Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Day At The Card Shop: Pro Debut and More

So, today, I got one of them Visa gift card thingies as sort of an early birthday present, and being the tremendously practical person I am, I headed to my local, as I knew that Topps Pro Debut would be coming out today. I had good luck with Series 1 of Pro Debut last year (an auto and a couple of Eric Hosmer cards in just a few packs), so I was sorta looking forward to this product that some folks are indifferent to (being that, beyond the #1 picks, these guys are largely unknowns). Also: THE MOST IMPORTANT PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF OUR SPORT BY GOD has a card in the set, so I was of course hoping to get one of him in his Hagerstown duds. How'd I do? Well, that's what the readin' is for, isn't it?

Hey, wait! That's not a minor league card! That's Mickey! Yep, week 7 of the HTA set this year is Mantle, and as I love this year's HTA set, you'll probably be seeing plenty of it from me. Moving on...

I pulled a few short-print vars out of the first 5 packs of Pro Debut I got. This one's numbered to 50 and is of a 31 year old "kid" named Yasser Gomez in the Braves org, Cuban defector. Haven't done the homework on him yet, so here goes: Wikipedia says he's one of the guys who defected with Yadel Marti (who had a lot of hype around him during the 2006 World Baseball Classic, if I'm remembering correctly, but who seems to have fallen off the radar, though he was in A's camp this year). Gomez was in AA for the Braves last year, decent singles hitter from his stats, but doesn't seem to be playing this year for some reason. Always cool to grab a card of a Cuban player, though.

I also got this one of Kyle Waldrop (no apparent relation to Kyle Waldrop), numbered somewhere in the 300s. He's got a totally NASCAR sounding name, doesn't he?

From reviewing the other cards in those packs, I got a bunch of #1 picks, but no Harper and no hits (2 autos/2 relics in a box). 4 packs were bought before I got there, I got 6, and right after I did that, 2 other customers bought 3 each, with one of them getting a relic of some fella on the Trenton Thunder, I believe. So, still 3 hits in the box out of 8 packs, still a gift card burning a hole in my pocket, what the hell, right? I got 3 more packs.

Hey, an auto of a former BlueClaw! Josh Zeid was with the club last year (despite being depicted here as a Williamsport guy) had a decent season splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen, and is with Reading right now, where he's not having the same kind of success, but hey, it's early.

And hey, another auto! Dan Brewer is in AAA for the Yanks right now, doin' OK. Has a little speed, hits OK, solid but unspectacular numbers, basically. Still, 2 auto hits in 3 tries on my second pass through the box! Not too bad! No Harper, though.

From there, I poked around in the inserts box and the display case a little.

This card is so last year.

I really kinda like these "International" vars on the Bowmans, but I probably won't end up with many. Had to grab the Price, though.


Seriously, doesn't the little guy look like he's thinkin' "Aw, jeez, mom! I don't wanna miss the whole crummy summer because I broke my leg!"? Hey, at least you got a big ol' All-Star Rookie trophy, kid. Needed this one for my Heritage set.

While I was doing my poking around, a guy who I'd referred to on here recently ("the guy who breaks a bunch of boxes, keeps the hits and sells back the singles", who is responsible for a lot of the Gypsy Queen, Bowman, Heritage and all of the Upper Deck f00'ball I've bought this year), walks in and starts cracking Bowman packs. He kept going. And going. And going. I don't want to think too hard about what he spent ripping wax today, because I'll cry, but while he was doing it, he pulled this...

I love this card. I love the Best subset this year in general (and I am collecting it, so keep me in mind!), but for me, so far anyway, this is the Harper card to have this year. (Of the older stuff, I like the Upper Deck USA cards better than last year's Bowman card.) Of course, I inquired after it, and while it's a little insane to me to pay this for a card fresh out of a pack of new product, he took $10 for it. Happy early birthday to me, or something. I look at it this way: I've already gotten most of the singles I wanted out of Bowman, I'm not really hot to get the base Bowman cards (having looked closely at both regular and Chrome today as this guy pulled a few from the many, many packs he opened, if I get 'em, I get 'em; they're unremarkable from a card appearance standpoint), this card's settling in around $15 on eBay (with only 1 falling below $10 in the first page of completeds), and because I bought this, I don't have to open anymore Bowman until Draft comes out, if I decide to get in on that. Those are a lot of wins, from my perspective, so I bit the bullet. Glad to have the card, especially since I actually like the kid, and I can spend the rest of my summer collecting in a somewhat saner manner instead of having to fight retail pack searchers/hoarders and booming hobby pack prices.

So, solid day at the shop completed, I headed home. When I got there and started unpacking my goods, though, something interesting happened.

Remember how in paragraph 3, I said that I'd opened 5 packs of Pro Debut initially?

OK, scroll down to paragraph 5. 

I did mention buying 6 packs before going back for 3 more, didn't I? 

Yep, I did. 

Did Bob at the card counter throw me an extra pack? Nope. There were 8 wrappers in the bags. (Topps has made me paranoid about ever throwing out another wrapper.) 

So, hey, I actually forgot to open a pack of Pro Debut at the store?


And, sure enough, 2nd to last in the pack, in his Hagerstown duds, was Bryce Harper. And all was right with the world.

I love a good "Willy Wonka" moment.


  1. Yet another new product hits the market. I think I'll pass on this one. I'm glad you got the Harper and the Bowmans Best one too. You spent $10 on it, but how many packs could you have busted and never seen it?

  2. My thoughts exactly! From seeing and hearing about a LOT of Bowman ripped today and otherwise (Chris Olds' fun with blasters, and other peoples' accounts of how they've done), I don't think that any of the Harper cards were seeded evenly in Bowman packs, so it was a total crapshoot if I kept going.

    As for Pro Debut, I enjoy it. It's redundant right now (and I kinda wish that Topps would revamp their line so that there wasn't a huge Bowman/Pro Debut overlap; we won't get into Minor League Heritage, which I'm still trying to wrap my head around), but I like the minor league unis, I love this year's base Topps design, and I've had decent luck with it. For instance, last year, I got 2 cards of this guy on the Royals named Hosmer that I hadn't heard of. It's fun for me to go back every so often and see how these kids are doing.

  3. Love the Posey comment you made.

  4. Did you get anything in the Pro Debut dealing with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats or the New Britain Rock Cats? Both are AA teams but last years had a few.

  5. Surprisingly enough, no on both. I think I got some in last year's Series 1, though. If you're looking for any, let me know, and I'll doublecheck.


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