2019 Topps Series 1 Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

2019 marks professional baseball’s 150th anniversary.  If those original players from 1869 could see what today’s players get paid, they’d go nuts.  Cards really didn’t get their start until the mid-1880’s.  Nobody, and I mean nobody, had any clue that someday those tiny pieces of paper would end up to be so incredibly valuable.  I’d like to own an original Old Judge card, but that’s not something you can just pickup quickly.  A lot of research in my opinion has to be done.  I wonder what the sport of baseball will look like in another 150 years?  What about collecting?  Will cards even be a thing?  Maybe packs of cards will get beamed into our brains while traveling to Mars.  I won’t be around to find out, and my guess is neither will you.

Its the middle of winter, and there is snow on the ground.  With the release of 2019 Topps Baseball Series 1, I can begin to see a glimpse to the end of the coldness outside.  Baseball season is coming!!!

With a new flagship set comes a new design.  Its one that will be around all year.  So you better like it.  The card backs have been receiving the most attention.  Many collectors enjoy seeing full statistics listed, along with an easy to follow color scheme.  On the fronts, Topps took an unusual approach and placed the player’s last name above the first.  The last name is also considerably larger.

A standard hobby box will cost $60.  (24) packs are inside, housing (14) cards each.  That’s a bit different compared to (36) packs with (10) cards.  (1) autograph or relic should be found per box.  Jumbos are more expensive, but come with (1) autograph and (2) relics.

(350) cards make up the base set.  Parallels include Purple (Meijer), Yellow (Walgreens), 150th Anniversary, Rainbow Foil, Gold #’ed/2019, Advanced Stat #’ed/150, Vintage Stock #’ed/99, Independence Day #’ed/76, Black #’ed/67, Mother’s Day Pink #’ed/50, Father’s Day Blue #’ed/50, Memorial Day Camo #’ed/25, Platinum #’ed 1/1, and Printing Plates #’ed 1/1.  (100) cards have Clear parallels #’ed/100.

I really like the cards that feature shots of various stadiums.  As a Phillies fan, my favorite one is of Citizens Bank Park.  If they zoomed in on the left side we could see the Harry Kalas statue.

There are a lot of SPs to pull.  Regular SPs come (1) per hobby box at least.  SSPs are really difficult to pull, and fall 1:444 packs in the hobby format.  Flipping the cards over to see the CMP code always helps in identifying them.  I’ve always seemed to find them near the center of the pack too.

  • Base – #1910
  • SP – #1967
  • SSP – #1968

Inserts are plentiful.  The Home Run Challenge cards make a return.  These make the season extra fun.  Simply log in to your Topps account, enter the code, and pick the date you think that player will hit a home run.  If your prediction ends up being correct, Topps will send you a special card.  I got Javier Baez from the Cubs.  My birthday is on June 16th.  That’s the day I picked for him to go yard.  They’re playing the Dodgers that night.  Hopefully he stays healthy and can play.

Another insert set that grabs my attention are the Iconic Card Reprints.  (50) cards are in this set.  These have one parallel, 150th Anniversary #’ed/150, and depending on the player command more on the secondary market than I’d expect.  (25) of them have autographs.  I like the Babe Ruth cards Topps included.

As I mentioned before, a hobby box such as this comes with (1) autograph or relic.  Flagship products have their share of very impressive high-end hits, but are extremely difficult to pull.  You can’t open up a box and be angry that you didn’t get a rare hit.  Retail options allow you to experience the first set of the season without having to spend too much.

Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Relic

  • David Ortiz 150th Anniversary Commemorative Medallion

Short Print

  • Dee Gordon #292

Parallels

  • Ichiro/Shohei Ohtani Greatness Returns 150th Anniversary #’ed/150
  • Austin Hedges Rainbow Foil
  • Richard Bleier Rainbow Foil
  • Wade Davis Gold #’ed/2019
  • Josh Hader Gold #’ed/2019
  • Joe Musgrove Gold #’ed/2019
  • Niko Goodrum Gold #’ed/2019
  • Randal Grichuk Gold #’ed/2019
  • Chance Adams 150th Anniversary
  • Jeff McNeil 150th Anniversary
  • Michael Kopech 150th Anniversary
  • Ramon Laureano 150th Anniversary

