Friday, September 30, 2011

I won Super Bowl XXV !!!

Well, sort of.  Matt of Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius had a contest to give away some Pro Set Super Bowl XXV Silver Anniversary Commemorative Card Sets.  All I had to do was say who would win Super Bowl XLVI.  I said Patriots, by which I meant Bills...obviously.  Anyway, the randomizer pulled my name and a few days later, I had my set. 

The set is fantastic, definitely worth dropping a couple bucks for on eBay or at a card show.  It starts of with some ticket reprints:

followed by a nice set of Super Bowl dudes:

Those were my three favorite cards.  Roger Craig appears to have broken the ankles of a few Dolphins.  Dave Casper looks like he's going to just drag the Vikings to the end zone.  The Winston Hill makes me laugh because it looks like he has a tiny arm throwing the ball.  There's also a sign in the background that has a couple of hard to read letters.  I think it says "Old Jake's Pork Tavern".  I could be wrong.  If that's not right, then somebody really needs to create an Old Jake's Pork Tavern. I would eat there.

The next part of the set had some great Spuer Bowl Moments:

I love the Jim O'Brien card.  The look of excitement is so genuine and the crowd background is so clear.  I scanned the second card because it's the only Jets card worth keeping...zing!

The highlight of the set, though, is the nine card puzzle at the end:

Panini needs to look to this set for inspiration for their football products.  Top to bottom, this set is awesome. 

Thanks, Matt!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Complete Over-Analysis of My Fantasy Baseball Season

The 2011 MLB regular season is now wrapped up and the finish was incredible.  Congrats to the Rays and Cardinals for allowing the Braves and Red Sox to suck so hard in September.  While I don't have an MLB team that I avidly follow, I did have a fantasy team to live vicariously through.  Mike, of BA Benny notoriety, arranged a league for some card bloggers, and I opted in.  I hadn't done fantasy baseball in more than 10 years, so I really had no idea what I was getting into.  I was fortunate, however, to land the top pick in the draft, AKA Albert Pujols.  What follows here is a complete over-analysis of the season. 

First, here are my results from the draft.  It was a snake draft, so I started with the first and 20th picks.  A benefit to being first, is that you get to pick two-in-a-row each time.

#     Player
1     Albert Pujols, StL 1B
20   Ryan Zimmerman, Was 3B
21   Josh Hamilton, Tex OF
40   Tommy Hanson, Atl SP
41   Chris Carpenter, StL SP
60   Jimmy Rollins, Phi SS
61   Mike Stanton, Fla OF
80   Brian Wilson, SF RP
81   Jay Bruce, Cin OF
100 Aaron Hill, Ari 2B
101 Max Scherzer, Det SP
120 Miguel Montero, Ari C
121 Vernon Wells, LAA OF
140 Nick Markakis, Bal OF
141 Jeremy Hellickson, TB SP
160 Ike Davis, NYM 1B
161 Vladimir Guerrero, Bal DH
180 Erick Aybar, LAA SS
181 Matt Thornton, CWS RP
200 Drew Storen, Was RP
201 Bronson Arroyo, Cin SP
220 Kevin Gregg, Bal RP
221 James Loney, LAD 1B
240 Jim Thome, Cle DH
241 Jake Peavy, CWS SP

Overall, I was ecstatic to pick up Pujols, Zimmerman, and Hamilton as the core of my team.  I went somewhat light on pitching, though.  By the end of the season, after several transactions and injuries, my draft class amounted to 64.3% of my total season score.  That averages out to around 2.6% per player.  The breakdown of scoring for position players and pitchers I drafted is shown below:

Draft class position players were clearly the top performers, producing 39.9% of my total season points.  That was good for 2.7% per player, which was above average.  The breakdown of draft class performance compared to all players is shown below:

While position player and relief pitcher points mostly came from the draft, starting pitcher points came largely from acquisitions.  In retrospect, that seems to be expected, especially with spot-starting pitchers for certain matchups.  The pie chart for the full season shows that starting pitching also took a bigger role in season points:
I started the season pretty poorly as I really didn't know what I was doing.  My wins and losses are shown below:

