Monthly Archives: June 2012

2012 Mets Draft Class Autographs

Bowman signs the firsts, Panini fills in the rest

Full list of 2012 Mets draft picks

With 2012 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects and 2012 Panini Elite Extra Edition now out, six of the 2012 draft picks have new autographs. Gavin Cecchini and Kevin Plawecki made their debuts with Bowman, while Matt Reynolds, Matt Koch, Branden Kaupe, and Logan Taylor had to wait for Panini’s clock to strike 2012 in January 2013. Reynolds did have redemption cards for Bowman Black autographs, but those have yet to ship. Panini had to settle for redemptions for Kevin Plawecki in Elite Extra Edition, leaving Gavin Cecchini as the only player with live autographs in both products.

1 Gavin Cecchini 1S Kevin Plawecki 2 Matt Reynolds 2 Teddy Stankiewicz (DNS)
3 Matt Koch 4 Branden Kaupe 5 Brandon Welch 6 Jayce Boyd
7 Corey Oswalt 8 Tomas Nido 9 Richie Rodriguez 10 Paul Sewald
11 Logan Taylor 12 Robert Whalen 14 Chris Flexen 17 Stefan Sabol

Previous Entries:

Gavin Cecchini leads off the era of capped draft spending

With new rules limiting spending and a rather unspectacular draft class, it was anyone’s guess how this draft would play out. Would the top talent fall to late in the first round or beyond? Would teams risk losing future picks to sign this year’s picks? Would signability dominate the early picks in the absence of a consensus top pick? Will players opt for college or football over the diminished bonus pot? The results won’t be known for a few years, but for now it looks the Mets are playing it safe with signable known quantities over signing, injury, or talent risks. You can’t really fault them for that approach in this draft. And Cecchini looked pretty damn good in Mets pinstripes while getting giddy over the thought of playing alongside David Wright.

When it comes to cards, you can’t really expect much from draftees on draft day, especially high schoolers. It was a surprise seeing three players in this year’s draft class who already had Team USA certified autograph and game-used memorabilia cards (first-rounder Gavin Cecchini, second-rounder Matt Reynolds, and 34th round pick Mikey White), plus two more with cards from the AFLAC/Perfect Game All-American game (Corey Oswalt and Stefan Sabol) that may show up signed in packs of future products (and are available now without certified autographs). Of those listed, only Stankiewicz and White remain unsigned (White is said to have declined to sign in favor of college). The early signings resulting from the earlier signing deadline mean that several of this year’s draft picks are already playing with Kingsport and Brooklyn.

Previous Editions:

2011 Mets Draft Class Autographs

Upper Deck: A Love Story (Part 2)

The 1990s, decade of despair

This is the middle act in a three-part series documenting my 20+ year on-again/off-again relationship as a procurer of cardboard rectangles from The Upper Deck Company, LLC.  When we left off in Upper Deck: A Love Story (Part 1), a chance encounter brought Upper Deck into my life just as the card collecting hobby went mainstream in a big way.  Now our relationship would be put to the test.

By 1990, card shops were fading and card shows were the new fad.  Collectors would pack malls, event halls, or any available open space in the hopes of scoring the next big thing.  The hobby was in full swing and I was finally invited to the party; it was a great time to collect cards.

At the time, I was heavily invested in Donruss, working on a set that somehow never got finished.  While this was the first product that I had opened an entire box of (my entire life up to this point had been pack-to-pack), my brother had graduated to breaking cases with a massive purchase of 1990 Topps, a set that I would soon grow to despise after long hours tearing through wax to build sets and pull cards of young stars Ken Griffey Jr. and Frank Thomas.

That summer, I once more found myself in possession of packs of Upper Deck, this time 1990 Upper Deck High Number Edition.  The price of the 1989 product, which was now finally available locally, was far above what I could afford, but the current product was still within reach.  And so, recalling my experience from the previous year, I once more dove in to sample the newcomer’s latest offering.

