The Sad Story of Bobby Murcer, Scott Crull, and an ABC Mistake

Scott Crull was a very sick 12-year old boy in the summer of 1977. Even though young Scott lived on the south side of Chicago in Calumet City, he was a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan. His favorite player was Bobby Murcer, who had been acquired by the Cubs prior to the 1977 season from the San Francisco Giants in a deal that sent Bill Madlock to the bay.

Bobby Murcer wasn’t a power hitter by any means, but the rightfielder did have some pop in his bat. Murcer launched 27 home runs during the 1977 season, but fell off the following year only hitting nine home runs during the 1978 Cubs campaign.

Advertisements

The Chicago Cubs were in the thick of the National League East race on Monday August 8, 1977. Philadelphia held a one game lead over the Cubs, while Chicago was a game and a half up on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh is where the Cubs would spend the next couple days in a battle with the buccos.

Unfortunately, the Pirates would take two out of three in Pittsburgh and the Cubs would take even more lumps in the next series against Philadelphia back at Wrigley Field. The Phillies swept the Cubs in a four-game series and would go on to claim the East division crown.

August 8, 1977 was a roller coaster for both the Chicago Cubs and the Crull family. For the Cubs they entered the week in the thick of the division race and in the driver’s seat to control their own destinty.

Things were not as optimistic in the Crull household as 12-year old Scott was sick with a terminal illness. Though his body was dying, his spirit was not. And he looked forward to an exciting week of Cubs baseball beginning with the Cubs and Pirates on ABC’s Monday Night Baseball with legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson calling the play-by-play.

Bobby Murcer Chicago Cubs
Bobby Murcer

Through a family friend, the Cubs set up a phone call on that Monday afternoon between Bobby Murcer and Scott Crull. The call meant a lot to Scott and the Crull family.

“This was a nice thing of the Cubs to do, and I want to say they don’t know how much it meant to him. This whole experience is hard to cope with. You just can’t write how much it meant.”

Mary Crull – 8/9/1977 Chicago Tribune
Advertisements

Pittsburgh jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Then Bobby Murcer stepped to the plate against Bruce Kison in the second inning and hit a solo home run. Murcer did it again in the fourth inning. And then the Cubs scored four runs in the seventh inning to take a 6-4 lead. But in the ninth inning, the Pirates rallied and Ed Ott hit a two-run triple to centerfield for a walk-off win.

Things weren’t so great back in Calumet City, either. After Murcer’s second home run a note was sent to ABC broadcaster Keith Jackson and the Cubs radio broadcast team. According to Chicago Tribune reports there was a note at the bottom of the memo stating the boy was dying of cancer, but that part was not meant for broadcast. After sharing the story of Murcer’s pre-game phone call to the boy, Jackson ended the story with: “Scott Crull is dying of bone cancer.”

Advertisements

Scott Crull did not know he was dying. He found out with the rest of the country on ABC’s Monday Night Baseball.

Scott Crull died weeks later, on August 22, 1977, at the age of 12.

Scott Crull died of cancer weeks after a phone conversation with Bobby Murcer and learning he was dying of cancer on ABC's Monday Night Baseball

Bobby Murcer went on to play six more seasons in Major League Baseball, ending his 17-year big league career in 1983. Murcer passed away in 2008 at the age of 62. Cancer also claimed Bobby Murcer.

Selling 99 Cent Cards on Ebay: Is It Worth It?

The most common question I am asked regarding the One Million Cubs Project is, “do you count duplicates?” The answer is, yes. Fun fact: there are only around 200,000 unique Cubs cards produced since the 1870’s. I keep the Cubs baseball cards coming in by selling 99 cent cards on Ebay.

Selling 99 Cent Cards on Ebay

When it comes to my eBay Store, I often get asked if selling cheap cards is worth my time. Short answer is, yes it is. Otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it. The long answer is a little bit longer, but keep reading and I’ll explain my process and how and why it’s worth the time.

Advertisements

Time Is Of the Essence

It takes a lot of time to organize and sort baseball cards. It also takes a lot of time to list those baseball cards to sell on eBay. A silver lining to the whole pandemic quarantine is that I have all the time in the world. When people say, “I just don’t have the time,” it usually means they are not willing to make the time. Sure, there are extenuating circumstances in everybody’s lives, but for the most part we can all set aside a little extra time for things we are passionate about.

Hear me out. One thing I really took for granted was how much tedious parts of the day took, and how we can utilize that extra time even if it’s 10 minutes here and there. My office is roughly 10 minutes from my house. Ten minutes to work, 10 minutes home for lunch, 10 minutes back to work, and another 10 minute drive at the end of the day. That is 40 minutes per day that has been freed up because I now work from home. Not only that, I get to the office early so that’s an additional 10 minutes. Trash day? Another five minutes that is subtracted from my morning routine when working from home I can just step away from my desk and take it to the curb.

