2019 Topps Clearly Authentic Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Within the last couple of weeks Topps has released two products which are configured similarly.  The first being 2019 Topps Archives Signature Series Retired Player Edition and 2019 Topps Clearly Authentic.  If I were you, I’d spend the extra $10 on a box of Clearly Authentic.  After seeing the card I pulled from my box, and watching other breaks online, Clearly Authentic has been quite solid across the board.

At $56 per box its quite the gamble for just one card.  Then again, if all you’re doing this for is the money you’re not in this hobby for the right reason.  Its meant to be fun, not an investment tool.

Housed inside every box is (1) encased on-card autograph acetate card.  The product has a mix of current players, retired stars, and Hall of Famers.  All on classic card designs with an acetate twist.

Clearly Authentic Autographs (2019 Topps flagship design) – Green #’ed/99 (1:4), Black #’ed/75 (1:16), Red #’ed/50 (1:21), Blue #’ed/25 (1:39), Purple #’ed/10 (1:97), Orange #’ed/5 (1:193), and Gold #’ed 1/1 (1:1,024).

Clearly Authentic 1952 Reimagining Autographs – Sepia #’ed 1/1 (1:999).

Clearly Authentic 1984 Topps Baseball Autographs – Green #’ed/99 (1:28), Black #’ed/75 (1:32), Red #’ed/50 (1:46), Blue #’ed/25 (1:91), Purple #’ed/10 (1:222), Orange #’ed/5 (1:444), and Gold #’ed 1/1 (1:2,219).

Clearly Authentic 150 Years of Professional Baseball Autographs – Green #’ed/99 (1:52), Black #’ed/75 (1:42), Red #’ed/50 (1:63), Blue #’ed/25 (1:129), Purple #’ed/10 (1:339), Orange #’ed/5 (1:655), and Gold #’ed 1/1 (1:3,993).

Clearly Authentic T206 Autographs – Blue #’ed/25 (1:63), Purple #’ed/10 (1:101), Orange #’ed/5 (1:203), and Gold #’ed 1/1 (1:1,051).

I’ve had a lot of luck with this product.  Pulls from this product in the past include autographs of Don Mattingly and Jose Altuve.  This year certainly didn’t disappoint.

Its a quick-thrill with tons of rarities to find.  The Clearly Authentic brand is quickly becoming a popular release collectors look forward to.

Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Ronald Acuña Jr. Clearly Authentic Auto Black Parallel #’ed/75

2019 Onyx Futera Unique Prospects & Legends Baseball Hobby Mini-Box Break & Review

Hobby accomplishment of the year should go to both Onyx Authenticated and Futera.  Two card manufacturers working together to release a single product is an amazing accomplishment not easily achieved in today’s world of league-exclusive deals.  You just don’t see it happen.  This team-up took me by surprise.  Its a good surprise because both companies make some really nice looking products.  Between Onyx Authenticated’s baseball connections, and Futera’s superior printing techniques, collectors can enjoy this high-end product called 2019 Onyx Futera Unique Prospects & Legends Baseball.

The 2019 Onyx Futera Unique Prospects & Legends Baseball base set consists of (40) cards.  Falling at a rate of 1:4 packs (1 per box) are Heritage Prospects & Legends cards.  These cover the same subjects found in the base set and come in either Silver #’ed/17 or Gold #’ed/9 versions.

Autographs include Glory Autographs, Legends Autographs, Lineup Autographs, Prominent Autographs, Prospects Autographs, Timeless Autographs, Tribute Autographs, and Triumph Autographs.

Autograph Relics include Game Gear Autograph Relics, Legacy Autograph Relics, and Masters Autograph Relics.

Gold-Plated Framed Autographs include Memostars Autograph Relics, Mythicals Autographs, Phenoms Autographs, 1-of-1 Autographs, 1-of-1 Autograph Relics, and 1-of-1 Cut Autographs.  These are my favorite cards.  Their Gold-Plated Framed cards are much more ornate.

As the name suggests, you’ll find cards of both young prospects and retired/Hall of Famers.  The names range from Wander Franco to Nolan Ryan.

