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2018 Topps Series 1 Baseball Box Break & Review

Its a tradition that’s been in place since 1952.  The Topps flagship brand has been the heart of the hobby and center attraction for countless collectors for generations.  This set kicks off the 2018 baseball card season while setting the tone for all products throughout the year.  Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger both have their rookie seasons in the past, who knows which rookie(s) will dominate the hobby in the coming months.  Of all their baseball products, the Topps flagship set is probably the one that is purchased the most.  It’s annual release is a major event across the hobby.

This might be my favorite modern day Topps flagship design.  It has a lot going on, but doesn’t overtake the card.  I really like the colored wave next to the team’s logo.  With Topps having a long history in the candy business, that wave sometimes reminds me of a colorful gummy snack that I use to eat as a kid.  The pixels are a fun feature too.  I’d really like to see some pixel art cards in a future product.  Imagine pulling a card of Rhys Hoskins and the picture is pixelated and looks like he should be in an NES video game.  That would be awesome!  Sorta in line with the cartoon-like autographs found in 2016 Topps MLB Wacky Packages.  With Series 2Update, and Chrome, there are lots of opportunities for this to happen.

As is the case with a lot of Topps sets, there are SPs and SSPs.  Checking the CMP code on the back can help in identifying them.  Base cards end in #87.  SPs end in #43.  SSPs end in #44.

It wouldn’t be a Topps product without a throwback to a classic set.  Last year it was 1987 Topps Baseball, for 2018 its 1983 Topps Baseball.  As expected they all look fantastic, especially the parallels and on-card autographs.

The Topps Reverence cards got an upgrade too.  This year’s cards don’t look as busy, and contain full-body shots of the player versus a small head shot.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see this high-end autograph/relic insert get it’s own standalone product someday.

I pulled a Topps Home Run Challange card of Trey Mancini.  These are fun inserts.  Log into your Topps account, head over to the Home Run Challange website, enter the code, and pick the date you think that player will hit a home run.  I picked 6/16/18.  If Trey Mancini hits a home run that day, I’ll get a special card.

The 2018 baseball card season has begun.  Good luck to everyone who opens a box.

Here is what I pulled:

Relic

  • Anthony Rizzo Major League Material Jersey

Short Print

  • Cody Bellinger #42

Parallels

  • Eric Thames 1983 Topps Black #’ed/299
  • Andrew Cashner Vintage Stock #’ed/99
  • Nick Pivetta Gold #’ed/2018
  • Mookie Betts Rainbow Foil
  • Yulieski Gurriel Rainbow Foil
  • Marcus Semien Rainbow Foil

Inserts

  • Trey Mancini Topps Home Run Challange
  • Aaron Judge Topps Now Top 10 #10
  • Aaron Judge Topps Now Top 10 #4
  • Yoenis Cespedes Superstar Sensations #49
  • Max Scherzer Superstar Sensations #25
  • Gary Sanchez Superstar Sensations #22
  • Carlos Correa Superstar Sensations #5
  • Ryan Zimmerman MLB Awards #7
  • Martin Maldonado MLB Awards #14
  • Buster Posey MLB Awards #32
  • Marcell Ozuna MLB Awards #43
  • Francisco Lindor MLB Awards #39
  • Miguel Sano Topps Salute #48
  • Charlie Blackmon Topps Salute #10
  • Roy Halladay Topps Salute #34
  • Jose Berrios Topps Salute #67
  • Brandon Woodruff Topps Salute #91
  • Joey Votto Topps Salute #3
  • Cal Ripken Jr. Topps Salute #26
  • Victor Robles Topps Salute #82
  • Alex Bregman Topps Salute #61
  • Justin Verlander 1983 Topps #98
  • Masahiro Tanaka 1983 Topps #78
  • Clint Frazier 1983 Topps RC #70
  • Harrison Bader 1983 Topps RC #29
  • Matt Carpenter 1983 Topps #11
  • Eric Thames 1983 Topps #10
  • Barry Larkin 1983 Topps #57
  • Ryan McMahon 1983 Topps RC #76
  • Carlos Correa 1983 Topps #92

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2017 Bowman Chrome Mini Complete Set Box Break & Review

Happy New Year!!!  Its 2018 and everyday baseball season gets closer.  Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training next month.  In 2017 we had an impressive rookie class.  Its going to be hard to top it.

