Get Lucky (Rose Bowl Contest Update)

2020 Rose Bowl Souvenir Cups

Happy New Year! Just want to give a heads up here before the contest deadline (2:00 pm Pacific on January 1st). In addition to the choice of prizes (vintage cards, modern cards, etc.) in the main Rose Bowl contest post, each winner will also receive two brand new 2020 Souvenir Rose Bowl cups. These cups are normally only available to fans attending the Rose Bowl game in Pasadena upon the purchase of a soda. Each cup features the logos of Wisconsin, Oregon and the Rose Bowl.

Good luck to you!.

(2nd Annual) The Rose (Bowl Contest) – Closed

Rose Bowl neon sign

Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year! It’s time for Stadium Fantasium’s 2nd Annual Rose Bowl Contest! This will be the 106th edition of “The Granddaddy of Them All”. In case you hadn’t heard, this game will feature Pac-12 Conference champion Oregon (11-2 overall, 8-1 in conference) vs. Big 10 Conference runner-up Wisconsin (10-3 overall, 7-2 in conference).

The Contest

Similar to last year’s contest, there will be three winners (or more depending on ties) choosing from a prize pool of 16 lots.

Gold Contest: Leave a comment below with your prediction of which team will win the Rose Bowl and the margin of victory (without going over). Winner will receive their choice of three of the pictured prize lots!

Silver Contest: Leave a comment below with your prediction of which team will be leading at halftime and by how much (without going over). Winner will receive their choice of two of the pictured prize lots (after the Gold Contest winner has chosen).

Bronze Contest: Leave a comment below with your prediction of how many total points will be scored in this game (without going over). For example, if the final score is 50-49 then 99 total points were scored in this game. Winner will receive their choice of one pictured prize lot (after the Gold Contest winner and Silver Contest winner have chosen).

Feel free to enter all three contests. Entries may be in the following format:

Gold Contest: (School name) by #
Silver Contest: (School name) by #
Bronze Contest: # total points

You can even copy other entrants’ predictions without hurting their chances of winning. In the event of a tie, each tied winner will win. The earlier (tied) comment entry time stamp will get the earlier choice from the prize list.

Bonus Prize (pimp this contest)!

If you win one or more of the contests above AND pimp this contest in your blog before midnight Pacific time December 31st, then you win one additional pictured prize lot of your choice. Please leave a “pimp link” in the comments section. Bonus prize selection will take place after the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners have chosen their main contest prize lots.

Deadline to enter is 2:00 pm Pacific on January 1st.

The Prize List

Baseball:

  1. One vintage 1958 Topps #396 Dutch Dotterrer (Cincinnati Reds) and one sealed 3-card cello pack of 1991 Jimmy Dean with Rickey Henderson (Oakland A’s) showing on top
  2. One vintage 1966 Topps #128 Jim Landis (Cleveland Indians) and one sealed 18-card set of 1992 Score Proctor & Gamble All-Stars
  3. One vintage 1972 Topps #52 Harmon Killebrew In Action and one cello 3-card pack of 2009 Upper Deck First Edition (Tim Lincecum showing on top)
  4. One 2000 Royal Rookies Futures High Yield Autographs Colby Lewis #’d 1143/2500 and one 2019 Gypsy Queen Chrome boxtopper #4 Kyle Schwarber
  5. One 2005 Donruss Threads Century Proof Silver #5 Eddie Murray #’d 87/100 and one 2008 Topps Retail Relics TR-BG Brian Giles
  6. One 2008 Playoff Prime Cuts – Icons #36 “Shoeless” Joe Jackson #’s 1/25 and one 2019 Topps Chrome – Green Wave Refractor #185 Kyle Hendricks #’d 35/99
  7. One 2017 Topps High Tek Autographs HT-CC Carlos Carrasco and one retail pack 2007 Fleer
  8. One waxpack 1989 Pacific Legends II, one pack 1988 Topps Stickers and one sealed pack 2019 Topps Update Oversize 1984 boxtopper
  9. One pack 2019 Topps Finest and one rack pack 1989 Donruss (with Nolan Ryan showing)
  10. One 7-card stadium giveaway pack of 2018 Dodgers 60th Anniversary (1977 Topps design including Don Sutton) and two 2019 Union 76 Dodger pins
  11. One 2007 Topps Museum Collection Prime Pieces World Baseball Classic Prime Pieces WBCPR-DG Didi Gregorius and one waxpack 1989 Donruss All-Stars (Pop-up Puzzle & Cards)

Football:

  1. One vintage 1960 Topps #31 Cleveland Browns Team Card/Checklist and one sealed 9-card cello pack of 1993 Score Football cards (Troy Aikman showing on the front, Neil O’Donnell in back)
  2. One complete boxed set 1989 Topps Traded Football (132 cards) and one sealed 4-card cello promo pack containing a mix of  2005 Leaf Certified Material, Donruss Elite and Playoff
  3. One unopened) cello pack 2006 Donruss Frito Lay (appears to be three cards) and one pack 2007 Score

Basketball:

  1. One sealed promo pack 2009-10 Panini Adrenalyn XL (6 cards) and one sealed 2001-02 AT&T Upper Deck Los Angeles Clippers Team Set (9-card set)

Multi-sport/Non-sport

  1. One sealed pack of 2008 Upper Deck 20th Anniversary and one pack 1992 Lime Rock Mad Magazine Series 1
Baseball Prize Lot #1
Baseball Prize Lot #1
Baseball Prize Lot #2
Baseball Prize Lot #2
Baseball Prize Lot #3
Baseball Prize Lot #3

Baseball Prize Lot #4
Baseball Prize Lot #4
Baseball Prize Lot #5
Baseball Prize Lot #5
Baseball Prize Lot #6
Baseball Prize Lot #6
Baseball Prize Lot #7
Baseball Prize Lot #7
Baseball Prize Lot #8
Baseball Prize Lot #8

 

Baseball Prize Lot #9
Baseball Prize Lot #9
Baseball Prize Lot #10
Baseball Prize Lot #10
Baseball Prize Lot #11
Baseball Prize Lot #11
Football Prize Lot #1
Football Prize Lot #1
Football Prize Lot #2
Football Prize Lot #2
Football Prize Lot #3
Football Prize Lot #3
Basketball Prize Lot
Basketball Prize Lot
Multi-sport/Non-sport Lot
Multi-sport/Non-sport Lot

Good luck!

Good luck!

Padrographs and Memories

Padrographs and Memories

Whew! My work schedule finally slowed down enough to let me get back to posting here again–thank goodness! I’m so behind on posting a ton of cards I’ve received in the last few months and expressing my gratitude. Now it’s time to begin catching up…

Back in late May, Rod of the great Padrographs blog offered up large stacks of cards sorted by team. Since the Dodgers cards were already spoken for, I requested Angels cards (my 2nd favorite team since they’re also in SoCal). Not only that, Rod also ran a contest with multiple winners and I won a prize. First, a rather large sampling of the 78 Angels cards that Rod sent…

2019 cards
Some 2019 Topps Series 1, Heritage, Opening Day and Donruss
Some 2019 Angels cards
More 2019 cards (Gypsy Queen, Big League, Total and Bowman)
2018 Angels cards from Topps flagship, Heritage and Big League
More 2018 Angels cards (Topps Archives, Gypsy Queen, Bowman Chrome and Topps Gallery)
Other assorted Angels cards from 2017 Topps Series 1, 2007 UD Future Stars, 2009 UD Series 1, 1993 Bowman, 1992 Topps and 1990 Topps

Rod was also kind enough to include a 2018 Topps Archives insert card of former Dodgers catcher Mike Piazza. And the 2009 Upper Deck Game Jersey card of Alex Gordon was my prize from the aforementioned Padrographs contest.