In today’s hobby, Futera is known for making high-end European soccer products.  Very limited stuff.  With the release of 2019 Onyx Futera Unique Prospects & Legends Baseball, American baseball fans can take advantage of Futera’s Code for Collectors and Memorabilia Color Grading services.  I say this about Futera every time I talk about them, but these services are ones that collectors would love other manufacturers to have.  It takes autograph and relic documentation to a whole new level.  With services such as these, it massively cuts down on counterfeits and altered cards.

A full box consists of (4) mini-boxes.  (1) mini-box containing a hit can cost $70.  $300 for a full box.

I hope this isn’t the last time these two companies work together.  This collaboration should be an example to other manufacturers.

Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Julio Pablo Martinez Gold-Plated Framed Phenoms Auto #’ed/9

Base

  • Austin Beck #2
  • Noelvi Marte #21
  • Nolan Gorman #10
  • Richard Gallardo #7
  • Daniel Alvarez #1

On the back of these cards is an 8-digit code.  If you enter the code into Futera’s Code for Collectors database it will provide you with lots of information about that card.

Here’s what comes up when I input the code found on my Julio Pablo Martinez Gold-Plated Framed Phenoms Auto #’ed/9:

You’re shown an actual picture of your card.

Check out all of this info:

  • Name: JULIO PABLO MARTINEZ
  • Card Number: PH18
  • Subset: Phenoms
  • Set: Prospects and Legends Unique 2019
  • Print Run: 9
  • Released: 9
  • Board: Acard Board – White
  • Thickness: 3mm
  • Gsm: n/a
  • Ink – Front: 4 color
  • Ink – Back: 4 color
  • Foil Front: n/a
  • Foil Back: Digital Foil
  • Embossing: n/a
  • Special Print Techniques: Matt Laminated
  • Accessories to use: Toploader 197pt
  • Hand Crafting: Foil Numbering
  • Engraving: Gold Frame Piece
  • Coding Type: Print Code
  • Memo 1: This card was signed by Julio Pablo Martinez on July 24, 2019, in Kinston, North Carolina and is certified by ONYX Authentication and Futera.  Being limited in number this card is considered a true collector’s item.

2019 Topps Heritage Minor League Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

The MLB regular season is officially over.  Now the postseason begins.  My Phillies didn’t make it.  They finished the year 81-81.  Bryce Harper had a great season and was really fun to watch in a Phillies uniform.  That walk-off game winning grand slam against the Cubs was nuts.  This off season I would like to see them improve their pitching department.  That area drastically needs to be fixed.  Phillies’ batters would no sooner get some runs on the board and their pitchers would give them right back.  Very frustrating to watch.

2019 Topps Heritage Minor League Baseball consists of (200) cards.  Parallels include Blue #’ed/99, Black #’ed/50, Flip Stock (1:108 packs), Gold #’ed/15 (1 per case), and Red #’ed 1/1.  An additional (20) Short Prints fall 1:6 packs and are #201-#220.

While ripping through those packs you need to keep an eye out for variations.  CMP codes can help.

  • Base – #636
  • Short Print – #650
  • Image Variation – #651
  • Missing Name Variation – #652

Top prospects such as Keibert Ruiz, Julio Pablo Martinez, Nolan Gorman, Casey Mize, Wander Franco, and Joey Bart have Autographed Image Variations #’ed/50.

Unlike the MLB versions of Heritage, the MiLB edition comes with an additional hit.  Every hobby box should have at least (1) on-card autograph, and (1) relic.

Autographs include Real One Autographs, Real One Dual Autographs, 1970 Mint Autograph Relic, Bazooka Autographs, Fresh on the Scene Autographs, and 1970 Topps Super Baseball Topper Autographs.

Relics include Clubhouse Collection Relics, and 1970 Mint Relics.

Inserts include Fantastic Feats, Fresh on the Scene, and 1970 Topps Super Baseball Toppers.

During the summer I attend about four MiLB games.  Usually on bobblehead nights.  Lots of fans have a great connection to that team in their backyard.  For me its the Williamsport Crosscutters, Harrisburg Senators, and State College Spikes.

This is the last product to utilize the 1970 Topps Baseball design.  Boxes aren’t that expensive.  A single hobby box should cost $60.

