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1998 Flair Showcase Baseball Box #2

Well folks, I apologize for the lack of new content recently, but things have been crazy around here. The good news is that I will have plenty of new reviews up in the near future. The bad news is that the boxes are taking a long time to get here! They’ll be worth the wait though. One of them, will not a be a box, but rather a vintage pack that A Pack a Day fans will appreciate. Until then, here’s a Flair Showcase box break to hold you over. If you didn’t know, 1998 Flair Showcase was my very first review on this site. One thing I failed to mention then was that I had broken another box of Showcase, just prior to that post. Ironically, this box was busted before that one in my debut post (this was before I even started this blog) so technically this should be box number 1 and that other should be box number 2. Eh, screw it, here’s what was pulled….(Check the original post for in-depth descriptions)

Row 3: This box yielded 73 Row 3 cards, with 2 dupes. The other box had 78 cards with 1 dupe. I should be close to finishing this set, but the last 30 cards are slightly shortprinted. I still have to figure out how many of these exactly I need. I got lazy, sue me.

Row 2: I pulled 30 of the Row 2 cards, which was 1 more than I had in the other box. Some of my notable names included Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones, Manny Ramirez, Paul Molitor, Jim Thome, and Curt Schilling. I doubt I will try for this set so if anyone is looking for a certain team, I’ll gladly search for you.

Row 1: There were 10 Row 1 cards in this box, again 1 more than the other box. The notable players here included Sammy Sosa, Fred McGriff, Jay Buhner, and Robin Ventura. Again, there are all available if anyone needs them.

Row 0: In both boxes, I was able to pull 3 Row 0 cards, all in different tiers. As a reminder, the Row 0 set breaks down like this:
Cards 1-30: 250 produced
Cards 31-60: 500 produced
Cards 61-90: 1000 produced
Cards 91-120: 2000 produced
This particular box yielded cards of Mike Lieberthal (/2000), John Smoltz (/1000), and the big hit: Cal Ripken, Jr! (/250). I have been quietly attempting to put this set together since around the time of last year’s World Series. I currently have 84 of the 120-card set, with 3 very key pieces incoming. I had never even seen a Ripken until I pulled it out of this box, so that hit made it really worthwhile to me!

Wave of the Future (1:20 packs): It was Eli Marrero. Enough said.

What WASN’T Pulled: Neither box contained a Legacy Collection parallel, Masterpiece parallel, or Perfect 10 card. The Perfect 10 cards are limited to 10 (with only 10 cards in the set) and as you probably know, the Masterpieces are all 1/1’s, so it’s not surprising I didn’t pull any of these in my boxes. However, neither one contained a Legacy Collection parallel, which was a little bit of a surprise to me. There are no stated odds on these, except for the fact that they’re limited to 100. I figure these probably fall in every other box or so, given the production totals compared to the 1997 version.

Final Thoughts: This is a fairly difficult box to obtain, and can be pretty pricey. I’ve seen a couple of these in ebay stores for close to $100, but was able to pick these up for about half of that. The cards are absolutely beautiful, but the fracturing of the set may drive some collectors insane. Personally, I’ve always liked it, but that’s just me. For those that enjoy chasing tiers of super-premium base cards (i.e. Gold Label), this set is for you. I would definitely recommend trying a box of these, but not necessarily for the prices I saw in the stores on the ‘Bay. There are some bargains out there on this box (trust me!), just keep your eyes peeled! Also, if you have any of the Row 0 cards numbered to 500 or less, LET ME KNOW!

