2018 Bowman Platinum Baseball Collector’s Box Break & Review

Earlier this week I opened a blaster box of 2018 Bowman Platinum.  At the time of that writing, Walmart’s website still had some blasters for sale.  Checking right now, they have nothing.  I was able to get my paws on a Collector’s Box though.

If you’re going for the ultimate 2018 Bowman Platinum experience, opening a Collector’s Box is the best way to go.  Remember, this product is exclusive to Walmart.  Hobby shops and online dealers couldn’t get it.  Unless they went to their local Walmart, cleaned the shelves, and resold what they bought.  Ripping into a Collector’s Box is equal to what a traditional hobby box would be.  Of the three formats this product comes in (Blasters, Fat Packs, and Collector’s Boxes), the Collector’s Box is the only one that guarantees (2) autographs.  Its also the only place you can pull Orange parallels #’ed/25.  A Collector’s Box runs about $80, and inside you should find (20) packs.

As I mentioned when opening my blaster, the base set consists of (100) cards.  There are also (100) Top Prospects.  Each has the following parallels: Ice (Blaster), Sky Blue (Fat Pack), Purple #’ed/250, Blue #’ed/150, Green #’ed/99, Orange #’ed/25 (Collector’s Box), Red #’ed/10, and Foilfractor #’ed/1.

Ten players have photo variations: Kris Bryant, Rafael Devers, Clayton Kershaw, Cody Bellinger, Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, Francisco Lindor, Aaron Judge, and Bryce Harper.  These are easy to spot as the pictures are much different compared to the base.  If using the CMP codes is easier, base cards end in #264 and photo variations end in #303.  Reds pitching prospect Hunter Greene has (10) Short Prints that on the surface look just like base.  The card number on these all start with the letters “HG”.

Relics can be found, but are difficult to pull.  Platinum Rookie Auto Pieces fall 1:374 packs, and Platinum Patches come 1:4,706 packs.  The Platinum Patches remind me of Triple Threads.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Nick Allen
  • MJ Melendez

Parallels

  • Heliot Ramos Purple #’ed/250
  • Paul DeJong Purple #’ed/250

Inserts

  • Colton Welker Platinum Presence
  • Keston Hura Platinum Presence
  • Gleyber Torres Prismatic Prodigies
  • Tony Santillan Prismatic Prodigies
  • Eloy Jimenez Prismatic Prodigies
  • Jon Duplantier Prismatic Prodigies
  • Tyler Mahle Rookie Revelations
  • Harrison Bader Rookie Revelations
  • Walker Buehler Rookie Revelations
  • Miguel Andujar Rookie Revelations

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2018 Topps Stadium Club Baseball Box Break & Review

Product of the year.  That’s how I’d sum up 2018 Topps Stadium Club.  I wouldn’t make a very good box breaker to watch on YouTube.  I don’t move the fastest to begin with, but when it comes to products that look like this I really like to take my time.  For a box that only has (16) packs, it took me a few hours to open.

What makes Stadium Club so special today is exactly what made it special when it arrived in the early 90’s.  Great photography!  At (300) cards strong, the base set has what I believe to be the best photographs that we’ll see on a product all year long.  No fancy borders or designs.  Topps allows the unique photos to do all of the talking.

Now it wouldn’t be a modern day set without parallels.  Some of these are easier to pull than others.  While opening your box keep an eye open for Red Foil, Black Foil, Sepia, Black/White, Rainbow Foil #’ed/25, First Day Issue #’ed/10, Member’s Only, Photographer’s Proof, and Gold Rainbow Foil #’ed/1 parallels.  From a pure numbering standpoint, the ideal parallel to pull would be the Gold Rainbow Foil because its numbered 1/1.  From a visual perspective I like the Red Foil and Black/White.  Because the player’s name and Stadium Club logo is in orange, the Black/White parallels always remind me of Halloween.

Not only are the Stadium Club photo variations difficult to pull, you might have a hard time spotting them.  Given this product’s unique photo selection, what might look like a variation could just be a simple base card.  The CMP codes come in handy.  Base cards end in #31, whereas photo variations end in #67.  The odds of pulling one are about 1:109 packs.

