I wanted to break open a box of TriStar’s Obak baseball ever since I saw that they included Gene Conley in the set. Conley played for both the Red Sox and the Celtics and is the only player to win championships in two of the four major sports. Bo who?
These are beautiful cards. The backgrounds are similar in appearance to those that you’ll find on Goodwin Champions. The player pictures are great. There are some pictures in the historical section of the set that are grainy from being blown up, but I’d rather have low quality images of those individuals than no cards of them at all.
Let me touch upon the composition of this set. The first ten cards are the Pro Debut subset. These are recent draft picks and international signings who are appearing in a minor league set for the first time. That is followed by a twenty-one card History in the Making subset. This subset includes cards of prospects such as Lars Anderson, Gordan Beckham, Tommy Hanson and Andrew McCutchen. History’s Greatest Players is next and consists of ten cards of players such as Stan Musual and Ted Williams. The rest of the set is made up of ten MiLB Legends and Heroes, nine Minor League Best, ten MiLB Player of the Year, twenty-five Game Changers, three Multi-Sport, two Presidents, two more Pro Debuts, six Historical Combos, three celebrities and three reprints.
It is the later subsets that really make this set a lot of fun. A card of George Rawlings probably won’t ever be worth anything, but it is a great part of a set containing so much baseball history. You’ve got cards of everyone from the people who created baseball to those who wrote songs you’ll hear during games. It is those cards that really make this set a lot of fun.
I’ve read some complaints about the card stock used for these cards. It is a little thinner than what trading cards these days is usually printed on, but it reminds me of old time minor league sets so that’s fine with me. I’m sick of retro cards on chrome or some ridiculous card stock that’s far from retro. The only issue that I had with the cards is that around half of my minis were damaged. I don’t think a different card stock would have prevented this. I’ve contacted TriStar and am waiting to hear back on how to get these cards replaced.
Obak boxes advertise nine hits per box. You do get those nine hits, but they aren’t all autographs or relic cards. (There are no relic cards in Obak.) You get one 4-Card Uncut Strip of minis, three short prints, one numbered mini, two numbered cards and two autographs (one current player and one retired player.) There are also variations to be found within the set. Some cards have different pictures on the front while others have different backs with squares, diamonds circles and triangles around the card number.
The best parallel that I pulled out of my box was a black variation Ted Williams 1910 Back Variation diamond around number that’s numbered 47/50. I also pulled a black variation Wesley Branch Rickey numbered 18/50 and a Russell “Buzz” Arlett 1910 Back Variation diamond around number.
One cool thing about my box was that I pulled a matching set of numbered parallels. I pulled a regular sized green Jack Norworth numbered 14/25 and a mini green Norworth numbered 16/25. If anyone out there has the matching number to either of these, I’ll trade you the other one. Mr. Norworth wrote the lyrics to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
There are some good and bad things about the set composition. You’ll pull most, if not all, of the base set from a box, but only three short prints. Luckily, there are only fourteen or fifteen short prints in the set, but that means there are still eleven or twelve short printed cards that you’ll have to track down in order to complete the set.
One good thing is that the mini set is smaller than the regular set. The regular set consists of 114 cards, but the mini set is only 68 cards large. That makes the mini set a little more manageable. Both sets should be fairly easy for casual set builders to put together, but there are plenty of variations and parallels out there for master set builders who like a challenge.
My retired player autograph was that of Gary Redus. These are sticker autos, but you can barely tell. The result is a nice looking card. All of the autographs are numbered to 200 or lower. This Redus is numbered 8/200. I’m thinking that there may be a Reds fan or two out there interested in this card. Send me an e-mail or leave a comment.
The current player autograph was of Padres prospect Logan Forsythe. This is the green parallel version of this card and it is numbered 6/25. I’ll have to wait and see how Forsythe does in the majors.
I had a lot of fun opening this box. There’s a nice mix of all-time great players and current prospects. If you’re a fan of the game of baseball, you’ll spend a decent amount of time reading the backs of these cards, especially the non-players. My collation was great and I got all of the hits that I was promised. The only negative was the damaged cards and that issue should end up being resolved. You can find these boxes at great prices now so I recommend picking one up if you are looking for a fun break. I would give this set an A and my box a B due to the damaged cards.