2018 Topps High Tek Baseball – Right On!

 Well, as a fan of products like Strata from Topps and Clear Vision and Unparalleled from Panini, I was looking forward to 2018 Topps High Tek Baseball.  Somehow I missed High Tek in previous years but this time I was on it.  I got one box which was around $145 with the tax at my local card shop.  It was excellent!

The cards had a color photo “cutout” of the player and the identifying information on the front, surrounded by a variety of patterns, on a clear acetate background. The first thing I noticed was the relatively high quality of the cards.  They felt a little heavier, sturdier, and less easily scratched than cards from similar releases.  Second, the base patterns were pretty cool – waves, triangles, circles, lightning bolts, stripes, rays, mazes, all kinds of stuff.  There were also parallels in a wide variety of colors and rarities.  I found the patterns and colors to be eye catching rather than distracting.  Third, the checklist was pretty strong and included legends, current stars, and the major rookies. There were some questionable choices of teams for some legends, like Will Clark on Texas instead of the Giants and Dwight Gooden on the Yanks instead of the Mets, but hey at least they had A-Rod on the Mariners.  (By the way, I have a lot more respect for A-Rod now that he is broadcasting.  After he left the Mariners, and with the whole steroids thing, I thought he was a schmuck.  However, as a commentator I think he is pretty objective and insightful.) Overall, a pretty cool checklist.

The box had one pack of 40 cards.

I don’t remember all the details of what I pulled when, but I really liked the players and cards I was getting. I’ve included images below to give you the idea. (Please pardon the distortions and cropping on the photos.)

 

Early on in the pack there were like three Derek Jeter cards, including one #/50 and another #/25.  I wondered, would there be a Jeter auto in there???  Not a big Jeter fan but his auto would be very cool.

No Jeter auto, but there were two on-card signatures as advertised.  One was Zack Cozart from the Angels.  Ok…

The other one was a jaw dropper for sure — Gleyber Torres red orbit auto RC #8/10!!!!!  Holy crap!!!!  Super cool.

I thought I could resist the very strong temptation to get another box.  In what I’d seen in the first online breaks out there, there were plenty of monster hits (both in-box and redemptions) but also lots of boxes with two weak autos.  I really liked the box I got and was not interested in building a complete set, so I planned to use the price of another one as a budget for more High Tek stuff on eBay.  Favorite players, parallels, inserts, autos, etc.  I got a Devers insert and a Strawberry base.  Also autos of Sean Doolittle and Carlos Santana (and Noah Syndergaard from last year).

 

 

I lasted all of about five days before ordering a second box! The price had dropped a little and that helped. Between all the base variations and parallels, I don’t think there was a single double in there.  Anyway, here were some of the hits:

 

You’ll notice some things in the pictures.  That’s right, a 1/1 Altuve!!!  Talk about a jaw dropper.  I pulled it relatively early in the pack and must have done like 20 double takes.  Amazing,  I’m still pleasantly surprised and thankful.  I took pictures of the Gregorios and Altuve cards with both white and black backgrounds.  Amazing how different these acetate cards can look in different conditions!  Those other cards were numbered, autographed, or were some other variation of a base card.  There were many other cool cards in the pack, it was great.

There was a sale so I got two more boxes.  No jaw droppers but still some neat cards.  The Harper and Mejia cards were particularly awesome.  Got my first #’d parallel double (a blue Corey Seager #/150), and also a duplicate of a Carlos Santana auto that I bought on eBay.  The orange Devers is already a great RC to have, and I’ll hold out hope that Don Smith will develop into a solid MLB player.  🙂

 

After 4 boxes, out of 160 cards, I only had 10 doubles, which I think is great.  I sorted the base cards by player and then by design version, and plan to tabulate this in a spreadsheet.  My primary current goal with this set is to get at least one card of every player on the checklist!

Overall, I think 2018 Topps High Tek Baseball is a great product with high quality acetate cards, eye-catching patterns and parallels, a strong checklist, and some sweet on-card autos, at a decent price point. There are always things that can be improved, but I still give it 5 out of 5 stars!

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TTM #2 – Roberto Luongo!

My second ttm attempt was with Roberto Luongo, one of my all time favorite goalies.  It was successful! I really liked watching him when he was with the Canucks, the Canadian Olympic Team, and (for the second? time around) now with the Florida Panthers.  He signed both a Canucks and a Panthers card for me, and the turnaround was very quick (like two or three weeks).  So generous.  Thanks man, I appreciate it!

 

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Some new baseball relics

While I think the boxes for Topps Triple Threads, Tribute,  Museum Collection, etc. are overpriced, there are lots of cool cards on the secondary market at more reasonable prices.  Here are a few I picked up recently for around $25 shipped.  Pardon the grainy pictures, I guess it was a little too dark in my office.


 

The Bryce Harper and George Springer 2018 Topps Tribute Stamp of Approval Relics are kind of cool, because you can look up the code on the MLB authentication sticker at http://mlb.com/authentication to learn more about them.

For example, here’s the information on the Springer relic:

  • Game-used Jersey
  • Hologram number: JC513075
  • Event: Topps Authentication
  • Date: Aug 28, 2017
  • Additional Information: Swatch of George Springer game used jersey OAK vs HOU 8/31/16. Original Hologram# JB050985. 

