Hobby Oddities: 2004 Upper Deck Tiger Woods Executive Collection – Mouse Pad

In 2004 Upper Deck wanted to decorate your office in synthetic leather. It was all part of their Tiger Woods Executive Collection.

Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of the Tiger Woods Executive Collection. That’s ok. Most people have probably totally forgotten about it.

According to Upper Deck’s 2004 Holiday catalog:

“The Tiger Woods Executive Collection by Upper Deck combines elegant office products with one of the greatest golfers in history. Each product combines dual-toned synthetic leather with textured feel, a classic black-and-white image of Tiger, and a facsimile (replica) signature. Each item is further distinguished by an embossed golf ball and Upper Deck logo located on the front.”

Items in this collection include a portfolio, desktop business card holder, pocket business card holder, pen & pencil holder, and two styles of mouse pads (rounded & square).

I don’t believe any of these items sold very well. A mouse pad recently popped-up in it’s original package with a T.J. Maxx price tag on it.

Upper Deck’s catalogs had some odd stuff in them.

Hobby Oddities: How To Reach Your Favorite Sports Star

Remember this series of books from the 90’s? Did anyone have success in reaching their favorite sports star using the info found in these? If so, please let me know. I’d be interested to know.

Lowell House out of Los Angeles, CA published at least four versions of the “How To Reach Your Favorite Sports Star” series of books. Inside you’ll find athlete bios, stats, photos, fan clubs, and addresses.

I remember owning a copy of the fourth book. I don’t recall any autographs ever coming my way. Most of the addresses are public knowledge. For example, writing to Michael Jordan meant sending your letter to the address the Bulls’ arena is located at. Very generic. The odds of the information working back then are slim. I certainly wouldn’t have been including valuable cards in the mail hoping to get them back with an autograph.

In the late 90’s Lowell House was purchased by the Chicago Tribune.

The summary highlights how outdated this book is. We don’t need to write letters anymore to let our favorite sports stars know what we think of them. Social media has taken care of that.

Book Summary:

From basketball phenomenon Michael Jordan and all-pro running back Terrell Davis to soccer superstar Mia Hamm and Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski, How To Reach Your Favorite Sports Star 4 will help you get in touch with today’s hottest athletes!

Do you want to tell Kobe Bryant that you watch all of his games, or let Martina Hingis know that you think she’s the best tennis player ever? All you have to do is write each of them a letter! How To Reach Your Favorite Sports Star 4 provides you with the athletes’ addresses, as well as statistics, little-known facts, and fascinating information on each star.

So start writing – and let your favorite sports stars know what’s on your mind!

2023 Topps Series 1 Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Collector Type: Set

The base set consists of (330) total cards. Parallels include Gold Foil (1:2 Jumbo), Rainbow Foil (1:10 Hobby), Royal Blue (1:10 Retail), Gold #’ed/2023, Green Foil #’ed/499, Advanced Stats #’ed/300, Orange Foil #’ed/299, Red Foil #’ed/199, Vintage Stock #’ed/99, Independence Day #’ed/76, Black #’ed/72, Mother’s Day Hot Pink #’ed/50, Father’s Day Powder Blue #’ed/50, Memorial Day Camo #’ed/25, Platinum #’ed 1/1, and Printing Plates #’ed 1/1. (100) cards from the base set also have a Clear parallel #’ed/10.

For 2023 Topps really changed the way photo variations are done. Every card in the (330) base set has (1) Gold Mirror Variation. Topps made it very easy to identify them too. The Topps logo on the front of the Gold Mirror Variation is printed in gold foil. Turning the card over you’ll see “SSP” printed in gold foil as well. You can use the CMP code which is #585 for the Gold Mirror Variations compared to the base #565, but it really isn’t necessary this year. In the past Topps would pick perhaps (100) players from the base set and issue multiple photo variations for each. Some more difficult to pull than others. Topps has said that the (1) Gold Mirror Variation for each base card will also apply to Series 2 and Update.

