2017 Topps Major League Soccer Box Break & Review

 photo 17toppsmlsbox_zps89kazryz.jpg

Have you ever been to the National Soccer Hall of Fame?  I took a tour through it on one of my visits to Cooperstown.  Its located in Oneonta, NY which is very close to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Visiting it was kind of a last minute idea.  If I ever go back to Cooperstown or make my way up to Springfield, MA to the Basketball Hall of Fame, I’ll have to stop in Oneonta again.  The National Soccer Hall of Fame has a giant soccer ball bursting out of the side of the building.

Collectors opening boxes of 2017 Topps Major League Soccer will quickly notice a design overhaul compared to previous releases.  The best way for me to describe the base set is by calling it a clean white glow look.  I like it.  The color of the glow changes with the various parallels.  An entire base set consists of (190) cards.  Parallels you can pull include Blue #’ed/99, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/10, and Black #’ed/1.  This product also debuts cards for the Atlanta United and Minnesota United Football Clubs.

For the most part, Topps made it easy to spot the photo variations.  Variations have different card numbers compared to their base counterparts.  These too have Orange, Red, and Black parallels.

  • Giovani dos Santos – Base #5, Variation #103
  • Andrea Pirlo – Base #46, Variation #32
  • Tim Howard – Base #34, Variation #150
  • Bradley Wright-Phillips – Base #40, Variation #50
  • Ola Kamara – Base #113, Variation #47
  • Fanendo Adi – Base #58, Variation #149
  • Sacha Kljestan – Base #111, Variation #73
  • Ignacio Piatti – Base #74, Variation #138
  • Kaka – Base #145, Variation #154
  • Cyle Larin – Base #146, Variation #155
  • Jordan Morris – Base #148, Variation #157

Sebastian Giovinco, Clint Dempsey, and David Villa have photo variations, but their card numbers mirror the base.  Sebastian Giovinco’s variation pictures him in a white jersey.  Clint Dempsey’s variation has him in a blue jersey.  David Villa’s variation has a dark blue jersey.

Every hobby box promises (2) autographs and (1) jumbo relic.  Inserts include Back of the Net, Faces of the Franchise Autographs, Give + Go, Museum Collection Signature SwatchesThrowback Topps, and Throwback Topps Autographs.  All have their good share of parallels.

The 1987 Topps Baseball design sure is getting it’s share of coverage this year.  Rightfully so, given that its celebrating it’s 30th anniversary.  Applying that design to soccer cards looks cool.  These are probably my favorite cards in the entire product.

Something that I miss are the sketch and hand-drawn art patch cards.  These were found in the last two iterations of this brand.  Monty Sheldon’s contributions to the 2015 and 2016 sets were great.  I’d like to see those comeback.

Here is what I pulled:


  • Mauro Diaz Base Auto #’ed/105
  • Maximiliano Urruti Base Auto #’ed/469

 photo diaz17toppsmlsauto_zpsnh6y2osi.jpg

 photo urr17toppsmlsauto_zpshmgxdhid.jpg


  • Chris Wondolowski Jumbo Jersey #’ed/60

 photo chris17toppsmlsjsy_zpswu6r0y6z.jpg

Photo Variation

  • Clint Dempsey #25 (Blue Jersey) Red Parallel #’ed/10

 photo clint17toppdsmlsred_zpswyb1rxqh.jpg


  • Harry Shipp Orange #’ed/25
  • Real Salt Lake Blue #’ed/99
  • Waylon Francis Blue #’ed/99
  • Darren Mattocks Blue #’ed/99

 photo shipp17toppsmlsorg_zpseccvzys0.jpg

 photo waylon17toppsmlsblue_zpsakkywwyv.jpg


  • Emmanuel Boateng/Gyasi Zardes Give + Go
  • Quincy Amarikwa/Chris Wondolowski Give + Go
  • Marlon Hairston/Shkelzen Gashi Give + Go
  • Diego Valeri Back of the Net #9
  • Dom Dwyer Back of the Net #5
  • Fanendo Adi Back of the Net #7
  • Chris Wondolowski Back of the Net #13
  • Ignacio Piatti Back of the Net #4
  • Kei Kamara Back of the Net #14
  • David Villa Throwback Topps
  • Kasey Keller Throwback Topps
  • Andrea Pirlo Throwback Topps
  • Keegan Rosenberry Throwback Topps

