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…
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 Dom 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!