More on 2009 Topps Heritage

March 12, 2009 at 2:23 am | Posted in My Cards, Topps | 14 Comments

As promised, here’s my follow-up post on my two 2009 Topps Heritage hobby boxes.  You can check out the videos here if you missed them.  First, here’s the breakdown of what I got in each box:

Box 1:

  • 171 base cards (1 – 425)
  • 8 short prints – Carlos Gomez (433), Elijah Dukes (440), Frank Thomas (454), Pirates Coaches (467), Austin Kearns (473), Troy Tulowitzki (478), Chipper Jones All Star (486), Kosuke Fukudome All Star (492)
  • 5 chrome cards – Nick Markakis, Aramis Ramirez, Mat Gamel, Ken Griffey Jr., Jay Bruce
  • 1 refractor – Travis Snider
  • 1 New Age Performers – Tim Lincecum
  • 1 Then & Now – Bob Friend & Cliff Lee
  • 2 Baseball Flashbacks – Mickey Mantle, Luis Aparicio
  • 2 News Flashbacks – USS Seadragon Surfaces at North Pole, First Televised Presidential Debate
  • 1 “Real One” certified autograph – Taylor Phillips (ROA-TP)
  • 1 1960 Buyback – Ruben Gomez (82)
  • 1 Advertising Panel – Cole Hamels, Juan Pierre, Yunel Escobar

Not counting the box toppers, I got 192 total cards in my 24 packs.

Box 2:

  • 169 base cards (1 – 425)
  • 8 short prints – Zach Duke (437), Kevin Millar (448), Rays Coaches (462), Brad Ausmus (471), Josh Willingham (474), Lance Berkman All Star (482), Dustin Pedroia All Star (483), Matt Holliday (494)
  • 4 chrome cards – Derek Jeter, James Loney, Adrian Gonzalez, Travis Snider
  • 1 refractor – Nick Markakis
  • 2 New Age Performers – David Wright, Cole Hamels
  • 1 Then & Now – Mickey Mantle & Adam Dunn
  • 2 Baseball Flashbacks – Juan Marichal, Frank Robinson
  • 2 News Flashbacks – 50-star U.S. flag, JFK elected as 35th President
  • 1 Clubhouse Collection relic – Kevin Millwood (CC-KM)
  • 1 Advertising Panel – Corey Patterson, Pat Burrell, Brian Bannister

I got 190 cards in this box, two less than the first box due to the thickness of the jersey card.

The amazing thing is that I did not get ANY doubles in my two boxes!  I was happily surprised by this.  So I already have 340 of the 425 non-short print base cards.  In addition to not receiving any doubles, the lack of black back parallels makes 2009 Heritage a much easier set to build than the 2008 version.  Because of this, I don’t plan to buy any more hobby boxes or packs.  I’ll just buy the 85 cards that I still need on eBay or Sportlots.  Of course, the hobby boxes are ridiculously overpriced right now anyway.  They’re currently selling for $80 or more, which is way too much to pay for a product like this.  I was fortunate enough to snag my hobby boxes for $62.50 each (with free shipping) during the pre-sell period.

I really like the cards, at least as much as I liked 2008 Heritage.  1960 Topps was a very nice, colorful design, and the cards have a lot of character.  The chrome and refractor parallels are great as usual, and the same standard Heritage inserts are included.  Unlike 2008, it’s easy to determine which cards are short prints, since they’re all grouped between number 426 and 500, and their backs are darker.  The “hits” are worthless, but that’s pretty much expected with Heritage.

By now, everyone knows what the base cards look like, and if you don’t, you can see every one of them in my videos.  Here are some scans of the inserts that I pulled:

taylor_phillips_auto

I had never heard of Taylor Phillips before I pulled this card, and for good reason.  He had a very lousy career as evidenced by his statistics.  I really wonder why Topps bothered to put autographs of such a worthless player in the product.

ruben_gomez_buyback

Speaking of players who had lousy careers, here’s my buyback card of Ruben Gomez.  It turns out that he actually had a few decent seasons with the Giants early in his career, but this card is definitely nothing to be excited about.  You can check out his career stats here.

millwood_jersey

By now, I’m sure that you understand why the “hits” in Heritage are worthless.  Millwood is completely washed up; his last decent season was in 2005.  In 2008, I actually pulled some jersey cards of really good players in Heritage.  Millwood is not a good player (but he used to be).

mantle_dunn_tn

Here’s a Then & New insert of Mickey Mantle and Adam Dunn.  I know that Dunn is a very good power hitter, but is he even remotely comparable to Mantle?  I don’t think so…

lincecum_new_age

New Age Performer insert of Tim Lincecum.  You can bet that this card will wind up in a mailbox in La Jolla, California very soon!  I have insane luck in pulling Lincecum cards…

jfk_flashback

One of the greatest things about 1960 is that one of the greatest Presidents of all-time was elected that year, as you can see in this Flashback card.

markakis_ref

Here’s a refractor of one of the most talented hitters in the A.L. East and one of my favorite non-Rays in MLB.

snider_ref

And my other refractor is of a player who soon will be one of the top hitters in the A.L. East.

