2017 Topps Fire Baseball Collector’s Box Break & Review

An artistic electric blaze is a perfect way to describe 2017 Topps Fire Baseball.  Artist Tyson Beck once again shows off his talents with this wildly designed Target-exclusive set.

Topps has had a lot of success with these retail only products.  Even if you have a Target nearby, there is no guarantee what you’re looking for will be there.  Keeping them in stock has been difficult.  Having a rookie class like 2017 has seen drives up the demand even more.  Especially when two of those rookies (Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger) continue to play further into the post season.

If you’re lucky enough to live near a Target store that still has some 2017 Fire on the shelves there are three possible formats that you can find this product in – Collector’s Box, Value Box, and Fat Pack.  To obtain the pinnacle Fire experience, a Collector’s Box would be the best way to go.  They retail for $70, but right now on the secondary market they seem to be going for around $80-$100.  People are willing to spend a little more online if their own Target is sold out or they don’t have one at all.

2017 Topps Fire has a base set that consists of (200) cards.  Parallels include Red Flame, Gold Minted (Value Only), Blue Chip (Fat Pack Only), Orange #’ed/299, Green #’ed/199, Purple #’ed/99, Magenta #’ed/25, Onyx (1 per Collector’s Box case), and Inferno #’ed/1.  The Onyx parallels aren’t serial numbered, but given that only (1) comes per Collector’s Box case I’d say that each one is limited to 5-10 copies.  Inserts are plentiful and all look fairly awesome.  You’ve got Flame Throwers, Fired Up, Golden Grabs, Monikers, and Walk It Off.

I’ve heard some collectors complain that the parallels are a little difficult to identify.  This certainly wasn’t the case with my box.  Each one of my inserts, parallels, and autographs came out of the pack backwards.  That made them very easy to spot.

A Collector’s Box guarantees at least (2) “hits”.  One of them should be an autograph.  For a retail-exclusive product, it shouldn’t be a surprise that all of the autographs are on stickers.  The checklist for the autographs is very strong.  Lots of top names.  Dual and Triple autographs can also be found.  Relics and Autographed Relics are in here too.

Overall, I believe Topps did a great job with this set.  Fire finally got it’s own standalone baseball product.  The designs are refreshing, checklist is deep, and the inserts really stand out.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Steven Matz #’ed/200
  • Noah Syndergaard Green #’ed/75

Parallels

  • Larry Doby Purple #’ed/99
  • Johnny Damon Green #’ed/199
  • Lorenzo Cain Green #’ed/199
  • Seung-Hwan Oh Orange #’ed/299
  • Ryne Sandberg Orange #’ed/299
  • Cal Ripken Jr. Red Flame
  • Dansby Swanson RC Red Flame
  • Billy Hamilton Red Flame
  • Bryce Harper Red Flame
  • Tyler Glasnow RC Red Flame

Inserts

  • Noah Syndergaard Fired Up
  • Noah Syndergaard Flame Throwers
  • Curtis Granderson Golden Grabs
  • Byron Buxton Golden Grabs
  • Mark Trumbo Walk It Off
  • Adrian Beltre Walk It Off
  • Brooks Robinson Monikers
  • Ryne Sandberg Monikers
  • Miguel Cabrera Monikers
  • Babe Ruth Monikers

Notable Rookies

  • Cody Bellinger
  • Ian Happ
  • Alex Bregman
  • Matt Olson

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2017 Topps Triple Threads Baseball Box Break & Review

What can be said about Triple Threads that hasn’t been said already?  Its a polarizing product that hasn’t gone through many changes since it became an annual release over a decade ago.  I can still remember opening a pack of this stuff during the 2007 National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland, OH.  Pulling that Tom Seaver/Dwight Gooden/Roger Clemens Triple Relic Auto #’ed/1 was a huge deal to me.  Back then packs and boxes came in that odd triangle shape.

Triple Threads has and will always be about the “hits”.  Yes.  There is a base set.  The 2017 set consists of (100) cards with parallels that include Amethyst #’ed/340, Emerald #’ed/250, Amber #’ed/150, Gold #’ed/99, Onyx #’ed/50, Sapphire #’ed/25, Ruby #’ed/1, and Printing Plates #’ed/1.  It is entirely made up of veterans, retired stars, and Hall of Famers.  All rookies in this product will have to come in some sort of “hit” form.

