Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Five-Box Group Break

I just watched this guy ground out to the pitcher in the ALDS.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen #155 Troy Tulowitzki
That Tulowitzki card is one of several that I got in a long-ago group break that Nachos Grande ran. Rather than a full case of one product, I prefer a little variety, so when he decided to open five products, I was in for a $25 slot.

When this break happened in April/May, I sure as heck didn't expect to see Tulowitzki in the playoffs, let alone on the Toronto Blue Jays. But baseball is like that, reserve clause or no.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen Mini #144 Justin Morneau
I've expressed admiration for this year's Gypsy Queen design. In fact, that was on the full-size version of this card. The onion dome means I'll actually be able to pinpoint this one once a few years have rolled by, even in miniature.

2015 Topps Gypsy Queen Basics of Base Ball Minis #BBMR-4 Head-First Slide
This insert mini doesn't have the base design, but it's an interesting card nonetheless. I think that's supposed to be Willie Mays, judging by those orange bands on the sleeves. However, I question whether a head-first slide is really a basic. The other cards in this set, sure, like how to steal, how to grip the bat, how to take a lead. We learned all that in little league. But we were explicitly instructed not to do a head-first slide, particularly not into first base. Eric Byrnes remembers that from the final out of the 2007 NLCS, I'm sure. Nor did we have any knuckleballers. But a three card set of hitting, fielding, and throwing wouldn't be much fun, would it?

2015 Diamond Kings #25 Charlie Blackmon
Panini has resurrected the Diamond Kings brand, and I have to say that I like it a lot more with a little gold foil and none of those mildly terrifying Dick Perez paintings featured on the 1980s-1990s Diamond Kings cards. It's also an unusual material; it feels like a thick, sharp-cornered playing card.

2015 Bowman Prospects #BP52 Jon Gray
Many players in the prospect-heavy Bowman sets never make the Majors, but Jon Gray has, and I've even seen him pitch in person. He faced Bartolo Colon that day, but the real star of that game was Yoenis Cespedes, who hit three home runs and had plenty of chances for a record-tying fourth. Cespedes hit a monster home run in the NLDS last night, swinging the bat as hard as I've ever seen anyone swing.

Gray has talent, but I'm still on the fence as to whether he'll live up to the hype, although the fact that the Rockies have a hyped pitching prospect in the first place is a positive development.

2015 Topps Opening Day #159A Justin Morneau
I got a couple base cards from 2015 Opening Day, which I think I already had. I have been buying a blaster or two of that product at Target each year, and ending up with most of the set. I was hoping for an insert or two, but I'll never turn down Rockies cards. It's still pretty striking how much the lack of foil in Flagship makes Opening Day look almost identical. If Topps continues with that, Opening Day might not remain in the market.

There was a fifth box opened, which was Topps Museum Collection, although I was shut out of that one. I'm OK with that, as I had awesome luck in Chris's previous break, snagging Tulo and a serial-numbered Willie Mays in a box of Topps High Tek.

2005 Topps Opening Day #102 Aaron Miles
The great thing about Chris's group breaks is that he always has a few extras lying around to sweeten the deal. The break was exclusively 2015 products, but Chris threw in some older cards for good measure. Hard to believe this Miles card is already ten years old. It was from a time when Opening Day products still had foil, and for a few years, I even liked them better than Flagship. This blue foil in the Opening Day product might look better than the gold of the base set.

1993 Bowman #339 Jim Tatum FOIL (RC)
I always liked these foil Rookie Cards from 1993 Bowman, even if the rainbow-ness of it doesn't actually show up in a scan. Jim Tatum is likely known only to the earliest die-hard Rockies fans, and he only slugged three home runs his entire career. But there are countless copies of his cards, simply because he played toward the tail end of the overproduction era.

1994 SP #164 Dante Bichette
There were a few years when Upper Deck really liked copper. Early SP sets used them quite a bit, then the base UD sets from 1994-1998 featured it in ever-increasing amounts. Even that MVP set in 2002 had it. I guess they left Pinnacle and Fleer to go nuts with the gold foil. Always trying to be different, those guys, right down to the gold hologram found on the back of SP cards.

Dante Bichette doesn't seem to mind, he'll just tighten up those purple batting gloves on the way to a .310-ish average with a smile on his face. And boy, did the guy like a two-strike count.

I appreciate that Chris runs these breaks, and sorry it took so long to get this post up. If it's any consolation, Chris has a new group break open right now for some great 2015 products, including Stadium Club! Go grab a $25 slot before they're gone!

1 comment:

  1. I remember Jim Tatum in the Brewers organization, I think. Of course, I also remember Dante Bichette as a Brewer too.