Wednesday, January 20, 2021

2020 Topps Series 2 Hobby


Hope everyone is doing well.  There's an inauguration happening today.  I hope and pray no one tries any shenanigans.  

After I posted the Topps Update pack I realized Series 2 has yet to be shown here.  The full onslaught of the pandemic lockdowns and the rise of the card flippers happened around the June release of Series 2, so I checked the piles of cards in the makeshift card room (in actuality the guest room) so see how much of Series 2 I was able to get.

I have 3 hanger boxes, one rack pack (foreshadowing), and one regular pack.  And as you can tell by this post, the regular pack doesn't really count...I had to go to the LCS for it.  The relationship between LCS's and flippers must be like garlic to vampires.

But you pay a price for the sanctuary of the LCS.  In this case, six bucks for 14 cards:

350 cards in the's what I got:

#523 - Corey Kluber
#388 - Dustin Pedroia

Dustin didn't play in 2020 due to persistent knee issues.  He has played 9 games since 2018.  Unless Topps pre-emptively made this his final card, I think they could have given his spot to a more deserving player.

#691 - Brock Burke (RC)
#613 - Isiah Kiner-Falefa

Rangers fans, rejoice!  19 Rangers are in Series 2...well worth the wait for that special Globe Life Park Inaugural Season logo...not.

#608 - Sam Gaviglio
#622 - Brett Phillips

Here's the checklist for those who are interested.

#628 - Julio Urias
#683 - Jakob Junis

#399 - Adrian Houser
BTN-1 - Juan Soto (Best of Topps Now)

If I read the back of the pack right, the Best of Topps Now is a 1 in 18 pull.  When I uploaded the picture I noticed I got part of the flash on the bottom of the Soto card.  I considered taking the picture again but didn't...because it would be for a 1 in 18 card advertisement.

#672 - Chris Sale (Gold #870 / 2020)
#85TB-11 Sonny Gray (1985 35th Anniversary)

The Gold parallels are 1 in 9 packs and the 1985 tributes are 1 in 8.

#563 - Danny Jansen
#445 - Spencer Turnbull

We end the pack with a nice Detroit Negro League throwback.

Here are some card backs because peaceful transition of power:

Anyway, that's the pack.  Yep, it was a blah pack so it was a waste of 6 bucks for me.  The things I do for the site.  Enjoy the rest of the week, and thanks for reading!

Friday, January 08, 2021

2020 Topps Update Series Retail


Hope everyone had a great Christmas and a fun New Year's celebration.  May your 2021 be much better than 2020.

Of course for many of us, the crappiness of 2020 has and will continue into the new year.  We still have The Virus to contend with.  We also have the (hopefully) peaceful transfer of power later in the month.  For the regular card collector, the card aisles are still barren.  And for this blog, there'll still be packs from last year to post:

I've noticed that in the Targets around me recently, the card flippers have left 2020 Update largely untouched.  Undoubtedly, it was because they eventually found out how generally crappy the release was...lots of rehashed concepts and no "hottt rookiez."

I didn't realize how bad it was until I bought too many of it, for me anyway.  I had enough of the release based on the 2 blaster boxes and 3 hanger boxes I was able to find.  Still, I came across several of the specially-packaged 2 packs the other day, and because the site doesn't have a retail pack, I grabbed one for you guys.

I believe it was $6 for the 2 pack.  I don't know if this a Target-only thing or if Wal-Mart also had a 2 pack.  As you can see, I found one with a Cub as the red parallel (and a no-hitter pitcher to boot!).

16 cards in the pack, with 300 cards in the set.  Here's one of the two packs:

#U-46 - Jose Suarez
#U-287 - Chris Sale (All-Star)

Sale has 2 cards in the base set, an All-Star and an Active Leader.  Since there was no All-Star Game, Topps went with All-Stars from prior games.  They should have done more bench and bullpen players from this year, or All-Stars from the 1960's through 1980's, or done less cards, or scrapped the Update set altogether...

#U-3 - Turner / Difo (Nationals Combo)
#U-158 - Jason Kipnis

Go here if you want to see the checklist for Update.

