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

Card of the Day: Jim Nettles 1990 Pacific Senior League Baseball #126

2017 Topps Series 2 Baseball Box Break & Review

 photo 2017toppseries2box_zpsshmsvenp.jpg

I’ve had a fairly good string of luck lately when it comes to Topps products.  Between 2016 Bowman’s Best2017 Topps Series 1, and 2017 Topps Finest I’ve pulled some amazing cards.  Oh!  I can’t forget about 2016 Bowman Draft too.  Now let us dive deep into a hobby box of 2017 Topps Series 2.  Will the luck continue?  SPOILER ALERT!  It does.

2017 Topps Series 2 picks up right where Series 1 ended.  It adds another (350) cards to the base set.  Many of the same parallels return from Series 1.

  • 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 #’ed/25
  • Clear #’ed/10
  • Platinum #’ed/1
  • Printing Plates #’ed/1

As expected, photo variations play a large role.  They aren’t the easiest cards to pull, but its fun when you do get one.  All you need to do in order to figure out whether you found one is to check the small CMP code on the back.  Base cards end in #3535 while variations end in #3587.  Its very important that you check for these.  Photo variations can easily be a bigger “hit” in your box compared to that guaranteed relic or autograph.  I’m sure there are plenty of missed photo variations just sitting in collector’s base card boxes.

If you’re a fan of inserts, this product is perfect for you.  I pulled a total of (43) regular inserts out of a standard (36) pack hobby box.  A majority of them have their share of parallels, relics, and autographs you can find.  The 30th anniversary celebration of 1987 Topps Baseball carries over into Series 2.  Topps has used countless of retro designs for their products, but this classic wood grain look is a real favorite.  Memorable Moments are cool, especially the card that commemorates the first Topps baseball set from 1951.  Historical references to the hobby’s beginnings depicted on cardboard is always educational to see.

Overall, my box was absolutely fantastic given the real nice parallel that I found.  It was waiting in the last pack.  This guy Aaron Judge just keeps following me.  2017 Topps Series 2 is mainly geared towards set collectors, but the high-end pulls are amazing.  With Aaron Judge keeping box prices on the rise, this product is one of the more affordable options.  Jumbos are more expensive, but contain more “hits”.

This is one of the best flagship brand boxes I’ve ever opened.

Here is what I pulled:

Relic

  • Buster Posey Major League Material Jersey

 photo posey17ts2jersey_zpskmby8wwx.jpg

Parallels

  • Aaron Judge 1987 Topps RC Red #’ed/25
  • Brian Dozier Black #’ed/66
  • Koji Uehara Gold #’ed/2017
  • Jay Bruce Gold #’ed/2017
  • Tyler Thornburg Gold #’ed/2017
  • David Price Gold #’ed/2017
  • Ryan Pressly Gold #’ed/2017
  • James Loney Rainbow Foil
  • Jeff Samardzija Rainbow Foil
  • Michael Conforto Rainbow Foil

 photo judge17ts287red_zpsxvbegncn.jpg

 photo dozier17rs2black_zpsp4ewjsdk.jpg

 photo koji17ts2gold_zpsmjdnlyfl.jpg

 photo jeff17ts2foil_zpsszmyjxzr.jpg

Inserts

  • Bob Costas MLB Network #11
  • Ben Gibbaro First Pitch #25
  • Ty Pennington First Pitch #34
  • Tom Lehman First Pitch #38
  • Danny Willett First Pitch #39
  • Ted Lilly 2006 Topps Rediscover Topps Silver Foil #336
  • Junior Noboa 1988 Topps Rediscover Topps Bronze Foil #503
  • Jeff Newman 1978 Topps Rediscover Topps Blue Foil #458
  • Erik Hanson 1989 Topps Traded Rediscover Topps Gold Foil #45T
  • Marvell Wynne 1990 Topps Rediscover Topps Bronze Foil #256
  • Gene Harris 1989 Topps Traded Rediscover Topps Bronze Foil #46T
  • Frank Thomas Salute #168
  • Renato Nunez Salute #188
  • Tim Raines Salute #159
  • Gregory Polanco Salute #198
  • Yoan Moncada Salute #114
  • Tim Anderson Salute #139
  • George Brett Salute #163
  • Jacoby Jones Salute #138
  • Brian Dozier Salute #143
  • Justin Verlander Major League Milestones #14
  • Jose Bautista Major League Milestones #5
  • Corey Seager Major League Milestones #6
  • Adrian Gonzalez Major League Milestones #4
  • Kris Bryant Major League Milestones #17
  • Ichiro Memorable Moments #45
  • Roger Maris Memorable Moments #7
  • Bo Jackson Memorable Moments #18
  • Derek Jeter Memorable Moments #24
  • Reggie Jackson Memorable Moments #41
  • Mark McGwire Memorable Moments #14
  • Ty Cobb Memorable Moments #32
  • Ted Williams Memorable Moments #9
  • Nolan Ryan Memorable Moments #27
  • Rob Zastryzny 1987 Topps RC #170
  • Cal Ripken Jr. 1987 Topps All-Star #108
  • Corey Kluber 1987 Topps All-Star #138
  • Chris Sale 1987 Topps All-Star #145
  • Jorge Alfaro 1987 Topps RC #151
  • George Brett 1987 Topps All-Star #174
  • Francisco Lindor 1987 Topps All-Star #133
  • Raimel Tapia 1987 Topps RC #122
  • Bryce Harper 1987 Topps All-Star #172