All 2017 Topps MLB licensed products have been released.  The last two were Bowman’s Best and the Bowman Chrome Mini Complete Set.  2018 Topps Series 1 Baseball is due out near the end of the month.

I really like the 2017 Bowman Chrome Mini Complete Set.  Inside each box is a complete 273-card set featuring top tier rookies and prospects from 2017.  Along with it are (3) packs containing (10) special parallels each.  These exclusive parallels can only be found in here.  Parallels include: Refractor, Blue Shimmer Refractor #’ed/150, Black Shimmer Refractor #’ed/100, Green Refractor #’ed/99, Bowman 70th Logo Refractor #’ed/70, Gold Refractor #’ed/50, Orange Refractor #’ed/25, Red Refractor #’ed/10, Superfractors #’ed/1, and Printing Plates #’ed/1.

What I find the most attractive about this set is the configuration.  You can open the main box to access the parallel packs, yet the complete base set remains sealed separately.  I like that a lot.  There aren’t too many configurations that allow you to open something, get the “hits”, and leave you with a sealed set.

It certainly wouldn’t bother me if more rookie/prospect products were configured like this.  Boxes are currently selling for just under $200.  Demand is quite strong considering there aren’t any autographs.

Here is what I pulled:

Parallels

  • Yoshitomo Tsutsugo Magenta Printing Plate #’ed 1/1
  • Dane Dunning Orange Refractor #’ed/25
  • Dakota Chalmers Gold Refractor #’ed/50
  • Brett Phillips Gold Refractor #’ed/50
  • Harrison Bader Gold Refractor #’ed/50
  • Justus Sheffield Bowman 70th Logo Refractor #’ed/70
  • Max Fried Bowman 70th Logo Refractor #’ed/70
  • Rowdy Tellez Bowman 70th Logo Refractor #’ed/70
  • Mickey Moniak Green Refractor #’ed/99
  • Brendan Rodgers Green Refractor #’ed/99
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Green Refractor #’ed/99
  • Garrett Whitley Green Refractor #’ed/99
  • Brian Anderson Green Refractor #’ed/99
  • Jorge Alfaro Blue Shimmer Refractor #’ed/150
  • Christin Stewart Blue Shimmer Refractor #’ed/150
  • Teoscar Hernandez Blue Shimmer Refractor #’ed/150
  • Touki Toussaint Blue Shimmer Refractor #’ed/150
  • A.J. Puckett Blue Shimmer Refractor #’ed/150
  • Tetsuto Yamada Blue Shimmer Refractor #’ed/150
  • Sandy Alcantara Blue Shimmer Refractor #’ed/150
  • Jorge Ona Refractor
  • Trevor Clifton Refractor
  • Blake Rutherford Refractor
  • Wuilmer Becerra Refractor
  • Beau Burrows Refractor
  • Dylan Cozens Refractor
  • Albert Abreu Refractor
  • Jonathan Arauz Refractor
  • Kyle Freeland Refractor
  • Justus Sheffield Refractor

2017 Topps Luminaries Baseball Box Break

For Christmas I received a box of 2017 Topps Luminaries Baseball.  This is one of my favorite high-end products that Topps released in 2017.  Each box contains (1) encased autograph or autographed relic serial numbered to (15) copies or less.  The checklist is filled with current stars, retired players, and Hall Of Famers.  Its not priced for the casual collector or anyone on a tight budget, but its nowhere near the cost of something like Dynasty.

In November I opened a box of this stuff and pulled a Frank Thomas Autographed Letter Book Card #’ed 1/1.  This morning I was notified by Topps that it has been shipped.  Rest assured, when it gets here I’ll definitely show it off.

No booklet inside this box, but a decent player.  The “189H” commemorates his season high 189 hits.

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Manny Machado Hit Kings #HK-MMA #’ed/15

2017 Bowman’s Best Baseball Box Break & Review

I got hungry for Fruit Roll-Ups while opening this box of 2017 Bowman’s Best Baseball.  Remember those?  They’re still around, but I haven’t had any since I was a kid.  Topps has done a nice job with reviving the Bowman’s Best brand.  Its an exciting and colorful product that caters towards a variety of collectors.  I think its all the crazy and colorful designs that had me thinking about Fruit Roll-Ups.