Inserts

  • Bryce Harper Iconic Card Reprints
  • Vintage Baseball Glove Equipment Evolution
  • Javier Baez Home Run Challenge
  • Rickey Henderson/Mookie Betts Greatness Returns
  • Kyle Schwarber 2018 Topps Now Review
  • Trout/Pujols/Ohtani 2018 Topps Now Review
  • Lou Gehrig 150 Years of Professional Baseball Greatest Players
  • Mariano Rivera 150 Years of Professional Baseball Greatest Players
  • George Brett 150 Years of Professional Baseball Greatest Moments
  • Jesus Aguilar 1984 Topps Baseball
  • Eric Hosmer 1984 Topps Baseball
  • Starling Marte 1984 Topps Baseball
  • Nolan Arenado 1984 Topps Baseball
  • Max Scherzer 1984 Topps Baseball
  • Cody Bellinger 1984 Topps Baseball

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Card of the Day: Bodacious 2018 SAGE Sportkings Volume 1 Hobby #18

2018 Topps Update Series Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Whenever Update rolls around the Frank Sinatra song “My Way” starts to play in my head.  It marks the end of the current flagship design.  I’m a fan of the pixelated-look Topps went with this year.  It translated well over to Chrome.

Update Series showcases players in their new uniforms, and rookies who didn’t make it into Series 1 or Series 2.  A hobby box comes with (1) autograph or relic, and costs just under $60.  Jumbos yield (1) autograph and (2) relics, with a cost of a little over $100.  As usual, retail options are also available.

(300) cards make up the base set.  Parallels include: Rainbow Foil (1:10) packs, Gold #’ed/2018, Vintage Stock #’ed/99, Independence Day #’ed/76, Black #’ed/67 (Hobby/Jumbo), Mother’s Day Hot Pink #’ed/50, Father’s Day Powder Blue #’ed/50, Memorial Day Camo #’ed/25, Negative (Hobby/Jumbo), Platinum #’ed 1/1, and Printing Plates #’ed 1/1.  (100) cards have Clear parallels #’ed/10.

There can’t be a Topps product like this without SP and SSP variations.  2018 Topps Update Series has a ton.  CMP codes can easily help you identify them.  SPs end in #30, while SSPs end in #32.  Autograph variations also exist.  My favorite variation is that of card #107.  Normally this card is of Craig Kimbrel, but for some lucky breakers #107 will feature the Rally Goose.  This bird means business.  Examples sell for $30-$75.

Inserts are plentiful.  You’ve got 1983 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary, 2018 Hall of Famer Highlights, An International Affair, Bryce Harper Highlights, Don’t Blink, Legends in the Making, Postseason Preeminence, Storybook Endings, and Topps Salute.  All have Blue, Black, Gold, Red, and Platinum parallels along with autographed counterparts.  Those Don’t Blink inserts look really cool.

Lots of high-end hits can be pulled, but that’s not the main reason why you bust this product.  Most of the time your hit will be a one-color relic.  Its mainly targeted towards set collectors.

Here is what I pulled:

Relic

  • Carlos Correa MLB Postseason 2017 Logo Manufactured Patch Gold #’ed/99

SP

  • J.D. Martinez #195

Parallels

  • Dereck Rodriguez RC Mother’s Day Hot Pink #’ed/50
  • Nick Markakis Gold #’ed/2018
  • Francisco Liriano Gold #’ed/2018
  • Tyler Skaggs Gold #’ed/2018
  • Tommy Pham Rainbow Foil
  • Kyle Schwarber Rainbow Foil
  • Sam Gaviglio Rainbow Foil
  • Denard Span Rainbow Foil

