Wednesday, November 22, 2023

2023 Topps Update Series Retail


Hope everyone is enjoying Thanksgiving week.  Shortly after my last post, I found out that I have reached 21 years of working the second job at Target.  My "side hustle" is legal!  While I no longer work as many hours there, they still seem pleased when I show up from time to time.  

In other news, my eldest has expressed an interest in getting a job, and has begun applying at different retail places; yes he tried at Target but since he's still a minor he didn't make the cut.  His drive to start working did not come from me!

I haven't seen rack packs of Update since the October release.  I don't know if Topps or the big box stores changed their options, but I did find some packs after my last Target shift.

It's still $3.50 a pack, but now it's just 14 cards!  Did Fanatics think we wouldn't notice?

Anyway, here's who I got:

#US262 - Michael Papierski / Cody Sedlock (Rookie Combos)
#US84 - Ryan Feltner

Cody Sedlock pitched for the Illini so that's cool.  He appeared with the Orioles before being traded to Detroit.  He underwent Tommy John surgery earlier in the year.

#US213 - Ryan McKenna
#US292 - Pete Alonso Season Highlights (Checklist)

Nice flyin' McKenna!

There's been lots of rumors going about that the Cubs are trying to trade for Alonso.  Don't know if they're trying for a placeholder to give Matt Mervis time or they assumed they're out of the running for Cody Bellinger's continued services.  To me, if you trade for the Polar Bear, you have to try to extend his contract.

#US142 - Miguel Vargas (RC - Rookie Debut)
#US295 - Cooper Hummel
#US111 - Thaddeus Ward (RC)
#US122 - Jordan Walker (RC - Rookie Debut)

Still not a fan of the Rookie Debuts.  

#US235 - Yimi Garcia
#US21 - Andres Munoz

There's 330 cards in the Update set.  Here's the checklist if you need it.

#US8 - Patrick Bailey (RC)
#88US-38 - Bryce Harper (1988 Topps)

Still not used to seeing the inserts at the back of the pack; I prefer them to be in the middle.

There's 50 cards in the 1988 set.  I checked the back of the pack for the retail odds of pulling one:

Um, OK then.

If I looked at the right line (it's an 8 page PDF), the odds to pull a 1988 Topps is 1 in 4 packs.  Go here to get to main Odds page.  Hopefully Topps won't get rid of these after a few years.

#ASG-42 - Salvador Perez (2023 All-Star Game)
#SMLB-76 Sonny Gray (Stars of MLB)

I like that the All-Star cards aren't part of the base set.  Retail odds should be 1 in 3 packs.

As usual, the Stars of MLB come one in every retail pack.  

Here are the backs because gobble, gobble:

So that's the pack.  Bummed there's less cards for the same price as last year.  The missing odds is also disappointing, but not as bad as getting less cards.  So fill up your Thanksgiving plates more to compensate!  

Happy Thanksgiving to all, be kind to those retail workers on Black Friday, and thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 09, 2023

2022 Topps UK Edition


We're back once again with another repack pack from MJ Holdings via Walgreen's. These aren't cheap like the discounted leftovers you would see back in the day, but at $7.99, you could buy three of these for less than the price of a blaster and still end up with six packs. It's not amazing, but not bad for current times I suppose. While only the first pack is showing on the front, you can generally tell by looking at the side of it that you're at least getting a second Topps pack and not some off-brand draft pick nonsense. In any case, I would probably never end up with something funky like Topps UK any other way. Here's a pack of the 2022 edition.

93 - Mike Moustakas - First up, we have a vet. Moose Tacos has been around since 2011 and split time between Colorado and the LA Angels this past season.

142 - MJ Melendez - Melendez is an interesting rookie card to pull. He hits like a catcher but can also play the outfield.

155 - Carlos Rodon - He is fired up! This is the same photo as used on his Topps Update card.

113 - Rafael Devers - Here is some star power.

40 - Jesus Luzardo - Luzardo has a scary arm and seems to have taken a leap forward in his second full season with Miami.

19 - Joe Ryan - I saw this guy on that MLB Network show "Carded" recently. It would be weird to open a random pack of cards and see yourself on one of the cards.

214 - Bryce Elder - Bryce made the All-Star team in his first full season in the league, so this is a pretty solid RC to snag. I'm sure some Atlanta fan will be all over this.

46 - Andrew Vaughn - I really am not a fan of the City Connect jerseys that I've seen. I think the Angels one is the only good one so far, and I'm dreading the day my team ends up with one.

172 - Marco Gonzales - Speaking of City Connect, I think the Mariners may have dropped the teal jerseys in 2023 because of their new jerseys. Can anyone verify this? I heard that MLB was imposing a limit on the number of different jerseys a team could wear in this stupid Nike era. Unfortunately, I can't find a good, up-to-date resource online for team jersey histories for baseball.

127 - Lucas Giolito Black (083/125) - Each UK pack seems to have an insert or parallel in it, and this black bordered one would probably please some White Sox fans. Not bad.

