2019 Allen & Ginter Box Break!

As soon as I first saw the image of a base card featuring a simple egg, that would be included in the 2019 Allen & Ginter set, I had to have that card. Allen & Ginter often threw in cards of objects or locations into a mixture of current stars, rookies and retired legendary baseball players. Stuff like the Atom, Bigfoot (the monster truck, although the mythical monster has been featured as well) and Area 51 have all been highlighted in a Topps Allen & Ginter set.

Congratulations Topps, you got me. Yet another one of your gimmicks has talked me into parting with my hard earned money on a product I’d been fairly cold on in recent years. But simply printing a card of an egg, sold me on buying some 2019 Allen & Ginter.

I don't even like eggs.

But how could you not love this packaging art?

This wax box was an impulse buy at the LCS a few weeks ago. I wasn’t going to buy any packs that day, but I really wanted an egg. In flat cardboard form. The last time I bought a hobby box of Allen & Ginter was 2009. I don’t remember the gimmick I was chasing a decade ago, but I liked the artwork on the cards then… Just as I did a couple of weeks ago…

Just look at that beautiful wrapper!

When I cover a box break for this site, I don't like just listing off what I got in each pack. I'd rather pull out a bunch of cards that I feel like talking about and cover those. Of course, Allen & Ginter is more than just a baseball card set of current players. Since Topps introduced the set in 2006, it’s traditionally included a decent mix of current players and retired legends…

And you can’t get much more legendary than Babe Ruth.

There haven’t been a whole lot of changes to the Allen & Ginter card backs over the last 13 years. Their trademark has always been to spell out the numbers in words. Making 2,503 look like Two Thousand Five Hundred Three. Which is a lot harder to read, but I’ll award the ample amount of style points.

Something I just noticed… Babe Ruth was born in EIGHTEEN Ninety Five, not Nineteen Ninety Five. A 24 year old Babe Ruth would probably still be suiting up for the Yankees. Definitely playing over Giancarlo Stanton…

Since I’ve highlighted Ruth’s card, it seems fair to show the man who overtook his home run record…

Thankfully, Barry Bonds isn’t in the set (or I didn’t get his card from the box). And I don’t care what the numbers state, Hank Aaron is still the all time home run champion in my book.

I should have scanned the back of Roberto Clemente’s card, just so I could see “Three Thousand” listed for career hits.

Another tradition for Allen & Ginter is the mini cards. They are a parallel to the base set, only smaller. These mimic the size and look of the original Allen & Ginter Tobacco cards of the late 1800’s. I do not own any of those, but I’d really like some. Or at least 1.

Oh, I meant one

Not all the former players were flat out Legends. Garciaparra was fairly good for several seasons in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, but his career faded rather quickly once the Red Sox dumped him on the Cubs in 2004. He gets a mini card!

And being Topps, where even the gimmicks need gimmicks, the parallel mini cards have parallel sets. In this case, a black border around the picture.

And in Jackie Robinson’s case, the front appears as normal…

But the back is COMPLETELY different!

Allen & Ginter doesn't just do mini cards that parallel the base set, Topps likes to make insert sets for all sorts of different things that you didn't know you wanted cards of...

Like flowers! 

Topps even makes rare parallels of these with actual flower seeds inside the card. I got one of those a few years ago.

Or dogs!

A friend of mine had a Great Dane. She was monstrous and could knock you over if you were off balance. So I'd say this write up fits.

Boot Von Norway...

What about horses?

These aren't mini-sized cards, but a full sized insert.

Here's some hobby pack odds, so you can see what this year's set has to offer in terms of special sets and lottery hits.

But one of my favorite things about opening packs of Allen & Ginter, is playing a quick game of "Who is this guy? And why is he on a card?"

"Who's this guy? And why is he on a card?"

Oh, he's a video game voice actor. 

I guess that's kind of cool, but I don't believe it's cool enough to warrant a card...

"Who's this woman? And why is she on a card?"

