I don't usually go out of my way to collect A&G, but I ended up with quite a few cards from the 2010 set, as well as a handful from most other years. And certainly none of the 19th-century originals. So this is really my first look at the whole thing, getting a sense for the balance between baseball, non-baseball, and general interest cards.
|2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #21 Kolten Wong|
|2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #194 Zack Cozart|
|2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #301 Justin Morneau|
|2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #14 LaTroy Hawkins|
|2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #48 Coco Crisp|
|2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #322 Mark Melancon|
|2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #250 Jimmy Rollins|
|2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #309 Gabe Kapler|
|2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #177 Bernie Williams|
|2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #67 Malcolm Gladwell|
|2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #347 Aaron Paul|
|2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #293 Philae Probe|
Unfortunately, it's really, really hard to land on a comet, and Philae only had enough juice for a few measurements and photos once it settled to the comet's surface at an odd angle. But you can't expect to get much better results from the extremely harsh environments of Venus or Titan, so any data at all from a lander like that is a success.
You don't see space missions in most baseball card sets. But there is something else about Allen & Ginter that is quite unusual in this hobby.
|2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #93 Kelia Moniz|
There are some card sets featuring women, mostly of WWE, WNBA, Danica Patrick, that sort of thing. Also entire sets of (NSFW) scantily-clad models and Japanese pop stars. Let's just say that professional surfer Kelia Moniz is definitely dressed for the beach on that card.
|2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #124 Lakey Peterson|
But you're starting to get the idea, right? Allen & Ginter is a set of mostly baseball cards, along with with some retired baseball players, some influential male artists and authors, random stuff like spacecraft and elevators, athletes from rather obscure sports which might feature a few women, and usually a supermodel like Chrissy Teigen or Kate Upton thrown in.
|2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #92 Michelle Beadle|
And while that's not an indictment of the Big Four sports themselves, as I clearly understand that there are no women in the typical baseball card set because there are no women in the MLBPA, it is an indictment of Topps. Say two-thirds of this set is active MLB players, then that still leaves more than 100 cards for non-baseball. And there is no good reason not to split that more evenly.
Sure, a lot of the non-baseball cards in A&G are just of other sports, even of "sports" like poker and billiards, but there are lots of historical figures that have nothing to do with sports. And since the whole point of A&G is to have a sizable non-baseball section, including inanimate objects like space probes and revolving doors, where are the non-sporting women? Like Sally Ride? Or Sheryl Sandberg? Or Jane Goodall? Or Meryl Streep? Or Amelia Earhart? Or Tina Fey? Kate Middleton did once get a card, but only with Prince William on it, too. I couldn't find First Ladies in any base set, though there was an insert set this year.
Celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain and Daniel Boulud have cards. Even some of the more inane Food Network personalities like Adam Richman, Guy Fieri, and Jeff Mauro have A&G cards. But what about Rachael Ray? Or Giada de Laurentiis? Or even Julia Child, for that matter?
It all reminds me quite a bit of the #MoreWomen campaign that Elle Magazine published a few months ago. Forgive my rounding, but a set that's 1% space probes and 2% women seems pretty unequal to me. Apply the #MoreWomen treatment to 2015 A&G and you can fit it in a 9-pocket page with the card backs showing.
|2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #341 Malala Yousafzai|