This time around, the design elements were limited to just a strip along the top representing the basepath from first to second, a rather dull continuation of the theme started by 1989′s first base path.  The quality remained the same, but it wasn’t new and exciting anymore.  Until I opened the pack that held a treasure unlike anything I had ever seen before.

In retrospect, that card wasn’t as special as it seemed at the time, but it was more significant to the history of the hobby than my big 1989 pull.  This time, the card bore no name or number, just the words “Baseball Heroes” on the front and some text on the back about Reggie Jackson.  What could it be?  In the thrill of the moment, I scrutinized the back of the pack for any clues to the identity of the wondrous gem I had unwrapped.  For a moment, I thought that just maybe this could be the rare find mentioned in the odds listing, but that card was supposed to be autographed – this one clearly was not.  Instead, it seemed to be from the Reggie Jackson Baseball Heroes set, but why didn’t it have a number or a picture of Reggie Jackson?  I was holding the first-ever Baseball Heroes header card and a new obsession had just begun.

The “Find the Reggie” Reggie Jackson Baseball Heroes set became known as the first commercially-successful insert set in the history of the hobby.  While inserts of various kinds had existed for many years, none had surpassed the popularity of the base product.  Upper Deck changed that in 1990 and started a mad rush to make, and pull, the next hot inserts.  In just two years, Upper deck had transformed the hobby into something that closely resembles what we have today.  This was the biggest change since the standardization on the 3.5″x2.5″ card size and I was right there in the middle of it.

Or at least I wanted to be.  My heart was with Upper Deck, but my wallet took me in a different direction.  The following year, I put my resources into 1991 Score, a massive set that, like 1990 Donruss before it, remains painfully incomplete.  Pack after pack, I worked my way through stars, prospects, draft picks, highlights, and the extra special Dream Team inserts.  Series 1 gave way to Series 2, as had become standard practice in many products that year.  All the while, Upper Deck remained on the periphery, just a pleasant distraction and little more.

1991 was when Upper Deck fell behind in the pursuit of quality in baseball cards.  That year, Topps and Fleer introduced high-quality glossy cards with full-bleed photographs in their Stadium Club and Ultra products, respectively.  I barely noticed, unable to fund the purchase of such superior cards.  The arms race was well underway.

Oh, how the hobby had changed by 1992.  Premium lines were sprouting up everywhere and even Bowman and Donruss had gone premium.  Triple Play (which makes an intriguing return this year) was introduced by Donruss to fill the gap in the low-end market, but it was a failure in every possible way (and how is it that, despite buying so much of it, I never came close to finishing that tiny set?).  Upper Deck, finally done with the basepath motif after 1991′s design overdid it with the entire left half of the diamond, released what may be its most forgettable design.  No longer the hot new product, Upper Deck dropped in value.

Three years ahead of its time

Which meant I could finally buy in big time!  At last, I could afford to pick up boxes of 1991 and 1992 low and high number editions.  Between the base set, the Baseball Heroes inserts, the occasional SP-numbered card, and those hologram stickers, I had plenty to work on.  And plenty to get frustrated about when Upper Deck’s trademark collation problems became apparent.  Still with us to this day, Upper Deck’s style of collation is guaranteed to get you lots of extra cards you don’t need and lots of missing cards no matter how many packs you buy.  I desperately wanted to enjoy these products, but every box was like a slap in the face with double after double and little progress toward finishing a set.  It didn’t take long to get disillusioned with the entire process.

Super premiums were introduced in 1993, cards seemingly designed to push me out of the hobby.  While I could afford to sample a pack or two of each new hot product, there was no way to build a decent stock in any of them unless I focused on one to the exclusion of all others.  In my misguided focus on quantity over quality, I kept buying up anything that was cheap.  Upper Deck’s SP should have been my focus that year, but I bought two packs and moved on, drifting from product to product in search of something I never found.

Shock.  Disbelief.  Betrayal.  This is what I felt when Upper Deck moved its mainline product up a tier to the new premium level in 1994.  It had moved on to a new price class and I couldn’t follow.  Worst of all, the Baseball Heroes insert set, which I had meticulously assembled in a set of binder pages over the previous four years, continued in the new premium format.  All of my work came to a screeching halt.

