Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Box Break: 2009 Topps Baseball Series 2 Jumbos


This past weekend, I made a trek out to the big autograph show at the Aleppo Shriner’s Hall in Wilmington, MA.  The show always has some pricey autograph guests and tons of tables full of beautiful vintage cards and memorabilia, but I end up going looking for unopened wax and cheapo cards.  I went to this show on a mission and that was to locate a box of 2009 Topps Baseball Series 2 jumbos.  I had in my wallet around what the boxes were selling for online at sites such as Dave and Adam’s Card World and so I was a little worried that the boxes might be just out of my range and that I’d have to go home and order one online.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a box for $80.  When you compare that to Upper Deck Series 2 boxes that are selling for $70, it’s no contest.  Compare the contents of an Upper Deck “hot box” to my run on the mill jumbo box and see which one comes out on top.  If I didn’t already love this year’s Topps, pictures such as this Jason Bay in front of the Green Monster would have made me swoon.


First up are the Topps Town cards.  If Topps is going to do code cards then I’d rather that they have players on them.  They aren’t just an afterthought either.  They used different pictures on the base and gold cards as you can see from these Pedroia cards.  For those who hate the Topps Town cards, buying a jumbo box is the way to go since you only get 10 cards in a jumbo box compared to the 24 that you get out of a regular box.

From my box I pulled Jeter, Fukudome, Braun, Oswalt and Pedroia in the base set along with Pedroia, Jeter, Granderson, Manny Being Suspended and David Wright from the gold set.  At the very least, these non-glossy cards are great candidates for autographs.  Send them through the mail and you won’t miss them if they never come back.


There’s also one gold card per pack.  These can grow tiring, but as I found out with my Tip Off Basketball box, sometimes those parallels can be worth a decent amount of money if you hit the right number.  The gold cards from my box were Chris Young, Kevin Millwood, Jason Kendall, Troy Tulowitzki, Jody Gerut, Andy LaRoche, Dan Haren, Gary Sheffield, Ryan Howard and Kevin Kouzmanoff.


My one black parallel in the box, numbered to 58, was of Jayson Werth.  Any Phillies fans out there?


The Ring of Honor insert set continues in series 2.  Thankfully the Red Sox have won two recent championships or this set would have been another painful reminder.  Sorry Cubs fans.  The players that I pulled were Joe Girardi, Chris Carpenter, Carlos Ruiz, Garret Anderson, Aaron Rowand, David Justice, John Smoltz, Johnny Damon, Jason Varitek and Jacoby Ellsbury.


The next one per pack insert is the continuation of the Legends of the Game set.  The legends that I received were Mike Schmidt, Tony Gwynn, John Smoltz, Vlad Guerrero, Juan Marichal, Mariano Rivera, Robin Yount, Frank Thomas, Wade Boggs and Frank Robinson.


The Career Best Legends cards are tougher to pull.  I only got three of them out of my jumbo box.  These are really sharp looking cards of past greats.  I pulled George Sisler, Jackie Robinson and Mel Ott.  I hate that inserts are no longer numbered and everything has letters on the back.  How many cards are in this set?  I have no clue without navigating Topps’ horrible website.


Between World Baseball Classic cards and Olympic Team cards, there are a lot of cards in 2009 products of players that will never play a single Major League inning.  I pulled a David Ortiz so at least I got something to go into a player collection.  I also pulled Alex Rios, Frederich Cepeda, Dylan Lindsay and Hiroyuki Nakajima.


Last, but certainly not least, is the beautiful Turkey Red insert set.  I was a fan of Turkey Red and would like to see Topps do one last insert set of Turkey Red in basketball before their license expires.  For some strange reason, the Turkey Red cards in series 2 have glossy finishes to them which doesn’t look or feel right.  The cards are still beautiful and the Morneau and Pedroia are the favorites that I’ve seen so far from the set.

In addition to Morneau and Pedroia, I got Jeter, Mel Ott, Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltran, Matt Kemp, Brandon Webb, B.J. Upton and Cy Young.  This is a set that I’ll definitely be trying to complete.

Now we come to the best part of the box.  The reason that Topps HTA Jumbos have been so popular is the value that you get out of them.  You’ve got a much better shot at some cool insert cards such as silk cards, one-of-one sketch cards, framed stamp cards, jumbo patches, superstar autographs and cut signatures.  The inserts in 2009 Topps put those in 2009 Upper Deck to shame.


The first card that I pulled was the one per jumbo, manufactured letter patch.  Some people hate these, but the fact that they are numbered to 50 means that not too many people have to be interested in them for there to be value.

I pulled Boston Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski numbered 9/50.  Normally I’d be thrilled to pull a limited Yaz card such as this one, but the card doesn’t appeal to me at all.  I don’t have $100+ to drop on completing his name.  Jimmie Foxx would be a different story.  I’d much rather have some classic Topps Yaz cards than this manufactured one so it’s off to eBay where it can find a new owner who will love it and care for it.


The next hit that I pulled was a Roy Campanella game-worn pants card numbered 9/20.  The majority of Campanella cards that I saw online were of pants.  I wonder what the reason behind that is.  Probably due to the pants selling for less than jerseys.

There don’t seem to be too many Campanella collectors trolling eBay, but I put this card on there as well because it’s another one that doesn’t really do anything for me.  There’s got to be a Campanella collector out there that would love to add it to their collection.

According to the wrapper, LOTG Career Best Relics are one in every 3,100 packs.


This was the big pull from the box.  It’s a Darrrrrrrrrrrrrryl Strawberry autographed Ring of Honor card.  Ring of Honor autographs are one in every 823 jumbo packs or one in every 83 boxes.  The quality of autographs isn’t quite equal to the ones found in the football Ring of Honor set, but there are some good ones.

Darryl Strawberry’s ring came courtesy of one of the worst managerial moves ever made in a World Series.  You have to give the Mets a lot of credit for battling back, but some terrible pitching and lack of a defensive substitute led to a collapse that was traumatic to all the 9 – 11 year olds that I knew at the time.  This was right after the Patriots got destroyed in the Super Bowl.  At least we had the Celtics winning championships.  There’s no way that this card is going into my collection so it is headed to eBay as well.  It’s quite possible that the three hits sell for very close to what I paid for the box which would mean that I got a full set of series 2 and a big stack of inserts for free.  That means I can pick up something else like a box of 2008 Allen & Ginter which has dropped to ridiculous prices or save it up for the upcoming 2009 Allen & Ginter set which I think will climb quickly because those boxes look like they’ll have great value in them as well.


All things considered, this was a great box.  The collation was great and I got a complete set out of the box.  I got some nice cards that I’ll add to my collection in all of the insert sets and I beat the odds a couple of times when it comes to the big hits in the box.  My only complaint would be that a few too many of the cards had bad corners right out of the packs.  I felt like I was opening Upper Deck packs.  I guess I should consider myself lucky though since the one loose jumbo pack that I bought had cards with no foil on the front.

The price was better than expected for this box especially given the track record of series 1 jumbo boxes and the fact that these are supposedly already sold out from Topps.  I have a feeling that they’ll climb in price as they become less plentiful.  There are also a handful of rookies that are making an impact for their teams this season.  Oh yeah, speaking of rookies.  I pulled Red Hot Rookie #7.  I won’t scan that card because it is boring.  I just hope that Topps gets this year’s cards out quicker than last year’s.  Now I’m waiting for this, 4 Finest rookies and a WBC card from series 1.

Overall, I would give this box an A- with the damaged cards being the only thing keeping this from getting a perfect score.  The great inserts, great looking cards and amazing photography make this set shine.

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