It’s very likely that Topps Heritage will be the only set that I collect in 2009.  I’m only planning to collect the Rays cards from other products.  That’s a testament to how uninspired I am by all of the other products that have been announced so far.  I guess I should start getting ready for Heritage High Numbers this fall…

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2009 Topps Heritage Video Box Breaks

March 7, 2009 at 12:03 am | Posted in My Cards, Topps, Video | 12 Comments

Whew.  It took almost an entire day’s worth of effort, but I finally got all four of the videos from my breaks of two boxes of 2009 Topps Heritage uploaded to YouTube.  Here’s some advice for you – if you ever try uploading a video to YouTube, and the upload just hangs for hours at a time, or if you get “Upload Failed: An unknown error occurred” error messages, just use the bulk uploader.  I’m not sure what the problem was; I’ve never had any trouble uploading to YouTube before.  Anyway, after struggling all afternoon, I finally tried the bulk uploader and it worked like a charm.

So check it out, here are my box breaks.  The first box encompasses the first two videos, plus the first minute or so of the third one.  Then I picked up the pace a little, and finished the second box in the rest of the third video and the fourth video.  I pulled an autograph at the end of the second video and a jersey card at the end of the fourth.  Be forewarned though – neither of them are any good.  But I had a blast with these boxes.  I think I might like 2009 Heritage even better than 2008.  I’ll be back with more commentary on the product, and probably some scans, either later tonight or tomorrow.

Video 1:

Video 2:

Video 3:

Video 4:

My 2008 Topps Heritage set is finally completed

March 6, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Posted in My Cards, Topps, Video | 10 Comments

I have some good news – my two hobby boxes of 2009 Topps Heritage finally arrived last night.  But I was exhausted and had a headache, so I went to bed early, and woke up early this morning to bust my boxes on video.  The videos are currently uploading to YouTube, and I’ll share them with you on the blog as soon as they finish.

In the mean time, here’s another video that I filmed this morning.  I received the very last card that I needed from 2008 Topps Heritage (from Sportlots) and put it into my binder.  You can check out my 2008 Topps Heritage collection in this video:

And here is the last card that I needed, #315, Jacque Jones:

jones_heritage

By the way, I’m still working on completing my set of 2008 Heritage refractors (I have 45 of the 100 from Heritage and 51 of the 100 from Topps Chrome).  I’m also still working on 2008 Heritage High Numbers – I still need 31 green backs, 3 black backs, and a bunch of inserts.  You can see the cards that I still need in my Trade Corner.

Amazing amount of hobby love for the Rays

March 1, 2009 at 1:27 am | Posted in Rays, Topps, Upper Deck | 6 Comments

So check out what the 2009 Bowman hobby boxes are going to look like:

price_bowman_box

Yep, that’s David Price pictured on the box and on the packs.  This is just one example of the incredible amount of attention that the Rays have been getting from Topps and Upper Deck recently.  Every product preview that I’ve read on Wax Heaven lately seems to feature Evan Longoria, David Price, or both.  For a sampling, check out this image that Mario posted showing images of five different 2009 Upper Deck products; all but one of them is of a Rays player:

ud_waxheaven

Somebody even told me that Longoria is pictured on the cover of the current Beckett magazine.  It’s crazy.  One of the things that drew me back into the hobby about a year ago was how cheap all of the Rays autograph cards were.  I was able to load up on autographs of Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, Carlos Pena, Scott Kazmir, James Shields, and many others for about $5 – $10 each.  Many of the same cards are selling for twice as much money today, even though the poor economy has led to a decline in the value of most cards.  I also remember being frustrated by how the card companies seemed to intentionally minimize the number of Rays in each card set.  The vast majority of 2007 and 2008 card sets included cards of Crawford, Upton, Kazmir, and no other Rays.  It’s incredible how much the amazing 2008 season can change things…

Suddenly I live in a world where Evan Longoria and David Price are the hottest names in the entire card hobby, and extra Rays cards are being included in every set due to their appearance in the 2008 World Series.  The Rays have gone from being hobby pariahs to hobby messiahs!  Despite how horrible most upcoming 2009 baseball card products look, it should be a fun year to load up on all of the great Rays cards being produced.

