Baseball Card Blaster Box Break: 2020 Topps Stadium Club

As I’m sure many of you know, it’s been tough finding blasters this year since the pandemic hit. Even online, the products sell out within seemingly minutes.

So when I found boxes of Stadium Club online at WalMart, I jumped on the opportunity and bought a few boxes. It’s not my favorite product but I do like it, and I didn’t know when I could get the opportunity again. (That was in late August/early September. In the time since, I’ve yet to see them again.)

Get your singles from 2020 Topps Stadium Club here!

While some of the boxes were average — another did include a Fernando Tatis Jr SSP, which I didn’t realize until well after the fact — there was one box that caught my eye and wanted to share.

Blasters contain one widevision card per box, and mine was Bryce Harper. I like them better than the giant cards in the Archives blasters (they’re the same size of the Upper Deck Tallboys so I have ways to store them. Still looking for ways to do that for the giant cards).

Pack 1 started off with a nice parallel, the red foil Jesus Luzardo. It’s always tough to gauge how well a pitcher will do long term but he certainly has potential. The Christian Yelich card has a great photo — even if that game was a painful one, as a Pirates fan.

Pack 2 featured another appearance by Luzardo. I also have hope that Jordan Yamamoto will become a good starter (call it the former Cardinals prospect syndrome), even if he did have a rough season. The Stan Musial sepia is the insert this time.

Pack 3, and another parallel of a card whose base was featured in another pack. This one is the black foil of Nick Markakis. And can we talk about the car that Ty Cobb is driving? This is how you know you’re opening Stadium Club.

Pack 4 features double hits, and what a pair they are. Ken Griffey Jr. is good enough alone. But to add a red parallel of Mike Trout is an awesome bonus. I believe the odds of finding one are 1:193. Not too shabby.

Pack 5 features another great hit, the Pete Alonso Instavision. I’m not sure I get the whole concept of what Topps was going for here, but I do like the panel part — I’m a sucker for player cutouts and large logos in the background. For those of you keeping score at home, these are found in 1:193 packs.

Pack 6 brings us another red foil, the second one of this box. The odds of getting one in a pack are 1:4, so you can expect to getting at least two of these in a box. As a Vandy fan, I always love getting another Walker Buehler card — even if he is bunting.

Pack 7’s focus wasn’t on the sepia card — at least for me. I was drawn to the Dylan Cease card. Even if it wasn’t a parallel or “hit” it’s still an awesome photo.

Pack 8 brings a close to the blaster, and of course it features another red foil. Funnily enough, all three of those red foils in this box were of pitchers — two rookie pitchers, no less. I will admit to being a bit disappointed that the Derek Dietrich photo wasn’t him in the bee keeper’s uniform.

This is the type of blaster boxes that flippers might be disappointed in — no big name autos — but as a collector, I truly appreciate. I’d love to get the chance to open a few more of these boxes, but I don’t know if or when I’ll see these again, let alone for $20.

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Blaster Box Break: 2018 Score Football

I’m currently dog/apartment sitting for my Kansas City Chiefs-loving friend. Keep that in mind as you go through this post.

But since I’m away from home I figured I’d stop by the local WalMart to pick up some groceries… and of course check out the card selection. Nothing good was discounted so I picked up some 2018 Score since it’s been a while since I’ve opened any. Upon getting back to the place, I didn’t waste any time ripping in to it… with the pup eyeing me as if I was opening up some treats for him.

Get your singles from 2018 Score here!

Pack 1:

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Call it the kicker pack with Justin Tucker and Greg Zuerlein. Nice NFL Draft card with Calvin Ridley and can’t go wrong with a Brady card. The rookie highlight was Derrius Guice, despite him missing all of this past year.

Pack 2:

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The Josh Allen rookie is the big draw here. I’m still not sure how good he’ll be in the NFL, but he had some moments this past year. Could be a big card in a few years… or he’ll be another Ryan Tannehill type.

Pack 3:

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Sorry, Raiders fans. This pack contained two Khalil Mack cards — Raiders certainly could have used him this him this year. None of the rookies stood out to me.

Pack 4:

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Call this the almost pack. Wrong Georgia offensive player. Wrong Auburn running back. But I do love the Jake Elliott card. He’s the underrated hero of the Super Bowl. That kick at the end was CLUTCH.

Pack 5:

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A nice group of inserts here. Roquan Smith is a defensive beast. Todd Gurley is the best running back in the league. And I think OJ Howard is gonna be one of the best tight ends in the game in a few years. Rookies were pretty meh.

