Archive for Topps

A slice of my childhood just arrived

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , , on March 16, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

A few days ago I wrote about a recent purchase I made from the Topps Web site. In that piece I wrote about how I longed for the days of the Topps school folders designed to look like the cards of the year. I wrote about how I own(ed) a 1989 Topps Mark McGwire and a 1990 Topps Dave Stewart.

While writing that piece it dawned on me how cool it would have been to own a Roger Clemens from that era. Heck, I wasn’t even sure if one existed. The best I had in school was a generic folder I decorated with pictures of Roger Clemens action photos and other images I clipped from a magazine. (Fun note: One of the pictures is of Roger with his three kids, all of whom now have their own baseball cards.

I digress, when I finished that piece the other day, I decided to check eBay and lo and behold there was a 1988 Topps folder posted for sale. Three clicks later and the item was mine. The folder arrived today and it came with all the feels I thought it would These measures about 12×9 and have two pockets inside to hold loose pieces of paper.

In 1988 I would have used this for school, then used it during the summer to keep the notebook paper with which i wrote my stats from playing “Baseball” on Nintendo.

Rhys Hoskins should be the guy whom my son and I collect

Posted in Collecting Hoskins with tags , , , , , , , on March 14, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

How one goes about choosing their favorite player, or at least the ones they decide to collect, is completely arbitrary. Some choose a top draft pick and go to town on that guy for however long it seems sustainable. Others choose a player from their favorite team and remain loyal to them until there is reason not to be.

In some ways I have done both in my collecting career. I chose Roger Clemens as my guy in the late 1980s because he was the face of my favorite team. And I lucked my way into Clayton Kershaw after I fell in love with a YouTube video of his knee-buckling curve ball and then pulled his 2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Refractors Autograph from a blaster at WalMart.

But it looks like there is a new player whom I should be courting in this hobby, and one whom my son and I should be together building a personal collection of — that player is Rhys Hoskins.

I’d been thinking for a while that he and I should be finding a guy whom we should collect together. He likes Steph Curry, but I didn’t own much basketball before my son really expressed an interest. And while I’ve been pounding the drum of how great Mike Trout is … we’re a tad late to that game. (Side note: I did sell his 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Auto BGS 9 about 18 months ago when I really needed money, but that’s topic for another post.)

As it turns out, I think we stumbled upon our player rather organically last year without us really noticing. Here’s the story:

In July 2018, Topps released “Big League.” I loved the product and the hype that came with it after I saw people buying and ripping. One day after it hit retail shelves my kids and I went to Walmart and they have two packs of Big League. I tossed them in the cart and later opened then in the car. To my surprise, the packs were great. I pulled a Jose Altuve auto from the first pack, and the second pack had something shiny in the middle. It was a silver holofoil parallel of Rhys Hoskins, serial numbered 076/100. I showed it to my kids and both smiled to appease me and went back to their video games.

About a month later when 2018 Topps Stadium Club hit shelves I told my kids how much I loved TSC because of the photos. They have come to know me as not only a card collector, but also an amateur photographer, especially as it pertains to sunsets and baseball. So it was rather normal for them to understand my attraction to TSC as it is largely built around great photography. I bought a hobby box of TSC and allowed by kids to partake in the break, knowing that they’d be looking at the photos but also looking forward to the two autographs per box. My daughter ripped her six packs and pulled a Garrett Cooper auto; I opened my six packs and didn’t get any ink; and then my son got about half way through his packs when he nailed a Rhys Hoskins auto.

I thought it was an excellent pull and great addition to my collection. But I also made a mental note that the Hoskins was a card I would not sell or trade because it was a good rookie auto pulled by my son. So even though I paid for the cards and at the time he was not actually collecting, I sort of saw this Hoskins TSC as HIS card.

A few more months pass and I am in a phase in which I am buying into random number group breaks of Panini America Immaculate cases through breaker MojoBreak.com, which is headquartered not too far from where I live. The idea with this style break is you pay a set amount and are given a random number 1-99 (because nothing in Immaculate is numbered to more than 99) and whatever card comes out of the boxes with your assigned serial number is yours. During one session I paid like $15 for a random spot and lucked into the coveted Number One spot. So anything numbered 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, etc. was mine. It also meant that any 1/1 was also mine. Welp, guess whose name popped up again? That’s right, Rhys Hoskins.

Conrad at MojoBreak did his whole “One of One of One” chant and revealed this Immaculate RPA featuring Player-Used (so from a photo shoot) striped jersey with a patch and an on-card auto. I was ecstatic, but also a bit perplexed as this was yet another Hoskins hit rearing its head.

