2017 Topps Chrome Baseball Box Break & Review

Collectors enjoy chrome-based rookies.  That’s no shocker.  2017 has had one of the best MLB rookie classes.  Aaron Judge may have calmed down a bit, but his cards continue to bring in top dollars.  Dodgers fans have had a blast watching Cody Bellinger go yard night after night.  Chrome is king!  Its interesting to see how much more someone is willing to spend on an unnumbered Chrome base rookie autograph compared to something similar from another product.  That player’s Chrome rookie almost always comes out on top.

The Topps design team has to think long and hard about the design of their classic flagship brand.  Its something that collectors will see all year across at least four different products.  One aspect that needs to be considered is how that design will convert over to Chrome stock.  Especially when it comes to distinguishing between the array of colored parallels.  Trust me, there are a lot of parallels to pull.

You’ll find (200) cards make up the base set.  Everything in this product has it’s share of parallels.  The photo variations are easy to spot as the most common versions have a refractor-like finish.  To be 100% sure whether or not you have a photo variation checking the CMP code can help.  Photo variation’s CMP code end in #57 versus base with #25.

If you weren’t familiar with 1987 Topps Baseball, by the end of this year you definitely will be.  That classic design has been everywhere in celebration of it’s 30th anniversary.  Chrome versions of these cards look awesome especially when it comes to the parallels and on-card autographs.

My favorite cards out of the entire product are the Then & Now inserts.  These came out nice and designing them horizontally was the way to go.  I’ve always enjoyed seeing older cards pictured on newer ones.  The parallels and on-card autographs of these really standout.

Topps has already unveiled what the 2018 flagship design will look like.  The wave by the team logo is cool and the pixels breaking apart looks neat.  An insert set featuring pixel-themed player images would be fun.  Making players look like characters from a retro Nintendo game would really bring back some memories.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Brett Phillips RC Refractor Auto #’ed/499
  • Seth Lugo RC Auto

Parallels

  • Eduardo Rodriguez Negative Refractor
  • Brad Ziegler Purple Refractor #’ed/299
  • Gavin Cecchini RC Prism Refractor
  • Ryan Braun Prism Refractor
  • Ivan Nova Prism Refractor
  • Chris Owings Prism Refractor
  • Ryan Schimpf Refractor
  • Anthony Rizzo Refractor
  • Yoan Moncada RC Refractor
  • Kris Bryant Refractor
  • Joe Mauer Refractor
  • Andrew Toles RC Refractor
  • Chad Pinder RC Refractor
  • Kenley Jansen Refractor

Inserts

  • Matt Carpenter Bowman Chrome Then & Now #19
  • Alex Bregman Freshman Flash #10
  • Luke Weaver Freshman Flash #16
  • Willson Contreras Future Stars #2
  • Nomar Mazara Future Stars #8
  • Francisco Lindor Future Stars #10
  • Manny Machado 1987 Topps #4
  • Yoan Moncada 1987 Topps #20
  • Francisco Lindor 1987 Topps #11
  • Jacob deGrom 1987 Topps #21

Notable Rookies

  • Yoan Moncada #75

2017 Topps Allen & Ginter Box Break & Review

If any product were to go out on a limb and create a card containing the piece of Aaron Judge’s chipped tooth, Allen & Ginter would be the one to do it.  Collectors and the media would go nuts.  I’d buy it, extract the DNA, clone my very own Aaron Judge, and ride his coattails to fame and fortune.  This sounds like a scheme only Lex Luthor could pull off.

Allen & Ginter is one of the most popular sets released each year.  With rookies such as Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger performing so well, even more attention is being given to this brand.  Both have autographs in here, although they are redemptions.  None of them should take that long to get.  I’ve had nothing but good experience when it comes to Topps redeeming my cards.  Cody Bellinger was called-up a little late for Topps to include anything else other than redemptions for autographs.  Aaron Judge on the other hand has a lot more.  Not only does he have autographs, you can find base, minis, relics, and rip cards of him.  Plain, one-color, unnumbered relics of his are currently selling for about $40.  Its insane!  You could pickup a lot of Hall Of Famer relics for that price.  Non-ripped rip cards of Judge are #’ed/60, and range anywhere from $350 -$600.  Although expensive, if Judge’s cards were to fall in value these might not take as big of a hit due to there still being an exclusive unknown mini card sealed inside.

One thing Allen & Ginter is known for is it’s oddities.  Outside of the baseball autographs, Floyd Mayweather is probably the most popular.  William Shatner and Sarah Michelle Gellar aren’t far behind.  MySpace may never be what it once was, but even Tom Anderson got an autograph.

