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08/07/07 12:14 PM ET

Neshek: Topps Allen & Ginter box break

Well, my favorite product of the year came in yesterday, a box of baseball cards that I've been eyeing all year and couldn't wait to break open -- the 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter set.

It was my favorite card set last year, too. It really had a unique flavor about it that made me want to collect. I don't know exactly what it is about these things, the randomness of who you might get, the mini cards, the odd variations or the challenge of putting together the set ... But the 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter set has it all. It's a product that everyone will get into.

You have to trust me on this one. Go out and buy this brand. If you haven't bought a box of cards in 15 years or want to get your son or daughter into card collecting, this set is the one that will get your collecting juices going and let you see where the hobby now stands.

I'm telling you to do this now, though. Last year at this time, the product made it's debut and quickly sold out everywhere. The cool thing was that you could buy the retail boxes at Wal-Mart and Target for $19.99.

It's a little tougher to get inserts in the retail boxes, but what's nuts is that last year the same $19.99 boxes were selling for upwards of $50 on eBay about a month after the product release. This year, they're already going for $30 on eBay. If nothing else, buy them and resell them ... that is, if you ever see them. I'm guessing these will sell out quick at all Targets and Wal-Marts, but who knows?

Regardless, this is the product I've been anticipating for the last 12 months and I'll be opening as much as I can find.

So what the heck makes this brand of cards good? Well, for me, it's just plain fun to open up a pack of cards and pull out a card of Ken Jennings (Jeopardy! champ) or Jack The Ripper and ask yourself, "Why is this in a baseball card set?" There are a ton of non-baseball player cards in here, lots of world leaders such as Gandhi, weird things like the Eiffel Tower and the Washington Monument and even one for Groundhogs Day.

If that isn't enough, they also packed in mini cards of each regular card and a set of flags from around the world. Nothing like getting a flag of China to help build the set. I was pumped. Top this off with the chance to get the 2007 Westminister Dog Champion's Paw Print autograph (Might be a tough find, I heard the dog was a tough signer and only did 50 autographs) or a piece of George Washington's hair ( No Lie, click here), and you've got a fun set that reinvents collecting for the new age of baseball cards.

I was lucky enough to open two boxes of these today. Each box contains 24 packs, with eight cards -- six base cards and one mini insert and one Dick Perez Sketch card. In each box, you will get two sweet inserts, such as autographs, game used bat cards, game used jersey cards or other random things like George Washington's hair if you are very lucky. Also when opening the box (which is designed like a cigar box) there is a box topper that could contain some valuable stuff. Here's what I got in the two boxes:

Box 1 Box Topper: Westminister Dog Champion N43 card (No autograph, darn)
Box 2 Box Topper: Albert Pujols N43

•   Total Base Cards in two boxes: 286
•   Base Set: 193/350 -- 55 percent Completed
•   Doubles: 93 -- 33 percent doubles
•   Dick Perez Inserts -- Finished one set of all 30 and had 14 doubles

Mini's
•   28 Regular -- 11 A&G backs, three black-bordered, one black-bordered with no number
•   4 Flags -- 1 Bazooka numbered to 25 (Swisher)

Inserts
•   Miguel Cabrera bat, Barry Zito jersey, Rich Harden jersey, Carlos Beltran bat
•   No Autographs!
•   Two A-Rod home run history cards

Overall, probably my favorite set of the year. I did get a TON of doubles for some reason, but that provides a good supply for trading.

Go find a box for yourself. It's worth the hunt.

When he's not busy opening packs of baseball cards, Pat Neshek is a side-arming relief pitcher for the Minnesota Twins. He's 6-1 with a 2.12 ERA so far this season, holding batters to a .148 average and has 60 strikeouts over 51 innings.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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