Lots of rookies and prospects in their MiLB uniforms.  MiLB is known for being gimmicky.  Crazy uniforms, mascots, giveaways, etc…  You see this a lot in Topps’ other MiLB product Pro Debut.  Heritage MiLB is a bit more serious, but still a lot of fun.

People like to say that cards of players in their MLB uniforms will always get more attention.  I think a statement like that is too general.  A mass-produced base card of a player in their MLB uniform probably wouldn’t be worth as much as one in their MiLB uniform if the MiLB card is a low-numbered parallel.  I think it all comes down to aspects like that.

Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Relic

  • Nate Pearson Clubhouse Collection Relic

Auto

  • Alek Thomas Real One Auto

Short Prints

  • Brady Singer #214
  • Seuly Matias #219

Parallel

  • Nick Madrigal Black #’ed/50

Inserts

  • Elehuris Montero Fresh on the Scene
  • Matthew Liberatore Fresh on the Scene
  • Kris Bubic Fresh on the Scene
  • Jonathan India Fresh on the Scene
  • Andrew Knizner Fantastic Feats
  • Luis Robert Fantastic Feats
  • Bryan Mata Fantastic Feats
  • Julio Pablo Martinez 1970 Topps Super Baseball Topper

2019 Bowman Chrome Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Who’s going to be the next Babe Ruth?  The answer to that is fairly simple… nobody.  There will only ever be one Babe Ruth, and he passed away in 1948.  But it sure is fun to see certain players increase and decrease in popularity over the years.  In 2017 it was Aaron Judge.  2018 Shohei Ohtani.  2019 Pete Alonso.  Bunches of other players fall in between.  Who’s going to be the next mega-popular player collectors will be digging through their boxes to find?  That’s the one-million dollar question.

Bowman Chrome is the second prospecting pillar of the year to drop.  Every prospect-focused set has a core group of players which are in demand at the time of it’s release.  But over time those players can drop off the radar and new ones who nobody paid attention to at first can rise up.  That’s how prospecting goes.

2019 Bowman Chrome has (2) mini-boxes per master box.  Housed inside each mini-box are (6) packs.  Every mini-box should have (1) autograph.  That’s (2) autographs per master box.

Between the veterans, rookies, and prospects, you’re looking at a 200-card set.  The Base Bowman Chrome set has (100) cards.  Parallels include Refractor #’ed/499, Purple #’ed/250, Blue #’ed/150, Green #’ed/99, Gold #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/5, and Superfractor #’ed 1/1.

Base Bowman Chrome Prospects makes up the other (100) cards.  Parallels include Refractor #’ed/499, Purple #’ed/250, Blue #’ed/150, Green #’ed/99, Gold #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/5, and Superfractor #’ed 1/1.  Shimmer Refractors are also available in Green #’ed/99, Gold #’ed/50, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/10, and Black #’ed/5.

Photo variations usually aren’t something you think about a lot when it comes to this brand, but there are (15) players who have them.  CMP codes with these photo variations end in #209.

Autographs include Rookie Image Variation Autographs, Bowman Chrome Prospects Autographs, Bowman Chrome Rookie Autographs, 2018 Arizona Fall League AFL Fall Stars Autographs, 2018 Arizona Fall League MVP Autographs, Arizona Fall League Alumni Autographs, All-America Game Autographs, Elite Farmhands Autographs, Prime Autograph, and Stat Tracker Autographs.

Relics include 2018 Arizona Fall League AFL Fall Stars Relics, 2018 AFL Fall Stars Autograph Relics, and Chrome Autographed Relics.

Inserts include 2018 Arizona Fall League AFL Fall Stars, 2018 Arizona Fall League MVP Short Print, Arizona Fall League Alumni, Elite Farmhands, and Stat Tracker.

As always, Bowman Chrome is prospect and rookie heavy.  Some of these names might not ring a bell just yet, but someday in the future they could.

Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Sean Hjelle Bowman Chrome Prospects Refractor Auto #’ed/499
  • Sam Hentges Bowman Chrome Prospects Auto

Parallels

  • Eric Pardinho Bowman Chrome Prospects Purple Shimmer Refractor
  • Khris Davis Bowman Chrome Green Refractor #’ed/99
  • J.B. Bukauskas Bowman Chrome Prospects Blue Refractor #’ed/150

Inserts

  • Victor Victor Mesa Elite Farmhands
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 2018 Arizona Fall League Fall Stars
  • Ryan McKenna 2018 Arizona Fall League Fall Stars
  • Connor Scott Stat Tracker
  • Brady Singer Stat Tracker
  • Nick Madrigal Stat Tracker
  • Brice Turang Stat Tracker

2019 Topps Luminaries Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

How could I possibly forget the day when Luminaries arrived on the scene.  It was during the fall of 2017.  Upon opening my box I found a redemption card waiting for me.  That redemption card was for a Frank Thomas Autographed Letter Patch Book #’ed 1/1.  One of the best pulls of my life.  I immediately redeemed it, and within a matter of weeks it arrived.

In 2018 Luminaries moved to a summer release.  From that box I pulled a Ozzie Smith Autograph #’ed/15.

Sticking to a late summer release, Luminaries makes it’s return for 2019.  This product is for the real gamblers out there.  Packaged inside each box is (1) card.  That card is guaranteed to be an autograph or autograph/relic numbered to (15) or less.

As of this writing a box will cost $220.

Hits come in a variety of forms – Hit Kings Autographs, Home Run Kings Autographs, Masters of the Mound Autographs, Lighting the Way Dual Autographs, Hit Kings Autograph Relics, Hit Kings Autograph Patches, Home Run Kings Autograph Relics, Home Run Kings Autograph Patches, Masters of the Mound Autograph Relics, Masters of the Mound Autograph Patches, Lighting the Way Dual Autograph Relics, Hit Kings Autograph Patch Dual Book, Hit Kings Ultra Book, Hit Kings Ultimate Book, Home Run Kings Autograph Patch Dual Book, Home Run Kings Autograph Patch Triple Book, Home Run Kings Ultra Book, Home Run Kings Ultimate Book, Masters of the Mound Autograph Patch Dual Book, Masters of the Mound Ultra Book, The Greatest Book, Letters Autograph Book, Cut Signatures, Cut Signature Relics, Cut Signature Bat Knob Book, and Lighting the Way Autograph/Cut Signature Book.

Its quite the gamble for $220.  Then again, if all you’re doing is opening these boxes for the money you’re not in this hobby for the right reasons.  If the box price is too high and you’re a player collector picking up singles on the secondary market might be your best way to go.  Quick-thrill.  Lots of potential big hits.

Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Chris Sale Masters of the Mound Red Auto #’ed/10

2019 Topps Fire Baseball Collectors Box Break & Review

Heading to Target soon?  If so, take a wander over to their card section to see if they have any boxes of 2019 Topps Fire left.  This artistic set with designs by Tyson Beck is one of the most colorful products Topps issues.

As a retail-only product exclusive to Target there are a few different formats as to how you can enjoy this brand – Collectors Box, Blasters, and Fat Packs.  Each one has their own special stuff to look for.  Fat Packs are the only place you’ll find Blue Chip parallels.  Blasters contain Gold Minted parallels.  A Collectors Box is what a hobby box would be.  It has (2) hits.

2019 Topps Fire is a colorful explosion that features (200) cards.  Parallels include Blue Chip (Fat Pack), Gold Minted (Blaster), Flame (1:4), Orange #’ed/299 (1:11), Green #’ed/199 (1:17), Purple #’ed/99 (1:33), Magenta #’ed/25 (1:129), Onyx SSP (1:242), and Inferno #’ed 1/1 (1:3,568).

Autographs include Fire Autographs, Dual Autographs #’ed/20 or less, Triple Autographs #’ed/5, Flame Throwers Artist Autographs #’ed/10, and Fired Up Artist Autographs #’ed/10.

Relics include Fire Autograph Patch #’ed/25 or less, Fire Autograph Laundry Tag #’ed 1/1, and Fire Relics.

The inserts really shine with Fire.  En Fuego, Fired Up, Flame Throwers, Lasting Legacies, Maximum Velocity, and Smoke and Mirrors highlight the inserts.

