Retail Therapy – Topps Holiday & Panini NBA Hoops Holiday!

Welcome back to Retail Therapy, an ongoing blog series where we test our luck and try to beat the odds while showing you some new products that should be available at a retail store near you. We’ve had some fairly miserable retail breaks in the past that you can check out here, so we were hoping to end the year on a high note.

In the spirit of the Holiday season, this time around we decided to bust a blaster box of 2018 Topps Holiday Baseball, and one 2018-19 NBA Hoops Holiday Box blaster as well. A recent trend in the industry has seen both Topps and Panini producing winter-themed products over the last couple of years. Topps actually produces a Holiday version of Bowman baseball as well that is far more festive, featuring Holiday Sweater parallels and Turkey Stamped Autographs. Unfortunately, we were unable to find the 2018 edition locally, so we opted for Topps baseball instead.

2018 Topps Baseball was up first, offering 10 cards per pack, 10 packs per box, and one guaranteed relic, auto, or relic auto per box. More likely than not a relic is to be expected, with the stated odds favoring the swatch over the pen.

 

For $19.99, the 2018 Topps Holiday Baseball is a fun blaster filled with plenty of big name stars and it’s fair share of rookie cards as well. Overall, there are 200 names in the main checklist, with only two parallels: snowflake (1:2 packs) and 1:1 gold snowflakes that drop one every 5,799 packs.

Will the Shohei Ohtani RC with a snowflake design go down in history as one of his most coveted rookie cards? Probably not, but it’s a fun low-end card for younger collectors and completionist player collectors.  The snowflake border pattern is much more festive this year in comparison to last year’s edition, which saw the snowflakes primarily on the upper right of the card.

However, the metallic snowflake parallel returns this year and is substantially worse than last year’s parallel. Can you tell which is which in the two Whit Merrifield cards above? In the card on the left you can see slightly raised texture snowflakes, indicating the parallel. This is in contrast to the 2017 Metallic Snowflake which threw a little bit of silver glitter in the winter pattern on the card. We received five of these parallels and they’re very underwhelming. In their place, we would love to see short prints of our favorite players wearing Santa hats or beards in 2019 – make it happen, Topps!

Oh, what is this? It’s a Holiday Miracle! We beat the odds and pulled a sticker auto of St. Louis Cardinals  Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Luke Weaver numbered to 10! With stated odds of 1 per every 297 packs, we beat the odds pretty good here for our first ever auto in the Retail Therapy blog series. The auto checklist includes the likes of Bryce Harper, Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, and Ronald Acuna Jr, but we’re not complaining!

Onto NBA Hoops, which to our surprise have a very well gift wrapping designed wrapper. Offering 8 cards per pack, 11 packs per box, and one auto or memorabilia card (on average) for $19.99, this winterized version of a Panini staple set should be a hit among casual collectors and younger fans of the game. The checklist features current stars, rookies, and legends of the past.

 

Overall, the card design lacks the holiday flair of the Topps Baseball design, as snowflakes can be found within the photography of the base cards and not around the border. This year’s hoops design is somewhat plain, but the set can usually be counted on for above average photography and it does deliver in this year’s edition. Our 11 packs yielded six rookie cards, with some packs containing two and most containing none. While we did secure a DeAndre Ayton RC, and the Miles Bridge RC should be of interest to COMC CEO and resident Charlotte Hornets Fan Tim Getsch, Luka Doncic was absent from our blaster.

Also absent from our blaster box was an autograph or relic! The Grinch known as (on average) reared it’s ugly head and denied us, taking away from some of the luster of our premium hit in the previous blaster. Each pack did contain an insert, most of which were well designed. We’ll echo our same sentiments about the NBA Hoops Purple Parallel that we did about the Snowflake parallels in Topps – they just aren’t festive enough, Panini! Is a gift wrapping border with a bow in the corner too much to ask for? We think not!

That’s going to do it for this installment of Retail Therapy. As always, any cards featured in our Retail Therapy series will be available for sale on the Blog_BreakHits account! Will some of these items be in your stocking this Holiday Season?

