03 February 2014

Pack of the Day 62: 2014 Topps Series 1 Hobby Box

I opened up a Hobby Box of 2014 Topps Series 1, and here's what I got:

Base Cards: I didn't keep track of the numbers. Actually, I remember counting them all out, but I lost track of that number somewhere. It was around 300 cards with no doubles.

I've done a few scans of some of my favorite photographs from the set. There is a lot of good stuff in this set, so I wound up with more scans than I usually do. Coco Crisp seems to be the hands-down favorite card of the set, with his Oscar Gamble-like hair. The A's throwback uniforms make a couple of appearances in the set, as modeled by Yoenis Cespedes. I love the expression on Alex Gordon's face. And Franklin Gutierrez shows off a nice little bit of effort on the front of his card.

Xander Bogaerts gets a little action shot on his card. Sogard's card actually gets included because of the flavor text on the back, which reveals that his teammates celebrate 'Nerd Power' every time he has a big hit in a game because of his glasses. Daniel Murphy gets included here because of the nice composition of his photo, with the Mets logo in the background forming a nice halo around his head. And Yunel Escobar apparently wants to fight the guy with the camera.

There are a few nice horizontal shots in the set, too. Ricky Nolasco shows off the latest fashion trend, wearing only one sleeve of his jacket. Joel Hanrahan gets a shot of him signing items for fans, Jayson Werth is looking for his card to spark a number of caption contests, and Todd Helton gets a nice little retirement celebration on his Season Highlights card.

Jason Heyward gets to show off his fielding skills, Brian Dozier gets a cold Gatorade shower, Sean Doolittle's homeless man look continues the A's run of good pictures in this set, and Anthony Gose wears a jacket while getting some batting practice.

Carlos Villanueva channels his inner old-timey villain, Mark DeRosa gets a little confused over which sport he plays, Shane Victorino elicits varying reactions from the crowd, Lonnie Chisenhall shows off a contender for the least flattering uniform of all time, Khris Davis makes such a painful play that he forgets how to spell his name properly, and Matt Holliday's card co-stars big faces on the wall.

The Future is Now - 9 - Shelby Miller, Shelby Miller, Jean Segura, Zack Wheeler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Mike Trout, Manny Machado, Yasiel Puig, Bryce Harper

This is a decent-looking insert set, but I could probably do with a few less inserts and a few more base cards in my box. The checklist is meant to show off big moments from some of the up-and-coming stars of the game.

Upper Class - 9 - Freddie Freeman, Joey Votto, Justin Verlander, Yadier Molina, Randy Johnson, Jacoby Ellsbury, Gary Carter, Ryne Sandberg, Cal Ripken Jr.

This insert set seems to feature key rookies from a particular draft class. The back gives a little blurb about the guy pictured on the front and a list of other rookies in his class. I think Randy Johnson is my favorite card here.

Red Hot Foil Parallel aka Walls of Blood - 6 - Brayan Pena, Xander Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks, Daniel Murphy, Clayton Richard, Mark Melancon

I read another blogger mention that he was going to call these the Wall of Blood parallel or some name to that effect. They scan a little more pink than they are in-hand, but they still are pretty pink in real life. I guess they're cool enough, but I am not going out of my way to chase them.

1989 Die-Cut Minis - 5 - Lee Smith, Roberto Clemente, Joey Votto, Andrew McCutchen, Bryce Harper

These cards are butt-ugly but I can't help liking them. I will probably try to put the set together at some point. I got a pretty good selection of players in this batch.

Gold Parallels - 4 - Will Middlebrooks, Rafael Betancourt, Danny Farquhar, Josh Fields

These are numbered out of # / 2014 and that's really all there is to say about them. I seem to be accumulating Will Middlebrooks parallels at an alarming rate. I don't think it will push me into starting a PC for him, though.

Power Players Code Cards - 3 - Nick Swisher, Zack Greinke, Jeff Samardzija

This is a partial parallel set of 110 cards. Each card has a code on the back that can be entered at the Power Players site. Topps will supposedly pick different players throughout the season as the Power Player of the week or some such, and anyone who has that player code activated will be entered in a drawing for autographs and special parallel cards. At the end of the season, people who have all 110 cards from Series 1 and all 110 cards from Series 2 will be entered in a drawing for 5 autographed sets of cards and/or the chance to be featured on a card. The set for Series 1 is split evenly into Hobby and Retail sets, so there are 55 cards that can only be found in Hobby Packs and 55 cards that can only be found in Retail packs. That makes the Retail cards a bit harder to track down. I got a nearly complete Hobby set somewhat rapidly on eBay, but the retails cards seem to come in much smaller lots. There aren't a lot of mass retail breakers out there, it seems.