It all seems silly, but that equates to about five hours per week of extra time. But it all comes down to how you manage, or better yet, prioritize your time.

Also…I don’t have kids. That’s a huge time saver. So, if you have a kid or kids you automatically have a lot less time than I have to devote to eBay baseball card sales.

Advertisements

Is It Worth That Time?

Allow me to crunch the numbers and give you better insight into how my eBay Store works. Many people ask how I make money on 99 cent listings with free shipping. First, I’ll break down the fee structure. With my store subscription I receive 51,000 free buy it now listings per month and my final value fee through eBay Managed Payments is 11.5% plus $0.30 per transaction.

2019-20 NBA Hoops Premium Stock Silver Pulsar Basketball CardCollection

If someone buys a single 99 cent card with free shipping my net eBay payment after fees is $0.58. You might be scratching your head now because after postage, envelopes, and supplies that’s a net loss. But…it is not. I purchase old, unused postage that is pre-stamped on the envelope at a cost of just $0.38 per envelope. Now, I am sitting on $0.20. The cost of top loaders has increased drastically and for the most part I am buying new or used for between $0.08 and $0.10 per top loader shipped. My net profit on a single 99 cent card is about a dime. Is it worth all that work for a measly dime? Yes, read on…

Advertisements

Volume Discounts

Consider the 99 cent singles sales as a loss leader in my eBay Store. And even though it’s a “loss leader,” I am still making a net profit. Profit is profit. Before you say, “but time is money,” all I have right now is time and the time I am spending on my eBay Store would only be spent watching TV.

The goal here is volume sales and to promote buyers to shop my store and buy more than a single card. I offer two volume discounts. The first is a simple 10% three or more cards. This is a very popular option that rewards volume by not breaking the bank. A customer needs only buy three cards to capture a 10% discount. It’s a win-win for both the buyer and seller. For example, a three-card purchase at $2.97 becomes $2.67 after the 10% discount (which is automatic at checkout). The postage cost remains fixed at $0.38 for the three cards and one additional top loader is used for three cards. After fees, postage, and supplies the net profit on a three card purchase at 99 cents each is $1.48, or $0.49 profit per card sold. That 10% volume discount brings in 5x the profit.

Advertisements

Is My Method Sustainable?

No. Eventually, and hopefully soon, the world will return to normal. My spare time will be spent traveling, visiting friends, going to baseball games, etc. This is the main reason why my One Million Cubs Project goal shifted at the end of 2020, and why I am focusing on my eBay sales for quarter one of 2021. I am taking advantage of the time afforded and will have to adjust my sales strategy by summer. But for now, yes it’s worth my time selling 99 cent cards on eBay.

Hobby Goals 2021: Buy, Sell, and Trade

Here we are two weeks into the new year, so I’m a bit behind in releasing my hobby goals for 2021. Before we get started on this year’s goals I want to preface this post by explaining how I set my goals. I discuss S.M.A.R.T. goals in my 2019 goals blog post.

Last year was such a blur with COVID-19 that all goals were put on the back burner. But…due to the pandemic my goals were achieved…and then some in 2020. Here are the S.M.A.R.T. goals for the hobby in 2020.

Advertisements

Recapping 2020 Hobby Goals

The Purge was the title for 2020 hobby goals. Talk about creepy with what was about to come. How did I do? Bulk trades were going to be a focus on 2020, and up until the 11th hour in late March it seemed to be going as planned. I was set to make a couple big trades at the Chicago Sports Spectacular. However, with the pandemic beginning to rear its ugly head I decided not to attend one day before the start of the show. It would be cancelled later that day as vendors had already descended upon the city. Going forward there wasn’t much bulk deals to be done with quarantines, etc. Still, I was able to make 323 trades in 2020 that brought in 130,814 Cubs baseball cards.

Second was boosting my eBay Store inventory. Wow! Did I accomplish that or what. I was happy with 153 transactions in December 2019. With all the extra time 2020 afforded, I certainly accomplished building out my eBay Store and had almost 1,500 eBay transactions in December 2020. All told, my yearly transactions on eBay was 10,006.

Organization. Pass. I know this wasn’t accomplished. At the start of the quarantine, I did begin sorting my Cubs baseball card collection and made boxes for stars such as: Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg, etc. I even loaded up much of my Javy collection on Trading Card Database. When eBay offered up 50,000 free listings per month I jumped at the opportunity to fill my store and take advantage and that’s when organization took a back seat.