BEST OF 2018: Behind the Cards: The Fred Hutchinson Story

As 2018 comes to a close, we want to take a moment to look back at one of our very favorite posts that we have ever shared on the COMC Blog. A long time COMC user graciously submitted this incredible career retrospective of Fred Hutchinson. We’re hoping to be able to share his writing with as many sports fan as possible. This story was originally published on 03/09/2018 and is presented in it’s entirety in this blog as well

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(Note from COMC: The following post comes to us from the desk of Stan Opdyke, a lifelong fan of the game of baseball who started collecting cards over 60 years ago. He has an affinity for the Baltimore Orioles, his favorite team in his youngest days. Through his involvement in the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Mr. Opdyke was inspired to research and write this brilliant look at the cards produced by the life and times of Fred Hutchinson. If you would like to submit your article to us for consideration to be published on our blog, please email us at staff@comc.com.)

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Fred Hutchinson

Fred Hutchinson, at the age of 18, began his professional baseball career in 1938 as a pitcher for his hometown Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League. Baseball cards were relatively scarce items at the time, at least in comparison to what they would become after World War ll, so unsurprisingly no baseball card of Hutch was produced in his first professional season.

Hutch was sensational for the Rainiers in 1938. Pitching most of the season as an 18 year old, Hutch compiled a 25-7 won/loss record and a 2.48 ERA. On his 19th birthday on August 12, 1938, he pitched before a standing room crowd at Seattle’s Sick’s Stadium in search of his 19th victory. Hutch got the win in a game that stands with the Edgar Martinez double that defeated the Yankees in the 1995 post season as one of the most iconic baseball games ever played in Seattle.

Hutch’s superb season drew the attention of major league teams and one of the two major producers of baseball cards in the 1930’s. On December 12, 1938, the Seattle Rainiers traded Fred Hutchinson to the Detroit Tigers for four players and $50,000 Depression era dollars. The huge outlay of cash undoubtedly influenced the Goudey gum company to include Hutch in its 1939 Premium set. The other major baseball card manufacturer of the era, Play Ball, did not issue a card of Hutch in 1939. 

1939 Fred Hutchinson Goudey Premium

The 1939 Goudey Premiums are listed in the 2013 Standard Catalogue of Vintage Baseball Cards in two distinct series, R303-A and R303-B. The R303-A cards are slightly smaller but otherwise identical to the R303-B cards. Both series of 1939 Goudey Premiums are unnumbered. Hutch appears in the 303-A series. The 1939 Goudey Premiums are baseball cards in that they were issued by a gum company and depict images of baseball players. However, in other ways they are not like baseball cards at all. The smaller sized 303-A cards still measure a very large 4 inches x 6 3/16 inches, far too large to fit in anyone’s shirt pocket. The Goudey Premiums also differ from typical baseball cards because they are printed on paper stock that is about the thickness of a newspaper page. The 1939 Goudey Premiums have the look and feel of a small poster.

The photograph Goudey selected to use of Hutch is a portrait of a teenager sporting a warm grin. It is a rare photo of a smiling Fred Hutchinson. When he grew older, Hutch was given the nicknames “The Bear” and “Old Stoneface,” quite a contrast to the photo on his 1939 Goudey Premium card.

Hutch struggled in 1939.  His trouble began in Spring Training when he lost the ability to throw strikes. His lack of control would have undoubtedly cost him a major league roster spot had the Tigers not invested so much money in him. However, because of the huge cash outlay, Hutch began the 1939 season in the major leagues.

Hutch made his major league debut in one of the most significant games in baseball history. The New York Yankees played against the Tigers in Detroit on May 2, 1939, and for the first time since May 31, 1925, the name of the legendary Lou Gehrig did not appear in a regular season box score. The Yankees scored early and often without Gehrig in the line-up. With the Tigers trailing 13-0, Hutch was brought into the game by Tiger manager Del Baker. Nothing went right for Hutch. Pitching just two-thirds of an inning, he surrendered four hits, five walks and eight earned runs.

Hutch was sent to the minor league Buffalo Bisons of the International League after his disastrous major league debut. His traditional pitching numbers (won/loss and ERA) were better in Buffalo than in Detroit, but in both the major and minor leagues in 1939, his performance significantly lagged the excellent season he had for Seattle in the Pacific Coast League in 1938.