Of all the inserts, I enjoy the Stadium Club Chrome ones the best.  (90) cards from the base set got chromified.  There are also Refractor, Gold Minted, and Superfractor parallels.  Autographed versions too.  I actually think these came out better looking than Bowman.

With a price of about $80 per hobby box, terrific photography, and (2) on-card autographs, you can’t go wrong.  Topps made sure those three key elements lined up perfectly with Stadium Club.

With the National Sports Collectors Convention rapidly approaching, I’d like to see Topps issue some specially made Stadium Club cards for the show.  They did this in 1992.  In recent years Allen & GinterBowman, and Gypsy Queen have been the main subjects of their wrapper redemption program.  I think its time for Stadium Club’s return.

Product of the year in my opinion.  Reasonable price, cool photos, and eye appealing on-card autographs.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Amed Rosario
  • Phillip Evans
  • Cam Gallagher

Photo Variation

  • Joey Votto

Parallels

  • Max Fried Black/White
  • Whit Merrifield Black Foil
  • Stephen Strasburg Black Foil
  • Frank Thomas Red Foil
  • Max Fried Red Foil
  • Jim Thome Red Foil
  • Nolan Ryan Red Foil
  • Will Clark Red Foil
  • Kyle Farmer Red Foil

Inserts

  • Randy Johnson Stadium Club Chrome
  • Giancarlo Stanton Beam Team
  • John Smoltz Never Compromise
  • Manny Machado Never Compromise
  • Rafael Devers Power Zone
  • Joey Gallo Power Zone
  • Bryce Harper Special Forces
  • Joey Votto Special Forces

2018 Topps Inception Baseball Box Break & Review

After opening a box like Series 2, Topps Inception can be a nice switch.  Its a bit more high-end, and gets straight to the point.  Products configured like Inception are my favorite type to bust open.  Its a high-risk and reward setup.  If your opening boxes with the only thought of wanting to make your money back, your not in this hobby for the right reason.  Especially when it comes to modern day products.  These are built for fun, not investment.

If you’re looking to purchase a box of 2018 Topps Inception, it will likely cost around $76.  Housed inside each box is (1) 7-card pack.  Among those (7) cards will be (1) autograph or autograph/relic, (2) parallels, and (4) base.  The base set comes in at (100) cards with the following parallels: Green, Purple #’ed/150, Magenta #’ed/99, Orange #’ed/50, Blue #’ed/25, Inception Black #’ed/1, and Printing Plates #’ed/1.

Topps has always done a fantastic job when it comes to Inception.  The solid black card stock combined with massive color explosions in the background, and tons of on-card autographs make for some very interesting looking cards.  In fact, Topps has designed these cards so well Panini completely ripped off the look for their Origins football set.

The Silver Signings and pretty much every card containing a patch standout to me.  Many of these patches are quite colorful, and even have some awesome team logos.

Some neat looking stuff!  Here is a complete checklist.

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Garrett Cooper RC Orange #’ed/50

Parallels

  • Zack Greinke Green
  • Clayton Kershaw Green

Base

  • Alex Verdugo RC
  • Keon Broxton
  • Andrew Stevenson RC
  • Lucas Giolito

2018 Topps Series 2 Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Baseball collectors get three flagship products per year.  Series 1 comes in the winter.  Series 2 arrives during the summer.  And then Update Series wraps up things in the fall.  All three series receive massive amounts of attention from set collectors.  From a timing standpoint I like Series 2 because it comes out during the summer, which is my favorite season.  When talking about a flagship set that has a lot of up-to-date content, an All-Star Game presence, and players in their new uniforms, Update Series takes the cake.

2018 Topps Series 2 continues right where Series 1 left off.  The main base set ranges from card #351 to #700.  Its important to note that card #564 will be of either Joey Rickard or the New York Mets.  Card #365 is the same way.  You’ll find #365 of either Mallex Smith or the Dynamic Dodgers.  Its a numbering error.  Neither card is rarer than the other.  Because of this error, you won’t find card numbers 364 and 565.

