Category Archives: Baseball

2017 Topps Allen & Ginter Hobby Box Break

July means release time for Allen & Ginter. It’s always a fun set which, while clearly a baseball set, also offers a little bit of a change of pace with various off beat inclusions. It includes anything from insert sets focusing on Revolutionary Battles or World’s Dude to regular relics and autographs.

The release is bolstered by Aaron Judge, as are most of the 2017 releases. There is also a mix of sports writers and various other stars, such as Floyd Mayweather and William Shatner. Hot boxes make their first appearances in Allen & Ginter with an entire box filled with Foil Base parallels instead of standard base cards.

This box contained:

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2017 Topps Stadium Club Hobby Box Break



The year of the Judge continues with the Stadium Club release.  While Aaron Judge has seemingly driven a lot more attention on the hobby, he has already really inflated the release prices for unopened packs.  Will he live up to the hype?  Time will tell.  Will the product live up to the prices?  Well, that will be a taller order, if you don’t hit a Judge.

The Stadium Club release seems to have really hit its stride.  We’ve come to expect unique images on nicer card stock, along with on card autographs.  It’s a simple set, but very visually appealing.   There are also a few parallels and inserts, but the main set is really the focus.   A hobby box features 16 packs of 8 cards each, with 2 on-card autographs.

This box contains:

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2017 Topps Series 2 Jumbo Hobby Box Break

If you liked series one, series two brings you more of the same, in some cases much more. We get a continuation of series one, with numbers 351-700. The usual assortment of parallels are back, but we also get a bit of a throwback for the SP variations. Instead of just image variations, we also see the return of old time player variations.

Many of the insert sets are continued in this series, including 1987 Topps, First Pitch, MLB Network, and Salute. The First Pitch set is at least a reasonable size. I can’t really say the same about the 1987 and Salute sets. They are each 100 cards, after 100 cards from series one, as well. At ten per box, those sets would take almost two cases to pull, which seems a bit extreme to me.

During the initial release, hobby stores also offered two additional 1987 Topps Chrome packs for each sealed box purchase.

This box contained my first 1/1 autograph, which was rather surprising to me. It contained:

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2017 Topps Archives Hobby Box Break

I have a love/hate relationship with Topps Archives. I like the theory of using throwback designs, but it’s much better executed in Heritage. It can be nice to see the more recent vintage designs, without the almost 50 year lag time, though. That shine can be easily lost a bit when recent designs like 1982 get overused. This year’s set features 1960, 1982, and 1992.

One improvement in this year’s release, is the lack of regular short prints as part of the set. There are alternative image short prints, as well as various parallels. In the past, Archives has offered insert sets like cards from the motion picture Major League. This year, their pop culture references involve autographs of people like “Bald Vinny”, who seems to have limited appeal outside of Yankee stadium, and a baseball collector that most are not able to name. I’m not sure I would exactly call that an improvement.

A box advertises 24 packs of 8 cards, including two autographs per box.

This box contained:

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2017 Bowman Jumbo Hobby Box Break

Bowman has always been highly focused on prospects. This seems to be taking it to an extreme, however. The base set now consists of only 100 cards, while the prospects “insert” set features 150 different players. I miss the days when the base set was not just an after thought. The vast majority of autographs and other inserts are prospect related, but there are also a few veterans sprinkled in.

I don’t remember Bowman really doing buybacks in the same way the Topps flagship release has in recent years, but to celebrate the brand’s 70th anniversary, we get to see some this year. They’re using similar foil colors as the Topps release. I’ve only seen buybacks going back to 1990, as prior to that, the cards would be oversized compared to modern cards, and would not fit in packs.

This box contained:
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