Then you can look up a game summary and some video and learn that Springer hit a two-out triple, and then scored on a wild pitch during a three run 8th inning rally that helped the Astros win 4-3!  Even crazier, Miss Texas 2016 Daniella Rodriguez “threw” out the first pitch (which landed about 40 feet away from home plate).  Apparently, that’s when she met Carlos Correa, who became her boyfriend, and who proposed to her on TV right after the ‘Stros won the 2017 World Series.  FYI, they are scheduled to get married in December 2019.  Man.  08/31/16 in Houston was awesome!

That was interesting enough for me to look up the Harper relic:

  • Swatch of Game-used Jersey
  • Hologram number JC485804
  • Event: Topps Authentication
  • Date: Aug 22, 2017
  • Additional Information: SWATCH OF BRYCE HARPER GAME USED JERSEY, WSH v. MIA on 4/15/14, ORIGINAL HOLOGRAM-EK955802.

Ok so not quite as interesting.  Harper had a single and scored a run in an 11-2 loss.  The most interesting thing to me is that they used a 2014 jersey for a 2018 card.  For current players, I usually assume the relics are from the same or previous season, but clearly that is not always the case.  At any rate I think this Stamp of Approval stuff is cool.  I can finally know what game the relic is from!


 

The photos don’t do justice to these 2018 Topps Tribute Robinson Cano Triple Relics.  They are really nice cards.  I really like the orange one that has the bat, the dirty piece of jersey with the blue piping, and a cleaner white jersey piece.  The green one is cool too.  It looks like a piece of the standard pants, the white regular home jersey, and the Friday night emerald green jerseys.

 


 

DAA5E14E-A0FE-4063-B357-6A4BAA4AE284The 2017 Triple Threads Yuli Gurriel RC “Unity Jumbo Relic” is a great card, with a swatch presumably from the piping on the front of his jersey.  No authentication code though, so who knows where it really came from lol.


 

Overall just some nice stuff!  Thank you Topps and eBay. 🙂

A’s at M’s – 09/25/28

Autos Very slow night for autos, but thanks to Erasmo Ramirez, Emilio Pagan, and Francisco Rodney for signing!

The Game Definitely colder than I thought it would be.   Need to remember to subtract at least 10 degrees from any recorded temperature at Safeco.  So like right now it’s probably 60, but it feels like 45 or 50.  I have enough layers for now. :).  Also definitely deflating to play the A’s, who beat out the M’s for that second wild card spot. I left during the 7th inning stretch, A’s up 8-5.  By the time I got home, lo and behold, it was tied 8-8 in the 10th! Chris Herrmann ended it in the bottom of the 11th with a two run homer to right center and the M’s won 10-8!

Padres at Mariners – 09/11/18

Autos, etc.

Mariners
Thanks to the Mariners Season Ticket Holder Memories program, I got to go on the field again for batting practice!  Very nice perk.  They give you a certain number of points to use during the year, and announce the opportunities once a month and you really have to jump on the ones you want right away. The on field BP’s are usually gone within a couple days, even a couple of hours in some cases. Anyhow, I’m glad I got a couple of passes for September!

Last weekend, I went for a Friday night BP versus the Yankees.  Someone told me that it was the most people they had on field, and the Mariners signed the most they all year.  It was pretty sweet.

Today’s BP was before a Tuesday night game versus the Padres, so not quite so crowded lol.  Even though there were not many people, or maybe because of it who knows, few if any players came by.  No autos for most of the session.  That was the bad news.

The good news was that I was talking with some cool people, Danielle and her son Ryan.  They had some nice positive energy!  Then it happened.

Ichiro Suzuki stopped by where I was standing and signed!!!!!!!!  The man, the myth, the legend!  Usually he just waves hi and hurries off into the dugout, but today he actually stopped and turned towards us.  Then I knew he was going to sign.  It happened so fast, yet also happened in slow motion. He signed a card (very nicely) with a blue Sharpie, borrowed it to sign other people’s stuff.  Then I took a chance and put out a baseball and he signed that too!  I was walking on air for the rest of the evening, and still am as I write about it.  A dream come true!

Bench Coach Manny Acta also signed.  Further, he told me what happened to “The Swelmet” which he would post on Twitter with the player of the game after each win.  I was wondering because it recently disappeared from The Twittersphere.  Apparently the guys just weren’t into it any more so it was done.  Anyway, thanks man. 🙂

Padres

Stuck around for as much of the Padres BP as I could.  Waved or called out to several of the players and they gave nice acknowledgements.  They seemed to be relatively fan friendly.  Eric Hosmer signed a card, thanks man!  Later, just before the game, Wil Myers and Luis Urias signed cards, thanks guys!

The Game

I’m finishing up this post a couple of weeks after the fact.  Don’t remember much except the M’s lost and we made a lot of mistakes.  It was one of those games where you really felt like the the season was over.  Also poor Luis Urias, he pulled a hammy or something and they’re going to keep him out the rest of the season because he’s a top prospect and he had a similar injury earlier in the year.  So the game was a bummer but the autos really made my day, and all in all, I’m glad I went to the park!