Ohtani-mania drove the prices up at the LCS and I could never make it to the big box store before someone cleaned them out of the latest and greatest product. So, the pack ripping drought continued well into summer. In short, nothing has really caught my eye on the 2018 card scene.
I like building sets and told myself that I'd build 2019 Topps Bunt from packs and trades, but then I learned Topps decided replace it with something called Big League.
Let me be very up front here: I'm not a prospector or hit seeker. I don't care for price gouging and I'm not in it to flip a card for a pretty penny. I'm a Cub collector and I also love building a well done set.
You can go rounds with the Twitterverse about what constitutes a "well done" set. For me, it's pretty simple: decent checklist, not too many gimmicks, fair price point, good photography and something fun to chase.
While keeping those things in mind I'm going to show of a portion of a hobby box I purchased at my local card shop.
I think we can all agree we miss the days of fifteen cards for half a dollar, but in today's economy ten cards for two bucks can only be beat by Opening Day. Personally, I'm not a big advocate for Topps' flagship product, which comes at a similar price, because I'm too much of a completest. If I were to set build set Series 1, then I would have to build Series 2 and Update. That gets to be a little expensive for my blood. Big League has a four hundred card checklist, which is quite manageable.
Before I get to the pack busting you have to check this out.
That was pack one. Nice Krist Bryant hit there for myself. 😀
I'm not going to go full show-and-tell on you with the last three packs. How about I just show you the highlights?
If I weren't a Cub fan my NL team would be the Brewers.
FYI, there are twenty cards of "All-Time Greats," but I didn't pull any in my first four packs.
Bringer of Rain! If I get a dupe of this one it's going straight in a PWE postmarked for Hazel Green, Alabama. Unfortunately for Wes, I need it for my set build!
Here's some more "Did you know?" backs for you.
Jason Kipnis and Dixon Machado.
Man, I love me some oddball baseball trivia!
Looks like the beginning of double play at home and a gold Strasburg.
Two more Ballpark Landmarks cards for you.
Earlier, I outlined five points that make for a well done set in my eyes. Let's see how Big League rates:
1. decent checklist - 400 cards total, with 335 being regular player cards and the remaining 65 dedicated to Ball Landmarks, Stat King Trios, and All-Time Greats . . . No crazy SPs in the base set and not so large of a checklist that it's overwhelming. Grade: A
2. not too many gimmicks - their are Players Weekend variations for 25 players and there are 8 SSP "error" cards which come at one to a case. There are also gold, blue, and black & white parallels. Not bad overall, but I could do without the parallels... maybe just limit it to one instead of three? At least it's not Bowman crazy. Grade: B
3. fair price point - $2 a pack isn't a bad deal for a product that does have some occasional autos in it. Grade: A
5. something fun to chase - I haven't pulled any yet, but there are inserts in the set. Ministers of Mash is a 10 card set, which fall at two per hobby box. There are 30 Star Caricatures Reproductions cards and I should pull three from my box. I'm really excited about these... must be the kid in me. Grade: A
There wasn't a 6th bullet point, but I know many of you love the hits.
6. There's no mention of relic cards on the checklist, but there are 57 different autos in all, and they include retired guys like Jeter and Strawberry, current stars like Trout and Altuve, rookies like Albies and Hoskins, and mascots like The Phanatic and Teddy Roosevelt. For the record, this is not Stadium Club where you'll buy four hobby boxes and pull nothing but no-name rookies. Guys like Sean Doolittle, Justin Bour and Kenley Jansen also get autos. Variety! Woo-Hoo! The down side is the autographs seem to fall about one to every four or five boxes.
It is what it is. And honestly, I think it's a set builder's dream. I'm only four packs into my hobby box, but I'd grade 2018 Topps Big League as an A.
I hope you enjoyed the review. I'll get a want-list up before too long if you're looking to trade.
Thanks for stopping by!