 2008, it has yet to be submitted to me for review. I just read the other day that the St. Louis Cardinals have entered into the process of buying the Memphis Redbirds team. I would hope that if the sale goes through, the parent club would recognize the talents of the Memphis personnel responsible for putting this team set together and call them up to the bigs.

I was not able to locate this particular team set for sale on the Memphis Redbirds online team shop, and that is a shame. I don’t particularly care for the current trend in minor league teams shifting to use the “” format online team shop. While I may have to accept it, I do not have to like it.

Instead, I am here to tell you that you may still obtain your own 2008 Memphis Redbirds team set (for only SIX BUCKS (plus shipping)) by calling the Redbirds team shop at 901.722.0273. Do not delay as supply is limited, and demand is sure to be high for such a quality product! I haven’t seen any pop up on the secondary market, but would expect them to be priced in the neighborhood of $12.00 and higher on eBay.

– Kris

2007 iowa cubs team set review

August 12, 2008

2007 Iowa Cubs team set
Official Score – RBI TRIPLE
Manufacturer: MultiAd Sports
Sponsor: Post
Retail price: $9.99

Regardless of what the printed 30-card checklist says, there is no Sean Marshall card in this set. There is, however, a card of Neal Cotts that was not listed.

1 – Felix Pie (of)
2 – Cory Bailey (p)
3 – Ronny Cedeno (inf)
4 – Rocky Cherry (p)
5 – Buck Coats (p)
6 – Neal Cotts (p)
7 – Mike Fontenot (p)
8 – Jim Henderson (p)
9 – Micah Hoffpauir (inf)
10 – Ben Howard (p)
11 – Mike Kinkade (3b)
12 – J.R. Mathes (p)
13 – Scott Moore (p)
14 – Matt Murton (of)
15 – Ryan O’Malley (p)
16 – Eric Patterson (inf)
17 – Carmen Pignatiello (p)
18 – Clay Rapada (p)
19 – Tony Richie (c)
20 – Geovany Soto (c)
21 – Chris Walker (of)
22 – Les Walrond (p)
23 – John Webb (p)
24 – Randy Wells (p)
25 – Buddy Bailey (manager)
26 – Mike Harkey (pitching coach)
27 – Von Joshua (hitting coach)
28 – Mike Mahoney (c)
29 – Bob Grimes (trainer)
30 – checklist (team photo)

The baseball cards in this team set appear to have been treated with the popular Sharpie-friendly clear coat finish. The Iowa Cubs went with Multi-Ad’s “Style O” template, and I believe it was a wise decision. The backs consist of two-color (black and blue) printing over white matte, player stats and short bios. A grayscale thumbnail image showing a cropped portion of the card front is included on the back of each card except the checklist. Thin cardstock? Does a potato have eyes?

Photo credits for this set include Chris Donahue, Scott Schutz and Larry Woolis. Once again the Iowa Cubs photographers have delivered a nice mixture of players wearing different uniforms, and employed a wide variety of backgrounds. The background on Matt Murton’s card not only matches his hair, but also is so different from the rest of the set that it leaps to the top of the pile as one of the best.

Obviously not content by appearing on only a single card, Murton also makes a cameo appearance in the background of Tony Richie’s card. Nicely done Matt!

This shot of Felix Pie is representative of the quality photographs used throughout the set. Frozen mid stride, Pie appears to be watching a towering fly ball, perhaps watching to see if it crosses the outfield fence in fair or foul territory.

Eric Patterson’s card is one of only three position players depicted in defensive mode. It is fabulous, so I’m not sure why they didn’t include more like it in the set.

I-Cubbies fans that like cards of pitchers pitching will delight in the fact that there are nine included in the set. These Randy Wells and Carmen Pignatiello cards should give you a great idea of what to expect in that department.

And just to mix it up a little, check out this card of Ben Howard…

Baseball purists who enjoy cards of pitchers laying down sacrifice bunts will have to look elsewhere for their kicks. The only card of a pitcher using a bat is the one of Les Walrond who seems to have been captured right after lacing a double into the gap in left-center. RUN LES!!!!

One of the more intriguing cards included in the 2007 Iowa Cubs team set is of manager Buddy Bailey explaining life to a PCL umpire. I’m not including a scan of this card simply because I wouldn’t want Buddy Bailey to ever get angry enough to yell at me. If you want to see this card, I recommend that you call the friendly folks in the Iowa Cubs team shop (515.243.6111) and order an entire set. You won’t be disappointed.

While I haven’t seen any of these sets selling on the secondary market, I would expect one to fetch around $15. So I wouldn’t wait… order directly from the team. Actually, I just noticed that several of the old Iowa Cubs team sets are currently on sale online. At only $7.97 per set, you may end up feeling like you just bought a bitchin’ pair of stereo speakers from a couple of guys in a van circling the mall parking lot- but I think you’ll soon get over the guilt.

– Kris