At the halfway point (10) I finally hit a groove and reached .500, but my team had some injuries, including Zimmerman and Hamilton.  With my DL and bench full, I was forced to start a couple of injured guys.  As a result, I dropped my next two matchups.  After that, I went 5-1 to finish the regular season.  My final record of 12-8 was good for third place behind BA Benny (15-5) and Dennis (18-2) from Too Many Grandersons.   My team got hot at the right time of the year, and almost all of my spot-starts produced big numbers as I took out BA Benny in the semifinals.  That led to a matchup with Dennis, who at 18-2 seemed untouchable (though I can lay claim to one of those regular season losses).  Again, my team stayed hot and my pitching was insanely good.  I was able to pull off the unlikely victory and take home the fantasy baseball title.  As for proof of my progression as the season passed, I've shown my points-per-day for each matchup below, as well as lines of my playoff performances.

The light blue line shows my season performances while the dark blue line is a regression showing my improvement throughout the year.  As hoped, my semifinal performance was on par with some of my best performances of the season, and my finals performance was well above what I had done before.  I should note that my finals numbers are inflated because I used all of my remaining acquisitions in the last two days after the victory was in hand.  Dennis and I both felt like the number of finals acquisitions allowed was quite high, so I wanted to put it to the test.  As a result, I was able to start 6 pitchers on each of the last two days.  All in all, I'm proud of myself for figuring this fantasy baseball thing out and hitting a groove to finish the year. 

At this point, we've reached the Team Awards part of the show:

Cy Young: Drew Storen, Was RP - Storen amassed 437 points in just 75.1 innings.  He also delivered heavily in the late-season matchups and playoffs.  His 437 points was the second highest total on the team.

MVP: Albert Pujols, StL 1B - Who else? Pujols put up a ridiculous 529 points 147 games.  The 147 games played was second only to Jay Bruce's 157. 

Rookie of the Year: Jeremy Hellickson, TB SP - Hellickson was my third-highest point man behind the Cy Young and MVP winners above.  I picked him 141st in the draft based on a hunch, and it sure paid off. 

Comeback Player of the Year: Stephen Strasburg, Was SP - He only made a few starts with most of them pretty limited on pitch count, but he was quite dominant while he was in.  His season ending 6 IP 1 H 0 ER line was great. 

Late Acquisition of the Year: Doug Fister, Det SP - This guy was just plain electric.  I picked him up at the start of the playoffs to fill in for an injured Tommy Hanson, and he was fantastic. He averaged 4.4 points per inning pitched. 

Semifinals MVP: Doug Fister, Det SP - He put up 23, 40, and 31 in three starts.  The 31 points was on the final day of the matchup to help seal up the win.  His 94 points was 33 more than the next closest.  His stat line for those 3 starts: 2-0, 22.2 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 24 K. Nasty.

Finals Co-MVPs: Matt Garza, ChC SP and Ted Lilly, LAD - Garza put up 86 points in three starts while Lilly added 96 points in four starts.  Lilly's 4-point blunder to start the playoff kept him from running away with the award, despite following it with 30, 30, and 32 points in his next three starts.  Garza showed good numbers with 18 and 28 points in his first and last starts, but the middle start was a gem.  Dennis was starting Randy Wolf (who had been with my team for quite a while in the regular season), Garza's opposing pitcher.  The Cubs rose to the occasion with Garza delivering 40 points to Wolf's -5. 

Game of the Year: Matchup 20 (Last regular season game) - My entry into the playoffs was much like the ones that happened last night in the MLB.   I came in to the matchup holding an 11-8 record in third place.  My opponent had a 10-9 record and was tied for fourth place.  If I lost, we would have identical records and I would have lost the tiebreaker with him for third place.  I always would lose the tiebreaker with the other 11-9 team, knocking me to 5th place and out of the playoffs.  I led after day 1, but quickly dropped off, trailing by 57 points going into the last day.  I had used up all of my acquisitions just to stay close, but I could feel it slipping away.  I only had one starting pitcher for the day, so I had low expectations.  Ivan Nova did put up 23 which helped a ton.  My opponent started Brandon Morrow and Jered Weaver.  Morrow ended up at -3, so that helped, too.  Weaver, however, had been rolling recently and looked to be my demise.  What I didn't see coming, was the Rangers taking Weaver to the woodshed giving my opponent -11.  To top it off, Josh Hamilton put up 12 points against Weaver.  I ended up storming back to pull off an impossibly close 5-point victory.  Check out the scoring progression below:

  I still can't believe that I eked that game out and went on to win the whole shebang. 