 photo costas17ts2mlbn_zpskm83ddnd.jpg

 photo willett17ts2fp_zpsup0hkxkx.jpg

 photo newman17ts2buyback_zpsvvzxlhhu.jpg

 photo brett17ts2salute_zps1amqaejh.jpg

 photo kris17ts2mlm_zpsrgqydfi5.jpg

 photo jeter17ts2mm_zpslq3bjgds.jpg

 photo ripken17ts287_zps5ktv322u.jpg

Card of the Day: Robbie Ray 2009 Upper Deck USA Baseball Red Ink Auto

 photo robbieudusaautored_zpsqcrpw6yo.jpg

2017 Topps Finest Baseball Box Break & Review

 photo 17toppsfinestbbbox_zpsq4mpauej.jpg

Its difficult to imagine a time when refractors weren’t part of the hobby.  Virtually every product today has a certain amount of parallels to collect.  Topps changed everything in 1993 with their first Finest Baseball set.  Products from that era for the most part don’t carry much value today.  Boxes of ’93 Finest Baseball are one of the rare exceptions.  People are willing to spend $500-$600 for a single box.  That’s quite a lot considering there are no autographs, relics, and only one level of refractor you can pull.

Topps switched 2017 Finest Baseball back to the normal distribution method compared to the online only version of last year.  The complete set consists of (125) cards with numbers (101-125) being short prints.  Parallels include:

  • Refractor
  • Purple Refractor #’ed/250
  • Blue Refractor #’ed/150
  • Green Refractor #’ed/99
  • Gold Refractor #’ed/50
  • Orange Refractor #’ed/25
  • Red Refractor #’ed/5
  • Superfractor #’ed/1

Autograph parallels include:

  • Blue Refractor #’ed/150
  • Green Refractor #’ed/99
  • Gold Refractor #’ed/50
  • Blue Wave Refractor #’ed/25
  • Red Wave Refractor #’ed/25
  • Orange Refractor #’ed/25
  • Red Refractor #’ed/5
  • Superfractor #’ed/1

Inserts are plentiful, but not overly done.  We’ve got ’94-’95 Finest Basketball Recreates, Finest Breakthroughs, David Ortiz Finest Careers Die-Cuts, Finest Finishes Autographs, Finest Firsts, and Finest Originals Buyback Autographs.  Parallels and autographs can all be found, except for the buybacks.  The buybacks don’t have parallels, just autographs.

I think my favorite looking cards are the ’94-’95 Finest Basketball Recreates and Finest Breakthroughs inserts.  Especially when it comes to the parallels.  It was a neat idea for Topps to use that classic ’94-’95 Topps Finest Basketball design for baseball cards.

After seeing what I pulled from my box, you’ll agree it was extremely good.  I’m still in a state of shock.  This was one of the greatest boxes I’ve ever opened.  Boxes of 2017 Topps Finest Baseball are currently selling for $140.  A majority of baseball products are running high right now because of Aaron Judge’s popularity.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Aaron Judge Blue Wave Refractor RC Auto #’ed/25
  • Rob Segedin RC Auto

 photo judge17tfbwrcauto_zpsjl00dglc.jpg

 photo segedin17tfrcauto_zpsumu5y4vy.jpg

Short Print

  • Corey Kluber #120

 photo kluber17tfsp_zpsd7qw0qjl.jpg

Parallels

  • Yu Darvish Purple Refractor #’ed/250
  • Jorge Alfaro Green Refractor RC #’ed/99
  • Chris Sale Refractor #38
  • Corey Seager Refractor #25
  • Stephen Strasburg Refractor #49
  • Dansby Swanson Refractor RC #32

 photo yu17tfpurp_zpsuft2f3cf.jpg

 photo alfaro17tfgreen_zpsldztbtvz.jpg

 photo swan17tfref_zps4yzpfoo6.jpg

Inserts

  • Bryce Harper Breakthroughs
  • Anthony Rizzo Breakthroughs
  • Willson Contreras Breakthroughs
  • Aledmys Diaz Breakthroughs
  • Ichiro ’94-’95 Finest Basketball Recreates
  • Bryce Harper ’94-’95 Finest Basketball Recreates
  • Dansby Swanson Finest Firsts RC

 photo bh17finestbt_zpsyipuynyg.jpg

 photo ichiro17tfbasketball_zpsgqn9xekt.jpg

 photo swan17tffirsts_zpstnrmc2a9.jpg

Notable Rookies

  • Alex Bregman RC #89
  • Dansby Swanson RC #32
  • Andrew Benintendi RC #66
  • Aaron Judge RC #2

 photo judge17tfrc_zpsg75xs6sh.jpg