2018 Topps Archives Rookie History 24T
2018 Topps Archives Rookie History 24T
2009 Upper Deck -Game Jersey GJ-GO
2009 Upper Deck -Game Jersey GJ-GO

And with that, we give a hearty Stadium Fantasium standing ovation to Padrograph’s Rod. Thank you Rod!

And speaking of contests, look for Stadium Fantasium’s 2nd Annual Rose Bowl Contest coming soon. Stay tuned…

Back to Life (At the Game: Dodgers vs. Cardinals)

Dodger Scoreboard Aug 6 2019

Finally! The Dodgers have played over 100 games so far this season and on Tuesday, August 6th, I finally went to my first Dodgers game of the season. Working two jobs certainly reduces the time I spend at the stadium (not to mention my blog-writing time). But hey, things could be worse. I consider myself extremely lucky just to live near an MLB stadium with a team that’s done very well the past six seasons.

So the gf and I got to the stadium gates just before they opened up for the fans. We got to see the Cardinals batting practice.

So after watching Cardinals batting practice, we made our way up to our seats on the Reserve level. On the way, we were able stop by outside the press box named after legendary Dodger announcer Vin Scully.

As luck would have it, my day off to see this game also coincided with Clayton Kershaw pitching against the Cardinals. Apparently, actor Rob Lowe and country music superstar Brad Paisley had the night off too, because both were also there to see the game. And of course Tommy Lasorda and Sandy Koufax were there, too.

St. Louis Cardinals Lineup

    Dexter Fowler (S) RF

    Jose Martinez (R) RF

    Paul Goldschmidt (R) 1B

    Marcell Ozuna (R) LF

    Paul DeJong (R) SS

    Matt Carpenter (L) 3B

    Tommy Edman (S) 2B

    Andrew Knizner (R) C

    Miles Mikolas (R) P

Los Angeles Dodgers Lineup

    Joc Pederson (L) RF

    Max Muncy (L) 2B

    Justin Turner (R) 3B

    Cody Bellinger (L) RF

    Corey Seager (L) SS

    Will Smith (R) C

    Matt Beaty (L) LF

    Kristopher Negron (R) CF

    Clayton Kershaw (L) P

The weather was warm but not unbearably hot. (In fact, it got slightly chilly as night fell.) This was our view from our seats in the fifth row of Section 8…

The Cardinals jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the 2nd inning but the Dodgers got a run in the bottom of the 2nd and one in the bottom of the 3rd.

Kershaw pitched a great seven innings, the Dodgers got an insurance run in the seventh and the bullpen pitched two scoreless innings with Kenley Jansen getting the save.

This was the Dodger’s fourth consecutive win and the Cardinal’s fourth consecutive loss. I’m so glad Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers got the win and I was there to see it. This game marked the 76th win for the Dodgers against 40 losses this season. 

Speaking of 76 wins, one of our local gas station chains (and long-time sponsor of the Dodgers) is running a pin giveaway promotion. Whenever I fill up with at least 8 gallons of gas, I get a voucher with a redemption code. I just enter the redemption code on the redemption website and a few weeks later, a cool Dodger pin arrives in my mailbox. These will end up going into the Stadium Fantasium Trading Block.

2019 Dodgers 76 pins

At this point, it looks like this will be the only Dodger game that I will attend this month. Next month looks better with potentially four games to attend. One of those games will be against Tampa Bay, one of the few teams I’ve never seen in person. I’m also looking forward to seeing the Dodgers vs the Colorado Rockies on Fan Appreciation Day, Sunday August 22. Stay tuned…

Things That Make You Go Hmmm

Stadium Fantasium “Wins” Cards From Cards On Cards

Some of you may remember that one of our most popular fellow bloggers, Kerry of Cards on Cards, had a College Bowl Pick’em Contest #10 back in December/January. A total of 28 people entered the contest. The first place winner won a 2019 Topps Series 1 blaster. The second prize winner would get a Priority Mail padded envelope full of cards from their favorite team/player(s)/etc. The entrant who ended up in last place would be the winner of the “Rhubarb Runner Trophy” and receive whatever Kerry felt like sending. As Kerry said on his contest post, “Be very afraid to finish last. I don’t advise it.” So guess who ended up in 28th (last) place in his contest?

2019 ESPN Bowl Pick 'em, Cards on Cards Group
2019 ESPN Bowl Pick ’em, Cards on Cards Group

Yes, I admit it was me. In no way did I try to finish last. I really wanted to win the Topps blaster because those are the cards I collect. I even did a half-hour’s worth of research (don’t laugh) on college football to help me with my picks. Alas, it was all for naught (except for the last place prize cards that Kerry sent as shown below).

