With a couple errands in need of being done yesterday afternoon, I found myself getting closer and closer to one of the card shops I often stop by for dime bins, supplies, and the occasional inexpensive box.
With the intent to pick up some supplies as well as maybe a pack or 2, I decided to keep heading in the direction of the shop when it occurred to me that there was, in fact, another shop in this area.
For years, I had been trying to stop by this store, but the hours simply didn't match up to when I could go by for a visit, and on the few occasions where they did match up, it would be near a holiday or a Sunday, and the store would be closed.
But this time, I called ahead to make sure they were open and sure enough, they were. Without really thinking, I found my way to this store, a place I had been wanting to stop by for a while now.
First and foremost, this place was absolutely insane. It consisted of a couple different rooms filled to the brink with boxes, packs, Boston sports memorabilia, binders, boxes, and just about anything else you could think of. It was definitely overwhelming, especially since I had never been here before which partially contributes to why I was there for an entire hour.
I picked up 2 things at this newly-discovered card shop, the first being a sealed pack of 2013 Panini Hometown Heroes which I'll be showing today. The 2nd thing was a much appreciated birthday gift courtesy of my Dad which I'll be posting sometime in the upcoming week.
I've always thought Hometown Heroes was a prime example of what a well-made unlicensed product looks like. The 24-card pack ended up costing me nothing due to the purchase of my previously-mentioned early birthday gift which I'll be showing within the next couple of days.
#62 Justin Verlander
Around half of this set is dedicated to modern players, those who were stars back in 2013. As for the set design, it certainly has a retro feel with a well-placed logo to go along with some red stars on a yellow background with a red pennant in the front that resembles 1965 Topps. Unlike '65 Topps and other retro sets, the colors don't change depending on the card. It's red and yellow through and through.
#20 Frank White
The other half of the set focuses on fan-favorite players, primarily from the 1980's and 1990's, an era very often under-represented on modern-day cardboard, likely because of the sheer number of cards produced throughout those 2 decades. Though some names make me feel like I need to brush up on my baseball knowledge, it's nice to see players like Frank White in the product, because it's not every day I can add a new Frank White card to my player collection of his.
#77 Bobby Witt
#100 Felix Hernandez
It's sad that Hernandez's ERA got so bad this year that he was regulated to a bullpen role. It almost makes you forget there was a time he was card #100 material.
#16 Dennis Eckersley
In some cases, Panini doesn't even try to cover up the no logos. There are numerous examples, including cards within this set, in which they use images that cover up part of the cap. However, choosing too many of those images no doubt can get repetitive, so I suppose there are some cases in which they just have to show the no logo head on.
#73 Tony Gwynn
Like I said, there are plenty of examples in which Panini chooses a particular photo in order to hide the no logos on the cap and jersey. Frank White's card from earlier in the pack and Tony Gwynn's card here to an excellent job at that.
#30 Paul Molitor
#87 Mike Krukow
#115 Matt Cain
#172 Mickey Tettleton
As far as Panini card backs go, this set is above-average due to it's improved utilization of the space provided. Granted, there are still multiple examples of dead space, and I wish they had included more stats, but the colors work even better on the card backs than they do on the fronts, and the blurbs about the players are always interesting quick reads.
#129 Jack Clark
#186 Tim Salmon
#144 Roger Clemens
#102 Max Scherzer
#160 Tom Brunansky
#R9 Darryl Strawberry Rivalry
One of my favorite insert sets in recent memory, Rivalry highlights 1 player that played on different arch-rival teams and shows that player in both uniforms on the same card. Johnny Damon and Wade Boggs are among players I believe are in this set, for they wore both Red Sox and Yankees jerseys. However, before pulling Strawberry in the pack, Lee Smith (Cubs and Cardinals) was the only one that I had.
#154 Dave Stieb State Stamp
Falling at approximately 1 per pack, the state stamp cards take a standard base card and place a gold stamp in the top right corner, highlighting the state that player was born in. It's another great concept of the set, though I would prefer a smaller sampling in order to choose a different design besides the base set.
Nevertheless, the card I pulled is of a player not even from the U.S. It's Dave Stieb, born in Ontario, Canada. I don't know about you, but I find that pretty cool.
#CH3 Randy Johnson City Hall
I'm not exactly sure of the premise behind these City Hall insert cards considering there must be some kind of the idea behind them. However, I do know this insert set can be added to the long list of Panini cards that would work multitudes better if only they had the licensing rights.
#231 Luis Gonzalez
#221 Fred McGriff
#208 Mark Lemke
#233 Matt Moore
#242 Albert Pujols
Ending the pack with a player I collect sure isn't bad, especially since I've seen much more obvious logoless caps and helmets in the pack than Albert Pujols here. I think it's because of the shininess of the helmet. If nothing else, it serves to slightly distract you whereas the cap does not.
I'll admit, it's not as great of a set as I remember, but the new card shop certainly is an exciting place. Once a couple weeks to a little over a month pass from the purchase of the birthday gift that I have ready to go tomorrow or Tuesday, you can bet I'll do what I can to take another trip to the shop.