As I mentioned in my previous post, August 2013 - usually July - marks the release of Ryan's favorite trading card product, Allen & Ginter baseball. Released by Topps, a leading producer of trading card products, particularly those involving sports, Ginter (as hobbyists will refer to it) is a throwback to the the tobacco era set of the same name.
In the late 1800s, card sets were developed to be sold inside of tobacco products in order to promote tobacco sales - the origin of today's trading card industry. Allen & Ginter tobacco was the first tobacco firm to develop cigarette cards for collecting and trading. In 2006, Topps decided to revive the brand as a baseball product, and it has become one of the company's best sellers. Ginter's claim to fame is its base set featuring hand painted images of current baseball players, as well as its inclusion of cards featuring popular athletes from other sports (including Danica Patrick, Shawn Johnson, and Pelé) and pop culture icons (Kate Upton, Erin Andrews, and Tommy Lee). For Ryan in particular, a large part of Ginter's draw is its set of hand painted miniature (tobacco sized) cards, which consists of the same cards that make up the full-sized Ginter base set. In addition to the base set, Ginter includes a variety of insert sets, relics (including the standard game-used memorabilia as well as DNA relics of humans and animals), and autographs. (For a full list of what is available this year, check out the checklist!)
In 2012, Ryan competed in a fun, annual contest called Gint-A-Cuffs (GAC), an event that pits fans of Allen & Ginter baseball against each other in a battle to see who can luck into the best box. Each competitor chooses a favored team as well as a favorite baseball player to use for the duration of the contest. The choices made by the competitor will impact their final score, as well as the scores of their fellow competitors.
This year, in pursuit of joy and in the spirit of love and marriage, I decided to join Ryan in GAC (with every intention of whooping his butt). With Ginter being officially released and shipped yesterday, Ryan and I have each acquired our appointed boxes and are eager to begin collating our bounty. Part of the fun of the contest is recording the contents of each of the 24 packs on one's personal blog and tabulating the final score for each pack, so expect those posts to be forthcoming. I'm excited!