Saturday, June 24, 2006

Box Break and Review: 2006 Topps series 2 HTA

With the US out of the World Cup, the rest of you can now go back to ignoring soccer for the next three years and eleven months. Until then, here's a break of the new Topps.

One HTA box of 2006 Topps series 2 baseball (paid $59)
12 packs per box, 35 cards per pack (MSRP $4.99/pack)

The Details

Chiptoppers: One "Box Sticker."

Base Set: 330 cards

Gold: 330 cards (1:4/packs, numbered to 2005 copies)
Black: 330 cards (1:14, numbered to 55, HTA exclusive)
Platinum: 330 cards (1:14,000, one-of-one)
Printing Plates: 330 cards (1:193, four of each card)

Hit Parade: 30 cards (1:6)
Topps Stars: 15 cards (1:4)
Opening Day: 15 cards (1:3)
Trading Places: 20 cards (1:4)
U.S. constitution Signers: 39 cards (1:2)
Mickey Mantle Home Run History: 100 cards (one-per-pack)
Home Run Derby Contest: (1:14,000)

Trading Places Autograph: seven cards
Topps Autographs: 23 cards
Team Topps Legends: ???
Mantle Home Run History Relic: 100 cards (1:16,000)
Opening Day Relic: 15 cards
Trading Places Relic: 27 cards
Trading Places Autographed Relic: seven cards (1:8000)
U.S. constitution Cut Signature: (1:80,000)

*Stated odds of finding an autogamer: 1:33/packs

The Pulls.

Base Set: 315 of 330 (95.45%)
67 doubles
1 triple

3 Golds: Hawpe, Ru. Hernandez, B. Thompson
1 Black: Dotel

2 Hit Parade: R. Sierra, A. Rodriguez
3 Topps Stars: V. Guerrero, Jeter, Pujols
3 Trading Places: Furcal, Ra. Hernandez, Glaus
6 U.S. constitution Signers: B. Franklin, R. Sherman, R. Dobbs Spaight, G. Washington, H. Williamson, J. Wilson
12 Mickey Mantle Home Run History: #s 7, 10, 17, 52, 54, 61, 64, 70, 74, 79, 81, & 93

1 Trading Places Relic: M. Bradley

The Review.

For all the crap Topps has pulled off this year, they have done one thing right. They haven't screwed up their flagship brand. No short-prints. No autographed base cards. No gimmicks. No BS. With Topps you know exactly what you're going to get, and this second series HTA box delivered -- kind of.

The 330 card second series is a little smaller than last year. In fact, at only 660 cards the full 2006 Topps set is the smallest in six years. There's everything you'd come to expect with Topps: 255 regular player cards, 14 AL managers, 16 NL team cards, 30 rookies (complete with the MLBPA's "ROOKIE CARD" icon), and 15 multi-player cards.

It is these multi-player cards that really "make" the set, I think. They remind me a lot of those "Superstar Specials" Fleer did back in the day. Unfortunately, the star selection is, well, not so "super." For example, card #650 -- titled "Philly Phanatics" -- has Pat Burrell and Mike Lieberthal. Now if I were in charge of selecting the two best Philadelphia Phillies to put on a multi-player card, don't you think that I would have chosen the previous year's Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby champion? (Ryan Howard and Bob "A-Booey" Abreu, respectively) Or how about card #654: "Power Rays?" Travis Lee and Rocco Baldelli? instead of Carl Crawford and Jorge Cantu? Come on now Topps!

Yes, there is a rookie card of a certain catcher for the Mariners, as well as a couple of dozen other players; however, as we've seen in other 2006 products, most of them are Parenth-RCs -- i.e. Ryan Zimmerman and the rest of the gang.

The inserts aren't really anything to write home about. Again, it's what you'd expect from Topps, with themes recycled from recent Topps offerings: All-Stars, Hit Parade, etc. The Mantle Home Run History set is based on the same concept as Barry Bonds' set -- one card for each of his career home runs. Only this time, they didn't print just overprint the shit out of just one card. There's 100 different Mantle cards (for career homers 2 through 101), and with the multi-year deal between Topps and the Mantle estate, you can expect the remaining 435 to be spread out over the next couple of years' worth of Topps sets. Enjoy Mantle-istas!

The U.S. Constitution Signer's mimic the Declaration of Independence cards from series one, in both concept and design. Each card looks virtually identical to each other, with the photo of the individual represented relegated to a teeny-tiny corner of the card. Is it just me, but has the "historical figure insert set" an idea that has just run its course? I mean, how many more of these could Topps possibly come up with anyway? Signers of the Articles of Confederation? Great American Vice Presidents? Heroes of the Confederacy?

The Bottom Line:

Unlike the series one HTA box I ripped in March, the series two HTA box came up short of a complete base set by fifteen cards. The main reason why I spent the extra ten bucks on an HTA, was to get a complete set. Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed to be 15 cards short with a stack a 68 extras. All the inserts came as advertised, with three Golds and an HTA exclusive Black parallel. In the first series box I got a Roger Clemens numbered to 55; but with this box I pulled Octavio Dotel. Oh well.

The most interesting card I did pull was a Ruben Sierra "Hit Parade" card. I say interesting because, just how in the hell is Ruben Sierra still playing in the Majors anyway? I also got Constitution Signer cards of Ben Franklin and George Washington. Pretty cool, but I would have given my left nut to pull Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton was "The Man," and you know it. Oh, and I got a bat card of Milton Bradley. Big whoop.

All and all, I decent box, but I busted better HTA boxes. I still can't get over that fact that Topps actually put Travis Lee and Mike Lieberthal on multi-player superstar cards.

Product Rating: 3 Gumsticks (out of five)

...and another thing

For some reason, card #496 of Brewers pitcher Jose Capellan has an MLBPA "Rookie Card" logo foil-stamped on it. This despite the fact that: a) Capellan's card is not grouped in with the other "MLBPA Rookies," and b) Capellan pitched three games in 2004 for Atlanta.

I wonder if this is another one of those wacky Topps "error cards" that (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, knowhatImean, knowhatImean) mysteriously made its way into the packs? More importantly, I wonder if I could get Keith Olbermann to buy this "super-scarce variation card" from me. $5000 Keith, and it's yours! Call me!


Anonymous said...

Re: Capellan foil stamp

Unfortunately I don't think the Capellan stamp is an error. The Capellan card is listed as an RC on the checklist, and, additionally, the Jonathan Papelbon (#355) also has a foil stamped RC logo and is not grouped with the others.

Chris Harris said...

You are correct. Both Papelbon and Capellan's cards have a foi-l-stamped "ROOKIE CARD." And of course, they're both Parenth-RCs.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I just pulled a Papelbon RC from a rack pack, with the foil stamp as well. Happy news was pulling a rack pack with Johjima in the top center and Zimmerman on the bottom of the front section :)

Anonymous said...

I just pulled a Mickey Mantle home run #70 with a piece of game used bat. The card is stamped # 2 of 7. Not too bad considering I bought the box for 19.99 at Wal-Mart.

Anonymous said...

C Harris....what do you mean by a parenth-rc? My son pulled a Capellan and was hoping it was an error as well? Thanks.

Chris Harris said...

Parenth-RC: A card from a 2006 or later baseball card product, bearing the MLBPA's standardized "ROOKIE CARD" icon, of a player whose true Rookie Card was issued in a pre-2006 set. So named because such cards are listed by Beckett with the familiar "RC" tag, but in parenthesis: (RC).

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