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

Advertisements

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

2018 Topps Heritage High Number Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Holy smokes!  What a box!  This is by far the best Heritage High Number Baseball box that I’ve opened!!!

The original 1969 Topps Baseball set brings two cards to my mind.  The first is Reggie Jackson’s rookie card #260.  Coming in second would be Mickey Mantle’s final card as an active player #500.  Given that its a vintage set, non-rookies of popular players in mint condition can fetch quite the price.  Its definitely worth a look if you’re wanting to put together a vintage set.

Between HeritageHeritage High Number, and Heritage Minor League Baseball, collectors have gotten their fill of the 1969 Topps Baseball design this year.  In 2019, the 1970 design will be used.  Its going to be interesting how they handle 1971 with all of those black borders.

2018 Topps Heritage High Number picks up right where the regular Heritage set left off.  It consists of (225) cards (#501-#725).  The last (25) cards (#701-#725) are short prints and fall 1:3 packs.  The main set has four parallels – Black Border (50 copies, hobby), 100th Anniversary (25 copies), Magenta Backs (10 copies), Flip Stock (5 copies, hobby).  Of those four, the Flip Stock would be the one that could easily be skipped over.  I pulled one of these in the past and almost missed it.  When it comes to these, the fronts are rough with the backs being smooth.

(50) players have Chrome cards.  Parallels include Hot Box Refractors, Refractors #’ed/569, Black Refractors #’ed/69, Gold Refractors #’ed/5, and Superfractors #’ed 1/1.  (50) players also have mini parallels #’ed/100.

You wouldn’t be wrong to make the observation that many products today feature photo variations.  The ones found in the Heritage lines seem to garner the most attention.  CMP codes can help.

  • Base – #575
  • Short Prints – #585
  • Nickname – #601
  • Team Color Swap – #600
  • Action – #599
  • Throwback – #598
  • Error – #597
  • Trade – #477

The folks at Topps made it even easier to spot these variations without having to look at the CMP codes.  Beneath the card number it will state what type of variation it is.  That helps a bunch.

Every hobby box comes with (1) relic or autograph.  For the most part, you’re going to pull a Clubhouse Collection Relic.  At least that’s what I’m use to pulling.  I’ve always appreciated the high-end autographs and patches that come out of this product.  I think it has a lot to do with the retro designs and on-card signatures.  Gotta love that Wendy’s Founder Dave Thomas has a cut signature in here.  Wendy’s was founded in 1969.

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Shohei Ohtani Real One RC Auto

Parallel

  • Daniel Palka RC Black Border

Photo Variation

  • Matt Kemp Action

Short Prints

  • Jake Arrieta
  • Lewis Brinson
  • Yonder Alonso
  • Alex Cobb
  • Randal Grichuk
  • Arodys Vizcaino
  • Eric Hosmer
  • Stephen Piscotty

Inserts

  • Shohei Ohtani/Mike Trout Combo Cards
  • Nolan Ryan Miracle Of ’69
  • Reggie Jackson Highlights 1967
  • Shohei Ohtani 1969 Deckle Edge
  • Christian Yelich 1969 Deckle Edge
  • Joey Lucchesi Rookie Performers
  • Amed Rosario Rookie Performers
  • Shohei Ohtani Rookie Performers
  • Bryce Harper Now & Then
  • Didi Gregorius Now & Then
  • James Paxton Now & Then
  • George Springer Award Winners
  • Aaron Judge Award Winners
  • Jose Altuve Award Winners
  • Shohei Ohtani 1969 Bazooka Baseball Extra Ad Panel Box Topper #7

Notable Rookies

  • Shohei Ohtani
  • Juan Soto
  • Gleyber Torres
  • Ronald Acuña Jr.

2018 Bowman Chrome Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

The regular season has officially come to an end.  No more Phillies games this year.  My Phillies ended with a record of 80-82.  Much better when compared to 2017 where they finished 66-96.  Although they improved quite a bit, its disappointing to know that at the All-Star break they jumped into first only to lose it a month later.  They completely fell apart.  At one time they were (15) games above .500 and 2.5 games ahead of the Braves.  It’ll be interesting to see what moves they make in the off season.  Their first regular game of the 2019 season takes place on March 28 at 3:05 p.m. at home against Atlanta.

Just because your team didn’t make it to the playoffs doesn’t mean the box ripping has to stop.  In fact, with the release of 2018 Bowman Chrome you might pickup some new prospects that one day could help your team win the Fall Classic.

Bowman Chrome is the second wave of big prospect-based products released by Topps.  The first is Bowman and the third is Bowman Draft.  There are two ways you can enjoy Bowman Chrome this year.  A hobby box comes with (2) mini-boxes.  Packed inside each mini-box are (6) packs and (1) autograph.  For those looking for a quick-thrill and willing to spend a little more, there is the HTA option.  An HTA box contains (1) pack with (3) encased autographs.  I like the HTA option as it gets straight to the hits, and you don’t have the leftover base cards.  But if you’re someone who wants a lot of base, hobby boxes are there too.

(100) veterans and rookies make up the base set.  An additional (100) prospects can be found as well.  The inclusion of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is cool.  He was drafted by the Rockies in 2010, and even has cards in Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects and Topps Pro Debut.  Despite his main job playing professional football, he’s played in some minor league/spring training games.  He was last seen in a Yankees uniform back in March pinch-hitting for Aaron Judge.

(15) players have photo variations.  These are easy to spot as the CMP codes differ.  The base card CMP code ends in #370, whereas photo variations end in #393.  (13) photo variations have autograph counterparts #’ed/25.  Superfractor autograph photo variations are in there too.

Among all of the autographs, relics, and parallels there are (4) types of inserts.  These are 2017 AFL Fall Stars2017 AFL Fall Stars MVP2018 Bowman Sterling Continuity, and Peaks Of Potential.  I like the 2018 Bowman Sterling Continuity cards.  They make me wish that brand still existed as a standalone product.  I use to buy a lot of that.

While opening my box, I did come across something a little odd.  The Purple Shimmer Refractors are #’ed/655.  Usually basic refractors are the highest serial numbered parallels you’ll pull.  This time around they’re #’ed/499.  Its unusual to see something like a Purple Shimmer Refractor numbered higher.  You’ed think it would be the other way around.

Bowman Chrome is a prospector’s paradise.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • James Nelson
  • Jorge Guzman

Parallels

  • Luiz Gohara RC Blue Refractor #’ed/150
  • Darwinzon Hernandez Refractor #’ed/499
  • Taylor Trammell Purple Shimmer Refractor #’ed/655

Inserts

  • Estevan Florial 2018 Bowman Sterling Continuity
  • Sandy Alcantara 2017 AFL Fall Stars
  • Adbert Alzolay 2017 AFL Fall Stars
  • Aramis Ademan Peaks Of Potential
  • Keibert Ruiz Peaks Of Potential
  • Andres Gimenez Peaks Of Potential
  • Luis Robert Peaks Of Potential