Contest prize cards from Cards on Cards
Contest prize cards from Cards on Cards
  1. 2019 Topps Heritage #34 Cody Bellinger
  2. 2019 Topps Heritage #366 Matt Kemp AS
  3. 2019 Topps Heritage #5 Alex Wood
  4. 2019 Topps Heritage #197 NLCS Game 5
  1. 2017 Topps #685 Enrique Hernandez
  2. 2011 Topps Insert #HOT-7
  3. 2017 Topps Insert #MLBN-7 Sean Casey
  4. 2019 Topps Opening Day #48 Matt Kemp
  1. 1987 Topps #596 Steve Sax
  2. 1988 Topps #249 Mike Marshall
  3. 1990 Topps #426 Jeff Hamilton
  1. 1991 Topps #279 José Gonzalez
  2. 1991 Topps #367 Dave Walsh
  3. 1990 Topps #789 Tom Lasorda MGR
More contest prize cards from Cards on Cards
  1. 1983 Donruss Hall of Fame Heroes #2 Walter Johnson
  2. 1988 Donruss #475 Dave Anderson
  3. 2019 Donruss #245 Caleb Ferguson
  1. 2019 Donruss #37 Dennis Santana
  2. 2019 Donruss #53 Cody Bellinger
  3. 2019 Donruss #95 Justin Turner
More contest prize cards from Cards on Cards
  1. 2018 Topps Allen & Ginter #120 Cody Bellinger
  2. 2018 Topps Allen & Ginter #88 Kenta Maeda
  3. 2018 Topps Allen & Ginter #68 Yasiel Puig
  1. 2018 Topps Allen & Ginter #153 Sloane Stephens
  2. 2018 Topps Allen & Ginter #179 Tyronn Lue
More contest prize cards from Cards on Cards
  1. 1990 Leaf #16 Hubie Brooks
  2. 1990 Leaf #49 Mike Scioscia
  3. 1990 Leaf #68 Fernando Valenzuela
  4. 1990 Leaf #95 Alfredo Griffin
  5. 1990 Leaf #173 Kirk Gibson
  1. 1990 Leaf #181 Eddie Murray
  2. 1990 Leaf #226 Juan Samuel
  3. 1990 Leaf #313 Kal Daniels
  4. 1990 Leaf #411 Chris Gwynn
More contest prize cards from Cards on Cards
  1. 1990 Pacific Legends #99 Lou Piniella
  2. 1991 Stadium Club #65 Lenny Harris
  3. 1992 Fleer Ultra #215 José Offerman
  1. 1992 Score #195 Eddie Murray
  2. 2013 Panini Pinnacle #22 Clayton Kershaw
  3. 2013 Panini Pinnacle #64 Carl Crawford
More contest prize cards from Cards on Cards
  1. 1990 Upper Deck #44 Jose Vizcaino
  2. 1990 Upper Deck #46 Jose Offerman
  3. 1990 Upper Deck #377 John Wetteland
  1. 1990 Upper Deck #423 Lenny Harris
  2. 2009 Upper Deck – USA 18U National Team insert #18U-DT Donovan Tate
More contest prize cards from Cards on Cards
  1. 2011 Bowman Sterling – USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Relic Refractor #USAR-BR Brady Rodgers
  2. 2010 Bowman Chrome – USA Team #USA-BC13 insert Brad Miller
  1. 2003 Topps Chrome #7 Odalis Perez
  2. 2003 Topps Chrome #30 Darren Dreifort
  3. 1995 Topps Finest #94 Tom Candiotti
More contest prize cards from Cards on Cards
  1. 2018 Topps Archives insert #SL-WP Wendy Peppercorn
  2. 1988 Conlon World Wide Sports Series 5 #1 Nick Altrock
  3. 1991 Pro Set PGA Tour #75 Curtis Strange
  4. 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter – Menagerie of the Mind insert #MM-13 Cyclops
  5. 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter – Great Scott! insert #GS-6 Deoxyribonucleic Acid
  1. 1994 Star Trek Customizable Card Game: 1st Edition Premiere – White Bordered Expansion Set #NUSP Null Space
  2. 1992-93 Panini Stickers #18 1992 NBA Finals (Action scene/lower left) Chicago Bulls / Portland Trail Blazers
  3. 2010-11 Panini Stickers #6 Eastern Conference Logo
Waxpacks! 1988 Donruss and 1990 Donruss
Waxpacks! 1988 Donruss and 1990 Donruss

I must say, this is a rather overwhelming prize for last place. Kerry sent a ton of Dodgers cards and some non-Dodgers cards. The two Donruss waxpacks were a nice touch, too. Although a couple of these cards are actually hard for me to look at, I do appreciate the time and thought that went into selecting these cards from numerous brands and years. Some cards will end up on the Stadium Fantasium Trading Block but some are actually needed for my sets–thanks Kerry!

As we stand and give Cards On Cards a rousing Stadium Fantasium standing ovation, we look forward to entering Kerry’s College Bowl Pick’em Contest #11. I’d really like to see if I can go from worst to first and win next year’s Topps Series 1 prize. I might have to do more than 30 minutes of research though. I don’t know if I have that kind of time…hmmm.

Stay tuned…

Wild Wild West

#crackingwaxmailday featuring 2019 Topps Heritage

Back in April, my favorite boxbreaker, Crackin’ Wax, offered up a divisional box break of 2019 Topps Heritage Baseball. I’d never participated in a divisional break before and wanted to see what that was like, especially for a product set I’m trying to complete. Of the six divisions in major league baseball, I was hoping to get the National League West (mainly because my favorite team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, are in the National League West). And guess what? I was lucky enough to be randomly selected to win all the National League West cards! I ended up with a total of 37 cards which includes two short prints, one insert and even a relic card! Crackin’ Wax was even kind enough to include a cool “Crackin’ Wax” refrigerator magnet.

Assorted 2019 Topps Heritage Dodgers base cards
Assorted 2019 Topps Heritage Dodgers base cards
The Kenta Maeda card is a shortprint and I'm lovin' that Corey Seager relic card!
The Kenta Maeda card is a shortprint and I'm lovin' that Corey Seager relic card!
A sampling of cards from the other teams in the NL West--the Trevor Story card is also a shortprint.
A sampling of cards from the other teams in the NL West--the Trevor Story card is also a shortprint.

Whenever I break a box, I almost never get a Dodger relic or auto. I’m almost convinced that Topps has it rigged so that a local collector cannot get a relic/auto of his local team out of a locally purchased box. And with my usual luck, this box would’ve had a relic/auto from some other team. But I got lucky again in getting that Corey Seager jersey relic. How wild is that?

So needless to say, I’m pretty happy with the cards I got. As we give Chris and LQ of Crackin’ Wax a big Stadium Fantasium ‘Thank You’, we’ll be looking forward to seeing what we get in Crackin’ Wax’s 2019 Topps Series 2 case break later this month. Until then, stay tuned…

(Who) Do Ya (Collect?)

Back on Saturday, May 18th, I was at the Rose Bowl (Pasadena) and saw that it was hosting two events simultaneously. The bigger event that drew vastly more people was the Amgen Tour of California bicycle race (stage 3 of the women’s race, stage 7 of the men’s race). Adjacent to the finish line of each race stage, there is a “Lifestyle Festival”. According to the Amgen Tour of California website:

While fans await the cyclists at each day’s finish line, they can partake in the race’s popular daylong Lifestyle Festival. Designed to provide and promote healthy lifestyle and cycling-related experiences, the Lifestyle Festival offers a day of no-cost entertainment and fun for everyone, from families to first-time race visitors to veteran fans.

Located adjacent to the daily finish line, the Lifestyle Festival is an engaging and interactive space with more than 40 exhibitors daily, family activities, food and drink, live race streaming on large video screens, cancer and cardiovascular awareness education and more…

Lifestyle Festival at the 2019 Amgen Bicycle Tour - Pasadena
Lifestyle Festival at the 2019 Amgen Bicycle Tour - Pasadena

The picture above shows a part of race’s accompanying Lifestyle Festival, held out in one of the parking lots of the Rose Bowl. Note the giant TV monitor which happens to show the racers cycling on the road between the festival and the hills in the background. You may have also noticed the helicopter in the sky, which provided aerial coverage of the race.

With all the bicycling fans, exhibitor booths, time and money spent on this event, it made me wonder…are there card sets out there for bicycle racing (past or present)? I’m pretty sure there’s a few cards of bicycle racers in products like Allen & Ginter. But a whole set?

Speaking of cards, as I first arrived at the Rose Bowl parking lot, I spotted this eye-catching vehicle which turned out to be the Panini mobile company van. How many of you Panini collectors wouldn’t mind having this bad boy for your own personal vehicle?