Inserts

  • Whit Merrifield Don’t Blink
  • Tim Raines Don’t Blink
  • Honus Wagner Don’t Blink
  • Mookie Betts Don’t Blink
  • Shohei Ohtani An International Affair
  • Ozzie Albies An International Affair
  • Jose Altuve An International Affair
  • Gift Ngoepe An International Affair
  • Jose Quintana An International Affair
  • Freddy Peralta RC Salute
  • Edwin Encarnacion Salute
  • Juan Soto RC Salute
  • Cal Ripken Jr. Salute
  • Scott Kingery RC Salute
  • Willson Contreras Salute
  • Didi Gregorius Salute
  • Joe Morgan Salute
  • Rod Carew Salute
  • Andy Pettitte Storybook Endings
  • Cal Ripken Jr. Storybook Endings
  • Jackie Robinson Storybook Endings
  • Chipper Jones Storybook Endings
  • Sandy Koufax Storybook Endings
  • Aaron Judge 1983 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary
  • Patrick Corbin 1983 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary
  • Mitch Haniger 1983 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary
  • Willy Adames RC 1983 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary
  • Christian Yelich 1983 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary
  • Jack Flaherty 1983 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary
  • Steven Souza Jr. 1983 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary
  • Johnny Cueto 1983 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary
  • Scott Kingery RC 1983 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary

2018 Topps Archives Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

OMG!  Darth Vader played baseball with Babe Ruth?  That’s exactly what went through my mind when I found out that Mr. Mertle (James Earl Jones) from The Sandlot also voiced Darth Vader from Star Wars.  Its funny the things you find out as a kid, and don’t initially put together at first.  The same thing happened when I discovered that Batman and Beetlejuice were both played by Michael Keaton.  It was a total mind blower!

Nostalgia is wildly popular in today’s world of sports cards.  No brand better represents that than Archives.  The 2018 version of Archives focuses heavily on the 1959, 1977, and 1981 baseball set designs.  (300) cards make up the base set.  An additional (20) cards are tacked on the end, and numbered 301-320.  These come in the form of 1959 Topps Combo, and 1977 Topps Turn Back the Clock cards.

The base set 1-300 has a slew of various parallels.  First off you have the basics – Purple #’ed/175, Silver #’ed/99, Blue #’ed/25 (Hobby), and Gold Foil #’ed 1/1.  Then come the subset parallels that are a bit more difficult to spot.  Cards in the 1959 design can have a no signature or Venezuelan (Grey Back) parallel.  1977 cards have a no signature parallel.  Finally, 1981 cards can be found with an alternative Topps logo.

Photo variations do have a part in 2018 Topps Archives, but they only apply to (9) cards.  1959 – Aaron Judge #31, Shohei Ohtani #50, and Kris Bryant #100.  1977 – Amed Rosario #108, Clayton Kershaw #150, and Derek Jeter #200.  1981 – Roberto Clemente #201, Ernie Banks #202, and Bryce Harper #300.  Simply check the CMP code on any of these players.  If any of them end in #326, you’ve got yourself a photo variation.

Archives is all about the autographs.  Every hobby box should have (2).  Along with all the big name rookies and legends, Archives is known for having autographs of obscure retired players who you just don’t see that much.  In some cases this is the only product you’ll ever see them have autographs.  I’ve said this for a long time, but as a Phillies fan it would be great to see Larry Andersen receive an autograph in here.  This is the perfect product for him to popup in.  Phillies pitcher and card collector Pat Neshek got some autographs.  He’s had autographs before, but not for a long time.

2018 marks the 25th anniversary of The Sandlot.  Its been a long time since I’ve seen it, but that movie is very good.  Autographs from key cast members can be pulled.  These have been crazy popular.  I’m surprised we didn’t get one of James Earl Jones.  This isn’t the first time Topps has made cards commemorating a classic baseball movie.  In the past they’ve done Bull Durham and Major League.  A League Of Their Own should be next.  Think of all the celebrities who were in that – Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell.  What other baseball movies would you like them to make cards for?

Inserts come in the form of The Sandlot commemorative cards, Topps Rookie History1981 Topps Future Stars Trios1993 Coming Attraction, and 1980s Coins (blaster).

