Saturday, February 13, 2016

Crackin' Wax Case Break: Topps Flagship Series 1

The last two years, I have participated in case breaks for the Topps Series 1 cards. Last year, I went with Nachos Grande. This year, I saw Crackin' Wax's charity break first and decided to join up there. That's not meant to be a statement on either breakers' offerings. That's more along the lines of my collecting ADHD: First in time, first in mind. was fun catching a few boxes of the case break live as the man known as Topher and his wife a/k/a Literal Quirk bantered with those of us assembled in the peanut gallery. 

Nearly everyone who collects baseball cards and blogs has weighed in on this set and its design already. In fact, I've provided my $15 worth of commentary on a few blogs already (actually, it's more than that, because I bill in 6-minute increments and nothing less! :-|  )

So, here are the 9 base card Brewers. I think I got about 10 of each of these, so let me know if you need any of these (CB?):

I am not a fan of the "dramatic effect clouds" on the card. Also, I'm not sure why Jonathan Lucroy's number looks pink or red.  The original, from Getty images, is a little reddish, but it's not pink.

Otherwise, I don't mind this design all that much, except that it's just the same old complaints: the cropping is poor (too close), pitchers are always shown mid-delivery grimacing, everyone but Maldonado is hitting (and, let's be honest, Maldonado can't hit so that's for the better), and I swear that Ryan Braun is always shown with his eyes bulging in his hitting follow-through. Perhaps when I need an idea for a post, I'll show you the Ryan Braun follow through photos. I guarantee that post will quickly become the most popular post ever on Off Hiatus. 

I've never watched that TV show, but the quote fits.

Back to 2016 Topps.

I did pretty well generally, though, in the case break. I got all the inserts I would have expected to get.  I received several of the Braun "Perspectives" card, though I'd already gotten one of those thanks to the Cardboard Junkie; I also got about 4 each of the horrendous looking dissolving player "back-to-back" inserts:

I don't mind getting new Younts and Molitors every year, but man, that card is not a good look for anyone. And Fielder/Braun works, but again, it just looks like a printing error rather than a cool effect.

Former Commissioner/Franchise Destroyer Bud Selig's First Pitch card also showed up.

I am pretty hard on Bud thanks to his decision in the 1990s to make Milwaukee the poster child for small market teams. Bud may have been the ultimate baseball reactionary and, at the same time, the ultimate baseball socialist. He wanted a return to the early 1970s in labor relations -- before the reserve clause had been interpreted as it was written rather than as perpetual indentured servitude -- and, at the same time (and, to be fair, there's much more sense in this than in the reserve clause), he wanted much greater revenue sharing. 

For people who cheer for teams like the Dodgers and Yankees, keep in mind that the great local TV and radio contracts your teams have require your team to have someone to play, the revenue should be split more equitably. Of course, that's a bit socialist.

Can you tell that these cards don't exactly grab my attention all that much?

Also showing up about 4 times in the case is the Berger's Best of Robin know the one...the one on which Topps forgot that it had a mini set in 1975 and not 1974 (and that Robin Yount did not appear on a 1974 card because why would he?)?

The final insert is one that seems harder to pull, apparently. Only one of them in the entire case:

There's that post-swing puffed cheek look again.

Now for the cooler stuff. A couple of parallels:

The Braun is a foil parallel (not that you can tell it from looking at it, of course). The Taylor Jungmann is one of those photo negative parallel things. Except it really isn't, because if it were a photo negative it would look like this:

Which is a hell of a lot cooler than a black and white card that I can't read the player's name on at all. Oddly enough, I did not get any gold parallel cards as best I can tell. I'm guessing these are seeded more frequently in retail rather than hobby boxes in an effort to get us to spend our hard-earned dollars chasing in both arenas rather than picking one or the other.

I hit on a couple of player collection buybacks as well -- one for Jim Slaton and one for Prince Fielder:

In the world of pointless buyback cards, these are two of them. At least the Slaton card from 1983 has sharp corners.

Finally, I did receive one card that is very cool. It was a great hit for the break for me:

It's a Fielder and Braun Back-to-Back base relic serial numbered 97 of 99, and it looks great in hand. Yes, the photos aren't any better here with their dissolving pixelation than they are "back to back", but throw in a couple of swatches of fabric, and it's almost forgiven.

All in all, it was a pretty good break for me. I can complain about the designs and the cheesy buybacks all I want, but I'm sure Topps would eventually like to get rid of all the 1989 cards they have laying around just like the rest of us would.

Thanks go out to Crackin' Wax and Literal Quirk for the break and for a couple of enjoyable hours watching other people open baseball cards. Everything's more fun, after all, with a Death's Door Gin & Ginger Ale drink with a squeeze of lemon juice. 

After all, I'm from Wisconsin. We're all "Wisconsin-Proud" and Death's Door is from Door County!


  1. I need all the base except Lucroy and Braun. He does always make that look on cards...

    1. One of each other than Lucroy and Braun are in an envelope addressed to you.

  2. This is why I didn't sign up for any 2016 Topps breaks this year. The set makes me so sad. At least you got the hit to perk things up.

    1. Fully agree. I need the Brewers like you need the Dodgers, so I signed up and gladly got the hit.

  3. Your actual photo negative parallel is definitely much cooler than what Topps came up with.

    1. Hahaha! I agree. You should do a set of 30 photo negative parallels -- one for each team.

  4. I'm glad you like the cards, but I think they belong to the OTHER Tony L. ;)

    Also, that Braun MLB Debut is a retail exclusive from a blaster I opened a few days prior to the case break.

    Thanks again for joining! Come back any time.

    1. I very well may return for Gypsy Queen or Heritage or something like that -- it was a great time!

  5. Are those the only parallels you got? I've got at least four or five gold or foil Brewers if you need them.

    1. Yes, those are literally the only parallels I got. I guess the gold weren't seeded commonly in the hobby boxes!