1940 Team Issued Fred Hutchinson Buffalo Bisons card

Hutch’s demotion to the minor leagues led to his second appearance on a baseball card. In 1940 the Buffalo Bisons issued a team set of baseball cards. The 1940 Bisons cards are printed on thicker paper and are much smaller then the 1939 Goudey Premium cards. The unnumbered 1940 Bisons Fred Hutchinson card shows him winding up as if he is about to deliver a pitch. The photograph was obviously staged because the picture was taken on the grass in front of a dugout rather than on a pitcher’s mound.

Hutch pitched for both Buffalo and Detroit in 1940.  Detroit won the American League pennant in 1940 and Hutch was included on the Tigers World Series roster. He pitched one World Series inning against a team he would one day manage, the Cincinnati Reds. He allowed one walk, one hit and one earned run.

In 1941 Hutch, pitching for the Buffalo Bisons, turned in a performance reminiscent of his sensational 1938 season in the Pacific Coast League. He won 26 games for Buffalo in 1941 and in 284 innings he turned in an excellent 2.44 ERA. With such a stellar season behind him, Hutch seemed destined to earn a spot on the Tigers major league roster in 1942. World War II however intervened.

Hutch enlisted in the Navy shortly before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He served in the Navy’s physical education program. Hutch pitched for Navy teams in Norfolk, VA, Seattle, WA, and Hawaii, so during the war he was able to keep his baseball skills sharp.

The baseball players who served in the military in World War II returned en masse to organized baseball in 1946. Hutch was part of the 1946 waive of ex-servicemen returning to professional baseball.  He spent the entire year in 1946 with the Detroit Tigers. It was the first time he spent a full season in the major leagues.

1991 Reprint of 1947 Tip Top Bread Fred Hutchinson Card

In 1947 Hutch appeared for the first time on a post war baseball card. The Tip Top Baking Company issued several regional baseball card sets in 1947 to promote the sale of Tip Top Bread. The unnumbered cards feature black and white pictures with the player’s name, position, team and league affiliation printed underneath the photo. Hutch’s Tip Top Bread card features a close up portrait of him wearing a Detroit Tigers cap.

In 1948 Hutch did not appear on a baseball card. In 1949 two gum manufacturers, Bowman and Leaf, produced baseball cards of Hutch. Fred Hutchinson’s 1949 Leaf card is his highest priced card. The 1949 Leaf set is extremely difficult to complete. About half the cards in the set are short printed and Hutch’s card is among the short printed cards. His 1949 Leaf card in excellent condition is worth $900.00. By way of comparison two other Hutch cards that are also difficult to find, his 1939 Goudey Premium card and his 1947 Tip Top Bread card, have much lower prices. His Goudey Premium card in excellent condition lists at $75.00 and his 1947 Tip Top Bread card in excellent condition lists at $150.00. (All prices are from the 2013 Standard Catalogue of Vintage Baseball Cards.)

In 1950, Bowman was the only gum company to produce baseball cards. Hutch is included in the 1950 Bowman set. His 1950 Bowman card is derived from a painting that was transformed into a baseball card. The painting depicts Hutch at the very end of his follow through after delivery of a pitch. Bowman got good mileage out of the painting because they used again in 1951. That same year, Hutch was named to the American League All Star team. He pitched three innings in the 1951 mid-summer classic.

In 1952 Hutch made his first appearance on a Topps card. Topps produced its first baseball card set a year earlier, but in its initial set the company did not issue a card of Fred Hutchinson.  Topps made up for its 1951 omission by producing a magnificent card of Hutch in the 1952 set. Bowman again used a painting to create the front of its baseball cards. The artist hired to paint Fred Hutchinson must have noticed the look on Hutch’s face after he had surrendered a long home run.

The Tigers had a miserable year in 1952, almost as miserable as the look on Hutch’s face on his 1952 Bowman card. On July 5th, with the club in last place, Tiger manager Red Rolfe was fired and Hutch was hired to replace him. Hutch remained on the Tigers active playing roster after he took over as manager. He continued in his dual role as a player and a manager in 1953.

