Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Hobby Box for the New Economy

When at long last I finally got my (cheap) scanner, I promised that I would "break" a hobby box on this blog and I was pretty excited about it. Well, that is, I was about as excited as one can get over posting on a blog about sports cards. Like most ideas that I have, the more I think about something, the longer it takes me to actually act on it. Here's a box I believe that I paid less than $20 for on eBay. It was part of a grand plan of buying budget-priced hobby boxes to add some interesting cards to my team collection and, perhaps, having something equally as interesting to send out to people I trade with. All I really know of HTA (The Topps "Home Team Advantage" program) is that they produce jumbo packs that are generally pretty loaded with stuff that gets people excited. The box I bought is a 2004 Topps Series 1 HTA box, but it's sort of a strange one. Every single card in these packs is a parallel of the base set. Each card is stamped with a foil "1st Edition" stamp. Going into this, all I knew is that I only had a handful of 2004 Topps cards, so I figured this would be a win for me no matter what happened.

Here are the first 10 packs. I promise that it won't be another 2 months before I post the rest of the box. I opted not to break this up into more than 2 parts, because I personally find my attention starts to wane a bit when people break up their box break posts into many parts, unless it's a set I'm really excited about. Because of that, there aren't going to be a ton of scans or comments per pack. Hopefully it will be just enough to keep you from falling asleep.

Pack 1:
83 - Hee Seop Choi (Hee Seop Choi is leaning over the dugout, looking back at his rather awful Cubs career, perhaps unaware that he is about to be traded for Derrek Lee. I don't know how people can handle being Marlins fans, really.)
248 - Gary Bennett (Ex-Cardinal count: 1)
231 - Travis Driskill

329 - Rich Harden / Bobby Crosby Future Stars (One of the few cards of this type over the years where both players actually stuck.)

355 - Juan Pierre Postseason Highlights (I think Topps must have signed the same people to write their copy that The Oregonian currently employs to write their front page headlines. The street edition is rapidly deteriorating into a tabloid.)

307 - Jesse Roman (First Cardinal of the box. I've never heard of the guy. According to his B-R page, he's been out of baseball since 2004.)
285 - Art Howe
216 - Jimmy Haynes (Guys like Haynes whose careers began in the mid-'90s and ended in the mid-'00s are easy for me to ignore.)
262 - Tomokazu Ohka
306 - Donald Levinski

Pack 2:
98 - Jorge Posada (I don't usually think of Posada being a big HR guy, but he hit 30 in 2003.)
206 - Freddy Garcia (Once the ace of the M's staff, Freddy was recently reassigned to minor league camp with the Mets after failing in his bid to be the 5th starter. Livan Hernandez appears to be the guy. Thanks, MLB Network, for keeping me up to date with the, uh, Mets.)
254 - Jung Bong ("Translated from Korean, jung bong means 'middle staff,' and is a defensive martial arts technique." So you can stop snickering, now.)

221 - Mike Mussina (I'll always remember getting his rookie cards out of early '90s Score packs. I never thought he'd put together a Hall of Fame career. There were too many Ben McDonalds and not enough Chipper Joneses.)
213 - Tim Wakefield
182 - Terry Adams
202 - Jose Mesa (Jose Lima had "Lima Time". Did Mesa ever have, you know... Mesa Time?)
315 - Matt Creighton
110 - Todd Helton (Coming off of his fourth consecutive season of +1.000 OPS. Yes, kids, OPS is important.)

235 - C.C. Sabathia (Goofy looking.)

Pack 3:
79 - Jerry Hairston Jr.
44 - Steve Finley
106 - Ramiro Mendoza (One of a number of Yankees turned Red Sox, and vice versa.)
152 - Mike Lieberthal

367 - Jody Gerut All-Stars (In what bizarro universe what Jody Gerut an all-star? Wow.)
290 - Bruce Bochy
236 - Brad Penny
119 - Adam Eaton (Sadly not related to Mark Eaton, as far as I know.)
316 - Chris O'Riordan (Not related to Dolores O'Riordan, as far as I know.)
251 - Josh Beckett

Pack 4:
57 - Michael Tucker
83 - Hee Seop Choi

229 - Danny Bautista (A very Dmitri Young-esque photo here.)
11 - Kevin Millwood
292 - Bob Melvin
182 - Terry Adams
301 - Casey Myers

305 - Dioner Navarro (Navarro as a Yankee - hmm. I did root for the Rays in the World Series, but I haven't bought in to the whole budding Yankees/Rays rivalry or anything. I'd definitely root for New York if it came down to it. I have my reasons.)
280 - Tony Pena (The manager and former catcher.)
287 - Ken Macha (So many managers in this pack.)

