28 October 2015

Pack of the Day 112: 2015 Topps Update Blaster Box

One of my sons saved up enough money to buy a toy he wanted, so I took him to Target to make the purchase. While we were there I grabbed a blaster box of 2015 Topps Update. I've been thinking about set building lately as the last set I built from packs and singles was 2014 Topps Stadium Club. Every 2015 set I have was purchased online from a case breaker. It is definitely cheaper in the long run to buy the sets outright, but you lose some of the sense of accomplishment that comes when you track down those last few cards that you needed. Instead you click a button and a few days later the whole thing shows up in a box. I don't think 2015 Topps Update will be the next set I build on my own, though.

I picked out a few base cards to scan. Evan Gattis was probably my favorite regular season Astro, but he sure seemed to struggle during the playoffs. His at-bats were painful to watch, and he just looked uncomfortable out there. I felt bad for him. I felt like Conger played pretty well this year, but it sucked when a speedster from the opposing team got on base because you knew Conger couldn't throw them out. It seemed like if I guy got to first on Conger you might as well let them go straight to third. I picked the Joey Gallo card because I thought his running face was kind of funny. Felix Hernandez is one of the guys I kind of collect, but I don't really specifically chase his singles down. I just hold on to his cards when I get them.

Correa and Altuve make up quite a duo in the Houston middle infield. The corners are where the Astros have problems. When I pulled that Francouer card I thought, "That guy is still around?" It seems like he's been around forever. Looking into it a little more, he was drafted in 2002, which is two years after I graduated from high school. So he has been hanging around the MLB for basically my whole adult life. I thought something was off about that Ike Davis photo, like maybe it was an airbrush job or something. The stadium looked right for an A's player, though, so I wasn't sure what the deal was. I went to Getty Images and searched out the photo. It is an actual A's photo from a game against the Angels on April 30th, but whoever adjusted the picture for this baseball card turned the green up to eleven. In the actual photo the jersey and helmet are very dark, to where they could almost pass for black in spots. On the card they are a ludicrous shade of bright green.

My other note on the base cards is that whoever does the font for the card numbers is a lunatic. Some numbers are in very little font and some numbers are printed in huge characters. I couldn't find any rhyme or reason in it. Maybe cards from certain sheets have different number sizes or something. I don't know. If I were a basic white girl, I literally couldn't even.

I think that Highlight of the Year set is a continuation of an insert from the other Topps sets this year. There are plenty of big names in the set, as big plays are how you become a big name. Tape Measure Blasts is pretty much what it sounds like. It's a set that records the estimated distance of some famous home runs.

This 1st Home Run set is a Retail-exclusive set that highlights a player's first big league home run, with the date on the front and a description of the hit on the back. I guess it's a cool idea for an insert set, and based on these pulls it looks like there are a few names on the checklist that don't often get a lot of hobby love. We'l revisit this 1st Home Run theme later on in the post.

My timing for posting about it is off a bit, but I pulled that Jackie Robinson card on the anniversary of his death. I kind of like the design for the Rookie Sensations insert of Jacob deGrom. He's having quite the start to his career. He was the Rookie of the Year last season, an All-Star this season, and he's starting Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday. Most guys don't even do all that in their careers, let alone pack it all in to the first couple seasons. The two cards on the bottom are throwback variations, which I believe are exclusive to cards purchased at specific retailers. They've got Gold borders and an old-school Topps logo to set them apart from regular base cards.

I also pulled a couple of Gold parallels, Justin Turner and Bobby Parnell. They are numbered # / 2015. That Valencia card is a Rainbow Foil parallel. They are a tougher pull (1:10 packs vs. 1:6 packs) than the Gold parallels, but they are not serially-numbered. The Michael Wacha card is a Sabermetric Stat Back variation. Those are pretty rare, with the odds telling me they are a 1:68 pack pull. Too bad it's Michael Wacha, who is pretty much the least interesting name on the Stat Back Variation checklist.

Rareties is an insert that celebrates rare achievements in baseball, like a walk-off steal of home and earning a save on 3 pitches. Pride & Perseverance is an insert about players who have overcome disabilities and hardships to have major league careers. Buddy Carlyle was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. This and the Whatever Works insert are the two from Update that I am thinking about collecting. Maybe that Rookie Sensations set too, although those are likely to be overpriced. Whatever Works talks about different superstitions and rituals that ball players have used to keep their luck up or stay consistent. The Biggio card talks about his crusty batting helmet. I believe the All-Star inserts, like that Manny Machado card, are also a Retail-exclusive set.

That Greinke card is also part of the All-Star Game Access set. Each blaster also comes with a special 1st Home Run medallion card, which is pretty much the same as the regular 1st Home Run set except that it has a big metal ingot in the middle of it. When I grabbed this Mark Teixeira card just now to look at the back of it I dropped it on my desk and the lower right corner is pretty gnarly-looking. So much for that card. It always sucks to drop a card and have it come away damaged. With the weight of that medallion even a three- or four-inch drop is enough to completely annihilate a corner. In light of that turn of events I don't really feel like writing any more about this blaster. I didn't pull anything too crazy, but it was nice to get a look at the set and see some of the inserts and base cards. I'll probably wind up buying a set online to close out my 2015 Topps set for the year.


  1. I laughed out loud reading, "If I were a basic white girl, I literally couldn't even." Well done!
    I would love a chance at the Coghlan throw back if you're willing to part with it. I could put together some Astros and Mariners for you. Let me know!

  2. I pulled that Greinke All-Star game insert, too. It cracks me up.

  3. I pulled the Edgar Gold medallion. and also want the Iglesias throwback if you want to part with

  4. and I did pull Gregorson throwback. trade ya straight up?