Tuesday, March 30, 2010

2008 Topps Chrome Hobby Box Break

2008 Topps Chrome Hobby Box
24 packs, 4 cards per pack
2 autographs per box

All Topps Chrome is good Chrome, but not all sets are created equal.  Most feel 2008 Topps is a bit of a weak design.

Everyone and their dog has seen the set by now, so I'll keep this to inserts and hits.

Chrome Trading Card History still ring cool.

Seven total.  Super shine.

These 50th Anniversary All-Rookie Team cards are beautiful.  Combing shine with color, a giant trophy, and a nice pic, is a formula that can't fail in my book.

Topps wasn't able to kill my joy of pulling a Mantle card, but they sure have been trying.  Now if people pull a Mantle Topps card they are just as likely to be annoyed as they are to be happy.

Okay, okay...the hits:

Chrome Heritage serial numbered to 1959.

Kendrick refractor s/n to 599.

A rookie card!  Oh...Brian Bass (4.87 lifetime era).  Copper refractor serial numbered to 599.

Finally.  A copper refractor Griffey numbered to 599.

Ohlendorf auto.  After a terrible 2008 with the Yanks (6.46 era), Ohlendorf was shipped to the Pirates where he had a respectable season in 2009 (11-10, 3.92 era).

I don't mind getting this auto because it appears Ohlendorf might have a fairly long stay in the majors.  As long as I get players that stick around I usually am okay with the auto.  It's also his rookie card which is always more desirable.

Randy Wells auto.  Another rookie card.

At first glance a lot of baseball fans probably don't remember much about Wells' 2009 season.  He had a crisp 3.05 era in 165.1 innings (12-10 record) for the Cubs.  The 26 year old finished sixth in the Rookie of the Year balloting.

Wells kinda came out of nowhere (3.75 career era in seven seasons in the minors).  He impressed Pinella quite a bit and the Cubs will be counting on him to repeat his 2009 performance.

I'm definitely content with this auto.

Overall this was probably a slightly below average box.  The Griffey Jr copper refractor and Wells auto stand out above a sea of mediocre hits.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

2002 Topps Gallery Hobby Box Break

2002 Topps Gallery Hobby Box
24 packs, 6 cards per pack

I've always had an appreciation for painted sets.  Based on the long successful run Diamond Kings/Dick Perez had, and the continued popularity of sets like modern day Turkey Red, it seems many feel the same way.  Topps Gallery is a can't miss set for fans of baseball art.


The 200 card set is comprised of 150 veterans, 40 rookies, and 10 retired stars.

Click the pictures to see an enlarged image.

This card reminds me a lot of a less colorful Turkey Red portrait.

An interesting thing about the back of the cards is how much space they devoted to blurbs about the artists.  It looks like there were about eight different artists involved in this set, although it's tough to differentiate who drew which portraits without flipping the cards over.

One of the pitfalls of painted sets is there's usually a handful of portraits that share little resemblance with the actual real life player.  This set has very few clunkers.  Almost all are impressively done.

46 of the 144 cards pulled are stars (32%).

I don't see a lot of 2002 Topps Gallery floating around in player lots, so opening a box is a fun way to fill in gaps in your player collections.

The rookie cards are distinguished by a red bar running across the bottom.

Joe Mauer's rookie is easily the most valuable in the 200 card base set.  It regularly sells for around $5.00 on Ebay (without shipping included).

Mauer is the only rookie card of note.

If you are hoping for a lot of inserts in a box, 2002 Topps Gallery isn't for you.  I received three inserts total (which I'll show soon).  However, the Retired Stars cards feel like inserts.

I ended up with five.  The others include Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Kirby Puckett, Robin Yount, and Ryan Sandberg.  Unfortunately my three favorite of the ten (Robinson, Killebrew, and Puckett) didn't come my way.

Now for the inserts:

The Topps Gallery Heritage insert set has 25 cards.  All of them depict portraits of player's original rookie cards and are seeded 1:12 packs.

This concept should be revived instead of the current trend of simply remaking nearly identical cards from past years (like Topps 2010 Cards Your Mom Threw Out).  An entire set of portraits of past cards would really spark my interest.

I was quite pleased to land this card.  Who doesn't love a card of Reggie?

Some of the best gems in this insert set include Kaline, Brooks Robinson, Nolan Ryan, Yaz, Musial, Schmidt, and Seaver.

There's also modern rookies such as Gwynn, Arod, Griffey Jr., and even Bret Boone and Shawn Green.

The worst choice for the set would have to be Tsuyoshi Shinjo (statistically speaking).

Ah!  There was a long stretch when Maddux was my favorite pitcher.  I have massive respect for his career.

Maddux had a seven year run that, when compared to league era, was one of the best stretches in the history of baseball (1992-1998):  127-53,  2.15 era.  It is hard to come up with any pitcher who trumps Maddux's amazing peak.  Pedro Martinez is the only modern pitcher I found who had a similar statistical stretch.

The overall odds of getting an Auto or Relic are stated as 1:44 packs.

So, there's the lowdown on the break.  It was about what I expected.  I received a nice assortment of stars and three inserts.  I wouldn't buy another box of 2002 Topps Gallery but I'm glad I bought one.  If you aren't building the set, it's a one box and done type product.

What do you guys and gals think of the set?  Good, bad, or middle of the road?

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Trade with Thoughts and Sox!

Adam over at Thoughts and Sox contacted me about a possible trade.  He has a highly organized need list so it made things easy on my end.

In return for some Red Sox cards he sent me a 300 card box packed full of mostly Orioles.  It was a great mix including numerous cards from sets I never had the chance to collect.

There's too many to show but I pulled a nice sampling of some of my favorites:

Gotta start with the 2009 Topps Tribute cards.  This is such a high-end, classy product.  I'll probably never bust one of these boxes so it's really nice to be able to add these to my player collections.  I've never even held a 2009 Topps Tribute card before today.

Another card I've never even seen.  Nice insert!

Argh!  Bipped!  It's Steady Eddie though.  

As Adam noted, this was a Bipping sent before a ceasefire was called.  It's the first time I have been Bipped so I'm glad one hit me before it officially ended.  

Although, I guess wanting to get Bipped may be part of what caused Bipping to Jump the Shark in the first place.  I mean when Socialites of the 50's started hiring "genuine Beatniks" to attend their parties...well, the days of the Beatniks were numbered.

Perfect card.

The eternally loved All-Time Fan Favorites set.

More classic photos.  I especially love the background of the Brooks Robinson shot.

Wide range of cards here.

I also received a good amount of Tejada cards.

My Markakis collection received the biggest boost.

I'm looking for Nick to rebound this season.  Last year was okay but not his best.  With all the offense he will have around him in 2010 it will be nearly impossible for him to avoid 110 runs batted in.

Markakis and Felix Hernandez serial numbered to 525.  Cool!

There were also a ton of other star cards from Adam.  A successful and happy trade.  Good times!  Thanks, Adam!