Both Topps and Bowman included a card of Hutch in their 1953 sets. Topps took a page from Bowman by using a painting as the template for the front of its 1953 cards. Bowman emulated Topps by issuing a larger baseball card in 1953 than it had produced from 1948 to 1952. (Bowman did not issue a card of Hutch in 1948).  The 1953 Bowman set is considered by most collectors as one of the best baseball card sets ever produced. Hutch’s 1953 Bowman card is representative of the picture quality that exists throughout the set.

Hutch retired as an active player after the 1953 season.  He managed the Tigers for one year after retiring as a player. Neither Topps nor Bowman included managers in their 1954 sets, so 1954 marked the first time since 1948 that Fred Hutchinson did not appear on a baseball card.
After the 1954 season ended Hutch informed the Tigers he wanted a two year contract. The Tigers refused to offer more than one year. The impasse led to Hutch’s departure from Detroit when he refused to sign the one year contact he was offered.

Hutch was out of a job, but he was not out of baseball. In 1955 he returned to his hometown to manage the Seattle Rainiers to a Pacific Coast League pennant.  A year before Hutch”s arrival, the Rainiers began issuing baseball cards to fans who purchased popcorn at the team’s home games. Seattle minor league teams issued popcorn cards every year from 1954 through 1968.  It is hardly surprising that Hutch, the popular hometown manager, was included in the popcorn cards the team produced in 1955.

In 1956 Hutch returned to the major leagues to manage the St Louis Cardinals.  Topps was the only gum company that manufactured baseball cards during the three years Hutch managed the Cardinals.

Topps did not issue a card of Hutch while he managed in St. Louis. Topps  included few cards of managers in the sets it produced from 1956 to 1958. Brooklyn’s Walt Alston and Philadelphia’s Mayo Smith were the only managers Topps included in its 1956 set.  No managers were included in the 1957 set. In 1958 Topps issued only two cards of managers, a card of Reds manager Birdie Tebbetts with two of his players, Frank Robinson and Ed Bailey, and a card on which managers Casey Stengel and Fred Haney appeared together.

Hutch enjoyed some success with the Cardinals. In 1957, St. Louis finished in second place, fueling expectations that the team would contend for the pennant in 1958. However in 1958 the Cardinals played poorly, and as a consequence, Hutch was fired shortly before the 1958 season ended.

In 1959 Hutch returned to Seattle to once again manage the Rainiers. His second stint with the club lasted only three months. He was in town long enough though to appear in the 1959 edition of Seattle Rainiers popcorn cards.

In the middle of the 1959 season, Cincinnati Reds manager Mayo Smith was fired. Hutch was chosen to replace him.  Hutch managed the Cincinnati Reds to a 1961 World Series appearance. As was customary, he served as the National League All Star manager the following year. As a result of managing in the 1962 All Star game, Hutch became one of about a dozen men in baseball history (Hank Bauer, Yogi Berra and Alvin Dark are a few of the others) to manage and play in a World Series and manage and play in an All Star game.

Hutch remained the manager of the Reds until deteriorating health caused him to take a leave of absence in 1964. Hutch appeared in each baseball card set Topps produced from 1960 through 1964.

In late December of 1963 Hutch was diagnosed with cancer. He died of the disease eleven months after he was diagnosed. Between diagnosis and death, Hutch managed the Cincinnati Reds for most of the 1964 season. The determination and courage Hutch displayed during his last baseball season is told by Bruce Markusen in his excellent Hardball Times article, available online, “The Final Year of Fred Hutchinson’s Life.”

Hutch resigned as the manager of the Reds in a letter he sent to team owner Bill DeWitt dated October 11, 1964. Exactly one month later he died in Bradenton, Florida.

#Cardstock Volume 12 – The Future is Now

#CardSTOCK is an ongoing series created by Baseball Cards Daily’s Chris Steuber that details the hobby value of baseball players based on their popularity and performance . You can check out all past editions of #CardSTOCK here. You can catch Chris’s podcast ‘Baseball Cards Daily’ for free on itunes and Google Play.