Fictional FiguresGems, and Ancient Fossils really showoff Allen & Ginter’s oddball relic side.

Fictional Figures:

  • Easter Bunny
  • Leprechaun
  • Neptune
  • Santa Claus – What do you mean he’s a fictional character?
  • Sasquatch
  • Unicorn
  • Vampire
  • Yeti

Gems and Ancient Fossils:

  • Amethyst
  • Crystal
  • Dinosaur Bone
  • Dinosaur Tooth
  • Gold
  • Lightning Strike
  • Meteorite – Probably infected with alien parasite 🙂
  • Peridot
  • Sapphire
  • Shark Tooth
  • Shark Tooth
  • Tourmaline
  • Woolly Mammoth – Furry elephants!

This product remains one of Topps most fun and creative to open.  You never know what you’re going to find.  If Topps decides not to make special Stadium Club promos for next year’s National, I’d like to see them return to Allen & Ginter.  An actual Allen & Ginter themed card based on the I-X Center itself would be cool.  Cards trigger memories.  Many memories are made during the National.

Here is what I pulled:

Relics

  • Manny Machado #FSRA-MM Relic
  • Corey Kluber #FSRB-CKL Relic
  • Kris Bryant Mini Framed #MR-KB Relic

Auto

  • Tom Rinaldi Mini Framed #MA-TR Auto

Short Prints

  • Drew Pomeranz #321
  • Trey Mancini #301
  • Matt Moore #341
  • Brian McCann #343
  • Braden Shipley #342
  • Jeff Bagwell #350
  • Justin Turner #322
  • Seung-Hwan Oh #337
  • Kenley Jansen #336
  • Stephen Vogt #338
  • Corey Dickerson #331

Mini Parallels

  • Frank Thomas #144
  • Ollie Schniederjans #127
  • Luke Weaver #242
  • Andrew Miller #238
  • Reynaldo Lopez #339
  • Marcell Ozuna #306
  • Christian Yelich #282
  • Jorge Alfaro #288
  • Garrett Richards #16
  • Jose Altuve #184
  • Cal Ripken Jr. #74
  • Corey Bellemore #12
  • Dave Winfield Black Border #85
  • Randy Johnson Black Border #279
  • Brandon Crawford Black Border #310
  • Wesley Bryan A&G Back #163
  • Khris Davis A&G Back #244
  • Kirby Smart A&G Back #179
  • Sean Manaea A&G Back #106
  • Jurickson Profar A&G Back #202

Inserts

  • Robert Heller Magicians & Illusionists Mini #MI-14
  • Bust A Move Waltz Dance Mini #BAM-14
  • World’s Dudes Conductor Dude Mini #2
  • World’s Dudes Fisherman Dude Mini #43
  • Terry Leach 1993 Rediscover Topps Bronze Foil #443
  • Jason Bay 2006 Rediscover Topps Bronze Foil #220
  • Chad Kreuter 1990 Rediscover Topps Silver Foil #562
  • Rick Leach 1989 Traded Rediscover Topps Silver Foil #68T
  • Revolutionary Battles – Battle Of Trenton #RB-5
  • Revolutionary Battles – Surrender Of General Burgoyne #RB-7
  • Revolutionary Battles – Battle Of Guilford Court House #RB-9
  • Sport Fish & Fishing Lures – Trout & Flies #SFL-7
  • Sport Fish & Fishing Lures – Bass & Hula Popper #SFL-4
  • Sport Fish & Fishing Lures – Barracuda & Jerkbait #SFL-19
  • Sport Fish & Fishing Lures – Bluefin Tuna & Metal Jigs #SFL-15
  • Sport Fish & Fishing Lures – Redfish & Jerkbait #SFL-10
  • World’s Fair – Solar Generator #WF-13
  • World’s Fair – Life Savers Parachute Jump #WF-1
  • World’s Fair – Space Needle #WF-11
  • World’s Fair – Diesel Engine #WF-7
  • World’s Fair – Conical Pendulum Clock #WF-10
  • What A Day! – Corey Kluber #WAD-85
  • What A Day! – David Ortiz #WAD-62
  • What A Day! – Gary Sanchez #WAD-40
  • What A Day! – Troy Tulowitzki #WAD-70
  • What A Day! – Don Mattingly #WAD-56
  • What A Day! – Jacob deGrom #WAD-97
  • What A Day! – Chris Sale #WAD-4
  • What A Day! – Chipper Jones #WAD-46
  • What A Day! – David Price #WAD-9
  • What A Day! – Byron Buxton #WAD-95
  • What A Day! – David Wright #WAD-55
  • Bryce Harper Box Loader #BL-BH

2017 Topps Stadium Club Baseball Box Break & Review

We live in a very “hit” driven time within the hobby.  To many, it is all about the autographs and relics.  Stadium Club reminds collectors that this doesn’t have to be the case.  At the heart and soul of Stadium Club are outstanding photographs.  A simple base card from this brand could easily be a high point in your collection just based on the picture.