Gold Mirror Variation odds:

  • Hobby – 1:454 packs
  • Jumbo – 1:46 packs
  • Hanger – 1:203 packs
  • Blaster – 1:1,360 packs

I’m a fan of the 2023 flagship design. All of the main upgrades are in the nameplate. Collectors get to enjoy a head shot of the player with the team logo in the background. We will see this design used for Series 2, Update, Chrome, etc… I think it will look really cool on Chrome stock.

The 2023 design also makes it easy to read the player’s name. You’ed think being able to read the name easily would be a common feature from year to year, but that isn’t always the case. The 2021 design used smaller font for the name.

A hobby box will come with (1) relic or autograph, and (1) Silver Pack box topper.

A jumbo box will come with (1) autograph, (2) relics, and (2) Silver Pack box toppers.

Popular rookie cards include Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, Michael Harris II, Vaughn Grissom, Brett Baty, Nolan Gorman, and Riley Greene.

A lot of these first rookies and Gold Mirror Variations will come down in price. As the year progresses many more baseball products will be released giving collectors more options. Waiting to buy that new base rookie or Gold Mirror Variation traditionally should save you some money.

Be sure to check the backs of your 1988 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary inserts. The Real One Heritage Stock #’ed/88 parallel wasn’t printed on Heritage card stock like they were suppose to be, but do contain the serial number. Without looking at the back you could easily mistake this parallel for a base insert.


Here is what I pulled:


  • Jose Altuve Major League Material


  • Luis Robert 1988 Topps 35th Anniversary Black #’ed/299
  • Vinnie Pasquantino RC Gold #’ed/2023
  • Yordan Alvarez Rainbow Foil
  • Caleb Kilian RC Rainbow Foil


  • Sandy Alcantara All Aces
  • Mike Trout Home Run Challenge
  • Shane Bieber/Triston McKenzie One-Two Punch
  • Adley Rutschman 2022 Greatest Hits
  • Manny Machado 2022 Greatest Hits
  • Mookie Betts Welcome to the Club
  • Willie Mays Welcome to the Club
  • Jackie Robinson 1988 Topps 35th Anniversary
  • Cal Ripken Jr. 1988 Topps 35th Anniversary
  • Javier Baez 1988 Topps 35th Anniversary
  • Shohei Ohtani 1988 Topps 35th Anniversary
  • Luis Robert 1988 Topps 35th Anniversary
  • Seiya Suzuki 1988 Topps 35th Anniversary
  • Salvador Perez 1988 Topps Chrome Silver Pack
  • Don Mattingly 1988 Topps Chrome Silver Pack
  • Buster Posey 1988 Topps Chrome Silver Pack
  • Javier Baez 1988 Topps Chrome Silver Pack

Hobby Oddities: An Introduction To Baseball Card Collecting On VHS

The year is 1989. You’re visiting your local video rental store. Walking up and down the aisles you begin to browse their inventory. Die Hard, Beetlejuice, Coming To America, etc… Its a difficult choice. That’s until you see An Introduction To Baseball Card Collecting. I’ll take it!

An Introduction To Baseball Card Collecting was released in 1989. In this 28 minute video Bobby Valentine covers many of the important principles as to how baseball cards were collected at that time. Some of these principles are valid today, while others are completely outdated.

An example of an outdated principle is when the video states that a player’s rookie card is his most valuable card. At one time this was true. Today we have grading, parallels, autographs, and relics. A mass-produced base rookie card can be worth significantly less when compared to a non-rookie, low-numbered, autograph, relic card of the same player today.

Distributed by JCI Video out of Woodland Hills, CA. The summary on the VHS back reads:

Finally, a video about baseball card collecting is available! Bobby Valentine hosts this beautifully filmed explanation of how a simple pastime of the 1950s exploded into a multi-million dollar industry in the 1980s. Bobby discusses all the basic subjects of card collecting, including how the distribution methods through 1973 affect card prices today and the current hobby role played by dealers, card shops, trade shows, price guides and hobby newspapers.

A highlight of the video is its photography of the cards themselves, filmed with lush backgrounds and lighting effects to make their rich colors evoke the kind of nostalgic emotions that are the essence of the relationship between a collector and his cards.

I wonder if we’ll ever see the 4K, Blue-Ray, DVD, Extended Director’s Cut? Imagine watching it in IMAX.