All of the attention on the Rays certainly is strange.  There have even been a few people on the internet who have accused me of being a band wagon jumper.  Little do they know that one of my biggest reasons for becoming a Rays fan in the early part of this decade was that they had absolutely no band wagon to jump on.  I loved being a fan of a new team that had never had a decent season so that I could follow their minor leaguers and watch them try to grow into a winning team someday.

Well, “someday” arrived quite suddenly last year.  It is a much different experience to be a Rays fan now.  And even though I am about the furthest thing imaginable from a band wagon jumper, I do hope that many people, especially in Florida, jump on the band wagon this year.  The Rays definitely need to see an increase in attendance at Tropicana Field and an increase in TV ratings to help build a case for getting a new stadium built.  And they’re also going to need an increase in revenue to be able to afford to keep all of their good young players around for many years.  The thought of seeing B.J. Upton or Matt Garza in Yankees uniforms in 2013 makes me want to vomit…

2008 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Hobby Box Break

February 21, 2009 at 12:45 am | Posted in My Cards, Topps, Video | 4 Comments

So one of my best talents is procrastination.  I bought a hobby box of 2008 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects at a card show before Christmas.  I finally opened it on January 29 and posted my break to YouTube that same day.  Since then, I’ve been putting off writing this post.  I’m finally writing it because I filmed a few new breaks today, including one that was incredibly awesome, and I want to get this posted before I post my new breaks.  Here we go…

The hobby box contained 24 packs of 7 cards each, and it took me long enough to open that I needed to divide it into two videos for YouTube.  Here’s Part 1 (the first 13 packs):

And here’s Part 2 (the final 11 packs):

So why did I delay posting this for so long?  To be honest, it wasn’t a very exciting break, and I figured that it would be even less exciting for people to watch than it was for me to actually experience the box break first hand.  If you can only watch one video box break this weekend, I’d definitely recommend watching my next one instead of this.

So why wasn’t it exciting?  There are a few reasons.  First, as most people know, Topps was not able to print cards of most of the top 2008 draft picks because they had signed exclusive contracts with Razor.  So the chance to get a highly valuable rookie card is significantly diminished from previous years.  Despite that, there’s no question that the quality of the actual cards is much higher than Razor’s Signature Series draft product.  But even with a good card design and a lot of good prospects who were not 2008 draftees, Topps made this set overly complicated.  There are basically two checklists: one for rookies and one for prospects who have not reached the majors yet.  On top of that, there are base and chrome versions of each of the cards.  So there are really four different sets in this one product.  Topps also loads the box with tons of meaningless gold parallels of the regular Bowman cards (I got 24 of them).  This is unfortunate because one of my favorite things about Bowman brands is the refractors.  This year’s Bowman Chrome refractors look spectacular.  But I only received two regular refractors and one Xfractor in the whole box.

Here’s the breakdown of what I got:

  • 47 base Bowman rookie cards (out of 55 in the set).  This includes Evan Longoria, but it’s really the same rookies that we’ve seen in almost every other 2008 product.
  • 15 Bowman Chrome rookie cards (out of 55 in the set)
  • 48 Bowman prospect cards (out of 110 in the set)
  • 29 Bowman Chrome prospect cards (out of 110 in the set)
  • 8 Bowman Gold rookie parallel cards
  • 16 Bowman Gold prospect parallel cards
  • 1 Bowman Blue parallel card (Fernando Martinez #382/399)
  • 2 Bowman Chrome Refractors (Micah Hoffpauir and Charlie Morton)
  • 1 Bowman Chrome Xfractor (Mat Gamel #174/199)
  • 1 Bowman Chrome Autograph (Anthony Hewitt)

I was happy with the Blue parallel of F-Mart, who is a very highly touted Mets outfield prospect.  A refractor would have been nicer than a regular blue parallel though.  The Mat Gamel Xfractor is definitely awesome.  If you haven’t heard of Gamel, you will soon.  He’s a third baseman for Milwaukee, and he’s one of the leading contenders for the N.L. Rookie of the Year award.  I predict that he’ll have a big impact this year.  The autograph was Anthony Hewitt, who was the Phillies first round pick in 2008.  He drafted out of high school as a shortstop.  So I got just as many first round pick autographs out of this box as I did from my Razor box, which contained a total of 10 autographs.  Hewitt had an absolutely horrendous season in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League though.  Just check out his stats to see what I mean.  Maybe Phillies fans can tell me if there’s any reason to be optimistic about him.