#U-132 - Daniel Descalso
#U-202 - Asdrubal Cabrera
#U-109 - Pedro Strop
#U-44 - Jorge Alcala (RC)

Another issue with 2020 Update is the player selection.  Descalso didn't play for the Cubs in 2020.  However, Jeremy Jeffress, who had a card in Series 1 as a Brewer, was an important part of the Cubs bullpen and should have had an Update card.

#85TB-42 - Bob Gibson (#4/299)

This was a nice surprise from the pack.  If I read the odds right, the black boarder 1985's were a 1 in 550 pull.

#TR-19 - Lewis Brinson (Turkey Red 2020 Chrome)
#TR-36 - Mark Grace (Turkey Red 2020)

There are 50 cards in the retail-only Turkey Red Update set.  The Chrome cards come 1 in every 10 packs.

#U-37 - Yoenis Cespedes (HR Derby)
#U-174 - Logan Forsythe
#U-283 - Thomas Nido

No All-Star Game means no Home Run Derby, thus we get filler flashback cards.  Didn't Topps have an insert set for classic Home Run Derby a couple of years ago?

If Topps wanted to have Home Run Derby cards in Update, they should have done cards for the participants in that old Home Run Derby show from 1960. 

#U-138 - Tommy Pham
#U-184 - Miguel Cabrera (Active Leaders)

Miggy has 5 cards in the Update set, 1 All-Star and 4 Active Leaders.  Geez.

Here's some backs for you:

So why does Cabrera get an Active Leader card when he's not the Active Leader in Home Runs?  Why not give it to Nelson Cruz or Ryan Braun, neither of whom has a card in the Update base set?

For those who were wondering about the orientation of the card backs, all of the cards before the inserts faced one way and the 5 after the inserts faced the other way.  I still haven't found a reason online why this happened.  Own up to it, Topps!

Anyway, that's the pack.  Enjoy your weekend, and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

2020 Topps Allen and Ginter Chrome

Seems we've gotten more than our fair share of Chrome this card season.  I'll be honest both the Stadium Club and Allen and Ginter look great chromed out, but I don't know if we need a whole separate product for these.  I think it would be a lot nicer if they were inserts in the regular release.  But that's just my opinion.  

Ginter Chrome is a beautiful set, but autos are case hits and color per box is scarce as well.  Here are the odds and the NPN info.

Let's see who I got.  Won't take too long only 4 cards per pack and one of those is a mini.

No rookies but out of this small sampling that's not unexpected.  At least they were all baseball players.

Here is my mini.

I'm not overly impressed with the non-sport mini selection. I think I would have rather just had base mini's with multiple back variations.  But still a fun pack to open and I hadn't been to my LCS in a couple months so it was nice to talk shop and support my LCS.

Friday, December 25, 2020

2020 Topps Stadium Club Chrome Blaster Exclusive Parallels


Merry Christmas, everyone! As a follow-up to last night's post, let's check out the bonus pack from a 2020 Stadium Club Chrome blaster.

350 - Danny Santana - Stadium Club Chrome gets the X-Fractor treatment here. This is card number 350, which shows that the Stadium Club Chrome set (400 cards) is actually significantly larger than the regular Stadium Club set (300 cards), despite getting significantly fewer cards for the same price. I doubt anyone is trying to put together this set, though. Apparently it began life as Stadium Club Chrome Update before dropping the "Update" portion of the name somewhere along the way.

272 - Don Mattingly - This one has sort of a copper look to it because of all of the dirt in the background.

356 - Miles Mikolas - How do people feel about X-Fractors these days? Is everyone tired of them? I suppose that they're kind of fun.

308 - Roger Clemens - It's the Rocket. I know what I'm really tired of: those Rocket Mortgage tv commercials. Please make them stop.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

2020 Topps Stadium Club Chrome


Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! Let's check out a new pack of shiny cards. 
In a year full of inessential releases by Topps, this one at least looks really nice. This is the first pack of my likely one and only blaster find of the new Stadium Club Chrome. Topps had a Stadium Club Chrome set (once?) back in 2000 if I'm not mistaken, so this could be considered a 20th anniversary of sorts.

60 - Josh Donaldson - It's not really an action shot, but Stadium Club can make even the most mundane photos look nice, especially when up against the other sets Topps puts out.

