Sunday, July 19, 2009

Box Break: 2008 Topps Series 1 Jumbo


Sorry for the lapse in posting.  Right now we’re living in a house that is for sale and that makes it tough to work on projects since I have to clean everything up at the end of the day even if I’m in the middle of scanning or sorting.  Combine that with the normal day-to-day life or work and a young child and it can lead to posting droughts.  Time to get back on the horse.

Other than a few packs here and there, I never purchased any 2008 Topps Baseball.  Reading all about the Alex Gordon card that slipped out, the photoshopped Jeter card and fake phenom Kazuo Uzuki was enough to keep me away.  For a while there it seemed like Topps wanted to use gimmicky cards and Keith Olberman’s bank account to get publicity for their cards.

While checking BlowoutCards, I saw that 2008 Series One Jumbos were ridiculously cheap.  With a Trading Card History insert in every pack, I figured that I would give it a shot.  I was happy with 99% of what I got, but Topps flipped me a retroactive bird with a Kazuo Uzuki card.  I’m not sure why they thought this card was a good idea, but hopefully in the future they don’t play April Fools pranks on their customers.

Ellsbury Topps came so close to having a really nice base card design with this set.  Get rid of the little dip with the Topps logo and the set looks ten times better.  Check out that year’s basketball set for a good example.  The design also looks better with team colored boarders and the team name done in its own font.  Check out this card from a ten card set that came with the Team Baby: Red Sox DVD.  Personally, I like this card a lot and would have loved a complete set that was done in this style.  Yellow Pirates cards with the team name done in their font.  Something like that would probably be a little more difficult to design, but I think the end result would look beautiful.

I’ll start off with the parallels.  No need for a scan.  I got gold bordered parallels, numbered to 2008, of Scott Hatteberg, Yovani Gallardo and Chad Tracy.  There are two gold foil parallels per pack and some of the notable ones that I pulled were Terry Francona, Clay Buchholz, Joey Votto and Mike Lowell.  This box was heavy on Red Sox so any Yankees fans reading this may want to look away.

The Mickey Mantle Home Run History cards come one per pack.  All 10 that I had featured the same picture.  I now know a lot more about home runs 526 – 535.  More Topps consecutive inserts for you.  I got 4 of the Mickey Mantle Story cards.  At least these have different pictures on the front.  If the first card that I got was 46, you can probably guess what the other three numbers were.  I didn’t feel like scanning the politician cards either.  I got an Obama which was nice, but when all is said and done that card will probably go to my daughter and the other cards will go away in a monster box never to be seen again.

OTG Let’s get to the good stuff!  There’s one Own the Game insert in every pack.  They’re shiny and as always feature league leaders from the previous season.  I got A-Rod, Prince Fielder, Carlos Pena, Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman, Ryan Howard, Mike Lowell, Brandon Webb, Brad Penny and Fausto Carmona.  I’ll keep the Lowell and the rest will be set aside for future trades.


There is also a Year in Review card in each jumbo pack.  I’d rather see a larger set like this that highlights the previous year than something like Documentary that covers every game.  YR48 – YR57 are now mine and they feature Andrew Miller, Ortiz/Lowell, Verlander, Sabathia, Felipe Lopez, Oliver Perez, Smoltz, Mark Reynolds, Jeremy Accardo and Helton.  I won’t be finishing this set either.


This insert set is one that I like a lot.  Topps had fans vote on the all-time all-rookie team.  Every collector is familiar with the little gold cup that would show up on the cards of player named to the previous year’s Topps All-Rookie team.  This is a set that I might try and put together, but it is a little large.  I like the design and it is full of great players.  It depends on what the singles are going for.  My box contained “The Hawk” Andre Dawson, Dave Johnson, Dan Johnson, Alfonso Soriano, Prince Fielder, Mark Teixeira, Andruw Jones, Brian McCann, Albert Pujols and C.C. Sabathia.


Next up are my favorite cards in the box, Trading Card History.  I definitely want to try and finish off this set.  It is full of stars on cards featuring classic designs from the past.  I started off my collection with Ellsbury (69 Topps), Joba Chamberlain (55 Bowman), Dice-K (T-206), Prince Fielder (34 Baseball Card), Justin Upton (62 Topps), Alfonso Soriano (58 Baseball Card), Pedro Martinez (51 Bowman), Chien-Ming Wang (75 Topps), Ichiro (Japanese Baseball Card) and Grady Sizemore (1948 Baseball Card).

Villanueva There were a trio of hits in the box if you include the Uzuki card.  If I had pulled that when the set was released, I would have been a happy eBayer, but these days no one really wants it.

The next hit was an autographed 2007 Highlights card of Carlos Villanueva.  The card celebrates Villanueva coming up and bolstering the Brewers rotation in September, 2006.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t been as successful since then.  Unless someone is looking to trade for it, it’ll most likely go in my pile of relics and autos that will get shipped off to BlowoutCards once I have 50 of them.


I know that recently there has been backlash against manufactured patched, but I think that a lot of that results from the fact that manufactured letters have been done to death.  The manufactured logos in this year’s Topps blasters were very nice and I like these cards as well.  My only complaint is that every card looks the same if you block out the tiny picture of the player along with his name.  I’ll enjoy adding this card to my collection, but I wouldn’t need to collect the whole set.  They’re numbered to 499 on the back, but I don’t see them having too much value outside of Boston.  You see tons of them if you head out to any card shows here though.

To recap, I got a full set out of the box which I love.  I got all the cards that I should have and they cost me a whopping seven cents a piece.  You really can’t complain at all at that price point.  The thing is though, there really wasn’t anything to complain about.  I could have gotten a better autograph, but at the time this was release Villanueva looked like he could be one of the next young stars.  I got a bunch of Red Sox which is always nice.  I pulled a bunch of stars and even got a lame April Fools joke gone awry.  Without being lucky enough to get one of the big hits, there aren’t many ways that this box could have been better.  Now I’ve got to track down a jumbo box of series 2 and hope it is just as fun.

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