With an increase in trades during the year, I was able to meet and exceed my goal for Cubs baseball cards in 2020. That number was 500,000 and it was reached at the end of September. By the end of 2020 my collection numbered 525,912 Cubs baseball cards.

Advertisements

Goals 2021: Ebay Sales

Since I reached the 500,000 goal in late September, I set a goal for the fourth quarter of 2020. That goal was a dollar amount in eBay sales. My focus turned from trading for Cubs cards to selling on eBay in the final three months of the year.

I more than doubled my daily sales goal for the fourth quarter and with the pandemic still raging as the calendar turns to a new year I am staying sales focused for the first quarter of 2021. I am pushing that sales dollar figure even higher and two weeks into the new year I am right near my target goal. I will continue to add inventory to my store and by the end of January baseball card sales should heat up with spring training in the near future.

Advertisements

Goals 2021: Taking a Trip for a Bulk Trade

Steve in Cleveland, Ohio has been a source for some high volume trades and still holds the record for most Cubs cards acquired via trade (30,000). We had a conversation around New Years and he invited me out to Cleveland to check out the new space for Greenie’s Sports Cards. It’s not a card shop, rather their space for their online sales inventory. My plan is to take a trip out there this summer.

Beau with Steve from Greenie’s Sports Cards

Another bulk trader, David, has a large amount of Cubs cards and we hope to meet up sometime in February for a trade. I also have a vendor from the St. Louis area that will be trading Cubs for Cardinals whenever a Chicago Sports Spectacular gets back on the calendar. There are also two shops I want to visit. Mike Sommer from Wax Pack Hero has some space in Bloomington, Illinois and Tom from Real Breaks will be opening a shop this year in Wisconsin.

Chicago Cubs baseball cards

Goals 2021: 700,000 Cubs Baseball Cards

It’s an optimistic number: 700,000. That means I will need to crush my annual average of around 130,000 Cubs cards acquired per year by getting 175,000 in 2021. With the above mentioned bulk trades in the works I believe this can be accomplished. Even by focusing on eBay sales during the first few months of the year I feel optimistic about hitting 70% of my goal in the One Million Cubs Project by the end of this year.

Some Target Stores Limiting Sports Card Quantities

The year 2020 is finally history. Along with a worldwide pandemic, the year also brought another wave of national hysteria around sports trading cards. It was something the hobby had not seen since the early 1990’s.

The “junk wax era,” as it’s become known, brought about massive production to the point cards could be found just about any business from barber shops to grocery stores to gas stations.

It’s a little different this time around and it’s become difficult to find trading cards in retail outlets such as Target and Wal-Mart. Demand is certainly exceeding supply unlike the early 1990’s when supply was rampant and demand would eventually dwindle.

Advertisements

The demand for hot products such as Panini’s Prizm football, or anything basketball has led some stores to limit quantities. Locally, in Madison, Wisconsin, I have counter upwards of 20 people waiting for the card vendor on stock day at Target.

Should stores limit quantities? It’s an interesting question and at the beginning of 2020 it seemed most collectors in the hobby were against the idea of limiting quantity for trading cards. The Twitter account, @cardpolls, asked that very question in March 2020.

Surprising results in hindsight. That Twitter account decided to revisit the topic at the end of the year to test collectors.

What a difference nine months make in the hobby. It’s a hot topic to debate. Some want free reign to products. Others want the ability to buy a box or pack to rip something.

One Target store in Madison has taken some interesting steps to make it a level playing field for collectors looking for cards. On a random trip to a store the week of New Years, I noticed the card area was roped off with a couple security guards nearby. Disclosure: this particular Target is very busy and is the closest retail store to the University of Wisconsin. Security is always on duty, so this was not a special occasion to monitor baseball cards.

Advertisements

As I approached the card section I asked if the vendor was stocking. One security guard holding an iPad said, yes, and explained the procedure. Those wanting a chance to purchase cards checked in by providing their name and phone number. Then they would be put in line and once the card section was fully stocked those customers would receive a text message in the order they checked in.

Target retail store limiting quantity on baseball football and basketball cards

That is the initial text message I received. We were not allowed to loiter near the cards, so everyone did other shopping or browsed electronics, toys, etc. About 45 minutes later I was alerted that it was my turn in line.

Target limiting quantity for retail baseball football and basketball cards

You walk up to the employee that checked you in standing near the cards and were allowed one box or pack per product. The only thing I saw on the shelf was Panini Prizm Draft Picks baseball. It wasn’t something I was interested in buying, but grabbed a pack and blaster since I waited this long.