 photo givego17toppsmls_zpsmfo5fnox.jpg

 photo adi17toppsbotn_zpsphuw8jf9.jpg

 photo villa1987_zpsgeya0jhq.jpg

2017 Bowman Baseball Box Break & Review

 photo 17bowmanbaseballbox1_zps6hqc8gwp.jpg

Seven decades ago in a galaxy far far away, the first Bowman baseball set was released.  It was a small set only consisting of (48) black-and-white cards.  The checklist is packed with rookies of Yogi Berra, Stan Musial, Warren Spahn, and Ralph Kiner.  Other notable Hall of Famers include Bob Feller, Johnny Mize, Phil Rizzuto, Red Schoendienst, and Enos Slaughter.  Despite being the first “Bowman” branded product, this same company under the name Gum, Inc. issued the Play Ball sets between 1939 and 1941.  Topps rose to power and purchased Bowman in 1956.  Over thirty years later in 1989 Topps revived the Bowman name and labled it the “Comeback Edition!”.  Its been a hobby staple ever since, and the #1 product to go to for a player’s prospect/rookie cards.

2017 Bowman has one of the nicest designs I’ve seen when it comes to this prospect-driven brand.  The core part of the set has completely gotten rid of the borders.  It gives the cards a very freeing and unrestricted appeal.  They almost remind me of something you’d see in Bowman’s Best.  Combine that with the on-card autographs, and you have some fantastic looking cards.

Given that this is the 70th Anniversary of Bowman, Topps included some cool nods to past sets.  First up are the 1948 Bowman Chrome inserts.  These pay tribute to 1948 Bowman.  Black-and-white photography on chrome stock looks amazing.  Its a perfect mix of old school and modern day.  Parallels include Green (retail) #’ed/99, Gold #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/5, and Superfractor #’ed/1.  You can also find autographed versions that have Superfractor parallels as well.

The homage to 1951 Bowman is my favorite.  That painted look on chrome stock is top notch.  Parallels include Green (retail) #’ed/99, Gold #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/5, and Superfractor #’ed/1.  Topps got artist Bob Hepner to hand-draw one-of-one sketches based on these.  Its not very often you see sketch cards in Bowman.  Sketch cards drawn to look like a vintage set with a mix of current and older stars was a great idea I’d like to see done again.  Check them all out!

1992 Bowman makes an appearance.  We all remember that set.  That’s the one which pictures many players in casual everyday clothes.  Parallels include Green (retail) #’ed/99, Gold #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/5, and Superfractor #’ed/1.  Autographs can be found too.

Buybacks are plentiful.  Most come with the Bowman 70th Anniversary foil logo ranging in a bunch of different colors.  John Smoltz, Mark McGwire, Frank Thomas, Chipper Jones, Randy Johnson, Mike Piazza, Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux, and Roberto Alomar all have buyback autographs.

With the 70th Anniversary celebration, 2017 Bowman offers a great mix of new prospects and veterans.  This might be my favorite version of it.

Here is what I pulled:


  • C.J. Hinojosa Bowman Chrome Purple Refractor Auto #’ed/250

 photo cj17bowpurpauto_zpst68srk5u.jpg


  • Cole Hamels Bowman Orange #’ed/25
  • Willy Adames Bowman Purple #’ed/250
  • Mitch Keller Bowman Chrome Purple Refractor #’ed/250

 photo cole17boworange_zpsfyq77sm7.jpg

 photo willy17bowpurp_zpslnmrmagc.jpg

 photo mitch17bowcpurp_zpspearbiyl.jpg


  • Brady Anderson 1993 Bowman Bronze Foil Buyback
  • Jeff Bagwell 1993 Bowman Bronze Foil Buyback
  • Yadier Alvarez/Willie Calhoun/Cody Bellinger Talent Pipeline
  • Justin Dunn/Amed Rosario/Brandon Nimmo Talent Pipeline
  • Aaron Judge 2017 Rookie of the Year Favorites #9
  • Alex Reyes 2017 Rookie of the Year Favorites #14
  • Tyler Glasnow 2017 Rookie of the Year Favorites #7
  • Brent Honeywell Bowman Scouts’ Top 100 #44
  • Sean Newcomb Bowman Scouts’ Top 100 #56
  • Cody Sedlock Bowman Scouts’ Top 100 #70
  • J.P. Crawford 1948 Bowman Chrome
  • Brendan Rodgers 1951 Bowman Chrome #20
  • Rafael Devers 1992 Bowman Chrome
  • Yoenis Cespedes 1992 Bowman Chrome