Panini van, front
Panini Mobile Vehicle

Walking from the parking lot towards the stadium, I came across the sign on the right. Later in the afternoon (after spending some time at Amgen’s Life Festival), I headed down toward the stadium field and saw the sign on the left. That’s when I knew for sure that it was the annual NFLPA Rookie Premiere event where a large group of NFL rookies take pictures on the field in their NFL uniforms for Panini. From a Beckett article on the NFLPA Rookie Premiere, here is a list of attendees:

JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Philadelphia Eagles – WR
Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers – DE
Miles Boykin, Baltimore Ravens – WR
A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans – WR
Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens – WR
Hakeem Butler, Arizona Cardinals – WR
Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts – WR
Noah Fant, Denver Broncos – TE
Ryan Finley, Cincinnati Bengals – QB
Will Grier, Carolina Panthers – QB
Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs – WR
Damien Harris, New England Patriots – RB
N’Keal Harry, New England Patriots – WR
Dwayne Haskins, Washington Redskins – QB
Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams – RB
Justice Hill, Baltimore Ravens – RB
T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions – TE
Andy Isabella, Arizona Cardinals – WR
Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders – RB
Gary Jennings, Seattle Seahawks – WR

Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers – WR
Daniel Jones, New York Giants – QB
Drew Lock, Denver Broncos – QB
Bryce Love, Washington Redskins – RB
Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings – RB
Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins – WR
DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks – WR
David Montgomery, Chicago Bears – RB
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals – QB
Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys – RB
Hunter Renfrow, Oakland Raiders – WR
Riley Ridley, Chicago Bears – WR
Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers – WR
Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles – RB
Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills – RB
Darius Slayton, New York Giants – WR
Irv Smith Jr, Minnesota Vikings – TE
Benny Snell Jr, Pittsburgh Steelers – RB
Easton Stick, Los Angeles Chargers – QB
Jarrett Stidham, New England Patriots – QB

Ordinary casual fans were able to sit in the bleachers but were not allowed in the player/Panini area. Luckily I was able to get relatively close to some of the tents and players and snap a few photos for you.

Signing cards at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere
How many players can you identify signing cards at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere?
Can you find the Panini Contenders Draft Picks Bowl Ticket (Eric Dickerson) card?
Can you find the Panini Contenders Draft Picks Bowl Ticket (Eric Dickerson) card above?
On the Rose Bowl field at the 2019 NFLPA Rookie Premiere
On the Rose Bowl field at the 2019 NFLPA Rookie Premiere
Could this be 49ers rookie DE Nick Bosa?
Could this be 49ers rookie DE Nick Bosa?
Carolina Panthers rookie QB Will Grier
I'm 99.99% sure this is Carolina Panthers rookie QB Will Grier

So that’s my rather brief close encounter with Panini (#whodoyoucollect) and NFL rookies. This day for the rookies was part of a multi-day event. For more in-depth information about the NFLPA Rookie Premiere, check out this other Beckett article.

As summer approaches, my workload has been increasing substantially. That’s why new Stadium Fantasium blog posts have slowed down even more than before. I’ll still be posting but not nearly as often as I would like. I’ve got at least four blog posts in the works that I hope to create sooner rather than later. Until then, stay tuned…

(The Collective) Mind Games

Stadium Fantasium Assimilates Cards From The Collective Mind

Last month, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a bubble mailer of cards out of the blue from Greg, creative genius of the great hobby blog, The Collective Mind. Most of these cards had previously been featured in Greg’s blog back in January and February. Back then I expressed an interest in some of the 1971 Topps football cards but unfortunately I had very little from his wantlists to trade.

Although Stadium Fantasium is baseball-centric, I still have some non-baseball sets I still need to complete. One of those sets is the 1971 Topps football set. Being the great guy that he is, Greg was kind enough to send along some needs from this set along with a 1973 Topps baseball card (#344 Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Boyhood Photos) and a 2018 Topps Heritage short-print card (#499 Luis Perdomo). My 1971 Topps Football set is now less than 40 cards away from completion. I expect to be posting up a wantlist for this set soon, along with a list of my duplicates for trade from this set..

Note from The Collective Mind
1971 Topps football cards #'s 41,52, 53, 80, 134, 168
1971 Topps football cards #'s 41,52, 53, 80, 134, 168
1971 Topps football cardbacks
1971 Topps football cardbacks
1971 Topps football cards #'s 170, 195, 208, 1973 Topps baseball #344, 2018 Topps Heritage SP #499
1971 Topps football cards #'s 170, 195, 208, 1973 Topps baseball #344, 2018 Topps Heritage SP #499
Topps cardbacks
Topps cardbacks

Tag! I’m it!

A huge “Thank You” and rousing Stadium Fantasium standing ovation go out to Greg for this wonderful surprise. I’ll be tagging Greg back soon with some goodies that I think he’ll really appreciate. Until then, stay tuned…

Gypsy (Queen)

#CrackinWaxMailDay

Thanks to a group break with our go-to casebreaker friends, Christopher and LQ from Crackin’ Wax, I am a first-time owner of some Topps Gypsy Queen cards. I actually purchased a Topps Bundle group break spot with Crackin’ Wax and since the Dodgers spot was already taken, I purchased the Cubs spot. The Topps Bundle also includes breaks of Topps Series 2, Chrome and Update. You can see the Cubs cards I got from the Series 1 group break here.

Each case of Gypsy Queen contains 10 boxes, each including two autograph cards. Each box also contains a 3-card pack of Chrome Gypsy Queen cards. Now I’m not a devoted fan or expert of the Gypsy Queen line of Topps products, but as luck would have it, my share of the GQ group break leans to the lackluster side (no auto for me out of the 20 autos pulled):

2019 Topps Gypsy Queen Cubs base cards and a missing nameplate variation
2019 Topps Gypsy Queen Cubs base cards and a missing nameplate variation
More 2019 Topps Gypsy Queen Cubs base cards
More 2019 Topps Gypsy Queen Cubs base cards
Two 2019 Topps Gypsy Queen Chrome Cubs
Two 2019 Topps Gypsy Queen Chrome Cubs
2019 Topps Gypsy Queen: Cubs Fortune Teller inserts with an Indigo parallel
2019 Topps Gypsy Queen: Cubs Fortune Teller inserts with an Indigo parallel

For the most part, these cards are pretty attractive, especially the Chrome cards. The front design and backs are fairly eye-catching. But these cards do not fit into the scope of what I collect. So into the Stadium Fantasium Trading Block they go.

In total, I got:

Base Cards

  • #4 Kyle Schwarber (6 each)
  • #32 Anthony Rizzo (6 each)
  • #68 Ian Happ (6 each)
  • #79 Willson Contreras (6 each)
  • #83 Kyle Hendricks (6 each)
  • #91 Albert Almora Jr. (6 each)
  • #100 Kris Bryant (6 each)
  • #117 Francisco Arcia (6 each)
  • #155 Javier Baez (6 each)
  • #182 Yu Darvish (6 each)
  • #272 Jason Heyward (6 each)

Inserts, parallels, variations

  • #83 Kyle Hendricks, Missing Nameplate (1)
  • #FTM-JB Javier Baez, Fortune Teller Mini (2)
  • #FTM-KB Kris Bryant, Fortune Teller Mini (2)
  • #FTM-JB Javier Baez, Fortune Teller Mini, Indigo parallel, serial #’d 152/250 (1)
  • #4 Kyle Schwarber, Chrome (1)
  • #155 Javier Baez, Chrome (1)

So my spot got no autos but ten (or more) spots also got no autos. But that’s okay. This is part of the risk of participating in group breaks. Perhaps there are some Cubs team set collectors or Cubs player collectors that would want to swing a deal for these cards–but I’m definitely keeping the cool Crackin’ Wax button!