(And why is she about to eat a large yellow cookie?)

Oh, she plays hockey.

"Who's this guy? And why is he on a card?"

Well, he can easily kick my ass... So he can have a card!

"Who's this little girl? And why is she on a card?"

Okay, that's deserving of a card in a set like this...

"Who's this guy? And why is he on a card? And why does it have some shirt in it?"

He's on Parks and Recreation... I'm more of an Office guy...

Guess this counts as one of my box hits then.

With all of this wackiness going on, it is still a baseball set?

Some of the legends of the game are honored with the Ginter Greats set.

Like Hank Aaron (again).

And Mike Piazza.

There are actually some current players in the set. Not just dogs, Hall of Famers and flowers. Much to my pleasant surprise, this box had a decent selection of Colorado Rockies.

Like Charlie Blackmon!

David Dahl!

Daniel Murphy!

Retired Rockies star Todd Helton!

Former Rockies All-Star (and current hated Yankee) that the Rockies could really have used this season, D.J. LeMahieu!

Of course I pulled the 2019 Allen & Ginter Derek Jeter base card, because he HAS to be in every set, despite retiring years ago. I've seen every variation of the standing Jeter card pose that I can stand looking at, so I didn't bother scanning it. However, it brought to mind a simple thought that I wish Topps would have thought of. Since Derek Jeter is a partial owner of the Miami Marlins, why not take a photo of of Jeter in one of his $15,000 suits, airbrush a Photoshopped Marlins cap on him, and make a card highlighting his post-playing career hijinx?

Topps should really think outside the box, for a set that's all about thinking outside the box.

Like including the legendary maligned Concorde airplane!

Yup, there's even a set dedicated to the History of Flight. With a full bleed image, unlike all the other cards in the set. I only got three of these cards. I would have liked more as the backs were fun and informative. And I think there's room for that in cards sometimes!

I know the recently retired Ichiro thinks that as well.

Early 1990's quasi-legend Deion Sanders even gets a card in 2019 Allen & Ginter.

Something that stood out to me while opening the box was the background of the cards. Instead of placing the cut out image of the person against a plain color, or just floating around in a white void, the base cards alternate between stock image backdrops. This design element really fits these cards, and is a big reason why I decided that I really liked 2019 Allen & Ginter.

Like George Brett hanging out on the field next to the Army barracks!

And Mark McGwire in an old ballpark that was likely turned into an apartment complex before the 1950's...

While Roberto Alomar stands in the new field, opposite those new 1950's apartments.

(And what happened to Alomar's bat that he was holding on the last card where Topps used this photo?)

Casey Stengel on a field even older than he is (was)!

And Willie McCovey needs to pose further away from what looks to be an interesting old timey stadium, so I can see more of it!

Hey! This pack has a bow and arrow in it!

Even yet another wacky insert in 2019 Allen & Ginter is Incredible Equipment. Featuring images of weapons from mythological stories, with brief write-ups on the back.

I'm not sure what the Palm Tree leaves have to do with King Arthur's Sword...

All that actual real life history, and no mention of the Palm Tree Leaves...

Paul Bunyan's Axe. A card appealing to the sorta-proud Minnesotan in me...

The thing that always bothered me about the Paul Bunyon story was the inconsistency in the size ratio of Bunyan against the supposed accomplishments to his credit. For example, if the Grand Canyon was the result of Paul's dragging axe handle, he would have to stood thousands of feet tall to create that vast chasm. And if that were the case, given the length of the canyon, his basic stride would have only seen him take about four paces. Where would have have been walking to?

Or from?

And what are the long lasting results of what he did at either the starting or ending point of his trek?

And wouldn't the entire planet been entirely too small for such a gigantic human being?

I've spent way too much energy in trying to debunk something that everyone knows never happened...

Or did it?

Hey! It's Willie Stargell!

And Larry Doby!

And Sandy Koufax!

And Nolan Ryan!