 photo brad17bobuyback_zps5tcakg6k.jpg

 photo jeff17bowbuyback1_zpsh7hjddyg.jpg

 photo 17bowtp_zpsdvd9reku.jpg

 photo judge17bowrcfav_zpskqgpseu6.jpg

 photo honey17bow100_zps4xvwkiff.jpg

 photo jo1948bow_zpsserlb9eb.jpg

 photo rod51bow_zpseojlwm0o.jpg

 photo yoenis92bow_zpsg0uz7w0h.jpg

Other Notable Cards

  • Aaron Judge RC #32
  • Dansby Swanson RC #57
  • Yoan Moncada RC #25
  • Andrew Benintendi RC #23
  • Mickey Moniak #135
  • Blake Rutherford #121
  • Blake Rutherford Bowman Chrome #121

 photo judge17bow_zpsx5tefdl9.jpg

2017 Topps Gypsy Queen Baseball Box Break & Review

 photo 17toppsgqboxbaseball_zpsybcucsan.jpg

Easter weekend was spent in Bethany Beach.  I took a box of 2017 Gypsy Queen to break along on the trip.  While walking around, I did come across a card shop though.  As expected, the prices are very high given that its a tourist destination.  The shop I was in asks $5+ for single base cards from modern day products.  My money was better spent at D.B.’s Fries.

From the artistic design to the Portrait Art Patch OriginalsGypsy Queen has always been an entertaining product to break.  You’ll notice that box prices for 2017 are lower compared to previous years.  That drop in price comes with a cost.  Instead of (4) “hits” box breakers will only find (2).  Other aspects like the mini and framed paper parallels did not return either.  With that being said, 2017 Gypsy Queen still packs a punch and comes with a slew of great cards to hunt down.

This new configuration introduced us to the oversize Chrome-like box toppers called GlassWorks.  You get one of these per box, and they look really cool.  Gypsy Queen is not the typical product where you see many foil-based cards.  Certain collectors will find parallels of these box toppers which include Purple #’ed/150, Red #’ed/25, and Black #’ed/1.  On-card autograph versions also exist #’ed/25.

Rich and deep easily describes the base set which comes in at (320) cards.  The last (20) are of retired and/or Hall of Famers and are short prints.  Base parallels include:

  • Missing Blackplate
  • Missing Nameplate
  • Purple #’ed/250
  • Green #’ed/99 (retail)
  • Black & White #’ed/50
  • Green Back #’ed/50
  • Red #’ed/10
  • Black #’ed/1

Photo variations include:

  • Capless
  • Throwback Uniform
  • Card Back Content (Gum Ad)

Although it might be difficult to see for some people, Topps did use different codes on the card backs to distinguish between the photo variations.

  • Base – ends in #1904
  • Short Prints – ends in #1931
  • Capless – ends in #1937
  • Throwback Uniform – ends in #2100
  • Card Back Content (Gum Ad) – ends in #1886/1986

It was a surprise to see that the photo variations also have parallels.  This usually isn’t the case.  I was just thinking about this the other week.  You rarely see parallels of photo variations.

The high-end “hits” from Gypsy Queen have always been a joy to look at.  The Portrait Art Patch Originals continue to impress me each year.  You can see a complete gallery of these one-of-one masterpieces here.  Brian Kong and Monty Sheldon both collaborated on these for 2017.  One of these years I’d like to see these come in booklet form.  Having a hand-drawn piece on one side and a jumbo patch on the other would look awesome.

Here is what I pulled:


  • Adam Conley
  • Pat Venditte

 photo conley17gqauto_zpsgdp5yqiz.jpg

 photo pat17gqauto_zps4ld5nh8b.jpg


  • J.D. Martinez Auto/Patch Book #’ed/20

 photo jd17gqbook_zpsfc66m2qv.jpg


  • Troy Tulowitzki Black Border #’ed/1
  • Jake Lamb Purple Border #’ed/250
  • David Robertson Missing Blackplate
  • Dansby Swanson RC Missing Blackplate
  • Max Scherzer Missing Nameplate

