Sunday, May 3, 2015

Allen & Ginter Insert Overview Series #100

Set: 2007 Topps Allen & Ginter Dick Perez Sketches
            Total Cards: 30
            Stated Odds: 1 per pack

Bubba’s Derived Odds: 22/24 (packs with hits did not have these inserts)
           # of Hobby Boxes Needed to Obtain Set: 1.36

For those wondering, the above number is what I'll be using to put these sets in order.  I'm claiming that out of the 81 different insert sets, this would be the easiest to complete.  Assuming no duplicates and perfect collation, it would take opening 1.36 hobby boxes to complete this set.  Obviously, perfect collation is never the case, but if we assume this to be true for ALL the sets I'll be covering, then we can come up with a pretty good representation of how hard a set will be to complete.

A couple observations about this number (if you aren't much of a math person then feel free to skip this).  Otherwise, this number is far more accurate:

  1. the better the set odds per pack are.
  2. if you are a box or (even better) case breaker.
  3. the smaller the set itself is.
  4. the more "limited" the set is.
The first two relate to the way Topps collation "tends" to work and the law of large numbers.  Obviously, the more you break, the better (more accurate) these averages will tend to be, but also of consideration is what tends to happen when one breaks boxes or cases of hobby product (as opposed to retail).  It is apparent that Topps at least tries to avoid duplicates showing up in individual boxes/cases.  This phenomenon (if you can even call it that) is definitely easier to see working with base cards, but happens with insert sets as well.  I've opened a few cases of Allen & Ginter and have come across very few duplicate inserts (I know there are exceptions especially with the dreadful years of 2009-2011 where Topps seemed to lose all ability to collate properly, but in general, this seems to hold).  The harder a specific insert is to pull, the more these two points become irrelevant, which is why we have the final two points.

The last two points are solely related to the chance of pulling duplicate inserts.  The first of the two reasons has to do with probability; simply stated, it is easier to pull a specific card in a smaller set.  Let us suppose you were one card away from completing two different sets.  One of those sets was 10 cards and one was 30.  Given that you were guaranteed to get one card of each set in a pack, you would have a better chance of completing the smaller set (10%) than you would the larger (3.33%) with that one pack, assuming independent trials.  This is a somewhat decent assumption, though, as we've stated above, individual cases/boxes tend to somewhat negate this aspect of independent trials.

The last point deals with another aspect of independent trials.  We technically have a limited sample size.  There exists only so much Allen & Ginter in the world (whatever Topps happened to print for the year).  For most sets, this can be safely ignored and has almost no effect whatsoever.  However, that's not to say that effect is zero (especially when we start talking about the more rare sets).  I shall give you an extreme example.  Let's say we're dealing with two 10 card sets of which you possess 9 cards.  Set A is limited to 10 sets across production (100 total cards) and Set B is limited to 100 sets across production (1000 total cards).  If we take a theoretical pack that contains one of both sets, assuming independent trials would yield the same odds for completing either set (1/10, 10%).  If we look at reality, you already own 9 cards of each set so you cannot possibly pull any of those cards.  The odds change!  You instead have a 10/91, or 10.99% chance to complete Set A, and a 100/991, or 10.09% chance to complete Set B in that one pack (and this difference will compound over multiple packs with the given insert).  You can see that even at a fairly small print run of 100 sets, we're dealing with a pretty small difference from the previous assumption of independent trials (0.09%).

Besides (hopefully) teaching you something, I'm also going to be using the above points to break ties between insert sets when they occur, which is actually quite a bit more frequent than I was expecting.  This first set is actually tied with none other than 2006 Dick Perez Sketches (surprise!).  I'm using point #4 to break this tie, which, in this case, is almost totally irrelevant.  However, technically Topps printed less Allen & Ginter in 2006 than they did in 2007.  So guess what... if you have a portion of both these sets and you open a pack of both years, you have a slightly (note: VERY SLIGHTLY) better chance of not pulling a duplicate Dick Perez Sketch from 2006 than you do from 2007.

Favorite (Owned) Card:

Notes and Comments:
Things I like about this set:

  • It's 30 cards and features all 30 MLB teams.  This is good.
  • The players it features are different from the previous.  This BETTER be the case.
  • They put spacing in between the 20 of 30 and the artist description so the name stands out a tiny bit more.  It's still awful though.
  • That's it... I'm done.  Can't think of any other good things.
Basically this set is awful.  Apparently Topps decided to take Dick Perez's painted minis and blow them up to fit this design making the sketches even worse than they already were.  I picked Swisher as my favorite card simply because he had the least hideous drawing to look at (probably cause he's the only one smiling).  The border on the front is mediocre at best and the back of each of these cards is THE SAME as 2006 with only a few minor adjustments.  Even the little blurb about Dick Perez (which I already hated) is the same as 06.  BOOOOOO!

Figures that the easiest set to complete would be the worst insert set Allen & Ginter has to offer.  

Arbitrary Rating (out of 100): 8 (yes... that's not an 80)

% of Set Completed: 100%!!!

Missing Cards: None

Extra Cards: I have extras of all but #7 and #28

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