Card of the Day: Damien Williams 2014 Topps Turkey Red Mini #52

Product Highlight: 1995 Taco John’s Iowa Barnstormers AFL Team Set

Arena football has it’s followers.  You wouldn’t know that based on the small amount of AFL cards out there.  Upper Deck gave it a shot, but unless you pull an autograph of a famous coach or owner that box probably won’t be too rewarding.

In 1995, the Iowa Barnstormers played their inaugural season with a young quarterback on their roster named Kurt Warner.  After being released from the Packers in 1994, Warner turned to the AFL since no other NFL teams seemed that interested in signing him.  He played with the Barnstormers for three seasons before heading over to Europe, and then eventually found his way to the St. Louis Rams.

Leave it to the Iowa Barnstormers and a Mexican fast food franchise called Taco John’s to produce what is likely the most valuable AFL card ever printed.  Taco John’s sponsored the team’s first set.  You could obtain these cards in two different ways.  First was to purchase an entire team set directly from the Iowa Barnstormers.  The second way would’ve taken much longer.  For each week of the AFL season, participating Taco John’s restaurants would give out two different cards from the set with a purchase.

The entire set consists of (42) cards.  Kurt Warner is the most notable one of the bunch.  Its his first football card.

Having (42) cards in the set meant it could take up to (21) Taco John’s meals before pulling a Kurt Warner.  I wouldn’t want to see what the bathroom looks like after eating (21) Taco John’s meals.  That’s a scene best saved for a Garbage Pail Kids sticker.

Card of the Day: Troy Polamalu 2003 Topps Finest #61

Your 2020 Topps Now Design Looks Like…

The 2020 Topps Now design has officially been unveiled.  Some Topps Now buyers have received this Mike Trout promo card in the mail containing a coupon code on the back.

2020 Topps Series 1 Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Collector Type: Set/New Rookie Card Hunters

A new baseball season is upon us.  The trucks are being unloaded.  The bubble gum is ready to be chewed.  The players are arriving.  Spring Training gives teams the opportunity to stretch their legs, and showcase some of their young talent.  Who’s going to be the surprise stars?  Which prospects will get the call to the big leagues?  Who’s going to the World Series?  These are all questions which will be answered in the coming months.  One thing is for sure.  Topps will be there to cover it all.

2020 Topps Series 1 Baseball kicked-off with a Million Card Rip Party at AT&T Stadium.  Some of the best and well respected group/box breakers in the hobby gathered together for a massive Rip Party.  The party went late into the night until one million cards had been opened.

2019 National League Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso arrived to open the first pack.  Topps even had specially made Pete Alonso autograph cards for the event’s participants.  These feature the 2020 Topps flagship design, are serial numbered to (100) copies, and have the Topps Million Card Rip Party logo in the upper-right corner.

Throughout this historic event Topps interviewed Pete Alonso and various other breakers.  When you’re opening that many boxes some awesome cards are bound to be pulled.  Chris Justice of Cards Infinity pulled an insane Mike Trout/Ken Griffey, Jr. Baseball Stars Dual Autograph #’ed/5.

A lot of collectors have been eagerly awaiting this latest Topps flagship set.  Aristides Aquino, Gavin Lux, Bo Bichette, and Yordan Alvarez are just some of the players who have their first RC logo cards in here.  Yordan Alvarez has both the RC logo and Gold Cup logo on his base rookie.  That’s something you don’t see often.

Inside a hobby box such as this you’ll find (24) packs with (14) cards per pack.  The second you open the box you’ll be greeted with a special Silver Pack.  Housed inside that pack are 1985 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary Chrome cards.  If you’re lucky you might pull a parallel or autograph.

The base set consists of (350) cards.  Parallels include: Yellow (Walgreens), Purple (Meijer), Rainbow (1:10), Gold Foil (1:2 Jumbo), Gold #’ed/2020, Advanced Stat #’ed/300, Vintage Stock #’ed/99, Independence Day #’ed/76, Black #’ed/69 (Hobby/Jumbo), Mother’s Day Hot Pink #’ed/50, Father’s Day Blue #’ed/50, Memorial Day Camo #’ed/25, Platinum #’ed 1/1, and Printing Plates #’ed 1/1.  (100) cards have Clear parallels #’ed/10.

