Archive for the Box / Pack Break Category

“Oh yeah! I got a 1-of-1!” –

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Commentary, Kid Collectors with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Topps Chrome Update Mega Boxes are all the rage right now. And on Thursday night during a stop at Target to get groceries I lucked into a group of four boxes that were tucked behind some blasters.

This is my third time seeing them “in the wild” since their release. And even though I told myself I was done with them after buying a few last week, the fact that they were 10% off This week made me grab the remaining four.

I opened two in car — pulled a Vlad Jr. rookie and a green Refractor Hunter Pence /99 — and decided to keep the other two sealed until I picked up my kids. I figured I’d let me son pick one and open it if he decided to buy one with his birthday money.

I presented the option to him and of course he opted in at the $18 price tag. He looked at the two sealed boxes I had on the kitchen table and held one in his hand, looking at the odds. And then at the last second he switched the boxes with me … which I didn’t mind. This was about HIM, not me.

He used my keys to pierce the cellophane wrapper and then unboxed the seven packs. He grabbed the first one and ripped the back. It was at that moment — at about 8:50 pm Pacific on 11/5/19 — he had a monumental experience.

“Oh yeah! I got a 1-of-1!” he exclaimed as he pulled off the wrapper.

I was shocked. I stood up to get a better look — it was a yellow printing plate for Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu’s All Star Game card, #70 in the set. My son puts his cards in binders, sorted by team. Because that’s what you do when you’re new to the hobby — he’s only been actively involved for about a year.

“That’ll go in a holder,” he said as he looked at the metal card.

The moment got be excited, and damn near made my cry. Parenthood will do that.

We high-fived. We hugged. We talked about how hard it is to get one.

And not once — not even to this moment — did we talk about value, worth, resell price, etc.

I was 18 when I pulled my first 1-of-1. It, too, was a printing plate. It was a plate for a 1998 Topps Gallery Nomar Garciaparra that literally fell out of a pack I opened at the register at R&K Comics in Sunnyvale, Calif. I was in college at the time and sold it a few weeks later when I realized the card could net me enough to pay for a semester of books.

The market has certainly shifted over the last two decades — printing plates aren’t nearly as desirable, and more people than before argue against their 1-of-1 status since there are typically four plates for each card, even though they are in different colors thereby making them unique as the card states in the rear.

But the experience is what makes this a huge deal, and it’s these father-son moments of bonding that keep me excited about this hobby.

On a side note, I came home last week with a Mega Box of the same product for him. He opened it and also hit an autograph of Yankees pitcher Chance Adams. He was excited do that pull, but nowhere near as excited as he was in this night with his first 1-of-1.

200 1991 Topps Stadium Club packs for $16 shipped? Hell yeah!

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , on November 5, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

The other day a friend pointed out an item on eBay where a new seller was offering several lots of Medium Flat Rate boxes filled with 1991 Stadium Club packs for the mere price of 99 cents plus like $15 shipping.For a guy who collected when the product was brand new, and a person who loves the TSC line, you know I had to take a chance.

The box of packs arrived Monday night and the outer shipping box felt like it contained a load of bricks. And in a sense it did seeing as how many of these ultra premium, high-gloss full-bleed photo cards we’re stuck together.

No, literally, look …

There was very low expectation given the price point. And no, I’m not upset — the cards were practically free. Sure, it’d be great to build a high-quality set from the 200-plus packs inside the box (split almost evenly between the two series) but this was a cheap, fun way to experience a bit of my childhood that was ridiculously expensive at the time.

It took about four minutes to open and peel apart the contents of two packs. The first pack had a Nolan Ryan Tuxedo and I hit my first Frank Thomas only a few packs into it. But as I was reliving some of these memories, I decided to also have some fun.

First I stuck some packs in front of a space heater hoping that’d help loosen them up.

Nope. Didn’t work.

How about the old freezer truck?

Nope. That didn’t work either.

At this point I have opened about 30 packs of series one and have pulled two Nolan Ryan’s and four Frank Thomas cards, one of which came in an monster pack that also contained a classic Bo Jackson and a second-year Juan Gonzalez. Hell, such a pack in 1991 would have had about $50 worth of singles — remember, the Thomas was $25-$30, and Ryan wasn’t too far behind.

I plan to open the rest at some point this week. I still have low expectations, but if you’re so inclined you can follow the hashtag #91TSCBrickedBreak on Twitter to see some fun stuff. Perhaps I can build a set (albeit not even close to mint) and pull a half-dozen of each classic card from this iconic release.

The little things in collecting bring joy

Posted in Box / Pack Break, Misc. with tags , , , , on October 31, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I kind of got a kick out of something today and it was a reminder to me that I am indeed jaded.

I ran into a freshly stocked shelf at Target today, one consisting of the new Topps Update Chrome Mega Boxes. I grabbed a few for me, and one for my son. I opened mine and got some decent looking cards but nothing to really show off.

Then when my son got home from school he opened his Mega Box. And there in the last pack was an autograph of … Yankees rookie pitcher Chance Adams.

My son was enamored. There in his 9-year-Old hands was a rookie autograph of a Major League Player. It instantly became one of his favorite cards, even though it’s far from his best card. But all this kid knows is that from the box he opened he got himself an autograph card … and I wasn’t going to sully his thinking by telling him he could probably buy 15 of those autos for the cost of the Mega Box.

The joy on his face and in his voice when he announced it and showed it off to his sister is what the hobby is all about. It’s something that I and many others miss because we’ve all been jaded — whether we want to believe it or not — by the cost of products; the incessant complaining about lack of creativity, and the feeling that we need to get our money back in our breaks for any of this to make sense.