Hats off to everyone in the league for a great season. 

Congrats to Dennis for winning the regular season crown in dominating fashion.
Congrats to AdamE for winning the third-place game. 
Thanks, Mike, for running the league.

There you have it: I have overanalyzed the crap out of my results.  At least I refrained from posting the full points breakdown for every player I had throughout the year. Just for the record, that "points per day" plot is a bad-ass plot.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Have you ever just completely killed it in a group break?

Because I have.  I have participated in a whopping 3 group breaks in the past year.  Being a player collector, I have to pick and choose, and usually group breaks are too pricey to go after just one player.  I collect 8 different players, and this season, they are on 8 different teams. 

My first experience in a group break was with BA Benny and his mammoth break.  I entered that one mainly just for fun, since he was ripping a crazy load of packs/boxes.  I picked up the Nats/Expos hoping to score some Zimmermans and maybe a Strasburg to flip.  I did okay, but nothing special. The best card was a Trevor Bauer relic that helped convince Plaschke to show me his Wang.

My second experience was with Sam, better known as the Daily Dimwit. He discounted the teams that he had trouble selling for his Gypsy Queen break, and I picked up the D-Backs hoping for a Justin Upton anything.  I'm unfortunately a nice guy, so I picked up the last team, the White Sox, to make the break full.  I still don't know why I did that, but oh well.  I didn't get anything I collect, not even a Justin Upton base card, but I did get a couple of decent cards. The ebst card was an Iguchi relic from the 2006 Artifacts box.

My third and most recent experience is the one I will be showing now.  Sam decided to return to 2006 Artifacts, only this time with a full case. After hemming and hawing on whether to pick up a team, I decided to pick up the Nationals/USA in hopes that he would get me a Zimmerman.  I was at least guaranteed a couple of Zim RCs since that is his base card in the set. Using your powers of deduction, you should be able to decypher that this is the break that I killed.

My loot:
Bonus pack/blaster Nats
Bonus Zim!
Base Nats
Base Zim RC x 3!
On to the Nats Hits! I did fairly well, pciking up a relic and an auto early in the break.

The non-Zim Nats in the set really weren't great, but two hits isn't bad.  I'd say two hits for a team is roughly par for the course in a 2006 Artifacts case. 

At this point, I would like to quote myself.  Sam sent me an email asking if I wanted to buy in to his latest break, since he only had a few teams left.  After much debate, I reluctantly sent him this reply:

"Ah, what the hell, put me down for the Nats/USA. I really don't want to see any sweet Zimmermans go to waste. Of course I am jinxing the chance of pulling one by buying in, but what the hell."

You may be thinking that my piss-poor attitude didn't deserve to get any Zims; you'd probably be right.  However, the gods of cardboard would force irony upon my comment, causing the last line to be oh so true.  I DID jinx the chance of pulling one.  I pulled more than one.

The first 12 boxes left me a little empty, so I wasn't really that happy.  Lucky #13 showed me this baby:

2006 UD Artifacts Ryan Zimmerman MLB Game-Used Apparel #060/325

I felt as though the Zim swatch justified my purchase in the group break and I was well satisfied.  But, box #15 had other plans.  I hit the card that really REALLY wanted. 