Like I mentioned earlier, a Collectors Box is equal to what a hobby box would be.  One should cost $70.  If there isn’t a Target near you, they do sell them online.  The 2019 set seems a bit brighter to me when comparing it to last year’s set.  As nice as the base set and it’s parallels look, the inserts are what pop out to me the most.

Not everyone has access to a local card shop.  If a retail setting is the only place you purchase your cards, I highly recommend giving 2019 Fire a try.  Even if you don’t get a life altering hit, after all of those packs have been ripped there should be a nice selection of inserts and a decent amount of rookies to add to your collection.

Way above average box here.  Nice surprises!  Bonus hit!

Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Relic

  • Alex Verdugo Fire Relic

Auto/Relic

  • Ramon Laureano Fire Auto/Patch Blue #’ed/15

Auto

  • Pete Alonso Fire Auto

Parallels

  • Taylor Ward Purple #’ed/99
  • Brandon Crawford Green #’ed/199
  • Joey Votto Orange #’ed/299
  • Manny Machado Orange #’ed/299
  • Stephen Strasburg Flame
  • David Fletcher Flame
  • Austin Hedges Flame
  • David Ortiz Flame
  • DJ Stewart Flame

Inserts

  • Giancarlo Stanton/Reggie Jackson Lasting Legacies
  • Carlos Correa Fired Up
  • Franchy Cordero Maximum Velocity
  • Corey Kluber Smoke and Mirrors
  • Luis Severino Smoke and Mirrors
  • Chris Sale Flame Throwers
  • Aroldis Chapman Flame Throwers
  • Ivan Rodriguez En Fuego
  • Miguel Cabrera En Fuego
  • Freddie Freeman En Fuego

2019 Topps Heritage High Number Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Last October while diving into my box of Heritage High Number I was greeted with a Shohei Ohtani Real One RC Auto.  Trust me.  I did not see that coming.  Sure it was always a possibility, but the odds of pulling one were incredibly rare.  But that’s proof big hits can happen anywhere and to anyone.

Hobby boxes of 2019 Topps Heritage High Number cost about $100 right now.  Every box has (24) packs and a box topper.

Continuing where the regular Heritage set left off, Heritage High Number goes from #501-#725.  The last (25) cards are Short Prints.

Parallels include Black Border #’ed/50 (Hobby), and Flip Stock #’ed/5 (Hobby).  Those Flip Stock parallels are the easiest ones to miss.  That’s why you need to take you’re time with a product like this.  A Flip Stock parallel could easily end up being the big hit of the box.  CMP codes don’t apply to them either.  Feeling the front and back of each card is a must to be sure the sides aren’t reversed.

Outside of the Black Border and Flip Stock parallels there are a bunch of cards that can be pulled where the CMP code does come in handy:

  • Base (#501-#700) – #321
  • Base SP (#701-#725) – #329
  • French Text – #322 or #330
  • Silver Metal – #340
  • Error – #341
  • Trade – #342
  • Throwback – #343
  • Action Image – #344
  • Team Name Color – #345
  • Nickname – #346

Minis #’ed/100 and Chrome cards are also possible pulls.  The Chrome cards have Hot Box Purple, Base Refractor #’ed/570, Black #’ed/69, Gold #’ed/5 (Hobby), and Superfractor #’ed 1/1 parallels.

Inserts include 1970 Topps Candy Lids (Target only), 1970 Topps Cloth Stickers (Walmart/Meijers only), 1970 Topps Player Story Booklets (Retail only), 1970 Topps Scratch Off, Award Winners, Combo Cards, Now and Then, Rookie Performers, The Hammer’s Greatest Hits, 1970 Topps Super Baseball Box Topper, 1970 Topps Poster Box Topper, and 1970 Topps Originals Box Topper.

Hobby boxes each contain (1) autograph or relic.  Most of the time you’re hit will be something from the Clubhouse Collection.

Relic types include Clubhouse Collection Relics, Clubhouse Collection Dual Relics, Clubhouse Collection Triple Relics, Clubhouse Collection Quad Relics, Clubhouse Collection Autograph Relics, and Clubhouse Collection Dual Autograph Relics.

Autograph types include Real One Autographs, Real One Dual Autographs, The Hammer’s Greatest Hits Autographs, and 1970 Cut Signatures.