Pack 6:

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Second pack in a row with a parallel, and another Brady insert. I do like the Scoreboard inserts, too. Rookies, again, weren’t great.

Pack 7:

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Can’t beat that DeAndre Hopkins photo choice. Granted, he makes one of those catches per game. But still hella cool. I’ve heard of Hurst among the rookies, not sure of the other two.

Pack 8:

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Another three-insert pack. Gold Julio Sidelines is pretty cool. Courtland Sutton is doing… something. Honestly don’t know how he did this past year. I like the Josh Adams rookie. I think he’ll be a good piece in the Eagles backfield the next few years.

Pack 9:

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Yay for a JJ Watt Scorecard parallel. I thought the Cooks Celebration card was a parallel too — but it’s not. Pretty good crop of linemen, too, among the rookies.

Pack 10:

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Nice crop of rookies here. Sam Darnold had a great end to his season. Sony Michel played well when healthy. And the Russell Wilson Color Rush insert is pretty cool with the green.

Pack 11:

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I could tell this pack had the guaranteed hit relic in it so I intentionally held it for last. I wasn’t expecting a jersey relic of one of the best young QBs in the game — Patrick Mahomes! Love watching him play so I’m gonna add it to my collection, despite it probably not being a game-used relic (I miss those days. I don’t care for the “player-worn” stuff). An added bonus were the rookies — I’m a UR grad so love seeing the Lauletta pop up (even though I wish it would have the Spider logo). And the Baker Mayfield rookie made this pack hands-down the best in the box.

It was a fun box to break, even if it wasn’t on sale. Score is one of my go-to brands, so I’ll definitely be breaking more in the future.

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Box Break: 2016/17 Panini Threads Basketball Hobby Box

Basketball is an odd one for me — it’s my least-watched of the major sports but still one of my favorites to collect. (Who am I kidding? I love to collect all.)

So when Blowout had a hobby box of 2016-17 Panini Threads on sale, I decided to take the plunge. I had purchased one a while back and was happy with the results so I figured it was worth the shot.

Get your singles from 2016-17 Threads here!

A bit about this box — 20 packs are in it, 6 cards per pack (I could only find 19 though when going over it. Not sure what happened there). One autographed card is guaranteed, along with one memorabilia.

Was it worth it? I’ll let you be the judge. Check below for the packs.

Pack 1: Bunch of recognizable names on the base, and a KD insert. Good start.

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Pack 2: First hobby hit, a leather rookie of second overall pick Brandon Ingram. Jury’s still out on how good of a NBA player he’ll be, but still a good one. Also like Horford.

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Pack 3: Century red parallel numbered 33/199 of Malik Beasley (no idea if he’s still in the NBA). Can’t go wrong with a Giannis card, too.

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Pack 4: Base of a pair of HOFers – Anthony and Gasol – and a top young guard in Booker. Plus a card of TNT’s Kenny the Jet Smith.

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Pack 5: Hardwood Pioneers card of Magic. Future HOFer Dirk. And rookie of Caris LeVert, who will hopefully come back 100% soon from his horrific leg injury.

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Pack 6: A Century Red Hardwood Pioneers non-numbered parallel of Elgin Baylor. Otherwise, not a whole lot of note here.

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Pack 7: My favorite is the Steph Curry card. I’ve never been a fan of cards without the player on them, so while the Team Threads is a cool concept, not my favorite execution. This one is of Jordan Clarkson.

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Pack 8: Pretty easy to tell the best card in this pack — the autographed Kyrie Team Threads, numbered 88/99. Didn’t even know that they had autographed versions of this insert set so took me a minute to process it all. I’m not a Kyrie fan so honestly I’ll probably sell it, but still a great hit!

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Pack 9: KD base, Murray rookie, KAT Front-Row Seat insert… solid pack. Plus, Aquaman aka Steven Adams.

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Pack 10: There’s out box friend Brandon Ingram again. Plus a base of MVP James Harden and ESPN’s Mark Jackson Floor Generals insert.

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Pack 11: Jamal Murray looks like he’ll be a player so his rookie was a nice get. Two John Walls in this pack, including a Front-Row Seat Century Red parallel.

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Pack 12: The base alone is good — KAT, AD, Marcus Smart, The Klaw, and rookie of The President. Oh, and a Debut Threads prime patch — numbered 1/25 — of Diamond Stone. He never panned out in the NBA but his name is the stuff of legends.

