5. 2006 Bowman Heritage
I miss Bowman Heritage. I get to talk about this set one more time on one of these Friday Five posts and then it is gone. Sort of wish there were more cool old Bowman sets that Topps could rehash, but the original Bowman products did not stick around too long. I will wait patiently until they decide to rehash the 1989 Bowman set, hopefully there is a Royce Clayton autograph in the set. This set was a 300 card with the majority of the high numbers over 200 being short printed. I believe that the "official" Prince Fielder rookie card is in this product, but I always give the nod to the Upper Deck Prospect Premiers card in spite of the fact that the 2006 cards, across all brands, had that cheesy rookie card logo. In fact, the vast majority of the players in this set with the rookie card logo had rookie cards in previous card years. The most egregious rookie logo cards in this set were players like Justin Verlander and Jared Weaver who not only had rookie cards made in prior years, but they were also Bowman cards. A cool design helped this set make my list.
4. 2006 Topps 52
The 1952 Topps set is a classic. Sometimes Topps goes to that well a few too many times. At the time this set was released I kind of thought it stunk and I completely ignored the product. A few years later I found a really cheap box somewhere online, busted open the box, and was hooked. Sure, there are some not so great names floating around this "rookie card" product, but there are enough cool players in here to make the product worth while. Let's not forget the fact that the set is also loaded down with all kinds of cool on card autographs.
Boxes are still floating around and are not too expensive if you want to press your luck looking for a cool autograph. The singles of most of the autographs can be found pretty on Ebay and are pretty affordable. The other highlight in this set is the Mickey Mantle card which has different variations based on the background color of the card. There are half a dozen different versions of the card, which make it a pretty reasonable variation to find, and complete the set. Definitely a set that has grown on my over the years.
3. 2006 Topps Heritage
This was a pretty fun set to put together and I really like the simplicity of the 1957 Topps set. The short-prints in the set were concentrated in the middle of the set, 300s, with a few scattered around the low numbers. As a Cardinals fan I consider this set a really important set for one reason: It marked the last really high quality Stan Musial autograph. Stan still signed autographs for a few more years, but his signature really seemed to decline after this product. Do I own a Stan Musial autograph from this set?
The coolest thing in the world is when you buy a box and get a big hit card from a team or player that you collect. This is the last Stan autograph I pulled out of a box and it is definitely a really cool one. I bought this box from a card shop on Duke Street in Durham, it's long gone, and was incredibly happy to land this one. Unfortunately I was surrounded by a bunch of high school kids playing Pokemon cards. Probably why the card shop is gone. This is a must have for any Cardinals fan.
2. 2006 Upper Deck
This was most of my summer card collecting in 2006. The Upper Deck set went giant that year with a 1,250 card base set which was put out in three parts. There were two 500 card series with a 250 card update that was issued later in the year. The boxes were not too expensive and there were some above average autographs in here too. I also like this design with the borderless look and the player name printed across the bottom in the middle. The foil team logo gives it that Upper Deck feel. This card also features the dreaded rookie card logo I was talking about above.
Which leaves the no-brianer......
1. 2006 Allen & Ginter
Easily the best set of 2006. Incredible first set with an equally awesome autograph checklist.