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Adam Kennedy Fan Favorites Auto
  • Rhys Hoskins 1993 Coming Attraction RC Blue Auto #’ed/25

Parallels

  • Clayton Kershaw Topps Rookie History Green #’ed/50 – I believe this is an error.  Green is suppose to be #’ed/99, while Blue is #’ed/50.
  • Luis Castillo Purple #’ed/175
  • Monte Irvin Silver #’ed/99

Inserts

  • Dave Winfield Topps Rookie History
  • Mike Piazza Topps Rookie History
  • Nick Williams 1993 Coming Attraction
  • Clint Frazier 1993 Coming Attraction
  • Dominic Smith 1993 Coming Attraction
  • Miguel Andujar 1993 Coming Attraction
  • Acuna/Albies/Gohara 1981 Topps Future Stars Trios
  • Robles/Stevenson/Fedde 1981 Topps Future Stars Trios
  • Hays/Sisco/Scott 1981 Topps Future Stars Trios
  • Hamilton “Ham” Porter The Sandlot
  • Timmy Timmons The Sandlot
  • Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez The Sandlot

2018 Topps Gold Label Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Its not Bronze Label.  Its not Silver Label.  Its Gold Label.  Topps first introduced us to Gold Label in 1998.  Between 1998 and 2002 it was a regular release.  Then it took a long break before Topps brought it back a few years ago.  Gold Label is structured, and reminds me a lot of Fleer’s Flair Showcase.

The 2018 Topps Gold Label set consists of (300) cards.  There are only (100) players, but each one has multiple cards among the three classes – Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3.  Class 1 cards are the easiest to pull, and Class 3 are the most difficult.

Among Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3, there are (4) parallels you need to watch for.  They are Black, Blue, Red, and Gold.

Black

  • Class 1 – 1:2 packs
  • Class 2 – 1:6 packs
  • Class 3 – 1:20 packs

Blue

  • Class 1 – #’ed/150
  • Class 2 – #’ed/99
  • Class 3 – #’ed/50

Red

  • Class 1 – #’ed/75
  • Class 2 – #’ed/50
  • Class 3 – #’ed/25

Gold

  • Class 1 – #’ed 1/1
  • Class 2 – #’ed 1/1
  • Class 3 – #’ed 1/1

Packed inside every box is (1) Framed Autograph, Golden Great Autograph Relic, or MLB Legends Relic.  I like the on-card autographs, and metal frames.  Those two together make for some classy looking cards.

Maybe its just my eyes, but I had a difficult time telling the base apart from the black parallels.  The coloring isn’t that much different.  Having them serial numbered would have helped.

If you’re both a set collector and someone who enjoys the thrill of a quick break, Gold Label might take care of that fix.

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Alex Verdugo RC Auto

Parallels

  • Don Mattingly – Class 1 Red #’ed/75
  • Ted Williams – Class 1 Blue #’ed/150
  • Eric Hosmer – Class 2 Black
  • Paul Goldschmidt – Class 1 Black
  • Trey Mancini – Class 1 Black
  • David Ortiz – Class 1 Black
  • Greg Maddux – Class 1 Black

Notable Base

  • Cal Ripken Jr. – Class 3
  • Miguel Sano – Class 3
  • Aaron Judge – Class 3

2018 Topps Archives Signature Series Retired Player Edition Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

2018 Topps Archives Signature Series Retired Player Edition.  Wow!  That’s quite a mouthful.  Buybacks are awesome.  Especially when you have a company like Topps who has such a rich history of classic sets to choose from.  I don’t think a buyback product such as this could exist without that long history to draw upon.

Round #2 of this brand covers a wide array of retired stars and Hall of Famers.  Back in July we got the version full of active players.  Its a very quick-thrill box to bust.  A single box costs just under $40 and contains (1) encased buyback autograph.  Players have multiple buybacks with each varying in numbering.  Cards can be numbered anywhere from (1) to (99) copies.  Signed relics and special buyback autographs of deceased players can also be pulled.

As I mentioned before, Topps dives deep into their vault and gets these players to sign lots of neat stuff.  Not just cards from the mainstream sets either.  Its not uncommon to find Topps cards that were made for Kay Bee Toys, Toys “R” Us, and even Cap’n Crunch cereal.  Any set can bring back memories, but sometimes these really make collectors feel nostalgic.  And that’s a feeling that drives the industry today.

