Happy Birthday to me! I bought a box of cards! I was at Tim’s Baseball Card Shop a couple months ago when it actually was close to my birthday looking for singles. I had a fresh, crisp $50 bill courtesy of a birthday card, and it seemed only right to trade that green piece of paper in for some other colored paper products.
By the way, if you’re in Chicago, head on over to Tim’s. He was featured in that Miller High Life Super Bowl commercial last year. Although, if you go to his shop you’ll realize that his mother should have also been in the commercial. They make quite an entertaining pair. Anyway, he has plenty of Miller High Life swag laying around as a result, which is kind of cool.
Back to the box. I went for singles, but I happened to see that he had a few O-Pee-Chee boxes for sale. I’ve had my eye on those for a while, but they’re getting to be tough to find online these days. I asked the price, and it wasn’t far off from what I had been seeing from the online guys, so I grabbed one. My hope was to find some Dempster and Marmol cards and if I was lucky, the parallels as well. The rest was just bonus and hopefully a fun break. How’d I do?
I love retro looking, retro feeling sets. I love simple, understated and effective card designs. I love variety in terms of subjects, picture poses, and styles. So, it just makes sense that I would love O-Pee-Chee. Take a look at that throwback box bottom above. The dotted lines for cutting, only missing the picture of the scissors to tell you where to start. The superstars of the day being featured to sell the product based on who’s on the bottom rather than what may be inside. It’s nostalgic. What would have made it better is if there were card backs printed on the inside of the box as companies used to do. By the way, if anyone wants this, I’m willing to trade it for peanuts. As you can see, the Longoria portion is bent something fierce.
As you can also see on the Longoria, the team colors are much more vibrant than you normally see. In fact, that theme carries through across the whole product. I think it’s that extra visual punch that makes these cards look so good. If the color scheme was muted or strictly adhered to the exact hue of the team uniforms, the cards wouldn’t be nearly as lively or fun.
What this box bottom doesn’t show very well is the variety you will find in the box. Three of the four are portraits in front of a backdrop. The poses are different, but the gray is the same. There are horizontal cards like the Hamilton. There are portrait action cards. There are season leader cards featuring multiple players. There are floating head team checklist cards. There are stadium team checklist cards. Even with so many posed shots in the set, the pictures look different enough from one another that it never gets boring. The photography is crisp, clean and sometimes inventive. You couldn’t ask for much more, visually.
Each pack came with a parallel card and half came with an insert of some kind. There are bunch of different types. I won’t name them all off, because you can see in the pictures. None of them appeal to me nearly as much as the main set. This is an example of how simple can look bland. You would think that out of the myriad insert sets that I’d find one I enjoy, but you would be wrong.
And to top it off, they stuck some 20th anniversary inserts in there. Evidently I got the lame non-sports themed box. Anyone want an El Nino card? How about any of the rest? They are all for trade.
Simply put, these bore me. I’m bored now.
There are hits in this product, but they aren’t guaranteed. I don’t have the wrappers anymore to look up the odds, but I think it’s something like a relic in every 2 boxes and an auto in every 3 or 4. All I can say to that is “good!” I don’t need a Kelly Shoppach relic card inflating my box prices. I did not get any type of real hit, unless you call the black mini Hanley Ramirez above a hit (1 per box, and of a decent player – I’d say I got lucky with that). So, instead of showing you the non-existent hits, I’ll show you highlights of my one per pack black border variations. Again, these are for trade. I have others, so if you want a list email me and I can give you a player/team breakdown.
See what I mean about the variety of the pictures? Variances in poses and backdrops, with some action shots and horizontals mixed in. Good stuff. Again, all for trade.
Definitely a quality box, and you should be able to find them at a decent price if you can find them. If I were still a set collector, I would buy more and try to finish this sucker up. It hits all the right spots in terms of the main set. The inserts can be left out as far as I’m concerned, or completely re-tooled, because to me they are an eye-sore and a waste of space. I’m not a fan of parallels, but they don’t go too crazy with it here (black minis should be gone), and having one in every pack helps alleviate the frustration of there being a parallel at all. By the way, since I’m not collecting the set, feel free to point me in the direction of any want lists you have and maybe we can work out a swap.
Oh, yeah. I bought the box looking for Dempster and Marmol cards. Did I find any? Well, Marmol was nowhere to be found in my packs, but Dempster showed up twice.
Webb had 22 wins, Tim Lincecum had 18, and Dempster was tied for third at 17. The other people to reach that total were Ted Lilly (Cubs), Roy Oswalt (Astros), and Edinson Volquez (Reds). I’m a little surprised to see Dempster make the card with Oswalt and Lilly on the list. I would think they would be considered bigger names worthy of the spot. If would have meant 3 fewer cards to collect (this one, the black, and the black mini), and I would have been okay with that.
But that’s not all for Dempster, because in the last pack, I found this.
Make that 1 fewer card to collect, since I now have 2 of the 3. I was surprised there was no Ryan Dempster solo cards in my box either, but getting the black parallel was honestly something of a pipe dream when I bought it, so I can’t complain too much. What a great way to finish a very fun box of cards!
Design – *****
Set Collecting – *****
Inserts – *
Hits – *
Overall – **** out of 5