Archive for Bryce Harper

Putting the “loaded” Topps Value Box theory to the test

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , on January 28, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

There’s been a fair amount of recent buzz surrounding the Topps Value Boxes, which have been on Target and WalMart shelves for months.  The chatter lately has been about the boxes possibly being loaded.

There have been reports of big name superfractors coming from the Bowman Chrome hobby packs embedded within these boxes.  This news has sent some people to store shelves searching for these packages. recently had a piece by Chris Olds, who stated in the piece that he purchased 10 of the value boxes and pulled two autographs.

Long before this buzz I purchased a few of these and mine were hit and miss.  Nothing major, but each of my Chrome packs had an insert or parallel.

But the recent talk sent me back into stores to see if there has been a new stock of these supposedly “loaded” boxes.  I found five of them.

I actually recorded my break using my iPhone, but my video was 17 minutes, which is too long to host on YouTube.  So I’ll spare you the time and show you what came from the boxes, specifically the Bowman Chrome packs.  Definitely had some interesting pulls, beating the odds with some refractors.

2011 Bowman Chrome Refractor Nathan Eovaldi /500

2011 Bowman Chrome Blue Refractor Jean Segura /150

2011 Bowman Chrome Orange Refractor Jordan Swagerty /25

None of these is going to get someone to break the bank and make me a rich collector, but there is no arguing when you actually pull some colored refractors from just a few packs.

But do these pulls mean that these Value Boxes are loaded?

Not sure I’d say that.  I mean I definitely beat the odds, but I have opened and seen my fair share of duds.  Surely you have as well.

A stunning statistic about my 2011 Bowman Chrome pulls

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on January 27, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

Some time late last season, 2011 Bowman Chrome baseball was released.  And as usual, I bought a fair share.  I failed to pull any of the super high dollar cards, but I did get a few cards I liked, like the green XFractor Brett Lawrie and the 2001 Bowman Chrome Throwbacks Bryce Harper.

Well, when I pulled the cards from the packs, they looked absolutely perfect.  The Harper was pulled the same day that a major case buster pulled one and posted a picture of it.  His copy was horribly miscut.  I decided that day to have mine graded.

And so I did … along with my Brett Lawrie and nine other random cards.

Well, both the Lawrie and Harper came back Gem Mint 9.5.  I was stoked about the Lawrie because traditionally XFractors are tough to get in top shape.  The sub grades on both are stunning.

But this was like three months ago.

I haven’t written about this grading batch, so the other night I prepared to write about them and decided to do a quick population on both.

Here is the “stunning” statistic:

As of Jan. 20, 2012, I had the ONLY cop of these cards that have been graded Gem Mint.  And to that point, these are the ONLY copies to even have been submitted for grading by Beckett Grading Services.


Wonder why this is the case.

Lawrie is a top prospect who has a pretty decent following in the hobby.  This is a version of his first Bowman Chrome card.

And Bryce Harper is still a top draw in this hobby.  It would see that ANY of his cards would be submitted for grading.

**Note, there has been one additional Harper graded gem mint.

— Jan 27, 2012.

A rainbow of meaningless Bryce Harper Chrome Refractors

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , on January 17, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

Video Break: 2011 Topps Update / Bowman Chrome Walmart Value Box

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , on October 26, 2011 by Cardboard Icons

Had to make a run to Walmart on Tuesday to get my oil change.  While waiting I  ventured over to the card aisle and discovered the return of the Walmart Value Box.  Here we get 5 2011 Topps Update, 1 Bowman Chrome HOBBY pack, a Topps Diamond Giveaway Code and a special Bryce Harper “Bowman Chrome” refractor for $14.99.  I bought one and did something I rarely do … I broke it on video.


2011 Topps Hope Diamond Rod Barajas /60

The two codes yielded a 1981 Dave Stieb and a 1981 Dave Petry.  Three hours later the Petry was traded on the Diamond Giveaway site for a 1976 Dan Meyer, 1980 Jim Mason, 1983 Fred Lynn and 1983 League Leaders card w/ Lamaar Hoyt and Steve Carlton.

2011 Bowman Chrome retail results (Bryce Galore)

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2011 by Cardboard Icons

I had the good fortune of getting to a Target on Wednesday just minutes after the vendor stocked the shelves with new items, including 2011 Bowman Chrome baseball.  I tell you, it’s a wonderful feeling to walk through the doors and see from about 100 feet away the sight of new packs.

So I dove in.

I bought a blaster and a few of the Value Pack Rack Packs.

