2018 Topps Chrome
We are officially in the dog days of summer. When I was a kid, the beginning of August meant that I had one more month of hanging out at the Legion Pool, dominating Super Tecmo Bowl and trying to close those final summer baseball card trades with my buddies during sleepovers. That is not the case anymore as my kids loaded up and took off back to school on August 7. As a parent, life gets easier when the kids go back to school because we aren’t hauling them to friends’ houses, horse lessons, and summer camps or fielding constant texts to go by the grocery store because we are out of food once again. I think I go to Publix every other day during the summertime because we are always out of something.
But as a kid, nothing compared to those awesome summer months of getting chauffeured around, staying up all night and eating all the food in the house. Of course, times were different then and we would vanish from our houses during the summer and only return when we needed more food or to finally lay our heads down. I remember getting up around lunchtime, going to the pool at 1, playing baseball in the yard during the late afternoon, moving to basketball in the gym during the evenings and then settling in for video games during the overnight hours at whoever’s house we landed at. We would finally crash around 4 or 5 am and then do it all over again the next day.
When school was ready to start back up, we all got this horrible feeling in the pit of our stomachs. The reasons for that horrible feeling could have been from any of a number of reasons. Some of us didn’t like getting up in the morning, some were nervous about teachers and new classmates, some didn’t want their evenings robbed of them by homework and some of us just plain hated school. Up until about 7th grade, the final night of summer was kind of fun because the first day of school was exciting. Once I got to high school, the last night of summer became this dreadful time where I felt just like the kids in “Nightmare on Elm Street.” DON’T GO TO SLEEP! HORROR AWAITS YOU!
I have a lot of memories of card collecting at school and they help keep some of my school thoughts positive for me. I began collecting baseball cards at school in the 5th grade. I had a couple of cards laying around the house that may have come as prizes with cereal or in a package of Jimmy Dean Sausage but my real collecting life began in 5th grade when I traded a WWF Action Figure (I think Junkyard Dog) for Ozzie Smith’s RC. I really liked Ozzie Smith because I played shortstop in Pony League and he was always fun to watch when he played against the Braves and Cubs, two teams that I watched daily on TBS and WGN.
In 7th grade, I did a biographical presentation of Jose Canseco and showed off some of his cards from my collection. I wore baseball pants and a homemade Canseco jersey for the event. The homemade jersey was a white T-Shirt with “Athletics” on the front and “33 Canseco” on the back, written in black marker. It was high-class, believe me. I would later have my baseball card collection confiscated by my Science teacher because I had it out during class. She held that binder until the last day of school and it was about as miserable a time as I can remember. I had to completely rebuild another binder at home so I could keep collecting while my prize cards were in the Middle School evidence room.
When I got to High School, we were much more covert with our baseball card operations. We would carry cards around in the small zipper section of our book bags and only take them out during breakfast or lunch when those types of activities were allowed. I remember making a fellow collector mad one day because I wouldn’t finalize a deal with him. In my defense, I am pretty sure I was getting ripped off. When I wasn’t looking, he dove into my book bag, grabbed a ’90 Donruss Ken Griffey Jr. Diamond King, crumpled it up, put it back in the top loader and then back in the book bag. I didn’t discover this atrocity until I got home that night and you would have thought it was a Mike Trout Auto based on my level of displeasure.
I can connect certain sets from 1988 to 1995 with various memories and moments at school up until graduation. Each design reminds me of a teacher or a girlfriend or a buddy’s house. It is weird how cards tie to so many parts of my childhood. It is also one of the main reasons I still collect today. The older I get, the more I want to remember the past. I love remembering the “good ole days” and trying to recreate some of the feelings I had when the world didn’t feel so big and tough. Being an adult can sometimes take a lot out of you. So it is important to always hold on to that kid inside.
Ultra-Pro® Toploader 2-3/4 x 3-7/8″ (inside). Imprinted with “Rookie Card” in Gold Foil. Holds standard sized card.
So based on all of the above, this time of year is a bit conflicting for me. The inner kid hates it but the grown up that eats and sleeps UGA Football, Fantasy Football and Playoff Baseball loves it! It’s funny how your feelings change about certain times of the year as you age. Luckily, there is one common thread between the kid and the adult that has never gone away; the baseball cards. And this past week was not only “back to school” time; it also marked the release of 2018 Topps Chrome Baseball. In 2018, a ton of collectors love the chromium releases and with Topps and Bowman being such big hits with Ohtani, Albies, Acuna, Soto and others, Topps Chrome is destined to be a big seller.
