My First Topps Now Card

As usual, I am late to the party.  As long as Topps Now has been running, I’ve never understood what the fuss is about.  There is an 829 page thread about it on Blowoutforums.com, so that must mean something.  When I saw they had a card available of Troy Tulowitzki posing as a pitcher, I had had to try it out.

I am not a Tulo collector, nor am I a fan of the Blue Jays, but this was too good to pass up.  This one was $9.99 with free shipping.  From what I have seen, that is the standard price for base cards.  Autograph versions and team sets, like the Road to Opening Day Spring Training sets are more.   If you buy in bulk, the savings are substantial.

Print Run

The print run for this card was 1,374.  Topps Now cards are generally available for 24 hours.  However, the Spring Training sets appear to be an exception, available until about a week after Opening Day.  After the clock runs out, no more cards are made.  The biggest appeal of Topps Now for me is the rarity.  Some of the big Judge and Ohtani cards have sold over 10,000, compared to just 358 for the Eric Hosmer signing with the Padres card.

Packaging

The packaging was impressive.  I was expecting a toploader with a Topps sticker over the top of it.  Instead, the card came in a neat cardboard outer box.  The card itself was in a tow piece, 10 count plastic storage box.  It is protected from bouncing around in the box by a card sized piece of foam.  The packaging presentation alone makes it look like a $10 card.

Drumroll Please……….
The Big Reveal

Back of the Card

Final Thoughts

Although I consider myself a pack ripper, this is something I could really get into.  I am considering buying the Orioles Road To Opening Day set, though no checklist has been posted yet.  Once the season starts, I’ll be checking daily and following along on the Blowout thread.  I’ve got everything ready for the next podcast, so that may get recorded tonight or early tomorrow morning.  Please send me your questions or comments by commenting on this post, using the Contact page, or on Twitter @BaseballCardCen.  Thanks for reading!

Baseball Card Central Podcast- Episode 1: Topps Heritage Day

The first episode of the Baseball Card Central Podcast is up!  Topics include Topps Heritage, Ohtani, Bowman’s Best and Topps Now.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

2017 Bowman’s Best – Two Hobby Boxes + Bonus Break

Box Break: Road Trip Edition

We have all been there. All of us card addicts have anyway. Driving down the endless interstate on a long road trip, just counting down the miles. Then a little thought pops up. What could make this trip a little more bearable, maybe make the last 200 miles go by a little quicker? Then, before we know it, the GPS is taking us to the nearest card shop. Maybe it’s a little bit out of the way, but oh so worth it.

I found myself in that situation yesterday and was lucky to find Middle Georgia Sportscards and Collectibles in Warner Robins, GA. I’ve been to quite a few card shops in my day and this one was exceptional. Charlie was friendly, knowledgeable and from what I could tell, a genuine card nut. I haven’t opened any 2017 Bowman’s Best, so I settled on two (very fairly priced) boxes. This was a super fun break and I got some great stuff out of it. Check it out:

Base Rookies and Veterans

There are only 65 cards in this section of the base set, so there isn’t much room for anything other than veteran stars and rookies with big potential. Great looking base design and I pulled some great rookies and a few Orioles for my collection.

Rookie and Veteran Refractors

Here comes the shiny stuff!  I pulled Mancini, Bregman, Ichiro and Tapia base Refractors for my collection.  That Bellinger looks pretty nice next to the Atomic Refractor of fellow Dodger youngster, Corey Seager.  I finished up strong with a Gurriel RC Purple Refractor, serial numbered out of 250.

Base Top Prospects

There are 35 cards in this section of the base set, a lot of big name prospects as the name implies. I think I hit the base card jackpot here: Vlad Jr, Clint Frazier, Devers, Senzel and Royce Lewis.  Pretty good haul and a good chance that at least one of them will be a household name in the next 5 years.

Top Prospect Refractors

Kyle Wright is the theme here.  Atlanta’s First Round pick from 2017 showed up on an Atomic Refractor and Green Parallel numbered out of 99.  I also lucked out with Pitcher and First Baseman cards (separate card numbers, not a photo variation) of potential two-way star Brendan McKay.  No Baltimore prospects here, but I’ll take it.

1997 Best Cuts

This things are bright and gave me a serious 90’s flashback, especially the Piazza.  Best Cuts Atomic Refractors are supposed to fall two per case, so I was pretty happy to get one.  The picture is a little dark at the bottom, but that is Nick Senzel.  I was pretty happy to pull that Bregman, one of the few non-O’s that I collect.

Baseball America’s 2017 Dean’s List

Other than Torres, Acuna and of course Corey Seager, I’ve never heard anything good or bad about any of the others.  If I’m missing out on a big prospect here, let me know in the comments below or on Twitter.  Cool looking insert, may have to go to SportLots for the Ryan Mountcastle.

Mirror Image

The first one I pulled was a neat change of pace, but these cards stress me out.  You can’t have them upside down like that.  I will be unloading these as fast as I can and that is all I have to say about that.

Raking Rookies

These are a little tougher pull and a small (10 card) checklist.  Probably my favorite of the inserts in this release.  These things are sharp and as far as collectibility goes, should have some staying power.