The basics:  The blaster offers eight packs for $19.99 while each Value Pack offers three basic retail packs (same odds as loosies and in blasters) and a single pack of three green xfractors for $8.99.

What’s great about all of these packs is they offer a shot at the same cards that are in hobby packs, save for the superfractors.  This means the basic chrome prospect autos are available in retail packs.  Someone is going to pull a Harper Chrome Auto out of a pack at Target, or WalMart, or Kroger, or whatever. Awesome, right?

One problem:  Autographs fall one in 77 packs. They are one per box (18 packs) in hobby.

Anyway, the price points are obviously a lot more palatable than that of the hobby prices, which I imagine are eclipsing the $5 per pack point in some places.

Anyway, here are the better cards I pulled in my packs.  And yes, I actually hit an auto.

Did you know Bryce Harper is in this product?!

Calm down, I said that facetiously.

I got Bryce from the Past:

(And yes, it is dead center on both sides)

2001 Bowman Throwbacks

Bryce from the Present:

2011 Bowman Chrome Prospect

And Bryce from the Future:

2011 Bowman Chrome 2021 Bowman Chrome Future

Always nice at this point to see Bryce Harper in my packs.  Too bad none of them were covered in ink. That said, I did manage to pull this auto:

2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Autograph Starling Marte

I know I showed off my Bryce Harper 2001 Bowman Chrome throwback above, but I also puled these two:

2011 Bowman Chrome 2001 Throwbacks Brett Lawrie

2011 Bowman Chrome 2001 Bowman Chrome Reprint Ichiro rookie

The Ichiro is the Japanese version.

But perhaps the nicest card of all came from one of my retail exclusive packs:

2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Green Xfractor Brett Lawrie

Dead center.  No print lines. No scratches. Just beautiful.

Thrift Treasures XXXII: San Francisco Tri-Star Show edition

Posted in Newspaperman, Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on May 30, 2011 by Cardboard Icons

The annual Tri-Star Productions card and autograph show rolled through the San Francisco Bay Area last weekend, and I was able to attend for the second time in three years.

I love this show.  There’s always tons of variety, and it’s kind of neat to see collector’s of all ages and races gather in a spot to buy what they like.  There’s always a ton of factory sealed wax and high end rookies and vintage card at this show.  But my main purpose in going was, without a doubt, the bargain bins.

One thing I had going for me this time was the fact that I attended the show on the very first day.  So, in theory, I was among the first batch of people to go through these boxes.  And judging by the results, this is definitely something I’ll have to do again in the future.

We’ll start with z dime Box. Pretty self-explanatory. Every card in the dealer’s Monster Boxes were a dime each.  Typically boxes like these are jam packed with commons.  Not this time.

1952 Bowman Hank Thompson

That get your attention?  That’s a 1952 Bowman Henry Thompson card, the second to last one in the set.  Sure, someone appears to have stapled it to something — perhaps a wall? — at one point, but this matters not.  It cost a dime — the same price as a top loader.

1951 Bowman Eddie Miksis RC

Score!  1951 Bowman rookie of Eddie Miksis! Who?!  Exactly.  But does it really matter.  This one looks like it was the victim of a run-in with a GI Joe toting a bazooka, but still … it was a dime. AND it’s going into my ever-growing rookie collection.

I know most of you don’t give a damn about vintage cards, so I’ll switch gears here and hit you with a few cards more contemporary ones.

2008 Elite Extra Edition Mike Stanton

2008 Elite Extra Edition Wilmer Flores

2007 Bowman Chrome Prospects Gaby Sanchez

2007 Elite Extra Edition Drew Stubbs

I love finding low-end rookie/prospect cards of up-and-coming players like these guys — it’s like finding a small treasure.  The Mike Stanton is being sold in a local shop for $8; Sanchez and Stubbs are legitimate major leaguer at this point.  Flores has yet to crack the Majors, but he’s supposedly on his way.

1991 Upper Deck Rickey Henderson / Lou Brock

This 1991 Upper Deck Rickey Henderson / Lou Brock card is a classic in the Bay Area.  I’ve owned dozens of copies of this card before, but NEVER one of variations with the date printed on the base.  What makes this find even more surprising is that Rickey was signing at this show, albeit on a different day.  Usually dealers set cards aside for the guys who are signing and then jack up the prices for the impulse autograph buyers.