With the 2018 MLB season coming to a close, now is the time to look back and reflect on the accomplishments of these five players who are quickly becoming household names. For some, the dream of the post season is still alive, while others will potentially be snubbed for awards they should win. Yeah, we’ll say it: Blake Snell for American League Cy Young! Regardless, these players made an immediate impact to their respective teams, and as a result their card values and desirability has risen tremendously.

 

 

 

Sets Revisited: 2007 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects (baseball)

By James Good

Although I consider myself a lifelong collector, there was about a five or six year stretch through my teenage and early adult years where my trading card collection remained largely dormant.  The 2007 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects set is near and dear to my heart because it was the first product that pulled me back into the hobby as an adult a little over ten years ago. That makes it a perfect candidate for this installment of Sets Revisited.

As close as a 90’s kid would ever get to the real thing!

As a 90’s kid in the hobby, I bought and traded cards not only because it was AWESOME to have a superior collection than my friends, but also because I was led to believe that one day I would be sitting on a goldmine of cardboard. Shout out to all the fellow 90’s collectors with hundreds of pounds of junk wax era cards who felt the same way! While that pipe dream has yet to pan out, 2007 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospect was the first set that really introduced me to the prospecting aspect of the hobby.

In early 2008 I took a job at a sports card and memorabilia shop at the local mall. As I got reacquainted with the hobby, a lot had changed, particularly on the baseball card front. I was completely caught off guard that products containing primarily minor league players had leaped to the forefront of collector’s attention. I could not believe that the Ken Griffey Jr. and 90’s Mickey Mantle insert cards that I loved so much were worth so little, yet collectors were now crazy for kids who had yet to make their major league debut. The idea of a stock market like approach to collecting fascinated me, and I too quickly bought into the hype.

Before I get into the prospecting element of this blog, everyone likes a feel-good story, right? At the time in early 2008, my favorite baseball player on the planet was Tim Lincecum. ‘Lincy’ was a University of Washington pitching standout who I always felt belonged in Seattle Mariners uniform. But as fate would have it, my beloved Mariners instead took Brandon Morrow in the 2006 MLB Draft with the sixth overall pick instead, passing on names like Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw, and Max Scherzer. I’ll save my grievances for a later blog. Regardless, in my very first box of 2007 Bowman DP&P, I pulled a monster rookie card of my favorite player:

2007 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects – Red Refractor Tim Lincecum #’d 3/5
(It kills me that I don’t have a better picture!)

That was all the excitement and enjoyment that I needed to keep ripping the product for the next several months. To this day, I have not hit a card from a product that I have loved nearly as much as I did that card. One of my biggest regrets in collecting was selling it when money was tight back in 2009. I’m hopeful that someday it will return to my collection, but for now a gold refractor version that I was able to snag for about $30 earlier this year on COMC will suffice.

As far as the prospects in the set, time is the one true constant in the world of professional sports, and time will always tell all. Enough time has passed that there is no more speculation to be had with 2007 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects. Without further ado…

Who Were We Prospecting Back in 2008?

2007 Bowman DP&P was not a product that was popular for the autographs, but rather for the 1st Bowman non-autographed cards of several top prospects. We’ll get to them later. The set simply did not have a truly standout autograph class at the time:

BDPP111 Daniel Moskos
BDPP112 Ross Detwiler
BDPP113 Tim Alderson
BDPP114 Beau Mills
BDPP115 Devin Mesoraco
BDPP116 Kyle Lotzkar
BDPP117 Blake Beavan
BDPP118 Peter Kozma
BDPP119 Chris Withrow
BDPP120 Corey Lubke
BDPP121 Nick Schmidt
BDPP122 Michael Main
BDPP123 Aaron Poreda
BDPP124 James Simmons
BDPP125 Ben Revere
BDPP126 Joe Savery
BDPP127 Jonathan Gilmore
BDPP128 Todd Frazier
BDPP129 Matt Mangini
BDPP130 Casey Weathers

BDPP131 Nick Noonan
BDPP132 Kellen Kulbacki
BDPP133 Michael Burgess
BDPP134 Nick Hagadone
BDPP135 Clayton Mortensen
BDPP136 Justin Jackson
BDPP137 Ed Easley
BDPP138 Corey Brown
BDPP139 Danny Payne
BDPP140 Travis d’Arnaud

Looking at this list in 2018 is almost painful, and not just because none of the prospects who I invested in panned out. With the success of Tim Lincecum and the (at the time) raw potential of Madison Bumgarner, fellow Giants pitching prospect Tim Alderson seemed like a can’t miss prospect. While the latter two have multiple World Series rings and individual accomplishments, Alderson was never able to reach the bigs, logging nearly 800 minor league innings as of 2016.