Autographs, jerseys, patches, bats, booklets, Topps throws everything into Triple Threads.  You’ll even find Theo Epstein and Floyd Mayweather in here.  Whenever Topps comes out with a new baseball product, I like to check the checklist for which Phillies made it in.  There usually is a regular group of guys, but for 2017 Triple Threads Jim Thome got some cards in a Phillies uniform.  Its been awhile since I’ve seen him in any new sets.  I’d say he’s my favorite addition this year.  Other collectors seem to agree as they’re spending hundreds on his new cards.

Triple Threads isn’t for the collector who’s on a tight budget.  A master box can cost almost $200.  Inside each mini-box you’ll find (2) “hits”.  That’s (4) “hits” per master box.  If you’ve been a fan of Triple Threads, I think you’ll have fun with the 2017 set.

Here is what I pulled:

Auto/Relics

  • Aledmys Diaz Unity Auto Jumbo Relic Silver #’ed/75
  • Eric Thames Auto Relic #’ed/18

Relics

  • Masahiro Tanaka Relic Gold #’ed/9
  • Evan Longoria Single Jumbo Unity Relic Emerald #’ed/18

Parallels

  • Greg Maddux Amethyst #’ed/340
  • Jacob deGrom Emerald #’ed/250
  • Zack Greinke Emerald #’ed/250
  • Robinson Cano Sapphire #’ed/25

2017 Topps Heritage High Number Baseball Box Break & Review

Burlap was the style in 1968.  Topps plastered that stuff on everything.  Pitchers Jerry Koosman and Ron Tompkins may not have had Major League Baseball Hall Of Fame worthy careers, but will forever be known as those “other guys” pictured with Nolan Ryan and Johnny Bench on their 1968 Topps rookie cards.

You’ll find that Heritage High Number continues where regular Heritage stopped.  The set consists of (225) cards #501-725.  #701-725 are short prints.  Although they aren’t serial numbered, parallels of the main set include Blue Border #’ed/50, Bright Yellow Backs #’ed/25, Gray Backs #’ed/10, and Flip Stock #’ed/5.

(50) players have Chrome cards #’ed/999.  Refractors that can be found include Purple Hot Box Refractors, Refractors #’ed/568, Blue Refractors #’ed/68, Gold Refractors #’ed/5, and Superfractors #’ed/1.  Chrome versions of classic Topps designs look so cool!  (50) players also have mini parallels too.

It wouldn’t be a Heritage product without a good chunk of variations.  Checking the CMP code on the card backs can really help you in identifying them.

  • Base – ends in #23
  • Short Prints – ends in #33
  • Chrome – ends in #38
  • Error – ends in #45
  • Trade – ends in #46
  • Throwback Uniform – ends in #47
  • Action Image – ends in #48
  • Team Color Swap – ends in #49

I know the Heritage line isn’t the only set to feature variations, but it seems like collectors are willing to spend more for the Heritage ones.  Given that this product is targeted towards set builders, some people will spend a lot for a single variation just because its rare.  In some cases, these variations can be a player’s most valuable card.

Like I previously mentioned, this product is a set collector’s dream.  Most likely your “hit” will be a regular relic, but the high-end “hits” are so nice looking.  Everything from the on-card autographs to multi-colored patches are superb.  Even the low-numbered plain relics get more attention from this product when compared to others.  I think that fascinates me more than anything.  The type of product, players involved, and numbering make all the difference.

Overall, my break fell in line with what you’d normally pull.  Topps should consider trying some on-card Chrome autographs for Heritage.

Here is what I pulled:

Relic

  • Aroldis Chapman Clubhouse Collection Relic

Parallels

  • Eric Thames Blue Border #’ed/50
  • Bradley Zimmer Chrome Refractor #’ed/568
  • Aroldis Chapman Chrome #’ed/999

Photo Variation

  • Brandon Phillips Action Image

Short Prints

  • Steven Matz
  • Dylan Bundy
  • Michael Pineda
  • Kelvin Herrera
  • Jared Hughes
  • Trevor Cahill
  • Taijuan Walker
  • Alex Cobb

Inserts

  • Jim Wynn 1968 Topps Buyback Box Loader
  • Nolan Ryan Highlights #5
  • Marcell Ozuna/Giancarlo Stanton Classic Combos
  • Ryan Zimmerman Now And Then
  • Mike Trout Now And Then
  • Eric Thames Now And Then
  • Ben Zobrist Award Winners
  • Kris Bryant Award Winners
  • Eric Hosmer Award Winners
  • Bradley Zimmer Rookie Performers
  • Luke Weaver Rookie Performers
  • Dansby Swanson Rookie Performers

Notable Rookies

  • Cody Bellinger
  • Ian Happ
  • Matt Olson

Card of the Day: 1990 Baseball Wit Little League World Series #10

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 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