1998 SPX Finite Radiance Barry Bonds /3500

From one Bay Area legend to another.  I was a fan of 1998 SPX Finite.  Honestly, I would have bought more of it if it were not so damn expensive for its time.  The vast majority of the Finite I wound up with came from repack boxes that were sold at KMart in 2000.  This Bonds card is a Radiance parallel, serial numbered to 3,500 copies. Super rare! … well, in 1998, anyway.

Let’s shoe-horn in a few hockey cards.

1990-1991 Topps Mike Modano RC

1991-1992 Upper Deck Peter Forsberg RC

1978 Topps Sticker Philadelphia Flyers

Whose up for some Minis?  Here are 13 Topps Gypsy Queen minis (including an insert, 2 SPs, and 2 parallels)

I’ve kind of come full circle on Minor League cards.  I used to love them when I was a kid collector, and then I abandoned them.  In recent months I’ve come to dig them again.  Here are 10 1987 Southern League All-Star Larry Walkers and seven Ken Caminiti cards.  The guy had some 50-75 sets that were missing only the Randy Johnson cards.  I almost bought all of the Walkers and Caminitis but at some point a deal is no longer a deal, ya know?

2007 Bowman Chrome Draft Adam Lind (RC)

Three 2007 Bowman Chrome Draft Adam Lind “Rookies.”

2004 Bowman Chrome Draft Ray Liotta

I always wanted this card.  If for no other reason his name rules. Good thing it only cost a dime.

2004 Bowman Chrome Draft Matt Tuiasosopo

This 2004 Bowman Chrome Draft Matt Tuiasosopo used to be like $10, didn’t it? Ten cents, baby!

1992 Manning 1919 Black Sox Reprints Joe Jackson

Here’s one thing I loved about the Free-For-All that was the early 90s: unlicensed cards.  Companies these days paid big bucks to Joe Jackson’s estate to get his likeness onto their licensed cards.  I have a feeling there wasn’t dime that was paid to create this “Black Sox” Special Offer card.  The result is a cool collectible for me.

Wanna see random?  Checkout this 1978 Topps basketball folding poster of the Milwaukee Bucks.

I see one familiar face:  Don Nelson.  You know dig those coaches polo shirts.

Someone settle a debate.  When Upper Deck created these “special” short print cards in their base sets such as this Darrell Green card shown below, did the “SP” numbering mean “special” or “short print?”

1991 Upper Deck Darrel Green Fastest Man SP1

I always thought it meant short print, but others think it meant special. Either way I am a winner with this flashback for a dime.

About the same time the Darrell Green card above was released, Holograms were all the rage.  And while Upper Deck was the first licensed company to include them in their products, other companies were popping up out of nowhere to create their own. Like Arena Holograms, which produced this Frank Thomas card.

1991 Arena Holograms Frank Thomas

The hologram is OK … looks funky without logos.  The best part about this card?  Check out the back … do you see it?

No, not the flat top, that awesome bow tie or the fract that the company dubbed him the “Big Frank.”  It’s this line:


A quarter of a million of these?!  Holy bleeping bleep!

2010 Bowman Topps 100 Freddie Freeman

I know some of you collectors are itching to see something more modern. There will be more of that later, but here are two quick ones to keep the masses calm. I have a ton of 2010 Bowman Topps 100 prospect cards.  I don’t think I ever pulled one of Freddie Freeman.  Good times.

2010 Topps Heritage SP Tim Hudson

2010 Topps Heritage Tim Hudson short print.  Not going to break the bank here, but I will profit. I guarantee it.

2004 Playoff Honors Prime Signatures Mariano Rivera /2500

I love this insert set from 2004 Playoff Honors.  Each card is so inviting for a signature.  I actually had one of these Rivera cards that I got signed through the mail.  Unfortunately he kept the signature out of the white space.  Now I have another … which I think I’ll send again.  Maybe this time he’ll put the ink on the white.

Here’s kind of an oddball … UD Victory Japan Hideki Matsui. Cool card.

Seconds after finding this Matsui, a smaller, a card fell out of the stack onto my pile of stuff to buy.  It was another Japanese Matui card, only it was unfamiliar to me.

Pretty interesting card.  It’s like a card inside a plastic sealing. The back features a barcode sticker and the official Yamiuri Giants logo on a sticker.  No clue what this is from or what it’s worth, but it’s surely worth more than a flippin’ dime.

And the final two cards from this dime box:

1989 Mother's Cookies Mariners Ken Griffey Jr.

1993 Stadium Club Master Photo Ken Griffey Jr.

You absolutely have to love a “oddball” 1989 officially licensed Mothers’ Cookies Mariner’s rookie year release of Ken Griffey Jr. I love this set.  I love this release.  I love this card. Love it.