I can’t recall if Todd Frazier was a hyped prospect back before his big league debut, but his name is one of two on this list that stand out as having solid big league careers. The other would be Ben Revere, who was one of if not THE top auto to hit in the product. Of the rest of these names, Beau Mills, Michael Main, Jonathan Gilmore, Michael Burgess, Kyle Lotzkar, and Nick Hagadone all had appeal and were considered the best of the rest.

As I spoke to earlier, the real appeal of 2007 Bowman DP&P came from the non-autographed 1st Bowman cards of several top prospects who would command top dollar from the day that the product was released. You can catch the full checklist for all 100 prospects in the set here. So who were the cant miss prospects of this set?

Matt Laporta and David Price were on EVERY prospectors radar. Laporta was generally seen as the safer option of the two, as even prospectors to this day would agree that prized pitching prospects are high-risk, high-reward investment opportunities. Obviously David Price has had a great career up to this point, so it’s always good to see a top prospect who does pan out. Jason Heyward, Madison Bumgarner, and Freddie Freeman were also very coveted prospects who were hot sellers. Freeman  has an opportunity this season to become the first league MVP from this group, although in my belief he’s been passed up in that race as of this writing.

With Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, and Johnathan Gilmore, the Atlanta Braves were one of the most coveted teams in the forum group breaking scene. I opted to put my faith and dollars into the San Francisco Giants for the handful of breaks that I took part in.  Aside from Madison Bumgarner’s first prospect chrome and Tim Lincecum’s green-bordered RC, Nick Noonan, Wendell Fairley, and Henry Sosa were all above average prospects at the time as well.

Speaking of above average prospects, here are the five players that I recall being sleeper picks among prospectors. Do you remember any of these guys?

Of these five, I was most invested in Matt Dominguez, who was a machine in Single-A in 2008, cranking out 18 homers. He was never able to hit for both power and average the Major League level though, and it pains me to see that parallels of this chrome card can be had for a fraction of what they were worth back then.

Nobody had a clue about Kluber’s talent 10 years ago!

Lastly, I wanted to mention the one guy who I felt wasn’t on any prospector’s radar back then and who has had arguably the most accomplished career to date. That man would be Corey Kluber and his TWO Cy Young awards!  He remains the only base card in the set that consistently sells for above $5. The entire San Diego Padres team could be had in group breaks for just over double that price back in 2008.

2007 was a really interesting year for this product. The set list is broken up by draft picks, all depicted in professional uniforms, and prospects, who were photographed in action during the World Baseball Classic. Some collectors were put off by the fact that these players were depicted in their WBC country uniform, which really stunted the long term value of Clayton Kershaw’s card in the set among others.

That’s going to do it for this stroll down memory lane. Do you recall any fun memories from this set? Let us know in the comments below!

#Cardstock Volume 11 – Undervalued and Under 30.

#CardSTOCK is an ongoing series created by Baseball Cards Daily’s Chris Steuber that details the hobby value of baseball players based on their popularity and performance . You can check out all past editions of #CardSTOCK here. You can catch Chris’s podcast ‘Baseball Cards Daily’ for free on itunes and Google Play.

This time around we’re highlighting a unique group of players under the age of 30 who are all experiencing different trajectories of their careers. Each of these players came into the league with high exceptions, and while some have performed better out of the gate than others, we still have faith that the others will come around. While Alex Bregman and Trevor Story cards are reaching new heights almost daily, there is still plenty of room for growth. On the other hand, cards from players such as Byron Buxton and Amed Rosario remain largely undervalued, and could see huge growth if these players can live up to their expected potentials.

Who are you investing in from this group?

