Topps Allen and Ginter may be one of the more divisive product lines on the market. It has its fair share of rabid fans, so many that multiple Facebook groups devoted solely to the A&G product line exist. It also has a good number of detractors who (incorrectly) feel that a card of, say, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich does not belong in a pack of baseball cards.
I don’t fall into either camp. I loved Ginter when it came out in 2006, and I usually buy a little every year because it’s fun to open. I don’t try to complete sets, and I actually enjoy getting cards of people I have to Google. Learning is part of collecting for me.
So, when I went to Target to buy a few things recently, and I saw one lone blaster box of the 2022 release of the product, I knew I had to buy it.
The thing about Allen and Ginter is that it’s modeled after an old tobacco card product. I’m not sure to what extent Topps expected success with the product line when it launched in 2006, but most years the design looks more or less the same.
The format is mostly the same, too. Each pack contains a mini card nestled among the full-sized cards. (Side note: since the mini cards are actually the size of the original Allen and Ginter cards, maybe Topps should have called those regular cards, and the full-sized ones something exciting, like jumbo cards?) Minis can be found with many different parallels. In my box I received a gold border of sports journalist Scott Hanson. There are also mini insert sets that change from year to year. I received two from the Inside the Park set, which commemorates American National Parks.
Full-sized cards have insert sets, too. The Pitching a Gem and Banner Season inserts felt familiar, even if they haven’t actually been done before. I am a big fan of the It’s Your Special Day set, which honors commemorative days on the calendar (I got National Hot Dog Day). I also got a mustard powder card from the What’s Cookin’? set. But my favorite card was from the Famous Rivals insert set; I received a card featuring Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. M
y second to last pack was thicker, so I saved it for the end. Sure enough, it contained something special — a relic card of CC Sabathia.
You should never buy Allen and Ginter for the hits. But if you like fun when you’re opening packs, it’s a no brainer to pick up some A&G.