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Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Elusive Ones

When I chose to get a regular Hobby box of Topps instead of a jumbo box, I knew I was going to miss out on two things: the two guaranteed hits and a complete set. The hits I didn't mind, I can pick up a relic and auto off eBay cheap as hell right now with all the case breakers flipping their pulls. The set was a little more worrisome, I knew if I didn't get it squared away I'd bee obsessively ripping packs like mad until I finished it. Silly me, I should have realized that I'd like the insert sets so much this year I'd be obsessively ripping packs like mad anyway. Between the Trading Card History, 50th Anniversary Rookie set and the Target T205's I'll be ripping for a while, even if I end up with a pile of Mantles and 14 Joe Biden cards.

So to justify buying packs full of doubles I'm going to conduct a little experiment. My hobby box had exactly 300 cards out of the 300 card set. I still need 30 to complete it, 31 if you count the Giuliani bullcrap card. I'm going to list them here, and see how many packs it takes to finish the set just through opening packs. Don't send me trade offers, don't send me cards through the mail, I want to finish this set through wax only. I'll probably complete two other near sets before I do it, but I want to see if it's possible. I'll quit if I finish all the insert sets before the base set, but hopefully it won't come to that.

The ones I pull will be in bold and will have the players name and pack number next to them. Packs are Hobby packs unless I note otherwise.

Here's the list:

5 - Scott Kazmir - Pack 20
8 - Stephen Drew - Pack 13
13 - Kendry Morales - Packs 1-5
23 - Ross Gload - Pack 20
29 - Anibal Sanchez - Pack 46
41 - Rich Aurilia - Pack 9
64 - Mike Lowell - Pack 13
72 - Mike Piazza - Pack 10
86 - Scott Podsednik - Pack 46
92 - Ross Detwiler RC - Pack 46
93 - Kenny Lofton - Pack 46
104 - Kevin Youkilis - Pack 9
115 - Johan Santana - Packs 1-5
142 - Chris Duncan - Pack 16
148 - Gerald Laird - Pack 16
171 - John Maine - Pack 10
184 - Tadahito Iguchi - Packs 1-5
191 - Orlando Hudson - Pack 28
193 - J. J. Hardy - Pack 10
196 - Chin-Lung Hu - Pack 20
210 - Mark Teahen - Packs 1-5
234 - Red Sox Postseason Highlights - Pack 7
242 - Manny Acta - Pack 16
250 - Jonathan Papelbon - Packs 1-5
298 - NL League Leaders Home Runs - Fielder, Howard & Dunn - Pack 27
319 - Joey Votto - Pack 13

Again, NO TRADE OFFERS. I'm finishing this set through packs!

Here's the good pulls out of the packs:
Packs 1-5 ( I sorted these before I decided to run the experiment) - Biden & Edwards Presidential Candidates, YR13 Halladay Year in Review, AR10 Dave Johnson & AR12 Dan Johnson 50th Anniversary Rookies. 5 cards for the set.

Not bad, 5 inserts I needed and 5 cards for the set. Add three gold foil cards and that leaves 37 doubles. Or, looking at the glass half full, I now am 37 cards into my second set.

Pack 6 (Target) - Mantle HR530. No cards for the set.
Pack 7 (Target) - TCP12 Steve Pearce T205. Got the Red Sox without the politician card for the set.
Pack 8 (Target) - TCP14 Wladimir Balentein T205, AR3 Doc Gooden 50th Anniversary. Two sweet inserts, but none for the set.
Pack 9 (Target) - TCP7 Chin-Lung Hu T205, AR34 Chipper Jones 50th Anniversary. Two for the set AND a Chipper! I already know I will not beat this pack in this experiment.
Pack 10 (Jumbo) - Edwards Prez, 202 Mike Lamb Gold, AR15 Hanley Ramirez 50th, Mantle HR520, YR50 Verlander Year in Review, OTG11 A-Rod Own the Game, THC5 Clay Buchholz History. Good: a few nice inserts and 3 cards for the set. Bad: only three for the set out of a jumbo. there were also 4 others that I pulled in the first 9 packs though. The first Presidential candidate double was disturbing.

