2020 Topps 582 Montgomery Club – Set #3 – BIG SURPRISE!

The third set of my 2020 Topps 582 Montgomery Club membership arrived in the mail, and it came with a welcomed surprise.  Along with the 20-card set, I received a rookie autograph of A.L. Rookie of the Year Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros.  I wasn’t expecting another autograph until the end of the year.

Set #3 is designed after the 1969 Topps Team Posters Test Issue.  Measuring 11.25″ x 19.75″, the 1969 Topps Team Posters Test Issue is one of the largest vintage items that Topps has ever produced.  Each poster comes with nine or ten players pictured on it.  Finding them in good condition can be quite difficult.  In order to fit into the packaging, they needed to be folded multiple times.  It was also common for people to pin/tape them to a wall.  Doing that would certainly cause some condition issues.

A variety of colors quickly catches your eye with this third installment.  Printed on vintage stock, these colors go all the way to the edges.  Very eye appealing.

Checklist:

  • Yordan Alvarez RC #1
  • Aristides Aquino RC #2
  • Jose Berrios #3
  • Bo Bichette RC #4
  • Gerrit Cole #5
  • Ken Griffey Jr. #6
  • Vladimir Guerrero #7
  • Eloy Jimenez #8
  • Gavin Lux RC #9
  • Dustin May RC #10
  • Brendan McKay RC #11
  • A.J. Puk RC #12
  • Austin Riley #13
  • Gary Sanchez #14
  • Max Scherzer #15
  • Nick Senzel #16
  • Noah Syndergaard #17
  • Mike Trout #18
  • Jordan Yamamoto RC #19
  • Mike Yastrzemski #20

Bowman Made It’s Big Comeback In 1989

The “COMEBACK EDITION!”.  That’s what it is labeled.  After Topps acquired Bowman during the mid-1950s, the Bowman brand of cards disappeared faster than a government discovered UFO.  From 1956 to 1988, you won’t find any Bowman labeled cards.  In 1989, Topps decided to bring Bowman back.  Que AC/DC’s Back In Black.

Over 30 years is a long time to go without a Bowman set.  When it returned, the set resembled 1953 Bowman Color.  Right down to the slightly larger card size.

This Bowman set looks nothing like the prospect/rookie filled products we see today.  It consists of (484) cards.  Only (46) of them are rookies.  The most notable rookie would be of Ken Griffey, Jr.  Gary Sheffield, Tino Martinez, and John Smoltz have rookies in here too.

Topps released this product around the All-Star break.  This allowed them to include rookies which had been called-up, and picture veterans in their new uniforms if they had been traded.  One of the hottest cards to pull at the time wasn’t even a rookie.  Collectors wanted the card of Nolan Ryan in his new Texas Rangers uniform.  Nolan Ryan left the Astros over a contract dispute, and found his way to Texas.  All of the other sets had him with Houston.

Outside of the base set, you’ll find one insert.  This 11-card set features reprints of famous vintage Bowman cards.  On the back of each insert are rules for a contest in which you could win an original version of the card pictured on the front.  The grand prize was a complete set of 1953 Bowman Color.

Complete boxes/sets of 1989 Bowman are readily available and quite affordable.  The high-end Tiffany versions are a different story.  These are limited to 6,000 sets (not a lot for the time), and can cost almost $1,000.

Product Highlight: 1991 Pennsylvania High School Big 33

Due to a decline in donations and an increasing amount of debt, the Big 33 Scholarship Foundation closed it’s doors after sixty years in 2017.  The annual football game it once sponsored is now under the supervision of the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association.

The Big 33 Football Classic began in 1957.  Its often been referred to as the Super Bowl of High School Football.  Some of the best high school players from Pennsylvania have taken on Ohio, Maryland, and Texas.  In the early years Pennsylvania would just play itself splitting up between east and west or blue and gray.  Between 1957 and 1960 Pennsylvania played against collected talent from around the nation.  Lots of famous football stars have played in the Big 33 game – Herb Adderley, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly.

Starting in 1991, they began to make team sets.  The Pennsylvania set contains (36) black and white cards.  Key cards include Ray Zellars, Curtis Martin, and Marvin Harrison.  All of these predate their NFL rookies.  It’s 1991 Maryland counterpart doesn’t really have any major cards worth talking about.  Any Big 33 card can make an interesting addition to your collection.  Later on, some sets included autographs.

During my senior year in high school, I received a Big 33 Academic Scholarship.  That included a trip to the 2004 Big 33 game in Hershey, PA.  A couple of players from that game made it to the NFL – Chad Henne, Brian Hoyer, Darrelle Revis, and Ted Ginn Jr.