 photo tulow17gqblack_zpsr7fql5id.jpg

 photo lamb17gqpurp_zpstxrz4ylp.jpg

 photo robert17gqmissblack_zpsmm9lhaao.jpg

 photo dansby17gqmissblack_zps60nqwn8l.jpg

 photo max17gqnoname_zpsy7j2wep2.jpg

Short Print

  • Jackie Robinson #308

 photo jrob17gq_zpspyxqpub0.jpg

Photo Variation

  • Carlos Correa Capless #74

 photo cc17gqcapless_zpswuz1xmxb.jpg


  • Robinson Cano GlassWorks Box Topper
  • Dansby Swanson Fortune Teller
  • Gary Sanchez Fortune Teller
  • Jose Altuve Fortune Teller
  • Max Scherzer Fortune Teller
  • Robinson Cano Portrait Hand-Drawn Art Reproduction #1
  • Adam Jones Portrait Hand-Drawn Art Reproduction #2
  • Mark McGwire Portrait Hand-Drawn Art Reproduction #1

 photo rc17gqgwbt_zpsihykh1fz.jpg

 photo dansby17gqft_zpsn046lmnz.jpg

 photo mm17gqhdartrep_zpsuqkzup6w.jpg

2017 Topps Opening Day Box Break & Review

 photo 17toppsopendaybox_zpsz5gucphs.jpg

Opening Day 2017 is almost here.  Hot dogs are heading to the grill.  Bobbleheads are waiting at the gates.  I’m prepared to watch the Phillies go all the way.  I know its a long shot, but it could happen.

2017 Topps Opening Day acts as a good flagship filler that can hold you over until Series 2 is released.  I’ve always considered it an entry level product since hobby boxes sell for under $30.  The base set consists of (200) cards.  Parallels include:

  • Blue Foil
  • Purple Foil (Toys “R” Us exclusive)
  • Black Foil #’ed/1
  • Printing Plates #’ed/1

As is the case with their main flagship brand, photo variations play a major role in Opening Day.  Unlike other products containing photo variations, the ones found in 2017 Opening Day do not have alternate codes on the back when compared to the plain base cards.  This makes identifying them a little more difficult.  One particular photo variation, Stadium Signatures, is easy to spot as the players are pictured signing autographs for fans.  Those cards also have the letters “SS” before the card number as well.  Technically these are inserts, but other than the card number there is nothing on the front that identifies it as a Stadium Signatures card.

Opening Day is known for having some crazy inserts.  2017 is no exception.  Inserts include:

  • Incredible Eats
  • Mascots
  • National Anthem
  • Opening Day at the Ballpark
  • Opening Day Stars
  • Stadium Signatures
  • Superstar Celebrations
  • MLB Stickers Collection Stars
  • MLB Wacky Packages

Some of these inserts are incredibly difficult to pull.  My personal favorites are the Mascots and Incredible Eats.  It looks like at one time there was a plan for a bobblehead-themed insert, but it seems to have been scrapped.  I’d like to see Topps comeback to that idea.

Autographs and relics can be pulled, but nothing is guaranteed per box.  I like the Stadium Signatures Autographs.  These are limited to (10) copies.  Its fun to try and see what the player pictured is signing, especially when it turns out to be an older Topps card.

Here is what I pulled:


  • Billy The Marlin Mascot Auto

 photo billy17todauto_zps0sglsktt.jpg


  • Aledmys Diaz Blue Foil #39
  • Julio Urias Blue Foil #186
  • Matt Strahm RC Blue Foil #90
  • Jay Bruce Blue Foil #70
  • Kyle Seager Blue Foil #95
  • Aaron Nola Blue Foil #32

