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.

Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio

February 22, 2009 at 1:24 am | Posted in My Cards, Pinnacle, Video | 13 Comments

Here it is.  This is what I referred to yesterday as “quite possibly the most awesome product that I’ve ever opened”.  I was intrigued after reading a couple of posts on Wax Heaven (here and here) about the Joe DiMaggio “cut signature” card from 2008 Playoff Prime Cuts, where Donruss-Playoff cut up certified autograph cards of DiMaggio that were produced by Pinnacle in 1993.  I’ve always thought that it would be awesome to own a Joe DiMaggio autograph.  After all, he is one of the greatest players of all-time, and his 56-game hitting streak is one of baseball’s most unbreakable records.  For many decades he held the title of the “greatest living Yankee” until his death in 1999.

Then, last week, I was checking out Dave & Adam’s Card World when I came across one of their weekly specials – an unopened box of 1993 Pinnacle Joe DiMaggio cards including one certified autograph for only $150 (and free shipping).  I was amazed by the price, considering that cut signature cards of DiMaggio from recent products sell for much more than that.  In fact, the Prime Cuts card that features the cut up card from this very set, is selling on eBay for $200 and more.  Isn’t it better to own an original on-card autograph, a card that DiMaggio personally touched and signed in 1993?  This was an easy question for me to answer, and I jumped at the chance to buy a box.

Even though I knew exactly what I would pull from my box, it was still a lot of fun to open.  It’s a very good feeling to know that you’re definitely going to pull an amazing card.  I captured the box break on video, complete with the song “Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio” playing in the background.  Here it is:

Here is my new prized possession:

dimaggio_auto

And here’s the back of the card:

dimaggio_auto_back

Here’s my certificate of authenticity from Pinnacle:

cert_auth

There are five different autographed cards that were produced, and there are 1800 copies of each one, for a total of 9000 autographed cards.  The number on the back shows that I have #0376 of the first card (number 1 of 5).  I chose this card because it’s my favorite of the five photos.  You can see what the others look like here.  I absolutely love the design of the card and the clear, crisp autograph.  The only bad thing is that the card is oversized (4 1/8 inches tall) so it won’t fit in a standard top loader or magnetic case.  I’m still trying to figure out how to store it, but for now I have it in the original holder that you can see in the video.

I know that the economy is in horrible shape and that not everyone can afford to add a card like this to their collection.  However, I still believe that this was an incredible value.  For $150, I obtained a certified on-card autograph from one of the very best players of all time, who passed away almost 10 years ago.  There are only 9000 of these, and with Donruss and possibly other card companies buying them, cutting them up, and inserting them into new cards, the supply is going to dry up.  When you consider that some collectors are spending $100 on jumbo boxes of 2009 Topps, I think that buying something like this is a much better way to spend money.  Also, I’d much rather buy something where I’m guaranteed to pull something great than to take my chances by opening a regular hobby box.  I’m planning to keep this card in my collection, probably forever, and pass it down to my children some day.  As the years continue to go by, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the value of this card will be climbing.

Here’s an image from eBay of one of the Prime Cuts cards:

prime_cuts_dimaggio

Can anyone explain to me why someone would want this “card” when they could buy the actual Pinnacle card for less money?

If you’re interested, the weekly special from Dave & Adam’s is over with, but you can still pick up a box from them for $164.95 or the single autograph card for $159.95.  There are also some sellers on eBay that are offering it for a little more.

Finally, here are some of my favorite cards from the 30-card base set:

dimaggio_swing

This is card #9 and features a great photo of DiMaggio’s iconic swing.

dimaggio_feller

This is card #11 – DiMaggio in his rookie season of 1936 with a 17-year old Bob Feller.

dimaggio_gehrig

And this is card #17 – the Iron Horse and the Yankee Clipper together.  It must have been great for fans to watch them play on the same team between 1936 – 1939.  I learned something that I didn’t know on the back of the card.  Gehrig passed away during the middle of DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak in 1941.

You can see what all of the base cards look like in the video.

So like I said, this was quite possibly the most awesome product that I’ve ever opened, and my best “pull” of all time, even though I knew what was in the box.  In my opinion, it just doesn’t get any better than this…

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.

