1998 SPx Finite Series 2 Baseball Review

First, I broke a box of a product where every card was serially numbered. Then, I broke a box of some late-90’s SPX. Today’s box features both of these characteristics: 1998 SPx Finite. SPx Finite is a 360-card set (spread across 2 series), of which there are only 2,000 complete basic sets available. Within this set is a series of subsets, each with their own specific print run. Two separate parallels mirror the entire set as well. First, there is the Radiance parallel which can be identified by a purple hue (as opposed to the green you see in the scan). They also feature a gold coloring on the card’s subset logo, as opposed to orange. Secondly, there is the rarer Spectrum parallel which features rainbow foil technology on each card. As you would expect, each parallel has a different print run for each subset. Speaking of those subsets, here’s a quick breakdown for Series 2:

Cards 181-210: Youth Movement
Cards 211-240: Power Passion
Cards 241-330: Base Cards
Cards 331-350: Trade Winds
Cards 351-360: Cornerstones of the Game

Boxes contain 18 packs of 3 cards each. Here are my pulls:

Youth Movement: Kicking off the set are the Youth Movement cards. These 30 cards are dedicated to the game’s up-and-coming stars. The design is simplistic compared to the other cards in the set, which is nice. The print runs are as follows: Regular (5,000), Radiance (2,500) Spectrum (1,250). I pulled regular cards of Kevin Millwood (an actual RC), Mike Kinkade, and Gary Mathews, Jr. I also pulled Radiance cards of Cliff Politte and Daryle Ward and a Spectrum of Eric MIlton.

Power Passion: The second batch of 30 in this ridiculous set is the Power Passion subset. These cards have a split screen effect, with a color action photo of the player on one side and a faint closeup image on the other. Each player has a specific stat highlighted on the front of the card. These commemorate career milestones (i.e. McGwire reaching 400 home runs) or single-season feats (Pedro Martinez’s 1.90 ERA) for the most part. The print runs are as follows: Regular (7,000), Radiance (3,500), Spectrum (1,750). My regular cards were of Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Mark McGwire, and a Ken Griffey, Jr (of which I pulled two of). My Radiance cards were Jim Thome, Mike Piazza, and Rafael Palmeiro. I pulled one Spectrum as well, of some goofball who is now a Dodger.

Radiance and Spectrum Parallels

Radiance and Spectrum Parallels

Base cards: At last, we finally get to the base cards! There are 90 of them in this series. The design is nothing special as virtually all the cards in this product have the same characteristics: horizontal design, two different photos of the player on the front, green, VERY prone to chipping. As for the print runs: Regular (9,000), Radiance (4,500), Spectrum (2,250). I pulled 18 plain basic cards in this box, that equates to one for every pack in this box (Hmm, just like in ’08 SPx. I suppose some things never change). I even received two duplicates in this box, which kinda sucks considering I only pulled 20 percent of the basic cards. I received eight different Radiance cards with a duplicate of Andruw Jones. Other notable players in the bunch were Mariano Rivera and Mike Piazza. I also received five Spectrum cards which included Kevin Brown, Matt Williams, and Jose Cruz, Jr.

Trade Winds: The next subset, entitled Trade Winds, features 20 players who found new homes during the offseason between 1997 and ’98. The players can be found in both their old and (then) new uniforms on the card. The acquisition dates are also listed on both sides. The print runs here are: Regular (4,000), Radiance (1,000), Spectrum (50). I pulled cards of Henry Rodriguez, Darryl Kile, and Jose Canseco. Unfortunately, they were all regulars.

Cornerstones of the Game: Finishing up the set (FINALLY!) is the Cornerstones of the Game subset. This 10-card subset is reserved for the game’s elite. This is the only subset that does not feature a horizontal design. However, it still has the other SPx characteristics I listed earlier. The parallels to these cards are by far the rarest in Series 2. The print runs: Regular (2,000), Radiance (100), Spectrum (1/1!!). I pulled a regular Mike Piazza.

Home Run Hysteria: Between both series of ’98 SPx Finite, there is only one actual insert set. It’s called Home Run Hysteria and it’s a Series 2 exclusive. There are 10 cards in this set and each is numbered to just 62! To be honest, this was an insert set I totally forgot even existed. The fact that I hadn’t seen one in years until I pulled one in my box didn’t help. For a set with the name “Hysteria” in it, you’d probably expect to see some strange seizure-inducing technology used on the card, but they are surprisingly simple. I pulled an Andres Galarraga, who is considered a “common” in this set. Others in the set include Griffey, McGwire, A-Rod, Sosa, and Chipper Jones. Naturally, my Galarraga came out of the pack scratched up and dinged.

Final Thoughts: Well, while this was far from the worst box I’ve ever opened, I don’t think I’ll be opening up another anytime soon. Fans of serially numbered cards will love this product, but the condition sensitivity of the cards combined with the fact that the set is one big gimmicky mess can prove to be a turnoff. Don’t get me wrong, there are some very nice inserts to be found here (assuming they don’t come out damaged), but this break seemed just a little on the dull side. Perhaps it was because I saw nothing but green and purple in every pack I opened, leading to a monotonous break? Whatever the case is, I think I would stick to singles when it comes to this product, but the choice is yours.

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

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Posted on August 1, 2008, in Box Breaks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. IMO one of the nicest looking sets ever! Sorry your break wasn’t the best though.

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