The Autographs

And now, what you have all been waiting for.  I’m pretty happy with what I got and the Mountcastle made my day.  I was going to buy it on eBay the other day, but something told me to hold on.  Drum roll please for Royce Lewis and Kevin Maitan Green Refractor #/99!!

Bonus Break

I couldn’t resist trying one box of 2017 Topps Archives Signature Series Active Player Edition.  These are one card per box, encased and tamper sealed by Topps.  I guess now is as good a time as any, so here’s the big reveal.

…..

If your reaction was “oh.”  That was about my reaction.  To be fair, this guy had a decent season in 2017.  If he could trade a few whiffs for walks, he might have a good career.  Maybe it was the bone spurs they just removed that was making him swing and miss last year.

Thanks for reading!

I hope you enjoyed this break.  It was a nice detour for me and it was great talking baseball with Charlie at Midddle Georgia Sportscards.  He gave me a business card and asked me to sign their wall next to the door on the way out.  If you find yourself on the road, driving through the heart of Georgia, stop in and check them out.  Please feel free to send any feedback via the Contact page, in the comments, or on Twitter @BaseballCardCen.

A Fork in the Mile High Road

Two cousins, Flash-Frozen Ice Cream, and Todd Helton

Back in the days when Home Runs flew and nobody knew what they were really doing to make them fly and keep flying, we all just sat, watched, and cheered. We watched two power hitters fight over an unbreakable record that had stood for decades. The newspaper ran story after story, and even in my small Montana town, when the record was broken, it was front page news. I was ten years old when the record fell, and less than a year away from seeing my first big league game in person.

My first games were the 4th and 5th of June, 1999 at Coors Field. The Rockies and Brewers teed off and combined for 40 runs over two games. Jim Abbott started the first game for Milwaukee and somehow made it through 6 innings, only giving up 4 on 9 hits. Larry Walker hit a homer in each game and Vinny Castilla hit 3 in the second game. We also got to see Hideo Nomo, a few years removed from his most dominant seasons. This is all a story for another time, the real story here happened a year later. The real story is a tale of two cousins, Dippin’ Dots, the Mile High seats and Todd Helton. It has been almost twenty years since then. I’ve done a good bit of self-inflicted brain cell killin’ over the last ten of them so the details may be a bit off, but this is the story as I remember it.

In July 2000, we took a trip back to Coors Field for two games. I was the old pro at this point, decked out with fanny pack full of pens, markers and cards, should an autograph opportunity present itself. My cousin also had his cards and markers, but no fanny pack…he was and to this day is a little cooler than me. The Rockies were playing the Padres and this was the height of Trevor Hoffman’s dominance. When we saw what looked like a pack of kid’s gathered around on a player the third base side, about 50 feet from the dugout in left field foul territory, we sprinted down, skipping rows of steps along the way. At this point I was losing my mind, but I kept it together long enough to get my card signed. My cousin got his signed and we sprinted back up to our dads.

We were wandering around towards the home dugout and my cousin suddenly got uncharacteristically excited. He made a direct course for a brightly colored concession stand and told me I had to try this. We both asked our dads for money and made our selections. They were called Dippin’ Dots and they were fantastic. I had never tasted anything quite like it. As we finished our icy treat, one of us noticed another pack of kids gathering around someone on the field. We quickly changed gears and ran for the field. Before us stood Todd Helton, who in his third full season, was setting the baseball world on fire.   He was also on his way to becoming the second Rockies player in as many years to hit over .370. This is where it goes sideways.

It started out ok as we patiently waited our turn in the ever-growing line. As I moved to the front of the line, I shuffled through my fanny pack for the perfect card and marker. I got my card signed and moved out of the way.  My cousin moved in to get his autograph. Or so he thought. We both heard it, but it only crushed one of us. “I already signed for you, kid.” My cousin tried to protest for a second, but Helton had already moved on.

We didn’t talk much about it after that and spent the rest of the game wandering around, doing the stuff kids do. We made the climb up to the mile high line of seats and spent most of the game talking baseball with some drunk guys about our dads’ age. Sometime after the 7th inning stretch we made our way back to our not-drunk dads. We would return to Coors Field one final time, in 2001, but for my cousin it was never the same.

(Not Todd Helton, but Kirt Manwaring.  For some reason my favorite player as a kid.  He won a gold glove in 1993, but only hit .246 with 21 HRs over 13 years.)

Several months ago, I saw my cousin for the first time in years. We spent the evening telling old stories and laughing. When we got to one particular story, one of us didn’t laugh. I’ll just leave it like this. Since July 22nd, 2000, I’ve been a big fan of Todd Helton and treasured this autographed card. (side note: I think at some point I tried to fix the smudge on the left side of the signature).

Since, July 22nd, 2000, my cousin has been the opposite of that and has not treasured his un-autographed card. I have included an example below of what his card may have looked like. I’m sure the original was turned into some kind of Todd Helton voodoo doll, stuck in some dirt bike spokes, and tossed in a burning dumpster.

I hope you enjoyed this story. Keep an eye out for more baseball stories, box breaks, and the Baseball Card Central podcast.