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Pack 13: Pascal Siakam is a key piece to the East-topping Raptors so his rookie is a nice get. Otherwise the pack was dull. I know the name Gail Goodrich (Hardwood Pioneers) but I know nothing about him.

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Pack 14: I like the inserts in this pack. Gobert is one of my favorite players. And the Wilt Chamberlain Hardwood Pioneers Century Proof Holo is a pretty cool card.

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Pack 15: There’s Diamond Stone again. The second guaranteed leather rookie is of Juan Hernangomez, who’s taken a step forward in his third year. And I like Chris Paul so I’m happy with that insert.

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Pack 16: There’s another Team Threads insert, this one the normal, un-signed one. This one is of our friend Ingram again. The third and final card of his in this box.

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Pack 17: Chris Paul, Paul George base. Boogie Cousins Front-Row Seat insert. That’s all.

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Pack 18: Another Century Proof Red parallel, this one of Darren Collison. Saric is a pretty good rookie card.

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Pack 19: Dwyane Wade base. Damian Lillard insert. Diallo was a big recruit at Kansas but hasn’t done anything in the NBA.

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So the box tapered off at the end but still a great box overall. Heck, would probably get the price of it back on the Kyrie card alone. I would definitely consider getting another box, especially if I find it on sale again.

Support this blog by browsing through all my cards I have for sale. I’m on COMC here. You can check out my baseball, soccer and hockey ones here, while football and basketball are located here. For entertainment and various sports ones, check out this eCrater site.

Blaster Box Break: Topps The Walking Dead Season 7

I’ve never really thought about buying non-sports cards until I started dabbling in The Walking Dead Season 6 cards. But that, plus seeing some of the hits posted online (mainly the bullet relics), got me interested in starting up my collection this year.

Boy, am I glad I did.

This was only the second blaster box of the cards that I’ve ever bought, and if they’re more like that, I’ll definitely be in the market for more.

Get singles from Topps The Walking Dead Season 7 here

Basics:

Each box contains 10 packs, with six cards per pack. There are usually 2 to 3 inserts per pack, including one rust parallel per pack.

The rust parallels from this box.

You’ll also get a hit per box, in its own separate pack, giving you a total of 61 cards for the $19.99 you spend on the box.

Inserts:

Walkers: A set of 10 of the best walkers from that season. In this box, I pulled three. Crazy to see the level of decay the the makeup and costume departments were able to pull off.

Allegiances: A set of 7 of the show’s best partnerships that are only found in Wal-Mart boxes. My box had five, and my favorite was definitely the Ezekiel and Jerry. Such a great duo.

Rivalries: A set of 4 of the show’s best hateships. My box had two, including the great Rick and Negan one. Can’t top that combo in this season.

Characters: A set of 19 highlighting some of the main cast of characters on the show. This is one of the bigger insert sets, and my box only had three. But as a fan of Abraham, that was definitely a hit in my book.

Chop: A set of 9 cards again highlighting characters on the show. This set has been a staple in previous releases, but it’s still a nice look.

Numbered Parallels: There are five different parallels of each card, both base and inserts. In each of the two blaster boxes I’ve opened this year, there’s been one of them. This one was a rust (03/99) Rivalries of Negan and Spencer — such a short rivalry.

Hit: This is the big draw, of course. Wal-Mart boxes are probably in bigger demand because of the ability to get a shell casing relic. But most common from Wal-Mart are the walker relics (only found from Wal-Mart) which are still pretty darn cool — and was pulled from the first box I bought.

This box, I knew I didn’t get a relic as the pack was too thin and light. I was excited about the prospect of hitting an auto and saved it for last. Turns out some more patience is required on my part.

A Melissa McBride rust parallel on-card auto (numbered out of 99)! Definitely my best blaster box hit, especially since she’s a character from the start of the show. Not my favorite character, but she’s a bad ass and definitely will never complain about it.

Funnily enough, there were plenty of duplicates from my first box to this one. But this hit more than makes up for it. It’s definitely looking forward to blasting another box or two.

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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.

Search the 2017 Topps cards I have for sale here

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.

Search the 2017 Topps cards I have for sale here

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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(Hanger) Baseball Card Box Break: 2011 Topps Update

Normally, I reserve my blog posts for breaks of blasters and full boxes. This time, I’m going a little off script.

