Thursday, August 31, 2017

2016 Topps Chrome

Yesterday's Optic pack may have left a few of you with a bad taste in your mouth, so let's take a look at a pack of The Real Thing, aka Topps Chrome.

112 - Sean Doolittle - I'm not at all a fan of the 2016 Topps base design, but the shiny Chrome works its magic where it can and produces something that doesn't look all that sorry in one's collection. Doolittle is still trapped in a weird cloud, or maybe an abstract painting.

189 - Wade Davis Prism Refractor - Wade Davis figured prominently at the back of the Royals bullpen before the Lovable Losers Evil Empire scooped him up this past offseason. This is a "Prism" refractor, not to be confused with Panini's trademarked Prizm. To confuse things further, these do not have the usual word "REFRACTOR" printed on the back. I guess Topps figures you for a dummy if you don't recognize that this card isn't your ordinary average base card.

181 - Blake Snell - Chrome has its share of rookies and rookie autos, although I usually end up with the base versions like this Snell here.

60 - Carlos Martinez - Tsunami finishes off the short pack. Martinez is the theoretical Cardinals ace, but he has some things he needs to work on. Don't we all, though?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

2017 Panini Donruss Optic

When Topps puts out its Chrome set each year, all of my complaints about their flagship set seem to melt away. The cards just look good. But without logos, Panini's chrome version of their Donruss set just looks a bit like, y'know... polishing a turd.

102 - Jose Altuve - While you were reading this, Altuve just got another base hit. And another!

159 - Ken Griffey Jr. - Griffey used to play for those beloved Seattle Seafoam Aquas.

117 - Miguel Sano - This could easily be a Nationals uniform, but it's not.

47 - David Paulino Pink Prizm - This pack came from a blaster, which makes me the real sucker. Each blaster pack (on average?!) contains a pink Prizm parallel.

9 - Nolan Arenado - Admittedly, the Diamond Kings cards do look better with the Chrome Optic treatment.

Monday, August 28, 2017

1986 Topps Snotty Signs

If you grew up in the 80's, then I'll assume you either rode around in a car with one of those Baby On Board signs affixed to the inside your vehicle... or you knew someone who did.  According to USA Today, approximately ten million of those signs have been sold over the past three decades.

Just like yo-yos and Birkenstocks, they're popularity has gone up and down over the years.  But there's no denying that the peak of their popularity hit in the mid 80's.  If USA Today's estimation is correct, then I'd wager that 90% of those signs were sold from 1985 to 1986.

They were so popular that Topps decided to capitalize on the trend and produce 24 different parody signs that were sold in 1 sign packs.

The back of each pack contains a checklist of all of the signs available.  There are three different shapes (diamond, triangle, and octagon) with each shape having 8 different sayings.  Although people couldn't see which sign they were buying, they could increase the odds of picking the sign they wanted by feeling for a particular shape.

According to Jeff Allender's House of Checklists, this was a test product that was released right before Topps released their Snotty Sticker Signs.

I found these two packs at the De Anza Flea Market earlier in the month.  The vendor sold me a few non-sport sets and threw in two packs of this stuff for free.

Here's what I pulled out of the first pack:

I'm not sure if my principal would appreciate me hanging this up in my car or in my classroom.  But I was in middle school in 1986 and I could definitely see me hanging this up somewhere in my bedroom.

By the way... if you look carefully you'll notice that the checklist lists this sign as School Really Stinks.  Maybe I have a super rare variant 😏.

The second pack I opened contained:

It's obvious that these were marketed towards kids.  Although... I gotta admit, I'm not really sure who would want to hang up a Boogers Are Beautiful sign.

All in all... it's an interesting product that brought back memories of my childhood.  I'd probably pick up a few more packs if there were in someone's quarter bin.  But that's not saying much.  I'd pretty much buy any mid 80's pack for 25¢.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

1992 Topps Stadium Club Baseball Series 2

Behold, the power of Super Premium baseball cards powered by Kodak technology! Here's a blast from the early '90s past that I received in a repack box from Target the other day.

598 - Will Clark Members Choice - We start this one off with a bang. The last 10 cards of Series 2 were designated as "Members Choice" and had some extra shiny stuff printed on the front.

493 - Mike Timlin - Timlin had a long career as a reliever, picking up four World Series rings along the way.

341 - Jeff Huson - Huson racked up 12 big league seasons as a utility infielder.

431 - Orel Hershiser - Hershiser had the scoreless streak, the World Series ring and 3 All-Star appearances to his credit.

372 - Bob MacDonald - MacDonald spent 6 seasons as a reliever, and is the first guy in this pack that I don't remember ever hearing of. Not to be confused with Ben McDonald.

- Club Membership card - It was not cheap, especially by early '90s standards.