2019 Topps Heritage High Number is one that most set collectors should enjoy.  The mix of parallels, variations, and new rookies gives you plenty to look for outside of the main hit.  Its a relatively small set you should be able to put together quickly.  Former Phillies Manager and current Hitting Coach Charlie Manuel’s rookie card comes from 1970 Topps.  I wonder if any of those made it into the 1970 Topps Originals Box Toppers?

We have one more set this year to feature the 1970 Topps design – 2019 Topps Heritage MiLB.  Then we move on to the 1971 Topps design.  1971 Topps is one of the most condition sensitive sets ever made because of the black borders.

Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Relic

  • Yaisel Puig Clubhouse Collection Relic

SP Photo Variation

  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. RC Action Image

Parallels

  • Alex Wood Black Border #’ed/50
  • Carter Kieboom RC Chrome Refractor #’ed/569

Short Prints

  • Chris Paddack RC #703
  • Victor Robles #701
  • Adam Jones #705
  • Luis Cessa #724
  • Mychal Givens #721
  • Cameron Maybin #710
  • Hunter Strickland #712
  • Thomas Pannone RC #715

Inserts

  • Jack DiLauro 1970 Topps Originals Box Topper
  • Salvador Perez Scratch Off
  • The Hammer’s Greatest Hits – Hank Aaron #10
  • Lorenzo Cain/Christian Yelich Combo Card
  • Keston Hiura Rookie Performers
  • Jon Duplantier Rookie Performers
  • Fernando Tatis Jr. Rookie Performers
  • Zack Greinke Now and Then
  • Cody Bellinger Now and Then
  • Khris Davis Now and Then
  • Shohei Ohtani Award Winners
  • Alex Bregman Award Winners
  • Steve Pearce Award Winners

2019 Topps Archives Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Well… wasn’t that an entertaining box to rip open.  Its the retro product of all retro products.  I’m talking about Archives.  Once again Topps utilizes classic designs from the past to create cards of today’s veterans, stars, rookies, and retired/Hall of Famers.  The collection of notable and obscure players combined with all of the on-card autograph goodness has been a “Fan Favorite” for years.

A hobby box of 2019 Topps Archives will cost about $90 as of this writing.  (24) packs come in a hobby box, and you’re guaranteed (2) on-card autographs.

If you’re looking to put the set together it consists of (300) cards.  Designs from 1958, 1975, and 1993 are featured throughout the set.  When it comes to the cards printed with the 1975 design be sure to watch out for the ones missing the facsimile signature.  Also be on the lookout for 1993 Topps Gold cards.  Both of these are subset parallels that aren’t easy to pull (1:207 packs).  Other parallels include Purple #’ed/175, Silver #’ed/99, Blue #’ed/25 (Hobby), and Gold #’ed 1/1.

Base High-Number cards are like short prints and range from #301-#330.

Please check the card backs as you’re ripping through those packs.  (10) photo variations are in here.  Base cards featuring the 1958 design have CMP codes that end in #053.  Base cards featuring the 1975 design have CMP codes that end in #058.  Base cards featuring the 1993 design have CMP codes that end in #064.  No matter the design, if you pull a photo variation the CMP code will end in #070.

Along with well-known names in baseball like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Sandy Koufax, Archives always comes with a slew of what I call obscure players.  These are guys who had successful careers in baseball, but just don’t have that many autographed cards.  In fact, Archives can sometimes be the only product where they have autographs.

Autographs come in the following forms – Fan Favorites Autographs, 1978 Topps Record Breaker Autographs, 1994 Future Star Autographs, 50th Anniversary of the Montréal Expos Autographs, Ichiro Retrospective Autographs, Topps Magazine Autographs, and Topps Originals Autographs.

Inserts include 1975 Mini, 1994 Topps Future Star, 50th Anniversary of the Montréal Expos, Ichiro Retrospective, Topps Coins (Blaster box), and Topps Magazine.

I’m always interested to see if any Phillies players from the past received the Archives autograph treatment.  This year one did.  Former Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal has a Fan Favorites autograph.  Very cool!  When I began watching the Phillies he was their starting catcher.  I even met him during a few autograph signings in Harrisburg, PA.  During his playing career he had some autographed cards issued.  But nothing recently.  Its great to see his name popup again.