Who for some reason doesn't look as Nolan Ryan as I remember Nolan Ryan looking...

And Robin Yount!  Who is covered in barnacles for some reason...

Of course the short printed "high numbers" are back. But at 1 in 2 packs, how short could they be printed? And why exactly did Topps decide to skip card numbers 301 to 349?

I think their gimmicks are getting lamer...

But not New To The Zoo! 

That Orangutan Baby is absolutely adorable!

And informative!

Looking at the cards that I scanned from the box, I found that I included very few current players, but a ton of the legends. Probably because the retired stars fit the set better than the current crop of major leaguers do. But the set is predominantly today's stars, as it should be.

Last year's hot Japanese import has been struck with the same Barnacle outbreak that has afflicted Robin Yount.

However, this year's mild Japanese import has only been half infected. With the right side of his face free and clear of all underwater life.

Continuing on with some more of 2019's hot rookies...

Including the son half of my new favorite father and son baseball combo...

His father, the Expo...

His father, the Expo, in Black Mini parallel form...

His father, the Expo, in Encased Mini Game Used Memorabilia form...

I was absolutely not expecting one of the box hits to be a Montreal Expos card. 

But I could not be more thrilled to pull one!

Vladdy Senior and Junior have now overtaken...

This guy and his dad, as my favorite father and son baseball combo. 

Although Ken could not look more smug in having that title taken away...

The same pack that housed Ken Griffey Jr. also contained this mini parallel of fellow Junk Wax Era superstar Frank Thomas. I thought it was rather fun to get them both in the same pack. Were it 1994, this would have been a dream wax pack. The early 1990's saw both Griffey and Thomas trade places as the hobby's hottest stars almost monthly in the Becketts.

Now both are members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Which makes me feel really old...

The generation before Griffey and Thomas collected sluggers like Reggie Jackson. 

Although there was a huge difference in the hobby between 1994 and 1984…

Just as collectors in 1934 were clamoring for stars like Lou Gehrig. 

Remember those awesome game used autographed 1934 Goudey Superfractors?

How about a mini parallel of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings?

I’d like to see Allen & Ginter highlight more baseball history beyond just the same Hall of Famers we’ve seen a bunch of times. I get this cards inclusion, with Major League Baseball celebrating it’s 150th anniversary this season. But I’d like to see this idea expanded upon in future Allen & Ginter sets.

Or we could just have more imaginary weapons!

May just be me, but I’d sure like to see a modern day Robin Hood unleashed on Wall Street or the Fossil Fuel industry... 

Especially the Pharmaceutical industry... 

Well, It’d be a start…

Yelich thought that was funny…

Byron Buxton headlines the rather small crop of Minnesota Twins packed inside this box. Once again, injuries have sidetracked a really good comeback season for Buxton. With all the success the Twins have seen in the 2019 season, they clearly are a much better team when Buxton is on the field. It would be hard to name him the team MVP, but I don’t think you can point to too many other Twins who contribute more to the team’s success.

I was a big Torii Hunter fan during his Twins days, and he’s not even close to the dynamic athlete that Buxton is.

No slight to Hunter in the least.

For you astrology buffs, Rod Carew is a Libra…

I didn’t realize Carew has that long a streak of All Star Game appearances. That’s pretty incredible.

Former Twin Brian Dozier looks better in a Nationals uniform than he did in Dodger blue…

Do you think the Nationals really miss Bryce Harper, once you can replace him with 20 year old Juan Soto? He only makes about $24.5 million less than Harper this season…

Well, I’m going to have to see it for myself…

Laura and I have decided that we should make a visit to Washington DC. She has visited 48 of the 50 states, with only Maryland and Delaware missing from her list. So we will be crossing those states off in a month.

Among plans for our much needed vacation, will be taking in the Washington Nationals game against the hated Cleveland Indians. It’s the last game of the season, and I really hope the Indians are well behind the Minnesota Twins (HOPEFULLY the AL Central Division winners) long before this game.