When it comes to the base set, there really isn’t much of a design.  Topps allows the photos to do all of the work.  The base set comes in at (300) total cards with the following parallels:

  • Gold Foil
  • Black Foil
  • Sepia
  • Black/White/Orange
  • Rainbow Foil #’ed/25
  • First Day Issue #’ed/10
  • Members Only
  • Gold Rainbow Foil #’ed/1

Photo variations play a massive role.  Stadium Club’s base set photos are unique, so the variations are a little more difficult to spot.  Luckily the CMP code for variations ends in #3055 compared to #3023 for the base.  The amount of variations has doubled since 2016.  You have (50) to look for this year.

One of the biggest additions to Stadium Club this year includes Chrome cards.  Not only do we get cool looking cards with awesome photos, but now some of them are chromified.  I doubt “chromified” is a word.  That’s how great this product is.  You need to invent words to describe it.  There are (90) Chrome cards.  All have various parallels, and most have Chrome-style autographs.  If Topps produces Stadium Club Chrome cards like this next year, it would be great for those autographs to be on-card versus stickers.  Seventeen years ago Topps made an entire product called Stadium Club Chrome.  After 2000 it was never seen again.  Perhaps we could see another standalone Stadium Club Chrome set down the road given the success of the 2017 cards.  Maybe we’ll even see other products get chromified.  Allen & Ginter Chrome works for me.

Its fun to see collectors willing to spend money on non-autographed/relic, unnumbered case “hits”.  A good example of this would be the Instavision inserts.  As of this writing, the 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention is being held.  Sets such as Gypsy QueenBowmanAllen & Ginter, and Heritage have all had specially made promos for it in recent years.  Its been a very long time since collectors have seen Stadium Club promos at the National.  Given that this is the second year that Topps has made Bowman Chrome cards for National attendees, I think we can look for something different next year in Cleveland.  Stadium Club just might be the next brand they tap into.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Henry Owens Auto
  • A.J. Reed Auto

Parallels

  • Noah Syndergaard Scoreless Streak Black #’ed/99
  • Bo Jackson Chrome #11
  • Johnny Bench Black/White/Orange #159
  • Gary Sanchez Black Foil #247
  • Garrett Richards Black Foil #210
  • Jose Canseco Gold Foil #227
  • Dave Winfield Gold Foil #200
  • Jose De Leon RC Gold Foil #243
  • Billy Hamilton Gold Foil #277
  • Braden Shipley Gold Foil #68

Inserts

  • Michael Fulmer Instavision
  • Bryce Harper Beam Team
  • Bo Jackson Power Zone
  • Nolan Arenado Power Zone
  • Miguel Cabrera Contact Sheet
  • Mike Trout Contact Sheet
  • Yu Darvish Scoreless Streak
  • Alex Reyes Scoreless Streak

Notables Rookies

  • Aaron Judge RC #64
  • Andrew Benintendi RC #149

2017 Topps Pro Debut Baseball Box Break & Review

Tim Tebow is a marketing machine.  The way collectors eat up his cards is mind blowing.  He never gives up and will forever be cemented into pop culture.  His name is catchy too.  It almost sounds like a superhero – Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Susan Storm, Reed Richards, Doctor Doom, Stephen Strange, and Tim Tebow.  I think it has a lot to do with the fact his first and last name both start with the same letter.

Topps makes two MiLB products per year.  I believe they have to as part of their agreement with Major League Baseball.  Those two products would be Pro Debut and Heritage Minors.  With the Mets giving Tim Tebow a contract, Topps jumped at the opportunity to make his first MiLB licensed card.  Tim Tebow had baseball cards prior to the one found in Pro Debut, but none of them received this kind of attention.  The media was all over this card.  Its great to see the hobby get such widespread positive media coverage for once.  Topps made the excellent decision not to overproduce the card either.  They made it one of the most difficult cards to pull.  Although it looks like a regular base card, it is anything but that.  You’d almost need to open (500) packs just to find one.  Treating as if it were a normal card would have driven the price way down.  At it’s height, prices reached $400.  Since this product’s release, prices have calmed down to around $150.