I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir. And I’m also sure there are some of you laughing that my kid is excited about a Chance Adams auto. But fact remains that we are all chasing that joy; we are all trying to recreate those fabulous feelings we all had whenever we pulled something that made us smile.

We don’t all collect the same. Hell, not all of us even participate in this hobby the same way. But whenever anyone is feeling joy about whatever they’re doing in this hobby, it is a great reminder of why some of us got into it in the first place, and I wish we — I — could feel more of that.

2019 Topps Series 2 Blaster Break #1 (results)

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

When it comes to Topps Series Two, I am usually not one to overly indulge. By the time this set comes out every year, the luster on the Topps base set has worn off and there are lots of products available from which we can choose, so it’s somewhat of a secondary option.

This year, the feeling is a bit different since there are key rookies in Series Two including rookie cards of Pete Alonso, Eloy Jimenez and Fernando Tatis Jr.; a short-printed Vladimir Guerrero Jr. release (technically not an official rookie card). Also, the set features new cards of two of my favorite players, Clayton Kershaw and Roger Clemens. So it seems natural for me to open at least one blaster to chase the aforementioned, as well as to casually complete the Series Two set to go along with the first series my son and I have nearly completed.

I checked a few Targets this week and managed to find blasters of Series Two at only one store, so I grabbed the first one I saw and headed to the register. Each box contained seven packs of 14 cards, and one manufactured relic card for a total of 99 cards. Here are the overall results.

The manupatch for this blaster bore one of the hottest names in the hobby, Vladimir Guerrero. However, it is of the Hall of Famer Vlad Sr., not the son, Vlad. Jr., whom hobbyists are currently swooning over.

The seven packs contained the following:

Key rookies: Pete Alonso, Eloy Jimenez and Yusei Kikuchi — which really could have been much better if Topps could have used an image from his debut during the Opening Series in Japan, but I’m sure they’re saving that for the Update Series. This photo on the Kikuchi is the same that was used on the Opening Day rookie card.

Short Print: Veteran, Dale Murphy — I dig these horizontal short prints.

Parallels: Rainbow Foil Raisel Iglesias, Gold Carlos Carrasco

Inserts: Aaron Judge Exclusive (#23); 84 All-Stars Alex Bregman and Rickey Henderson; 84 All-Stars Blue Roger Clemens; Franchise Favorites Tony Gwynn and Jose Altuve; Iconic Card Reprints: 73 Topps Carlton Fisk; 150 Great Moments Bartolo Colon.

Comments: This blaster was better than I expected as it held two of the key rookie cards in the set, a short print and a insert parallel of one of the guys I collect.

As for the base cards, I’ll be building a list of needs in the near future. I’ll be more than happy to trade most of the inserts here within for base cards that my son and I need to complete this set, or cards of Kershaw and Clemens.

2019 Finest half-box break makes a case for sticker autos

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , on June 5, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

We all want hard-signed autos, right? Welp, here’s an argument for stickers.

I opened a half-box of 2019 Finest baseball today (6-packs in a sealed inner box) and the auto I pulled was a Justus Sheffield blue refractor, serial numbered to /150. Not a horrible auto. Just one problem: Sheffield is shown as a Yankee even though he was traded from New York to Seattle in November.

The blue refractor technology would have looked great on a Mariners auto of Sheffield, but instead I am looking at yet another auto of a player who no longer plays for New York. But we all know why this card exists … it exists in this form because Topps made the card before the trade and had Sheffield sign them instead of re-making them. (Jake Bauers is also shown on his old team on his Finest auto.)

This is why Sheffield is a Yankees on autos in Bowman as a Chrome auto, in Definitive, and in other Topps products released to date. I don’t blame Topps entirely for this; I mean we the collectors are the ones lobbying for more hard-signed autos. And in order for that to work, the company needs to produce these cards and send them to athletes way in advance to have them signed and returned before pack-out. (For the record, the Sheffield and Bauer base rookie cards do show the players on their current teams.)

Of course, this puts us consumers in an interesting spot: Would we prefer the hard-signed autos showing players on an old team, or would we want to a sticker that can be placed on an updated card of the player showing the player on the current team?

If you ask me, this could have been a good use of a sticker. But how would Topps have known that the trade was going to happen? And what would Topps do with a backstock of hard-signed autos if they did re-create the cards and had Sheffield sign a new batch?

I agree with Topps in releasing the cards; it’s what they had as of the deadline they had for the product and it’s just not a smart business move to not release (i.e. destroy) inventory that was already created. It’s really just unfortunate that it exists in this format.

Fortunately for everyone it wasn’t one of the higher-valued prospects who was in this situation.

How was the rest of the break?

Refractors: Kris Bryant, Marcus Stroman

Blue Refractor: Cody Bellinger

Prized Performer: Justin Smoak

Mariano Rivera Die-Cut MR2

Blue Chips: Miles Mikolas, Trey Mancini

Rookies: Eloy Jimenez, Cedric Mullins, Corbin Burnes, Touki Toussaint, DJ Stewart, Steven Duggar, Ryan O’Hearn, Rowdy Tellez

Base: Mookie Betts, Salvador Perez, Marcus Stroman, Paul Dejong, Jose Abreu, Willy Adames, Whit Merrifield, Josh Bell, Mitch Haniger Ozzie Albies, Ronald Guzman, Kris Bryant, Trea Turner, and Max Scherzer

Anyone have Kershaws from this set? Everything above is available.