Because "Collector's Last Refuge from Increasing Prices" was too cumbersome

As a consolation, Upper Deck introduced Collector’s Choice, which, like Triple Play before it, was a low-priced product aimed at kids without the resources to collect the “real” product.  And so that’s where I focused my efforts, searching out Alex Rodriguez and Michael Jordan rookies and silver and gold signature cards.  This was my life now, this was who I was.  I could enjoy it or leave.

And then came 1995.  While on the surface it appeared to be more of the same, there were major changes in the works.  I resumed my efforts on Collector’s Choice, almost entirely ignoring regular Upper Deck and SP, but now there was a Collector’s Choice SE.  Huh?  I never understood the point of this blue-bordered clone of Collector’s Choice, but that didn’t stop me from buying it.  Elsewhere, the hobby was getting more cluttered than ever, with six manufacturers all putting out multitudes of products and trying to find the next big innovation in card design, failing more often than not.  I couldn’t take it anymore.

And so ends this chapter in my life with Upper Deck.  I picked up a few packs in drug stores over the next summer and apparently a couple packs of whatever UD3 was in 1997, but those would be stashed away in random places and forgotten for several years.  The hobby would undergo a metamorphosis in the meantime, but I had no patience for the ugly and messy early stages.  If not for an improbable sequence of events, I might never have seen what would one day emerge from the chaos and uncertainty of the 1990s.

Next: Upper Deck: A Love Story (Part 3)

Product Spotlight: 2012 Topps Archives

Today’s stars, old favorites, and classic card styles team up to save the hobby

You know you have a hit on your hands when people start proclaiming it to be the best of the year in May.  Well, either a hit or a colossal flop you’re trying to cover up with marketing hype.  And really, any time you’re digging up old material and presenting it to a new audience with a modern look, failure is a distinct possibility.  The hype was for real this time though – The Avengers really was that good.

A few weeks later, with The Avengers still packing theaters, Topps released the long-awaited 2012 Archives.  Long waits for new material are nothing new to this product; Archives debuted in the early ’80s as a reprint of the 1952 Topps set, then took the rest of the decade off before returning in the early ’90s with the 1953 and 1954 sets.  A less focused product was released in 1995, wrapping things up for that decade.  The Archives brand was reborn in the vintage boom of 2001 with reprints covering the full history of Topps and for the first time included autographed cards, mainly from lesser-known stars (my big pull – Dom DiMaggio).  This run lasted for five years under a variety of names including Archives Fan Favorites and All-Time Fan Favorites.  Topps made a half-hearted attempt to revive the concept with last year’s Topps Lineage, but it was not well-received.  (I was going to do a full review of the history of this product, but I’m running a bit behind on things at the moment; I’m writing this with reviews of 2012 Museum Collection and 2012 Bowman written and waiting for scans…).

Card Designs

The 2012 incarnation of Archives focuses on four classic Topps sets: 1954, 1971, 1980, and 1984.  All designs are faithfully reproduced on high-quality matte finish thin white card stock.  I put a lot of weight on the look and feel of cards and these are just perfect, finding a pleasing balance between the low quality stock of the originals and the thick and glossy stock used in previous Archives sets.  The matte finish gives these cards a vintage feel, while using the same quality on the cardbacks makes them look more sleek and modern (some earlier Archives sets used rough backs opposite glossy fronts, which has the opposite effect).  The higher quality photographs really make the retired players stand out – their cards have never looked this good.  The design team for this set deserves some kind of award.

Player Selection

Unlike the 2001-2005 Archives run, the 2012 set consists of both retired players in the old designs (with new photographs) and current stars and rookies.  It makes for a thin player list in a 200 card set, but hopefully the success with this year’s product will lead to a more substantial set next year.  For once this year, the Mets were well-represented with eight cards in the base set plus four SPs, three reprints, a sticker, seven autographs, and one jersey card.

