•May 12, 2012 • 3 Comments

To the readers of the blog,

I just wanted to update everyone on why there hasn’t been a post in the last few weeks.  As a future Elementary Educator, trying to find a job here in Alaska is tedious and take a lot of time.  I have had to step away from the blog and take care of those priorities.  However, I will be reviewing a box that I haven’t seen on a blog or reviewed anywhere.  When I was building my large Rodriguez collection 2 years ago, I came accross an insert called 1998 Team Pinnacle.  These cards are extremely hard to come by and 1998 Pinnacle Plus wasn’t overly produced.

I was fortunate enough to find a box on the bay and purchased it this morning to break for the blog.  It is my hope to come across a rare gold parallel of the Team Pinnacle inserts.  Here is an example of the inserts that Ken Griffey Jr. collector Magigpapa called, “One of the best looking inserts I’ve seen.”  This means a lot coming from one of the biggest 90’s collectors out there!


The odds are we won’t find one but I’ve always wanted the chance to open the last Pinnacle Baseball product produced.  Stay tuned later this week for the review and an update on my Rodriguez collection.  Have a great weekend!


Old School Hits: 1997 Fleer Diamond Tribute

•April 27, 2012 • 4 Comments


In the 90’s it wasn’t game used or autographs that were the more sought after cards.  It was the rare inserts and parallels that collectors paid the big bucks for.  As a kid you were happy just pulling an insert seeded 1:9 packs rather than one that came at a rate of 1:100 packs or more.  Luckily for me and my quest to put an Alex Rodriguez collection back together that I could have only dreamed of as a kid, I am now able to purchase and hold some of the rarities of the 90’s including this beauty that came from 1997 Fleer Series 2.

Seeded at a rate of 1:288 packs, these inserts made purchasing series 2 worthwhile as they are visually pleasing for any 90’s collector.  You have a very reflective foil background with raised bumps on the card.  That coupled with the gold, foil named at the bottom, make this one of the better inserts fleer put out in the 90’s!

Stay tuned for another update soon! I have one of the rarest inserts from the 90’s seeding wise coming up next.  I’m looking forward to the readers following my progress of obtaining my collection once again.  Thanks for checking the blog out!

Old School Hits: 2001 Topps Gallery Heritage Game Jersey

•April 24, 2012 • Leave a Comment

In 2001, for the very first time, Topps Gallery featured an all-painted set. Every card, from the base set and autographed and game-used sets, was painted. Among these sets is the Heritage Game Jersey set, which you may recognize as being patterned after the 1965 Topps set. In total, there are five players on this set’s checklist: Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, and Vladimir Guerrero (who was available only via redemption). In addition, Cepeda and McCovey had autographed variations limited to just 25 copies (Cepeda was a redemption). Heritage Game Jersey cards were inserted at a rate of 1 in 133 packs. That’s only 1 per every 5.5 boxes of Heritage!


•April 21, 2012 • 3 Comments

First of all I would like to thank John in allowing me to write for his blog! A couple of years ago I was heavily into collecting 90’s inserts of Alex Rodriguez and opening products from the 90’s as well and always looked at his blog for reference in regarding sealed 90’s boxes.  Unfortunately I spent way too much money on my collection and when I moved back to Alaska I had to sell everything and got maybe a 1/4 of what it was all worth.

So here we are two years later.  John is no longer writing for the blog and I have a little free time on my hands during the weekends so I figured that I would slowly start building my collection that I enjoyed so much, as well as opening a box of 90’s product every 2 weeks.  I plan on writing about the A-Rod inserts that come in the mail.  I will not only go into detail about the insert set itself, but also go into detail about the product it came from.  I will also review each box that I open in order to continue to show that there is so much to love about cards from the 90’s than people may think.  In today’s culture of collecting, it’s all about the “hits” you pull, rather than enjoying every card that comes out of the pack.

This leads me to a little but about myself.  My dad got me into collecting when I was 7 years old.  He bought me my first pack of hockey cards then..a pack of 92-93 Upper Deck.  I remember a card of one of my favorite players at the time, Pavel Bure, came out of a pack that we opened in the car.
This is the card

What isn’t there to like about this card.  In the early 90’s very few cards were this shiny and neat to look at.  Immediately I was hooked on card collecting and through my childhood, I collected baseball, hockey, and basketball cards until 2001, when I moved to Sitka, Alaska.  For 9 years I never even thought about collecting again.  Until one day, I poked around on ebay and say how amazing cards were now.  Pieces of Jerseys in card alone with autographs and low numbered cards, made it very enticing to collect.  The worst part about collecting now, in my opinion, is the allure of flipping boxes, which drew me into a year of blowing through money I didn’t have.