Here are the scans of the best cards from the box:

fmart_blue

gamel_xfractor

hewitt_auto

You can pick up a box of Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects for $62.95 on eBay, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  I remember paying less than that, but I can’t recall the exact amount.  I don’t think that this product is worth buying until the price drops below $50.  The product has potential, but it really suffers from the lack of big-name draft picks.  I’m hoping that Razor goes out of business before the end of 2009 so that Topps can once again make a great draft pick set.  I’d also like to see a simpler set configuration in the future.  Do we really need regular Bowman cards?  Why not just make all of the cards chrome?  And of course, I’d like to see many more refractors than what I received in my box.

9 more days…

February 14, 2009 at 2:24 am | Posted in Topps | 6 Comments

Only 9 more days until the most anticipated (by me) baseball card product of the year is released – 2009 Topps Heritage!

I ordered two hobby boxes from Captain Collect on eBay today, and hopefully I’ll have them in my hands as soon as possible after the release date.  I am psyched!  I will open the boxes on video, and post the video to YouTube and the blog on the day that I receive them.

Here’s Topps’ preview video to get you ready for what’s to come:

You can also check out the checklist here.  I am excited that both Evan Longoria and Scott Kazmir will be featured on New Age Performers inserts!

It’ll be like Christmas in February – or all eight nights of Hannukah in February!

A couple of awesome Evan Longoria cards

February 8, 2009 at 7:32 pm | Posted in My Cards, Topps, Upper Deck | 6 Comments

My Evan Longoria collection has now reached 92 different cards, surpassing the number of Tim Lincecum cards that Bailey from The Nennth Inning has.  Here are a couple of recent acquisitions that I wanted to share on my blog…

First, here is Longoria’s exclusive mini from 2008 Allen & Ginter:

longoria_ag_exclusive

This is a pretty cool card to own.  It’s one of the cards that could be pulled from a rip card.  It’s called an “exclusive mini” because it’s only available as a mini; there is no full-size version of the card.  This is definitely one of the more limited 2008 Evan Longoria rookie cards.  I really like the picture on the card, and I wish that Topps had chosen to use it for Longoria’s regular Allen & Ginter card.  Instead they used a picture that makes it look like he’s asleep:

2008 Topps Allen & Ginter

The second card that I wanted to show off is the card that I think will go down as the best Evan Longoria rookie card from 2008, the autograph card from Upper Deck Ultimate with the autograph on a jumbo swatch of a game-used jersey.  My card is #42/99:

longoria_ultimate

You might recall that this is the same card that I posted about a few weeks ago when someone was selling a purported “1/1” copy of the card on eBay and asking for $2,999.99 with “Buy it Now”.  It wasn’t really a 1/1, but the serial number was 3, which is Longoria’s jersey number.  The seller didn’t sell it with the ridiculous “Buy it Now” price, but then he relisted it and sold it for $255.  I am proud to say that my card is also a “1/1” because its serial number is 42, which is the number of runs that Longoria scored for Long Beach State in 2006.  It cost me $132.50.  Yes, that’s a lot, but it’s not much more than a hobby box of Ultimate would cost me, and I got the card that I wanted.  And like I said, this is the best 2008 Longoria rookie out there, in my opinion, and it’s limited to only 99 copies.

An awesome addition to my collection

February 7, 2009 at 1:31 pm | Posted in My Cards, Topps | 4 Comments

Continuing with the theme of buying cards that I really want instead of spending a lot of money on boxes of cards that I’ll be disappointed with, check out a card that I recently bought on eBay and received earlier this week:

olbermann_auto

That’s an autograph of one of my heroes, Keith Olbermann, #71/100, from 2009 Topps American Heritage.  I think he has a great looking signature.  American Heritage is an interesting product.  I have a strong interest in American history, but I’m waiting for the price of boxes to come down a little bit more before I start collecting it.  But as soon as I found out about this card, I knew that I wanted to own it.  So I headed to eBay, and I was able to obtain it for just a little over $30.

Keith Olbermann is someone who people either love or hate, depending on their political ideology.  Since I just called Olbermann a hero, you can tell which side of the fence I’m on.  I’ve been a fan of his since the early 1990s when he formed the most entertaining partnership of Sports Center anchors of all-time with Dan Patrick.  After he left ESPN in 1997, Olbermann bounced around between several different networks until he found a home on MSNBC as the host of Countdown with Keith Olbermann in 2003.  The show wasn’t very successful when it first started, but then a few years ago, Olbermann started his “Special Comments”, in which he delivers strongly worded criticism of political figures who have led the country and the world down the wrong path.  The most frequent recipient of his Special Comments is former President George W. Bush.  After that, the show’s popularity began to skyrocket, as Olbermann began to fill a much-needed role as a left-leaning political talk show host, to counterbalance prominent right-leaning hosts like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity on other networks.  Olbermann is also one of the co-hosts of NBC’s Sunday night football pregame show.