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Bo Jackson ’89 Topps Royals Leaders #789 Buyback Auto #’ed 1/1

When it comes to opening boxes, I’ve had a lot of luck this year.  This card goes right up there with some of my other awesome pulls.  Bo Jackson is one of the greatest athletes of all-time.  If he hadn’t gotten hurt, there is a good chance he would’ve made it into both Canton and Cooperstown.  I like that Topps chose this card for him to sign.  Bo Jackson’s name isn’t anywhere on the card other than his signature.  ’89 Topps featured these “Team Leaders” cards.  On the back they list batting and pitching leaders from the previous year.  The person pictured on the front doesn’t necessarily have to be mentioned on the card.  It makes for a nice conversation piece.  You couldn’t ask for a better picture.  And no.  That isn’t a picture of Bo Jackson throwing out Harold Reynolds at home plate.  That game was played inside the Kingdome where Bo wouldn’t have needed sunglasses.

2018 Topps Garbage Pail Kids Series 2 Oh, The Horror-ible! Hobby Box Break & Review

Now this is a change of pace.  I’ll admit, I have never opened a box of Garbage Pail Kids stickers before.  Why not give it a try?

Garbage Pail Kids have been a pop-culture sensation since they debuted back in 1985.  They’re a parody of those Cabbage Patch Kids dolls that had crazy parents fighting with each other in the malls.  Since then, these parodies have gone on to parody other people, places, and things in pop-culture.  Nothing is off the table when it comes to these little guys and gals poking fun at someone or something.  The artwork is incredibly entertaining to look at, and I love the whole idea about taking something so innocent and making it vile and disgusting.  That’s it’s selling point.  They’re the anti-Cabbage Patch Kids.

Just in time for Halloween, we have 2018 Topps Garbage Pail Kids Series 2 – Oh, The Horror-ible!  If there is any genre that Garbage Pail Kids connect to the strongest, its horror.  These dudes are cute and horrifying all at the same time.

The main set consists of (200) sticker cards.  (100) characters each having an a and b version.  The categories covered include ’80s Horror, ’80s Sci-Fi, Modern Horror, Modern Sci-Fi, Classic Film Monsters, Retro Horror, Retro Sci-Fi, and Folklore Monsters.

Outside of hobby boxes, you have retail options and Collector’s Boxes.  A Collector’s Box is the only place you’re guaranteed a hit.  Hits can be Printing Plates, Manufactured Patches, Artist Autographs, and Sketch Cards.

Parallels:

  • Bruised (1 per Collector’s Box pack)
  • Jelly (1 per Fat Pack)
  • Phlegm (retail)
  • Puke (1 per retail/hobby pack)
  • Spit #’ed/99 (Collector’s Box)
  • Bloody Nose #’ed/75 (Collector’s Box)
  • Fool’s Gold #’ed/50
  • Printing Plates #’ed 1/1

With Halloween right around the corner this made for a fun break.  Very refreshing from what I’m use to opening.  Sketch Cards and Printing Plates seem to be the biggest hits.  Even parallels where the subject matter is a parody of a popular movie or television franchise like Friday The 13th or Halloween get quite the attention.

Here is what I pulled:

Parallels

  • Elimi Nate Fool’s Gold #’ed/50
  • Jaded Joel Puke
  • Hairy Mary Puke
  • Mucky Michael Puke
  • Prince Prints Puke
  • Lepre Shaun Puke
  • Askew Lou Puke
  • Jawin’ Jimmy Puke
  • Sicko Sissy Puke
  • Amy T. Ville Puke
  • Morphing Murphy Puke
  • Vaporized Vincent Puke
  • Hollow Dean Puke
  • King Ghid-Dora Puke
  • Dale From The Crypt Puke
  • Twilight Tone Puke
  • Predatory Penny Puke
  • Joyless Jason Puke
  • Pickin’ Peter Puke
  • Inva-Shawn Puke
  • Alien Alan Puke
  • Moth Manuel Puke
  • Living Ed Puke
  • Gianna Squid Puke

Other Favorites

  • Full Moon Boone
  • Gassy Gaston
  • Boogey Manny
  • Bathroom Boris
  • Kris Krampus
  • Handed-Over Hannibal
  • Insomni Zach
  • Robin’s Egg
  • Dexter Terrestial
  • Wrapped Ron
  • Brain Freeze Brian
  • Splittin’ Sigourney