Once I got out of that stage I wanted to pursue collecting my favorite player from my Mariners in the 90’s other than Joey Cora, Alex Rodriguez.  Back when my dad used to visit me in Alaska, he would bring me packs of the best set produced from the 90’s design wise, the 1996 Metal Universe set.  Nothing had been made like this set before and I was drawn in as soon as I opened a pack on saw this card:1996 Metal Universe

Is there any set now that you can get ecstatic over pulling a base card of your favorite player?  It’s either a #d parallel or “hit” or you just put it in the base pile later to be given away or thrown away.  It’s this joy that I still hold onto and that leads me to buying boxes that I could have never dreamed of obtaining in the past.

I am currently ordering a scanner/printer to scan the cards from the 90’s boxes I have purchased and opened and will get my review of each box on the blog as soon as it arrives.  As you all can imagine, everything has to be ordered online here in Sitka, as everything is priced so incredibly high..thank you Amazon for saving me! I would really appreciate some feedback from anyone who is planning on following the blog again because without the readers, there is no point in taking the time out to provide reviews on products :)

I will get a review of the re-start of my Rodriguez collection tomorrow and I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.


So….who misses me?

•April 15, 2012 • 1 Comment

Hello everyone! I know it’s been a while and I’m sorry for letting this blog go dormant, but I have some exciting news for my followers (those that are still left anyway). Old School Breaks will be returning in the near future with a new contributor who has the same passion for the era of cards you’ve been reading about on this blog for years! I’ll let him introduce himself in a bit, but in the meantime, I must let everyone know that I’m (at least for now) no longer breaking boxes. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t be around to moderate the site and do more contests/giveaways in the future! Make sure to bookmark or subscribe and check back soon!

And as always, thanks for reading and good luck with your own breaks!


2002-03 Bowman Youngstars Hockey Review

•April 30, 2010 • 1 Comment

Box Details: 24 packs per box, 7 cards per pack, $40
From: Baseball Card Exchange

Base set: 140/165 (85%), 2 duplicates

The base set is comprised of 165 cards. The veteran to young star/rookie ratio works out to 104:61. The veterans in this set, such as Nicklas Lidstrom, have red base cards while the young stars/rookies have yellow cards.

Here’s a look at your typical young star/rookie card. In addition to Ryan Miller, I also pulled rookies of Henrik Zetterberg, Jason Spezza, Rick Nash, Jay Bouwmeester, and Ales Hemsky, among others.

Bowman Silver (1: pack): 20
Notable Players: Markus Naslund, Jeremy Roenick, Chris Osgood, Patrik Elias, Jose Theodore, Jason Spezza (fake RC)

If there’s one negative about this product, here it is. These Silver parallels are found in every pack that does not contain a game-used or autographed card. That’s right, a decoy parallel. I don’t care much for the appearance of these cards and the fact that these will almost always come out of the pack with significant damage to their backs (lots of chipping around the edges) doesn’t help out.

Chris Osgood sure looks funny without the Winged Wheel on him.

Bowman Gold (1:11 packs, numbered to 250):
Marco Sturm (124/250), Jeff O’Neill (109/250)

Much like the Silver parallels, the Golds also have that glittery effect to them. Thankfully, these cards are the standard card size and aren’t particularly prone to damage.

According to the odds stated on the box, game-used or autographed cards are seeded 1 in every 6 packs. Sure enough, my box yielded 4 such “hits.” The first such hit was a Fabric of the Future jersey card of Brian Sutherby, a former first-round draft pick of the Washington Capitals (before they were the “cool” team to like). The great part about all the hits I received is the fact that jersey swatches are from uniforms used during the 2003 NHL YoungStars Game in Sunrise, Florida. Sutherby tallied 3 points and was named the game’s MVP as the East defeated the West 8-3. Unfortunately, his career never really panned out, unlike this next player….

I managed to pull one of the best possible FOTF cards in Rick Nash (Miller is the other). To sum things up, Nash is a former #1 draft pick who was an All-Star on multiple occasions, co-Rocket Richard Trophy winner in 2003-04, and has enjoyed great success in international play, representing Canada in the World Juniors, World Championships, and Olympics. And at age 25, he’s just starting to pad an already impressive resume.