 photo bruce17todblue_zpsihb3ddp5.jpg


  • Nolan Arenado Opening Day Stars #36
  • Addison Russell Superstar Celebrations #12
  • Yunel Escobar Superstar Celebrations #25
  • Giancarlo Stanton Superstar Celebrations #21
  • Javier Baez Superstar Celebrations #3
  • Jayson Werth Superstar Celebrations #6
  • Francisco Lindor Superstar Celebrations #5
  • Carlos Santana Superstar Celebrations #8
  • Jackie Bradley Jr. Superstar Celebrations #24
  • Carlos Correa Superstar Celebrations #20
  • Troy Tulowitzki Superstar Celebrations #14
  • David Ortiz Superstar Celebrations #15
  • Miami Marlins Opening Day at the Ballpark #15
  • Oakland A’s Opening Day at the Ballpark #12
  • Atlanta Braves Opening Day at the Ballpark #8
  • Baltimore Orioles Opening Day at the Ballpark #5
  • Cleveland Indians Opening Day at the Ballpark #14
  • Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day at the Ballpark #10
  • Kansas City Royals Opening Day at the Ballpark #3
  • Cotton Candy Incredible Eats #11
  • Peanuts Incredible Eats #2
  • Classic Pastrami Incredible Eats #7
  • Hot Dogs & Onions Incredible Eats #13
  • Foot-Long Hot Dog Incredible Eats #8
  • Cheesy Corn Brisket-Acho Incredible Eats #5
  • South Philly Dog Incredible Eats #4
  • Dinger Mascot #9
  • Mr. Red Mascot #4
  • White Sox Mascot #16
  • TC Bear Mascot #6
  • Brewers Mascot #25
  • Phillie Phanatic Mascot #11
  • Swinging Friar Mascot #13
  • Oakland A’s Mascot #17
  • Billy The Marlin Mascot #2
  • Wally The Green Monster Mascot #24
  • Orbit Mascot #22

 photo nolan17tods_zpszovhuyat.jpg

 photo add17todcs_zpsmbbboc2v.jpg

 photo marlins17tod_zpsmtr4zyud.jpg

 photo 17todhotdog_zpsvqfybjto.jpg

 photo brew17todmas_zpsds6oldnm.jpg

2017 Topps Heritage Baseball Box Break & Review

 photo 17theritagebbbox_zps5tmlrovw.jpg

The year was 1968.  Adam West’s Batman television series came to an end, Robert F. Kennedy/Martin Luther King, Jr. were assassinated, and Denny McClain became the first pitcher since Dizzy Dean to win 30 or more games in a single season.  Baseball collectors were introduced to the 598-card, speckle-border, set known as 1968 Topps.  They may not have had Hall of Fame careers, but guys like Jerry Koosman and Ron Tompkins will forever be linked to Nolan Ryan and Johnny Bench due to being pictured on the same rookie cards.

Topps is gradually working through their classic designs and applying them to the Heritage brand.  The 1968 design is up to the plate this year.  If you plan on building the base set, there are (500) total cards including (100) short prints.

Most base parallels are not serial numbered.  I like that as it adds a little mystery.  Obviously the print runs for each type of parallel were announced.

  • Blue Border (50) copies
  • Bright Yellow Backs (25) copies
  • Gray Backs (10) copies
  • Flip Stock (5) copies
  • Base Mini #’ed/100

Chrome parallels come in a variety of colors:

  • Chrome #’ed/999
  • Refractor #’ed/568
  • Blue Refractor #’ed/68
  • Gold Refractor #’ed/5
  • Superfractor #’ed/1
  • Purple Refractor

When it comes to the Blue, Gold, and Purple Refractors, you really need to look in order to see the color.  Its a good thing they’re serial numbered.  I could easily see someone mistaken one color for another.  For some reason those colors aren’t distinct this time around.  The speckle-border may not have shown up as much when those colors were added.  Perhaps that is why they kept the color so light.

Although Heritage is not the only product that contains photo variations, collectors seem to want them more.  Especially the rarer ones.  In a hobby dominated by autographs and relics, its awesome to see the amounts some people are willing to spend on these.  Luckily, all you need to do in order to spot them is check the code on the card backs.  Look carefully.  Those codes are tiny.

  • Color Swap ends in 74
  • Traded ends in 73
  • Throwback ends in 72
  • Action/Rookie ends in 71
  • Error ends in 70
  • Base SP (401-500) ends in 69
  • Base ends in 1867

I was pleasantly surprised to see how collectors responded to some of the box toppers.  Specifically the 3D cards and posters.  Anytime non-autographed and non-relic cards sell well is a positive in my book.

Heritage has a tremendous following.  A single hobby box can be loaded with stuff.  Topps gives you a lot more to look for than just your traditional “hit”.  I can’t wait to see how they handle the 1971 design.  1971 Topps is notorious for it’s all black borders.  It doesn’t take much for them to get damaged.