Stay tuned…

Lucky Man

Recently, Matt from the great hobby blog Parts of my Past (the blog formerly known as Sports Card Collectors) had a Twitter giveaway. Matt was giving away a number of 2019 Topps Heritage inserts and variations from a box he broke and reviewed here. I’ve been on Twitter a little over a year and this is the first time I’ve ever won anything on Twitter (not that I participate in a ton of Twitter contests).

Assorted 2019 Topps Heritage inserts and variations
Assorted 2019 Topps Heritage inserts and variations

The six cards I won are:

  • #457 Eric Hosmer – French Text parallel
  • #3 Khris Davis – 1970 Topps Scratch Offs
  • #468 Nolan Arenado – Action Variation
  • #NAP-7 Francisco Lindor – New Age Performers
  • #NAP-14 Shohei Ohtani – New Age Performers
  • #NAP-22 Nolan Arenado – New Age Performers
Assorted 2019 Topps Heritage inserts and variations (backs)
Assorted 2019 Topps Heritage inserts and variations (backs)

As we give Matt a rousing Stadium Fantasium standing ovation, I gotta say I’m so happy I won these. Normally I don’t enter any card contests unless the prize includes cards that fit into my collection.

Did you like the image at the top of this post? The inspiration to frame Matt’s tweet with the 1970 Topps design came from these fellow bloggers’ helpful posts:

UPDATE: Matt is having another Twitter giveaway featuring some 2019 Gypsy Queen cards from a box that he broke and reviewed here.

Matt's Twitter giveaway!
Matt's Twitter giveaway!

So in my next post we’ll see if my luck continues in a group break–stay tuned…

Beginnings

I really love this time of year, the time of the year when we can all take a deep breath and smell that new baseball season smell. Mmmm…oh so good! This is the time of the year when all of our baseball teams are at the starting line and beginning that journey to make the playoffs. No team is ahead of any other team in any standings or stat race. All of the teams and their fans can share some degree of optimism. Most teams and their fans feel they have at least a decent chance at making the postseason and perhaps doing well there if some breaks go their way. However, there are some teams and fans who aren’t so optimistic because their teams are in tear-down/rebuild mode. Still, Opening Day is finally here and I think we can agree that we’re all happy that the 2019 baseball season is finally beginning. It’s also the beginning of the fantasy baseball season, woohoo! Speaking of beginning…

2017 Topps binders
2017 Topps binders

At the beginning of this year, I wrote a blog post listing some hobby goals that I want to achieve. Number one on my list was this:

  1. Complete at least three major-release baseball sets (not including chase cards) from my backlogged collection of cards. This means for each set, creating an Excel checklist, checking off the cards I have, making a wantlist of the cards I need and then transferring the cards from a monster box to a D-ring binder (and then add the chase cards and even a wrapper). And then I’ll add the wantlist to this here Stadium Fantasium blog to get the remaining needed cards.

And I’m happy that I’ve actually got my 2017 Topps flagship base set (including Update) finally completed and bindered. Well almost–for some reason I can’t locate 22 Series 2 cards of only Angels and A’s. I know I have those cards somewhere. They can only be on my desk or on my card-sorting table, so I think they’ll turn up as soon as I do a thorough search.

This set set takes two binders. I bought the binders through Topps online store a couple of years ago and I’m glad I’ve finally put the cards in them. I view these sets as a sort of chronicle of the previous MLB season. Thus binder #1 is organized as follows:

  • Wrappers (Series 1, Series 2, Update)
  • World Series subset cards
  • League Leaders, National League
  • League Leaders, American League
  • All-Stars, National League
  • All-Stars, American League
  • Home Run Derby participants
  • National League teams (starting with the Dodgers of course)
  • A few Topps ad cards to fill out the last page
The (2017 Topps) National League binder
The (2017 Topps) National League binder

So the National League binder is filled almost to the max. The American League binder gets only these cards:

  • American League teams
  • A few Topps ad cards to fill out the last page
The (2017 Topps) American League binder
The (2017 Topps) American League binder

Now just to be clear, I don’t have all of the variations but I do have a few of the short-print variety. Some of the pockets are empty waiting to be filled with yet-to-be-obtained short-print variations. I do not plan to go after the super short-print variety. Luckily, I pretty much finished my 2017 Topps spreadsheet/checklist which lists the cards in the order in which they appear in the binder and also tracks my wantlist. I expect to add my wantlist of variations and inserts to be added to Stadium Fantasium soon.

Screenshot: 2017 Topps flagship spreadsheet

So while putting the cards in the binder, I ended up with lots of duplicates. I’ll be putting a list of the 2017 duplicates in the Stadium Fantasium Trading Block soon. Speaking of which, I recently added 44 cards to the list of 1969 Topps cards available for trade on the Trading Block.

Contest Spotlight: Want to win a Cal Ripken relic card? Check out Chavez Ravining‘s “Contest Time: 2016 Topps Baseball Cal Ripken Jr. MLB Debut Medallion“.

So there you have it, I’ve finally begun tackling the enormous task of putting my cards in binders.

…Only the beginning

Only just the start…

Stay tuned…

Good Thing

Congratulatory letter from sportscardinfo.com

Back on February 16th, sportscardinfo.com ran a contest that offered a 2019 Topps 150th Anniversary Commemorative Medallion card of former Red Sox 1B/DH David Ortiz. Now I usually don’t enter contests unless the prize is something I can really use, especially if I need it for my set collections. Since I mostly focus on Topps flagship and recent Topps Heritage baseball, this contest definitely fit the bill. This was one contest prize I really wanted.

All contestants had to do to enter was comment on the contest post (limited to one comment/entry per day). The contest deadline was February 22nd and a total of 79 comments/entries were submitted and randomized. And to my surprise, I was the winner of this card!

2019 Topps Series 1 150th Anniversary Commemorative Medallion card of David Ortiz
2019 Topps Series 1 150th Anniversary Commemorative Medallion card of David Ortiz
Back of 2019 Topps Series 1 150th Anniversary Commemorative Medallion card of David Ortiz
Back of 2019 Topps Series 1 150th Anniversary Commemorative Medallion card of David Ortiz

In case you hadn’t noticed, sportscardinfo.com generously runs quite a few contests. As we give sportscardinfo.com a big Stadium Fantasium thank you and standing ovation, make sure you take a look at the right sidebar’s “Blog Contests Lineup”. There you’ll find some of the current contests being held by fellow hobby bloggers.

