Monday, November 17, 2014

Wanna Rip Some Packs?

Of course you do. You wouldn't have clicked the link to this if you didn't.

I wanna rip some packs. But I have come to the sad conclusion that I'm just shooting myself straight in the wallet when I do it. Baseball card depreciation is worse than new car depreciation, or electronic gadget depreciation.

And I'm not sad about the _value_ of the cards I rip. I could really care less what the cards I own are worth. Seriously. I enjoy them, or I wouldn't keep them. If a major warehouse find of cards from any set I have collected or am collecting was found which then made the cards I own now worth 10% of what they were the day before, I wouldn't care in the slightest. A lot of collectors, though, would throw up their hands in disgust and quit the hobby completely if that happened to them. And it would be Oh, The Humanity for weeks and weeks on the Internet if that were to happen. I would probably have to retreat to trout fishing, and flipping through binders full of worthless base baseball cards.

The problem with ripping cards today is that you can buy the same card, out of the pack, for 25% or possibly less of the pack price - and without any duplicates as when you rip your way through your cash.

Sadly, ripping just no longer makes any sense. I won't beat the dead horse any more, I think everyone understands all this.

That's why I'm happy I've grown to enjoy ripping re-pack products. Because I still enjoy the anticipation of not knowing what baseball card I'm going to find in that pack. I'm not sure I would have come to enjoy repacks so much, if I hadn't discovered baseball card blogs. I had never considered the idea of collecting the cards based on what's in the picture on the card. Simply collecting Turning Two cards, from any set, any manufacturer, any year? Brilliant. I am so slow sometimes…. thank y'all!

Ok, let's rip a pack:
SUNDAY! SUNDAY! This 4th of July weekend don't miss this one! Special Bar-Bee-Que Twinkie Cook-Off in the Parking lot! It's the world famous Monster Truck Rally you've been waiting for!

errr, wait, that's just what I hear in my head when when I read ULTIMATE Super JUMBO PACK. I love over the top advertising. And no, I didn't make up the part about the B-B-Q Twinkies. You can look that up on the Internet, which is where I looked it up from.

I thought to title this post Window Shopping #3, but I'll save the roll-out of the new web series for the final re-pack product I can share with you some other time.

I do like these Ultimate Super Jumbo Packs. You'll see one of these again some day too, which has one of the most iconic baseball cards of all time, really, no kidding at all - you'll see. It was so cool to see that it will lead me to a whole new collecting project.

Which this pack might as well. Because I window shopped for that sweet red, white, and blue baseball card there on the front, because I always like red, white, and blue baseball cards, perhaps a little bit extra when they feature a team that has only two of those colors on the national flag over the stadium:
Because when I see 1985 Topps cards on blog posts, I start to like them a little bit more each time. I would like to pick up a "vending box" of the things (no ripping with those however, but I was always in awe of the idea of them as a kid). By 1985 though, I was slowing way down on baseball cards, and I have perhaps just a few packs of them, somewhere. I think. Maybe. But now I have at least one more than I did before! Thanks ULTIMATE Super JUMBO PACK.

But Doug Flynn? Dunno, I'm not totally sure that isn't Ian Kinsler shipped back through some sort of 3D Printing Powder Blue Time Machine. I like that Topps went with powder blue ink on this card. The back is a sentimental one as well, wherein Topps informs us that "Doug and his wife were introduced by Pete Rose." Awww, gee, Topps, so sweet.

Let's see what's behind the window card:
And the air starts leaving the balloon quick in this pack. '89 Bowman, whoo-boy.  Maybe these days with the 6 divisions in baseball where you barely know the players in the other 5 divisions any more (one key reason why I still buy new baseball cards), it would be a little interesting to see a player's stats against a division rival. But in 1989? Zzzzzzzzzz.