The 2017 Bowman’s Best base set consists of (100) cards.  (65) are rookies and veterans, while the remaining (35) are top prospects.  Many of those prospects were part of the 2017 draft.  Base cards alone are colorful in design, but things get taken to a whole new level when the parallels come into play.  Parallels include: Refractor, Atomic Refractor, Purple Refractor #’ed/250, Blue Refractor #’ed/150, Green Refractor #’ed/99, Gold Refractor #’ed/50, Orange Refractor #’ed/25, Red Refractor #’ed/10, and Superfractor #’ed 1/1.

Every master box contains (2) mini-boxes.  Inside each mini-box you should find (2) autographs.  Almost everything is signed on-card.  Only a few insert autographs use stickers.  Of all the autographs, Monochrome and 1997 Best Cuts look the best.

The horizontally designed Monochrome cards have a large white area (but not boxy) for the signature.  (1) Monochrome can be found per case.  The serial numbering varies for the base versions.  Gold Refractors #’ed/50, Atomic Refractors #’ed/25, and Superfractors #’ed 1/1 can also be pulled.

1997 Best Cuts pays tribute to the original 1997 Bowman’s Best set.  There are (30) total cards which you can pull that aren’t autographed, and come with accompanying parallels.  (18) of them do have signed versions.

What makes 2017 Bowman’s Best so great is that it caters to a lot of different collectors.  It has prospects, rookies, current stars, veterans, and Hall Of Famers.  There is a little something for everyone.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Trevor Clifton Refractor
  • Jordan Montgomery RC
  • Logan Warmoth
  • Lucas Erceg

Parallels

  • Cody Bellinger RC Gold Refractor #’ed/50
  • Evan White Purple Refractor #’ed/250
  • Yoenis Cespedes Atomic Refractor
  • Khris Davis Refractor
  • Jose Ramirez Refractor
  • MacKenzie Gore Refractor
  • Andrew Benintendi RC Refractor
  • Charlie Blackmon Refractor
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Refractor
  • Kyle Tucker Refractor
  • Yoan Moncada RC Refractor
  • Bradley Zimmer RC Refractor
  • Josh Donaldson Refractor
  • Miguel Cabrera Refractor
  • Christian Arroyo RC Refractor

Inserts

  • Rhys Hoskins Baseball America’s 2017 Dean’s List
  • Tyler O’Neill Baseball America’s 2017 Dean’s List
  • Tony Santillan Baseball America’s 2017 Dean’s List
  • Francisco Mejia Baseball America’s 2017 Dean’s List
  • Mike Moustakas/Rafael Devers Mirror Image
  • Victor Robles/A.J. Pollock Mirror Image
  • Lewis Brinson 1997 Best Cuts
  • Nomar Garciaparra 1997 Best Cuts
  • Alex Bregman 1997 Best Cuts

2017 Leaf Metal Draft Football Box Break

If my memory serves me right, this is the first football product I’ve opened since Panini’s NFL exclusive went into play in April 2016.  I’ve wanted to bust a box of football cards for awhile, but refuse to purchase anything from Panini.  At one time I was a big Panini supporter.  I can’t do that anymore.  Not with the shenanigans they pull.  Panini makes too many similar products, is lazy, and has a history of questionable slip-ups.  No company is perfect, but there is just no excuse for some of the garbage they pull.  Topps, Upper Deck, and Leaf should have an NFL license.  All of that competition would create great looking cards.

I settled on a box of 2017 Leaf Metal Draft Football.  When Topps had an NFL license, a player’s Topps Chrome rookie cards were incredibly popular.  Metal Draft Football reminds me a lot of Topps Chrome.  The on-card chrome autographs make up for the fact they can’t use team names and/or logos.  In many ways, Leaf’s unlicensed stuff is better looking than Panini’s licensed products.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Juju Smith-Schuster Black Parallel #’ed/15
  • Damore’ea Stringfellow State Pride Pink Parallel #’ed/15
  • Curtis Samuel Touchdown Kings Prismatic Wave Parallel
  • KD Cannon
  • Derek Barnett

2017 Bowman Draft Baseball Jumbo Box Break & Review

With the release of Bowman Draft, baseball products are coming to a close for 2017.  Bowman’s Best is technically the last Topps baseball set of the year.  Between the four major prospecting sets – BowmanBowman ChromeBowman Draft, and Bowman’s Best, the seeds of a new prospecting class have been planted.  The next Mickey Mantle or Aaron Judge could be starring at you right now, and you wouldn’t even know it.

