Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The $10 Retail Challenge: Jumbo Pack!

Previously on The $10 Retail Challenge...

The rack pack, as we knew it, is essentially dead. In the glorious days of junk wax, you could sometimes find the three-pronged packs of Topps at a specially marked value price, complete with an exclusive insert card. They were easy to search and the insert card was usually on the front somewhere. People actually would put these things away as collectors items when their favorite player or someone they perceived to be of value was showing on the front of one of these things. I know little of what happened with Topps during the dark years of 1994 through 2005 or so, but I was happy to see that the rack pack was still alive and well when I returned to collecting. The 2006 set contained "vintage" cards to commemorate some sort of anniversary, while the 2007 set had the expected exclusive insert cards as they used to in the '80s.

And then, suddenly Topps went a different direction. Jumbo packs have more or less replaced the old rack pack, and they've essentially become larger, slightly cheaper-per-card packs. There are inserts by the dozen and a little more mystery than we're accustomed to. No more exclusive inserts, however. In my day, you got your glossy All-Star card and you liked it. You barely even knew what an "insert" was.

Here's part two of the series, where I will judge the contents of two jumbo retail packs largely on their insert contents. I'm a hypocrite.

Series 2 is one big Photoshop frenzy. If I had more time on my hands, I would try to track down the source image for this card. It's pretty closely cropped, however, so it might be tough.

Minty green rack pack parallels have returned as unannounced as ever before. This set has an alarming amount of parallels, as if Topps somehow became savvy with social media and read that player collectors like to collect a rainbow of their favorite players. Ah, crap, I guess that's what is happening.

You may remember this card from such posts as last night's post. There are three different cards for each player in this insert series, but I had to go and pull the exact same one of Freeman again.

I got a green parallel in each pack. I think that's what is supposed to happen. Hochevar went from failed top prospect to superior reliever last year. The next logical step was, apparently, Tommy John surgery.

I suppose this is the key rookie card of the set. He's not going to be cheap, but the nice thing for Abreu supercollectors is that he doesn't have several thousand different Bowman cards to chase before he ever set foot on a major league field.

Here's an insert that is new to Series 2. It's a little busy.

And... I got two of them. Great.

Last year, the Cardinals were heavily represented in Series 1 and then nearly frozen out of Series 2. I'm glad to see the distribution across the two series a little bit more even this time around.

Soto hasn't played yet this season due to injury and hasn't really been what you could consider a good player in something like 4 years.

I'm happy to report that this is Shane Robinson's first real card since 2009. Huzzah! It's almost like Topps forgets about your fifth or sixth outfielder!

I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that Wainwright's mild elbow tendinitis is nothing more than what those words literally mean.

All in all, these were good packs for a Cardinal fan, at least.

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