2006 UD Artifacts Ryan Zimmerman Auto-Facts Signatures #086/800

For those of you keeping track at home, that's a trifecta. Rookie, Relic, Auto. Most people spend a lot of time seeking out a trifecta of their players.  I got a trifecta in one group break.    Just plain sweet.  Ok, the break had exceeded expectations to this point, but the case wasn't done yet. Box 19 revealed a very unexpected beauty:

2006 UD Artifacts Ryan Zimmerman Awesome Artifacts Jumbo Jersey #15/45

I bought a team and got 3 hits of the one player I was after.  I thought one relic would be generous.  I thought I had an outside shot at an auto.  I had no frickin idea I would get a relic, an auto, AND a jumbo relic.  Looking back, do you realize how pissed I would be right now had I not picked up the Nats?  I can't even imagine.  I still can't believe I did that well.

I would like to note that I am now collecting the 2006 and 2007 Artifacts base sets and will have want lists for those coming soon.  They seem to be the precursor to the A Piece of History sets, and since they are only 100 cards, It shouldn't be too bad collecting them.  While I don't have a bias toward UD or Topps, I definitely have gravitated toward UD sets for the most part.  There are somethings that UD did that set them apart.  In a Topps set, there would have been a very good chance that the picture on all three of those Zim hits would have been identical.  UD put three very unique pictures on them.  The relic has a nice shot of Zim with batting gloves, though it kind of appears that he just got out.  I love the Nike Swoosh cameo on the glove.  The Auto has a nice base runner look, and the jumbo relic plays to his signature ability: fielding.  As far as plain white jerseys go, the Nats have some of the best looking ones, and I love that all three cards have picture-matched swatches and serial numbers.  If you can't tell, I really like those cards.

Thanks again, Sam!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Great cards from Play at the Plate

Sure, I could come up with a fancy-shmancy title, but this post deserved better.  A short and sweet title for a couple of sweet cards.

First, PATP sent me one of the cards from my top ten most wanted.  He didn't know that, though, since I don't have that posted anywhere.  I've got enough lists to keep track of as it is, so that one stays in my brain. 

2011 Topps Lineage Cloth Sticker David Wright
I love the cloth stickers. The real deal of the package was an awesome Michael Cuddyer Rookie Jersey #/500.  I love that they have a picture of the jersey on the back.  This is only my second Cuddyer Jersey, so it makes me very happy. I really need a Cuddyer auto. Cuddyer is class act, and has been great for the city I grew up in.  He paved the way through AAU ball for the likes of David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman, Mark Reynolds, BJ Upton and Justin Upton. I had the chance to play backyard football a few times with him when I was a kid.  You probably didn't know that he was a tremendous quarterback in high school. 

Thanks for the sick duo of cards Brian!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Box Break in Review

The boxes have been broken, scanned, posted, and commentated, so it's time for a little review.

2008 Topps Allen and Ginter Box 1 Report Card:

Box Loader: 5/10 - I like the D-Day card, but I'd really prefer a baseball related cabinet card.
Base Cards: 10/10 - No dupes and they took a huge chunk out of my want list. 13/50 SPs is one better than expected.
Inserts: 9/10 - I got a Bazooka mini and a Pioneers of Aviation mini. The Cuddyer mini makes it almost perfect.
Hits: 6/10 - I got the guaranteed 2, but there was nothing spectacular about them.

Best Card: Pioneers of Aviation Aerodrome mini.  The card fits me for several reasons and is also a pretty tough pull.

Worst Card: Bigfoot. Everyone know the real Monster Truck Champion is Grave Digger.

Final Grade:  A&G is like sex.  Even when it's bad, it's still really good.

2008 Topps Allen and Ginter Box 2 Report Card:

Box Loader: 7/10 - N43's are becoming less and less spectacular and more and more of a storage burden.  Prince Fielder is a decent card nonetheless.
Base Cards: 7/10 - No dupes in the box, though there were many dupes when combined with box 1. 12/50 SPs is as expected.
Inserts: 5/10 - Nothing spectacular in the box, but the minis were pretty good.  Too many States repeats from Box 1.
Hits: 9/10 - I know I got 2 more than expected, but a 10 would be reserved for a Rip Card or really rare relic/auto. I think 9 is fair.  The three relics were above average and the auto was pretty good.

Best Card: Francisco Cordero Framed Autograph. When it comes to A&G, you can't beat the autos.