Under The Tree: 1995 Gottlieb Big Hurt – The Pinball Game

Frank Thomas was the cover man for Big Hurt Baseball during the mid-90’s.  Big Hurt Baseball is a video game that was released for various consoles between 1995 and 1996.  The video games aren’t nearly as collectible as the pinball counterpart.

Gottlieb released a pinball version of Big Hurt Baseball in 1995 simply titled Big Hurt – The Pinball Game.  Just under 2,000 machines were produced, which according to pinball collectors isn’t many.  A small portion of them have been registered on the Internet Pinball Serial Number Database and the Pinball Owners Registry.  With Frank Thomas having a huge fan base, this machine is in high-demand.  Finding one that’s in excellent, fully working condition isn’t the easiest thing to do.  If you do find a complete example that functions properly, it’s going to cost into the thousands.  Roughly what a Frank Thomas 1990 Topps “No Name” rookie would set you back.  It would’ve been great if they could have incorporated one of those into this machine’s design.

You have to admit, a piece like this would make a great addition to any Frank Thomas collection.  Just as long as you have the money and space.  Even if you don’t have the money and/or space for one of these, collectors still buy loose parts for their collection.  It really wouldn’t surprise me if one day we see parts from one of these pinball games embedded into cards.

Game highlights include:

  • Roaring crowds
  • Play-by-play announcer
  • Moving baseball glove obstacle
  • (3) flippers
  • (2) pop bumpers
  • (2) slingshots
  • Drop targets
  • Captive ball
  • 4-ball multi-ball capability

If you woke up to one of these pinball machines on Christmas morning, your tree must have been huge.

2019 Topps Big League Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Along with Opening DayBig League is one of the most affordable baseball products on the market today.  A single hobby box will run you about $40, with retail options costing even less.  With that lower cost does come the fact you’re not guaranteed any hits, but that certainly isn’t what Big League is about.

If I had to choose between opening a box of Opening Day or Big League, I believe I’d go with Big League.  Mainly because it utilizes it’s own base card design.  Opening Day usually borrows the design of that year’s flagship set.

A single hobby box contains (24) packs with (10) cards each.  The checklist is quite deep coming in at (400) total cards.  Subsets include Stat-Kings, Award Winners, and Highlights.  Parallels include – Gold (1 per pack), Blue (Retail Blaster), Rainbow Foil #’ed/100, Artist Rendition #’ed/50, and Red Foil #’ed 1/1.

Three variations can be pulled, and they’re really easy to identify – Fernando Tatis, Jr. #6, Pete Alonso #20, and Eloy Jimenez #74.  Most of the time these cards will be of Kevin Gausman #6, Matt Carpenter #20, and Buster Posey #74.  But sometimes you can get lucky and pull one of those star rookie cards instead.

Hits are difficult to come by.  If you do get one, its going to be an autograph.  This product contains no relics.  Autographs that you can pull are Big League Autographs, Rookie Republic Autographs, and a Mystery Redemption A (Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.).

Inserts come in all shapes and sizes – Ballpark Oddities, Blast Off, Players’ Weekend Nicknames, Star Caricature Reproduction, Wall Climbers, and Topps Now World Series Set Instant Win.  Although I didn’t pull an autograph like last year, I did hit a Ballpark Oddities insert which falls 1:435 packs.  Its also possible to pull the original artwork used to make the Star Caricature Reproduction cards too.

Set collectors, collectors on a budget, and/or baseball fans looking for a product with interesting photos should thoroughly enjoy Big League.

Complete Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Parallels

  • Jake Arrieta Rainbow Foil #’ed/100
  • Adam Duvall Gold
  • Gleyber Torres Gold
  • Max Muncy Gold
  • Pat Neshek Gold
  • Marcus Semien Gold
  • Kyle Gibson Gold
  • Jose Altuve Gold
  • Jesse Winker Gold
  • Christian Yelich/Trevor Story/Nolan Arenado Stat-Kings Gold
  • Juan Soto Gold
  • Felipe Vázquez Gold
  • Welington Castillo Gold
  • Wilmer Difo Gold
  • Justin Verlander/Blake Snell/Corey Kluber Stat-Kings Gold
  • Marcos Stroman Gold
  • Joey Votto Gold
  • J.D. Martinez Gold
  • Joe Panik Gold
  • Hunter Dozier Gold
  • Justin Verlander Gold
  • Miles Mikolas Gold
  • Jose Peraza Gold
  • Eddie Rosario Gold
  • Jay Bruce Gold