442 - Erik Pappas - Pappas split time with Tom Pagnozzi behind the plate for the Cardinals one season (due to injury if I recall), but that was about it for his career. Well, that and this card of him eating... something.

432 - Brian Hunter - Another part-time player with 9 seasons in the bigs.

413 - Glenallen Hill - Hill was sort of an under-the-radar slugger who picked up a ring with the Yankees towards the end of his career.

310 - Andujar Cedeno - Cedeno had a short career and, unfortunately, a short life. He was killed in an auto accident in the Dominican Republic at age 31.

403 - Mitch Webster - For the first three years of its existence, Stadium Club included an image of the player's first Topps card on the back, along with an early '90s attempt at sabermetrics. This is basically a look at your favorite video game's "hot zone".

483 - Jim Gott - I pull way too many Dodgers cards. Gott spent most of the back half of his career in LA after pitching for Toronto, San Francisco and Pittsburgh.

315 - Chuck Finley - Finley was a 5-time All-Star and the third member of the Hall of Very Good to appear in this pack.

303 - Brady Anderson - All we know of him are the crazy sideburns and one fluky season where he hit a million home runs.

391 - Pete Harnisch - Harnisch was coming off his only All-Star appearance here, and would go on to pitch for 14 seasons.

479 - Jeff Juden - Another pitcher, this journeymen finishes up the pack as the second straight guy donning the navy rainbow jersey.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

1997 Japanese Bandai K-1 Grand Prix MMA - Round One

In preparation of the upcoming fight between Mayweather and McGregor, here is a pack of 1997 Bandai K-1 Grand Prix MMA - Round One.  I picked up a bunch of random Japanese card packs a few months ago to open on APTBNL so let's get started.

In 1997, this pack would have set you back around 300円, or about $3.00.  There are 10 cards per pack with 224 cards in the entire set.  I am not sure who would have been the chase cards in this set, but there are gold facsimile signed cards in this set....looks like 10 different ones so maybe we'll land one of those today.

By the way, if anyone wants these 10 cards, just let me know below and shoot me an e-mail at  I'll send them to you free of charge.

Card #1:  Kit Lykins, The White Dragon. - I guess Kit was running some controversial underground MMA stuff a few years ago in the U.S.  Evidently, what happens in fight club, didn't stay in fight club.

Card #2: Dennis Lane - I love the Mohawk.

Card #3: Jan Lomulder - This Dutch fighter trained former sumo wrestler Wakakirin, after Wakakirin got kicked out of the sumo world for using marijuana.

Card #4: K-1 Legend Card - This highlights the matches held on 10 December 1994 with 9550 people in attendance.

Card #5: A piece to the 9-card poster puzzle titled "Incent K-1 Dome Series '97"  That is not a typo and if you read it too quickly it could be bad. 

Card #6:  K-1 Grand Prix 1995 match between Ernesto Hoost fromt he Netherlands and John Kleijn

Card #7:  K-1 Grand Prix 1995 match between Peter Aerts and Toshiyuki Atokawa

Card #8: Keith Pele Nathan from England...he now is an instructor at Pele's Gym.

Card #9:  Aussie Dale Westerman seems to have fought a few times and retired back down to the southern hemisphere with his sequins shorts.

Card #10:  One of the few cards I got of Japanese fighters.  Takayuki Yamada rounds this pack out.

That does it for today.  More Japanese card packs to follow in the coming weeks.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Topps Return of the Jedi

While hitting up the famous Economy Candy in Manhattan, I was not too surprised to see old packs of junk wax. What did surprise me was a single pack of Topps Return of the Jedi cards from 1983.

So five bucks work of chocolate I really didn't need, or 10 cards, 1 sticker and some 35 year old gum? No brainer!

The design on ROTJ cards is a bit weak. Sure, Topps has reused this on later releases that homage the set, but there are homages that should not exist. This is one of them. Compared to the sensational blue/red/yellow/green/orange of the ANH sets, this is just blah. I guess it's supposed to look like a movie screen? Let's just blow through them.

A classic image from ROTJ.

"Oh, I'm afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive."

Steel bikini hot pack!

The real band in Jabba's palace. I like to forget Jedi Rocks and Joh Yowza.

Sticker of Obi Wan. Force spirit Obi Wan at that.

I have this as an 8x10 autographed by Jeremy Bullock.

In the background to the left is Oola. I saw her years ago at Star Wars Celebration and except for the lack of green skin, she did not age a single day.

Yub Yub indeed!

Han shooting first. Here's the back.

All have this write up of the movie plot. The character on the left changes. In my pack, I had 3PO, Wicket, The Emperor and others.

And for the part you all really wanted to know about:

Just broke in half. I'll take offers of of the number of '52 Mantles you will send to me to eat it on video. Let's start the bidding at 6 Mantle rookies.

Do I hear six?