2008 Razor Signature Series Hobby Box Break

December 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:

razor_beckham

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:

razor_alvarez

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:

razor_wallace

Here’s the David Cooper autograph, the only autograph of a first round pick in my box:

razor_cooper_auto

Here’s one of my parallel autographs.  Brad Holt was a sandwich round pick of the Mets:

razor_holt_auto

And finally, here’s an “Exclusive Signature” autograph card of Derrik Gibson, a second round pick of the Red Sox:

razor_gibson_auto

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?

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24 Comments »

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  1. nice analysis on the autos. and your autos vs Becketts. Bummer the box didn’t work out for you.

  2. I think this company and its products are rubbish, but I can’t help but like the base design.

  3. They’re all low-level minor leaguers. It’s entirely possible that the guys you pulled will go on to have better careers than the ones Beckett did.

    It’s too bad that you didn’t get more cards that you’re happy with, but I’m not ready to let you call shenanigans on Razor based on your one box. You could have gotten an unlucky box. I would have been excited about the Brad Holt parallel card, at least.

    Now given the stuff Beckett has pulled on the Razor Cut Signature product, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were preparing special boxes/cases for Beckett…

    I do like the card design for the baseball product, but I don’t like the price point or the lack of a Major League license.

  4. Paul – good points. It’s true that it’s entirely possible that a lower round pick could have a better career than a first rounder. But that usually doesn’t happen. And today, right now in 2008, it’s the first round picks who are the best prospects and whose cards are in the most demand. Sure, maybe I was just unlucky, but check out some other people’s boxes on YouTube. All of the ones that I’ve seen are much closer to mine than Beckett’s.

  5. This is awesome.

  6. I have no interest in being a prospector. But if I ever do, I’ll think of this box break to prevent me from doing something stupid.

  7. I agree with Night Owl – seems like its pretty hard to get good boxes with prospect cards. I think ill stay away from those.

  8. If you’ve noticed, Beckett now made their own graphic for their blog.

  9. ….and they made an entire post just to respond to my Razor Signature one. LOL!

  10. Ugh …

  11. Dave, why don’t you call Brian gray? He’s been on the podcast from superfractor.com about 4-5 times talking about his product. He managed to get me excited about this product because he seems to genuinely care about making it the best that he can.

    I’m sure he’d have an explanation for the Beckett break. I’m interested to find out what it would be.

    He ends most of the posdcasts by giving out his “direct phone number”. He says eh answers it himself and anyone can call about anything. You should take him up on that. I think you’d be a great guy to call and ask him about these things. At the very least it would make a good blog post. If you want I could get that number for you.

  12. Motherscratcher – His phone number is on Razor’s web site too. I’m thinking about calling or emailing him after Christmas. I’m in a rush trying to get too many things done before my wife and I leave town on Tuesday night, so I’ll worry about Razor afterwards…

  13. I’m not the biggest Razor fan, but to completely bash the product after one box break is being superficial at best. Anyone with an ounce of knowledge about this hobby knows that there are going to be some good box breaks and some bad ones. That’s the nature of the hobby.

    I busted one box of Razor and pulled a Pedro Alvarez. Since I pulled a great card should I be running around telling everyone what a great product it is?

    By the way. Logan Forsythe was selected in the 1st round supplemental, not the 15th round.

  14. Did you get 6 first round picks in your box, “Not A Beckett Fan”? And if you did, did the president of Razor suggest on video that your box was typical, and that collectors should expect similar or better results than that? Who’s Logan Forsythe? The only 15th round pick that I pulled an autograph of was J.P. Ramirez.

  15. Someone got defensive quickly. Everyone knows that Beckett gets loaded boxes, that isn’t what my comments were based on. They were based on your bashing of a product after busting only one box. It just goes to show how little knowledge you possess of this hobby.

    In your video you stated Logan Forsythe was a 15th round pick when you pulled his base card.

  16. The only reason I’d say that is if it said “15th round pick” on his card. I’m sorry that I have a different opinion on the Razor product than you. Maybe you can enlighten me with the knowledge of the hobby that I’m missing, and I’ll feel the same way as you. I’ve bashed products that I’ve opened zero boxes and zero packs of in the past when it’s deserved. Anyway, thanks for coming to my blog and brightening my day with your kind words. Happy Holidays to you too!

  17. What? Too lazy to watch your own video and hear that you said 15th round?

    My point seems to be way over your head, but I’ll restate it one more time in its simplest form for you. It isn’t fair to condemn a product because you didn’t get the hit you were hoping for. Razor delivered a fine product with 10 autos per box for around $100. No other baseball card manufacturer is giving us that right now.

  18. Yes, I am. I’m frantically trying to pack my things to get ready for the road trip up to NY to see my family for Christmas, so I could care less about Razor right now. I do think it’s fair to condemn a draft pick product that provides crappy draft pick autographs. I’d rather get one autograph of a good player in Bowman DPP than ten crappy autographs in Razor. That’s my opinion. Yours is different and I respect it. I’m glad that you enjoy Razor’s product. I probably won’t be checking my blog at all for the next two days or so. If you could try to post only nice things about me until then, that would be nice – happy holidays!

  19. Once again, you’re failing to look at the facts. You pulled a David Cooper autograph and Dennis Raben isn’t bad either. Just because you didn’t pull the one auto you wanted doesn’t make it a crappy product.

  20. One more thing, stop taking things so personal. Happy Holidays!

  21. Another thing. You may not of realized it, but you DID pull two good autos. David Cooper and Dennis Raben are pretty good pulls. It isn’t Razor’s fault that you don’t know who the players are.

  22. Cooper is OK, and all of the guys who were picked in the sandwich round and second round have potential. But they’re not in the same category as guys like Beckham, Wieters, Alvarez, Hosmer, Matusz, Crow, Skipworth, Alonso, etc. Beckham is definitely NOT the only autograph that I would have been happy with; I knew that it was a longshot that I’d pull him. But I was hoping to get at least one top-notch prospect. The fact that none of the auto’s that I pulled are selling for more than a few bucks on eBay is proof to me that the auto’s that I pulled are not highly desirable.

    I did know before the break who the best prospects from the 2008 draft were. The guys who I pulled from my box are not among them. And as you can see from this post, I did do research to find out about the players that I pulled. I read Baseball America and I follow prospects pretty closely, so I’m not an idiot when it comes to draft picks and prospects.

    It seems that a few people who commented on this post think I’m an idiot regarding the hobby and the prospects in the Razor product. I’m sorry that you feel that way. There are plenty of other blogs out there. Hopefully you can find one that you enjoy more.

  23. Hey man Ive opened 2 cases….

    some boxes have 8,9, even 10 autos of all first and second rounders, some have 1 or 2 first rounders…trust me try it again

  24. the cooper auto is pretty off center


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