Looking for baseball, basketball or football cards? Visit my eBay Store for low prices on vintage singles, hot prospects, rookies, and more.

As I turned to walk away, the employee said there are also cards in this box. That is where the good stuff was. I was able to get the last blaster of NBA Hoops and even a pack of Prizm Football.

2019-20 NBA Hoops and 2020 Prizm Football blaster boxes

Personally, I am for this practice. If they didn’t limit quantities I would not have had any cards to rip, and that is likely the case for many others. What are your thoughts? Do you think all Target and Wal-Mart stores should limit quantities on trading cards?

UPDATE (5/13/21): Target pauses sports card sales

2021 Bowman Chrome Mega Box Break
It's well documented on my blog that Bowman is my favorite product …
2021 Topps Heritage Minors Checklist
For the 11th consecutive year Topps is rolling out its 2021 Topps …
Northern Illinois Card Show Review (10/9)
This past Saturday was another Northern Illinois Card Show in Rockford. The …
Madison Card Show Review for September
Another Madison Card Show was held at the Sheraton Hotel on John …

Cubs Baseball Cards and Harry Caray Cubs Memorabilia For Christmas

Merry Christmas! It is my favorite time of the year, and Christmas 2020 netted me a really cool Harry Caray Cubs memorabilia. More on that in a bit.

While I’m not a religious person, the holiday season is very special to me. It’s a magical time that begins in early November as I watch Hallmark Christmas movies. Yes, the cheesy Christmas movies in which every plot line is the exact same as the next. Young attractive female from the city somehow lands in a small town. The holiday magic makes her realize the city life and her Wall Street boyfriend/fiancé is not to her liking while discovering a quaint small town single guy.

At the same time there are numerous sports card deals from various outlets, like Blowout Cards, from where I’ve had some amazing luck with baseball card sales.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had baseball cards under the Christmas tree and/or in my stocking. Baseball cards showed up in my stocking even in those awkward teen years when I thought I was too cool, or in my college years when I hid them in a closet for fear a girlfriend would discover my nerdy side.

The first couple years with my wife she would not give in to buying me cards, but I wore her down and she enables my obsession with eBay gift cards and a Topps factory set.

My mom loves antiquing and discovers some cool finds, like this framed Harry Caray Cubs memorabilia piece. I have very little Harry Caray in my Cubs collection so not only is this a really cool piece, it’s something unique to add to a wall. It is a framed record of Harry Caray singing, “Take Me Out To The Ball Game,” a Cubs coaster, and a photo of Caray in the Wrigley Field broadcast booth.

Harry Caray Cubs Memorabilia

Those antique shops also offer up plenty of junk wax, like these packs of commons. I did pull a small pile of Cubs and a couple stars like Bo Jackson, Don Mattingly, and Wade Boggs.

Baseball Cards

This year has been wild with retail shelf clearing so I wasn’t expecting any 2020 products, but both my wife and mom found some. A blaster box of Topps Gallery, blister pack of Topps Update, and a 2020 Topps factory set.

I had to bust open the blaster and blister, and pulled some decent cards: a couple Kyle Lewis and Bo Bichette rookie cards, Mike Trout, Derek Jeter, and Ronald Acuna.

Baseball cards and Harry Caray Cubs memorabilia for Christmas

And a couple of gift cards to eBay and Target! Shopping spree!

Ebay gift card and Harry Caray Cubs memorabilia for Christmas

Another Cubs-related find was a deck of cards from 1992. I’m pretty sure I have one or two of these, but they are sealed. So, I had to open this pack up to see the contents.

Getting the aces treatment are Ryne Sandberg, Greg Maddux, George Bell, and Andre Dawson. I can’t argue with those choices.

One of my favorite images has to be Les Lancaster on the 5 of Spades. Was he having a bad outing? Looks like he’s not happy with his performance on this particular day.

1992 Les Lancaster baseball card

Big Hector Villanueva! He’s on the 6 of Spades.

Cubs baseball cards and Harry Caray Cubs memorabilia for Christmas

Mark Grace is the King of Spades.

Paul Assenmacher is the King of Diamonds. Side note: I absolutely love those Cubby Blue vinyl or satin jackets with the giant logo. I may have to go shopping on eBay for one of these.

A total of 118 Cubs baseball cards were added to the collection this Christmas. That number puts the total up to 524,675 Cubs baseball cards.

Something hobby related, but more practical than a box of baseball cards. I finally decided to take the plunge and get a thermal printer. One was under the Christmas tree for me. I’m excited to put this to good use!