SPs

In addition to the 200 base cards, 40 short prints were inserted at a rate of one per four packs, plus a #241 Bryce Harper as a very limited late addition.  These were not limited to the four styles used in the base set.  The Mets were well-represented here with four of the 40 SPs.

Gold Parallel

All 200 base cards were featured in a gold foil parallel set that somehow manages to look better in scans than in person.  This was a great way to get a more modern-style insert into this product, though parallels of the SPs would have been nice as well.

Reprints

These are more like the Archives cards of old, complete with gold foil logo.  Three Mets made the cut here.

Retro Inserts

Topps mined its history of odd and quirky inserts to round out this product, and I can only hope they do this again next year.  Unfortunately, a Tom Seaver sticker is the only Mets representative in these four insert sets.  A David Wright 1977 cloth sticker is the obvious omission here, that would have looked spectacular.

1956 Relics

This game-used set is a great example of retro-modern fusion done right.  The 1956 design is sufficiently different from most of the rest of this product to make it interesting and the layout leaves plenty of space to fit a piece of jersey or bat.  David Wright finally got into the inserts here with a jersey card (blue and gray variants).

Fan Favorites Autographs

The big draw of Archives since 2001 has been its autograph set, featuring on-card autographs from some of the biggest names in the history of the sport and many lesser stars and fan favorites.  This year’s Fan Favorites Autographs set featured seven players shown as Mets and eleven more former Mets shown in other uniforms.  Noteworthy among the 18 are Jose Oquendo with nine variations, one for each position he played in a single game, Willie Mays with the only redemption of the bunch (and the hardest to obtain), and Gary Carter with the first-ever sticker autograph in Archives.  Carter has been a fixture in Archives autographs since they debuted in 2001, so it was nice to see him back one last time on a card numbered simply GC.

1983 Mini Autographs / Autographed Originals

There were two other autograph cards from former Mets in Archives – Nolan Ryan in the 1983 Mini Autographs (#d/50) and Willie Mays in the Autographed Originals (#d/5).  Sadly, these were out of my price range and will not be shown.

Six box breakdown

I bought in big with Archives – six hobby boxes.  The results were decent enough.

3 200-card base sets
188/200 card base set
~200 extra base cards
12 Gold parallel cards
27/40 SPs + 9 extras
32/50 Reprints + 4 extras
17/25 1977 Cloth stickers + 7 extras
16/25 1967 Stickers + 2 extras
9/15 1969 Deckle edge + 3 extras
12/15 1968 3D + 6 extras
13 Fan Favorite Autographs
2 1956 Relics

Big hits:
Bryce Harper Fan Favorites Autograph redemption card

It should be noted here that, after fees, the Harper auto redemption card brought in enough to cover the cost of three boxes of cards.  Everything else that I sold (11 autos, 2 relics, 1 base set) added up to the price of one box.  That left me in for only the cost of two boxes, with an Olerud auto, a couple of base sets, a good start at the insert sets, and a bunch of extras, all of which could probably have been purchased for around $100.  In pure dollars, that’s a net loss of more that $50 even with an improbably good pull (easily top 5 of my life).  While the big pulls in this product were good for $100+, the basic autos and relics were practically worthless; none of the 11 autos I sold topped $10 and the relics were lucky to sell for more than $1.  This does not of course take into account the fun of opening packs (which was pretty much gone after four boxes), but that’s really the only reason to open boxes vs. buying singles/sets on he secondary market; there should never be a financial motive for the typical hobbyist.

Suggestions for next year

I realize that it’s a longshot to think that anyone at Topps is reading this (or that anyone at all has made it this far down), but any discussion of 2012 Archives will inevitably veer into speculation about next year’s product (and I think the success of this year’s Archives will guarantee that it comes back in 2013).  While Topps got a lot right this year, there’s always room for improvement.

Base Set Card Designs

1955, 1962, 1969, 1986
The Mets will host the All-Star Game in 2013, so why not give them a nod in the base set card designs?  Don’t mess with the card stock or glossiness (or lack thereof), this year’s set got it just right.