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

2020 Topps Allen & Ginter Blaster Pack / 2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Customs


Hope everyone is doing well.  Congrats to the Rangers for winning their first World Series.  It wasn't the matchup most of us were expecting, but a win is a win is a win, right?  I heard that since Texas won, the Vikings are now the oldest active franchise from the major sports that has yet to win a championship.  What do the Vikings have to do with this post?  Nothing, really.

The interwebs say that 2020's version of A&G was released on September 16, 2020.  Don't know if this was the true release date, since this is right in the middle of the pandemic.  This is also before Topps and Panini raised their prices, so the blaster set me back $20.  I very likely bought this from the Target website, since the Card Bros were out in full force back then.  Ah, memories.

I grabbed one of the 7 packs for this post.  Who did I get?

#189 - Brandon Lowe
#276 - Jose Urquidy (RC)

Pretty standard A&G fare.  They say the latest release is more colorful, but the aforementioned price increase will very likely prevent me from making the sample purchase.  

#193 - Nyjah Huston

Here's a taste of the non-MLBers in the set.  Nyjah's a skateboarder who finished 7th in the Men's Street Skateboarding competition in the 2020 Summer Olympics (played in 2021, thanks to The Virus).

#237 - Nick Ahmed (Mini - A&G Back)

There's 300 cards in the base set as well as 50 base short prints.  Here's the checklist for those who are interested.  The website says the A&G back comes 1 in 5 packs.

LL-19 - Ryan Howard (Longball Lore)

The 50 card insert set discusses memorable home runs.  The extra space to accommodate the A throws the whole thing off for me.

#24 - Shohei Ohtani

A pack is always a good pack when Ohtani's in it!

Here are the backs because why not:

Anyway, that's the pack...but not the end of the post!


Back towards the end of September, Chris from the most excellent Nachos Grande blog, wrote about the passing of his friend Ryan.  Ryan was a talented individual, who not only made custom wood bats, but dabbled in custom cards, specifically his "Munnatawket minis," based on the 2008 Allen & Ginter design.

To commemorate Ryan's efforts, Chris offered a giveaway of what he had left of Ryan's minis last month and I put in my request for some.  Chris generously sent more than I was expecting, including a special surprise from my favorite team.

Who did I get?

#18 - Joey Votto
#26 - Troy Tulowitzki
#19 - Yasiel Puig
#11 - Billy The Marlin
#3 - Spider-Man

Ryan did an awesome job on these.  The card stock is virtually identical to the real ones.  Spidey is an instant favorite, although Billy The Marlin is pretty impressive as well.

#85 - Phil Mickelson
#23 - Dustin Pedroia
#20 - Mr. Met
#95 - Kris Bryant (Bazooka Red Back #18/25)
#83 - Felix Hernandez
#84 - Andrew McCutchen

Mr Met is a great looking card, but the clear winner in this group is the Kris Bryant Bazooka Red Back.  Thanks, Chris!

Here are the backs of the cards.  Simple and clean.  That Bazooka back stands out nicely compared to the base backs.

#13 - Mike Trout
#31 - Lance Berkman
#5 - Justin Morneau
#40 - Jose Bautista
#15 - Giancarlo Stanton

All solid cards here.  You can't go wrong with Trout, and Morneau's yellow background makes his card stand out, but I think smilin' Stanton is the winner of this group.

Overall, these customs are great and of very high quality.  These will be treasured parts of my collection.  I believe there are other posts out there from bloggers who also were the beneficiaries of Chris's (and Ryan's) kindness, so search them out!

Ryan, thank you for your contributions to the hobby.  That's all for now...thanks for reading!  

Friday, November 03, 2023

2021 Topps UK Edition

While at my neighborhood Walgreen's the other day, I found that they had started carrying some repack blister packs containing a couple of baseball packs for $7.99. The most interesting thing to me, however, was that most of them had a 2021 Topps UK pack showing on the cover, a set that I have barely crossed paths with seeing as how I'm on the wrong side of the world for its target market.

84 - Daz Cameron - As you can see, these use the same familiar design as the flagship 2021 Topps set and likely have all of the same player photos. The primary difference, of course, is the Union Jack on the front.

81 - Shane Bieber - The set is smaller than any of the flagship series sets released in the U.S., so there's a better chance at pulling stars like Bieber.

119 - Alex Bregman

38 - Bailey Ober - RCs are present here, although what really constitutes a rookie card is always and forever a debatable topic. This card uses Ober's Topps Update photo.

91 - Eric Hosmer

214 - Anthony Rendon - I wonder if this set managed to convert any British people into baseball fans. I mean, I know Topps also tried this in the late '80s, and it worked... right??

156 - Spencer Howard - Howard appears here in this then-new Texas Rangers uniform. This one didn't make it into Topps Update but did end up in the Topps Holiday set.

142 - Alek Manoah - Rookies aplenty.

196 - Monte Harrison

60 - Freddie Freeman Black (056/125) - The last card in the pack always seems to be a parallel or insert card, and this is one of the nicer looking ones.