Blaster Box Break: 2017 Topps Series 1 (The Rookie Special)

I’ve got to say, 2017 Topps Series 1 is my most-opened product, ever. I don’t know how much I’ve opened, but I previously profiled a three-box blaster break, and opened about three others that I haven’t posted. Add that to all the retail packs I’ve bought… and it’s quite a lot.

The funny thing (or maybe the sad thing) is I still don’t have a full base set. So while I’ve gotten about 10 Aledmys Diaz cards, I’m still searching for some.

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But that doesn’t discount from my favorite box of the product I’ve opened. I affectionately call this one the rookie special. You can probably guess why, but the results are here.

Let’s start with the medallion card. There’s one per box, and I pulled Kris Bryant from mine.

Now let’s get to the normal packs. The box basics, 10 packs of 12 cards each. Each pack has one or two inserts each.

The first pack yielded a top rookie, Yoan Moncada, and was supported by players like Mike Trout, Freddie Freeman, Addison Russell and a Bill Shatner insert. Moncada hasn’t exactly gotten off to the best start in his big league career, but he’s shown flashes for the White Sox. Still too early to write him off yet.

Pack 2 sees our first of the blaster-box exclusive Jackie Robinson Day inserts, which look exactly like Salute. Speaking of that insert, here’s a Robin Yount one. Base highlights include Jacob deGrom, Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Archer, and Gary Sheffield’s favorite player, Jason Heyward.

Pack 3 gives us another Jackie Robinson Day card, this one of Joe Mauer. We also have an award winner of the since retired David Ortiz. Base hits include Jose Altuve and Corey Kluber.

Pack 4 is a special one. Turns out it had 13 cards in it. Sweet. I’m going to assume that the Andrew Benintendi rookie is the extra one. Double win. The Luke Weaver rookie is also intriguing, and good to see my old friend Aledmys Diaz there. Inserts include a Rediscover Topps (Don Mattingly) and a Joey Votto 5 Tool (sweet card).

Pack 5 boasts a rookie card ofone of the breakout stars of the playoffs, Alex Bregman. Other base include postseason heroes Jake Arrieta, Masahiro Tanaka, and Jon Lester. Inserts include a Cal Ripken 1987 design and Buster Posey Bowman Then & Now. In the words of Larry David, pretty good. Pretty, pretty good.

Pack 6 should be called the Joe Musgrove pack — a normal base rookie and a Salute rookie of him. We also have our third JRD insert, this one of Mookie Betts. Other than that, a Matt Harvey base and Yankees team card.

We finally get our first parallel in Pack 7 — a rainbow foil of Danny Salazar. The pack also featured a nice 87 design of Hank Aaron. The base was nothing to note, but hey, at least the Aaron and parallel are nice.

As we get to the home stretch of the box, the base features three All Stars from this year — Stephen Strasburg, Justin Upton, and Craig Kimbrel. Inserts are another JRD of Todd “The Toddfather” Frazier and a Max Scherzer award.

The penultimate (love that word) pack featured just one insert — a 1987 design of Michael Conforto, including the ‘Future Stars’ branding. Bonus points to Topps for choosing a photo of him in his 1987 throwback uniform. The base had Nolan Arenado and Ryan Braun, and, well, other guys.

The final pack was, by far, my favorite for one reason — the Aaron Judge rookie! It’s my third copy, and as a Yankee fan, I wish I had more. Even the inserts were a nice touch with the Orlando Arcia Salute rookie, and, of course, another JRD card — this one of the great Mike Trout. Definitely a winner.

So in all, a great box break, especially considering it was on sale for $15 from Target. Three of those cards (Judge, Benintendi, and Moncada) I’ll probably get graded, and may do the same for Bregman depending on his progression. A definite win of a box.

I know I have duplicates of most cards — and most of them are at least triplets — but if I find more boxes on sale, I’d be very tempted to buy them. Hopefully they all go something like this.

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Hobby Box Break: 2017 Topps Update Baseball Cards

The 2017 Topps Update set continues to live up to recent history of key rookies appearing in it. This year is, of course, highlighted by Cody Bellinger and his three rookies (normal, rookie debut, Home Run Derby) and some more Aaron Judge ones (rookie debut, All-Star Game, Home Run Derby).