Parallels of the base set include: Purple, Rainbow Foil, Gold #’ed/2018, Vintage Stock #’ed/99, Independence Day #’ed/76, Black #’ed/67, Mother’s Day Pink #’ed/50, Father’s Day Powder Blue #’ed/50, Memorial Day Camo #’ed/25, Clear #’ed/10, Platinum #’ed/1, Printing Plates #’ed/1, and Negative.

Over (100) photo variations can be pulled.  That’s a lot.  Luckily the CMP codes help out, and Topps printed them in bold.

  • Base – #359
  • SP Variations – #412
  • SSP Variations – #414
  • Late RC SP – #249 (Gleyber Torres & Ronald Acuna Jr.)

Inserts are plentiful.  Almost all have parallels and autographs.  I really enjoy how the 1983 Topps inserts came out this year.  I wouldn’t mind a special parallel of these to be given out during the National Sports Collectors Convention this year.  The Home Run Challenge cards have been fun.  From my Series 1 box I pulled a Trey Mancini Home Run Challenge card.  I picked my birthday, June 16th, for him to hit a home run.  That didn’t happen, but I’ve got another shot thanks to this box.

Hobby boxes have (1) hit, while jumbos contain (3).  Out of my Series 2 box I opened last summer, I pulled an Aaron Judge RC parallel #’ed/25 from the very last pack.  That goes down as one of the biggest pulls I’ve had from a flagship product.  This box was quite solid too.  It marks the first time I’ve pulled an SSP Variation.

Set collectors should have fun!

Here is what I pulled:

Relic

  • Luis Severino Major League Material Jersey Black #’ed/99

SP Variation

  • Kenta Maeda #484

SSP Variation

  • Yadier Molina #544

Parallels

  • Miguel Sano 1983 Topps Gold #’ed/50
  • Mike Napoli Gold #’ed/2018
  • Hunter Strickland Gold #’ed/2018
  • Devon Travis Gold #’ed/2018
  • Drew Smyly Rainbow Foil
  • Jose Osuna Rainbow Foil
  • Gerardo Parra Rainbow Foil
  • Manny Margot Rainbow Foil

Inserts

  • J.D. Martinez Home Run Challenge
  • Josh Donaldson Longball Legends
  • Cecil Fielder Longball Legends
  • Ted Williams Longball Legends
  • Willie Stargell Longball Legends
  • Roberto Clemente Longball Legends
  • Jake Lamb Longball Legends
  • Robinson Cano 1983 Topps
  • Rafael Devers 1983 Topps
  • Shohei Ohtani 1983 Topps
  • Jose Canseco 1983 Topps
  • Miguel Sano 1983 Topps
  • Pedro Martinez 1983 Topps
  • Dillon Peters 1983 Topps
  • Ozzie Smith 1983 Topps
  • Mike Trout 1983 Topps
  • Cal Ripken Jr. Instant Impact
  • Chipper Jones Instant Impact
  • Willie McCovey Instant Impact
  • Albert Pujols Instant Impact
  • Francisco Lindor Salute
  • Nicholas Castellanos Salute
  • Ryan Braun Salute
  • (2) Kevin Kiermaier Salute
  • Alex Bregman Salute
  • Yoan Moncada Salute
  • Tommy Pham Salute
  • Reggie Jackson Salute
  • Eric Thames Salute

2018 Topps Pro Debut Baseball Box Break & Review

During the summertime, I attend almost one minor league game per month.  In May, I visited the Harrisburg Senators on Stephen Strasburg bobblehead night.  This weekend I’ll be at the Williamsport Crosscutters as they’re giving out bobbleheads of Rhys Hoskins.  Near the end of July I’ll be going back to the Crosscutters for a retro bobblehead.  Finally, in August my last bobblehead giveaway will be with the State College Spikes.  That one is of former Penn State running back Ki-Jana Carter.  As you can see, I tend to shoot for games with bobblehead giveaways.  Oh yeah!  The National Sports Collectors Convention is thrown in there too.  Lots of good stuff is coming.

As part of their exclusive with MLB, I believe Topps is required to release at least two MiLB products per year.  One being Pro Debut, and the other Heritage Minor League Baseball.  Of the two, Pro Debut is my favorite.  I believe it reflects the whole minor league experience the best.  While participating in the Topps wrapper redemption program during the 2016 National, a Topps employee gave me a Pro Debut logo pin.  I thought that was the coolest.

