1999 Skybox Thunder Baseball Review

From a box that was totally devoid of inserts, I’ll now move on to one that was LOADED with them, 1999 Skybox Thunder. In 1996, Fleer debuted Circa, a colorful set with a very unorthodox design. Two years later, they added the word “Thunder” to the set’s name while keeping radical designs like those used the first two years. Finally, in 1999, it became a Skybox product and the card design was toned down greatly. This would be the last product of the series. Recently, I picked up a box of Skybox Thunder for the same price as a retail blaster box. Each box contains 36 packs of 8 cards each. Here’s what I got…

Base set: The base cards are not as colorful (and seizure-inducing) as in years past, and that’s a good thing. The top of each card features a header comprised of four small baseball-themed images. Below this header is a single-colored background. In this box, I was able to pull 245 out of 300 base cards, with 31 duplicates.

Unleashed (1:6): The most common insert found in this product is called Unleashed. All you need to know about these cards is that they look like Wheaties boxes. Seriously. The players’ height and weight are listed at the bottom of the front (just like a cereal box) with a facsimile signature sitting to the left. Most of the 15 players in this set were in their second or third year of ML experience at the time of production. My players were Adrian Beltre, Kerry Wood, Troy Glaus, Carlos Beltran, Orlando Hernandez, and Todd Helton. Also, in small print under the card’s title, it says “all natural.” That’s pretty ironic in Troy Glaus’ case.

http://www.batterz.com (1:18): Batterz.com is a 10-card insert set which features the players in a pretend web browser. The buttons at the top of the “browser” say hit, run, grand slam, RBI, steal, and home run. Oh, the cheesiness of it all. I pulled a Bernie Williams and a Mark McGwire.

In Depth (1:24): In Depth is an insert set that breaks down the 1998 stats of 10 players, with one selected stat being highlighted on the front of the card. On the back, the stats break down as follows: Pre-ASG, Post-ASG, Home, Away, Day, and Night. I pulled a Kerry Wood and a Barry Bonds. Wood’s featured stat is the 233 strikeouts he recorded during his rookie season. For Bonds, it’s the .325 average he recorded at home (I…think).

Hip-No-Tized (1:36): Circles, circles everywhere. It’s a pretty standard (for the time) rainbow foil insert. Personally, I think it looks like something that should’ve been put in Upper Deck MVP or something, but that’s just me. Anyway, these fall one per box and I pulled a Griffey.

Super Rave (limited to 25): Every Circa/Circa Thunder set ever made has come with a parallel called Rave. At the time, these were high-dollar parallels numbered to 150 (these were around before the Flair Showcase Legacy cards!). In 1998, when the product became “Thunder”, a second parallel was added. It was an even rarer form of Rave entitled Super Rave. While its sister parallel was numbered to 150, Super Rave was numbered to only 25. Super Rave cards were randomly inserted into 1999 Skybox Thunder as well and I was fortunate enough to find one in this box of Carl Pavano. The main difference between these cards and the base is the bronze glittery text in the player’s name as well as the product’s name. Pack odds for Rave and Super Rave cards were never stated for this product.

What WASN’T Pulled: Thankfully, this section will be short. Most breaks of this product I can recall contained one of either the Rave or Super Rave parallels. Seeing how I pulled the latter, I did not receive a Rave card numbered to 150. For anyone wondering what those look like, I give you this. Another insert missing was Turbo Charged, found 1 in every 72 packs. They look like a ripoff of James Bond’s entrance if you ask me, ha! There was one other insert I did not pull, the very rare Dial 1. These were seeded only 1 in 300 packs on average and had the image of a portable phone as a background.

[Captain Obvious Mode: ON] (For those that don’t get it, it refers to dialing long distance as the guys in the set are home run hitters.) [Captain Obvious Mode: OFF]

Final Thoughts: This was a pretty decent break. The inserts were plentiful and some were fun to laugh at quite honestly. Pulling a parallel /25 was nice too, even if the guy’s an injury-prone hack who hasn’t done anything in 4 years. Still, for just $20, this box will give you some bang for the buck, which is more than I can say about most blasters out there, well except for Topps Chrome (for all the Joe Collectors! LOL).

Joe Collectors like myself that is…

As always, thanks for the read and good luck with your own breaks!
-John

POST EDITED FOR CHRIS HARRIS: I don’t know how I missed mentioning the lame-ass comments on the back of the inserts. Here are some of my favorites:

Carlos Beltran Unleashed: “You’re the man, Beltran…’cause you’re goin’ crazy in K.C. And we’re convinced you’re gonne be a superstar, Carlos, ’cause your game is straight jiggy.

Ken Griffey, Jr. Hipnotized: “You’re so fine, you’re a dime. That’s right, Griff, you’re a perfect “10.” But if we had a nickel for every time you captivated fans with your skillz, we’d be rich. Livin’ so large, you’re bigger than the Space Needle…and your star is still risin’.

Bernie Williams ‘batterz:‘ “Everybody knows what you’re worth Bernie. Let’s face it…The Yankees wanted you back, so they put up the jack. And now you’re ready to attack with a game that’s on top of the pack. From power to speed to average…you’re stacked.”

Orlando Hernandez Unleashed: “We got a phat nickname for ya, Orlando. We’re gonna call you the Cuban Commando…’cause you came stormin’ into the Majors and just started takin’ batters out.

Andruw Jones base card: “Let us break it down for ya, Andruw…You’re flauntin’ skillz like Bill Gates is droppin’ bills. True that. True that.”

On that note, I don’t think I can take more of this!! Hope you enjoyed those!

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Posted on July 23, 2008, in Box Breaks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. You failed to mention the best part: The pseudo-gangsta backs of the inserts!

  2. Pavano Super Rave! 🙂

    I’m interested to know what the back says on that one.

  3. The back of the Pavano reads:

    “It’s a matter of fact, your game is stacked. Throwin’ K’s like they’re goin’ outta style, you’re gonna be dominatin’ for quite a while.”

    Shows how much they knew…

  4. In a late 90s Beckett issue, they did a feature story on the guy [he seemed like he was middle aged, white] who was the ‘author’ of all those silly Skybox/Fleer write-ups. I think the story talked about how much research the guy did to play up the hip hop aspect of the bioes.

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