Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Last week, I purchased a couple boxes of 2017 Topps Heritage. I love Heritage and plan on building the set, but these boxes were really good to me. So good, in fact, I decided to buy a couple more boxes with the money I made on eBay selling the hits from my previous two boxes. 

I was hoping that I would pull an auto this time around, especially an Andrew Benintendi player sample auto (it seems that a few of the "Player Sample" cards that are given to the player to distribute to family and friends worked their way into the pack-out machine - I have theories about this, but that's for another post). Here is an example that I pulled from eBay:

You can see the words "Player Sample" where "Topps Certified Issue" should appear. The same thing happened in 2014 with Ernie Banks Heritage autos:

I've wanted one of those since I first saw them, but have yet to find one when I had the money. Anyway, this conversation is pointless, because the odds of me actually pulling a specific card are slim to none. I'm no statistician (ahem, P-Town Tom), but I believe those odds to be accurate. 

So I walked into my LCS. The owner knew I was coming and had set aside a box for me. When he handed it to me, I noticed that he had one on the shelf. In the past, I've had some pretty crappy boxes that he has selected for me (no fault of his, of course), so I immediately had some doubts. I asked him if I could have the one on the shelf, and after a good chuckle, he handed it to me. 

I pulled up a chair and ripped the cellophane off the box. Underneath the box lid was a box topper, a three-card ad panel. No big deal, so I ripped the first pack on the right. In it was this guy:

A '68 mint insert featuring Miggy Cabrera!

These are certainly gimmicky cards, as they are rare (notice the serial number 06/15), but they don't feature a true relic or an autograph. It's still a cool card, especially when I saw that a few have already sold in the $80-$90 range! I'm not in this hobby to make money, but when I can pay for my box with one card that doesn't fit my collection, I'm all over it!

I continued ripping packs until I stumbled across my hit:

Clearly not an auto. However, it is at least numbered and Cespedes isn't exactly a slouch. I'm sure that someone will eventually have interest in it.

I returned to opening the other packs and had determined that was all the box had to offer, not that I was complaining! The Cabrera card is definitely cool and made up for the box! But then, in the next to last pack, I found this:

The Mike Trout action photo variation! Awesome! Of all the photo variations, I think I have pulled the best two (Kris Bryant last week, Trout this week). That made for one heckuva box!

I sat and chatted with the owner and his employee for about 15 minutes, but all I could think about was the final box. It haunted me. I was certain that if I didn't buy it, it would have the biggest pull of my life - but in someone else's hands. Finally, I broke down and bought it.

I'm opening packs and finding nothing. Fortunately, I noticed this guy:

Another action variation, another superstar. I don't think I am biased when I say this, but I think I pulled the three most desirable photo variations in the set! Crazy!

I'm getting down to my last few packs and I haven't found anything else. The thought that I just purchased a box that failed to have the promised hit began to enter my mind. Then I rip a pack and notice a fat card. I instantly think to myself, "I've pulled another '68 mint!" I slowly remove the cards in front of it until I reveal the card. In a near shout, I let out two words:

"Holy f*ck!"

Now, I used to cuss like a sailor, but I have made an active effort to cut back recently. In fact, it has been quite some time since I've used that four-letter word. So what prompted it, you ask?


By far, the biggest card I have ever pulled!

The relic isn't anything special - just a plain grey swatch - but the auto is on-card AND it's numbered to only 25! Oh, and did I mention that it is Mike freaking Trout? I've never pulled anything close to this!!!!

I was shaking uncontrollably. Fortunately, I had a bro date with my best friend to go see my number six-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders baseball team take on the number four-ranked Arizona Wildcats. I put the card in a one-touch magnetic holder and packed it away carefully and went to the game. Tech DESTROYED the Wildcats 13-1, by the way. However, I now sit in front of my computer sharing the story of my greatest pull with you. 

I stare at the card now and mumble, "my precious...", as I try to determine what to do with it. I've always wanted a Trout auto. With what these cards have been going for, I can sell it, buy a Trout auto and still have a good chunk of change left. The flip side is that the card I will get wasn't pulled by me. I won't have the same emotional connection with it. But come on...that's good money for a piece of cardboard

What a wonderful twist to find myself in.


  1. Tough choice, but congrats nonetheless. Nice call on the second box!

  2. Congrats! I've now seen two of those Heritage Trout autos online, numbers 3 and 15. Good to see collectors land them instead of some box breaker.

  3. What a pull. I'd instantly sell if it wasn't for that fact that it's an on-card auto... that makes it a tough choice.

  4. Wow, nice boxes!
    Yeah, I'm not technically a statistician, but I do have a math degree and I like to crunch numbers. So, I do feel somewhat qualified to say this: I will agree with your early assessment, the odds are NOT in your favor to pull one of those player sample autos. (But a Trout auto /25 is a nice consolation!)

  5. Holy f*ck is right! That's a fantastic Trout! You sure did get the three best players in the photo variations..and if that Miggy coin card sells for $80-90 then I might have to sell my Nolan Ryan nickel from 2015 Topps.

    Congrats on an awesome break! (Does this mean you trust the LCS owner's box picks now?)

  6. Man, that's awesome! I couldn't imagine snagging a card like that. Keep the hot hand going!

  7. Whoa - how bad was the rest of the case? Or how good was it? Two amazing boxes.

  8. very cool man, this is inspiring me to start buying boxes, as I am just getting back into card collecting after many years away, teaching my 6 yr old son the basics. We are currently selling off my old collection on eBay to get money to buy new packs for him!

  9. Whoa... Time to go buy a lottery ticket!

  10. Either way you win, man. Great pull! I think the nickel card selling for that much is crazy. Let some sucker buy it.