Before they guaranteed a parallel per pack and included autographed “rookie cards,” Topps Chrome was a much simpler, yet collectible set that produced some extraordinary inserts. Today, I shall review a box of 1998 Topps Chrome Series 1. As is the norm with Topps Chrome, this product mirrors the set and a good number of the inserts featured in the regular Topps set of the same year. A box can be had for under $35 and in my opinion, certainly delivers for the price. It helps when you get lucky and smash the odds a few times, like I did in this box. Check it out….
Base set: The Series 1 base set is comprised of 281 cards. Well actually, the cards are numbered up to 282, but then there’s the vacancy in the number 7 slot in honor of some Yankee player. I received 83 of the 281 base cards, with 4 duplicates. There are several subsets mixed in which feature prospects, draft picks, and highlights of the 1997 season, including the World Series. If you’re reading this Mr. Alejandro, that card on the top-right of the scan is a shoutout to you. Also, I have to point out a classic photograph on card 146, Jose Guillen. He is shown standing outside Three Rivers Stadium, next to a statue of Roberto Clemente and emulating his pose. I’m not a fan of Guillen by any means, but this card is awesome, and one I had never seen before!).
Refractors (1:12 packs): Ah, yes. What would Chrome be without the refractors?? They are seeded 2 per box on average, but I actually pulled 3 from this box. The first was of Luis Gonzalez, who was then on the Astros. The second was Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley. Can’t go wrong with that! I was surprised to find a third refractor in my box, even if it was just Todd Hollandsworth. To recap, we had:
Luis Gonzalez (who’s had a nice career and a walk-off World Series hit)
Dennis Eckersley (who had a great, HOF career and gave up a famous walk-off World Series HR)
Todd Hollandsworth (’96 ROY – seriously, he was) EDIT: He was also on the Marlins’ Championship team from ’03
Baby Boomers (1:24 packs): All of the insert sets found in this product (refractor versions aside) are seeded about 1 per box, so these will be randomly listed (if you’ve been paying attention to my blog, you’d notice I usually list inserts from the most common to the most scarce). The first set, entitled Baby Boomers, features the rising young stars of the time. Some of these include Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, and Jose Cruz, Jr. The cards feature a dark blue, almost purplish background with graphics that resemble fireworks. There is a refractor version that falls 1 in every 72 packs on average. In this box, I pulled both a REGULAR AND REFRACTOR version of Andruw Jones. Boomers, huh? Knowing the companies, if this set existed today, there’d probably be a super-shortprinted card of Chris Berman (AKA Boomer) in there somewhere (with a horrible photoshop job of course). Ok, enough of that.
Flashback (1:24 packs): Flashback was my personal favorite insert set of the bunch. It’s simple yet effective. One side features a current photo of a superstar veteran. The other side features a photo of said veteran when they first broke into the league. Check out the Ken Griffey, Jr. Remember when he was destined to be the king? While I didn’t scan the other side of the card, it should be noted that the sides look nothing alike. The “old school” side has the set’s name in yellow block letters and there’s this strange “yellow-V” theme to the card. I know, the last thing anyone would want to be reminded of is the horrible uniforms worn by the Vancouver Canucks. The “new school” side features the set name in a 3-D style of writing with a purple background (which was popular in this product). Some other players in this set include Barry Bonds, Tony Gwynn, and Cal Ripken, Jr. The refractor version of this set is found 1 in every 72 packs on average.
Hall Bound (1:24 packs): The final insert set is called Hall Bound. As one would expect, the 15 players in this set were deemed as HOF locks at the time of production. I could go into one of my usual detailed descriptions about the cards, but I think I’d rather have JayBee do it instead. In his blog, he made a great post about this very insert set (well, the non-chrome one) and I urge you to check it out. Folks, if you aren’t familiar with BDJ610’s Topps Blog, you’re really missing out on some great stuff so at least check out the homepage if you don’t want to read about the Hall Bound set. Anyways, back to the task at hand. I received TWO of these inserts in my box. They were of Roger Clemens and Ken Griffey, Jr. Yep, just like in my 1998 Donruss Elite box, I once again received those two from the same set! The refractor version can be found 1 in every 72 packs on average (just like all the other inserts!)
Final Thoughts: I think you could probably figure out that I was extremely pleased with this box. In a box where I’d typically hit about 6 inserts, possibly 7, I received 8. The inserts I pulled certainly weren’t short on star power either, even in my basic refractors. When packs have only 4 cards each, it’s typically not good to have a pack’s worth of duplicates in your box when the set is so large. In comparison, my Bowman Chrome and Stadium Club Chrome boxes each had no duplicates. However, this was just a very small flaw which was basically drowned out by the awesomeness of this box. If you liked what you saw here, I’d definitely suggest trying a box. They’re cheap, a blast to open, and everything looks great!
As always, thanks for reading and good luck with your own box breaks!