And while those ones are the big draws,  guys like Ian Happ, Christian Arroyo, Kyle Freeland, Derek Fisher, Jordan Montgomery, Bradley Zimmer, Josh Hader, Frances Martes, Daniel Robertson, Paul DeJong, Jacob Faria, and Sean Newcomb are looking like they could become stars in the league — or at least have the potential. You will need a few years to truly evaluate this rookie crop.

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So if you invest in a hobby box, what can you expect to get? Here’s what was in mine.

BASE: 

I wasn’t sure what to expect. It had been forever since I had opened a hobby box from a new set, so I didn’t know whether I would need to supplement it with a blaster box or two to get the full set. Turns out, I don’t. I pulled 299 of the 300 base set, including 20 doubles. Just need the Andrew Benintendi rookie debut.

What that means, though, is that I completed the dual quartets of Judge and Bellinger.

The one (major) disappointing factor in this set — a large swath of mid-season acquisitions are missing. That means there’s no Sonny Gray in a Yankees uniform, Yu Darvish as a Dodgers, Jay Bruce as an Indian, Justin Verlander as an Astros, or even Jaime Garcia as a Yankee (or Twin). It’ll be interesting to see if the pending free agents, like Darvish, Bruce, and Garcia, get a card with those teams in 2018 Series 1… or if it’ll be like they never were there.

BASE VARIATIONS: 

Like with the past few (many) years, there are plenty of variations to be found. The unnumbered rainbow foil returns, and provided me with three. The best of the lot was definitely the Alex Bregman debut.

Numbered cards are aplenty, too. Of course, the most common ones are gold (out of 2017), of which I pulled five. My box also had one hobby-exclusive black (out of 66) parallel of Charlie Blackmon. And you know what, it’s very cool. There was also a Mother’s Day Hot Pink parallel of Zack Cozart, limited to 50 copies.

I’m a sucker for numbered parallels, so yeah, these were all really cool, especially the Blackmon.

One thing I wasn’t expecting was the prevalence of short prints. I pulled a SSP of Roberto Clemente from Series 2 (from retail, no less), so I was expecting to maybe one. Turns out, they’re found at 1:4 packs for the “normal” short prints.

One twist to them, they also featured short prints of cards from Series 1 and 2. It’s pretty cool, I just wish they were a little bit harder to find.

BUYBACKS: 

Continuing its theme of buybacks in 2017, there are more to be found in Update. Same scale as before — red, blue, gold, silver, and bronze in descending rarity order.

My box had six of them. Three were bronze, including a 1979 Topps card of Sam Ewing. There was also a silver, gold, and one red.

INSERTS:

Just like the buybacks continued, so did the 1987 design. I do love the design, but feel it’s getting a bit overused. Still neat to see a mix of current and former players in one of the most iconic designs, and do wish I had gotten more than 4 of the 50-card set. And as a Yankee fan, getting the Montgomery is a nice touch (his stamping is the standard silver, not sure why it’s red in this photo).

Salute is also back for the third set this year. It’s one of my least favorite insets this year with its mix of focus, from rookies, to walk offs, to throwback uniforms.

There’s also the return of the MLB Network stars. Really not much to say about it, other than I hope Topps got some nice chunk of change for this cross promotion. Hope it doesn’t become a trend.

One new addition is the Topps All-Rookie Cup. It’s a reprinted card featuring some of the top Rookie Cup stars, with some info on the back. Not the most creative insert, but still better than some others.

What was strange was that all five in my box had some centering issues. Nothing too crazy, but I do hope yours are better than mine.

But what’s most cool is the Untouchables. Highlighting some of the game’s best pitchers — both currently and historically — is nothing new, but it’s such a sweet-looking card. Only got 4 of the 30 cards, but definitely tempted to get more.

HIT: 

And like all hobby boxes, there’s a guaranteed big hit, either a relic or auto. It took me until the 36th and final pack to pull mine, so if you’re in a hurry, maybe start with packs near the bottom of the box. I was definitely hoping for an auto, but turns out I got a relic featuring a piece of All-Star gear from none other than Clayton Kershaw. Definitely one of the best players to get a relic from, especially after his big performance in Game 1 of the World Series.

FINAL THOUGHTS: 

I know I have all but one of the base, but I do miss some duplicates so I’ll probably get my hands on some more of these cards. Some of these inserts are just too cool, and well, the rookies are a promising bunch. I do hope that Topps reverts back to featuring in-season trades next year in Update, but still worth a purchase of a box if you get a good deal on one.

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