Believe it or not this wasn’t the only VHS released on baseball card collecting. There are others.

Grading started with cards, and now extends all the way to VHS tapes. Someone should get a copy of An Introduction To Baseball Card Collecting graded. That would complete the circle.

2022 Topps Baseball Factory Set Hobby (Red Box) Box Break & Review

Collector Type: Set (obviously)

If you collected enough Topps Baseball Factory Sets and stacked them up I bet you could play an awesome game of Jenga. Nowadays the Topps Baseball Factory Sets arrive in more colors than M&M’s.

The Hobby version of the 2022 Topps Baseball Factory Set consists of (660) cards. That’s (330) cards from Series 1, and (330) cards from Series 2.

Set collectors obviously like the convenience of receiving Series 1 and Series 2 all in one box. Spencer Torkelson, Bobby Witt Jr., and Julio Rodriguez come as bonus cards. These three cards come as secondary options of cards #658, #659, and #660. You won’t see them on the checklist which is printed on the outside of the box. So it might come as a surprise to some people. Each Factory Set format should contain these bonus cards.

Parallels add a bit of a mystery element to the Factory Sets. The Hobby version will come with (5) Foilboard parallels #’ed/390.

There are at least (7) different Factory Set formats you can buy. Each has the same (660) card set. Exclusive cards vary from set to set.

  • 2022 Topps Baseball Complete Set Hobby Factory Box (Red Box)
  • 2022 Topps Baseball Complete Set Retail Factory Box (Blue Box)
  • 2022 Topps Baseball Complete Set Walmart Retail Factory Box (Turquoise Box)
  • 2022 Topps Baseball Complete Set Target Retail Factory Box (Purple Box)
  • 2022 Topps Baseball Complete Set Target Retail Factory Box (Green Box)
  • 2022 Topps Baseball Complete Set All-Star Game Factory Box
  • 2022 Topps Baseball Complete Set 582 Montgomery Club Factory Box

Topps has Hobby Factory Sets available on their website. The Retail (Blue Box) is pictured but shows Foilboard parallels (Hobby exclusive). Under the “Specs” it mentions Hobby as well.

Here is what I pulled:


  • Trey Amburgey RC #263 Foilboard #’ed/390
  • Ryan Mountcastle #579 Foilboard #’ed/390
  • Casey Mize #431 Foilboard #’ed/390
  • Otto Lopez RC #422 Foilboard #’ed/390
  • Clint Frazier #101 Foilboard #’ed/390

Hobby Oddities: 1997 Pinnacle Inside Can Opener

It slices. It dices. And all you have to do is “set it and forget it.”

Pinnacle was an innovative card manufacturer. You’ve got to give them credit for trying different ideas. Not every idea was a winner though.

In 1997 Pinnacle introduced collectors to the Pinnacle Inside brand. This time it wasn’t the cards that were innovative. Instead it was the delivery system.

Soup cans. That’s what the cards came packaged in. Between 1997 and 1998 Pinnacle released these soup can cards for MLB, NFL, NHL, WNBA, and NASCAR.

Some thought it was cool. Others found it annoying. Displays were bulky and took up a lot of space. Each can had a different player on it. Many collectors would pick out their favorite player(s) and keep the can(s) sealed. This made it even more difficult to locate some of the rarer cards in the set. Lots were sitting in sealed cans on collector’s shelves.

Pinnacle sent out a kit to shops and distributors in 1997 to promote this new line of cards. The kit consisted of a sample can (with Ryan Klesko on it), a trading card picturing the sample can, and a Pinnacle Inside branded can opener.

Its not everyday you see a card company’s name on a kitchen accessory.

Upper Deck gave the soup can idea a try with 1999 UD Choice Baseball.

2022 Topps Archives Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Collector Type: Set/Autograph/Nostalgic Fan

Opening a box of Archives is like hopping in the Delorean from Back to the Future. Its a true blast from the past experience.

The base set consists of (300) cards. Designs from 1963, 1978, and 1987 Topps Baseball sets are used. Yes. The 1987 design makes yet another appearance. I’m betting that if you stacked every baseball card on top of each other that features the 1987 Topps Baseball design it would reach to Mars and back.