The 2011 Topps Update set could very well be the most in-demand/expensive set currently on the market. And you better believe card No. 175 plays a huge part of that. If you’re not familiar with the checklist, that’s the rookie card of a Mr. Mike Trout.

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While Trout is certainly the headliner of the set, with a raw condition card fetching about $125 on eBay (making the fact I sold one for $35 a few years back pretty painful), he’s not the only key one to have. Guys like Jose Altuve, Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo, J.D. Martinez, Charlie Blackmon, Eric Hosmer, and a host of other All Stars make their official cardboard debut in the set.

So when I found was able to buy a 72-card hanger box on eBay for $225 — the highest price I’ve ever paid for cards — I was quite eager to open it up. The ultimate goal? A parallel of the Trout rookie. While I didn’t get it, the box was a definite success, as you’ll see.

The box had some wear, but the good news was all the cards didn’t have any damage.

Normally, I’d start this review with a look at the base. But since the base holds the big prize, and the box itself contained very few inserts, I’ll save that for the end. In fact, the box only had two inserts, leaving 70 base + parallels available for the Trout.

One of the inserts I liked — the Topps 60 of Reggie Jackson. It’s a cool set, even if it is light on information on what exactly it’s highlighting. The other was a Frank Thomas Kimball Champions mini. It reminds me of an Allen & Ginter card (which is far from my favorite set), but the real problem for me is the size. I’ve never like mini cards. They’re just so hard to store.

The machine that sorted this box had to have been an A’s fan.

This update set introduced the concept of store parallels (i.e., Target reds). This box didn’t have any, but it did have a few of the cognac diamond. One unique thing about this parallel — it was only found in Update, but had cards from both Series 1 and 2 in them.  So out of the four that I pulled, two of them (Austin Jackson and Kelly Johnson) were from Series 2. But I did appreciate pulling the Carlton Fisk Legends SP cognac parallel.

The box also carried two more types of parallels — a Platinum Diamond and a gold parallel. The gold is, of course, numbered to the year (xxx/2011) while the Platinum isn’t. Love the look of both of these cards.

While the parallels and inserts were neat, the meat of the box comes from the rookies. It felt like there were fewer rookies in this set than in ensuing years, and there are plenty of guys who have since washed out of the league, like one-time top prospect Alex White. But out of the big names I listed before, I pulled two — the best two in my opinion.

Both of these cards will get graded some day. I don’t claim to be an expert in raw assessing conditions, but I gotta say, that Trout looks pretty darn good.

So was the box expensive? You better believe it. But all in all, I’m quite happy with it — and will definitely keep an eye out for more in the future.

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Box Break: 1999 Topps Baseball Series 2

I got to admit, the late ’90s were a bit of an odd time for Topps cards. It’s past the junk wax era, not yet at the big-hits era, and there were a ton of brands/variations out there. Their baseball set sizes were about half what they are nowadays — about 450 cards, compared to about 750 among Series 1 and 2. And looking back at the rookie crop, there are very few that stand out.

But me being the baseball card addict I am, I still love them.

So when I stumbled upon a box of 1999 Topps Series 2 retail box for a whopping $15, I had to pounce. And I’m glad I did, but more on that for later.

Let’s see what this box turned up.

Base: 

The set starts with card No. 243 (Tom Glavine) and goes all the way through the checklists at 463. Card No. 461 is a Sammy Sosa with 66 variations, one for each home run he hit in ’98. My box had all of the base cards in it (most of them had duplicates, too), and two variations of the special Sosa card. Get ready for a bunch of doubles if you get a box.

Need some base from 1999 Topps for your set? I have some listed here.

Condition:

Not bad for being stuck in a package for nearly 20 years. As expected, some of the gold foiling flaked off of the player names, but nothing too noticeable. I was worried when I saw the pack fronts were faded, and all the cards kind of stuck together when opening the pack, but all in all, not too bad on the front. A few had bad dings or other markings, but overall a solid stack. Most of them had some fading on the back, but that’s not really a big issue for me.

Rookies: 

Matt Holliday’s rookie card, with a cameo by Jeff Winchester, the Rockies’ first-round pick in ’98 who never got above AA.

There are some recognizable names, but definitely nobody going to the Hall. Closest one would be Matt Holliday. But you also have familiar names like Brad Lidge, Doug Mientkiewicz, Jason LaRue, Austin Kearns, Gabe Kapler, Adam Everrett, Pat Burrell, A.J. Burnett, Billy Koch, and Vernon Wells in the group on rookie and prospect cards.