I feel like a bit of a sucker for chasing this set. It would be pretty neat to get one of those autograph sets at the end of the season, though. At this moment I still need 2 Hobby cards and 32 of the Retail cards. I will probably be putting a list up on my Want List page. I would hope that most people are smarter than this, but there are several sellers on eBay who are listing cards as having unused codes, but also posting pictures of the backs of the cards. You can bet those codes won't be unused by the time the auction closes. Anyway, if you are not collecting these cards and have something from my list, feel free to hit me up for a trade. I may have something to send you in return.

50 Years of the Draft - 2 - Derek Jeter, Darryl Strawberry

Here's another insert set commemorating various draftees. Yay! I guess it is a decent design, but I don't think I will be collecting the set.

Before They Were Great - 2 - Nomar Garciaparra, Tom Glavine 

More of the same. Pictures of stars from early in their careers. I believe these were the ones printed on thicker cardstock.

SP Photo Variation - 1 - Adam Wainwright

This card features a lot of man-love in the form of a pending full-body hug.

Topps All Rookie Cup Team - 2 - Derek Jeter, Jim Rice

More stars as rookies.

Vintage Buybacks - 2 - 1977 Topps # 411 and 1968 Horace Clarke # 263

I guess Topps went out and raided some dime-boxes for the most roughed-up vintage cards they could find and stamped them with a foil 75th Anniversary stamp. Then they packed them in 2014 Topps packs. I think that the buyback concept is kind of cool, but I think I would prefer that Topps 1) leave the foil stamp off of the old cards and 2) maybe find some cards that aren't so abused. I know part of the draw of vintage can be cards with character, but to me it seems like Topps cheaped out on this concept.

These are some decent cards otherwise, I suppose, with both being manufactured before I was born. The 1968 card was printed when my parents were just six years old.

Manufactured Relic Thing - 1 - Clayton Kershaw

Topps promises a relic or autograph in every box, and I guess in their minds this qualifies as a relic. In my mind this is a stupid thick card that replaced eight base cards. There is not a relic here, as I doubt that Clayton Kershaw ever used this partial ring in a game or event. Granted, cloth or wood swatches from jerseys and bats are less exciting than they used to be, but they at least have some sort of connection to the player in question. This is not a relic. Maybe Topps was facing a shortage of game-used stuff or they are hoarding it all for the high-end stuff like Triple Threads and Museum Collection. Okay, I will stop my rant, but I maintain that I was shorted a relic or autograph in my box.

As far as overall impressions go, I am not incredibly impressed by the design of the cards, but the photography is a plus and I liked the inclusion of WAR in the stats on the back of the cards. The inserts are typical in that they follow some kind of theme and are largely non-essential. The minis seem to once again be the best insert in the set, with colored parallels aplenty for people to chase. There are also vintage cards with special foil stamps, an online game to play, photo variations that people either love or hate, and relics that aren't relics.

I may or may not be more negative that usual because of the result of the Super Bowl last night. While I am glad that Seattle got their title, I am not happy that it came against my Denver Broncos and I am especially not happy that the Broncos didn't put up a fight. That was a painful game from the very first snap, and it never was competitive. At no point did it seem that Denver even had a chance, and that kickoff return for a touchdown to start the 2nd half pretty much nailed it shut for the Seahawks. I really would like for Peyton Manning to get that one ring with the Broncos, but it seems like the window is closing for that to be a possibility. The team that showed up for the Super Bowl looked like the Keystone Cops, botching snaps, running into each other, dropping the ball, throwing silly interceptions, and going the wrong way.


  1. That "relic" card is stupid as hell. I'd be infuriated if I landed one of those. They do go for anywhere between 5-15 bucks on eBay, so I guess you could turn that into a nice PC addition if you so chose.

    Nowhere near ideal, but I suppose it's some consolation.

  2. I'm literally leaving work now to go buy me a hobby box. I hope I get an actual relic or auto. Looks cool, but still hella-lame.