The best deal in the hobby right now

February 10, 2009 at 11:59 pm | Posted in My Cards, Upper Deck, Video | 15 Comments

I recently opened the hobby box of 2007 Upper Deck SP Rookie Edition baseball cards that I got for free with my order from Dave & Adam’s Card World in December.  Unfortunately, the promotion that offered the free hobby box ended a while ago, but you can still find these boxes for about $25 each, which in my opinion is the best deal in the hobby right now.  2007 SP Rookie Edition is somehow overlooked, but it features nice base cards, several different styles of rookie cards based on past Upper Deck SP designs (very similar to 2008 Timelines), and two autographs per box.  The price is only a little bit higher than a retail blaster, but the value is much greater than what you’ll find in any blaster.

On top of that, the 2007 rookie class turned out to be very impressive.  Here are some of the big names:

  • Ryan Braun
  • Alex Gordon
  • Phil Hughes
  • Akinori Iwamura
  • Tim Lincecum
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka
  • Dustin Pedroia
  • Hunter Pence
  • Troy Tulowitzki
  • Delmon Young

Here’s my video box break for your viewing pleasure:

Here’s the breakdown of what I got:

  • 54 base cards (out of 100 in the set).  If you pick up two boxes of this product, you should be pretty close to the full base set.  Here’s a scan of the Albert Pujols base card in honor of Marie from A Cardboard Problem:

    pujols_sp_base

  • 21 base rookie cards (out of 42).  For some reason, the scan is much darker than the actual card, but here’s Dice-K:

    dicek_sp_rookie

  • 7 “1993 SP Rookie” cards (out of 50).  Here’s Ryan Braun:

    braun_93_sp

  • 7 “1995 SP Rookie” cards (out of 42).  Here’s the other, much less popular Ryan Braun:

    rbraun_95_sp

  • 21 “1996 SP Rookie” cards (out of 50).  Here’s Akinori Iwamura:

    iwamura_96_sp

  • 2 autograph cards – one that’s pretty worthless (Sean Henn, a former Yankees prospect who has a 7.56 career major league ERA) and one that was really great, Josh Hamilton:

    hamilton_sp_auto

That’s the second Josh Hamilton autograph that I’ve pulled.  The other was from 2007 Masterpieces.  It definitely makes a nice addition to my collection!

I certainly can’t complain about a hobby box that I got for free, but even if I had paid $25 for it, I would’ve been very happy.  In all, I got 110 cards featuring stars and 2007 rookies, plus two autographs.  I’d highly recommend this product.  If you like 2008 Timelines, you’d definitely like 2007 SP Rookie Edition too.  I can’t think of anything that is a better deal in the hobby right now.  With the economy the way that it is, it might make sense for collectors to hold off on the new 2009 products and pick up a very undervalued product like this from the recent past.

1984 Donruss Video Rack Pack Break!

January 30, 2009 at 12:46 am | Posted in Donruss-Playoff, My Cards, Video | 10 Comments

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I recently purchased a rack pack of 1984 Donruss baseball cards.  I finally got around to opening it on video today.  It was quite a thrill since 1984 Donruss is arguably the best looking set of the 1980s, and it’s unquestionably the top set of the first half of the decade.  It was also apparently produced in smaller quantities than 1984 Topps and 1984 Fleer, so you don’t see much of it around today, and it’s extremely rare to find unopened packs of it.  Before I bought this rack pack, I didn’t own any 1984 Donruss cards besides my Don Mattingly rookie.

Check out my rack pack break:

The breakdown:

  • 45 cards including 2 Diamond Kings, 2 Rated Rookies, 1 Hall of Famer, and 1 checklist
  • 3 Duke Snider puzzle pieces

Opening the rack pack makes me appreciate 1984 Donruss even more.  The card design is simply outstanding, especially considering its time period.  It is much, much better than anything that Donruss produced until at least 1992 (not including 1990 Leaf).  In addition, the Diamond King design from 1984 is the best of all-time, in my opinion, and it was the first year of Rated Rookies.  Of course, the Don Mattingly rookie card is iconic, and the set also includes rookies of Darryl Strawberry, Joe Carter, and Tony Fernandez.