Inserts:

Inserts were pretty limited in this box. The most common were the Record Numbers. Cool design, but were obviously miscut. Oh well, these are just for my collection, anyway.

A little bit harder to hit are two foil-heavy sets, All Matrix and All-Topps Mystery Finest. Both sets carry a pretty decent listing price on COMC if you hit the right one. I had no such luck, but again, I’m not opening the box to make a profit.

The final insert set in the box was the big one, the Nolan Ryan reprints. Ryan had been out of the game for a few years at that point, but Topps decided to feature him, going with its pitching theme (the box/pack design featured Roger Clemens). There are two types of the reprints, the base and refractor. I forgot to look at the pack odds, but the refractor is a pretty big hit if you can find one (as an aside, I remember a trip to Wildwood, NJ, one summer growing up, I had enough tickets at an arcade to get a pack of ’99 Topps. I pulled an awesome Nolan Ryan 1987 refractor).

This box delivered two normal reprints and one refractor. The base reprints are of his 1978 and 1981 cards, and his refractor is… his rookie!

When I pulled it, I thought it was a nice hit, but nothing crazy. Then curiosity got the better of me, and I started looking at its prices. COMC has a pair (at the time of writing) between $5 and $15. A recently sold one on eBay got up to $40, but a PSA 10 one sold for a whopping $250! The one I pulled looks a little off center, but everything else looks pretty good. I’ll get it graded one day and hold onto it. But if I wanted to sell it, I could probably pay for the box with just that one card.

All in all, a very solid box. If it weren’t for all the duplicate base that I don’t want sitting around my room, I would be tempted to open another box just to see what hits I could pull, and maybe flip a few. But for what it is, I’m very happy with my purchase.

As a note, I plan on doing more and more of these box breaks, spanning all years and sports, now that I have a bit more disposable income. So stay tuned!

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Blaster Box Break(s): Three Boxes of 2017 Topps Series 1

There’s no better omen for a good baseball season than a good Topps flagship set. That’s what the 2017 version of Topps delivers.

A year after having a design that I wasn’t too crazy about (it cut off way too much of the photo), Topps let them breathe this year. So I’ve decided to buy three blaster boxes at various times — along with my usual spate of packs from Target and Wal-Mart — and share the results.

Get all of your 2017 Topps baseball cards here.

I’ll share the hits later, but first a few notes on my favorite base.

One of the first base cards to strike my eye was the Craig Kimbrel. There’s nothing too special about the photo itself, but the story behind it is special to me. Take a look at it:

Based on my detective work, I can tell that the photo was taken when the Red Sox played in Detroit. My initial reaction was that I at that game, and it looks like my quick research confirms that. The Red Sox played a four-game series at Detroit — Kimbrel didn’t pitch in the first two games, and the final game was a day game. That left only the Saturday night game as the only one Kimbrel appeared in. That’s the one I attended, and waited through two hour-plus rain delays.

Related: My photo review of my trip to Comerica Park

Overall, there’s nothing special about the photo (although it does feature his distinctive bend) but it’s always cool to see a card featuring a game you attended. The only other one I can think of that features a photo from a game I attended was the 2012 Topps Juan Nicasio card.

But on a larger sense, I’ve been very impressed with the photo selection in 2017 Topps. I might get more into it if I do a more detailed review of the set, but let me just say it’s been great. A lot of great action shots, especially among outfielders making catches (like this Jacoby Ellsbury card). Combine that with a cool border, and that’s the perfect elements for a great set.

Now onto the hits. Let’s start with the guaranteed Jackie Robinson Logo Patch card. It’s one per blaster box, and 50 different patches. Here’s the best one I got — the Carlos Correa.

I also pulled a Sonny Gray and Nolan Arenado ones. Overall, not a bad trio, but still kind of disappointing when they carry the box.

On the base parallel front, it’s worked out to about one gold and one silver foil per blaster box. There was also one Rediscover Topps buyback in the three-box lot, a silver 1993 Kevin Brown.

First Pitch also makes a return, as you can see in the first of the two above photos. It’s about one or two per blaster box for me, and some of the people featured I had never heard of. But it was cool to pull the Stephen Colbert — love that guy.

Topps also has a different type of Rediscover Topps, as you can see by that George Brett 1975 in the photo above. Sadly, it’s not an original. It’s just a reprint on the front and features an ad for Topps on the back. It’s about one per blaster.