One box + 10 packs (including a jumbo) and I still need 19 more for the set. I'm averaging about one card I need a pack though. This could take a while.

Pack 11 - AR26 Ozzie Smith 50th. None for the set.
Pack 12 - C08-HC Hillary Clinton. No cards for the set, but I didn't have Hillary yet. I've done reasonably well on the Predidential candidate cards so far, but soon I will get nothing but doubles of them and It Will Suck.
Pack 13 - Mantle HR #506. Three for the set! I doubt I'll beat that.
Pack 14 - Mantle HR #505. Nothing for the set.
Pack 15 - AR47 Shawn Green 50th. No cards for the set.

Yipe, five packs had only three cards and they were all in one pack. If it weren't for the two 50th anniversary cards (and the Chipper Jones Trading Card History Promo I got free with the packs) this would have been horrible. Sixteen to go.

Pack 16 - AR40 Mike Piazza 50th. Three more for the set! The Piazza card beats the hell out of the Mantle Home Run card too so this takes over as "best pack".
Pack 17 - 208 David DeJesus Gold. No cards for the set. I'm not even getting doubles of the ones on the list I needed so I'll still be chasing them for the second set.
Pack 18 - OTG3 Ryan Howard Own the Game. None for the set.
Pack 19 - TCH3 Dice-K Trading card History, MMS49 Mickey Mantle Story. No cards for the set but two sweet inserts.
Pack 20 - YR53 Oliver Perez Year in Review. Three more cards for the set, but I got the WORST CARD EVER for the insert. Rotten, lousy, graargh!

20 packs in and I've pulled 20 cards for the set. One a pack. I'm getting better odds on the inserts. I fear the last ten will be exponentially harder to pull.

Pack 21 (Jumbo) - Rudy Giuliani Gold, AR33 Billy Wagner 50thMantle HR #515, YR45 Randy Johnson Year in Review, OTG14 Ryan Howard Own the Game,TCH25 Grady Sizemore Card History, two decent gold foil cards - Sox Classic Combos and A-Rod. Thirty something base cards and not one for the set.
Pack 22 (Target) - TCP13 Vlad Guerrero T205. None for the set.
Pack 23 (Target) - OTG25 Fausto Carmona Own The Game, AR19 Julio Franco 50th. None for the set and the Fausto is a dupe. I'm overdue for a trade with Indians Cards Always guy anyway.
Pack 24 (Target) - TCP5 A-Rod T205. None for the set.
Pack 25 (Target) - TCP4 Luke Hochevar T205. None for the set. How easy are these T205's to get anyway?? That's 6 in 8 packs.

Complete disaster on this group of 5 packs. I got a bunch of inserts but none of the last 10 I need. That's it for a little while until I see a blaster hit the shelves.

Pack 26 - C08-MR Mitt Romney. None for the set. Did Topps purposely find the sleaziest picture of Mitt?
Pack 27 - OTG3 Ryan Howard Own the game. I have the Howard insert already, but I finally got another one for the set. 9 to go.
Pack 28 - Kazuo Uzuki Fake Bullcrap Advertisement. The insert sucked, but I got another one for the set. Down to 8.
Pack 29 (Target) - AR11 Jermaine Dye 50th, Barack Obama. None for the set, but a Braves Dye insert. The Candidate dupes are starting to pile up.
Pack 30 (Target) - AR5 Gary Carter, TCP7 Chin-Lung Hu T205. None for the set, another dupe insert.

Five more packs, got 20% of the cards I needed. Or to put it a bit more bleakly, 2 cards out of 50. Even more disturbing is most of the inserts I pulled are dupes too. I STILL haven't seen a freaking blaster. I'm starting to get antsy about that, I want to find out what the Wally World inserts are.