Inserts

  • Jose Reyes Ballpark Oddities
  • Bryce Harper Blast Off
  • Khris Davis Blast Off
  • J.D. Martinez Blast Off
  • Avisail Garcia Blast Off
  • Aaron Judge Blast Off
  • Joey Gallo Blast Off
  • Max Kepler Wall Climbers
  • Corey Dickerson Wall Climbers
  • Kevin Pillar Wall Climbers
  • Odubel Herrera Wall Climbers
  • Mike Trout Wall Climbers
  • Adam Engel Wall Climbers
  • Billy Hamilton Star Caricature Reproduction
  • Chris Archer Star Caricature Reproduction
  • Nomar Mazara Star Caricature Reproduction
  • Starlin Castro Star Caricature Reproduction
  • Dee Gordon Star Caricature Reproduction
  • Gleyber Torres Star Caricature Reproduction
  • Juan Soto Players’ Weekend Nicknames
  • Javier Baez Players’ Weekend Nicknames
  • Mookie Betts Players’ Weekend Nicknames
  • Tim Anderson Players’ Weekend Nicknames
  • Starling Marte Players’ Weekend Nicknames
  • Salvador Perez Players’ Weekend Nicknames

Big Papi ’19 Topps Series 1 Contest Winner Announced

Congrats to bbcardz on being the lucky winner of the David Ortiz 2019 Topps Series 1 Professional Baseball 150 Years 1869-2019 Commemorative Medallion.  Once bbcardz sends me their mailing address, I will ship this card ASAP.  Thanks!

Wake Forest Demon Deacons ’18 Leaf Valiant Auto Contest! – NOW CLOSED

This contest is for a Cam Serigne 2018 Leaf Valiant Big Targets Orange Parallel Auto #’ed/35.  Good luck!!!

Contest Details:

  • This contest will end Friday, February 8, 2019 @ 8:00 p.m. EST.
  • To enter, please leave a comment in this post.
  • You can enter once per day.
  • The winner will be selected at random.
  • Please provide a valid e-mail address when entering.
  • The winner will receive an e-mail when the contest is over.
  • The winner has one week to send me their contact information or the contest will be held again.
  • Once the contest is over, I will need the winner’s mailing address so I can ship them this card for FREE!!!

Product Highlight: 1990 Good Humor Big League Ice Cream Bar Baseball Bat Autograph Stick

Products come in some elaborate packaging today.  You have to cut, tear, rip, and occasionally use a flamethrower just to access the cards.  It can be ridiculous.  Not to mention drive the price up.

How about having to eat ice cream in order to see what you got?  That’s exactly what needed to be done with the 1990 Good Humor Big League Ice Cream Bar Baseball Bat Autograph Stick set.  The set consists of (26) sticks shaped like miniature baseball bats.  Players are listed in alphabetical order, and numbered accordingly.  Every stick has a facsimile signature on the barrel.

Here’s the checklist:

  • Jim Abbott #1
  • George Bell #2
  • Wade Boggs #3
  • Bobby Bonilla #4
  • Jose Canseco #5
  • Will Clark #6
  • Eric Davis #7
  • Carlton Fisk #8
  • Kirk Gibson #9
  • Dwight Gooden #10
  • Ken Griffey Jr. #11
  • Von Hayes #12
  • Don Mattingly #13
  • Gregg Olson #14
  • Kirby Puckett #15
  • Tim Raines #16
  • Nolan Ryan #17
  • Bret Saberhagen #18
  • Ryne Sandberg #19
  • Benito Santiago #20
  • Mike Scott #21
  • Lonnie Smith #22
  • Ozzie Smith #23
  • Cory Snyder #24
  • Alan Trammell #25
  • Robin Yount #26

I know what you’re thinking.  “Those are cool.  But how would I store them?”  You’re in luck.  Good Humor made a special album that was available through a mail-in offer.  That album is probably more collectible than the actual sticks because you rarely see it.

Not a whole lot of value can be found with these sticks.  They’re all over the place.  None of them sell for more than $5.  Anyone still have a box sitting in the freezer?

2018 Topps Big League Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Wanting to get more of a younger demographic back involved with the hobby is something I think all manufacturers would like to do.  This hobby started out for kids.  Then it became a business when all of that old cardboard started to gain value.  Follow that up with much more attention focused on autographs/memorabilia.  Newer products can financially be out of the range for some would be collectors.  Some say digital products like Topps Bunt could possibly be the answer.  Physical products with digital tie-ins maybe.  I don’t know because I’m not a fortune teller.  Its tricky trying to create a product for a younger audience.  Kids don’t like being treated like kids.  They want to pull out the big stuff they see others getting.  But at the same time the manufacturer has to be careful not to load it up too much or the price per box/pack ends up being too high.  Its a balancing act.  For years I’ve said that Topps should have a corporate booth on the Little League campus during the World Series like many companies do.  Talk about hitting your target audience.  Little League has been known to be picky and expensive about who can and cannot setup.  There is a whole system to it.