Of them all, Bowman Draft is most likely my favorite with Bowman’s Best coming in at a close second.  What makes Bowman Draft fun for me is that it has the first licensed cards of newly drafted players in their MLB uniforms.  Speculation is at it’s highest as many of these guys haven’t had the opportunity to truly prove themselves when it comes to the world of professional baseball.  High speculation combined with unproven talent can have collectors spending big bucks on young players.  Especially when it comes to their autographed and/or low numbered parallels.

2017 Bowman Draft consists of a (200) card base set.  Each base Bowman card has a Chrome counterpart.  Everything has parallels out the wazoo.  Variations offer something fun to look for.  Unlike some other products, the variations found in here are easy to find.  Not only do variations have alternate images, but they come with facsimile signatures.  So browsing through that big stack of cards looking for a facsimile signature should be a breeze.  Some of them actually have real autographs and keep the alternate image.  Those are serial numbered to (99) copies.

Inserts are plentiful and come with their share of parallels and autographs.  This is the only place you’re going to find veteran content.  These come in the form of MLB Draft History cards.  Wade Boggs, Ryne Sandberg, Randy Johnson, Roy Halladay, Rickey Henderson, Jim Thome, Derek Jeter, Carlton Fisk, Barry Larkin, and Andy Pettitte are included.  Parallels are Refractor #’ed/250, Gold Refractor #’ed/50, Red Refractor #’ed/5, and Superfractor #’ed/1.  Pettitte, Jeter, Henderson, Johnson, and Sandberg have autographs.

I am very satisfied with my break.  The checklist is solid and not that full of prospects from previous years.  Hard to beat a (1) per case autograph and an Orange Refractor autograph.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Nate Pearson Bowman Chrome Draft Orange Refractor Auto #’ed/25
  • Trevor Rogers Bowman Chrome Draft Class Of 2017 Auto #’ed/250
  • Quentin Holmes Bowman Chrome Draft Auto

Case hit!!!

Parallels

  • Alex Lange Green Paper Parallel #’ed/99
  • Anderson Tejeda Silver Paper Parallel #’ed/499
  • Scott Hurst Silver Paper Parallel #’ed/499
  • Corbin Martin Purple Refractor #’ed/250
  • Adonis Medina Blue Refractor #’ed/150
  • Kramer Robertson Sky Blue Refractor #’ed/399
  • Alex Scherff Sky Blue Refractor #’ed/399
  • Drew Ellis Refractor
  • Buddy Reed Refractor
  • Hans Crouse Refractor
  • Kyle Lewis Refractor
  • Pavin Smith Refractor
  • Delvin Perez Refractor
  • Ricardo De La Torre Refractor
  • Gavin Lux Refractor
  • Blayne Enlow Refractor
  • Nick Solak Refractor
  • Tanner Houck Refractor
  • Daniel Tillo Refractor
  • James Marinan Refractor
  • Gleyber Torres Refractor
  • Will Gaddis Refractor
  • T.J. Zeuch Refractor
  • Nate Pearson Refractor
  • Nick Raquet Refractor
  • Conner Uselton Refractor
  • Dylan Cease Refractor
  • Cash Case Refractor
  • Will Craig Refractor
  • Royce Lewis Refractor
  • Jahmai Jones Refractor

Inserts

  • Randy Johnson MLB Draft History
  • Ryne Sandberg MLB Draft History
  • Mickey Moniak Bowman Defining Moments
  • Brendan McKay Bowman Defining Moments
  • Gleyber Torres Bowman Defining Moments
  • Jake Burger Bowman Defining Moments
  • J.B. Bukauskas/Corbin Martin Recommended Viewing
  • Shane Baz/Steven Jennings Recommended Viewing
  • Royce Lewis/Brent Rooker Recommended Viewing
  • Adam Haseley/Spencer Howard Recommended Viewing

Card of the Day: Cole Hamels 2017 Topps Holiday Box #107