Once again I like that this particular re-packer puts the cards in the pack backwards sometimes. Because, Yes, I Read the Backs, though I gotta tell ya, I'm taking one for the team sometimes doing that, particularly this year. I never do know what I'll find on the backs, but let's flip this one over:
Well whaddya know, the first 1989 Bowman I wanna keep. I like Kirk Gibson, even if most of the rest of the MLB world does not. I'm from Michigan, and so is Kirk. Kirk plants a lot of trees, and so do I. Kirk is known here in northern Michigan for having a nice hunting spread over in the north-east top corner of the lower peninsula, and he has been on Michigan hunting and fishing TV shows several times as a result. I am sure he is there right now, having a good time with old friends and trying to forget about baseball and how and whether he can somehow return to The Game; it is easy to forget your troubles out at Deer Camp.

I like that Kirk wears #23, which is my birthday. I like On-Deck cards. I like that Pine Tar is featured on this baseball card.

But I will not be collecting 1989 Bowman any time soon, or ever. No matter how many get put into my re-packs, which is usually several, from some re-packers (4 of 30 cards in this one). For the final re-packer we will visit some future evening, those won't fit in their "pack", which is a good thing.

Let's see what else ULTIMATE Super JUMBO PACK has for me:
I'm sure now you are just looking around on the blogroll for something else to click on. But I admire 1992 card backs. Clean. White. Easy to read. Design recalls the front:
And I'm starting to think a few carefully targeted pages of 1992 Topps would look good in a binder. What are these repacks doing to me? I loved 1991 Topps but for whatever reason 1992 didn't grab me when I ripped a sample pack back in that day. At least it will be cheap to indulge in them a little more some day. But this is a dangerous precedent…
GAH! 1987 Topps! Wood paneling invading my computer. What is going on? This repack was loaded with the things actually - 10 of 30 cards were 1987 Topps. And here I had to discover a new strange meme to collect on a 1987 Topps, which would be a top contender on my Least Favorite Sets of All-Time list, were I ever to publish one by being stuck on a desert island with a complete collection of baseball cards and an Internet connection to blog about them all, finally.

And what wacko new meme is that? How many baseball cards feature a baseball bat suspended in mid-air, untouched by human hands? That will be a fun collection to chase, 3.33¢ per lottery ticket in these one dollar repacks. But why did it have to kick off with a 1987 Topps? That card will sure be lonely on a binder page for a long time to come. And it will be a 1987 Topps! Yuck! This hobby really is full of crazy people, isn't it?

At least I'm not being led down the path to collecting these:
I might have started to do that when I was a kid, but my allegiance to Topps was strong, and I hadn't finished 1981 Donruss (stay tuned), and on a kid budget I had to keep my priorities straight. I think before I ever had to worry about what to do with a couple packs of 1982 Donruss, these came along:
This is commented on plenty via blogs I'm sure. But until you see the two designs adjacent to each other, you forget about just how lame this was. My kid instincts were correct, and the repack shows off baseball card history well. Goodbye, Donruss.

Vern Ruhle though? He will always give me flashbacks to a Topps set a few years previous. By this point in collecting, I earned enough spare change from odd jobs in the neighborhood to really buy up some packs of baseball cards, and knew several other almost-teens who could as well. We could complete sets! But as it was turning out that year, Vern was a tough pull, and one other card was as well (I wish I could remember which). A whole bunch of us needed the same two cards. We could all buy packs, but no one in my town could pull those two cards. Pack buying became pointless. Hmmm, kinda like the intro theme to tonight's post. Anyhow, someone figured out that if you stretched the wax on the back of the pack, you could read the name of the card on top. And then shortly, every box of baseball cards in town was "pack searched" for those two cards. 

Ahh, memories. That is a big part of collecting these worthless baseball cards. Like this one:
What a card! I loved that set. I'll make it through the pile of blog-about cards eventually and reach the pile of blog-about boxes some day.

The runner looks like he absolutely demolished himself, but he's SAFE! I'm a little tempted to use modern research sites to sort out this example of an only occasional baseball card meme shown on Cardboard Junkie, err, Card Junk, the other day - a multi-position player. Topps never does that any more.