Baseball can be very gimmicky at times.  This is very true when it comes to the minor leagues.  With inserts such as Ben’s BizFragments of the Farm RelicsPromo Night Uniforms, and Promo Night Uniforms RelicsPro Debut really taps into the cool things minor league baseball does in order to bring fans to the ballpark.  For me, its fun to see cards of the Williamsport Crosscutters in here.  Local MiLB teams have die-hard followings.  Shortly after this product came out, I purchased a Fragments of the Farm Williamsport Crosscutters parking lot banner relic.  I remember seeing these banners last summer.  Its this type of connectivity that draws collectors to this brand.  Being able to connect a memory with a card can make all the difference.

The 2017 Topps flagship design carries over to Pro Debut.  (200) cards make up the base set.  Parallels include Green #’ed/99, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/10, and Black #’ed/1.  Photo variations are kept at a minimum.  The CMP code for variations ends in #4214, versus base cards with #4204.  These too have Black parallels #’ed/1.

Of all the Pro Debut releases, 2017 has gotten the most attention thanks to Tim Tebow.  This year’s set had a fairly low print run.  Fun break!

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Kyle Lewis Auto
  • Patrick Weigel Auto Green Parallel #’ed/99

Relics

  • Columbus Clippers Fragments of the Farm Game-Used Base from Huntington Park
  • Riley Pint Pennant Patch Red Parallel #’ed/10

Parallels

  • Ben Bowden Red Parallel #’ed/10
  • Austin Meadows Green Parallel #’ed/99
  • Jen-Ho Tseng Green Parallel #’ed/99

Inserts

  • Promo Night Uniforms – 50 Seasons In Reading Night
  • Promo Night Uniforms – Home Improvement Night
  • Promo Night Uniforms – Top Gun Night
  • Promo Night Uniforms – Hockey Jersey Night
  • Ben’s Biz – The Crazy Hot Dog Vendor #4
  • Ben’s Biz – Erik The Peanut Guy #2
  • Ben’s Biz – Todd “Parney” Parnell #13
  • In The Wings – Dylan Cozens
  • In The Wings – Ozzie Albies
  • In The Wings – Gleyber Torres

Notable Base

  • Cody Bellinger #145
  • Nick Senzel #150
  • Clint Frazier #174
  • Gleyber Torres #124
  • Ian Happ #24

2017 Leaf Babe Ruth Immortal Collection Box Break & Review

Leaf is known for creating some fun niche products.  Sometimes these products will return year after year, while others will be a one time event.  Brian Gray and his team over at Leaf are very in tune with what collectors enjoy.  I’d say that they’re one of the most flexible companies in the industry.  The way they can create cards for collectors at the height of a pop culture moment is truly astonishing.

Even if you’re not a baseball fan, its almost impossible for you not to know who Babe Ruth is.  Its Babe Ruth for crying out loud.  A perfect example of the type of niche products they make would be 2017 Leaf Babe Ruth Immortal Collection.  For around $200 per box you get (2) base, (2) original Yankee Stadium seat relics, and (2) Babe Ruth game-used bat relics.  One bat piece will be from a Yankees bat, and the other from a Boston bat.

Where this product really shines is in the design and photography.  All cards are printed on thick white card stock.  They contain just a titch of foil to distinguish between the parallels.  What stands out to me are the photographs.  Seeing that Leaf doesn’t have a license to use MLB team names and/or logos, you won’t find the words “Yankees” or “Red Sox” on any of these cards.  I usually stay away from unlicensed products, but given the wide variety of photos Leaf used you almost forget about it.  Sure, there are tons of pictures in here of Babe Ruth playing baseball.  Its the photos of him doing other things that make these cards stand out.  My favorite is the one of him signing a baseball.  Others show him playing football, boxing, fishing, and golfing.

Major “hits” include a cut signature, bat barrel, and bat knob.  Depending on which part of the bat the piece is from can have a drastic increase in price.  Bat relics numbered 1/1 seem to almost pay for the box itself.  Collectors have been spending big money on the redemptions.

Here is what I pulled:

Relics

  • Babe Ruth Game-Used Boston Bat Redemption Purple #’ed 1/1
  • Babe Ruth #37 Game-Used New York Bat #’ed/20
  • Babe Ruth #41 Original Yankee Stadium Seat Red #’ed/20
  • Babe Ruth #44 Original Yankee Stadium Seat #’ed/50

Base

  • Babe Ruth #43 #’ed/50
  • Babe Ruth #45 Red #’ed/20

2017 Topps Tier One Box Break & Review

Don’t you hate it when you keep pulling cards of that amazing rookie?  This dude Aaron Judge keeps following me.  I guess there could be worse problems to have 🙂  I’ve never pulled so many cards of a hot rookie in my life.  My jaw literally dropped after opening this box.  Another awesome pull from a Topps product.