* * *

If all I bought at the card show were those cards, it would have been a successful trip.  But I aint done yet… not even close.

A few tables away from my the dime box seller was guy selling cards five for a buck. Here are the best 15 cards I could find:

I was never a huge fan of the Topps Constitution cards inserted into 2006 Topps.  I was an even less fan of the Topps Chrome versions.  But the refractors are intriguing … well, when you can get them at this price.

2001 Topps Chrome Retrofractors Charlie Manuel

I like the 2001 Topps Chrome Retrofractors.  And I’m sure someone will like this Charlie Manuel.

Here are a couple 2009 Bowman Chrome Prospects Refractors.  I like the John Anderson because I’m pretty sure I worked with his dad. I’m going to have to confirm that.

2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Refractor Brock Huntzinger /500

2004 Bowman Chrome Draft Refractor John Anderson /500

Here’s a trio of veterans:

Team Albert Pujols”]

2010 Bowman Blue Chipper Jones /500

1997 Finest Gold Ken Caminiti

A few rookie cards I needed for my collection:

1999 Fleer Update Bengie Bolina RC

2004 Bowman Chrome Draft J.A. Happ RC

1996 Bowman's Best Raul Ibanez RC

I’ve always wanted the Molina and the Ibanez rookies but was too cheap to pay full price.  I did learn something about Ibanez though. Apparently he started as a catcher?  That can’t be right.

* * *

One more quick run of super cheap singles.  Found a dealer who was selling cards four for a buck.  He let me take five:

2009 Bowman Chrome WBC Norichika Aoki

2003 Topps Heritage Joe and Jake Mauer

2007 Topps 52 Rookie Flashback Ken Griffey Jr.

2005 Bowman Heritage Mohagany Derek Jeter

2008 Razor Eric Hosmer

Solid grouping of five cards from this seller.  While the Hosmer may not be worth a ton, it was surprising to see this card in this box.

 * * *

Now onto some cards that were actually in top loaders. These were  a wopping 50 cents each

1997 Topps Etch-A-Sketch Cal Ripken Jr.

2000 Aurora At-Bat Styrotechs die-cut Mike Piazza /299

2001 Pacific Ornaments Ken Kriffey Jr.

2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Blue Refractors Kurt Suzuki /199

2003 Topps Chrome Gold Refractors Franklin Gutierrez RC /449

1999 Topps Mark McGwire HR Record 220 x7

* * *

Someone need a Shin Soo Choo Bowman Chrome rookie?  I got eight of them … for a buck each.

2002 Bowman Chrome Draft Shin Soo Choo RC

* * *

There were more than a few auto/relic boxes at this show.  The prices really varied.  Some guys were selling them for $1 each.  Others were $5 each.  Nothing really caught my attention aside from these two autographed rookie cards that were $2 each.

2007 Bowman Chrome Draft Autograph Refractor Corey Lubke /500

2004 Donruss Elite autograph Ian Snell /750 RC

* * *

And the final two purchases from the trip were the most expensive.  These were tagged at $3 each, but the seller let me have them for $2.50 each:

2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Blue Refractor Jedd Gyorko /250

2010 Bowman Chrome Draft Orange Refractor Travis Wood /25

A “rare” Bryce Harper JUCO card has arrived

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on June 17, 2010 by Cardboard Icons
I may have hit the jackpot.
When Beckett Baseball Editor Chris Olds’ posted via Twitter, and eventually on the Beckett Blog, that a company was making cards in “limited quantities” of Junior College World Series teams, including that of No. 1 Draft Pick Bryce Harper, I went to the website and ordered three complete sets of Harper’s team.
And when the cards arrived about a week and a half later, I noticed something very cool — one of the sets actually had Bryce Harper on top of the sealed set.
Judging from the comments from others who have purchased the set, this is not a common occurence. The other two sets I received appear to have the same ordering as they feature the same players on top (Wes Hunt) and bottom (Gabe Weidenaar); typically Harper is somewhere in the middle.
The set with Harper on top, however, has a different player (Matt Medina) on the bottom as well.
While it’s possible that there could be more than one Harper within this sealed set, it’s probably more likely that the set was just re-ordered during packaging. Nonetheless, I’m not about to crack the seal to find out.
I’m checking to see if there is a company that can authenticate and slab this badboy for me. Either way, the set will look awesome with my 1987 Fleer Cello pack (authenticated and slabbed) with Barry Bonds rookie showing.
Has anyone else seen one of these JUCO sets with Harper showing on top?