In 1997, I was a dorky little seventh-grader who had the luxury of attending card shows rather frequently. Every month or so, a show would hit this little mall about 5 minutes away from me. There would be around 40 tables or so per show, each with their own specialty. Some had strictly vintage while some had only the hottest new inserts. Some sold both wax and singles while others just had a table filled corner to corner with wax boxes that just begged to be ripped. At the time, E-X2000 was the one product that really caught my eye. It was a super-premium product that was a traditionalist’s nightmare. A pack cost about 5-6 dollars and you got TWO cards. Two!! I thought the idea was pretty asinine at first (it really was), but after busting a couple packs, I soon loved the product. Each card was colorful and featured an embossed image of the player against a background window that revealed a sky setting when you held it to the light. Very nice!
Of course, I was young then and couldn’t really throw around that kind of scratch on wax. I wasn’t like one of those moronic 12-year-olds on Youtube who open mid/high-level stuff and bitch because they got crappy pulls. So….I decided to shop for one of these boxes online and finally rip one of these babies! It took a little searching, but I finally found one for around $40 and here’s what I got (MUCH better than E-X2001!)…
Base cards: The base set is comprised of 100 cards, of which I pulled 43 without any duplicates. The first half of this set (OK, well actually 51 cards) features the American League players while the last half features the National League players. To determine the order of players in the set, the teams are arranged in alphabetical order. For example, the Anaheim Angels (not that freakin’ ‘LAA’ crap) would be at the beginning of the set while Toronto would be in the middle, finishing things up for the junior circuit. Then, at card number 52, things pick up again with Atlanta and so on. Every team had at least 2 representatives in the set, which explains why Jermaine Allensworth made the cut. For those unaware, he was an outfielder for the Pirates at the time. If you didn’t know that, then you probably actually have a life. Can you guess which team had the most representatives? Come on, guess……….give up? It was the Atlanta Braves with a whopping NINE (Glavine, Andruw, Chipper, Klesko, Lofton, Maddux, McGriff, Smoltz, and Wohlers – Geez, this set was tailor-made for Dayf). Also, the Yankees and Mariners tied for 2nd place with 6 players a piece. Moving on…
Stardate 2000 (1:9 packs): If you’ve seen other E-X reviews, then you know about the Stardate sets. These feature an array of prospects and young stars who had about 1 year’s MLB experience or less at the time. I pulled cards of Andy Pettitte and Brooks Kieschnick. Other players in this set include A-Rod, Jeter, and Rolen. These cards have the space theme going for them, but aren’t nearly as busy in design as the following year’s inserts.
Hall or Nothing (1:20 packs): Here’s yet another play on words from Fleer, but time it comes in a very attractive insert set. These are bronze in color, die-cut, and well, just check out that Lofton above. These fall at approximately 1 per box, but I ended up with cards of both Kenny Lofton and Roberto Alomar. There are 20 players in this set altogether. I assume these were people that were deemed HOF candidates, but it’s interesting they’d have A-Rod in it as at that time, he only had about 1.5 years of experience under his belt. Oh well. Anyway, I break those 20 players down into these 5 categories:
Those Already in the Hall: Ripken, Gwynn, Sandberg, Boggs, Eckersley, Murray
Those Who Will Get There: Maddux, A-Rod, Thomas, Griffey, Piazza
Those Who Were Great but Flamed Out Shortly After 1997: Belle, Gonzalez, Vaughn
Those Whose Status is Debatable: Bagwell, Alomar, Lofton
Those Degenerates Who Make the Sport Look Bad: Bonds, McGwire, Clemens
For the record, I fully endorse Robbie Alomar for the HOF. I just hope the voters can forget how he was with the media and the John Hirschbeck incident. As for the other 2, I guess I just don’t quite see it happening, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Credentials (299 produced): Now on to the hit of the box, which came just 2 packs into my break, a Credentials parallel of Ryne Sandberg, numbered 150/299. Rather than the typical colorful border, these cards feature a white border and say “credentials” in small print in the upper-right corner. There are no specified odds on these cards, but I have seen quite a few box breaks in which none were pulled. I was fortunate enough to not only pull one, but of a Hall of Famer as well! There is also a sister parallel to this called Essential Credentials, which feature a blue sparkle-finish and are limited to just 99. Take this Rickey Henderson, for example.
What WASN’T Pulled: There is a case hit insert (1:288 packs) entitled “A Cut Above” in which the cards are cut to look like a giant buzzsaw. These cards are nice, but can you imagine trying to put that in a soft sleeve/top loader? Sheesh! Also, in every 500th pack on average was an Emerald Autograph Redemption card for 1 of 6 autographs. In a nutshell, it was Alex Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, Darin Erstad, and 3 total scrubs. It’s not like the redemption would’ve done me any good now anyway.
Final Thoughts: I think this just may have been my favorite box break so far. Everything from this box looked awesome and the Sandberg was a very nice hit. If I can find another box or two, I’ll definitely be in pursuit of this set. Two-card packs aside, I can’t think of anything negative to say about this product except that it’s a shame cards aren’t made like this anymore.
As always, thanks for reading and good luck with your own breaks!