20 June 2015

Workin' at the Card Shop 7: Two Autographs from One Pack

I had some time to kill between work and an appointment I had, so I made a visit to the local card shop to have a look around. I planned on picking up a little bit of 2015 Topps Series 2 and hopefully a couple packs of 2015 Topps Archives. He had Archives in stock, but none of the boxes were open yet. I felt bad about asking him to open a box so I could buy two packs from it, so I wound up with a Jumbo Pack of Series 2 and a couple packs of 2014-15 Panini Donruss Basketball instead. The Jumbo pack of Topps contained 50 cards. I won't show all of them, but I'll show some of the ones that caught my eye:

The first thing I noticed was the weird coloring on Billy Butler's uniform. "Self," I said, "That is probably an airbrush job on his Royals uniform. I took it a step further and went and found the image that was altered to create this baseball card:

The other guys I chose for the scan were either Astros or showing off some Ugly Pitching Face (UPF). And that's it, really. I have a hard time with some of the little colored circles containing the player's position abbreviation. The light blue ones and the bright yellow ones are a bit distracting.

These were the best horizontal cards in the pack. I was glad to get an Astros team card. I included Wei-Yin Chen because he got hosed by the Orioles recently and I read an article about it, so his name was stuck in my head when I sifted through these cards.

To give the non-pitchers a fair shake, I have included Kolten Wong and his Ugly Fielding Face (UFF) in this scan. Max Scherzer gets in for some UPF and because he's kind of a PC guy. Marwin Gonzalez gets in because he's an Astro and Adeiny Hechavarria makes the cut because I picked him up on a fantasy baseball team recently to play shortstop, because that position is a minefield in fantasy this year and whoever I drafted for that position was putting up terrible numbers.

I chose Moustakas because of the great fielding shot, another Astro card in Jed Lowrie, Carlos Gonzalez because he's on one of my fantasy baseball rosters, and I don't know why I included Jose Fernandez but then this popped up on my Facebook feed and gave me a reason:

I love it when a (failure to) plan comes together!

I pulled an autograph in the pack of a guy who was drafted in 2004, has played since then in the minor leagues, and pitched 6.0 total innings across 7 games in 2014 for the Giants as his only Major League service to date. The only real notable thing I saw on his Baseball Reference page was that he managed to hit three batters during those 6 innings. That Career High number in the corner of his card is celebrating his 11.6 minor league strikeouts per nine innings ratio in 2014. I got a Gold parallel of Danny Santana, another guy who is on at least one of my fantasy baseball rosters. My First Pitch insert features Jon Hamm, an actor whose work I don't really follow at all. I had to look him up. Madison Bumgarner rounds out the scan, with an appearance in a decent-looking insert set called Stepping Up

That Edgar Martinez card looks like it fell right out of 2012 Topps Baseball, and I don't think of that as a compliment. Wei-Yen Chen makes another appearance in this post, this time on a Black parallel numbered # 46 / 64 (a palindrome!). Mike Piazza shows up in some sort of bat-themed set about which Night Owl has remarked, "I think Topps did an excellent job of making bats look like loaves of bread in a deli." And finally, Willie Mays appears in a set that presumably discusses famous comebacks in baseball history.

But wait! That's not all! I also got one of those Call Your Shot! code cards in my pack. I went to the site, entered my code, and this screen loaded:

The autograph selection is random, meaning that if you 'win' a 'prize,' you click through to your cart, pay Topps $4.95 for shipping and handling, and probably eventually get an autograph in the mail. From what I've heard, the players on the screen are just a partial list. The Full player list available here link goes to a broken page labeled as the B-level list. I have seen copies of the A-level and C-level lists and they are each several pages long, covering a huge number of players. So it's pretty random. Going through some Blowout forum threads on people who have already received their cards from the Series 1 codes, it looks like Topps is just sending out whatever happens to be nearby. I have seen some 2013 Topps Five Star of Jason Heyward, some Bowman Sterling of Didi Gregorius and Oscar Taveras, a Jim Rice Five Star card, a Marcus Stroman from last year's base Topps set, and some other stuff along those lines. I guess whatever I get probably can't be any worse than an Erik Cordier sticker autograph.

The two packs of Donruss basketball didn't contain anything too amazing. Mostly they just reminded me how out of touch I am with the current NBA. I manage to keep track of the Houston Rockets and most of the major stars and fan favorites, but 95% of the other guys are unrecognizable to me.

Here are three guys that I recognized from the packs. Beverley is said to be a pretty good player, but during the few opportunities I had to watch him it seemed like maybe he was showboating a little too much and needed to take better care of the ball. I've never liked Pau Gasol very much. He seems too much like a soccer player or something. Maybe he's just an emotional and expressive dude, but I find him irritating. Klay Thompson and all of the Golden State Warriors are jerks, and they will remain as such until the Houston Rockets can manage to beat them in a playoff series.

Here are some of the inserts that came out of the packs. It seems like I can't buy any basketball cards without pulling a Zach Randolph card of some kind.

Oh, and here are two more inserts featuring players I don't like all that much. I guess I should have asked the shop owner to open a box of Archives for me to pick a couple packs from.


  1. It's begun, Topps has started using Instagram filters for their photographs. The horror.
    Hope that online autograph turns into something good. If Topps sends you a Luis Torrens autograph I'd be happy to give you a substantial return for it.

  2. have faith, you're gonna get a nice one.

  3. Hey, if it ends up being a Glen Perkins auto, I'll gladly trade you something for it....

    If it's "Albert Bell," however, I'd complain.

    1. Yeah, the proofreading on the lists isn't that good. From what I've seen, the prizes could be anything. Maybe there is a Topps employee named Albert Bell.

  4. The Royals gave away a bobblehead at yesterday's game commemorating the the play on the Moustakas card. It's one of the more original bobbleheads I have seen lately.