Brother QL 800 label printer and Harry Caray Cubs memorabilia for Christmas

It was another wonderful Christmas and I am very blessed. Wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

2020 Bowman Draft Review and Box Break

Not until the week of release did I plan on buying a hobby box of 2020 Bowman Draft. With a price tag of $300+ I just didn’t see the value. When Topps released its Bowman Draft 1st Edition, I was all in buying 20 packs. I spent more than $300 on 20 packs of a product that lacked autographs.

So why wouldn’t I spend the same amount on a hobby box of the regular product that guaranteed three autographs. Autographs in Bowman are super popular and expensive. The more and more I thought about it, I decided it only made sense to buy some Bowman Draft.

Topps had it on sale for $309 during release week, so I took the plunge. I was excited to break it open, and it was a just for fun break. If I was skunked, it would be okay because I enjoy the rip.

Advertisements

Before I break down the box, let’s talk Cubs cards. I was lucky and pulled duplicates of the base Ed Howard AND Howard’s Chrome card.

2020 Bowman Draft Ed Howard Chicago Cubs baseball card

I also pulled my first Jordan Nwogu Cubs baseball card.

2020 Bowman Draft Jordan Nwogu Chicago Cubs baseball card

During the break I was just starting to comment the lack of color in the box. That mattered no more when I pulled a regular insert. I was super excited to pull the Franchise Futures card featuring Ed Howard and Burl Carraway.

2020 Bowman Draft Ed Howard Burl Carraway Chicago Cubs prospects baseball cards
Advertisements

Now let’s break down the box. Not only was I short a complete base set…I was 18 cards short!

27- Oswald Peraza
34- Austin Hendrick
71- Connor Phillips
72- Pete Crow-Armstrong
74- Bryce Bonnin
110- Jordan Nwogu
116- Jackson Miller
125- Levi Prater
133- Zach Daniels
137- Gilberto Jimenez
140- Bryson Stott
176- Mitchell Parker
177- Jackson Rutledge
187- Brennen Davis
190- Marco Luciano
194- Nolan Gorman
196- Hunter Greene
200- Hunter Bishop

182/200 – 91% of a complete set. Ironically, 91 is also how many duplicate base cards were in the box. It’s a good thing I’m not a Cincinnati Reds fan because I was missing four of the nine cards from the Reds checklist.

Fortunately, I’m not a set builder so this didn’t bother me. Although, I really would have liked to swap out a couple duplicates for a Jordan Nwogu and Brennen Davis.

Advertisements

Each hobby box (called a jumbo box) contains three autographs. The super jumbo boxes contain five autographs. My three autographs included a base (not numbered) autograph, a refractor /499, and a purple /250. The base autograph is Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Logan Hoffman.

2020 Bowman Draft Logan Hoffman autograph Pittsburgh Pirates baseball card auto

My refractor autograph is Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Landon Knack numbered /499.

2020 Bowman Draft Landon Knack autograph Los Angeles Dodgers auto baseball card

The first autograph I pulled was color, and a 1st Bowman, and a non-pitcher. That’s the trifecta. Hayden Cantrelle of the Milwaukee Brewers was the team’s fifth round draft pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette. It’s purple and numbered /250.

2020 Bowman Draft Hayden Cantrelle Milwaukee Brewers autograph baseball card auto prospect

All in all, it was a really fun break. The chat room in my YouTube live break made it even more valuable to me. The fellowship as we chatted, opening the cards, and of course the cards inside made the $300+ price tag a little easier to swallow. Watch below…

Some of the top prospects are in my eBay Store along with some refractors. The autographs and base paper and chrome will be stashed in a box for a couple months until baseball season.

1960s Topps Video:The Hidden Treasure

Over the weekend a photograph of female employees working inside the Topps baseball card facility made the rounds on social media. I first saw the picture posted in the “Vintage Wax and Packs” Facebook group, and also saw it posted on Twitter. There was also a Reddit thread on this particular image that originally made its way to the Internet from Twitter user, @bsmile. This led to a search that found a 1960s Topps video.

Topps Baseball Card Plant (Duryea, PA) 1974 Topps baseball cards

There are not too many images of the interior of any Topps manufacturing facility. Since I have a subscription to Newspapers.com, I often enter search terms around Topps and baseball cards for content to post on Twitter.

Advertisements

Seeing this image had me logging into the Newspapers.com website entering Topps terms to find more pictures. This is one I found from the 1960’s of the Topps Company’s Duryea, Pennsylvania plant.

Topps Baseball Card Factory 1968

As I kept searching for images I stopped when I stumbled upon a photo of young collector Mark Celusniak in the December 8, 1968 edition of the Pittston Sunday Dispatch.