I watch Countdown at least a few times a week, and what makes me admire Keith Olbermann even more is his involvement in the baseball card hobby.  He’s been collecting since his childhood, and he began publishing articles in various collecting publications as a teenager in the 1970s.  According to his Wikipedia entry, Olbermann now makes $7.5 million per year, so he has a huge amount of discretionary income to spend on cards.  This became well known in 2006 when he began buying up a huge number of the short-printed Alex Gordon Topps rookie cards.  He also has a large collection of T-206 tobacco cards, and he’s a consultant for Topps.

Olbermann had an autographed Bowman Heritage card a few years ago, and a rare tie relic card in Allen & Ginter.  Both cards sell for a lot of money when they appear on eBay, so I think this American Heritage autograph card is a pretty good investment, especially since there are only 100 copies.  Olbermann and I have a lot in common.  We’re both huge sports fans, baseball card collectors, and Democrats, all of which makes this card an awesome addition to my collection!

The awesomest rookie card ever!

January 31, 2009 at 2:24 am | Posted in Baseball, My Cards, Topps | 4 Comments

I’ve never been a Jason Giambi fan.  I didn’t like him during his original stint with the A’s, I liked him even less when he signed with the Yankees, and I absolutely despised him when I found out that he was a steroid user.  But when I read about his rookie card in this post on Bad Wax recently, I immediately wanted to own the card.  I went straight to eBay and I was able to buy a PSA 10 graded copy of the card for only $8.  So, you might be asking yourself, why would I want to own Jason Giambi’s rookie card so badly?  In this case, the picture speaks louder than any words possibly could:

giambi_psa10

Yes, folks, that is what Jason Giambi looked like in 1991!  Before he became a disgusting steroid monster, he was the scrawny 20-year old kid that you see on this card.  If you look closely enough, you can see the remnants of teenage acne on his face.  He looks like someone whose ass even I would be able to kick!  Heck, Steve Urkel might be able to take him in a fight.  I can’t stop myself from laughing when I look at this card and think about what Giambi turned himself into…

The back of the card reveals that Giambi was 6’2″ and weighed 195 pounds.  According to ESPN, he’s now 6’3″ and 240 pounds.  It’s amazing what a steady diet of steroids and HGH can do for a body.  It’s also interesting that he was a third baseman for Long Beach State at the time, which was the same position that Evan Longoria would occupy 15 years later.  Giambi was in his sophomore year in 1991, and while he hit .407 that year, he only hit 3 home runs with 54 RBI.  One year later, he was the second round pick of the A’s and the rest is history…

To crack open the slab or not, that is the question

January 29, 2009 at 8:43 pm | Posted in My Cards, Topps | 19 Comments

I’m no stranger to PSA graded cards.  I own a bunch of them, and the vast majority of them are vintage cards made before 1980, along with some major rookie cards from the 1980s and early 1990s.  I’ve acquired a few graded Don Mattingly cards in the past, but only because I couldn’t find ungraded copies of those cards.  I broke them out of their slabs so that I could store them with my other Don Mattingly cards (which you can see here).  The only exception so far was a PSA 9 copy of Don Mattingly’s 1993 Topps Finest refractor.  I kept that one in the PSA slab because it is the most valuable Don Mattingly card from his playing days, and it’s even more valuable when it’s graded.

Anyway, I recently won an eBay auction for one of the 9 Mattingly cards from his playing career that I needed.  It was the “Members Only” parallel of the “Virtual Reality” parallel from 1995 Topps Stadium Club.  Yes, a parallel of a parallel.  But anyway, it is a PSA graded card.  Specifically, it’s a “Gem Mint” PSA 10 card.  Here it is:

mattingly_psa10

Now, under normal circumstances, it would be any easy decision for me to crack open the slab and remove the card, so that I could put it in a penny sleeve and top loader just like all of my other Don Mattingly cards.  But this is different for me because it’s a PSA 10 – a perfect specimen.  I own very few PSA 10 cards.  On the other hand, it’s a rare card, and having a graded copy doesn’t increase its value much.  I’m really on the fence about what to do.  What do you think – should I set this one free from the slab or not?

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