Parallels to the base set include Rainbow Foil #’ed/150, Green #’ed/125, Silver #’ed/99, Red #’ed/75, Red Hot Foil #’ed/50, Blue Foil #’ed/25 (Hobby), Orange Hot Foil #’ed/15 (Hobby), and FoilFractor #’ed 1/1.

Card #301-315 utilize the 1955 Topps Scoop design. 1:6 packs.

Card #316-330 utilize the 1961 Topps MVP design. 1:6 packs.

Card #331-355 utilize the 2005 Topps Draft Picks design. 1:24 packs.

Card #356-380 utilize the 1992 Topps Major League Debut design. 1:6 packs.

Variations remain a top element to chase. There are two types of variations to look for this year – Image and Design. I find it much easier to use the CMP code to identify them.

  • Base – #253/271
  • Image Variation – #280
  • Design Variation – #281

The Design Variations have Silver Foil #’ed/99, Red Hot Foil #’ed/50, and FoilFractor #’ed 1/1 parallels as well.

Each hobby box is suppose to contain (2) on-card autographs.

Autographs include Fan Favorites Autographs, 1953 Fan Favorites Autographs Premium, 1961 Topps MVP Autographs, 1988 Topps Big Foil Autographs (Retail), 1988 Topps Big Minis Autographs, 1992 Topps MLB Debut Autographs, 1993 Topps All-Stars Dual Autographs, 2005 Topps Draft Picks Autographs, Topps Postcards Autographs, and Topps Originals Buyback Autographs.

Inserts include 1988 Topps Big Foil (Blaster/Retail), 1988 Topps Big Minis, Topps Postcards, and Oversized Topps Postcards Box Toppers (Hobby).

If you’re looking for today’s hot rookies and stars, Archives has it. If you’re looking for Hall of Famers, retired stars, and specific baseball individuals who don’t traditionally have a lot of cards, Archives also has it.

My box had a little of everything. Bonus autograph, parallel #’ed/15, Design Variation, and (3) different Julio Rodriguez RCs.


Here is what I pulled:


  • Corey Patterson 1972 Topps Fan Favorites Auto Purple #’ed/150
  • Alyssa Nakken 1972 Topps Fan Favorites Auto
  • Al Bumbry 1960 Topps Fan Favorites Auto


  • Reid Detmers RC Orange Hot Foil #’ed/15
  • Xander Bogaerts Silver #’ed/99

1963 Background Replacement Design Variation:

  • Reggie Jackson #34

2005 Topps Draft Picks:

  • Julio Rodriguez RC #342

1992 Topps Major League Debut:

  • Wander Franco RC #356
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #370
  • Julio Rodriguez RC #375
  • Aaron Judge #368

1961 Topps MVP:

  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #322
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #329
  • Trey Mancini #324
  • Robbie Ray #319

1955 Topps Scoop:

  • Jorge Soler #315
  • Chris Taylor #314
  • Randy Arozarena #312
  • Shohei Ohtani #305


  • Jose Ramirez Topps Postcards #PC-11
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Topps Postcards #PC-2
  • Nolan Arenado Topps Postcards #PC-6
  • Aaron Judge Oversized Topps Postcards Box Topper #OPC-15

Notable Rookies:

  • Seiya Suzuki RC #92
  • Julio Rodriguez RC #115
  • Spencer Torkelson RC #131
  • Wander Franco RC #300
  • Oneil Cruz RC #211
  • Jeremy Peña RC #280

Mike Baker Authenticated Is A Pointless Service The Hobby Does NOT Need

In 2020 and 2021 we saw card prices shoot to the moon. And in 2022 we have seen them completely tank.

During that fun time when everything was going up in price lots of new businesses arrived on the hobby scene attempting to convince collectors that they needed them. A lot of new and naive people bought right into it too. In this hobby it is very easy to convince people you are something that you really aren’t.

One of these joke business ventures that popped up is Mike Baker Authenticated. I’ve talked about them before, but it can’t hurt to bring them up again.

Mike Baker Authenticated would love to grade your graded cards. They’re trying to create another level of scarcity for you to chase. DON’T FALL FOR IT!