Pack 5:
15 - Marcus Giles

240 - Rocco Baldelli (In his younger, healthier days.)
62 - Ty Wigginton
288 - Larry Bowa
147 - Wes Helms
310 - Josh Labandeira
75 - Hank Blalock

330 - Zack Greinke / Jimmy Gobble Future Stars (I'm sure this card was the punch line of a number of jokes at one point, but one of these oddly named Royals has actually made it as a #1 type starter.)
168 - Brandon Phillips (Cleveland wasn't the first team to give up on this guy.)
142 - Reggie Taylor

Pack 6:
199 - Brandon Inge
224 - Ryan Klesko
194 - Derek Lowe (Just thought of something - the backs of the cards are glossy, too. I don't remember the regular 2004 Topps cards being like that, but maybe they are.)
35 - David Bell

158 - Woody Williams (Not many memorable players wear #19.)
295 - Buck Showalter (It's funny how many managers are in this set that no longer manage or at least are with different teams.)
132 - Michael Barrett
279 - Jimy Williams
226 - Kelvin Escobar
247 - Chad Bradford

Pack 7:
94 - Al Leiter
269 - Bobby Cox
141 - Craig Counsell
325 - Zach Duke

336 - Eric Gagne Season Highlights (Duuuude. Remember 2004? Eric Gagne does.)
127 - Mark Buehrle
51 - Danny Graves (I saw his name scroll by on the bottom of the screen on MLB Network yesterday and was rather surprised that he still exists.)
264 - Frank Catalanotto
242 - Dave Roberts

239 - Adrian Beltre (Remember 2004? Adrian Beltre does. Hey, he's in another contract year this year.)

Pack 8:
67 - Mariano Rivera (An interesting photo choice.)
256 - Alex Gonzalez
191 - John Lackey
282 - Ned Yost

347 - Jason Schmidt / Kevin Brown / Mark Prior NL ERA Leaders (Yeesh, what happened to these guys? At least Brown has age as an excuse.)
66 - Cliff Floyd

327 - Bernie Castro / Khalil Greene Future Stars (Greene has been awfully productive in spring for the Cards. That has me worried for some reason. He's gotta be better than Cesar Izturis with the bat, though, right?)
25 - Lance Berkman
311 - Kenny Perez
309 - Jon Knott (This has been a good box so far for ex-Portland Beavers.)

Pack 9:
153 - Jason Kendall (Great photo, but it makes me wish there was far less border on these cards.)
104 - Mike Hampton (We'll see how many starts Hampton can hold up for this year.)
111 - Braden Looper
195 - Mark Grudzielanek (People continue to talk about Grudz as the safety valve if the Skip Schumaker Experience at 2B doesn't work out so well. I don't see it happening - Mark, that is.)
152 - Mike Lieberthal

204 - Jack Wilson (Erin already has dibs on this card because of the photo.)
21 - Jason LaRue
315 - Matt Creighton
308 - Sung Jung
257 - Shawn Chacon

Pack 10:

73 - Fernando Vina (The finest groomed facial hair in all of baseball, I used to say.)
209 - Roy Halladay
174 - Desi Relaford
65 - Terrence Long
215 - Bartolo Colon
154 - Xavier Nady (More ex-Beavers.)

10 - Ichiro Suzuki (Token Ichiro card.)
122 - Randy Winn
234 - Felipe Lopez
58 - Paul Lo Duca

Can anyone tell me what is missing in these packs?


  1. So what's the deal with the "1st edition" thing?

    2004 was during one of my hobby hiatuses (hiati?), so I have no clue what is going on here, but I do seem to recall seeing some of these 2004 Topps "1st Edition" boxes at my generally overpriced local hobby store for what seemed to be a surpisingly low price.


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