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Mailday Flairicana!

With a title like that, I suppose you’d assume that I acquired a Ric Flair autograph from Donruss Americana but that isn’t the case. However, I did acquire my first-ever autograph from the Americana line, a Private Signings card of John C. McGinley numbered to 50.

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McGinley, a veteran of film, TV, and Broadway has been one of my favorite actors for a long time. He has appeared in tons of films such as Platoon, Wall Street, Se7en, The Rock, and Office Space but younger fans would immediately recognize him as Dr. Perry Cox from the hit show, Scrubs. Check out Mr. McGinley’s impressive resume at the IMDb.

The second part of this mailday features a pair of cards from a set I’ve been chasing for well over a year (closer to two actually). Those that have been paying attention to this blog know what I’m talking about…

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With only 250 possible sets available, completing the Row 0 set from 1998 Flair Showcase has certainly been quite the challenge! With the acquisitions of two of the higher-tiered cards: Nomar Garciaparra (126/250) and Scott Rolen (184/250), I am now only three cards away from completion.

The three that I am missing are Mark McGwire, Frank Thomas, and Livan Hernandez.

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1999 Flair Showcase Baseball Review

As promised, here’s a box break/review of 1999 Flair Showcase! In case you didn’t already know, pre-2000 Flair are some of my favorite sets ever. Just look at the scans below. They are beauties! For past Flair box breaks (’98), click here and here. Anyway, let’s see what my first box of ’99 brought me…

Box Details: 24 packs per box, 5 cards per pack, $45
From: Baseball Card Exchange

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Base set: 1999 marked the last time that the Flair Showcase set was fractured. In this case, 144 players each had three cards each, Rows 1, 2, and 3. The scan above depicts cards from Row 3, the most common of the bunch. In this box, I pulled 71 Row 3 cards without duplicates.

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Row 2: The Row 2 cards came at a rate better than one per pack. In 1999, the look for these cards was tweaked a bit from those of previous years as the players no longer had their distant background images but rather a small action shot placed under a giant model of their uniform number. The number concept might seem a bit tacky, but the cards are beautiful regardless. I pulled 40 different Row 2 cards in this box. Some of the notables included Mark McGwire, Cal Ripken, Jr., Vladimir Guerrero, Ivan Rodriguez, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, and Mike Mussina.

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Row 1: Much like the Row 0 cards were all serially numbered in 1998, the Row 1 cards are all serially numbered according to where they fell in the set. Here’s the breakdown:

Cards 1-48 (numbered to 1,500)
Cards 49-96 (numbered to 3,000)
Cards 97-144 (numbered to 6,000)

Altogether, I pulled 9 Row 1 cards:

#9 Tony Gwynn (0110/1500)
#16 Darin Erstad (1241/1500)
#69 Gary Sheffield (0914/3000)
#73 Bartolo Colon (0966/3000)
#83 Livan Hernandez 0674/3000)
#108 Mike Mussina (4431/6000)
#134 Reggie Sanders (4316/6000)
#136 Charles Johnson (4194/6000)
#139 Matt Williams (3038/6000)

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Legacy Collection (/99): The low-numbered, blue-foiled Flair parallel known as the Legacy Collection returned in 1999 and mirrored all three Rows with a print run of 99 each. I was unable to pull a Legacy card in two boxes of 1998 Flair but I was able to hit one here in Andres Galarraga (63/99).

Wave of the Future (/1000): A staple of the Flair Showcase line, this year’s Wave of the Future inserts returned with a special technology later used in Fleer’s E-Xceptional inserts. I pulled an insert of Troy Glaus (0979/1000). Ben Grieve, Travis Lee, Todd Helton, Eric Chavez, and Ricky Ledee are among the others featured in this set.

Final Thoughts/Grades:

Collation: A
This box didn’t contain a single duplicate and I actually got two more cards than I was supposed to (122).

Condition: C
While the base cards were relatively unharmed, the inserts had some serious issues. Some Row 1 cards suffered from serious peeling around the edges on the back. Also, check out the faded foil on the Legacy logo on the Galarraga card. This was a bit disappointing.

Pulls: B
The pulls earn a solid ‘B’ thanks in part to the Legacy card. From past experiences, I know that these aren’t guaranteed pulls. Overall, the star power in this box was above average.

Value: B
The asking price of these boxes are regularly in the $55-60+ range. At $45 (again for those that will ask, I don’t include the shipping in the prices I list because I often buy boxes in bunches and don’t calculate how much I spent on each), the box is worth it for the slick look of the cards alone. Throw in some awesome inserts and hard to find parallels (including possible 1/1’s) and this box is a winner, assuming several of your inserts don’t get damaged.

Overall Grade: B

Five Down, Five to Go!

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My quest to complete the Row 0 set of 1998 Flair Showcase has almost come to an end. As I mentioned in the last post, I was sitting on 110 of the 120 Row 0 cards. With the most recent mailday, the wantlist was cut in half from ten to just five. The final five (/250) missing from my set are:

Frank Thomas
Nomar Garciaparra
Mark McGwire
Livan Hernandez
Scott Rolen

Unfortunately, the Rolen just ended on eBay a few days ago and I missed out on it. If anyone knows where I can find any of these, please let me know!

Thanks again for hooking me up John!

Another Flair Showcase Mailday!

Like I previously mentioned here, I’ve been working on the Row 0 set from 1998 Flair Showcase (for over a year now) and the one man who has helped my set progress more than anyone has been a collector by the name of John Walsh. Once again, John has hooked me up with quite a few of the toughies from the set. For those that don’t know, there are only 250 possible Row 0 sets! I described the fracturing of the set/print runs in this earlier post. The cards I received this time were:

10. Chipper Jones
12. Todd Helton
14. Derek Jeter
17. Mike Piazza
19. Tony Gwynn
24. Mo Vaughn
38. Jeff Bagwell
59. Hideo Nomo

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All of these cards are serially numbered to 250 with the exception of the Jeff Bagwell and Hideo Nomo cards, which are numbered to 500. I’m very happy to get these cards off the wantlist, especially the Hideo Nomo (we all know how much rare old inserts of him can go for)! I am now at 110 Row 0 cards, just 10 away from the set! Thanks again John!

John Walsh is my hero! (BIG Flair Mailday)

No, I was not referring to the man of America’s Most Wanted fame (though he rocks too), but rather a collector who has got to have the sickest Flair Showcase collection on the planet. Several weeks ago, John came across my site and this post in particular about a box of 1998 Flair Showcase I had busted. When I had told him that I was working on the Row 0 set for that year, he hooked me up BIG TIME. We agreed to a trade that would send FOURTEEN different Row 0 cards my way, all of which are numbered to 500 or less, and getting very difficult to find! With these acquisitions, I now have 102 of the 120 Row 0 cards, for 85%. A HUGE thank you once again to John! Here are the scans from today’s package:
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