Enter 2018 Topps Big League Baseball.  Hobby boxes come with (24) packs, (10) cards per pack, and cost about $45.  Its possible to pull a hit, but there is nothing guaranteed per box.  The base set consists of (400) cards.  Parallels include Gold (one per pack), Blue (Blasters), Rainbow Foil #’ed/100, Black & White #’ed/50, and Red Foil #’ed 1/1.

Photo variations are in here too.  The easiest ones to pull are the Base Player Weekend Nickname variations.  These fall 1:3 packs.  I actually consider them more of an insert.  More difficult variations come 1:507 packs.

CMP Codes:

  • Base #106
  • Base Player Weekend Nickname #529
  • Error #530

Like I mentioned before, you aren’t guaranteed any hits per box.  With that being said, autographs can be pulled.  There are two types of autographs.  The first is Big League Autographs which come 1:114 packs.  (34) current stars and veterans make up this checklist.  The other is Rookie Republic Autographs coming in at 1:102 packs.  (23) rookies are in here.  All autographs have Gold #’ed/99, Black & White #’ed/50, and Red Foil #’ed 1/1 parallels.

Star Caricature Reproductions and their original artwork counterparts make for fun pulls.  These add a bit more animation to the player’s face.  I’d have to say that my favorite cards are the Ballpark Landmarks portion of the base set.  You’ll find that they fall between card #351 and #365.  A card of the Harry Kalas statue at Citizens Bank Park would have been neat to see.  The one of B&O Warehouse reminds me of the two times the National Sports Collectors Convention was held in Baltimore.  I can almost see the restaurant I ate at.

If you’re a set collector who wants a break from this year’s flagship design, 2018 Topps Big League Baseball might just work.

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Josh Harrison Big League Autographs

Parallels

  • Jeff Bagwell Rainbow Foil #’ed/100
  • Josh Reddick Gold
  • Aaron Altherr Gold
  • Mike Zunino Gold
  • Ballpark Landmarks Frank Thomas Statue Gold
  • Ballpark Landmarks B&O Warehouse Gold
  • Matt Olson Gold
  • Jorge Polanco Gold
  • Aaron Judge/Edwin Encarnacion/Mike Trout 2017 AL Walk Leaders Stat Kings Gold
  • Michael Fulmer Gold
  • Whit Merrifield Gold
  • Ricky Nolasco Gold
  • Zack Greinke Gold
  • Scott Kingery Gold
  • Erick Fedde Gold
  • Daniel Mengden Gold
  • Carlos Gonzalez Gold
  • Francisco Mejia Gold
  • Jason Kipnis Gold
  • Manny Margot Gold
  • Jed Lowrie Gold
  • Jordan Hicks Gold
  • Ballpark Landmarks Swimming Pool Gold
  • Charlie Blackmon/Giancarlo Stanton/Paul Goldschmidt 2017 NL Runs Scored Leaders Stat Kings Gold
  • Addison Russell Gold

Inserts

  • Miguel Cabrera Star Caricature Reproductions
  • Kris Bryant Star Caricature Reproductions
  • Byron Buxton Star Caricature Reproductions
  • Bryce Harper Ministers Of Mash
  • Mike Trout Ministers Of Mash
  • Aaron Judge Ministers Of Mash
  • Giancarlo Stanton Ministers Of Mash
  • Joey Votto Base Player Weekend Nickname
  • Mookie Betts Base Player Weekend Nickname
  • Manny Machado Base Player Weekend Nickname
  • Alex Bregman Base Player Weekend Nickname
  • Adrian Beltre Base Player Weekend Nickname
  • Anthony Rizzo Base Player Weekend Nickname
  • Aaron Judge Base Player Weekend Nickname
  • Paul Goldschmidt Base Player Weekend Nickname

Big Papi ’16 Topps Opening Day Jersey Contest Winner Announced

 photo pappi16toppsodjsy1_zpsgf8tctgv.jpg

Congrats to Greg on being the lucky winner of the David Ortiz 2016 Topps Opening Day Jersey.  Once Greg sends me his mailing address, I will ship this card ASAP.  Thanks!