Blog Archives

Goodies From Wax Heaven!

A few days ago, a package arrived from Cooper City, Florida that had my name on the outside and a whole bunch of hockey relics on the inside! For those that don’t know, I often like to move tradebait along to those who could actually use those cards while asking for little in return. Over the past few months, I had sent a few packages to Mario at Wax Heaven containing cards of Jose Cruz, Andrew Miller (one of those autographs was from me), and even this amazing dual autograph. Ever since the first package went out, Mario has been looking to hook me up with something in return.

Now because I mainly collect just Martin Brodeur, Paul O’Neill, New Jersey Devils, and (to a lesser extent) New York Yankees, and have a pretty extensive collection for each, it can be difficult to find something I need. In fact, one blogger even said that finding me something was like “shopping for the guy who already has everything.” I’m not sure how true that is, but Mario definitely found a way to pay me back for my continuous generosity.

hockeylot
The lot included these six cards, along with a couple other Martin Brodeur inserts and a couple other relics from SPx and Upper Deck. If any of you hockey loving bloggers out there can use anything, let me know. Otherwise, these cards will likely be headed out to a longtime trade partner in Canada who hooks me up with tons of Brodeur items every time we trade.

P.S. Mats Sundin and Curtis Joseph are on the other side of that “2 on 2” game-used card.

P.P.S. Go Devils!

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My New Blog Brother!

….Alright, so not really….

I’m sure a lot of you have already seen this post on Wax Heaven, but I thought I’d pimp this brand new blog out a little more. Earlier this morning, when checking out my WordPress Dashboard, I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that I had some hits from a blog with the URL “90sboxbreaks.wordpress.com.” I visited the site and found out that it was started by one of my readers, Tim. This man not only runs a great site dedicated to first baseman Tony Clark, but now runs a great blog which examines the wax of yesteryear. His debut post looks at 1994 Stadium Club Series 1.

Check out this awesome new blog here and show him the love that you do me. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.

Grudge Match: Pinnacle Certified

Ok, so it’s not really a grudge match (I can’t hate him!), but Mario at Wax Heaven just busted a box of 1997 Pinnacle Certified. For those of you who are new to this blog, I busted a box of the same product last summer and wrote a review of it (several months later) in one of my earliest posts here. My question is simple: Who had a better break? Let’s look at the Tale of the Tape:

Certified Red (1:5 packs):
Mario: Manny Ramirez, Al Leiter, Rondell White, Ray Montgomery
John: Will Clark, Jorge Posada, Bobby Bonilla, Matt Williams

Lasting Impressions (1:19 packs):
Mario: Alex Rodriguez
John: None

Certified Team (1:19 packs):
Mario: Alex Rodriguez
John: None

Mirror Red (1:99 packs):
Mario: None
John: Tony Gwynn Certified Stars Subset

Mario had the edge on me in the inserts department and I don’t think he had quite as many as 30 dupes in his box. Meanwhile, I had my snazzy mirror card. Vote away!

It’s back! 2000 Fleer Focus Baseball Box DEUX

A little over four months ago, I posted one of my most popular reviews to date. The review was for a box of 2000 Fleer Focus which was highlighted by an Andruw Jones autograph. Considering how much I enjoyed that box, I decided to give it another try. I recently picked up a second box for $27, a few dollars fewer than the cost of the first. Once again, each box contains 24 packs of 10 cards each. Here’s a quick rundown of the pulls (detailed descriptions in first box review):

Base cards: After falling 9 cards short of a base set in the first box, I was able to complete to complete the set with this box. As was the case with the first box, two prospect cards were pulled. This time, they were both of the action (as opposed to portrait) variety: Wily Mo Pena (2453/3999) and Adam Piatt (2486/3999). At this time, I have no intentions of putting a second set together or collecting the shortprints so if you need set fillers, let me know.

Masterpiece Mania (numbered to 300): While the prospects seem to unofficially fall at a rate of two per box, the Masterpiece Mania cards seem to fall at one per. These green-foiled parallels are limited to 300. I pulled an Ismael Valdes (026/300), who bounced between the Dodgers and Cubs in 1999-00.

Focal Points (1:6 packs): The most common inserts found in this product are the Focal Points inserts. Falling at four per box, there are fifteen cards in this set. Between the two boxes, I have yet to pull any doubles. In this box, I received Mike Piazza, Chipper Jones, Tony Gwynn, and Ken Griffey, Jr. These currently put me at 8/15 for the set.

Future Vision (1:9 packs): These holofoil inserts showcased the game’s top prospects at the time. Seeded at two or three per box, there are 15 cards in the set. I pulled cards of Mario Encarnacion and Adam Kennedy. Woohoo! Two boxes in a row with a Kennedy insert. Too bad my Kennedy card isn’t like the one that Mario at Wax Heaven pulled.

Focus Pocus (1:14 packs): Ah, the good ol’ trippy ’90s inserts. Seeded at roughly two per box, this insert set featured ten of the game’s greatest. My pulls were of Chipper Jones and Cal Ripken, Jr.

Club 3000 (1:36 packs): LIke I mentioned in the original review, Club 3000 was a cross-brand promotion in which fourteen members of the 3000-hit club were featured on inserts and game-used memorabilia cards throughout five different Fleer products. No more than three subjects could be found in each particular product. In Fleer Focus, the three subjects were Stan Musial, Steve Carlton, and Paul Molitor. I pulled a Steve Carlton insert in this box. Unfortunately, there were no game-used swatches.

Final Thoughts: Despite not have an autograph or game-used hit, I still wasn’t disappointed with this box. The inserts delivered as promised and I had no inserts repeating from the first box. Fleer Focus has always been a personal favorite of mine. It has some very good potential as far as hits go (Fresh Ink, Club 3000 Memorabilia, etc.) and an affordable price. For about $30, you can’t go wrong with this one.

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

1998 Topps Chrome Series 1 Baseball Review

1998 Topps Chrome Ser 1
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!
-John