Topps Chrome gives us an annual look at the Topps flagship set through chrome glasses. It differs from the flagship set in a few key ways. First, it isn’t broken up into Series 1 and 2 as it provides some of the best cards from each, with only 200 cards in the checklist as opposed to the monstrous 700 with flagship. It also provides the rainbow parallel chase, which is something some collectors live and die with every year. If you chase the rainbow, you are going to have to try both regular Hobby and Hobby Jumbo to get them all. Prism, Negative Black and White, Purple, Blue, Green, Gold, Red (#d to 5), and Supers (1/1) are found in all of the configurations but Green Wave, Blue Wave, Gold Wave, Orange, and Red Wave are only found in Hobby and Hobby Jumbo boxes.
As with other releases in the last couple of years, there are also Refractor Variations to chase. These can be found in Green (#d to 99), Orange (#d to 25), Red (#d to 5) and Super (1/1). There are 25 players that get the variation treatment and I would encourage you to check out Ryan Cracknell’s Release Breakdown found at www.beckett.com/news/2018-topps-chrome-baseball/ to know all the players you need to look for. The inserts for 2018 Chrome include the 1983 Design, Freshman Flash, Future Stars, Rookie Debut Manufactured Patches, and Superstar Sensations. Autographs are found 2 per hobby box and 5 per jumbo. These autographs are found in those same insert designs along with the base Rookie Autograph design.
25-30 Card Set Sleeve. 3-3/8 x 3-7/8 with flap. Made from 1.5 mil high-clarity, acid-free polypropylene. Comes with a reseal flap.
Let’s break a Hobby Jumbo Box and see what the set reveals. The Hobby Jumbo has 12 packs with 13 cards per pack. By comparison, the regular Hobby box has 24 packs with 4 cards per pack. The Jumbo will also have 12 refractors with 1 per pack on average.
What better player to show off the base card than Shohei Ohtani?
I was very pleased with this RC Prism of my home team rookie phenom Ronald Acuna Jr!
One of the insert designs is the “Freshman Flash”. I pulled three from that insert set and one was this Willie Calhoun.
I know I am a sucker for nostalgia but I will always love the “Future Star” Rainbow Banner! I loved it on Bo Jackson back then and I love it on Aaron Judge now!
Superstar Sensations is another insert I pulled in this box. Cody Bellinger was the hot ticket last year so we shall see if he pans out over time.
It would suit me just fine if Topps made an entire set of 1983 design cards but I guess that wouldn’t be Topps Chrome as much as it would be Topps Archives Chrome or Topps Heritage Chrome several years from now.
One of my favorite cards in the set is this Black and White Negative, AJ Minter for the Braves. These are found 1 in 17 packs on average.
The Blue Wave Refractors are pulled at an average of 1 in every 51 packs. This Boom Boom Mancini is numbered to 75!
The Gold Wave Refractor is pulled on an average of 1 in every 76 packs. This Weaver is numbered to 50!
My first autograph is of Harrison Bader but unfortunately, it is a redemption. I do not have great luck with redemptions but we shall see how this one goes.
This is a subject that really gets under my skin. There are 5 autographs in a Jumbo box and 2 of mine are of the same player. There is no difference in the cards as neither are special refractors or numbered. Of course, if this were Ohtani or Acuna, I would be singing a different tune but as it stands, I don’t think duplicate autographs in a box is acceptable. Collectors spend too much money and invest too much time to pull duplicate autographs. That’s my belief but I will leave it at that.
To be honest, I wasn’t much more pleased with this Jackson Stephens pull. I have nothing against him as a person or a player but I can’t imagine anyone would be overjoyed with a pitcher who was 7-10 with a 4.92 ERA in 2017.
This Scott Kingery autograph was the best pull in the box for me. This would have been even bigger a few months ago when his bat was on fire. I am pleased with this pull, though it shouldn’t be the best auto in a 5 autograph box.
At first blush, I didn’t enjoy Topps Chrome as much as I was expecting. The cards are nicely produced with thick stock but for the price of the boxes, there wasn’t much value within my 12 packs. I know that my opinion would be different if I would have hit a home run with my hits but this was a dud. I pulled one redemption, two autographs of the same player, one of an average pitcher and one potential star. I was happy with the Acuna Prism, AJ Minter Black and White and the other Wave Refractors. I love the shot of Adrian Beltre on his base card and some of the variations that can be pulled are good photography shots. But for my money, I think there are other products that have hit harder this year. What say you about 2018 Topps Chrome?
BASEBALL Sports Board with 11 Die-cut Windows. 22 x 28″ outside frame dimension. Mat is die-cut with Nine Fielder Windows and one for a Manager and one for a Designated Hitter or a team photo. Cards are not included.