2018 Topps Series 1 Baseball Retail Break

BASEBALL IS BACK! I have been opening way too much 2018 Topps Series 1 Baseball the last couple weeks and I just can’t stop. I am hoping this final Target binge will hold me over until the release of Topps Heritage at the end of the month. On this break, I opened up three blasters and four hanger boxes, a little over $100 worth, this time without the Target exclusive Derek Jeter Highlight cards. Since I have opened quite a bit of this already, there aren’t many cards I want that I haven’t pulled already, but there is one that I’ve had my eBay eye on and I’ve finally pulled it. Anyway, without further ado, here are the results:

Base

I didn’t get a full set, but I did get quite a few doubles and some triples. All of the big Series 1 rookies (Hoskins, Hays, Andujar, etc.) and stars (Judge, Stanton, Kershaw, etc) were represented.  Another blaster or a few hanger boxes would have completed the set, but I don’t have the storage space to become a set collector. I have hoarded mass quantities of rookies and stars though, saving them for a break out year, monster spring, or Hall of Fame induction.

1983 Topps

I got two doubles out of this bunch, Kenta Maeda and Daniel Murphy. One of the best and most popular players in the game, Kris Bryant. Topps paid tribute to the late Roy Halladay in this set as well, a nice gesture and a card I will keep in my collection. A pair of Mets rookies, Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario. Manny Machado and Bo Jackson round out the base 1983 cards. I also pulled one blue parallel of Jose Canseco. I love the throwback cards from Topps and like the 1987 cards last year, I kept quite a few of players I don’t typically collect.

 

Gold Parallels

Gold parallels are back, as always, serial numbered to the year. This year’s run is limited to 2018 copies and the gold wave looks fantastic. All three that I pulled are solid players, not guys that I collect, but still great cards.

Legends In The Making

This is my least favorite insert set, but they are plentiful. They aren’t horrible cards, and the blue and black parallels look pretty cool, but they feel like an insert set Score would put out. I’ve got at least the base and some blue and black parallels of the players I collect, so like the Golds, these will be sold for whatever I can get out of them.

MLB Awards

I pulled five of these and they are all good names. The Stanton Hank Aaron Award Winner card is particularly stunning. He had a monster year and I can only imagine the back yard home run derby that he is going to play with Judge this year. Rounding out the group are Jason Heyward, Gary Sanchez, George Springer and Nolan Arenado.

Topps Now Top 10

I don’t understand this set, seems a little self-congratulatory, but maybe someone likes it. MY guess is that the only reason anyone would buy these is to complete a master set. Luckily, I only pulled two of them this time.

Opening Day

This is a cool looking insert set with all the big stars pictured on Opening Day. I may be getting too far in the weeds, but since this is called 2018 Topps Opening Day, when 2018 Topps Opening Day comes out, will there be mass confusion? I like the concept for the insert, but when you already have a standalone series called Opening Day, naming an insert set Opening Day seems like an odd move. Either way, I’m ready for Opening Day! Also, I pulled three blue parallels and they really pop.

Player’s Weekend Commemorative Patches

These are manufactured relics that come one per Blaster Box…Some years they are great looking cards (see 2011 Topps Series 1) and other years they are a little bland. This one is about half and half. Great concept on the Player’s Weekend theme, but using the players’ nicknames and adding a little more color would have made these things just about perfect.

Rainbow Foil Parallels

Other than the fact that these cards like to take on a curved shape as soon as you pull them out of the pack, they are always a favorite. This years foils are no exception. Check out the shine on that Pat Valaika, it looks 10 times better in person.

Salute

This insert set is the coolest. Great mix of current stars, legends of the past, and rookies on a great design. I think these inserts will have some staying power in an otherwise forgetful card market. Out of the 12, I got a good mix including Anthony Rizzo, George Brett, and up and coming Second Baseman, Ozzie Albies.

Superstar Sensations

Another great looking insert set.  These remind me of chasing down Cal Ripken and Ken Griffey Jr inserts in the last 90s. I haven’t pulled any of the parallels, but the base insert are cool in my book. We might be losing Machado next year, but as long as he is an Oriole, I’ll keep collecting him. The bright orange looks pretty good on that purple background.

The Good Stuff

Photo variations this year seem easier to pull than last year’s Series 1, but not as plentiful as 2017 Update. I’ve been eyeing this Adam Jones on eBay and so stoked to have pulled it myself. I was really excited to pull another Independence Day Parallel, serial numbered to 76. Unfortunately this one is a checklist…fortunately it is a checklist featuring the World Champions from last year. Finally, we have the Home Run Challenge scratch off card. Topps is giving away parallel cards and a trip to the 2019 Home Run Derby.  Check out  the Topps blog for contest details. Definitely a fun idea for the code cards, but I haven’t had good luck with them in the past, so I am going to try and sell this one off.

Overall this was a really fun break, as Topps Series 1 Baseball always is. I am anxiously looking forward to opening some Heritage in about 2 weeks and all diving headfirst into all the madness that Ohtani has caused in the hobby this month.  Please feel free to Contact Me with any questions or suggestions for future content.  Thanks for reading and hold on for an exciting year in Baseball Cards!