291 - Willson Contreras - Is he jumping for joy? Hahaha, I really have no idea what's happening here.

CALW - Logan Webb Autograph - By some sort of stroke of luck, I managed to pull an autograph out of the first pack of my only blaster. These fall at a rate of 1:19 packs, which means roughly 1 in every 4 to 5 blasters should have something special in it.

PZ-12 - Rhys Hoskins Power Zone - All of the inserts get the refractor treatment, so these look pretty nice.

264 - Cavan Biggio - It's Biggio the Younger out on the deserted landscape of the infield.

261 - Charlie Blackmon - The last one up is a Colorado Rocky. (Rockie? No, Rocky!)

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Panini 2019-20 NBA Player of the Day Gold Pack

 I received this pack as part of a prize on a twitter giveaway hosted by Steel City Collectibles @SCCTradingCards out of McKeesport, PA.  These are 2 card packs don't know to much about them and doesn't have odds if there were autos or relics possible om the pack.  I did hear of the 2 guys I got in my pack tho some guys Kobe & Giannis so not bad I know there were possible rookies so could have been Zion or Ja's. below is the pack and fronts and backs of both cards.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

2002 Leaf Baseball

 If there's one lesson to take away from the vast archives of this blog, it's that a pack doesn't need to contain the hottest rookie or the biggest hit to be enjoyable. In fact, it's often the complete opposite where one can gain the most.

That being said...sometimes it is really nice to get a cool card. And since this is more or less the only place I have to talk cards, I'd like to share such a story here!

Over the weekend, I went to our local card shop. I wanted something to open, but wasn't feeling any of the 2020 products. Instead, I turned to some odds and ends packs of my favorite time: the early 2000s.

That brings us to today's pack: 2002 Leaf baseball, the return of the base Leaf line to baseball.

A nice, if plain, wrapper design, though you might notice right away the big drawback to this product: only four cards per pack. From what I can tell, that kind of held it back (and led to the next three years bulking up those card-per-pack numbers).

Let's not hold that against the set, though, before we dig in and see the cards! For more set info, here's the BaseballCardPedia article with set info and checklists.

And may I just say: there were only two packs left in this box, sitting near the register. Never leave the last pack, right?

116 - Moises Alou: A solid veteran to start out our pack. We also get a taste of the classic "signed by" notation for someone changing teams. Definitely something that went by the wayside in the last decade or so. I've never decided if I like this strategy, versus just leaving the team logos to match the picture. What do you think?

41 - Ryan Klesko: Solid player for a number of years. I checked his Baseball Reference page, and I never realized how close to a 50-50 split his career was between Atlanta and San Diego (plus a one year Giants stint). Kinda cool to be that evenly split!

33 - Alfonso Soriano: I always remember him as being anointed as a "next-best-thing" for the Yankees, which will always lead to even more publicity. He had a solid career, though, and his 2002 season went on to be his best (leading the league in runs, hits, and stolen bases).

Let's take a brief pause to look at the card backs:

The design is clean, if a bit plain. Always like the new, large back photo, but I do miss having any text (or more than one season of stats). That being said, while the look doesn't necessarily fit by itself, those descriptors fit with those '90s Leaf designs. As a minor point, I do get a bit of enjoyment when the design of the pack wrapper gels with the design of the set itself.

Now then: I've foreshadowed this enough, so let's look at the surprise found in this pack. Check out that checklist again: If you could get a hit, what insert set would you want it to be from? I know what I'd pick, so getting this sure surprised the heck out of me:

Roger Clemens autograph! Numbered out of 50! While his star has lost a bit of luster in the past 18 years, I am still super pumped to pull this card, and it'll make a cool addition to my collection. It's wild to think this has been sitting in a loose pack, waiting on the counter of a card shop for 18 years to be purchased. 2002 Leaf is also where I pulled my first patch card (and one of my first relics) back in the day (Michael Barrett!), and I'm grateful for how well this set has treated me over the years.

As I write this up, I am thinking that this pack serves to give another definition of a great pack of cards: one that gives you a great story, or a fun memory of beating the odds. A pack that leaves you with a smile, and a happy recollection when you see its contents in your collection.

It also serves to reinforce another hobby truism: never leave the last pack!