I’d love to be able to collect an entire set of 1984 Donruss, but it’s tough to find rack packs for as cheap as the one that I bought (it was $10).  Unopened boxes sell for over $200.  Maybe if I continue to be unimpressed with the 2009 products, I’ll go for it.  After all, 1984 was the first year that I ever opened a pack of baseball cards (1984 Topps) so it’s a special year for me, and it was 25 years ago now.

Two amazing hits from 2007 Sweet Spot!

January 9, 2009 at 1:17 am | Posted in My Cards, Upper Deck, Video | 4 Comments

So the 2007 Sweet Spot tin that I used for the free group break that I did before Christmas wasn’t the only thing that I bought from Dave & Adam’s Card World in December.  I also bought the SP Legendary Cuts hobby box that I broke on video and posted about the other day, and I bought a tin of 2007 Sweet Spot and 2007 Sweet Spot Classic for myself.  I took advantage of Dave & Adam’s low prices and their special holiday gift promotion and bought myself a nice holiday present.  With the special holiday promotion, I got a free box of 2007 Upper Deck SP Rookie Edition, which I haven’t opened yet.

I recently broke the Sweet Spot and Sweet Spot Classic tins, and as soon as I did, I was excited to post it to YouTube and the blog.  There’s definitely going to be one person who will really, really wish that I had selected this Sweet Spot tin instead of the other one for the free group break.  I got something very good.  And I got something else that was very good in the Sweet Spot Classic tin – it was a type of card that I had never pulled before in my life.

I’ll write another post with some scans later, but for now you’ll have to check out the video to find out what I pulled:

2008 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts Hobby Box Break

January 7, 2009 at 1:29 am | Posted in My Cards, Upper Deck, Video | 8 Comments

When I bought the Sweet Spot tin that I used for the free group break, that wasn’t all that I ordered from Dave & Adam’s Card World.  I also bought a hobby box of 2008 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts (and some other stuff that you’ll see later).  I’ve become a big fan of Legendary Cuts, and I consider it to be one of my favorite products of 2008.  I was unenthusiastic about it when was first released, mostly because for about $100 per box, the chances aren’t even good that you’ll pull an autograph.  In a 16-box case, there are only 3 cut signatures and 2 regular autographs.

Then, one night in July, I watched a guy open a box of Legendary Cuts at my local hobby store.  Yes, he got a cut signature (Charlie Gehringer), but I was really impressed with the design of the base cards and the relic cards.  In my opinion, it was one of the best card designs of 2008.  I have read a few people saying that the 2008 version wasn’t as good as in previous years, but since I wasn’t collecting, I’m only judging 2008 Legendary Cuts against the other card releases from 2008.  And in that group, it looks very good.

So after seeing the cards in person that night, I picked up a box at a card show in August.  That was before I started doing video box breaks.  I didn’t get a cut signature, or an autograph, but I still loved the cards.  And after all, I think that liking the cards should be at least as important of a factor as trying to get a great “hit” when deciding to buy a box of cards.

Anyway, when I saw hobby boxes of Legendary Cuts selling for $90 at Dave & Adam’s in December, I couldn’t resist buying another box.  I figured that I’d try my luck in pulling a cut signature (which I have never pulled in my life) or at the very least, I’d get some great looking cards to help me build a set.

Here’s the video of the break (which I filmed back on December 19):

Here’s the breakdown of what I got:

  • 41 base cards (out of 100 in the set).  After two hobby boxes (and after trading some cards from the first box) I have 68 of the 100 cards.
  • 1 short print – Brooks Robinson (#195/550).
  • 6 Yankee Stadium Legacy cards – Vic Raschi (2024), Allie Reynolds (2049), Phil Rizzuto (2074), Allie Reynolds (2384), Phil Rizzuto (2409), Allie Reynolds (2434).  Believe it or not, an Allie “Superchief” Reynolds fan has already contacted me about trading for the Reynolds cards.
  • 1 “Destination Stardom” relic card – Grady Sizemore
  • 1 “Destined for History” relic card – Todd Helton
  • 1 “Legendary Memorabilia” relic card – Orlando Cepeda (#05/30)
  • 1 “Generations Memorabilia” relic card – Ron Santo & Aramis Ramirez

So that’s 52 cards from a box with 12 packs containing 4 cards each.  The relic cards must be considered “extra” cards.  The 8 packs that didn’t contain them all included one thick decoy card.