So are you a frequent participant in hobby contests in the blogosphere and/or on Twitter? Let us know in the comments below. Until then, stay tuned…

(Card)Show and Tell

Stadium Fantasium Marquee: (Card)Show And Tell
2019 West Coast Collectors Expo admission ticket
(Card)Show…

The weekend of February 22-24, we were lucky enough to have a decent-sized cardshow in our area. This cardshow, known as the West Coast Collectors Expo, was put on by Hall of Fame Sports (not to be confused with my local card shop, Hall of Fame Baseball Cards). They used to hold these cardshows at the old Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood until it got torn down to make way for the new Rams stadium (60% complete so far, opening in 2020).

This particular cardshow was at the Pomona Fairgrounds and had a “Raiderfest” theme. They had over 60 autograph guests appearing (for a fee of course) on that Saturday and Sunday. Besides former Raiders, other signers included former Dodgers, Rams, Chargers, celebrities and pro wrestlers. Some of the weekend signers weren’t listed on the flyer below, such as Tom Flores, Melvin Gordon and Dawn Wells (Gilligan’s Island) .

2019 West Coast Collectors Expo flyer
2019 West Coast Collectors Expo flyer

Because I’m not a real autograph hound, I decided to go to this show on Friday night. There would be no signers and the entrance fee would also be a few bucks cheaper. I figured the crowd would also be lighter (which it was). That helps when there’s a bargain box to explore and you don’t want to wait for someone who’s there exploring it before you.

2019 West Coast Collectors Expo, Friday 2/22/19
One of the aisles at the 2019 West Coast Collectors Expo, Friday 2/22/19

Show hours for that Friday was 5:00 to 9:00 but I didn’t get there until 5:30 due to rush hour traffic. Goodie bags were also given out to Friday night attendees. Contents included a Bob Miller (retired LA Kings announcer) mini-statue, basketball documentary DVD, and a few hobby supplies. The mini-statue is a smaller version of the actual Bob Miller statue residing outside Staples Center. These were originally given to fans attending the Kings vs. Tampa Bay Lightning game on January 3rd.

Goody bag contents
Goody bag contents

Although this show was not nearly as huge as a show like the National, four hours was still not enough to thoroughly check out all that the show had to offer.

Dime boxes at the 2019 West Coast Collectors Expo
Dime boxes at the 2019 West Coast Collectors Expo
Assorted sports memorabilia at the 2019 West Coast Collectors Expo
Assorted sports memorabilia at the 2019 West Coast Collectors Expo
Card showcase at the 2019 West Coast Collectors Expo
Card showcase at the 2019 West Coast Collectors Expo

So as always, whenever I go to a cardshow, I focus on trying to find cards to complete my incomplete sets (including insert cards). I ended up with only 37 cards but some of those were vintage baseball. I even picked up a vintage football card I needed. Here are the cards I got:

Some 1970 Topps (not Heritage) baseball cards
Some 1970 Topps (not Heritage) baseball cards
More 1970 Topps (not Heritage) baseball cards
More 1970 Topps (not Heritage) baseball cards
A 1969 Topps #87, 1972 Topps #556, #597, 1984 Fleer #48 and a 1971 Topps Football #61
A 1969 Topps #87, 1972 Topps #556, #597, 1984 Fleer #48 and a 1971 Topps Football #61

The fifteen cards above were all from the same dealer and only cost me $10. Unfortunately, I didn’t see at the time that the 1970 Casey Cox had a crease down the middle of the card. I also didn’t see that the ’72 Ron Santo In Action card had a printing error–the ‘C’ in “ACTION” is missing some of the black ink. This is ok though because I also collect these minor variation cards too. I also picked up some recent Topps Gold parallels and some 2018 Topps Heritage High Number inserts from a quarter box:

Some recent Topps Gold cards
Some recent Topps Gold cards
Some Topps and Topps Heritage High Numbers inserts
Some Topps and Topps Heritage High Numbers inserts
More 2018 Topps Heritage High Number inserts
More 2018 Topps Heritage High Number inserts
A few more 2019 Topps Heritage High Number inserts
A few more 2019 Topps Heritage High Number inserts

The 22 modern cards above cost me $5 with a discount. Notice the slightly miscut “Miracle of ’69” Cleon Jones card. There’s a horizontal yellow strip running along the bottom of the card but I don’t mind. The card is otherwise mint.

I must say too that all of the people I talked to at the show were very, very nice. The ticket sellers, dealers, food vendors and parking personnel were all so nice and helpful. I will definitely be making plans to attend the next one whenever it is planned.

…And Tell (New Contest Links)

And in case you hadn’t noticed, Stadium Fantasium has a sort of “contest-roll” (like a blogroll) in the right sidebar above the blogroll. I call it the “Blog Contests Lineup” and it’s purpose is to let you know of any current contests going on around the hobby blogosphere. If your hobby blog is running a contest, please feel free to let me know and I’ll add it to the Blog Contests Lineup.

Until then, stay tuned…

The Breaks

Okay, it’s time to share some more 2019 Topps Series 1 Baseball cards that I got from a few group breaks. I think I may have overdone the group break buy-ins this year but those darn things are so darn attractive to me–darn it!

For each of these breaks, I was really hoping to get the Dodgers spot but, except for one group break, they were already taken. As one old-school rapper once proclaimed, these are the breaks…

The Mets Cards

These cards are from a pick-your-team full jumbo case break from my local card shop, Hall of Fame Baseball Cards, located in Arcadia, CA. You can view their videos here. Along with 84 Mets base cards (lots of duplicates), I got some nice inserts/parallels and a 1984 Jacob DeGrom jersey card.

2019 Topps Series 1 Mets Inserts
2019 Topps Series 1 Mets Inserts
2019 Topps Series 1 Mets inserts/parallels a Mets relic and silver pack 1984 chrome cards
2019 Topps Series 1 Mets inserts/parallels and a Mets relic

Silver pack promo cards (1984 Topps chrome design) were also included and as you can see above, I got two Darryl Strawberry cards. One of those will go to the Stadium Fantasium Trading Block. (Fun fact: According to my gf, Darryl Strawberry’s grandmother used to live three houses over from us.)

The Angels Cards

I bought into a second jumbo case break at Hall of Fame Baseball Cards but this one was a random team break. No Dodgers for me in this case break but that’s okay because the Angels are my second favorite team. From this break I got 93 base cards, some more nice inserts, a couple of cool silver pack 1984 chrome cards but no relic or auto.

2019 Topps Series 1 Angels inserts
2019 Topps Series 1 Angels inserts
More 2019 Topps Series 1 Angels inserts with 1984 chrome cards
More 2019 Topps Series 1 Angels inserts with 1984 chrome cards
The Dodgers Cards (Woohoo!)

So I thought I was done buying into group breaks with Hall of Fame Baseball Cards. But about a week after I bought into the above case breaks, Hall of Fame Baseball Cards offered a pick-your-team hobby 1/2 case break. I checked to see if the Dodgers were still available and sure enough they were still available. Of course I jumped on this. So this half-case break resulted in 68 Dodgers base cards, a few Dodgers inserts (including my first Revolution of the Game insert), a Joc Pederson Advanced Stats cardback (#’d to 150, inserted 1:75 hobby packs), a Corey Seager SP (shortprint) and a Clayton Kershaw Retro Hat Logo relic. I am very pleased with these Dodger cards.