For example, lets say you have two of the same cards both graded by PSA a GEM MT 10. Mike Baker Authenticated wants you to believe that if they place one of their Silver, Gold, or Black Diamond labels on one of them its going to be worth more than the card without it. This has to be one of the most pointless services ever offered to collectors. What’s next? Grading the graded, graded, graded card?

Who is Mike Baker? Mike Baker was the first grader to work for PSA. In fact, he was their first employee. He was right there when the world famous 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner was graded a PSA NM-MT 8. It was altered/trimmed, and slabbed in a PSA holder. That card shouldn’t have been graded. Knowing the publicity and money that card would bring is what didn’t stop them. On the Mike Baker Authenticated website it states “He has been a developer in the field of identifying counterfeit and altered trading cards.” What a joke!

Probstein123’s auctions was the first place I remember seeing Mike Baker Authenticated labeled slabs. Early on the COA Mike Baker Authenticated supplied with the card was down right sloppy. SGC graded cards came with PSA labeled COAs. Numerous misspellings could also be found. You could tell they were in a rush.

With card prices in free fall, grading companies are beginning to lower their fees. It wouldn’t surprise me if one of the big three BGS, PSA, or SGC go under. BGS or SGC more likely. PSA has some other sources of income. HGA and CSG could also be on the chopping block.

If the grading companies are hurting right now, so is Mike Baker Authenticated. This downturn could easily put them out of business. A good thing about a tanking market is purging the hobby of bogus and unnecessary services such as Mike Baker Authenticated. If you’re attending a card show and see their little tent, just ignore it.

2022 Topps Chrome Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Collector Type: Set/Autograph/Rookie

Hey! Where are the Extended Base Short Prints? Anyone else not finding them? I think something funky is going on here… hahaha!

Topps Chrome Baseball is one of the most anticipated products collectors look forward to each year. The better the rookie class, the more popular the set is. Rookies such as Bobby Witt Jr. #221, Julio Rodriguez #222, Spencer Torkelson #223, Hunter Greene #224, and CJ Abrams #225 were suppose to have Extended Base Short Prints included within the product. Although they made it into the Hobby Lite boxes which were sold directly on the Topps website, and the Sonic and Logofractor Editions, Hobby and Hobby Jumbo boxes DO NOT have them. Mass hysteria swept through the hobby. I don’t blame people for being angry as this was a main selling point.

To make up for this miscommunication/quality control issue Topps is providing (1) 4-card silver pack for each Hobby and Hobby Jumbo box purchased from Topps.com, hobby shops or breakers which purchased their product directly from Topps. Randomly inserted within these packs you will find the missing Extended Base Rookie Short Prints. I’ll refer you to the Chrome Silver Pack Program details Topps has on their site.

The main base set consists of (220) cards. Parallels include Refractor, X-Fractor (10 per Monster), Sepia (2 per Blaster), Pink (2 per Blaster), Prism, Negative, Magenta #’ed/399, Magenta Speckle #’ed/350, Purple Speckle #’ed/299, Purple #’ed/250, Aqua #’ed/199, Aqua Lava #’ed/199, Blue #’ed/150, Green #’ed/99, Green Wave #’ed/99, Blue Wave #’ed/75, Gold #’ed/50, Gold Wave #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Orange Wave #’ed/25, Red #’ed/5, Red Wave #’ed/5, SuperFractor #’ed 1/1, and Printing Plates #’ed 1/1.

Photo variations continue to be a big chase element. Using the CMP codes is the easiest way to identify them.

  • Base – #967
  • Variation SP – #017
  • Variation SSP – #023

Autographs include Chrome Rookie Autographs, Dual Rookie Autographs, Chrome Veteran Autographs, 1987 Topps Baseball Autographs, Future Stars Autographs, Heart of the City Autographs, and Pinstriped Autographs.

Relics are not a huge part of the Topps Chrome brand, but you can pull them in the form of Topps Chrome Authentics Autograph Relics, and Topps Chrome Authentics Relics.

Inserts include 1987 Topps Baseball, Future Stars, Heart of the City, New Classics, and Pinstriped/Club Plaques.