1960s Topps video, The Hidden Treasure, starring Mark Celusniak.
Left to Right: Melvin Porets (Topps Director of Public Relations), Mark Celusniak

Celusniak was the young son of a Topps employee, Mary Celusniak. But what really captured my attention was the content in the photo caption. “Mark Celusniak, featured youngster in the Topps Chewing Gum film, ‘The Hidden Treasure.'” The Hidden Treasure was a 1960s Topps video.

Advertisements

Now I am intrigued, and I want to watch this film. The Hidden Treasure was an 11-minute film from Robert Braverman Productions. The plot of the educational film gives insight into the company’s inner workings, but is presented in an “action-adventure” format according to the article. It features Topps employees and their children, such as the young Celusniak.

The Hidden Treasure tells the story of a boy that finds a treasure map leading him to the Topps plant. Once there, he runs some of the equipment that makes Topps bubble gum products. The film was set to be shown in schools and on television. Other local stars in the film included: Joseph DeFazio from Avoca, PA; Peggy Driscoll of Exeter, PA; Lorraine Ferraro from Old Forge, PA; Deborah Harrison of Moosic, PA; and Lucy Lilli of Old Forge, PA. Topps decided to produce the film because it could not offer tours of the facility because it would cause a disruption.

Mark Celusniak starred in the 1960s Topps video, "The Hidden Treasure."

Topps must have heard my call. The 1960s Topps video, The Hidden Treasure, was posted to Youtube. ENJOY!

Holiday Flashback – Opening 100 Wax Boxes in 2016

The holiday season brings us many deals in the hobby. Several online card retailers such as Blowout Cards, Dave & Adams Card World, and Steel City Collectibles offer up some bargains on Black Friday. These retailers also gear us up for that special holiday shopping day by releasing sales throughout the month of November.

Advertisements

I often look back fondly at my days in 2016 and 2017 gobbling up deals during the month of November. Sadly, I ended up opening most of my bounty only to see the unopened wax prices skyrocket in the following years.

Recently I discovered a very short-lived blog I wrote about my collecting in late 2016. The blog lasted less than 10 posts and encompassed a period of about two weeks. Fortunately, it was a lot of fun to look back at the deals I discovered that holiday season.

Between November and December of 2016, I opened more than 100 wax boxes covering baseball, basketball, and wrestling cards. Here is a blog post I wrote in January 2017 summing up my holiday ’16 rips.

It’s been some time since my last blog post. Despite the lack of posting, there hasn’t been a lack of collecting. Since mid-November, I have busted open more than 100 boxes of baseball, basketball, and wrestling cards.

Advertisements

The binge began in early November with the initial waves of pre-Black Friday sales from Blowout Cards. The first couple purchases were a case of the 2015 Topps Update blaster boxes. There are 16 boxes per case. Then came a retail case of 2013 Topps Heritage (eight boxes). Finally, from D&A Card World, I splurged on six boxes of 2009 Topps Update that were priced at slightly over $18 per box.

Flood gates were opened on Black Friday. I set my alarm for 5 a.m. and made my first purchase minutes after 6:00. It was for seven boxes of 2008 Upper Deck SP Authentic. In hindsight, the nerves of cheap baseball cards and the thrill of the sale pulled me in. If it tells you anything, more than 30 days later I still have three unopened boxes of this product.

While the ’08 SP Authentic was a dud, my next buy was certainly not. Blowout had an amazing deal on 2013 Elite Extra Edition. This product features autographs of Kris Bryant, Jose Abreu, and a host of other sought after prospects. At just $30 per box, the sale went fast and furious and I missed out on the initial launch. Fortunately, less than 30 minutes later they put another batch up and I grabbed 10 boxes. Wish I had grabbed another 10.

Next up: a curve ball. My collection is 90% baseball, but there was a nice deal on a case of 2013-14 Timeless Treasures for basketball. The rookies are a bit subpar with the exception of Giannis, but there are some real gems in this product. I did pull a Giannis rookie autograph relic. (Update: I sold the Giannis auto relic a little early for $66.98 shipped – they currently sell for $1,000+)

By the time my work day ended, Blowout had thrown some 2011 Heritage Minors on sale for $60 per box. Chasing Bryce Harper autographs is the highlight of this release. Not only that: the base set features a bevy of stars including both Harper and Mike Trout. Heritage Minors is one of my favorite baseball products of the year. I was in for half a case. An hour later, I decided that wasn’t enough and splurged on another half case to end my Black Friday cardboard hoarding.