Autographs

John Olerud 1999
Lee Mazzilli 1982
Tim Teufel 1987
Edgardo Alfonzo 2001
Rusty Staub 1974
John Franco 1991
Al Leiter 2002
Mike Piazza 2005
Todd Hundley 1996
Al Jackson 1963

Inserts

More or less the same as this year, a few more Mets would be nice…

Gum

Um, no.

Seriously, Gum?

NO!

CTM Mailbag – June 2012

Jerseys, autographs, no-nos, and boxes overflowing with cards, oh my!

I’m sitting here with about half a dozen pieces about 90% finished, so of course I skip over all of those and crank out another mailbag feature! It’s been a big month or so in the hobby with new releases every week, so here’s an update on the important issues facing Mets collectors.

Tilly wrote:

I am also writing to make you know what a fantastic encounter my girl obtained viewing the blog. She noticed many issues, most notably how it is like to have a wonderful teaching spirit to make the mediocre ones completely gain knowledge of a variety of advanced issues. You undoubtedly exceeded our expectations. I appreciate you for producing these warm and friendly, dependable, informative as well as cool thoughts on this topic to Julie.

Don’t get too excited about the Matt Harvey jersey cards in Pro Debut, they aren’t from the Mets jersey Topps obtained in Spring Training. Remember last year’s Bowman Chrome Draft Picks & Prospects, which featured Futures Game jersey cards for Matt Harvey and Jefry Marte? Only the primary color of those three-color jerseys made it into the cards back then, so what happened to the rest? The good news is that you can now get all three colors for both Harvey and Marte in 2012 Pro Debut; the bad news is still no Mets jerseys for either of them. For Harvey, it’s clearly only a matter of time.

Segota wrote:

A formidable share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a little evaluation on this. And he in reality bought me breakfast as a result of I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I really feel strongly about it and love reading extra on this topic. If possible, as you grow to be expertise, would you mind updating your blog with extra particulars? It is extremely helpful for me. Huge thumb up for this blog put up!

Things have turned around a bit from last month in the Mets representation department. Archives and Pro Debut each featured eight players in their respective small base sets, plus several more in insert and parallel sets. Topps Series 2 increased the diversity of Mets featured in the insert sets, though most of them were still either retired players (Seaver, Ryan, Carter, Strawberry, and Gooden), former Mets (Pagan), or David Wright; the only others were Museum Collection holdovers Dillon Gee and Ike Davis, plus a few Jose Reyes 1/1 letter patches. While the base set situation seems to have sorted itself out and the inserts are getting there (some game-used from new players would be welcome…), the lone remaining area of concern is prospect autographs. Between Bowman and Pro Debut, two sets that focus heavily on prospects, only Jordany Valdespin and Brandon Nimmo have been featured on autograph cards. Adding in Panini’s “2011″ products from this year gives you Chris Schwinden (playing for [insert team here] this week) and a few more 2011 draft picks. That leaves a huge gap between the 2011 draft class and the Buffalo-to-Flushing shuttle, or basically all the hope for success in 2014. While a lot of them had autographs last year, guys like Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Matt den Dekker, Jeurys Familia, Jefry Marte, Wilmer Flores, etc. are no-shows (no-signs?) so far this year; heck, Matt Harvey still hasn’t signed his cards from 2011 Bowman Platinum! I had to go to a game to get an autograph from Jefry Marte (many thanks, Jefry!) and that’s not practical for a lot of fans.

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Don’t expect much of a hobby reaction to Johan’s no-hitter. Between the lead time to produce cards, two perfect games so far this season, and Santana losing a bit of his luster with a couple of sub-par starts following the no-no and being outshined by a more dominant but imperfect R.A. Dickey, there’s not much hope for a big celebration of the Mets’ first no-hitter in this year’s products. If you want something to commemorate the occasion and don’t want to spend big bucks on reproduction tickets or whatever else the team is selling, I would recommend The7Line’s HI57ORY shirt.

SWLVguy wrote:

I might have a few of these….got any doubles of decent 90+ Gary Carters?