Here’s a look at a couple of the base cards.  For a change, I’ll feature players who aren’t on the Rays: Tim Lincecum (I already sent Bailey the Lincecum from my other box) and Nick Markakis (one of my favorite non-Rays):

lc_lincecum

lc_markakis

As I said, I love this card design.  The color face picture and the black and white action shot look great together.  The color picture actually has a glossy finish to it too, while the rest of the card does not, so it almost jumps off the card at you.  I love the font too.  I think that this is by far the best Upper Deck card design of 2008.  The only thing that I would change is that the same face picture is used on the back of the card.  If Upper Deck used a different photo on the back, the cards would be even better.

Here’s the Brooks Robinson short print.  With there only being one of these per box, it would be very difficult to collect them all:

lc_robinson

I was happy to get a relic of Grady Sizemore, one of the best all-around players in baseball:

lc_sizemore

This Todd Helton card is heading to Larry (lwc4ut on YouTube).  He’s a Helton collector who’s been very generous to me in the past.

lc_helton

Here’s Orlando Cepeda, one of the least-worthy Hall of Famers.  He’s a lot like Jim Rice, who I’m really hoping doesn’t get voted in next week:

lc_cepeda

There’s something behind the fabric that feels like some sort of wire.  You can see the outline of it in the scan.  Does anyone have any idea of what it is?

And lastly, here’s Ron Santo, who definitely should be in the Hall of Fame but is not, with Aramis Ramirez:

lc_santo_ramirez

Due to the color of the Ron Santo relic piece, I originally thought that it was a bat, but it’s actually a piece of fabric (from a jersey or pants).

The bottom line is that I’d definitely recommend Legendary Cuts if you’re in the market for a good mid-range product.  The cards look great, you’re guaranteed at least 4 good “hits” per box, and you’ve got a chance at a great cut signature.  All of that comes at a reasonable price that’s well below the high-end products.  Now that I think about it, this would be an ideal product for a group case break.

I actually just filmed another box break today, and I pulled two amazing cards.  So stay tuned to the blog and my YouTube channel for that as soon as I get around to uploading it the video!

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?

2007 Sweet Spot free group break results

December 21, 2008 at 12:46 am | Posted in Upper Deck, Video | 7 Comments

Here’s the break of the 2007 Sweet Spot tin for the free group break:

So the lucky winners are Joe from Cardboard Addiction, Chris from Stale Gum, PAB from The Player To Be Named Later, David from Tribe Cards, and Marie and Sooz from Cardboard Problem.  Here’s what they’ll be getting:

  • Joe will get a Brandon Wood autographed glove card #01/75 (Angels).
  • Chris will get a Ryan Rowland-Smith autographed “Sweet Beginnings” card with a mini-helmet embedded in the card (Mariners).  Chris didn’t pick a team for the break, but I don’t think he’ll turn down a free card!
  • PAB will get a B.J. Upton “Sweet Swatch” memorabilia card (Rays).
  • David will get an Alfonso Soriano “Sweet Swatch” memorabilia card (Nationals) as a result of a last-minute trade between he and Adam from Thoughts and Sox.  As I mentioned in the video, Soriano is pictured with the Nationals and the swatch is from a Nationals jersey, but the card says “Alfonso Soriano / OF / Cubs”.  Rob from Voice of the Collector had the Cubs.  I’ll make it up to Rob by sending something else to him.
  • Marie and Sooz with get both the Chris Carpenter and Albert Pujols base cards #/850 (Cardinals).

So there was nothing earth-shattering in the tin, but it wasn’t awful either.  It’ll all depend on whether Brandon Wood can replicate the huge numbers that he’s put up in the minor leagues with the Angels or another major league team.  Although it seems like he’s been a prospect forever, he’s still only 23, so he still has a chance to be a star.  Also, Ryan Rowland-Smith quietly put up some good numbers for Seattle this year, and he could breakout in 2009.

I have the addresses of all of the winners except for Chris and David.  So they should email me with their addresses and I’ll mail the cards out!

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