Tier One doesn’t mess around with base cards, short prints, and photo variations.  It gets straight to the point quickly.  Boxes are on the high-end costing about $140.  Inside each box you should find (2) autographs and (1) relic.  Some boxes will come with a bonus “hit”.

Given that there really isn’t a base set, 2017 Topps Tier One is broken down into the following areas:

  • Tier One Autographs
  • Dual Autographs
  • Triple Autographs
  • Break Out Autographs
  • Clear One Autographs
  • Cut Signature
  • Cut Signature Relics
  • Prime Performers Autographs
  • Prodigious Patches
  • Prodigious Patches Autographs
  • Signature Tools Autographed Relics
  • Tier One All-Star Patches
  • Tier One Bat Knobs
  • Tier One Autographed Bat Knobs
  • Tier One Limited Lumber
  • Tier One Autographed Limited Lumber
  • Tier One Relics
  • Tier One Legends Relics
  • Tier One Autographed Relics
  • Tier One Dual Autographed Booklet Relics

For the most part, autographs are on-card.  Cards signed in paint pen continue to be my favorite.  All of these cards look really great.  Many products on the market today are high risk and reward.  Tier One is probably at the top of that list.  The 2017 rookie class is packed with fantastic players.  Some of the best we’ve seen in years.  Box prices this year are reflecting that.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Aaron Judge Break Out RC Auto #’ed/140
  • Mark Mulder Prime Performers Auto #’ed/300

Relics

  • Albert Pujols Tier One Jersey #’ed/331
  • Luke Weaver Tier One Jersey #’ed/331

2017 Topps Museum Collection Box Break & Review

And the luck continues…

Museum Collection has and always will be the typical product that I enjoy opening.  That certainly goes for 2017, especially after you see the awesome cards that I pulled.  Every box contains (4) mini-boxes each housing a “hit”.  Inside you should find at least (1) on-card autograph, (1) autograph relic, (1) quad relic, and (1) jumbo relic.

Although this is a heavily “hit” driven product, there is a base set to collect.  The base set consists of (100) cards covering rookies, current stars, and legends.  Parallels include:

  • Copper/Gold
  • Sapphire Blue #’ed/150
  • Amethyst Purple #’ed/99
  • Ruby Red #’ed/50
  • Emerald Green #’ed/1

Outside of the base set, there is only one insert – Canvas Collection Reproductions.  These mimic the original Canvas Collection sketches found within the product.  If you can’t afford the original sketch or don’t want to wait for it to popup, the reproductions look great in any collection.  Both Aaron Judge and Alex Bregman have rookies in here.  In addition to the original sketches, a select group of players also have autograph sketches.  Talk about some sweet looking cards.  Between Canvas Collection Original Autographs and Gypsy Queen Original Art Patches, its only a matter of time until we see booklets featuring original sketches, jumbo patches, and autographs.  Those would be cool to see someday.

Like I mentioned before, the “hits” are what totally drive this product.  The patches and on-card autographs are amazing.  I really like the Premium Prints Autographs and Museum Framed Autographs.  Pieces featuring dark backgrounds with autographs in paint pen are slick looking.

Fans of the 2017 World Baseball Classic have been finding the first relic cards from that event in here.  Allen & Ginter and Dynasty will also contain WBC relics.  Those uniforms can create some insane patches.

Overall, my box was a blast to open.  Box prices are around $210.

Here is what I pulled:

Auto/Relic

  • Francisco Lindor Single Player Signature Swatches Dual Relic Auto Redemption

Auto

  • Roy Oswalt Archival Autographs #’ed/99

Relics

  • Joc Pederson Momentous Material Emerald Green Laundry Tag MLB Logo Patch #’ed/1
  • Joey Votto/Adam Duvall/Brandon Phillips/Billy Hamilton Primary Pieces Gold Quad Patch #’ed/25
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu Meaningful Material Copper Patch #’ed/35

Parallels

  • Freddie Freeman Amethyst Purple #’ed/99
  • Edwin Encarnacion Sapphire Blue #’ed/150
  • Josh Donaldson Copper/Gold
  • Jose Altuve Copper/Gold

Insert

  • Giancarlo Stanton Canvas Collection Reproduction

Notable Base

  • Alex Bregman RC #94
  • Yulieski Gurriel RC #99
  • Jackie Robinson #66