30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Friday, September 18, 2015

Baseball Card Field Trip

One of the downsides to teaching middle schoolers in my district is the lack of field trips we take.  There are a couple of end of the year field trips to celebrate the students' hard work, but I miss taking trips to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, History San Jose, and the NASA Ames Research Center.

Back when I taught fifth graders, we'd take our students to the Tech Museum of Innovation in downtown San Jose and afterwards we'd walk over to the San Jose Museum of Art.  It was a lot of fun for both the students and teachers.

Well today I'm going retro and taking you guys on a virtual field trip.  We'll be visiting the 2003 Topps Gallery.

I recently picked up this blaster box off of eBay:

After the dust settled, I won the auction for $12.48 (+ $5.95 shipping):

The box had seven packs with each pack containing five cards.  That broke down to a little over fifty cents per card.  When you factor in the "entertainment" value of ripping into packs and seeing beautiful paintings of baseball players, I felt it was a fair price.

There were typically four base cards and one refractor parallel in each pack.

The base cards are printed on a faux canvas stock and have a white border going around the top, the right, and the bottom of the front.  Topps printed the player's name and the name of their team across the top.  Within the "painting" portion of the card, there's a Topps Gallery logo printed in silver, along with the player's first name in lower case letters.

The complete set contains two hundred cards, seventeen of them being rookie cards.  The final ten cards in the set are retired veterans most of whom are in the hall of fame.  Topps also decide to create ten short printed cards that contain painting variations, such as a different colored bat or shirt.  Unfortunately I didn't manage to pull any.

Oh well... I still had a lot of fun looking at these beautiful base cards:

I really enjoyed the paintings depicting the players in action.  My only complaint is either Topps or the artists chopped off way too many body parts.  Maybe most collectors prefer the zoomed in action shots, but not me.  I like being able to see the whole body, including the player's bat or glove.

If you're a portrait shots kind of guy, then you're in luck.  Most of the cards I pulled looked something like this: 


This particular card has a very detailed background that even a non-Braves fan can appreciate.  On the back, you'll find the usual biographical data and career statistics.  One of the coolest features is the Gallery Notes section where Topps wrote random facts about each player.

Here are a pair of my favorites from this box break:

#100 Sammy Sosa

Sosa might have forgotten how to speak English in court, but you've got to admit... donating 1,000,000 Beanie Babies is pretty cool.

#3 Mike Lieberthal

Here's another example of a player giving back to the community.  Purchasing 1,620 tickets and donating them to children with cancer is definitely cool too.

Okay... it's time for the shine.  Six of the seven packs contained a refractor parallel that was printed on thicker card stock without the canvas feel.

Normally I'd be all over refractors, but in this particular case... the base cards are much more beautiful than the parallels.  Here's a look at the six I pulled:

Next up is one of my favorite insert sets of all-time are the Topps Gallery Heritage cards...

Topps had artists paint popular player's rookie cards, which were then printed on canvas card stock.

And last, but not least... each blaster box promised at least one relic card.  Remember the pack without a refractor parallel?  Well I pulled this instead...

This is the first Pujols relic card I've ever pulled from a pack.  Not a huge fan of the design, but I'm not going to complain.  It could have been a lot worse.  I could have pulled a Drew Henson.

In the end, there's no way I'll recoup the cost of the blaster, but I'm a realist and knew it wasn't a likely scenario.  I did manage however to take a nice trip back to the Topps Gallery and was glad to have all of you along for the ride.

I hope all of you enjoyed what you saw.  Happy Friday and sayonara!


  1. The image on that Sosa card is downright majestic!

  2. Those are some nice cards, especially the Ripken and the Soriano.

  3. I hated field trips. I never knew where we were going and the few times I did know I didn't care. I stopped going to field trips altogether after middle school and just called in sick.

    Speaking of which, those cards are sick. Personally I would've enjoyed pulling a Henson too ;).

    1. Lol. Guess field trips are like logo-less baseball cards. Some like them. Some don't.

  4. Really enjoyed reading your posts, we share a similar passion for collecting and flea markets.

    1. Thanks. Took last weekend off from visiting the flea market... but I went yesterday and found a few cool items. Stay tuned for tomorrow's post.

  5. Man, that looks like a fun rip. Maybe I need to search one of those down

    1. I highly recommend it... especially if you're a fan of art.