It wouldn’t be a flagship set without photo variations.  There are tons to look for.  Over (100) to be exact.  I’ve always found checking the CMP codes to be the most efficient way in identifying them.

  • Base – #269
  • SP – #284
  • SSP – #285

Technically considered a parallel compared to a photo variation, the CMP code for the Advanced Stat cards end in #283 and are #’ed/300.

Many of the photos used for the base set are quite fun.  Some look as if they’ed be used in Stadium Club.

The hobby box format comes with (1) autograph or relic.  Jumbos guarantee (2) relics and (1) autograph.

I’m happy to see Turkey Red make a comeback as retail exclusive inserts.  You can even find Chrome Turkey Red cards.  Mixing the artistic filter with chrome technology was a wise choice.

Another new thing I like are the Rookie Card Retrospective RC Logo Medallion Manufactured Relics.  Little RC logo medallions are embedded into classic Topps rookie card reprints.  They just look really cool.

Topps knows that collectors enjoy special experiences.  Lucky collectors can pull certificates for the “Celebration of the Decades” event.  According to Topps, “Winners will be invited to an exclusive experiential event that will be talked about for decades!”

The 2020 baseball card collecting season has begun!

Here is what I pulled:

Relic

  • Rhys Hoskins 1985 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary Relic

1985 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary Chrome Silver Pack

  • Jesus Luzardo RC
  • Dustin May RC
  • Kris Bryant
  • Whit Merrifield

Parallels

  • Randy Johnson Topps Choice Black #’ed/299
  • Yuli Gurriel Advanced Stat #’ed/300
  • Anthony Rendon Gold #’ed/2020
  • Randy Arozarena RC Gold #’ed/2020
  • Big Air, Big Hair Rainbow
  • Danny Hultz RC Rainbow
  • Tyler White Rainbow

Inserts

  • Pete Alonso Home Run Challenge
  • Justin Verlander 2019 Topps Now Review
  • Cal Ripken Jr. Topps Choice
  • Austin Riley Decade’s Next
  • Orlando Cepeda Decades’ Best
  • Max Scherzer Decades’ Best
  • Stan Musial Decades’ Best
  • Houston Astros Decades’ Best
  • Rod Carew 1985 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary
  • Wade Boggs 1985 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary
  • Trevor Bauer 1985 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary
  • Alex Young RC 1985 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary
  • Ronald Acuña Jr. 1985 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary
  • Mookie Betts 1985 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary

Notable Rookies

  • Aristides Aquino RC #20
  • Yordan Alvarez RC #276
  • Gavin Lux RC #292
  • Bo Bichette RC #78

Card of the Day: Darnell Hillman 1975-76 Topps #290

Pin Highlight: Nolan Ryan & Robin Ventura – Courage, Loyalty, Character – Brawl Pin

Nolan Ryan and Robin Ventura had very successful baseball careers.  Each has numerous awards next to their name.  Mention both in the same sentence though and one moment comes to mind – August 4, 1993.

Robin Ventura got an RBI single off of Ryan in the first-inning that day.  Later on, White Sox pitcher Alex Fernandez hit Juan Gonzalez.  When Ventura came up to bat again in the third, Ryan hit him in the upper arm.  Ventura took a few steps toward first and then charged the mound.  For some reason, Ventura decided to slow down as he got closer to Ryan.  That gave Nolan Ryan the extra time to get his glove off.  Despite being twenty years older than Robin Ventura, Nolan Ryan put up a great fight.

The image of Nolan Ryan holding Robin Ventura in a headlock is iconic.  Signed photos containing this image make for a fun conversation piece.

This pin comes from a Little League district in California.  The yin-yang symbol on Nolan Ryan’s arm indicates that.  You have to laugh at the irony of a pin that encourages courage, loyalty, and character while depicting two grown athletes fighting.