Here is what I pulled (Purple Refractor Hot Box):


  • Miguel Cabrera Clubhouse Collection Jersey

 photo mccc17thjsy_zpsipolsjg4.jpg

Base Variation

  • Kris Bryant #500 Action Image

 photo kb17thaction_zpsxs4g8if9.jpg

Short Prints

  • Justin Upton #438
  • George Springer #432
  • Chris Sale #405
  • Mark Trumbo #461
  • Carlos Correa #430
  • Robinson Cano #422
  • Jason Kipnis #448
  • Giancarlo Stanton #401

 photo sale17thsp_zpse5b79zap.jpg


  • Baltimore Orioles Blue Border (50) copies
  • Freddie Freeman Chrome #’ed/999
  • Aaron Judge/Tyler Austin 2017 Rookie Stars Chrome Purple Refractor
  • David Dahl/Raimel Tapia 2017 Rookie Stars Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Manny Margot/Hunter Renfroe 2017 Rookie Stars Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Ian Kinsler Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Jose Altuve Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Christian Yelich Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Justin Verlander Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Aledmys Diaz Chrome Purple Refractor
  • David Ortiz Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Kenta Maeda Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Danny Duffy Chrome Purple Refractor
  • David Price Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Albert Almora Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Lucas Giolito Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Mike Trout Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Madison Bumgarner Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Jay Bruce Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Giancarlo Stanton Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Todd Frazier Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Corey Seager Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Yu Darvish Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Francisco Lindor Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Bryce Harper Chrome Purple Refractor
  • Aroldis Chapman Chrome Purple Refractor

 photo or17thblue_zpswhzdvzgi.jpg

 photo ff17thchrome_zps4lwsznrf.jpg

 photo bharp17thchromepurp_zpshtbtih5p.jpg


  • J.A. Happ/Carlos Correa – The Topps News/Tyler Chatwood Advertising Panel Box Topper
  • Aledmys Diaz 1968 Topps Game
  • Felix Hernandez 1968 Topps Game
  • Manuel Lee 1993 Rediscover Topps Bronze Buyback #488
  • Mickey Tettleton 1987 Rediscover Topps Bronze Buyback #649
  • Kyle Lohse 2012 Rediscover Topps Silver Buyback #26
  • David Holmberg 2014 Rediscover Topps Gold Buyback #242
  • Lou Brock/Jonathan Villar Then And Now #4
  • News Flashbacks 1968 – Ivy League Goes Co-Ed #13
  • News Flashbacks 1968 – Civil Rights Giant Slain #2
  • Baseball Flashbacks 1968 – Johnny Bench
  • Mookie Betts New Age Performers #3
  • Manny Machado New Age Performers #8

 photo 17thadbt_zpsz7fbqtzl.jpg

 photo fh68thgame_zpsx8gr30g9.jpg

 photo ml17th93rtbb_zpsxdba824f.jpg

 photo mt87rtbb_zpsu5tyu0f7.jpg

 photo lohse17thrtbb_zpsiqxtcscj.jpg

 photo dh17rdbb_zpsmfk6awcp.jpg

 photo brockjonathennow17th_zps142gmzu2.jpg

 photo nflas17th_zps28tthcsa.jpg

 photo benchbbfb17th_zpsfn3nbeqd.jpg

 photo manny17thnap_zpsxiqu8lzu.jpg

2017 Topps Baseball Series 1 Box Break & Review

 photo 17toppsbbs1box1_zpsv0cpvwu3.jpg

And so it begins.

Teams are packing up the trucks.  Spring Training is upon us.  I’ve got a good feeling about my Phillies this year.  Lets hope when they head for Clearwater, FL they don’t leave the Phanatic behind.  Its going to be fun following Mickey Moniak’s progress down in the minors.  I also look forward to watching Tommy Joseph take over at first base.  Plus, John Kruk is joining the broadcast team.

The first baseball product of 2017 contains (350) total base cards.  When it comes to their flagship brand, Topps seems to keep moving away from that traditional border design.  The setup this year reminds me of graphics you would see in front of the player while watching T.V.  Topps has done the whole border-look for years, so this new design is refreshing.  Some of the most popular parallels you’ll find include:

  • Purple (Toys “R” Us exclusive)
  • Rainbow Foil
  • Negative
  • Gold #’ed/2017
  • Vintage Stock #’ed/99
  • Black #’ed/66
  • Mother’s Day Hot Pink #’ed/50
  • Father’s Day Powder Blue #’ed/50
  • Memorial Day Camo #’ed/25
  • Clear #’ed/10
  • Platinum #’ed/1
  • Printing Plate #’ed/1

Topps scaled back on the amount of parallels and photo variations that come per box this year.  There are no SP photo variations, just SSPs to watch for.  I’m glad to see this scale back, because one photo variation per box was getting to be too much.  The plain SPs barely held much more demand than a simple base card.  Just having the SSPs was the correct way to go for 2017.  They’re difficult to pull, but very rewarding when you find one.  Luckily Topps changed that little code on the back of the cards when it comes to base and SSP photo variations.  Base cards end in 1730, while the SSPs end in 1786.  Knowing this makes them a lot easier to spot.