While I did not pull any Bryce Harper autographs, I did pull a pretty sweet relic. (Update: I ended up opening six boxes and selling singles. The other six boxes I sold for $100 each. They now sell for over $400 per box)

Wrestling cards were another buy over this time period. I had grabbed three boxes of 2015 WWE Heritage during the pre-Black Friday sales. I love the Heritage product, and I love wrestling, despite not falling into collecting wrestling cards. Not only that, but this release was a throwback to the 1985 Topps baseball design. Love it. The 2016 WWE Heritage also went on sale following Black Friday, but it was the blaster (retail) version. At just $144 for 16 boxes you can’t go wrong. And speaking of WWE, I noticed the Wal-Mart exclusive WWE Divas Revolution was a hot commodity during the month of December. After finding two boxes left at the second Wal-Mart I visited, I picked up the last two boxes at $19.99 each.

Advertisements

And finally, the last release of the 2016 baseball calendar came the week leading up to Christmas. Bowman’s Best. The product returned last year after a long hiatus, and it’s a beautiful product. I picked up three boxes from a breaker nearby, and had great success on the break. Again, more on that in another post. (Update: I pulled a Dansby Swanson atomic refractor autograph /25 that sold for $102.98. A slabbed BGS 9.5 sold for $79 shipped in October 2020, so it’s not all sad news on my sales)

So, the month of December brought with it many box breaks. Still, I have the three boxes of ’08 Upper Deck SP Authentic to bust open along with eight or nine 2011 Heritage Minors. Right around the corner (in about one month) the first of the 2017 baseball releases will be out (2017 Topps). Stay tuned for a follow up of the breaks you just read about it.

The Story Behind 2013 Topps Archives Cubs Giveaway

In 2013 I was slowly dipping my toes back into the hobby. Topps Archives was my gateway drug. The nostalgia was overwhelming after opening a blaster box of Topps Archives found on my local Wal-Mart shelf. That was in 2012. Fast forward a year and Allen & Ginter also became a hobby favorite. And then I found a Cubs Topps Archives giveaway from Wrigley Field. I was all in.

Advertisements

After working the summer of 2012 with the Cubs minor league affiliate, Peoria Chiefs, I quickly became a Javier Baez fan. I was buying up Javier Baez minor league cards, and Bowman cards, and anything I could find of the team’s top prospect. One day I discovered a quirky “Future Stars” card of Baez with Jorge Soler and Albert Almora in the style of 1982 Topps. I was born in 1982, so it’s one of my sleeper favorite Topps designs.

What is this? Is it a custom? Is it a Topps Archives I’ve never seen? Not quite. This card was part of a stadium giveaway at Wrigley Field. The Cubs and Topps collaborated on an 83-card Topps Archives set featuring stars and fan favorites through the years using archived Topps designs.

I had bought a few of the 20-card sets that came with the Baez card, but never did acquire a complete set. A few weeks ago, Brian Garza reached out to me. He said he had a sealed set of these cards with the Season Ticket Holder stamp and could send one my way. Garza mentioned he was a Chicago Cubs employee. He buried the lead. Garza is the Director of Ticket Services (more on that in a moment) for the Cubs.

Advertisements

The cards arrived a few days later with the cellophane wrapped Archives set of 83 cards. Brian also tossed in some other cards I had never seen before. It was another stadium giveaway set for Summer Camp Day from 2018.

What I like about this set of eight cards is that it includes some of the lesser known Cubs players. Aside from superstar Kris Bryant, the set includes relief pitcher Justin Wilson.

Other cards in the set: Jose Quintana, Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward, Willson Contreras, Brandon Morrow, and Steve Cishek.

Another card Brian included was a Topps Now that was a Cubs Convention exclusive from 2017. I did not see these at Cubs Con, nor have I seen one of these cards, so I’m glad to have one in my collection.

Now…on to the 2013 Archives set. When it arrived I opened the cellophane wrapper and flipped through the entire set to check it out. I must start off with “Mr. Cub” himself, Ernie Banks.

How about Ryne Sandberg, with mustache, on a 1962 Topps design.

Or Ron Santo appearing on the 1990 Topps design.

The set also includes fan favorites with long careers like Rick Reuschel. Reuschel’s rookie card was his 1973 Topps card as a Cub. He was in the organization in 1972, so might his Topps card from that year look something like this…

Scott Sanderson was another fan favorite with some really good years for the 1980’s Cubs teams. Here’s Sanderson on the 1964 Topps design.

Another 1964 Topps design features former Cubs pitcher and TV color analyst Steve Stone. “Stoney” is an analyst for the Chicago White Sox.

This next card is among my favorites for two reasons. First, Bobby Murcer is most often known for his time with the New York Yankees and his Cubs tenure overlooked. Second, 1996 Topps is vastly underrated as a design. It’s ahead of its time with the homage to the headshot of 1963, 1983, and 1984 Topps with new age twist.

