My Biggest (Modern) Hits
Since getting back into the hobby a little over a year ago I’ve taken the Pepsi Challenge with about every product I could get my hands on…Topps and Upper Deck base products? Check. Heritage throwback products? Check. High end Triple Thread uber hit products? Check. Boxes of random repackaged crap from the 1980’s? Check.
I’m by no means an expert but I have come to the conclusion that seems reiterated across the blogosphere…so-called “high end” baseball products, at least for the last couple of years, are complete crap. The chances of getting a decent autograph are so slim with the ridiculous range of players they put in each grouping the odds of getting anyone you like, let alone collect, are very slim. I think I’ve opened up two or three Dodger hits in the past year…and that’s a pretty good year from what I’m reading.
So far my biggest hits are probably variant short printed Ken Griffey Jr. and Kosuke Fukudome cards from 2009 Upper Deck Series 1 and 2008 Topps Updates respectively. Yes, these probably aren’t even classified as “hits”. See the irony there? This includes the previously mentioned box of 08 Triple Threads. The Robinson Cano autographed relic and triple relic Prince Fielder are nice and all…but in the grand scheme of my collecting goals completely useless. Sticker autographs have no place in a high-end product…it’s just stupid. I understand making the base Topps or UD auto’s stickers…afterall we know how busy Hideki Okajima and Glen Perkins are…but for that premium box price shouldn’t they deliver something a little more bad ass than a numbered to 99 (which is anything but rare I’ve come to realize) sliver of a bat or possible stadium seat according to some that is somehow attributed to Babe Ruth? The questionable relics aside, the sticker autos in Tribute just make it that much cheaper feeling…which is probably something that shouldn’t be felt from a flagship high-end product.
Manufactured patches, sticker autos, white jersey swatch without any hints of stitching all do have their place…and that place is in the base flagship products that nobody really buys for “hits”. Please, keep this crap out of anything that sells for over $100 bucks a box and I’d be content. I followed the recommendation of last years Beckett and bought a box of 2008 Donruss Threads around the same time as the dubious box of Topps Triple Threads. Despite the lack of full MLB licensing, I found it to really be the best bang for the ripping buck. There were some cool base cards of Dodger players old and new and ones of guys you couldn’t get in other sets like Joe Jackson and Pete Rose. Plus I got something like four autos in the box and no lame relics…and these sticker autos were fine because the box price was well below the $100 threshold and because one of them was of Steve Garvey! If I could turn back time I’d gladly trade that Triple Threads box for two or nearly three boxes of Donruss Threads just for quantity-to-quality ratio alone.I also really like the Topps Heritage series…it is what brought me back after seeing some modern Dodgers like Kemp and Kershaw on 1960’s cardboard designs I took the plunge and started back collecting earlier this year. Plus, Heritage autos are all on the card! Again, how is it Topps can offer this in what is more a set builders type of product that people rarely buy for hits (since there is only one per box anyway) but let their high-end products be reduced to stickerdom? I also pulled a pretty sweet Frank Robinson 2008 Heritage High Numbers auto, so that is pretty cool since he played one season for the Dodgers.
Other blogs have stated that most of the problem is due to the ridiculously large number of products released each year…most of which suck. I completely agree with this sentiemnt. The odds of even getting crappy sticker autos in most products is far, far too high. If they at least increased the odds of pulling these “hits” then maybe people wouldn’t be so pissed off when they open a box of Topps Tribute or Unique and come away with one crappy sticker auto of Hunter Pence and a couple splinters of bat from Alfonso Soriano. Yeah, that was really worth $120 bucks.
For now I’ll be sticking with base sets of Topps and Topps Heritage and picking up singles of other stuff along the way while I continue my TTM project(s) that I have worked on here and there. The nice part about this hobby is that there’s basically an unlimited number of ways in which you can go about it…it’s just a shame that those saving up or burning large sums of cash for high-end products don’t normally get what they pay for.