Oh, you have no idea… And, frankly, neither do I. I likely have a lot of base cards from Topps and Upper Deck, but I wouldn’t know where to even start looking. Too many old cards around here… I could always use some help thinning out the collection a bit, but even charities that give out cards to kids don’t want stuff as old as my excess commons. Anyone willing to give some old cards a good home?

#FIXTHEIKE

Mets Police Twitter campaign to neuter Ike Davis gains support

Ike Davis’s woes at the plate this year are the stuff of legend, presuming that we’re talking about legends that make us sad and worried.  Mets Police, coming off such successes as de-blacking the Mets’ uniforms and bringing back Banner Day and following in the format of the widely-adopted #IMWITH28 Twitter hashtag campaign, has struck again with the #FIXTHEIKE Twitter hashtag campaign.  While I’m not sure if neutering is the proper medical procedure to improve hitting performance, anything is worth a try at this point.  To do my part, I’ve enlisted the support of a prior recipient of the procedure to help spread the word.

This has also appeared in a post at Mets Police.

Product Spotlight: 2012 Bowman

After 10 years without opening a pack, I’m off the wagon

10 years ago, I officially gave up on opening any current-year baseball card product.  After more than two years of opening packs, boxes, and cases (probably close to 1,000 packs in all) and getting squat for big hits (Babe Ruth bat cards were barely worth more than a box of cards by the time I finally pulled one), I called it quits and stuck with singles on the secondary market.  I never did finish the 2002 Fleer Tradition set…

In May of 2012, my days of not opening a current-year product were over.  I had expected this to happen when 2012 Topps Archives was announced, but surprisingly it was 2012 Bowman that did me in.  Bowman?  A product that I had never bought more than two packs of since it became relevant in 1992 (though that year’s packs yielded a Mariano Rivera RC)?  I’m still not sure why this was the product that brought me back, but I have no regrets.

Card Design

There’s been a lot of praise for this year’s Bowman product, or at least that’s what shows up on the @toppscards Twitter feed (and they couldn’t be biased, right?).  Still, at least a few people are raving about it, and for good reason.  For the first time since being introduced in 1997, the red-blue-green color coding for stars, first cards, and rookies/prospects is gone, replaced by a simple team-based color stripe around the photo.  Topps abandoned a formula?  I’m shocked.  The result is a classic baseball card look that reminds me a bit of 1990 Fleer (one of the few times Fleer got it right in their 25 year run).  Topps also managed to give the base and prospect sets distinct designs that clearly belong together.  The design is simple and elegant, a rare but welcome combination.  New among the variants this year are ice parallels and wave refractors, both of which are very visually interesting (unlike most previous attempts to jazz up parallels).  The ice parallels remind me a bit of 1999 UD HoloGrFX, a great-looking product that was doomed with a terrible follow-up in 2000.

Mets Representation

The downside to this product is that it continues the trend of underrepresentation of Mets players in 2012 products.  While three Mets made it into the 110-card prospect set (including Spring Training star Josh Edgin) and another three made the 25-card Bowman’s Best prospect set, only four made the cut in the 220-card base set: Wright, Davis, Dickey, and Duda.  That puts the Mets somewhere around the bottom quartile of teams by base set representation.  It’s better than the Astros (1 card), but do we really need every Yankees starter?  Couldn’t someone be bumped for Johan Santana and Daniel Murphy or Ruben Tejada?  Topps didn’t even find room for Jason Bay, which is quite unusual.  Oh well.  Jordany Valdespin (retail autographs white/blue/orange/red) and Brandon Nimmo (Bowman Black autograph) round out the Mets roster.  Of note is that Valdespin’s autographs hit retail at about the same time as this game-winning 3-run home run against the Phillies:

Set Overview

This part is a bit complicated.  Inside packs of 2012 Bowman, you’ll find cards from three somewhat distinct products: Bowman, Bowman Chrome, and Bowman’s Best (and their various parallel sets).  These were all separate products back when I last bought packs, but the days of downsizing have crammed them all into a single product.  That makes sorting out the checklists a bit of a challenge.