Advertisements

Starlin Castro was a young Cubs star in 2013 and received the wood grain love made famous in 1987.

And how about another 1972 design with Mark Grace.

So, as I flipped through all of these amazing looking Cubs cards, I had to reach out and thank Brian for these cards. That’s when he let the cat out of the bag. He says, “I had a lot of fun putting that set together with Topps.”

Advertisements

Wait! What??? It’s true, Brian helped design the set with Topps, as Sports Collectors Daily reported on in 2013. The part of the story that fascinated me the most was that the idea behind this set was formed when Brian saw a blaster box of Topps Archives at a Target in the summer of 2012. The same time that I discovered Archives and it quickly became a favorite of mine.

Another really fun story on the journey to collect one million Cubs baseball cards.

2020 Bowman Draft 1st Edition Break Results

As previously mentioned, I am a big Bowman baseball card fan. Unfortunately, the hobby prices have priced me out of the market. When Bowman flagship releases, I chase down the retail blaster boxes at Target and Wal-Mart. As it comes to Bowman Draft, I have to pass and pick up Cubs singles on eBay, or buy into breaks.

But…Topps released an online exclusive that became a pretty hot chase recently: Bowman Draft 1st Edition. These cards are basically a preview of Bowman Draft with a foil stamp on the front of the card reading, “1st Edition.” We saw a 1st Edition produced earlier this year for the flagship product.

2020 Bowman Draft 1st Edition Unopened Pack baseball cards

Sold by the pack, the retail price for the online exclusive was $15 for a pack of 10 cards. Autographs are the chase in Bowman and Bowman Draft, but autographs are pretty rare in 1st Edition. Color parallels are much more plentiful with the unnumbered sky blue parallel falling 1 in every 2 packs, on average.

Topps set a maximum order of 24 packs on the website. That is also how many packs come in a box, but Topps only sold by the pack. Some buyers who selected 24 packs did receive a sealed box while many others just got 24 loose packs. I ended up ordering 20 packs. A nice round number.

Advertisements

Normally I do not excited for mail days or follow tracking updates, but this product was an exception. I was eager to break my 20 packs of Bowman Draft 1st Edition. The box was delivered, surprisingly, on a Sunday morning by FedEx. With some errands to run the break had to wait until the evening. Something to look forward to!

Once the dust settled, I pulled a colored parallel in ALL 20 packs. Here is the breakdown: 14 sky blue, 3 blue /150, 1 yellow /75, 1 gold /50, and 1 orange /25. The biggest hit was probably the gold Robert Puason numbered /50.

2020 Bowman Draft 1st Edition Robert Puason Gold /50 Oakland A's Athletics baseball card

The most valuable in terms of eBay sold prices would be the Spencer Torkelson base card. At the time of breaking it was selling in the $100 range on eBay. As more product is delivered the prices have been slipping. I have the Torkelson base for sale in my eBay Store for $78 shipped (tip: click here and you can get a 15% off that price in my eBay Store).

My biggest excitement over this product was the Cubs checklist. In all there are seven Cubs on the checklist: Ed Howard, Burl Carraway, Luke Little, Jordan Nwogu, Miguel Amaya, Ryan Jensen, and Brennen Davis.

Advertisements

Through 19 packs I had pulled three of the seven Cubs. The big one I really wanted was missing: Ed Howard. Then came the 20th pack, and the top card was a player in a blue uniform. It was a Cubs card. It was ED HOWARD!

2020 Bowman Draft 1st Edition Ed Howard Chicago Cubs baseball card

It was nice to see Bowman use a different image for Brennen Davis. His previous two Bowman cards (2019 Bowman Draft and 2020 Bowman) used the same image.

2020 Bowman Draft 1st Edition Brennen Davis Chicago Cubs baseball card

Burl Carraway was the second round draft pick by the Cubs in 2020 out of Dallas Baptist University. Burl’s given name is Ausley Burl Carraway.

2020 Bowman Draft 1st Edition Burl Carraway Chicago Cubs baseball card
Advertisements

The other Cubs 2020 draft pick I pulled was pitcher Luke Little. The 6-foot-8 lefty played at San Jacinto junior college last year and was scheduled to transfer to South Carolina.

2020 Bowman Draft 1st Edition Luke Little Chicago Cubs baseball card

The Cubs selected Little in the fourth round. He went viral just before the draft when throwing at the Showcase Baseball Academy in Charlotte, North Carolina.

There, he recorded a 105 mph fast ball. The fastest recorded pitch is 105.1 mph by Aroldis Chapman in 2010 (pitching for the Cincinnati Reds during his rookie season). It will be fun to watch Luke Little in the Cubs organization.