Fabric of the Future Rivals (13 cards, 1:139 packs, numbered to 250):
Ossi Vaananen/Henrik Tallinder (093/250)

Not all of the FOTF cards are single jersey cards. Here’s an example of a Rivals dual jersey card of Ossi Vaananen and Henrik Tallinder out of 250. Each FOTF variation has its own unique color scheme as evidenced above. Vaananen is currently playing in the KHL in Europe while Tallinder remains with the Buffalo Sabres.

I don’t know about all of you, but I find this card unintentionally hilarious. The two of them look like they’re guilty of something (especially Tallinder).

Fabric of the Future Patch (27 cards, 1:333 packs, numbered to 50):
Niko Kapanen (28/50)

In addition to single jersey, stick, jersey/stick, and double jersey/stick combinations, each FOTF card has a patch variation as well. I pulled Niko Kapanen, a former NHL player now in the aforementioned KHL. Kapanen has plenty of international competition experience, earning medals in the World Juniors, World Championships (4 times), and each of the past 2 Winter Olympics.

Meh, a pretty boring patch card, but still a hard pull.

Final Thoughts/Grades:

Collation: A+

I was very pleasantly surprised to pull only 2 duplicates in the entire box. Plus, I got my 4 hits as the odds suggested, with a couple of them being long shots.

Condition: B-

The condition of these cards was about what you would expect with black bordered cards. Overall, not too many base cards were damaged, but those Silver decoy/parallels brought the grade down a notch (though it’s not like anyone cares anyway).

Pulls: A

The pulls earn an ‘A’ for the rookies alone. I hit all of the major RCs in this box and did pull a superstar jersey with the Nash. It was also nice to pull some of the rarer game-used variations even if the player selection wasn’t the best. I was very happy overall.

Value: A

Once again, I went to the Baseball Card Exchange for a hockey box and seem to have bought the last one in stock. While they may be out of this particular product, they do have boxes of 2001-02 Bowman Youngstars in stock. The makeup is very similar (4 hits/box), but the rookie class may not have as many marquee names despite the presence of Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk. Those boxes are selling for just a little less than what I paid for this one. In any case, both boxes are worth the purchase for that particular price point, especially for the rookie/set collector who doesn’t care about the “big mojo hit.”

Overall Grade: A-

2000 E-X Baseball Box 2

•April 28, 2010 • 7 Comments

I have a total of five boxes that have been busted and are awaiting review (yes, there will be more hockey!) so I thought I’d start things off with an old favorite of mine, 2000 E-X baseball. I broke a box of this product when this blog was brand new. In fact, this post comes nearly two years to the day that I broke that last box! Here’s a quick recap of box number two.

Box Details: 24 packs per box, 3 cards per pack, $29
From: Baseball Card Exchange

Base set: Each base card has a unique color theme, based on the team of the player depicted. Altogether, there are 60 short set base cards (I pulled 56/60, 93%), followed by 30 shortprinted prospect cards which are numbered to 3499….

…..and they look something like this. I pulled two prospects: Wily Mo Pena (1522/3499) and Cesar King (1302/3499).

Generation E-X (15 cards, 1:8 packs): Rick Ankiel, Nomar Garciaparra, Pat Burrell

E-Xciting (10 cards, 1:24 packs): Mark McGwire

I love the creativity of this insert. The player….not so much.

E-Xplosive (20 cards, numbered to 2499): Sammy Sosa

E-Xceptional (15 cards, varied numbering): Pedro Martinez (0539/1999)

These cards are available in Red (/1999), Green (/999), and Blue (/250) variations. I love these cards. Some day I’ll make a master set of them….maybe.

Autographics (1:24 packs): Bobby Abreu

Here’s a solid piece of Phillies tradebait. Anyone interested?

Final Thoughts/Grades:

Collation: B

The collation was about what I expected. I received one more duplicate from this box than I had the last one. I’m used to far worse.

Condition: D

The base cards are very subject to peeling. In some cases, it may just be a corner. In others, much worse. I didn’t experience too much of this in the last box I opened, but I wasn’t as lucky this time. Keep this fact in mind when deciding whether or not to try a box. (For the record, the inserts were flawless).

Pulls: B

Nothing to complain about here. I was especially happy that my autograph was of an established veteran and not someone with 5 career games.

Value: A

I was happy to find this box for around the $30 mark, about $20 less than the typical asking price. For that price, I’d still recommend the box regardless of what I said about potential condition issues. The cards are brilliant overall and if you pull any damaged base cards, just let me know and I can replace them for you as I have nearly 3 sets worth of this stuff!

It’s great to be back.

Overall Grade: B


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.