Related: 2001 Topps Series 1 hobby box break

The heaviest insert is definitely the Salute/Jackie Robinson Day cards. Take a look at the ones I pulled from three boxes. You can see how much they are featured.

That’s 23 of these in three boxes, or just a shade under 8 per box. With such a large set, it will take you a while to build it all.

The other prominently featured set is the MLB Awards. It features everything from Rookie of the Year to MVP to Gold Glove winners, and even Comeback Player of the Year. Of course, the NL version features Jose Fernandez, who I had forgotten had died.

Other assorted inserts included Bowman Then and Now (2 out of 3 boxes had one), a look at MLB Network personalities (1 out of 3), and 5 Tools (2 out of 3). My favorite was definitely the 5 Tool, especially pulling an Andrew McCutchen (since I’m a Pirates fan).

But of course, the biggest draw insert-wise is the 1987 Design. Prices have started out pretty high for them (compared to your average insert) I’m guessing because of the popularity of that set. Based on my experience, you’ll get two or three per blaster box meaning you have to go through a ton of boxes to get the full 100-card set.

Overall, these boxes were OK, nothing too special. There weren’t any short prints among the base set, and still wasn’t able to complete the 350-card base set. That makes sense since there were 10 packs of 10 cards in the box, and most of them featured two inserts. Let’s say you average about 85 base cards per blaster box (since not all packs have two inserts), so it would take at least five boxes to get the full set, assuming you don’t get too many duplicates. So maybe a hobby box and a blaster would be a better bet.

But hey, for $20, this is a pretty good buy for the base alone.

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Blaster Box Break: 2016-17 Panini NBA Hoops

For whatever reason, this year I’ve started embracing NBA cards again. I don’t watch the games — or at least maybe until late in the playoffs — but the allure of the cards has been calling my name.

I’ve picked up a few packs of Prizm, opened a few more of Panini Complete, but took the big plunge on NBA Hoops. Then again, when you pick up one pack at Target and this is your hit, it’s hard not to get the bug again.

So when I had a gift card to Amazon, I decided to place an order for a blaster box of NBA Hoops. The box had a promise of a autographed card or relic, and was hoping for another auto. So did I get the second auto? Read on to see what else I pulled — I’ll get to it at the end.

Click here to browse through all the basketball cards listed on my eCrater store.

But first, I want to comment on the base set. It contains a total of 300 cards, with 40 of them dedicated to the rookies. It’s been a rookie class that’s been less than impressive (from what I’ve heard, anyway), but I did pull a couple of nice rookies — Brandon Ingram and Malcolm Brogdon.

I was also glad to see Kevin Garnett in the set. Even though he retired before the season (and would therefore be usually a weird thing to see in a set), as a KG fan growing up, I was glad to get it. If only there was a Tim Duncan in the base….

Now onto the inserts. The box brought three unnumbered blues — Ish Smith, Jeff Green (I didn’t realize either was still in the league) and Gordon Hayward. It also had one red parallel, numbered to 49, of Udonis Haslem.

The blaster box also had seven other inserts of the non-parallel type.

The Lights, Camera, Action pair were pretty darn cool, showcasing some great photography. That’s always a plus in my book.

I also like the Double Trouble and Faces of the Future. Obviously the Chris Paul-Blake Griffin pairing on the Double Trouble is worth being highlighted on a card, but honestly, I had never even heard of Miles Turner before, and wasn’t sure he was worthy (for lack of a better word) of being featured in that set. But NBA fans, feel free to chime in if I am wrong.

The End 2 End cards are nice, but really don’t grab my attention too much. But they’re still better than the Kobe 2K Hoops insert. I’m really never a fan of those video game cards. But c’est la vie.

Now onto the big(ish) draw — the guaranteed auto or relic. It was clear looking at the packs which one had the big hit, a clue that it was a relic. I opened it and saw it was a relic of…

Tyler Ennis! Woo! I recognized the name from his time at Syracuse, but I had no idea how he was faring in the NBA. I looked him up and soon learned that his career hasn’t exactly gotten off to the best start. He was acquired by the Lakers at the trade deadline this year, which makes it his fourth team in three years. He’s been a bench player for his whole career, and his stats aren’t that impressive.

It looks like his NBA career will be short lived, but hey, a relic card is a relic card. I’ll never complain about getting one of those.

For $20, you could do a lot worse than a blaster box of NBA Hoops.

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