By Chris Olds | Editor
It’s back, and it looks to be packing more punch than ever.
Well, at least with an autograph card of boxer Manny Pacquiao.
Topps unveiled on Monday evening the first look at 2011 Allen & Ginter, the sixth installment of the popular baseball card series with the retro tobacco card design and the world’s greatest athletes in several sports.
Set to arrive in mid-July, Ginter will include what Topps is touting as the “most-exciting and wide-ranging autograph list in its history.” Each 24-pack hobby box will include three hits — a selection of framed mini autographs, Relics and more that has been found in recent years. The base set will consist of 350 cards (six cards per pack) with 270 veterans, 30 rookies, 15 historic fugures and 35 world’s champions — the staple of the “other sport” inclusions since 2006.
A new line of inserts will be included, featuring such things as “Animals in Peril,” Uninvited Guests” and “Flora of the World” along with diecut cabinet cards that form a map of the United States.
Also back will be the Ginter Code.
But, as with its debut set in 2006, the real power of Ginter comes via its autograph checklist. Among this year’s inclusions?
Former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz.
“Raging Bull” boxer Jake LaMotta.
Tennis mouthpiece John McEnroe.
LPGA great Annika Sorenstam.
That’s just for starters.
See more — including images — after the jump.
The non-baseball autograph checklist (preliminary, so subject to change) includes NASCAR star Kyle Petty, Hall of Fame baseball broadcaster Peter Gammons, Olympic skier Picabo Street, comic book icon Stan Lee, WNBA stars Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, LPGA star Nancy Lopez, broadcasters Jim Nantz and Dick Vitale, TV host Chuck Woolery, famed Notre Dame walk-on Rudy Ruettiger, UConn basketball coach Geno Auriemma and many more.
Who are some of the “other” inclusions? Boxer Micky Ward of “The Fighter”, Cheryl Burke of Dancing With The Stars and for the culinary-inclined chef Daniel Boulud, Food Network’s Guy Fieri and Iron Chef’s Marc Fargione.
And the baseball autographs? It’s a lineup that includes Albert Pujols, Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, Jason Heyward, Aroldis Chapman, Joe Mauer and more.
Among the other eclectic insert card inclusions in Ginter are “Step Right Up” — what Topps bills as “all the stars, freaks and attractions of a carnival sideshow” — Uninvited Guests (spooky tales and other paranormal things), Floating Fortresses (famed battleships), Minds that Made the Future (smart people such as Leonardo da Vinci and Isaac Newton), The Ascent of Man, Hometown Heroes and a new batch of baseball highlight sketches.
The box loader lineup appears to be similar to recent years — N43s, N43 Relics, N43 autographs — along with cabinet box loaders featuring baseball players as well. The jumbo Relic cards will include over-sized swatches once again this year, something that was introduced last year. Players with autographed Relic cards this year tentatively include Buster Posey, Felix Hernandez, Jason Heyward, Chase Utley and Evan Longoria.
Also back — one of the possible hits in a box — are Rip Cards (one per 12-box case), which will include original Allen & Ginter tobacco cards from the 1800s, mini paintings from artist Jeff Zachowski, red-ink autographs, mini SPs and 1/1 mini wood cards.
The mini card lineup also appears to not have changed as there are wood, cloth (not a parallel as just 150 cards are featured), Bazooka, -no-number, black border, Allen & Ginter back and standard minis will be found. They will land one per pack.
The Relic lineup will include printing plates, framed Relics, DNA Relics and book cards as also introduced last year. Subjects with DNA Relics include Geronimo, Napoleon Bonaparte, George Washington, Edgar Allen Poe, Richard Nixon, Dwight Eisenhower, King George III, Jefferson Davis, John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy.
Among the notable Relic card inclusions on a rather extensive checklist are some of the big names you might expect but also a few who haven’t made a lot of memorabilia appearances of late: Kosuke Fukudome, Ichiro Suzuki, Pujols, Howard, Longoria, Cody Ross, Ike Davis, Prince Fielder, Alex Rodriguez, Kurt Suzuki, Derek Jeter, Tim Wakefield, Brennan Boesch, Joe Maddon, Nick Swisher (!) and all of the non-baseball inclusions above. There are also TBDs listed on that checklist.
We’ll have more on Ginter in the coming months before its arrival. Until then, feast on the preview images below.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.