I’ve managed to cull the rest of the 2018 products I had sitting around and as it turns out, I have some 50 Hoskins rookie-year cards, which is a lot considering I don’t buy a bunch of everything.

And then the other day while digging through some old prospect boxes, look what else popped up: a 2014 Bowman Draft Paper Blue Hoskins First Bowman serial numbered 212/399.

If you don’t call that a sign, I don’t know what to make of this. So while I will not chase Hoskins with the fervor that I do Clemens and Kershaw, it’s definitely the guy whom I shall pitch to my son as the player whom we watch and collect together going forward.

I made another Topps purchase … but what I really want are the old school folders

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , on March 13, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I woke early this morning to make the kids’ school lunches and it dawned on me that it’s Wednesday. This means three things: It’s early day at school; there is a new episode of my favorite card podcast tonight; and it’s a Topps Living Set day.

Clayton Kershaw got his Topps Living Set card a few months ago, but last week the limited edition 10×14 fine art print went up for sale and while making lunches I remembered today was the last day to make the purchase so I logged in, ordered one, and moved on about my morning.

But the more I thought about it, the more I wished there was something else I wanted. I searched Kershaw’s name and there were various On Demand cards and posters for sale, but it seemed like something was missing. Then the light bulb went on and a clear vision popped into my head.

When I was 9, my family used to shop at KMart. I will never be ashamed of that. One of the items that I recall buying a a kid was a notebook folder designed to look like the 1989 Topps Mark McGwire card. There was Big Mac on the cover in his familiar crouched batting stance as shown on the front of his actual 1989 card, and the back was also a copy of the card, full of stats. I did the same a year later with a Dave Stewart card-inspired folder, his eyes staring right at me every time I opened the folder for math class.

The vision I had was not only those brief seconds of my youth, but how I wished Topps had recreated those folders for the current lineupo of cards and sold them on the Web Site. Full card fronts and backs, just like we had some 30 years ago.

Imagine if those were for sale, even for the cost of $3.99 each. How many of us nostalgic folks would spring for a few of those for ourselves, and maybe even a few for our own kids, or nieces or nephews.

This hobby is all about nostalgia. Do us all a favor, Topps, and bring back the folders. You guys could even sell them as a team set or an all-star team set to make it worth your while. Collectors talk a lot about bringing the youth into our hobby and we know that the business model doesn’t currently play into that for any card company. But the folders would be a fun way to tap into the youth; a way to link the kids with their parents or older siblings.

Flagship, Heritage are done — time to ease off the gas pedal

Posted in Collecting Kershaw, Commentary with tags , , , , on March 6, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

I’ve been trying to take a different approach to my hobby lately. In years past I’d spend days on end ripping and collecting whatever was in front of me. But over the last six to eight months I’ve turned much of my collecting attention to my player collections.

The beginning of the new card year usually brings all those crazy ripping feelings back. The desire to constantly buy and rip everything in sight. I ripped a fairly minimal amount of Topps Flagship and managed to build the base set, and over the last week I’ve opened a few blasters of Topps Heritage and have managed through a few trades to pretty much wrap up the base set of that , sans about 70 SPs for which I have ZERO desire to pay top dollar — wake me when they get to about $1 each as I am in no rush to complete the sets.

And with my son entering the hobby I’ve turned a bit to a little basketball — as you may have seen in recent video breaks I posted on YouTube and wrote briefly about here. I will do my best to not venture into the higher-end market.

But when it comes to baseball, I don’t see a whole lot that will grab my interest until Stadium Club hits in a few months. And this is a good thing for me and my bank account.

That’s not to say I won’t sample other products between then and now, but it means I likely won’t be buying hobby boxes or blasters of every product. I won’t be building the Donruss set, but I’ll be chasing the Kershaw parallels on the secondary market, where I can get exactly what I want and hopefully for less than I would spend if I were buying packs.

Speaking of the secondary market, my first wave of Kershaw Topps Heritage cards started to arrive this week from various purchases on eBay. Arriving this week were the French version, the mini version serial numbered /100, the black border NLCS Kershaw card (limited to 50 copies) and the almighty Heritage Chrome Black Refractor /70, which has always been one of my favorite parallels each season.

And lastly, speaking of parallels, I lost out on an auction today that really made me shake my head. Earlier today an auction ended for the “Silver Metal” version of the 2018 Topps Heritage Kershaw card and it went for way more than I expected. To be fair, it was the first of its kind on eBay so folks chasing the master set of Heritage were likely in on this one. But I decided I was out of the hunt with about three minutes left in the auction after my max bid was eclipsed. Why? Because I was not thrilled with the price of the card in relation to the quality.

