Monday, March 17, 2014

Scratching the Itch (A Repack Box)

I'm trying to be good and save my money, both for a fairly big card show next month and to recover my bad hard drive. But that's tough when everybody is busting new releases with either Donruss or Heritage. And posting about them. I'm not particularly interested in any of them aside from the Cubs cards so I've been avoiding them. 

That said, while I'm a team collector, I still love to open packs. Last year, I satisfied that itch with some repacks and even had a reoccurring series of posts called Repack Sundays for a while. While out doing some errands, I snuck into my trusty Five Below store but aside from some 2014 Topps Series One, the only other cards they had were football repacks and non-sports stuff. Oh well.

More errands took me near the local red big box store. Their card selection is much better than the local blue one and more likely to have the off-brands like Donruss. One pack couldn't hurt, right?

Fate was having none of it as they didn't have any 2014 baseball product at all. No blasters or rack packs of even Series One, although there was an empty box of retail packs. And nothing from Donruss.

So a repack it was. As the wrapper says, there were 250 plus 2 packs for $9.99 plus tax. And a 50/50 chance* for an autograph or relic.                      *on average

Of the 5-6 they had on the shelf, I liked the one that had a pack of Leaf's Pete Rose Living Legend and 2012 Topps Chrome. The rest were regular Topps from various years. Plus, I thought I remembered the Pete Rose packs had a pretty high autograph rate. Weren't they one per blaster?

The Chrome pack had only four cards and for non-Cubs, I don't think I could have done much better. Two rookies and two (my first two!) horizontal cards. Not a bad start. I didn't even try to scan these, hence the photo.

I didn't pull a Pete Rose autograph, but for no logos, this is a pretty neat set. Especially considering its just one player. If anybody did a set like this of Ryne Sandberg or just about any other Cub, I'd be all over it. Again, not a bad start at all.

As for the rest of the cards, here are some of the highlights presented with minimal comments. I didn't take much time to crop these properly. Sorry if that offends thee. And I will add, this repack box was much more interesting to open after finding out about everybody's niche collections the other day. A lot of stuff I wouldn't have noticed on non-Cubs cards I would have glossed over before.

Pair of Diamond Kings. Both Cardinals? Ugh
Double Dose of Dallas. Even he hates being a Yankee.
The other managers I pulled
Some miscellaneous minor league stuff
Interesting only for the fact that #13's (Ozzie Guillen?) hat says You Can't Touch This, with a picture of hands with a red circle and a line through it.

I've seen this card a hundred times but for the first time I noticed the bat. Seriously, how long is that thing!?

Pardon the scanner dust. Or is that snow? Because I'm pretty sure Joe Carter (former Cub) is wearing a scarf...

If/when Jim Thome makes the Hall of Fame, or even if he doesn't, this will fall into the Unfamiliar Uniform category. Thome played a grand total of 17 games with the Dodgers.

The oldest cards in the box, 1981 Donruss and 1982 Topps
I purposely left these older cards uncropped any further because I wanted to show off how centered the borders and sharp the corners were. I would have called these reprints is I didn't know any better. And if I thought somebody would actually reprint a Bruce Bochte Mariners card.

The newest cards in the box consisted of this quad of 2013 Topps cards. A rookie, a Yankee and a throwback, the epitome of collectible niches. Wait, did I say quad? Oh yes, there was also this pretty sweet (and horiztonal) Mariano Rivera card.

But wait, there's more. The Kuroda and Rivera are both from the factory team set, not the regular flagship version. That's cool. Something I didn't notice until I went to scan them.

I was pretty much a Topps guy growing up. My dad was, so that's what he bought my brothers and me. By the time I started spending my own allowance on cards, Score and Upper Deck had joined the picture and it was a free for all. But early Donruss and Fleer are a gap in my baseball card knowledge. This Orel "Bulldog" Hershiser card is something I've never seen before. I just pictured every Dodgers collector rolling their eyes at me right now, but hey, it's no Kirk Gibson fist pump.

On to the Cubs portion of this post, past present and future.

Pat Perry, Felix Pie, Dave Lopes
Jamie Moyer, Frank Castillo, Mike Mason
I was going to make an old fogey reference about Jamie Moyer and how this had to be the oldest card in the box, a Jamie Moyer rookie. But I forgot to crop it out separately, so that's the best you get.

Scott Sanderson, Mike Morgan, Rick Wrona
Jody Davis, Mitch Webster, Don Zimmer
The Jody Davis card says he is "Now with Braves" but has the Cubs logo and is wearing Cubs gear, so I'm counting him as a Cub here. The team checklist on the back of Zimmer's card agrees with me.

And last but not least, a Topps Finest Rod Beck. Did anybody ever take this protective coating off of any of these cards?

On to the former and future Cubs:

Matt Garza, Doug Bird, Jose Vizcaino
Dave Magadan, Emilio Bonifacio, Troy O'Leary
The Bonifacio is the only card I pulled of any potential 2014 Cub from the whole box.

Jeff Blauser, Bruce Sutter, Joe Carter (scarfless)
George Frazier, Luis Gonzalez, George Bell
Rafael Palmerio, Dave Martinez
I was thinking this was a lot more players with Cubs ties than usual, but then I remembered this was a $10, 250 card repack box and not a $5, 100 card repack box. Makes more sense now.

Most nichable card goes to this Tony Fernandez card. Play at the plate on the front, double play on the back. Eye black on the front, flip shades on the back. Say whaaaat? Crazy talk.

And speaking of niches, here are six more horizontal cards to go with the three above to round out the first binder page of my new collection.

A dual rookie card

One of 16 Major Leaguers with 4 HRs in a single game...bunting.
Close play at third. Get that tag down, Joe!
Former Rookie of the Year and Cub
Third base coach cameo and just an odd looking shot in general
Stolen base? Double play? Maybe I should break down the 2010 set, too.

And before I forget, look I beat the odds!

Not only did I get an autograph, but its numbered out 50. Cory Sullivan played five seasons between the Rockies, Mets and Astros and as recently as 2011 for a Phillies minor league affiliate. Even if I can barely recover the tax I paid on the repack if I sold it, its still pretty cool to pull an autograph.

But again, wait! There's still more!

This was mixed in with the rest of the cards:

This one isn't certified at all, but looks pretty good compared to other examples I saw of Sid Bream. I think this one just slipped through the cracks of those pulling cards for the repack. Bream is a much bigger name than Sullivan, specifically to Braves and Pirates fans.

That definitely scratched my pack busting itch. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.


  1. Wow, two autos in a repack? That's pretty phenomenal.

    I can't wait until I have some time to flip through my collection and start pulling horizontals for you. Those will be a fun couple of days and a great way to pair down my collection a little.

  2. You really beat the odds with that repack. And two autos of players that actually put in more than 10 games in the top tier.

    Holy hell - that Thome looks so weird.

  3. I've peeled a few of those Finests. It was fun.

  4. I've bought one of those myself. It was pretty fun, I got a "hit" as well, a Paul Konerko jersey card.