Retail Therapy – 2018 Topps Heritage High Number Baseball

One of the hottest baseball sets this fall is 2018 Topps Heritage High Number baseball. Here at COMC, sets such as Heritage are very popular among our team, as there is a contingent of collectors on our team who prefer classic designs and traditional card stock over the chromium card stock and futuristic designed sets. This makes Heritage High Number the perfect product for our latest installment of ‘Retail Therapy”.

Stylized in the spirit of 1969 Topps, this set is crammed full of key rookie cards of all of the usual suspects from the 2018 rookie crop such as Shohei Ohtani, Ronald Acuna Jr., and Gleyber Torres, as well as the first non-online-only exclusive Topps rookie cards of fan favorite rookies such David Bote and Dereck Rodriguez. 

We took a short trip to our local Fred Meyer (Meijer) to track down two $19.99 blaster boxes of Heritage High Number near release day. You can check out our full recap below, and as always, any cards featured in our Retail Therapy series will be available for sale on the COMC_BreakHits account!

We stumbled out of the gate as our first blaster had to be one of the worst in the history of retail products. Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration when you consider some of the products that were sold in supermarkets all around the world in the early 1990’s.The first Heritage High Number blaster we opened yielded zero serial numbered, variation, errors, or parallels at all. Our loan ‘hit’ in this blaster was an Ichiro Suzuki Deckle Edge insert that falls one every 10 packs. OUCH.

For those who don’t believe us, we photographed the miserable experience, so revel in our disappointment:

As luck would have it however, we quickly had a reversal of fortune as the first pack of the second blaster yielded the purple goodness that was a Chrome Hot Box Refractor. For those who don’t know, hot box parallels tend to come in bunches in some recent Topps products. Hitting one meant that each of the remaining seven packs in the blaster would also contain purple mojo!

In a shocking turn of events new to the Retail Therapy series, we actually had a pretty decent hit! Although it is unnumbered, Hot Box Purple Chrome Ronald Acuna Jr. RC’s have consistently been selling for about $30. With four sharp corners and pretty good centering, whoever decides to purchase this card from the COMC Marketplace will definitely have a good candidate for grading on their hands! Not only did we hit one Acuna….

We hit base RC as well! Heritage High Number marks the Topps debut of Chicago Cubs up-and-comer David Bote, who as of this writing has zero cards available on COMC. The set is also home to the first pack issued Dereck Rodriguez rookie card as well. Rodriguez is the son of all-time great catcher Ivan Rodriguez and bright spot in the San Francisco Giants pitching rotation. Rodriguez also had an RC released in the Topps Living Set. It will be interesting to see how the value of his Living Set & Heritage RC’s compare to his flagship RC that is expected in Topps Update later this year.

As far as short prints & inserts go, we did hit six short prints, easily recognizable as they are cards 701-725 in the 225 card checklist (cards 1-500 can be found in the standard 2018 Topps Heritage released earlier this year). Our two retail exclusive Collector Card Set Checklist were expected and nothing to write home about.

Lastly, before we wrap up, we just had to share what is arguably the best photo in the base set:

We’re giving Daniel Mengden a 7 out of 10 on the Rollie Fingers mustache scale, and we’re giving Heritage High Number two thumbs up as a fun product for those who prefer a more straight forward and traditional pack ripping experience. There are plenty of autos, memorabilia and inserts that we didn’t even touch on in this blog. You can check out a full breakdown of the product here.  Although time will tell, with a checklist this stacked, it’s hard to imagine this product not increasing in value over time. Until next time, good luck and happy ripping!

#Cardstock Volume 10 – Onward and Upward

#CardSTOCK is an ongoing series created by Baseball Cards Daily’s Chris Steuber that details the hobby value of baseball players based on their popularity and performance . You can check out all past editions of #CardSTOCK here. You can catch Chris’s podcast ‘Baseball Cards Daily’ for free on itunes and Google Play.

This time around we’re highlighting six players who have stepped their game up in a huge way in 2018. Whether it be an immediate impact upon their big league debut, posting career highs at the plate, or helping carry their team to the postseason, these players have turned on the jets this season. As a result, their most coveted prospect and rookie cards have seen substantial growth. Who should you invest in? Check out their cardstock and decide which of these players has room for the most growth both professionally and in the world of cardboard!