In addition to the Nats game, I’m hoping to find a bunch of abandoned buildings to cover in future stories on this site… Should be fun…

And expensive…

Maybe this guy can spot us a few bucks? 

Once again… Who is this guy with all the cash, and why does he get a card?

I was so sick of the World Series of Poker in 2005, when my roommate watched it 24/7. Does this World Series ever end? When does it begin? No matter what time of year, it seems like the World Series of Poker is taking place. And with each passing year, the card playing athlete “personalities” get even more repellent. I’m not a violent guy, but man would I love to punch some of these smarmy douche baskets right in the nose.

And I don’t think he deserves a card in this set…

But you know what really belongs in this set?

World Champion Weiner Eaters!

Even yet still another wacky insert set in 2019 Allen & Ginter is the Dreams of Blue Ribbons set, honoring contests a whole lot less famous than baseball. So congratulations to Joey Chestnut for eating a rather unbelievable 74 hot dogs in 10 minutes. My personal record is 4, and I felt awful after setting it.

This contest was not held at the…

Cespedes Family BBQ? 

Okay, now once again... What is this and why does it get a card?

I guess that should fully answer that question. To be fair, I have at least heard of the Cespedes Family BBQ, and I find it kind of cool that it gets a card.

Not nearly as cool as an egg, but I’ll allow it.

Okay, now this is cool! An Allen & Ginter card honoring the 1st Tiger Mask! 

An obscure but highly appropriate inclusion for a set like this.

How about a Nun?

And a baseball playing one at that!

Just seeing the term "Sister Mary" anywhere always brings the song They Don't Make Nun Names Like That No More (by Tommy Sharp & the Sharptones) to mind. Then it stays there for days because it's so damn catchy. You don't believe me?

Thanks Dr. Demento!

Another mini-card set to chase, honors the history of the Choo-Choo!

A nation-wide high speed train system is something I wish this country would have invested in decades ago. I'd love to make it to Denver in about an hour, without having to deal with everything involved with flying...

Just a couple more baseball related notes to cover before I wrap this up.

Not a Cardinals fan, but I love this Lou Brock card. (And it's a high number...) That sweet Cardinals jacket and bat under his arm really catch the eye. Combine that with the stock background that almost looks like where this picture was originally taken.

Josh Hader in mini-card parallel form (and oranges in his hair)...

And it's an Allen & Ginter Back Parallel!

But something's odd...

Looking at the Jackie Robinson Allen & Ginter Back Parallel again...

It's card #129.

While Josh Hader is card number...


I'm guessing this is the "No-Number" variation parallel of a parallel of a parallel. But the stated odds on the back of the pack do not mention that a No-Number parallel would be an Allen & Ginter backed parallel. Years earlier when I pulled a No-Number parallel, it was just the basic back of the regular non-parallel card, with no number printed on it. Damat Topps, why do you have to make things so confusing!

However, if this is the 2019 edition of the No-Number parallel, they fall at 1 in 128 packs. Meaning 1 every five and a half boxes. So that's pretty cool for a half case hit in this box.

And mildly disappointing...

My promised third hit of the box was this boring grey swatch from Mookie Betts.

Lame Topps!

Not an autograph or Printing Plate or even an uber-gimmicky Rip Card... Just three relics. 

At least one of them was Vladimir Guerrero, in Expos form!

So... Was it worth it?

I think so.

Buying any wax box is basically a $100 lottery ticket these days. You're not too likely to strike it rich (while it is possible) with what comes out of it. But if you end up having fun with the product and genuinely like what you bought, that makes it worth it.

And I feel like I can agree with that statement.

To make me feel a little better about not pulling an autograph from the Allen & Ginter box, the next day I got this card out of a retail jumbo pack of Topps B. L. at the local Targets!


Alright, enough of that. 

Time to get back to sorting.

Currently sorting the random stacks of Top Loaders by team, then placing them into individual team set bags!

But I still need that egg card…


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