2008 Razor Signature Series Hobby Box BreakDecember 21, 2008 at 4:06 am | Posted in My Cards, Razor, Video | 24 Comments
Back in July, I was pretty excited when I first heard about a new card company, Razor, signing the Rays first round pick, Tim Beckham, and several other first round picks to exclusive contracts. I also gave them some positive coverage in this post. What you are about to read, however, will not be very positive. I recently purchased a hobby box of Razor’s first baseball product, Razor Signature Series, from a dealer in Pennsylvania on eBay. I went into this really wanting to like Razor. Here’s my box break:
As you can see, I did not get an autograph from any of the big names in the product. I originally thought that I didn’t get autographs from any first round picks, but after I finished recording the video, I realized that David Cooper was actually the first round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays this year, so I got one first round pick. Of course, I was hoping for a Tim Beckham autograph. I did get his base card, and I would have been happy with any one of the top ten picks, but instead, all of the autographs in my box are pretty much completely worthless.
Here’s the breakdown of what I got:
- 39 base cards (including 3 duplicates) – giving me 36 out of the 100 base cards in the set
- 1 black parallel – Brett Wallace (#120/200)
- 3 “Exclusive Signature” autograph cards (not serial numbered) – Ryan Flaherty, Derrik Gibson, Brett Marshall
- 1 autograph card #/1499 – Dennis Raben (#0494/1499)
- 4 autograph cards #/1199 – David Cooper (#0291/1199), J.P. Ramirez (#0537/1199), Cody Satterwhite (#0311/1199), Zeke Spruill (#0491/1199).
- 2 autograph cards #/199 – Trey Haley (#146/199), Brad Holt (#102/199)
Here’s some information about the players on the autograph cards that I pulled, including the round in which they were drafted and the team that picked them:
- David Cooper – First baseman from UC Berkeley, Blue Jays first round pick (17th overall).
- Brad Holt – Right-handed pitcher from UNC Wilmington, Mets sandwich round pick (33rd overall).
- Ryan Flaherty – Shortstop from Vanderbilt, Cubs sandwich round (compensation) pick (41st overall).
- Dennis Raben – Right fielder from the University of Miami, Mariners second round pick (66th overall).
- Cody Satterwhite – Right-handed pitcher from the University of Mississippi, Tigers second round pick (67th overall).
- Zeke Spruill – Right-handed pitcher from Kell High School (Georgia), Braves second round pick (70th overall).
- Trey Haley – Right-handed pitcher from Central Heights High School (Texas), Indians second round pick (76th overall). The front of the card erroneously states that he was an 11th round pick.
- Derrik Gibson – Shortstop from Seaford High School (Delaware), Red Sox second round pick (77th overall).
- Brett Marshall – Right-handed pitcher from Ross S. Sterling High School (Texas), Yankees sixth round pick (200th overall).
- J.P. Ramirez – Center fielder from Canyon High School (Texas), Nationals 15th round pick.
So I got one freakin’ autograph from a first round pick in my box. Now, if you haven’t seen Beckett’s Razor box break, how many first round pick autographs do you think they pulled from the boxes that were hand-delivered to them by the president of Razor, Brian Gray? I just watched their video again, and I counted. They pulled 23 (yes, twenty three) autographs from first round picks in their four boxes. That is an average of almost 6 per box. You can watch their video here. They got two Tim Beckham autographs, one of the #2 overall pick Pedro Alvarez, one of the #3 pick Eric Hosmer, two of the #5 pick in the 2007 draft, Matt Wieters (who is arguably the top prospect in baseball right now), one of the #6 pick Kyle Skipworth, two of the #7 pick Yonder Alonso, one of the #9 pick Aaron Crow, two of the #10 pick Jason Castro (that’s 12 autographs of top 10 picks), one of the #11 pick Justin Smoak, two of the #12 pick Jemile Weeks, one of the #14 pick Aaron Hicks, one of the #15 pick Ethan Martin (that makes 17 cards better than my Cooper autograph), two of Cooper, who was the #17 pick, two of #22 pick Reese Havens, one of #23 pick Allan Dykstra, and one of #25 pick Christian Friedrich.
Brian Gray sat next to Beckett’s esteemed box breakers, Tracy Hackler and Chris Olds, and opened the boxes with them. He also provided commentary on how great he thinks his company’s product is. At two points in the video, Gray makes comments that would suggest that an average collector would be likely to get similar or better results from boxes that they buy. When they were choosing the boxes from the case, Gray says this:
“Factory sealed case, these guys pick the boxes so there’s no funny business … I think collectors sometimes wonder if people, you know, if the boxes are just as they would buy them in a store, and this is exactly how the store receives its case when they order from Razor.”
