I like Masterpieces. I liked it last year and I like it again this year, but it wasn't until this Christmas break that I was finally able to put my '07 set into binder pages and purchase a box of '08 and make an attempt at the new set.
I'm still 14 short prints away from completing the '08 set after one hobby box, a couple blasters and picking up some assorted singles on eBay. I'm not sure where I stand exactly on short prints, I think that discussion may come soon.
Short prints aside, it became pretty obvious to me as I put the cards into my binder pages which set I favored, but I figured a look at two random pages would be somewhat pointless, somewhat enjoyable and ultimately it proved to be definitive.
When deciding which pages to choose, I left it up to the daughter. I asked for a random number and her response was, "How about...5!" So there you have it. We're looking at page 5 in the binder of both sets.
First up, 2007 Masterpieces.
First thing I love, the mix of the old and the new.
The old: Frank Thomas about to uncoil in the black of the White Sox, Piazza searching for the popup as a Dodger, a Ripken/Gwynn dual HOF card, Ken Griffey Jr. roaming the outfield for the only team he should have played for.
The new: A modern day Mariner outfielder in Ichiro, Cabrera, Pujols and Matsui all mashing and Josh Hamilton post-addiction, pre-HR Derby superstardom.
I love the classic cards in the '07 set and while this page gives you a taste of it, it comes nowhere close to the dominance of a page with cards of Ty Cobb, Jackie Robinson, Walter Johnson, Sandy Koufax and others. That would be page 4 for the record. Ultimately this is the strength of the '07 set. The classic images combined with the greatest players in the game made the first edition of Masterpieces so much fun to own. And while none of the modern player cards bowl you over, they all have strong images of players you don't mind seeing show up in a pack...although I could go without ever getting another Yankee.
Now onto 2008.
Another mix of the old and the new...errr scratch that. If you want a classic player from this set, it's most likely gonna be found in the back of the binder with the rest of the short prints. Again, I'll get to the short print issue another day, but couldn't we at least mix a few more of the HOFers in with the rest.
So what do we have?
A Marlin, a Royal, an Angel, 3 Dodgers and 3 Astros.
I get that the Vlad card is a commemoration of sorts for his HR derby victory, but I hate being robbed of the Halo. I tried to tell my daughter he was an Angel and she was puzzled. "No daddy, that's not the Angels!" She was incensed and so am I...ok incensed is a bit strong, but I'm not thrilled.
So, besides a lack of old school studs, my other issue is why they decided to group players by team. Why, oh why? I love the diversity of the pages from '07, players from different teams and eras. But '08, well I'm sure this page would please an Astro fan, but I'm just underwhelmed.
So there you have it. 2007 Masterpieces is clearly the superior product. Don't bother with looking at sell sheets or analyzing the various hits coming out of video box breaks, just check the pages from the binder and it all comes together.
Player Profile: Jeff Bianchi
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