2019 Topps Series 1 Dodgers inserts and a SP
2019 Topps Series 1 Dodgers inserts and a SP
2019 Topps Retro Hat Logo Patch RHLP-CK front and back
2019 Topps Retro Hat Logo Patch RHLP-CK front and back
The Cubs Cards

Another case break I had bought into was one done by online casebreaker Crackin’ Wax. I’ve been in case breaks with Crackin’ Wax‘s husband-and-wife team for maybe three or four years now and they are top-notch. You can see there YouTube videos here. This was a pick-your-team jumbo case break. Again I was too late to take the Dodgers so I chose the Cubs. I ended up with 142 regular base, a Willson Contreras vintage stock variation (#’d to 99), a short-print Kris Bryant photo variation card, a 1984 Kris Bryant jersey relic, and quite a few inserts/parallels/chrome cards.

2019 Topps Series 1 1984 Cubs inserts/chrome and a Cubs relic
2019 Topps Series 1 1984 Cubs inserts/chrome and a Cubs relic
More 2019 Topps Series 1 Cubs inserts including a variation SP and a vintage stock card
More 2019 Topps Series 1 Cubs inserts/parallels including a variation SP and a vintage stock card
2019 Topps Series 1 Cubs parallels
2019 Topps Series 1 Cubs parallels

I do love the insert cards and parallels and I’m glad I got plenty of  those from these group breaks. I think I did pretty decent too with three hits out of four breaks. The two SPs, the vintage stock card, the Advanced Stats card and the Home Run Challenge cards are also very cool.

Sorting through all of these Series 1 cards in preparation for Series 2 will keep me very busy for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, stay tuned…

The Impression That I Get (of 2019 Topps Series 1)

2019 Topps #258 Eddie Rosario and #322 Brian McCann
2019 Topps #258 Eddie Rosario and #322 Brian McCann
Base Cards: The Design

Late in January, I pre-ordered a jumbo box of 2019 Topps Series 1 Baseball from my local hobby store, Hall of Fame Baseball Cards in Monrovia, CA. I picked up my box the same day the store held their annual Topps Series 1 rip party. I had a great time and broke my box right there in the store. And I gotta say, right off the top that I really like the 2019 Topps flagship baseball design. It’s a welcome departure from the last three years of rather similar designs (which I also like):

Examples of 2016, 2017 and 2018 Topps flagship baseball designs
Examples of 2016, 2017 and 2018 Topps flagship baseball designs

It’s definitely not more of the same but the 2019 design does share one unique trait with the 2016 design. In the 2019 design, the circular tile pattern in the border and on the left side of the photograph serve the same function as the smoke effect in the 2016 design. The color/pattern is changed for the various parallel cards’ color schemes. Other than that, the 2019 design stands on its own (although one can argue that it is reminiscent of the 1982 Topps design):

Comparison of 1982 Topps vs. 2019 Topps
Comparison of 1982 Topps vs. 2019 Topps
Base Cards: The Photography

The photography and choice of pictures is pretty good for the most part. However, Topps is still over-processing the photos to make them slightly resemble a screenshot from a video game or an outtake from the movie “300”. The players and the lighting just look a bit too artificial:

2019 Topps Series 1: Base cards
2019 Topps Series 1: Base cards

Take a look at the whites of the players eyes above. Joey Gallo’s eyes especially look a bit creepy and definitely unnatural. The lighting in the vast majority of player photos makes it look like the ballparks had identical gametimes and weather. Did almost all game action takes place on an overcast day?. Maybe there just weren’t any suitable player photos shot at night or even in the shade. Very few of the player cards feature abundant sunlight.

These photo effects are not new to Topps as they have been used in flagship baseball and other Topps products over the last few years. And I have to admit I’m growing weary of it. These photographic effects are probably popular with the younger, videogame-playing set. And when company management and/or the client (MLB) want a card product that is different and innovative, this is the result. Hopefully the management at Topps will soon realize this look has been played out for flagship baseball cards and return to a more “normal” photographic look. These digital effects can be saved for other card products.

As others have pointed out, the partial borders of these cards to seem to be a compromise between those who like full-bleed photos and those who like traditional borders. Credit Topps decision-makers with a pretty good compromise. Personally, I like the full-bleed photos a lot but borders are cool too. The main thing is that we keep some card features standard (such as card dimensions) while avoiding falling into a prolonged rut with the same ol’ thing every year. As seen below, photo repetition apparently is tough to avoid (especially when about 1000 semi-unique images must be used for one master set and you’re on a deadline):

2019 Topps Series 1: Pitchers in action
2019 Topps Series 1: Pitchers in action
2019 Topps Series 1: More pitchers in action
2019 Topps Series 1: More pitchers in action
2019 Topps: Yet more pitchers in action
2019 Topps: Yet more pitchers in action
2019 Topps: Popping right out of the card
2019 Topps: Popping right out of the card

Despite my nitpicking about photographic digital effects and photo repetition, I still like the base cards a lot. I think it’s safe to say that it’s not hard to satisfy most of us set collectors. Here are some examples of base cards with exceptionally nice photos:

2019 Topps: Fielders in action
2019 Topps: Fielders in action

Action shots of players displaying their glove magic is always cool. And if you think those were good, check these out:

2019 Topps Series 1: Popping right out of the card

As seen above, a handful of Series 1 base cards have part of the player or player’s equipment overlapping the left border. This really makes the picture “pop” and is a welcome sight. Of course, this is not a new effect. We’ve seen a similar effect as far back as 1988 Topps and there’s probably cards older than that can claim the same feature. Still, I think this adds a certain intensity to the card and adds to the aesthetic appeal of these cards.

Base Cards: The Subsets

Kudos to Topps for adding a new subset to this year’s base set–Stadiums! I’d seen stadium cards included in previous editions of Topps Opening Day but that’s a product that doesn’t fit into my budget or time schedule. This subset is a very refreshing addition to the Topps flagship set.

As in previous years, Topps includes subsets featuring the World Series Highlights, League Leaders, All-Star Rookies, Future Stars and checklists:

2019 Topps: A sampling of World Series Highlights and Stadiums
2019 Topps: A sampling of World Series Highlights and Stadiums

All of the subsets are done pretty well, my previous nitpicking notwithstanding. Of course the World Series Highlights subsets would look more impressive had the Dodgers won the World Series but it is what it is–sigh. We still have to tip our Stadium Fantasium hat to the Boston Red Sox for having such a dominant 2018 season and postseason.

The World Series Highlights card backs offer a recap of one of the games won by the eventual World Series champions. The card backs generally use some elements of the front design and look quite good.

Quite a few other reviews/opinions of 2019 Topps Series 1 have expressed some dissatisfaction with the large light-gray surname being placed above the smaller first name and I agree with those reviews. It throws things off a bit in a negative way but it’s not a deal-breaker. I think perhaps the first and then the last name should occupy the large white space and then have the team name and position occupy the color stripe below. And while we’re at it, change the light-gray font color to the color of the smaller stripe shown on the right side, then highlight the letters with a thin outline the same color as the large stripe. Or at least put a thin outline on the light-gray letters.