2018 Pro Debut jumps right into the action of minor league baseball.  The base set consists of (200) cards.  Parallels include Green #’ed/99, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/10, and Black #’ed/1.  As you can probably already tell, the 2018 Topps Baseball flagship design carried over.  I’m still a fan of this pixelated design.  That colorful stripe near the team logo reminds me of AirHeads candy.

The list of photo variations is small compared to it’s major league counterpart.  Only (15) players have photo variations.  CMP codes are an easy way to find these.  Base cards end in #44, whereas photo variations end in #54.  Topps actually printed these in bold this time around making them easier to read.

A box of 2018 Pro Debut comes with (2) autographs and (2) relics.  My favorite relics from this product has, and always will be the Fragments of the Farm cards.  These contain actual pieces of certain minor league stadiums.  Many stadiums I’ve been to make it on this checklist.  Instead of picturing the actual item the relic is from, this year Topps placed players on these cards.  I kinda miss the artifact’s picture like they have used in the past.  Using player images probably appeals to more collectors though.

I’d like to see Topps include some retired minor league stars in here.  It would be neat to see Hall of Famers in their minor league uniforms.  Autographs and relics pertaining to those old teams could be fun.  When TRISTAR made Obak, they touched on this.  I know for a fact Topps could do it better than TRISTAR.  Imagine pulling a Mark McGwire card with a patch from his Huntsville Stars jersey.

Minor league baseball is full of crazy stories.  An insert set dedicated to some of those is something else I’d like to see.  Have you ever heard of Dave Bresnahan and the Great Potato Caper?

Fans connect with minor league baseball.  Not everyone can make it to a major league game.  Seeing the team in their backyard get attention can mean a lot.  Isn’t having fun and bringing back fond memories what collecting is all about?

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Taylor Trammell
  • Cristian Pache MiLB Leaps and Bounds #’ed/50

Relics

  • Zach Kirtley Fragments of the Farm New York-Penn League Championship Banner from Medlar Field at Lubrano Park
  • Ryan Vilade Fragments of the Farm Wall Sign From Sam Suplizio Field

Parallels

  • Carter Kieboom MiLB Leaps and Bounds Orange #’ed/25
  • Luis Ortiz Green #’ed/99

Inserts

  • Fernando Tatis Jr. MiLB Leaps and Bounds
  • Scott Kingery MiLB Leaps and Bounds
  • Sixto Sanchez MiLB Leaps and Bounds
  • Andres Gimenez MiLB Leaps and Bounds
  • Eclipse Game Ben’s Biz
  • Belly Buster Ben’s Biz
  • Susan Mielnik Ben’s Biz
  • Steamed Crabs Night Aberdeen Ironbirds Promo Night Uniforms
  • Cancer Awareness Night Danville Braves Promo Night Uniforms
  • Relay For Life Night Everett Aquasox Promo Night Uniforms
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Night Fort Wayne Tincaps Promo Night Uniforms

2018 Topps Finest Baseball Box Break & Review

Its hard to imagine, but there was a time when chrome technology, parallels, and refractors didn’t exist.  Now the hobby thrives on those three key elements.  Completing that rainbow keeps getting more challenging as new, brightly colored pieces of cardboard make their way into products.  A lot of people like to focus their attention on 1993 Topps Finest Baseball as to where chrome cards got their start.  In many ways that is correct, especially when it comes to giving credit to the product that put chrome cards and refractors on the map.  If you dig a little deeper though, another set predates 1993 Topps Finest Baseball that utilizes chrome technology.  I’m talking about 1992 Topps Football’s Finest.  Topps issued this 45-card set in factory set form, and all of the cards contain a chrome finish.  Very few collectors pay attention to this set which is a real shame because the cards look really well done.  Sealed sets can easily be found for under $10.  Prototype cards occasionally show up for sale, and command major dollars.  These prototypes don’t contain the Topps name, have airbrushed logos, and on the back say “Signs and Glassworks, Inc.”

