Card of the Day: Chuck Connors 1952 Mother’s Cookies Pacific Coast League #4

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2017/18 Topps Chrome UEFA Champions League Hobby Box Break & Review

G-O-A-L!!!!!!!!!!  As someone who enjoys listening to sports broadcasters, its very entertaining to hear them when a goal is made.  Lots of excitement is in their voice.  Especially when 90 minutes is almost up, and someone finally scores.

Topps Chrome Baseball isn’t due out until later this summer, but if you’d like to see what this year’s flagship design looks like on chrome stock right now, I’d give 2017/18 Topps Chrome UEFA Champions League a peek.  If the baseball set looks anything like these soccer cards, we’re in for a real treat.  Chrome is king, and having a design that transitions over to chrome stock is important.

The main set consists of (99) cards.  Parallels of the base set include 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.  These parallels are extremely easy to identify and stand out quite a bit.  As you can see, the parallel coloring is not just limited to the card’s border.  The entire background is a solid color.

A handful of top players have photo variations.  Unlike some other products, these are easy to spot.  Lionel Messi, Christian Pulisic, Neymar Jr., Harry Kane, and Cristiano Ronaldo are the only ones in this group.  From what I’ve seen, all photo variations have a refractor-like coloring to them.  All you have to do is hold out the refractors and check the CMP code on the back.  The CMP code for photo variations ends in #8664.

Autographs fall (1) per box.  Traditionally, sticker autographs aren’t the norm when it comes to Topps Chrome, but given that these athletes are all outside the U.S. it was probably the easier way to go.  Base autograph parallels include Blue Refractor #’ed/150, Green Refractor #’ed/99, Gold Refractor #’ed/50, Orange Refractor #’ed/25, Red Refractor #’ed/10, and Superfractor #’ed/1.

Three inserts can be pulled – Award Winners, Future Stars, and Lightning Strike.  Each come with their share of autographs and parallels.  Award Winners are the most difficult to find (1:108 packs).

For under $70, Topps did a nice job with this product.  UEFA and Chrome fans should really enjoy it.

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Neymar Jr. Lightning Strike Auto #’ed/10

Parallels

  • Bruno Varela Green Refractor #’ed/99
  • Pizzi Purple Refractor #’ed/250
  • Pique Purple Refractor #’ed/250
  • Jesus Navas Refractor
  • Pique Refractor
  • Diego Reyes Refractor
  • Kyle Walker Refractor
  • Dele Alli Refractor

Inserts

  • Kylian Mbappe Future Stars
  • Marcus Rashford Future Stars
  • Leroy Sane Future Stars
  • Neymar Jr. Lightning Strike
  • Philippe Coutinho Lightning Strike
  • Antoine Griezmann Lightning Strike
  • Gareth Bale Lightning Strike

Pin Highlight: 2017 MLB Little League Classic – Cardinals vs. Pirates – Baseball Pin

There is no doubt that one of the major highlights during last year’s Little League World Series was the Major League game that took place at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.  In nine innings the Pirates defeated the Cardinals 6-3.  It even got it’s very own Topps Now card.

Three different pins were made to celebrate this inaugural event.  The first two are fairly simple to find.  One features the MLB Little League Classic name with logos from both teams.  A second has Fredbird and the Pirate Parrot on it.  The third pin is what you see pictured above.  As you can probably tell, it has the MLB Little League Classic name, team logos, and is in the shape of a baseball.  Unlike the other two though, this pin was not available for sale over at Little League.  A majority of them were given out to game attendees.  Only Little League players and their families, plus any Lycoming County residents lucky enough to win a lottery were allowed to attend the game.  Not much of the general public made it in.  All pins are made by WinCraft.

Sports Card Info has been known to get me into certain events for free, but this wasn’t one of them.  So how did I get one?  For a short time Fanatics had them for sale.  The day after I purchased mine, Fanatics pulled them off the market.  Why?  I don’t know.  The next thing I saw were them being handed out on T.V.

The 2018 Little League World Series takes place August 16-26.  Little League recently unveiled the official logo for the 2018 games.  The Phillies will take on the Mets August 19 in the second MLB Little League Classic.

Pin Highlight: 2017 Williamsport Sun-Gazette LLWS Gorilla Pin

Baseball season might be over.  The weather is getting colder.  Christmas music has begun to play.  But in my mind though its still the summer.  And that means the Little League World Series.  With that comes pins.  Lots and lots of pins!!!

The Williamsport Sun-Gazette was founded in 1801, and issued their first pin in 2004.  Since then, they have regularly sold pins while the Little League World Series takes place.  Every year its exciting to see what new designs they come up with.

Ten new pins were released this past August.  Each one is limited to only (125) pins.  In terms of pins, that isn’t many.  That’s probably why I haven’t seen any 2017 Sun-Gazette pins show up on the secondary market yet.  The Sun-Gazette never sells them online.  You have to purchase them in person.  Low quantity combined with in person only availability holds them back from surfacing.

Most of their pins are baseball themed.  Some aren’t.  The craziest pin they made for 2017 has nothing on it pertaining to baseball.  It measures 3″ and has a gorilla on top of the Sun-Gazette building.  They sold t-shirts with this image on them.  It reminds me a lot of King Kong or that arcade game Rampage.

2017 Topps Heritage Minor League Baseball Box Break & Review

Minor league stars and burlap.  Plus Tim Tebow.  Its a party now!  Products based on minor league baseball are fun to rip.  During the summer I attend almost one minor league game per month.  Almost always shooting for a bobblehead night.  Topps produces two MiLB sets per year, Pro Debut being the other.  Where Pro Debut resembles more of a flagship set, including lots of wacky inserts that celebrate minor league baseball, Heritage takes a more traditional approach.  My box of this stuff last year contained a neat patch.

