Showing posts with label 2016 Allen and Ginter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2016 Allen and Ginter. Show all posts

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Comedian Ari Shaffir fulfills childhood dream of being on a Topps baseball card

Thumbing through a pack of 2016 Topps Allen and Ginter baseball cards, the tally of superstars read like a who’s who of baseball. Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw, Kris Bryant, Ari Shaffir, Albert Pujols … wait whose organization has a top prospect named Shaffir? A quick flip of the card reveals that Shaffir is not in the set for his mammoth home runs or his unhittable curveball, but for his prowess at making people laugh.

2016 Topps Allen and Ginter Ari Shaffir / Topps

Shaffir is a comedian best known for his Comedy Central series, “This is Not Happening.” Continuing with Topps’ efforts to diversify their Allen and Ginter set, Shaffir’s inclusion in the set represents Topps’ eye for highlighting rising stars. After a recent performance at The Stand in New York City, Shaffir sat down to discuss the experience of being immortalized on a baseball card. The opportunity arose from a recommendation by a fellow comedian who was in last year's set.

“Sal Vulcano had one [2015 Topps Allen and Ginter] and he knew some people [at Topps] so he recommended me,” Shaffir said. “They e-mailed me and I thought it would be cool.”

Shaffir performing at The Stand in NYC / N. Diunte

Growing up, Shaffir collected Topps baseball cards. The hallmark of his collection was an iconic card of Hall of Famer George Brett.

"I was into baseball cards," he said. "I always had Topps when I was little. My favorite was a 1975 George Brett rookie card; it was the center of my collection.”

One of Shaffir’s favorite players growing up was Frank Thomas. Never in his wildest dreams did he think that he would be in the same baseball card set as the Hall of Famer, but with the advent of 2016’s Allen and Ginter set, that dream became a reality.

“I was really into Frank Thomas,” he said. “I followed his career all the way up, from being drafted all the way to the Hall of Fame.”

Part of Shaffir’s inclusion in Topps’ set involved him autographing cards, as well as providing event worn memorabilia for limited edition inserts. He went behind the scenes at Topps' iconic headquarters in New York City to meet with their representatives to fulfill his duties for the set.

“I went to the office in Manhattan and signed a bunch [of cards],” he said. “I ended up giving up my shirt that I wore from my [Comedy Central] special. They gave me a Topps shirt too; it was cool.”

Now that Shaffir has an official baseball card, he is receiving major league treatment from fans. When he recently returned from touring, his mailbox was full with unexpected requests to sign his rookie card.

“I’ve been getting people sending me stuff,” he said. “I got back from two months on the road and I had 6-7 letters waiting in my mailbox. I sign them, ‘S--k it, Love Ari.’”

Shaffir welcomed fans to send him his new card to sign. He offered time-tested advice for making a mail request; send return postage.

“My address is up on my website,” he said. “People can send me some as long as there is a self-addressed stamped envelope; otherwise the card’s never coming back.”

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

2016 Allen and Ginter - A reminder of the joys of collecting

One of the most anticipated surprises of Topps’ annual baseball calendar is the release of the 2016 Allen and Ginter baseball card set; not necessarily for the baseball players included within, but the non-baseball celebrities and athletes that grace the contents of the checklist. While some fans may not be excited to discover a card of a comedian or broadcaster in between All-Stars, this mix of eclectic personalities with today’s top baseball talents is what sets Allen and Ginter as a distinct release in the baseball card space.

2016 Topps Allen and Ginter / Topps

Familiar non-baseball names include actors Anthony Anderson and George Lopez, Olympians Missy Franklin and Michael Phelps, as well as sportscasters Colin Cowherd and Mike Francesa. Topps also gives a major nod to the growing presence of female on-air sports analysts and personalities with the inclusion of Jessica Mendoza, Jill Martin, Hannah Storm, and Heidi Watney.

Moving aside from the contents of the base set, the classic painted designs give Allen and Ginter a vintage feel while accentuating the photos by leaving room on the borders for the images to stand out. This blueprint has been the hallmark of the Allen and Ginter series and what continues to attract collectors to the product. Collectors will gravitate towards the Baseball Legends insert set, which highlights 25 top Hall of Famers including its newest member, Ken Griffey Jr. Another fun chase is the United States Mayors mini set, featuring 35 different mayors including New York City’s Bill de Blasio.

2016 Topps Allen and Ginter Bill de Blasio

Each box guarantees three hits in the form of a rip card, autograph, relic, or book card. Also included in the hobby box for this review was an oversized box loader card. The box for this review yielded an autograph card as well as two relic cards, a fulfilling output for those looking from hits in the product; however, it did come well short of a complete set, leaving those wanting to build one with many holes to fill.

2016 Allen and Ginter Miguel Cabrera Relic Card

With a diverse list of baseball players and non-sports starts, 2016 Topps Allen and Ginter creates an exciting collecting atmosphere that serves as a reminder that the hobby is to be enjoyed and not just about chasing the next top prospect.