Overall, this was a fairly standard Hobby box. I do wish that Topps/Fanatics would clear up these quality control issues. I sure hope the 2022 582 Montgomery Club Factory Set isn’t missing those same rookies.

I was hoping to pull a Bryce Harper Heart of the City insert showing the skyline of Philadelphia. One showed up in the first pack.


Here is what I pulled:


  • Matt Vierling RC
  • Whit Merrifield


  • Luis Gil RC Blue Wave Refractor #’ed/75
  • Kyle Tucker Prism Refractor
  • Andrew McCutchen Prism Refractor
  • Byron Buxton Prism Refractor
  • John Means Prism Refractor
  • Jose Altuve Refractor
  • Trea Turner Refractor
  • Cody Bellinger Refractor
  • (2) Ketel Marte Refractor
  • Jake Meyers RC Refractor
  • Josh Donaldson Refractor
  • Paul Goldschmidt Refractor


  • Luis Garcia Future Stars
  • George Springer Pinstriped/Club Plaques
  • Bryce Harper Heart of the City
  • Juan Soto Heart of the City
  • Randy Arozarena New Classics
  • Eloy Jimenez New Classics
  • George Springer 1987 Topps Baseball
  • Gavin Sheets RC 1987 Topps Baseball
  • Pete Alonso 1987 Topps Baseball
  • Miguel Cabrera 1987 Topps Baseball

2022 Topps Museum Collection Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Collector Type: Autograph/Relic/High-End Risk Takers

Museum Collection has and most likely will always be about the hits. Yes. There is a base set that consists of (100) cards. Parallels include Copper, Sapphire #’ed/150, Amethyst #’ed/99, Ruby #’ed/50, and Emerald #’ed 1/1. Bobby Witt Jr., Spencer Torkelson, and Julio Rodriguez all have rookie cards in here.

Found inside each master hobby box are (4) mini-boxes. Each mini-box contains (1) hit, (1)autograph parallel, and a few base cards. You are SUPPOSE to find (1) on-card autograph, (1) autographed relic, (1) relic, and (1) quad relic card per box. As you can see I did not find any autographs or quad relic. The patches I pulled are decent, especially that Brewers card, but with a price tag of almost $400/box its a hard pill to swallow when zero autographs are found. I watched Luft Brothers Trading open a box of Museum Collection, and the Cal Ripken Jr. autograph they pulled is missing the signature. The quality control could have been a bit better here.

Outside of my main hits I was satisfied with the rookies and parallels I pulled. We’ve seen Wander Franco cards cool down, but its still good to find one of his rookies. Not only did I find base rookies of George Kirby and Alek Thomas, but this box also had the Ruby parallels of each too.

Like a lot of high-end products it might be more affordable for some collectors to purchase singles of their favorite players on the secondary market. I’d suggest group breaking with your specific player and/or team, but with all of the scandals surrounding that part of the hobby right now I wouldn’t even get near a group breaker. With the downturn in sports card prices, shrinking profit margins, and more direct sales to customers it doesn’t surprise me that group breakers are resorting to shady practices in an attempt to survive.

Overall it was a fun break. But it would have been nice to find a few autographs.


Here is what I pulled:


  • Christian Yelich/Corbin Burnes Dual Meaningful Material Copper Patch #’ed/35
  • Logan Webb Meaningful Material Relic #’ed/50
  • J.D. Martinez Meaningful Material Copper Patch #’ed/35
  • Cody Bellinger Meaningful Material Gold Patch #’ed/25


  • George Kirby RC Ruby #’ed/50
  • Alex Thomas RC Ruby #’ed/50
  • Aaron Judge Copper #48
  • Justin Verlander Copper #74


  • Pete Alonso Canvas Collection Reprints #CCR-10


  • Bryson Stott RC #25
  • Wander Franco RC #59
  • Alek Thomas RC #62
  • Jarren Duran RC #43
  • Brandon Marsh RC #10
  • George Kirby RC #23
  • Randy Johnson #81
  • Carl Yastrzemski #45
  • Frank Thomas #22
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #85
  • Greg Maddux #30