Tuesday, May 02, 2023

2022 Topps Home Run Challenge


Hope everyone's doing well.  Like my other recent posts, I was planning to put this up during Spring Training to hype up the upcoming baseball season.  But we are well into baseball season now, so the hype is unnecessary.

I have yet to see a post in the blogosphere from someone who wrote about the Home Run Challenge, so here goes:

The Topps Home Run Challenge started back in 2018.  You could get special cards in packs (usually in Flagship) of a MLB star player.  There is a scratch off area on the back of the card; if you choose to reveal the code, you would then register the code on the Topps website.  After registration, you would then choose the date in which you think the player will hit a home run.  If you are correct, you win a card of that player.  I have no idea if there's one code assigned to the player, if the player has multiple codes, or some other goofy thing.

In case you were wondering what date(s) Ol' Jafronius would choose, it's pretty simple.  My boys (June 23 and September 18), The Wifey (August 3), and I (July 16) all have birthdays during baseball season, so depending on when I remember to submit my entry, I would choose one of those days, or something close to it if the player was off that day.

I tried my luck back in 2018 and 2019 and was unsuccessful.  For every guy I thought I had a chance with, like Ronald Acuna, Jr (67 HRs in those 2 years) or Matt Carpenter (51 long bombs in 2018 and 2019), I also had to roll the dice with Scott Schebler (only 19 homers in 2018 and 2019 combined) and Joey Votto (27 total in those 2 years).  I didn't play in 2020 or 2021; I assume I didn't care about it due to The Virus.  When 2022 rolled around, it was time to try again:

#HRC-6 - Aaron Judge (Home Run Challenge)

Judge was my first HRC pull, found in a rack pack of Topps Series 1.  This was probably what kick-started my wish to play again, since hey, if you'd bank on someone to hit a homer, it would be Aaron.

Welp, there goes that plan. 

If the code wasn't scratched off, I very likely would have won.  Using my birthdate strategy, Judge homered against the Red Sox on July 16, and hit 2 against the Brewers on September 18.

I also picked up a blaster of Series 1 around the same time:

#HRC-24 - Freddy Freeman (Home Run Challenge)

Freddy was the second player I got to play with twice, with the aforementioned Matt Carpenter going 0-for-2 in the 2019 HRC.

My guess is the ink used for the Judge code was much lighter for whatever reason.

Freddy was with the Dodgers at the start of the 2022 season so I used LA's schedule.  He failed to homer on The Wifey's birthday in 2018, so I tried my birthday instead:

At the 4:50 mark, boom!

Notice the option to "Double Down" on the back of the card; if I wanted to, I could risk not winning a card or getting a parallel card if the blast went more than 425 feet.  I chose not to "Double Down", and Freeman's bomb went 399 feet, so winner, winner, chicken dinner!

I got the card back in mid-September.  The card came in a case covered in bubble wrap.  

#HRCW-24 - Freddie Freeman (Home Run Challenge Winner) #56/206

I would have appreciated a follow-through swing for Freddie, since the card celebrated him hitting a home run.  I'm assuming the 206 is the total print run for winners choosing Freeman to homer sometime in July.  I don't know if I was the 56th winner or if I was randomly chosen to receive #56.

I do know there's an insert card in 2023 Topps celebrating the homer!

Moving on, I was able to get another card in a Topps Series 2 blaster pack:

#HRC-12 - Bo Bichette (Home Run Challenge)

As you can see, the code is unused.  I must have forgotten I had Bo when I entered my codes.  Turns out it was no big deal, since he did not homer on any of my family's birthdates.

I came across one more card in a Rack Pack of Series 2:

#HRC-2 - Juan Soto (Home Run Challenge)

If I got Juan at the start of the season, I would have been using Soto with Washington's schedule for a June and July entry.  By the time I got the card, he had already been traded to San Diego.   I had already missed my August window, so September it was...

...however Ol' Jafronius totally forgot to put the entry in for my son's birthday!  It was a bummer too, because he hit one that night against Arizona.  I looked at the rest of the schedule and saw that they were playing the Rockies in Colorado that weekend, so I randomly chose September 23:

Woo!  Unfortunately, I once again did not choose to "Double Down," and lost out on a parallel card.  Soto's homer went 440 feet.

I got the card in late November, in the same type of packaging as the Freeman card.

#HRCW-31 - Juan Soto (Home Run Challenge Winner) #63/370

Since Freeman kept the same number even though he changed teams, I would have assumed the Soto card number would have been HRCW-2.  There are only 30 cards in the checklist, so I don't know how high the numbering went.

Anyway, those are the cards.  Hope the tale was entertaining for you all.  Enjoy the rest of the week, and thanks for reading!

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