Worst Card: Stevie Williams.  I'm a fan of skateboarding, but I can easily think of a dozen skateboarders more worthy of a card than Stevie.  At first I thought it was Steve Williams, as in Tiger's former caddy, which would have been awesome.

Final Grade: A-   Bonus hits rock, but nothing really blew my skirt up. These two were worth the money, but I won't be picking up any more of these anytime soon since I should be able to finish the base/States through trades and otherwise.

2008 UD A Piece of History Box 1 Report Card:

Base Cards (1-100): 10/10 - 56/100 and no dupes.  That's a win to get half of the set.
Rookies (101-150): 9/10 - 25/50 and 1 dupe. Again, half the set is nice.  The dupe prevents perfection, though.
Historical (151-200): 9/10 - 25/50 and 1 dupe.  See above.
Inserts: 6/10 - Nice cards all around and a few #'ed to less than 100, but the /25 was Adam Dunn.
Hits: 10/10 - Getting the guaranteed hits is always nice, especially when the Auto is one of the best of checklist.  Getting a bonus hit in the last pack that is a dual jersey is just plain awesome.

Best Card: Andruw Jones Matt Holliday Cut From the Same Cloth Dual Jersey /99. I love the card design and the fact that the swatches are different colors, even if they are just white and gray.

Worst Card: Adam Dunn Timeless Moments Silver #/25.  It's hard to call a low-numbered card the worst, but Dunn has been awful this year.  I know this card is from a different time and team, but there are much better names on the Timeless Moments checklist.
Final Grade: A   The base cards, inserts, and hits were all very appealing and successful. This was an all-around good box.

2008 UD A Piece of History Box 2 Report Card:

Base Cards (1-100): 6/10 - 51/100, 8 dupes and 1 triple (even if it was David Wright), a number of the base cards were dupes of box 1 cards as well. This box was wierd with al of the 9-card packs and such. I didn't complete the set with 2 boxes.
Rookies (101-150): 6/10 - 20/50 and 6 dupes. Less than half and a handful of dupes. Still no set.
Historical (151-200): 6/10 - 21/50 and 5 dupes.  See above.
Inserts: 10/10 - 6 cards #'ed to less than 100, three of which were #/25.  A number of other excellent inserts, too.
Hits: 11/10 - Joe frickin DiMaggio. 

Best Card: Joe DiMaggio Yankee Stadium Memorabilia. Pretty sure I don't need to justify this one.

Worst Card: Alex Gordon.  This card must have been run through a blender before it hit the pack.  All of the cards were in stellar condition except for this one.  Chunk missing from the side, crazy crease down the middle, and it had Alex Gordon on it.

Final Grade: A+++++++++++   I will absolutely be getting more of these; these two were so much fun. 2008 APOH is on my birthday list, and if no one buys them for me, I'm totally buying some for myself.

I'd say that was a successful set of boxes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2008 UD A Piece of History Hobby Break Box 2 Part 2

And so, it has come to this.  The finale.  I desperately wanted to change the order of the packs to add suspense, but I've decided to present them as they came to me, so you can see what I saw.  To this point, you've seen 6 A&G hits and 8 APOH hits.  Since I told you there are 17 total, that leaves 3.  Since I only expect 12 from the 4 boxes, we're well into bonus hit category.  As far as box 2 expectations, I've pulled two relics and an auto, so the only thing that remains guaranteed is a Hollywood Memorabilia card.

Pack 9:
134 Jerry Blevins RC
186 California Gold Rush
148 Bill White RC
FM4-20 Jones/Kent/Kemp/Furcal Franchise Members 4 #031/799
43 Hunter Pence
82 Tim Lincecum
4 Chris B. Young
69 Mariano Rivera
30 Troy Tulowitzki

>>> Another 9-card pack. Dang, just look at all those Dodger logos. I wouldn't imagine this card stays in my possession long.  I'm betting Plaschke beats out Spiegel and Night Owl to claim the Dodgers card.