As always, thanks for reading and good luck with your breaks, new or old!
-John

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2000 Fleer Gamers Baseball Review

About this time 8 years ago, I remember reading a product preview for 2000 Fleer Gamers, and being astonished. Skimming across the insert ratios, one thing seemingly jumped off the page at me. It read “Gamers Lumber 1:36 packs.” At the time, game-used cards were still tough pulls, falling in every few boxes or so in general. A bat card in every 36 packs on average represented BY FAR the most generous odds on a game-used. Also included were Autographed Gamers Lumber bat cards which were seeded 1 in 287 packs, a case hit. I recall a friend of mine, Bryan, at the time saying that eventually we’d be seeing a game-used card in every pack. Sure enough, just months later, products like 2000 Private Stock and 2001 SP Game Bat Edition were released and the watering-down began. Anyway, a box of Fleer Gamers consists of 24 packs of 5 cards each and can be had for about $45. Here’s what my box yielded:

Base set: There are 120 total cards in the set. There are 90 basic cards to the short set, followed by 2 shortprinted subsets. These cards feature the player’s uniform in the background and have a big print-style font to them. At least there can be no confusion over what card you’re holding! However, the collation in my box was horrible! I received 76 of 90 base cards, with 25 duplicates. I’m having flashbacks to my Pinnacle Certified break.

Next Gamers (1:3 packs): The first subset here (cards 91-110) is called Next Gamers. The players featured here are basically prospects who had true RC’s the previous year. With 8 of these per box and only 20 in the set, this subset shouldn’t take too long to complete. Some of my players included Pat Burrell, Joe Crede, and Wily Mo Pena.

Fame Game (1:8 packs): The second subset is called “Fame Game” and has the look of a film reel, with the insert’s name embossed on the card. There are 10 players in this subset (numbers 111-120) and you’ll find 3 of them per box. Here I pulled Tony Gwynn, Mike Piazza, and Cal Ripken, Jr.

Extra (various seeding): All 120 cards feature a gold parallel called “Extra.” There really isn’t much to this parallel. The entire card is colored gold with the word “extra” printed on the side. The odds of finding a base card parallel is 1:24 packs while the odds of finding a subset parallel is 1:36 packs. This applies to both the Next Gamers and Fame Game cards. I received 2 of these cards, both of the basic (1:24) variety. The first was Corey Koskie, a pretty “meh” pull. The second, however, was the greatest one I could pull, Cal Ripken, Jr! Score! With a BV of $40, this was the highlight of my box. Needless to say, I was very pleased with this pull.

Determined (1:12 packs): Determined is a red, shiny insert seeded about 2 per box. In my case though, I only got 1, Sean “The Mayor” Casey. I got shorted an insert here, but certainly made up for it in other areas.

Change the Game (1:24 packs): Change the Game is an insert seeded about 1 per box and has a darker color scheme to it. The design of the card makes it appear that a protective film is being torn off the card. Hmm. Fleer Mystique, anyone? I received 2 of these inserts: Ivan Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero.

Cal to Greatness (various seeding): Here we have a 15-card tribute set to Cal Ripken, Jr. The set is broken into 3 sets of 5 cards each. Each of these 3 sets highlights a different time period of Cal’s career. Each set also features a different finish and insertion ratio. The ratios are as follows: Cards 1-5 (1:9), Cards 6-10 (1:25), Cards 11-15 (1:144). I received cards number 4 (The Early Years) and 8 (The Streak). The scan above is for card number 8. Card 4 features a similar design, but with a plain, white border and no special effects in the font. I have to admit, I really don’t know much about cards 11-15. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen one. Perhaps a Ripken expert out there can help us out.

Final Thoughts: Despite not hitting a game-used and having a plethora of duplicates (ARGH!), this was a pretty nice box. It just goes to show you that you cannot always rely on the odds given on the package. For instance, I received only 1 of a 1:12 insert, but hit 2 of a 1:24 insert/parallel on 2 occasions. The Ripken “Extra” parallel made this an enjoyable break for me. I don’t know about you, but I’d take a $40 HOFer parallel over a $10-15 semistar bat card any day. I’m not a Ripken fan in particular, but for those of you that are, a box of this product would certainly give you your fix. For the record, on the very same day that Iron Man premiered, I got a box chock full of baseball’s Iron Man. How’s that for irony? 😉

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

P.S. A happy 36th birthday to one of my favorite athletes, Martin Brodeur!