Fortunately, Topps never does this anymore either:
Looking back at the sets of my childhood, I hate the blurry cards. And in 1980s baseball cards, there are still plenty of them. And it always seems like there are more in the 1980s than the 1970s. What's up with that? Sometimes I wonder if these tend to have lower populations of high grades from the grading company, as the grader presumes a more focused copy could, or should exist. Some day I'll poke around on that idea.

But that LaRoche card will be going in a binder page slot, because I like cards with interesting trees on them. Particularly the blurriest trees ever, probably.

That card immediately brought to mind one of my Sea Turtles:
And no, I didn't hit a father-son combo in a repack, though that is a definite possibility with these two chips off the same block, as the repackers already use Sea Turtles to bulk up their product, frequently as the marquee card in the window on the top of the pack.

I probably shop via the window card with the hope that there is more of where that came from, and in this pack, there was:
The repack comes through again, reminding why I'm not in a hurry to fiddle around with 85 Topps. Dark-blue-on-powder-blue, with a player in a blue uniform in front of a blue dug-out full of powder blued up baseball players. Not well played, Topps. It could be that the blue just overwhelmed the registration of the red colors on this card and we get a pink Brave instead, and by the time your eyes attempt to reach safety at the bottom of the card, all the blue everywhere seems to have migrated towards purple and away from the probably-supposed-to-match color of the B-R-A-V-E-S lettering. What a mess of a card; not even the red, white & blue belt can save this one. 85 Topps just moved down the To Collect list a little bit.

This repack packer certainly had a lot of Topps at hand that day, with just a few examples from the other manufacturers. Topps wasn't the only one who could punt on good color choices on baseball cards:
And few sets get it more wrong than 1990 Score. Green, Yellow, Blue, White, Phillies 'red' - am I looking at a bowl of Lucky Charms? Nice powder blue touch there on the logo though. 1990 was a bad year for colorful baseball cards. But in another repack I picked up this year, 1990 Score hit a home run with a colorful card. I'll get to that box of repacked baseball cards, some day.

But I'm always interested in the manufacturers I never even bought a pack of baseball cards from, ever:
That's a 1989 Classic, with a handy feature on the back - space for the player to autograph the card. I have to wonder how many 'graph seekers took advantage of that. What a dilemma. To look at your cool autograph that proves a famous baseball player touched this baseball card, you would have to flip it over. Should I deface this valuable baseball card and have him sign the front? But who wants to check out a signature on the back of a card? What do I do here?

Buy some other manufacturer's baseball cards, most likely. Especially when a card-back writer is so hard up for material he includes this as a trivia question: "How many umpires are used in a regular season game?" I think even six year olds would have had their intelligence insulted by that one. You aren't missing much on the front of this one, either.

Nevertheless I frequently do admire non-Topps card backs:
Yes! The obvious question you wonder about when the back of the card says the player reached his new team via trade. For Who? For crying out loud, Topps, hook me up with this already. The new printing presses and their ability to print micro-type full of useless Rookie Facts makes this a no-brainer. Who'd the other guys get for this guy? Do you want me to put down my baseball cards and just ask Baseball Reference or Wikipedia? Siri will answer the question pretty fast these days, Topps.

Donruss had it right all along. Though now I have to wonder if the new un-licensed "Donruss" cards still do this. I'm sure a repack of some sort will answer that question for me soon.

That one had a kind-of cool front, with a nice batting cage shot. I'm just not a fan of posed batting shots with no batting helmet. Details, details.

Which you usually can't see on these never-seen-these-days baseball cards:
Bleeding powder blue on this one. A pity digital zoom technology wasn't available to Topps back then to see this much powder blue in up-close glory.

That's the last card I have for you tonight; I didn't really include it for the not-quite-digging-that-one image on the front. But I was tickled to find this card in my repack, because I could see that 24 years ago, it belonged to a real baseball card collector:

Just like me.


  1. I've opened quite a few of those myself...and pulled a 1987 Donruss Bary Bonds RC out of one.

  2. Great post. My best friend is getting married Saturday, So the high school "autograph club" just might have to rip some repacks during the open bar for old times' sake.

  3. I bet that Cardinals team card collector got as frustrated looking for a Steve Swisher as you did looking for Vern Ruhle!