Inserts are more than plentiful.  My favorites include ’87 Topps, Then & Now, and 5 Tool.  Many (not all) of them come with their share of parallels and autographs.  2017 marks the 30th anniversary of the classic 1987 Topps Baseball set.  Its nice to see that classic wood grain design again.  I like Then & Now because its always cool to see older cards pictured on newer ones.  5 Tool brought back artist Tyson Beck to put his fire-style to things.  One of these years I’d like to see Topps make relics and/or autographs of the First Pitch celebrities.

All year long we will be seeing Rediscover Topps buyback cards throughout various products.  Rediscover Topps foil rarities include Bronze, Silver, Gold, Blue, and Red.  Bronze is the most common while red is harder to come by.  Topps listened to collectors and didn’t print any foil on the older buybacks.

Topps NOW was a major success last year.  The 2017 set is already underway.  Ultimate Card Giveaway codes can land you a free Topps NOW card.  If you’re really lucky you might score a complete 2017 Topps NOW set.  I pulled one of these from my box, but the code didn’t unveil anything.  No free Topps NOW card for me.

Keep your eyes open for Topps NOW Golden Tickets.  These come with a specific date on them.  Redeeming this will get you every Topps NOW card made for that day.  Each card will come with a special gold stamp.

Even after you’ve pulled that one autograph or relic, its still exciting to open the rest of the packs.  Its so packed with goodies, you never know what you might find.

Here is what I pulled:


  • Robinson Cano Major League Material Jersey

 photo cano17toppsjersey_zpsteanu2of.jpg


  • Kris Bryant #1 Cyan Printing Plate #’ed 1/1
  • Mookie Betts #161 Gold #’ed/2017
  • Fernando Rodney #292 Gold #’ed/2017
  • Keone Kela #22 Gold #’ed/2017
  • Adonis Garcia #129 Rainbow Foil
  • Raisel Iglesias #185 Rainbow Foil
  • Colin Rea #114 Rainbow Foil

 photo kris17toppspp_zpssjr9kkz0.jpg

 photo kris17toppspp1_zpscp69ofg9.jpg

 photo bett17gold_zpswtmw8zfi.jpg

 photo rais17foil_zps5v8iwihk.jpg


  • Greg Amsinger MLB Network #3
  • Chris Davis 2016 Rediscover Topps Buyback Gold Foil
  • Mel Hall 1987 Rediscover Topps Buyback Silver Foil
  • John Smiley 1988 Rediscover Topps Buyback Silver Foil
  • Al Nipper 1988 Rediscover Topps Buyback Bronze Foil
  • Ray Burris 1985 Rediscover Topps Buyback Bronze Foil
  • Ramon Martinez 1990 Rediscover Topps Buyback Bronze Foil
  • Roberto Clemente Rediscover Topps Promo
  • Nolan Ryan Rediscover Topps Promo
  • Jackie Robinson Rediscover Topps Promo
  • Ken Griffey, Jr. Rediscover Topps Promo
  • Don Mattingly Rediscover Topps Promo
  • David Price Then & Now #14
  • Carlos Correa Then & Now #18
  • Corey Seager Then & Now #19
  • Buster Posey Then & Now #7
  • Mase First Pitch #23
  • Keegan-Michael Key First Pitch #7
  • Stephen Colbert First Pitch #22
  • Brett Eldredge First Pitch #14
  • Deshauna Barber First Pitch #5
  • Ian Kinsler 5 Tool #27
  • Addison Russell 5 Tool #24
  • Eric Hosmer 5 Tool #9
  • Yoan Moncada 5 Tool #43
  • Matt Kemp 5 Tool #32
  • Addison Russell ’87 Topps #92
  • Frank Thomas ’87 Topps #21
  • Troy Tulowitzki ’87 Topps #41
  • Johnny Cueto ’87 Topps #95
  • Cal Ripken Jr. ’87 Topps #48
  • Aaron Judge ’87 Topps #58
  • Yoenis Cespedes ’87 Topps #24
  • Sonny Gray ’87 Topps #87
  • Hank Aaron ’87 Topps #56
  • Dansby Swanson Salute #75
  • Jose Peraza Salute #42
  • Hank Aaron Salute #98
  • Barry Larkin Salute #100
  • Kenta Maeda Salute #65
  • Yoenis Cespedes Salute #48
  • Giancarlo Stanton Salute #70
  • Corey Seager Salute #81
  • Carlos Correa Salute #84