Pack 10:
132 Jonathan Albaladejo RC
187 Creation of the Personal Computer
145 Jeff Ridgway RC
163 Television Invented Blue #20/25
YSM-JD Joe DiMaggio Yankee Stadium Memorabilia
33 Justin Verlander
59 David Wright
98 Frank Thomas
YSL5812 David Wells Yankee Stadium Legacy

>>> Holy cardgasm pack!!!  Personal computer invented, TV invented #/25, Verlander, and Wright, holy crap. Oh yeah, and Joe frickin DiMaggio!!! Ok, so one of my bonus hits is Joe DiMaggio.  I guess that's ok. Umm, yeah, so that's the pull of the year for me.  It's not really close either.  Sorry John McEnroe relic redemption.  You just got blown out of the water.  BTW, did anyone else not have a clue that Joe's real name was Giuseppe Paolo DiMaggio Jr.? you learn something new everyday I guess.  I knew something was up with this box.  This is another 9 card pack that has a one-per-case YSL relic that just happens to be DiMaggio, along with a /25 parallel.

Pack 11:
174 N.A.T.O. Created
118 Josh Anderson RC
160 Opening of Panama Canal
BSM-8 Manny Ramirez Box Score Memories #156/699
21 Alfonso Soriano
86 Ichiro Suzuki
72 Cole Hamels
7 John Smoltz
48 Victor Martinez

>>> Another 9-card pack. Let's face it, there was really no card possible that could have been in this pack that would have been anywhere as exciting as last pack. That's because the last pack had this card in it:

Pack 12:
189 1st Dictionary Published
104 Brandon Jones RC
175 Sputnik Launched by Russia
146 Justin Ruggiano RC
99 Chad Cordero
34 Miguel Cabrera
60 Carlos Beltran
FM4-1 Jeter/Giambi/Damon/Posada Franchise Members 4 Blue #18/25

>>> Hot damn.  That is a swwwwweeeeeeet blue Yankees card.  I don't care who you are, that is a pretty card.  That's my third /25 card in the box, by the way.  On any other occasion that would be by far the sickest Yankee card I've pulled.  But, it's not, because pack #10 had this card:

Pack 13:
116 Harvey Garcia RC
191 History of Nobel Prize
121 J.R. Towles RC
87 Troy Glaus Gold #09/75
57 Delmon Young
83 Travis Hafner
18 Jonathan Papelbon
YSL5762 David Wells Yankee Stadium Legacy

>>> Nice low numbered Glaus.  If you are keeping track, that's my 4th David Wells YSL in the boxes.  Yankee Stadium Legacy reminds me of something.  Oh yeah, that's right, it reminds me of this card:

Pack 14:
117 Chris Seddon RC
176 U.S.S.R. Crumbles
111 Ryan Hanigan RC
CSC-BB Bonderman/Blanton Cut From the Same Cloth #425/799
SS26 Roy Oswalt Stadium Scenes Red Jersey
54 Prince Fielder
88 Albert Pujols
23 Carlos Zambrano
49 Andruw Jones

>>> Another 9-card pack and we've got hit number 16, which is a sweet Oswalt swatch.  One hit to go, and it should be a Hollywood Memorabilia.  I bet it won't be as good as this one:

Pack 15:
190 Steam Engine Invented
120 Felipe Paulino RC
168 Suez Canal Opens
106 Clay Buchholz RC
BSM-20 Troy Tulowitzki Box Score Memories Jersey Auto Blue #71/99
11 Erik Bedard
50 James Loney
76 Jason Bay
YSL6353 Jorge Posada Yankee Stadium Legacy

>>> Another 9-card pack, this box is just wacky.  It's no Joe DiMaggio, but a Tulo AutoRelic is always welcome. What a great card.  A numbered color relic with a well laid auto.  UD did a great job with putting the auto overtop of the player name and position.  It makes for a very nice effect. If only this was on-card.  My wife was disturbed by the noises coming from me when I got to this point in the box.  Definitely the second-best hit of the break, behind this guy:

Pack 16:
192 Liberty Bell
122 Luke Hochevar RC
178 Paul Revere's Ride
150 Justin Maxwell RC
7 John Smoltz
33 Justin Verlander
59 David Wright
CSC-CH Cordero/Hoffman Cut From the Same Cloth Pewter #69/75

>>> Wow, Pewter and 69.  Giggity.  If only there were a Pujols in there.  Would a Pewter Pujols be redundant? Actually the Pewter is really nice, though.  It's got a holofoil refractory prismy sheen to it.  A good low-number finish to the box. But I know what you really want to end on:

I must say, I'm pissed.  I got shorted a Hollywood Memorabilia card. 6 hits (2 bonus) and no Hollywood.  What a crappy box.  I'm totally calling Upper Deck to complain.