Another area of interest to me are the 50th Anniversary of the Montréal Expos inserts.  Some of these players use to play for the Harrisburg Senators AA team.  The first professional baseball game I went to see was in Harrisburg.  Including guys like Cliff Floyd and Rondell White bring back a lot of memories.

Curious to known whether or not the Topps Magazine was real.  It was.  Topps Magazine ran from 1990 to 1993.  Fun to see this make a comeback in cardboard form.

I say this every year, but I’m going to continue to do so until it happens.  Current Phillies radio broadcaster and former pitcher Larry Andersen needs to have an autograph in here.  Its the perfect product for him to be in.

Tons of nostalgic designs and on-card autographs.  Awesome box!

Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Ken Griffey Jr. Fan Favorites Auto
  • Coco Laboy 50th Anniversary of the Montréal Expos Auto

Parallels

  • Lucas Giolito Silver #’ed/99
  • Lou Gehrig Purple #’ed/175
  • Ichiro Retrospective #I-15 Green #’ed/99

Base High-Numbers

  • Luis Urias 2019 Rookie #325
  • Pete Alonso 2019 Rookie #330
  • Kyle Wright 2019 Rookie #329
  • Josh Hader 1975 Highlights #313
  • Kris Bryant 1975 Highlights #318
  • Derek Jeter 1975 Highlights #311
  • Chris Sale 1958 Sport Magazine All-Star #305
  • Javier Baez 1958 Sport Magazine All-Star #303
  • Nolan Arenado 1958 Sport Magazine All-Star #307

Inserts

  • Pedro Martinez 50th Anniversary of the Montréal Expos
  • Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Future Star
  • Pete Alonso Future Star
  • Ichiro Retrospective #I-4
  • Ichiro Retrospective #I-8
  • Cal Ripken Jr. Topps Magazine
  • Ronald Acuña Jr. Topps Magazine
  • Shohei Ohtani Topps Magazine
  • Aaron Judge Topps Magazine
  • Barry Larkin Topps Magazine

2019 Bowman Sterling Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Pizza.  That’s exactly what pops into my head when I look at a box of 2019 Bowman Sterling Baseball.  The shape of the box reminds me of something a personal pan pizza would get delivered in.  Mmm… pizza.  I haven’t had one of those from Pizza Hut in a long time.

Its been five years since the Bowman Sterling brand was made available as a standalone product.  The last standalone outing it had was in 2014.  I remember buying a lot of Bowman Sterling packs, both baseball and football.  Over the last few years Bowman Sterling inserts have shown up in various other Topps products.

Topps debuted Bowman Sterling to collectors in 2004.  Matt Bush, Huston Street, Robinson Cano, Adam Wainwright, Felix Hernandez, Homer Bailey, Philip Hughes, David Wright, Scott Kazmir, Carlos Quentin, Delmon Young, and Trevor Plouffe were all top guys that you wanted to pull at the time.

2019 Bowman Sterling is a very rookie and prospect focused set.  Much like it’s predecessors of the past.  A hobby box will cost around $250 as of this writing.  Inside each box you’ll find (5) mini-boxes each housing an autograph.

Although the autographs are the main attraction, a base set is here for you to collect.  The base set consists of (100) cards – (50) prospects and (50) rookies.  Parallels include Base Refractor #’ed/199, Speckle #’ed/99, Gold #’ed/50, Blue #’ed/25, Black Atomic #’ed/10, Red #’ed/5, Superfractor #’ed 1/1, and Printing Plates #’ed 1/1.

Even though a low-numbered parallel of a base card could easily end up being the major hit of the box, autographs are the meat and potatoes of this brand.  Numerous autograph options are available – Prospect & Rookie Autographs, Sterling Die-Cut Autographs, Sterling Retrospect Autographs, Dual Refractor Autographs, and Triple Refractor Autographs.

Sterling Retrospect highlight the only insert.  Both the autographed and non-autographed versions of these cards are designed to look as if they’re from the 2004 set.  I would say that these are my favorite cards.  A lot of veterans are in this portion of the set.  Vertically signed autographs, which you’ll find on the Sterling Retrospect cards, has always caught my eye.