Ok finally found a blaster. The Wal-Mart exclusives are interesting, but that's for another post. Here's the rips:

Pack 31 (Wal-Mart) - AR51 Francisco Liriano 50th, OTG23 Brandon Webb Own the Game. None for the set.
Pack 32 (Wal-Mart) - Nothing. First pack without inserts. The box topper pack and two inserts in the first pack somewhat mitigates this, but it's still disappointing.
Pack 33 (Wal-Mart) - MMS48 Mickey Mantle Story. No cards for the set and I think the Mantle is also a dupe. The box isn't working out too well so far.
Pack 34 (Wal-Mart) - C08-MR Mitt Romney. None for the set. One last chance for even one card I need...
Pack 35 (Wal-Mart) - MHR513 Mantle Home Run. None for the set. I was also taunted by several cards that were one number away from ones I needed.

This box was a disaster. None for the set and at least two of the inserts were dupes. The box topper made up for it though as you'll see next week. So far I've ripped the equivalent of at least another box looking for those last thirty cards and still come up short. This is why what I'm trying to do is a bloody stupid idea. Still, who knows, I could get lucky next time! (yeah right)

I haven't bought any Topps for a couple of months but I decided to try one more box to see if I would get lucky. The Box Topper pack had Man-Ram, Ichiro and Mantle Deck Perez cards so I'm off to a good start. If I get one or two of the 8 I need for the set I'll be dancing.

Pack 36 (Wal-Mart) - OTG5 Brandon Webb Own the Game. None for the set.
Pack 37 (Wal-Mart) - Useless, worthless 3rd copy of Kazuo Uzuki and nothing else.
Pack 38 (Wal-Mart) - MMS55 Mickey Mantle Story. AR28 Garret Anderson all star rookie. No cards for the set.
Pack 39 (Wal-Mart) - C08-FT Fred Thompson. None for the set. Once again I'm striking out on a Wal-Mart box.
Pack 40 (Wal-Mart) - MHR517 Mantle Home Run. None for the set.

Second straight blaster that netted nothing for the set. Starting to get the picture? I did need the Fred Thompson card though, so the inserts save the box from disaster. Maybe I should try a Target blaster since the Wal-Mart ones aren't working out too well.

I probably should have noted each time this post was updated with a date or something, but it's too late for that now. Maybe next time I try something as daft as this I'll remember to do that. True to my word, I got a Target box this time. They are discounted to $7.50 a box now, which is like a gallon of gas nowadays. Cards are increasingly becoming a better value! This box started off badly as the T205 bonus pack had a Joba Chamberlain and TWO Steve Pearce cards. I think those are my third and fourth Pearce T205 cards. Pulling just one little card I need to complete this set will make up for it though. Just ONE.

Pack 41 (Target) - YR55 Mark Reynolds Year in Review and none for the set.
Pack 42 (Target) - OTG9 Lance Berkman Own The Game, AR44 Todd Helton 50th. None for the set.
Pack 43 (Target) - No inserts and none for the set. Ouch.
Pack 44 (Target) - Another pack with no inserts and all doubles. This is getting painful.
Pack 45 (Target) - MMS46 Mickey Mantle and zippo. There wasn't even a Brave in this box.

Three straight blasters and none had even one card I needed. I need to rethink my strategery on this project.

Pack 46 (Value Pack) - C08-JM John McCain, YR3 Ian Snell Year in Review, OTG10 Own the Game Miguel Cabrera and four cards for the set! And I only cheated a little bit! Check out the full pack rip here.


Anonymous said...

I like this experiment alot. I have finished a set before just by opening packs and boy did I end up with a ton of cards left over. Hopefully that won't happen to you.

dayf said...

I'm officially going for a second set. I don't know what I'll do with it though, maybe give it to my cousin or hold a contest or something. I've already cracked 20 packs above and beyond the box though, this way I can justify it (especially when I need to be saving my money for Heritage)

Anonymous said...

Well even if you bought a jumbo it doesn't gaurentee a set. I bought one and was about 10 cards short of a set.

dayf said...

Wow, I'm REALLY glad I didn't buy a jumbo box now.

Rob said...

Yep, I just finished cataloging my jumbo box, and I was ten short too. And I didn't get a presidential stamp card or a black parallel. And my auto was Randy Messenger.

Billy Suter said...

I've been trying to complete my set the hard way as well, and I'm still 17 cards short.

--David said...

I think this a great idea! I'll be watching and reading as you work to complete the set!