Really, Mr. Gray? So, you hand-deliver the cases to every hobby store in the country? Obviously not, and that was probably just a slip of the tongue. But it’s clear that the message that you’re trying to get across is that you aren’t conducting any “funny business” (like delivering a loaded case to Beckett) and that collectors are likely to receive similar results from boxes that they would buy from an average hobby store. Right?
Later in the video, Gray says the following:
“And there are also parallel autographs in the product, and we didn’t hit it. They are tough. They fall on average a little less than one per box … and we didn’t hit them. They’re hard. They generally fall one per box, so if we open the rest of the case, someone is gonna do great on the rest of that case.”
OK, so there were no parallel autographs in the first three boxes. You’re right about that. But does that really matter? I mean, is a parallel autograph of a 15th round pick like J.P. Ramirez going to be more in demand than a regular autograph of Tim Beckham, or any other first round pick for that matter? Nope. People want to get autographs of the big name prospects in their boxes. If those autographs happen to be parallels, then great. I got two parallel autographs in my box, but neither were first round picks, so I don’t care. But anyway, I think that in that quote, your goal was to give collectors the impression that even though the boxes that were opened on the video were very good, the rest of the boxes in the case (and by extension, the boxes in any case) are likely to be even better.
Brian Gray also talked a lot about how carefully Razor listens to its customers and how they took input from collectors and made changes to the product, such as putting the autographs on-card. So he seems to care what his customers, the collectors, think. Well, Mr. Gray, if you really do care, please honestly tell us if you delivered a loaded case to Beckett. If you did not, then how do you explain why the autographs that I pulled from my box were so much worse than the ones that Beckett pulled? How do you explain why many other collectors who have posted video box breaks of your product did so much worse than Beckett? Was my box the result of an unfortunate collation error? Based on what you said in Beckett’s box break video, I should expect that my box would be similar, if not even better, in quality compared to Beckett’s boxes. I think you can clearly see that it was in fact much worse. So, can I have my money back, or can you send me a replacement box that contains better autograph cards; in other words, a box that would be more typical of what an average collector should get in their box?
I’m going to stop short of outright accusing Razor of purposely delivering a loaded case to Beckett. I’ll wait for an explanation from Brian Gray. But I think that anyone can see why a collector like me would suspect that there was something fishy going on. Mr. Gray delivered the case to Beckett himself, opened the boxes with them to promote his product, and the boxes yielded much better autographs than a box opened by a random collector who purchased his box from a dealer. And on the video, Mr. Gray says things that would lead collectors to believe that Beckett’s boxes are typical of what they should expect from the product. If Beckett was just really, really lucky with their boxes, then Mr. Gray should have told us that these boxes were not typical of what collectors would get from most boxes.
Anyway, I’ll finish the post by showing you scans from some of the cards from my box. Here’s Tim Beckham’s base card:
Beckham is the main guy that Razor is promoting their product around, so why couldn’t they have used an action photograph of him? He has a nice smile, but the head shot is more reminiscent of 1988 Topps than most modern baseball card products.
Here’s the #2 pick in the draft, Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates:
OK, I understand that Razor is not licensed by MLB, so they can’t use team names and logos on the cards. But what’s preventing them from at least putting the city name of the team on the card (like Donruss did with 2007 Elite Extra Edition) so that collectors can easily identify what team the player is with? For example, they could have put “Pittsburgh” on this card…
Here’s my black parallel of Brett Wallace. He’s a third baseman who was drafted by the Cardinals:
Here’s the David Cooper autograph, the only autograph of a first round pick in my box:
Here’s one of my parallel autographs. Brad Holt was a sandwich round pick of the Mets:
And finally, here’s an “Exclusive Signature” autograph card of Derrik Gibson, a second round pick of the Red Sox:
One final piece of advice for Razor would be to use a bigger picture of the player on the autograph cards. The autograph cards feature a small photo of the player in the corner of the card. I don’t mind the big autograph window, and I like that the autographs are larger than on most cards (especially cards with sticker autographs), but I’d like to see the player’s picture take up at least half of the card.
Anyway, what does everyone think of Razor’s product? And what are your thoughts on the differences between the boxes that Beckett opened and my box?