Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Box Rocks!

If you've stumbled onto my blog before, you might've caught me writing about my experiences with the 400-count homemade "repack" boxes that my local card shop sells.  For just five bucks, you can't go wrong with these boxes.  As far as value goes, they blow the doors off the Fairfield repacks that you'll find at Target, etc.

Anyhow, I've kinda become obsessed with the things, especially since I'm working on a pair of non-traditional sets, or frankensets, if you will.  Recently, I've happened upon some fantastic pickups for those, as well as my player collections and assorted set-collecting pursuits.

And, beyond that, they're just plain fun and also a lot gentler on the wallet of the collector who has also become a new parent.  For the price of a "jumbo" pack (36 cards) of this year's Topps, I can get 400 cards ranging from the '70s through the present.

That includes wonderful oddities like the Hank Aaron jumbo card at the header of the post, as well as the Panini mini of Joe Morgan.  The former is from 2000 Topps and, based on it's extra-large dimensions, I can only assume it was some sort of box topper.  Of course, I could be wrong.  Nonetheless, it's the biggest card of a HOFer I have in my collection.

And every box contains either a relic or auto card.  This time around, a jersey card from Bowman 2004.  While I don't know Bill Murphy from Murphy Brown, this is a Futures Game jersey that Murphy (Bill, that is) wore for Team USA.  So, that's A-OK with me.

These three cards were included in the box I picked up last weekend.  I've definitely gotten better "hits" than the Murphy, but the Aaron and Morgan were certainly among the coolest and most unique pieces these boxes have ever yielded, at least in my experiences.

But, more so than the unorthodox components, these boxes provide the most excitement within the array of base cards.  Yes, I received a good number of cards for my player collections but, more than that, this particular box had a rookie vibe to it.

For instance:

Definitely my favorite among Smoltz's rookie issues from 1989.  If you were only going to get one rookie per box, this wouldn't be a bad one to be saddled with.

But, there were plenty more.

No matter how many copies of this card I have, I'll never get tired of seeing it nor getting a new copy of it.  I've never compiled a countdown list of my top cards from '89 Topps -- which is kinda silly since it's my all-time favorite set -- but if I did, this would absolutely get consideration for the catbird seat.

Any box or repack that has a HoJo rookie is a badass one, to be sure.

I remember Glenallen Hill being such an ornery, no-nonsense guy during his prime playing days.  So, it's kinda funny to see him wearing such a happy face on this rookie card.  I like Hill and his cards an awful lot.  I should probably officially add him to my player collection list someday.

One of my favorite attributes of these homemade repack boxes is the abundance of Topps Traded (or Update) cards.  I had never seen this '94 Traded card of Chan Ho Park previously.  I don't think I even knew he was on the checklist.

Staying with the Traded theme, here we have K-Rod's first Topps card.  This was before he ate at McDonald's three times a day, apparently.  There was a time where I would've been over the moon to get this card.  While I'm not gaga for him these days, it's still a neat card to get.

While the skies on K-Rod's card were crystal clear and deep blue, there were some clouds looming for young Ben McDonald, who once was the great hope of the Baltimore pitching staff.  Easily one of the most buzz-worthy names in the hobby back in 1990, he fizzled pretty quickly.  I guess those clouds had a little moisture to 'em.

Maybe a Bruce Chen rookie isn't the biggest news item from a given pack.  But for a guy who has stuck around for as long as Chen has, and worn as many different hats as he has, I have to admire the man.  Plus, he was once a Met...briefly.

Who doesn't love these, right?  Rated Rookies and their unmistakable and iconic brandmark excited us collectors back then.  Flash Gordon had a very nice career; Kevin Belcher had some very big glasses.  But, they'll both be invited to the Rated Rookie reunion banquet, just the same.

A most unexpected find was this Raul Gonzalez rookie from 2003 Upper Deck  A little known Met who played in 137 games over two season in Queens.  He had a two-homer performance in his fifth game as a Metropolitan, which is noteworthy for anyone, but especially for a guy who would produce just five big-league homers for his career.  Without a doubt, this is a great All-Time Mets Project addition.

And we'll conclude with a few cards that might fit nicely into my newest project, the Horizontal Heroes collection.

How did I forget about this card?  Boy, 2011 Topps Update had some amazing photos!

This is what throwback uniforms should look like!  Those are some serious socks, no?

Before he was a utility player for the late-90s Mets, Luis Lopez was kickin' up some dust for the Padres.

As you can see, lots of fun to be found within these boxes.  They've basically spoiled for me any other repack productions on the market.  I just hope the shop owner continues to make 'em!



  1. I'm super jealous of these card shop repacks. Five bucks for that kind of cardboard goodness is a killer deal. That Morgan mini is probably my favorite of the bunch you featured here.

  2. I third it. I would buy boxes like that until my bank account went dry.

    I love those A's throwbacks. The 2010 UD used them on a few cards, but obviously didn't show them very well. It's hard to find a card that really gives you a good look at them.

  3. I totally thought the same thing when I saw that smiling Glenallen Hill card.