Let’s see if we can get this straight.  The base Bowman product is 330 cards, with 220 cards in the regular base set and another 110 BP-prefixed prospect cards (with 4 of them misnumbered, oops).  The base set has several “RC” designated cards, but only one of them (Cespedes) is also a first Bowman card; the prospect set has lots of cards that are one or the other, but none that are both.  Bowman Chrome is exclusively parallel to the 110-card prospect set (with fitting BCP prefixes) and Bowman’s Best is a 50-card insert set with 25 BB-prefixed Bowman’s Best cards and 25 BBP-prefixed Bowman’s Best prospect cards.  Did you get all that?

But wait, there’s more!  The autographs are even more confusing, with Bowman autographs (all stickers) exclusive to retail packs and Bowman Chrome autographs (all on-card) exclusive to hobby packs.  Some of the autos in each are parallels of their respective Bowman/Bowman Chrome cards while others are from players who do not appear in the respective set or players who aren’t anywhere else in the 2012 Bowman product.  And then there’s the Bowman Black autographed insert set…

As for the other parallels, well, there are base parallels, chrome parallels, and ice parallels, with some serial numbered, some not, some (gold) only of the 220-card base set, some others (purple, all chromes) only of the 110-card prospect set, and yet others (international, blue, orange, red, ice, red ice) covering all 330 cards; the autographs have similar parallels without any gold, purple, international, or ice/red ice variants (among others).  Oh, right, and the Bowman’s Best cards all have die-cut parallels numbered to 99, 25, and 1.  Still with me?

Luckily (or not), you won’t see most of these in a pack.  A typical pack will contain one gold parallel card, two Bowman Chrome cards, two prospect cards, and five base cards.  Autographs are one per hobby box (and three per jumbo box, not that you can find any).  The blue and red wave refractors aren’t in any packs, those are a limited wrapper redemption that I just barely got my wrappers in for before the 10,000 packs were claimed less than a week after the product launched.  Like the silver and red ice parallels, the blue and red wave refractors are new parallel styles and look great.  It’s nice to see some parallels that aren’t simple color variants or bizarre checkerboard patterns.

Here’s the breakdown of what I pulled from four boxes, your results may vary:

1 complete 330-card Bowman set (1-220, BP1-BP110) + lots of extras
83/220 of the gold parallel set + 13 extras
12 International parallels
4 Blue parallels (#d/500)
2 Orange parallels (#d/250)
5 Ice parallels
2 Red ice parallels (#d/25)
90/110 of the Bowman Chrome set + 78 extras
3 Refractor parallels (#d/500)
1 Blue refractor parallel (#d/250)
2 Chrome autographs
2 Blue refractor autographs (#d/150)
16 Bowman’s Best cards

And via wrapper redemption:
18 Blue wave refractor parallels
1 Blue wave refractor autograph (#d/50)
1 Red wave refractor parallel (#d/25)

Big hits:
Rookie Davis Blue Wave Refractor Autograph BCP43 37/50
Andrew Susac Blue Refractor Autograph BCP97 142/150
J.T. Wise Red Wave Refractor BCP67 12/25
Justin Nicolino Red Ice Parallel BP1 08/25

As far as value for the money goes, it wasn’t bad.  Finishing off the base set was a big plus, but it would have been nice to get the chrome set as well ($5 on eBay fixed that).  Two red ice parallels was a big surprise (those are supposed to be about one per case), but those were the only cards numbered to less than 150 straight out of the box (two more came from the wrapper redemption).  The one-per-box autographs were nobody special, though getting two blue refractor autos was nice; the best autograph was the Rookie Davis blue wave refractor auto.  And one of the base blue parallels was Cespedes, so that was a decent pull (the same box also yielded the base and gold versions as an added bonus; that was much better than the box with gold and ice Shane Victorinos).  The biggest Mets hits were a Bowman’s Best Zack Wheeler and gold parallel David Wright, nothing to write home about.  The wrapper redemption yielded the biggest pull and accounted for about half of my eBay sales, making the value for future purchases look much poorer.  And now on to Archives…