Just like Heritage and Heritage High Number for MLB, the MiLB set utilizes the classic 1968 Topps Baseball design.  This year’s set consists of (220) cards.  #1-#200 are base, and the last twenty cards are short prints.  Parallels include First Name Omission, Blue #’ed/99, Green #’ed/50, Gray #’ed/25, and Orange #’ed/1.  The missing first name seems more like a variation than a parallel, but not this time around.

You can’t have a Heritage set without a few variations.  This minor league counterpart doesn’t have as many when compared to the MLB sets, but you do need to keep an eye open for a couple.  Viewing the CMP code on the card backs can easily assist in identifying them:

  • Base cards end in #3408 or #3413
  • Short Prints end in #3418
  • Base Errors end in #3420 – six of these have autographed versions.
  • Base Facsimile Signatures end in #3419

Where this product shines the brightest are the on-card autographs.  Everything looks to be signed on-card, except for the ones containing nickels minted in 1968.  Those have stickers.  You’re most likely going to pull a Real One autograph.  Other autographs include Fantastic Feats, 1968 Mint, and Looming Legacy.  Although there are only four cards, the Looming Legacy autographs is the only veteran content in this product.  These are incredibly difficult to pull, but feature Manny Machado, David Ortiz, Chris Sale, and Derek Jeter in their minor league uniforms.

Game-used relics come in the form of Clubhouse Collection.  Even though I’ve only seen them online, the text on the black parallels housing patches and numbered 1/1 can be difficult to read.  Maybe that’s just me, and in person they look different.  Non-autographed 1968 Mint cards are counted as relics too.

As pop culture goes, Tim Tebow is a name that stands out on the checklist.  His card is a short print, but is much easier to pull than the one found in Pro Debut.  Bat relics of him are also in here.

If you’re a fan of minor league baseball like myself, I highly suggest giving a box a shot.  They’re quite affordable at $50 while guaranteeing at least (1) autograph and (1) relic.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Jorge Mateo
  • Jacob Heyward

Relic

  • Willie Calhoun Clubhouse Collection Blue Parallel Relic #’ed/50

Parallels

  • Jack Flaherty Blue #’ed/99
  • Francisco Rios Gray #’ed/25

Short Prints

  • Dawel Lugo #206
  • Ian Anderson #214
  • Justus Sheffield #209

Inserts

  • Scott Kingery 1968 Topps Discs #18
  • Bo Bichette 1968 Topps Discs #21
  • Sandy Alcantara 1968 Topps Discs #4
  • Ariel Jurado 1968 Topps Discs #13
  • Striker 1968 Topps Game Mascots #3
  • Sluggo 1968 Topps Game Mascots #10
  • Triston McKenzie Baseball America All-Star
  • Tyler O’Neill Baseball America All-Star
  • Kevin Newman Baseball America All-Star

Notable Base

  • Rhys Hoskins #164
  • Gleyber Torres #100
  • Clint Frazier #75

Pin Highlight: Olive Garden 2017 Little League World Series Pin

Who doesn’t love the Olive Garden?  That list is fairly short.  Their pasta, soup, salad, and bread sticks are all delicious.  Its been almost two months since the Little League World Series came to an end, and there are still some pins that have yet to popup online.  One such pin comes from the Olive Garden.

During the 2016 Little League World Series the Olive Garden in Williamsport had pins.  A few of them have showed up for sale, but not recently.  This year’s pin has been seen even less.  You would think these would be all over the place given that the Olive Garden is a popular restaurant.  Especially when the world comes to Williamsport and people need to eat.  I think the price has a lot to do with it.  The Olive Garden charged $10 for one of these pins, or it was free with the purchase of a dessert.  Considering their pins are very small in size, that’s a lot of money.  Little was done to advertise them too.  It was basically word of mouth.  You know no advertising was done when you see a local fence company (Kriger Fence) have more pins show up on the secondary market compared to the Olive Garden.  Trust me, more people passed through the Olive Garden during the Little League World Series than Kriger Fence.

Most businesses in Williamsport don’t sell their Little League pins over the internet.  Almost all of them need to be acquired in person or on eBay.  Limited availability like this can drive up the demand for certain pins.  Which pins won’t end up surfacing that much is a total shot in the dark.  Fifty years from now we could learn that a pin was made for the ’17 LLWS and only be hearing about it for the first time.

“Pin-Up” of the Week: 2016 LLWS “Best Buds” Boomer & Dugout Two-Pin Set

Boomer and Dugout.  Two mascots that rule the town of Williamsport, PA.  Boomer being the mascot of the Williamsport Crosscutters and Dugout the mascot of the Little League World Series.  It only seems natural that both would appear on a pin.

Outside of eBay and the Little League Store’s website, Little League pins for the most part need to be acquired in person.  Even the Little League Store’s website doesn’t sell every pin you’d find in their physical location.  This pin is a perfect example of that.

In August 2016, Little League and the Crosscutters came together and made this two-pin set.  The half with Boomer could only be obtained directly from the Crosscutters, while the Dugout side could be found at the Little League Museum.  (500) Boomer pins were given out to Crosscutters fans on 8/26/16.  I think its safe to say (500) Dugout pins were made too.  Considering they go together, it doesn’t make sense to make less or more of either side.  One set recently sold on the secondary market for $58.  Not too bad considering the cards they come affixed to value each pin at $5.