 photo gregmlbnet17_zpsr9imbhef.jpg

 photo davis17bb_zpsdqxvyedb.jpg

 photo smil17bb_zpsmeoiy60r.jpg

 photo ray17toppbb_zpszwniiexv.jpg

 photo griffey17promo_zpstllpzv6a.jpg

 photo bptn17topps_zpszpmuhimu.jpg

 photo colbert17fp_zpsj9hhipcm.jpg

 photo yoan5tool_zpsazdqdq0e.jpg

 photo cal1787topps_zpsvwkcehjd.jpg

 photo hank17sal_zpsul5uzgqs.jpg

2016 Futera Liverpool Unique Collection Pack Break & Review

 photo liverpool2016futerapack_zpswxgvh7oj.jpg

Futera’s name is synonymous with high-end cards.  To put it simply, they are the Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Bentley of the trading card industry.  Their focus is mainly English Premier League football (soccer) clubs.  International collectors have been familiar with Futera ever since they began in 1989.  Last year it was announced that their products would have more of an American presence.

The level of detail that Futera has put into their “Code For Collectors” and “Colour Grading” services is literally off the charts.  “Code For Collectors” allows you to see how that autograph, memorabilia, and/or special insert card was made.  The database features photos and a full detailed write-up about that specific card.  Futera’s “Colour Grading” service displays the number of different colored relics there are for a certain card.  For example, lets say you pull a memorabilia card serial numbered out of (25).  Their database will tell you out of those (25) which ones contain a 1-color, 2-color, 3-color, etc relic.  This is the exact setup every card company should have.  With all of this documentation, it makes it almost impossible to fall for a counterfeit.  American card companies have only scratched the surface with tools like these.

I was able to get my hands on a pack of Futera’s latest product, 2016 Liverpool Unique Collection.  The entire product focuses on the Liverpool Football Club which has a deep history given that it was established in 1892.  Many other products from their Unique Collection line are team specific as well.

2016 Liverpool Unique Collection is a high-end set.  Each box contains (4) packs with a “hit” inside every pack.  Full boxes sell for $300, and individual packs go for $80.  Futera only made (30) total cases.

The base set consists of (50) cards.  Heritage parallels were made for (40) cards each limited to (30) copies.  Other product highlights include:

  • “Memorable” memorabilia cards #’ed/43
  • “Superstars” memorabilia cards #’ed/43
  • “Team Heroes” dual memorabilia cards #’ed/32
  • “Then & Now” dual memorabilia cards #’ed/29
  • “Kitcard” dual memorabilia cards #’ed/27
  • “Memostars” memorabilia cards with 24ct gold-plated title #’ed/15
  • “The Mythicals” memorabilia cards with 24ct gold-plated frame #’ed/7

You’ll also find a good share of autographs too.  Speaking of autographs.  I don’t believe that Futera knows the meaning of a sticker autograph.  Everything I’ve seen has been signed on-card.  You have to admire that.

I really enjoy the way Futera designed these cards.  Lots of heavy white card stock makes the colored action shots pop.  A high-end look can be seen from the base cards all the way up to the rare “hits”.  Those Mythicals cards are some of the most ornately designed cards I’ve ever seen.  They look as if they were made to hang in a museum.

Overall, it was an entertaining break.

Here is what I pulled:


  • John Barnes #32
  • Philippe Coutinho #16
  • Jordan Henderson #18
  • Sadio Mané #27
  • Robbie Fowler #39
  • Jerzy Dudek #38
  • Cameron Brannagan #13
  • Roberto Firmino #25
  • Graeme Souness #50

 photo firm16flfc_zpsh2ibbhfm.jpg

 photo sou16flfc_zpscl3loy9z.jpg


  • Gerry Byrne Mythicals Matchday Programme #’ed/7 – contains a piece of programme from the 1965 FA Cup Final between Liverpool FC and Leeds United at Wembley Stadium; 24ct gold-plated frame

 photo gerry16flpfcframe_zpsfcodtgpj.jpg