Simple design.  Pizza box presentation.  Prospecting collectors should enjoy the revival of this brand.

Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Noelvi Marte
  • Jordan Groshans
  • Ryan Borucki
  • Franklin Perez
  • Grayson Rodriguez Refractor #’ed/150

Parallels

  • Brendan Rodgers Refractor #’ed/199
  • Brock Deatherage Speckle #’ed/99

2019 Topps Chrome Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

I have a confession to make.  I’m easily distracted by shiny objects.  So are a lot of other collectors.  BE CAREFUL OPENING WHILE OPERATING HEAVY MACHINERY!

I can only speak for myself, but when I finished opening my box one word came to mind… balance.  The box I opened contained a very nice balance of hits.  It probably is one of the best Topps Chrome Baseball boxes I’ve ever opened.

A hobby box will run you about $110 right now.  The base set consists of (204) cards with the following parallels: Base Refractor, Prism, Sepia (Blaster), Pink (Value Pack), Negative, Purple #’ed/299, Blue #’ed/150, Green #’ed/99, Green Wave #’ed/99 (Hobby/Jumbo), Blue Wave #’ed/75 (Hobby/Jumbo), Gold #’ed/50, Gold Wave #’ed/50 (Hobby/Jumbo), Orange #’ed/25 (Hobby), Orange Wave #’ed/25 (Hobby/Jumbo), Red #’ed/5, Red Wave #’ed/5 (Hobby/Jumbo), Superfractor #’ed 1/1, and Printing Plates #’ed 1/1.

SP Photo Variations are quite difficult to pull falling at a rate of 1:247 packs.  There are (25) total SP Photo Variations.  Pulling the regular version is hard enough, but they do have parallels: Green #’ed/99, Orange #’ed/25, Red #’ed/5, and Superfractor #’ed 1/1.

CMP codes are helpful:

  • Base – #369
  • SP Photo Variation – #409

Housed inside each hobby box are (2) guaranteed autographs which can come in the form of Rookie Autographs, Dual Rookie Autographs, 1984 Topps Baseball Autographs, 1999 Topps Chrome Baseball Autographs, Freshman Flash Autographs, and Future Stars Autographs.

Relics are case hits.  When you think about Topps Chrome Baseball, relics don’t always pop into your head right away.  They tend to be much more difficult to pull from this brand.  Called Debut Gear, these horizontally-oriented hits came out well and make me wish we saw more chrome-style relics.  Not only did I pull a case hit (1:544 packs) I got the Red Refractor version #’ed/5 (1:17,628 packs).  Not too shabby for a 24-pack box.  Debut Gear Autographs are also available.

Non-autographed inserts include 1984 Topps Baseball, Freshman Flash, Future Stars, and Greatness Returns.

I think you’ll agree that my hits were quite balanced.  One of these years I’d like to see some Topps Chrome Baseball National Sports Collectors Convention exclusive cards.  Shiny stuff!!!

Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Autos

  • Cedric Mullins Gold Wave Refractor Auto #’ed/50
  • Sean Reid-Foley Auto

Relic

  • Ivan Rodriguez Debut Gear Patch Red Refractor #’ed/5

SP Photo Variation

  • Justus Sheffield Green Refractor #’ed/99

Parallels

  • Carlos Santana Purple Refractor #’ed/299
  • Touki Toussaint Prism Refractor
  • Jose Urena Prism Refractor
  • Dakota Hudson Prism Refractor
  • Sandy Alcantara Prism Refractor
  • Charlie Blackmon Refractor
  • Evan Longoria Refractor
  • Whit Merrifield Refractor
  • Nick Burdi Refractor
  • Jesus Aguilar Refractor
  • Justus Sheffield Refractor
  • Ronald Guzman Refractor

Inserts

  • Ty Cobb/Bryce Harper Greatness Returns
  • Kyle Wright Freshman Flash
  • Cedric Mullins Freshman Flash
  • Scott Kingery Future Stars
  • Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. Future Stars
  • Miles Mikolas Future Stars
  • Ichiro 1984 Topps
  • Francisco Lindor 1984 Topps
  • Joey Votto 1984 Topps
  • Yusei Kikuchi 1984 Topps