Oddly enough, the stadium cards get the name placement right with the city name placed above the team name. The back of the stadium cards are also well done. The design and included info are all top-notch, although the starting lineup and rotation are always subject to change at any given time.

I’d like to see this subset return next year but with pictures of the outside of the stadiums or pictures taken from another viewpoint inside the stadium. These kinds of cards definitely bring fans just a bit closer to the experience of being at the stadium.

2019 Topps: A sampling of League Leader cards
2019 Topps: A sampling of League Leader cards

The League Leader cards don’t distinguish themselves much from the regular base cards. I’d love to see old-school multi-player league leader cards in flagship but player collectors probably wouldn’t care much for that. Besides, we already have that in Topps Heritage cards. Still, I’d like to see a league leader card design that somehow looks attractive and substantially different from the regular base cards.

A sampling of 2019 Topps Rookie All-Stars
A sampling of 2019 Topps Rookie All-Stars

Traditionally, the Topps All-Star Rookie cards are just the player’s base card with the Topps All-Star Rookie cup element. The same holds true in this year’s set. It’s very nice to see this tradition continue.

A sampling of 2019 Topps Future Stars

Future Stars cards are back again, this time with a rainbow gradient banner instead of last year’s gold tile banner. The player image being imposed over the banner results in very eye-catching cards.

A sampling of 2019 Topps checklists
A sampling of 2019 Topps checklists

Another traditional aspect of Topps flagship baseball is checklist cards. Almost no one actually marks these checklists anymore to track their collection but they can still be a useful reference in a pinch. The images on the front of the card are always pleasant. I always like seeing camaraderie between players on the same team or between opposing teams.

Parallel Base Cards
2019 Topps Series 1: Some gold and rainbow foil parallels

My jumbo box didn’t yield any very low-numbered parallel cards. Out of the ten jumbo packs in the box, I got only two gold parallels (serial #’d to 2019) and five rainbow foil parallel cards (not serially #’d). The gold parallels look pretty good to me and so do the rainbow foil cards. In fact, this year the rainbow foil seem to me a bit more shiny and even silvery (at least at the right and bottom borders). Somehow the rainbow foil cards seem more attractive than in previous years. These cards make me want to actually pursue building a complete rainbow foil set (of course that’s easier said than done).

More Parallels, Insert Cards, Hits and an Awesome Super Short Print
A sampling of 2019 Topps inserts and foil-stamp parallels
A sampling of 2019 Topps inserts and foil-stamp parallels

Reprints! Many collectors believe reprint insert sets have been overdone but I really don’t mind them. The top three cards in the image above are part of an insert set called Iconic Cards Reprints. There are 50 cards in the Series 1 portion of this insert set, not to mention a 150th Anniversary parallel version numbered to 150.

I should’ve showed these earlier with the other parallels but there is also a foil-stamped 150th Anniversary parallel of the base set. These parallels are not serially numbered.

Another sampling of 2019 Topps inserts
Another sampling of 2019 Topps inserts

The 150 Years of Professional Baseball insert set could be a huge monster of an insert set. For Series 1, there are 150 cards in this insert set, divided into three 50-card segments (Greatest Players, Greatest Seasons and Greatest Moments). This insert set will continue in Series 2.

2019 Topps: 1984 Topps insert cards
2019 Topps: 1984 Topps insert cards

The 1984 Topps insert set is very well done and looks like it will also be a large set (as many as 250 cards) based on last year’s 1983 Topps insert set. The Series 1 portion of this set has 100 cards. My jumbo box netted me ten 1984 Topps inserts with two of them being Jacob DeGrom–d’oh! As with all Topps insert sets, there are also parallel versions.

2019 Topps: The best of my jumbo box
2019 Topps: The best of my jumbo box

The best cards from my jumbo box tended were heavy on AL East teams. The auto and relic hits weren’t anything earth-shattering but I did get a Legends super short print variation of Lou Gehrig #230. SSPs were inserted into jumbo packs at a rate of 1:495 so I got very lucky with this one. As of this writing, that particular card has been selling for around $50 and up. Of course I am keeping this one along with all of the other cards in this box (except for duplicates). I’m also glad I got a Home Run Challenge card and a Greatness Returns insert card. The Greatness Returns cards (a 25-card set in Series 1) are especially attractive and are inserted 1:10 jumbo packs.

For the past few years, many of those who purchased Topps flagship baseball cards have complained about there being too many insert sets. I think Topps may have misunderstood these complaints because less insert cards are included in packs compared to last year. I love insert cards and I’m really disappointed in this development. And to make matters worse, Topps apparently forgot to include photo variation short print cards in Series 1 jumbo boxes even though jumbo pack wrappers state that short print cards can be found in jumbo packs at approximately 1:17 jumbo packs. Luckily, my jumbo box had a Legends super short print!

2019 Topps offers another nice insert set: Evolution Of. This set features old stadiums, vintage equipment and past players in old uniforms on one side of the card and their modern counterpart on the other side. My box didn’t contain any of these cards and yet the wrapper states the pack odds as 1:1.

There is also a Revolution of the Game insert set issued at a rate of 1:26 jumbo packs. My box did not have any of these (a 10-card set in Series 1).

2019 Topps Silver Packs
2019 Topps Silver Pack 1984 Chrome Cards

As a nice added bonus for purchasing hobby or jumbo boxes from the local card shop, customers also receive packs of 1984-style chrome refractor cards. Each pack contains four cards out of a Series 1 50-card set. There is also an autograph version and several parallel versions. And as luck would have it, I got an orange parallel version of the St. Louis Cardinals Patrick Wisdom #’d 18 of 25.

Rip Party Bonus: Hobby Packs

So despite a very rainy Saturday afternoon (Feb.2), attendance was pretty good for the rip party.  We had a great time opening our boxes, spinning the prize wheel and participating in various contests galore. I did fairly well in the trivia contests and won five hobby packs of 2019 Topps Series 1. I didn’t get any hits in the hobby packs but here are the insert cards I did get:

2019 Topps Series 1 inserts from hobby packs
2019 Topps Series 1 inserts from hobby packs
The Bottom Line (Finally!)

As it turns out, my jumbo box gave me 343 out of 350 Series 1 base cards. The five hobby packs I had won gave me only one of the seven remaining base cards I need to complete the Series 1 base set. The six cards? #’s 53 (Brandon Crawford), 144 (Jake Arrieta), 178 (Jose Altuve), 194 (Felipe Vazquez), 239 Christian Yelich–League Leaders) and 331 (Cesar Hernandez).

Considering how many unique sports and non-sports cards that Topps issues each year, it’s rather surprising to me that their product quality is above average. Sure Topps has its detractors but just about every product they offer gets the attention and money of many collectors/investors. Many, many other companies have their share of product defects and recalls, so it’s probably unrealistic to expect perfection from every Topps product. That’s why I tend to be rather forgiving whenever I buy Topps product with my hard-earned money. I buy these cards simply for the fun of building sets and not for investment purposes.

So, recognizing that there is room for improvement in this product, I give 2019 Topps Series 1 a score of 8 out of 10.

I’m expecting more 2019 Topps Series 1 in my mailbox soon from several group breaks. Stay tuned…