Late last week I managed to pull the Chris Sale version of the “Metal” card and I’ll be honest — the card is disgusting. It’s not metal. Hell, it’s not even Chrome. It’s foilboard technology for most of the card with the player being covered only in gloss. It’s a let down considering they fall 1 in every 800-plus packs and they feel like a bastardized version of the retail exclusive “chrome” foilboard from recent releases. And because I have the Sale, I knew I didn’t feel comfortable paying more for the “Metal” than I did for the aforementioned Black Refractor. Others may not feel the same way when it comes to player collections, but sometimes I consider quality of the product in addition to rarity when figuring out what I am comfortable paying.

The Art of the Deal: Coupons for Cards

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , on March 5, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Last month when 2019 Topps Series One was released, some of the the blaster boxes offered exclusively through Target offered a stack of coupons as prominently advertised on the exterior packaging.

The coupons were for various items set to be released through the season. There were coupons for more Series One, coupons for Heritage and for Bowman, Opening Day and Gypsy Queen.

The coupons offered a dollar off here and there, which is a welcome sight in a collectibles market that rarely sees sale prices or deals offered through big box retailers.

And the coupons are a great value if you need the products being offered, or if you were going to buy them anyway.

But they can create a situation where you end up buying more product that you really need or want — which is how coupons work in the first place.

Here’s where I screwed up: I had the coupons sitting in my car last week when I ran into Heritage at retail. I bought the Heritage I desired and forgot I even had the coupons. And then I discovered the coupons again this week and there was this feeling in me that I needed to use the coupons or it felt like a missed opportunity.

The logic, of course, is somewhat flawed because I no longer “needed” Heritage or Series One packs since I am close to completing both sets.

I tweeted a picture of the coupons yesterday to merely point out that I was having the urge to go hunt down more Heritage, but as some relies suggested, you’re not really saving money if you wind up spending more than you planned to in the first place.

This is not to say I won’t use the coupons, or buy more packs, but it’s important for me to state the reality sometimes and get it in print (or on the web) to help me curb some behaviors.

A new quirk for 2019 Topps Heritage?

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

The Topps Heritage line is a fun set to collect or view from afar each year. For the most part, Topps stays true to the original design and quirks, often mimicking the errors of the past to maintain that sense of nostalgia that’ve come to embrace over the years

Of course in recent memory they’ve also added a slew of variations to make for extreme chase cards in some cases. But today I think I found a new tradition, one that doesn’t appear to be a throwback to the 1970 set.

While sorting a bit of the Heritage that I picked up this week I noticed something that doesn’t appear to be an homage to the original set. Grab your stacks of Heritage and thumb through them and pull out your base cards of the Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies. Remember, I’m talking base cards, not the multi-player rookie cards of subsets.

Now turn them over and look at the bio box.

Do you see it?

Right below the player’s biographical information is the team name: Washington Nationals or Colorado Rockies. Now go look at the other card backs. You’ll notice that cards of the other teams don’t have the team name on back.

I asked a hobby friend of mine what the deal was with this and he seemed to not know about it, suggesting that maybe it was a wink to something from 1970. I figured that may have been the case too, so I looked and I did not see the team name on the back of the 1970 cards.

I also noticed something else … a handful of the Nationals cards in the 2019 set (cards 1-400 not the SPs 401-500) corresponded by number with cards of the Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins from the 1970 set, which is a fun hat tip since there is some lineage between the Senators-Twins-Nationals franchises and locations.

Have you noticed any other fun quirks to the 2019 Heritage set? Leave a comment below.

I must do my best to resist the Heritage Hunt …

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , on February 27, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

Today is going to be a tough day. And so will tomorrow. And the day after that.

Why?

Because Topps Heritage Baseball hits shelves today and it’s all everyone is going to be taking about … and it’s going to be on my mind constantly.

I love Heritage, but by no means am I a master set builder. And I am not a hit chaser. Hell, a this point I’m just looking for Clayton Kershaw stuff from this product and maybe anything else that might be of interest for my son. And eventually we’ll get working on the set.

That said, I know my personality. I know that whenever a new big release hits I know I’m going to find myself on the hunt in retail stores looking for that first glimpse, that first taste of one of my favorite sets of the year.

It’d be a dumb statement to say I won’t buy any, or even give into a bit of the chase for the new product, but it’s important that on days like this that I remind myself that this product WILL be around for a while.

Whether I get the cards today, in a week or in a month, much of what I seek will be available.

On a side note, if anyone is dumping base cards, I’m interested. I’d love to start this set without dropping a boatload of cash on boxes.