Topps Finest has gone through a lot of changes over the years.  Remember back in the 90’s when so many cards came with those peel-off stickers?  At the heart of it though has always been nicely designed chrome cards, and a wide variety of colored parallels.  Topps continues this tradition with the 2018 incarnation of the Finest brand.  Last year I pulled a monster hit from my box of Finest.  Inside one of the mini-boxes was an Aaron Judge Blue Wave Refractor Auto #’ed/25.  It was pulled in June during all of the madness surrounding him.

Much like previous years, a master box of Finest is made up of two mini-boxes.  Inside each mini-box are six packs.  Every mini-box should come with at least one autograph.  That’s two autographs per master box.

For those collectors who enjoy putting sets together, this base set consists of (100) cards.  Card numbers 101-125 are short prints, and fall 1:28 packs.

In addition to the base set, there are a bunch of inserts to look for such as Finest Careers Die-CutFinest CornerstonesFinest Firsts, and Sitting Red.  All of these have autographs and parallels.  Finest Hour, Finest Mystery Redemptions, and Finest Original Buybacks are all autographs.  The Finest Mystery Redemptions usually turn out to be autographs of players who didn’t have autographs in the product when it shipped out.  I think there is a good chance that Juan Soto, Gleyber Torres, and Ronald Acuna will end up being the three mystery signatures.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Brandon Woodruff RC
  • Sandy Alcantara RC Red Refractor #’ed/5

Parallels

  • Alex Verdugo RC Red Refractor #’ed/5
  • Raisel Iglesias Purple Refractor #’ed/250
  • Nick Williams RC Refractor
  • Dominic Smith RC Refractor
  • Eric Thames Refractor
  • Carlos Carrasco Refractor

Inserts

  • Amed Rosario RC Finest Firsts
  • Manny Machado Sitting Red
  • Joey Votto Sitting Red
  • Rhys Hoskins RC Cornerstones
  • Carlos Correa Cornerstones
  • Justin Bour Cornerstones
  • Robinson Cano Cornerstones

Rookies

  • Nick Williams
  • J.P. Crawford
  • Rhys Hoskins
  • Lucas Sims
  • Rafael Devers
  • Dominic Smith
  • Nicky Delmonico
  • Brandon Woodruff
  • Austin Hays
  • Jack Flaherty

2018 Topps Premier League Platinum Soccer Box Break & Review

How about another soccer box?  This time around its a box of 2018 Topps Premier League Platinum.  Between my box of ’18 Topps MLS and ’17/’18 Topps Chrome UEFA Champions League, I’ve seen some decent pulls.  Will the luck continue?  Lets take a look.

A master box is made up of two mini boxes.  Guaranteed inside each mini box is one autograph.  That means there are two autographs per master box.  Also, one of those mini boxes will have a relic card.

The base set consists of (100) cards.  Parallels include Green #’ed/100, Purple #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/10, and Holographic Foil #’ed 1/1.  Beyond the base set, the card numbers continue with a good number of short prints – Global Star (#101-#140), New Signing (#141-#160), and Icon (#161-#180).  Each of these have Purple parallels #’ed/50, and a FoilFractor #’ed 1/1.

Topps did a wonderful job of designing these cards.  They look really nice.  You don’t see Topps using a lot of foilboard.  Very clean looking too.  I like the plastic feel.  It would be very neat to see a baseball set designed like this.  Even the font used for the serial numbering isn’t what you’d traditionally see.  I think that has a lot to do with these cards being printed in the UK.

Boxes cost about $80.  Considering you receive (96) cards per box, it wouldn’t take that much to complete the base set.  Eric Cantona of Manchester United is a top autograph to pull.  Base autographs sell for $200.  It’s parallels are worth even more.

Even if you’re not that into soccer, products like this are fun to open if you want something different.  I’ve had a lot of luck with them recently.

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Grzegorz Krychowiak
  • Alvaro Morata

Relics

  • Christian Atsu
  • Adam Federici

Parallels

  • Jordan Henderson Purple #’ed/50
  • Heung-Min Son Purple #’ed/50
  • Leighton Baines Green #’ed/100

Icon

  • Matt Ritchie

Global Star

  • Morgan Schneiderlin
  • Chris Lowe
  • Gabriel Jesus
  • Gylfi Sigurdsson

New Signing

  • Mohamed Salah
  • Harry Maguire
  • Wesley Hoedt