On second thought, maybe it'll be ok.  After all, Joe did hook up with Marilyn Monroe.  That's Hollywood hero stuff in my book. 


Monday, September 19, 2011

2008 UD A Piece of History Hobby Break Box 2 Part 1

Box one of 2008 APOH is done and it was a good one.  But, I assure you, this blows them all out of the water.

Pack 1:
186 California Gold Rush
148 Bill White RC
158 Gettysburg Address
FM3-1 Smoltz/Hudson/Glavine Franchise Members 3 #076/799
80 Trevor Hoffman
15 Manny Ramirez
41 Roy Oswalt
67 Joba Chamberlain

>>> Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz would have been better, but it's still a very nice looking card.

Pack 2:
184 Pope John Paul II
114 Josh Newman RC
170 Polio Vaccine Invented
FH-46 Ichiro Franchise History #640/699
TM-19 Matt Holliday Timeless Moments Jersey
46 Torii Hunter
16 Dustin Pedroia
59 David Wright
98 Frank Thomas

>>> A sweet Ichiro, the first hit, and a David Wright.  Lovin it.

Pack 3:
142 Wladimir Balentien RC
198 The Creation of Baseball
105 Clint Sammons RC
119 Troy Patton RC Autograph #317/499
55 Joe Mauer
81 Barry Zito
3 Justin Upton
42 Carlos Lee
YSL6453 Alex Rodriguez Yankee Stadium Legacy

>>> Apparently we're just going to dive right in with the hits. Sweet sig.

Pack 4:
156 Hawaii Becomes 50th State
147 Luis Mendoza RC
188 Louisiana Purchase
TM-8 Josh Beckett Timeless Moments #470/699
68 Phil Hughes
29 Matt Holliday
94 Josh Hamilton
56 Justin Morneau
20 Curt Schilling

Pack 5:
160 Opening of Panama Canal
118 Josh Anderson RC
174 N.A.T.O. Created
97 Scott Rolen Blue #10/25
48 Victor Martinez
87 Troy Glaus
9 Brian McCann
YSL6428 Randy Johnson Yankee Stadium Legacy

>>> OOOoooOOOoooh, a Blue Blue Jay.  And it's /25.  I love it when the team and the color match.  Lovely card.

Pack 6:
132 Jonathan Albaladejo RC
187 Creation of the Personal Computer
145 Jeff Ridgway RC
CSC-BR Beltran/Reyes Cut From the Same Cloth #524/799
35 Gary Sheffield
74 Jimmy Rollins
100 Ryan Zimmerman
61 Johan Santana

>>> I think I traded that same Beltran/Reyes to BA Benny a long time ago. If not, I'm sure I will soon.

Pack 7:
173 Hubble Telescope Launches
131 Ross Ohlendorf RC
159 Completion of Transcontinental Railroad
117 Chris Seddon RC
22 Aramis Ramirez
96 Alex Rios
31 Todd Helton
FH-3 Mark Teixeira Franchise History Gold #62/99

>>> Hooray Hubble!

Pack 8:
176 U.S.S.R. Crumbles
111 Ryan Hanigan RC
162 Treaty of Versailes
CSC-MA Mauer/Martin Cut From the Same Cloth #036/799
TM-9 Curt Schilling Timeless Moments Jersey
57 Delmon Young
83 Travis Hafner
18 Jonathan Papelbon
44 Alex Gordon

>>> A third hit and a very tradeable Mauer/Martin card. 

Well, three hits in the first half is on par for what I've told you about.  Three hits remain.  You may notice that 4 of the 8 packs above had 9 cards.  Something seems unusual about this box.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see...