30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Box Busting Isn't For Everyone

I've been collecting off and on for the past thirty-three years.  And up until a few years ago... busting boxes of sports cards was one of my favorite things to do.  The excitement of tearing into the wrapper and seeking that certain card.  Maybe it was the case hit.  Maybe it was the final card for the set I was building.  Either way... it was worth every penny.

As soon as I'd cash my paycheck, I'd head straight to the local card shop, and have my very own cardboard party.

Then one day I woke up and something changed.  The entertainment factor and card values weren't adding up to the cost of the box break.  I reevaluated the way I purchased my cards, completely switched gears, and made the decision to stop purchasing boxes and started spending my money on singles and sets I wanted.

I decided to let others enjoy the risk and reward factors of box busting, while I enjoyed saving space and hand selecting cards for my collection.  It was a win/win decision.  But every now and then, I'll still get that itch.  And a few weeks ago, I relieved it with this box of 1993 Ted Williams Baseball:

I found it on eBay and the guy accepted my $25 (shipping included) offer.  For those of you who aren't familiar with this set, it was the Ted Williams Card Company's inaugural release.  The 160 card set consists of former MLB, Negro Leagues, and All-American Girls' Professional Baseball League players and was printed on UV-coated card stock.

Here's a look at the Steve Carlton's base card:

I really enjoy the standard issue base card's dual image design and the awesome information on the card backs.  They include statistics from the player's five best seasons, along with a small biography supposedly written by Ted Williams.

The set also includes six different subsets.  My two favorites are The Negro Leagues (#'s 97-115) and All-American Girls' Professional Baseball League (#'s 116-120):

Back in 1993, I had never held any cardboard featuring players from either of these leagues.  It's one of those things where I probably didn't appreciate it that much twenty years ago, but today this is one of my favorite parts of the set.

My goal is to build a master set of this product and display it in a binder for easy access.

The box I purchased yielded a complete base set, as well as a complete set of POGs:

Each pack contained one 2-POG card and there are a total of twenty-six different cards.  These are definitely a sign of the times, because I can't imagine any company trying to bring these back.

In addition to the POGs, there were two more insert sets:

1993 Ted Williams Locklear Collection #6

This beautiful insert set features the artwork of Gene Locklear and is printed on matted card stock.  There are ten cards in the set, but I only pulled three of them (#6, #7, and #8).  Luckily they're pretty cheap, so as soon as COMC gets their site back to normal... I should be able to complete my set.

1993 Ted Williams Etched in Stone #ES9

The other insert set is a tribute to Roberto Clemente.  They're very similar to the Upper Deck's Heroes inserts that document a player's life.  It's also a ten card set, but they were a little easier to pull.  I already have half of the set (#6, #7, #8, #9, and #10).  Now I just need to track down the first five cards.

So wha'cha think?

Is 1993 Ted Williams Baseball your cup of tea?

Do you consider yourself more of a box buster?  A set/singles seeker?  Or a 50/50 type of person?  And have you always been that way?

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. I love box busting. It hurts my OCD for completeness if it doesn't deliver a set. But I find it WAY more fun to enjoy busting the packs, which I always drag out for at least a couple of weeks, and enjoying the surprises. Plus, of course, that's how I get dupes to send out in trade packages.

  2. Love busting but my mathematical side certainly knows odds are never in your favour. I try to balance both sides of my Chi and bust some and buy singles and sets too.

  3. Definitely my cup of tea. I'm mostly a singles seeker. But I do buy sets from time to time, often ones like the Ted Williams.

  4. I'm a 50/50, buying a box of Opening Day, packs of others, and trading/swapping/buying individual cards from sets that I'm not interested in the whole set.

  5. I actually bought a box of this not too long ago and am thinking about going after the master set as well, I really like the set.

    I still bust boxes of the flagship Topps products (usually a Jumbo every release) and some other sets that catch my eye but I do much less box busting than in the past. I now focus on a balanced approach and buy more singles for my players/team collections. A few years back I would buy at least a box of each product minus the high end and go after the sets so I think I have gone from 80/20 to about 50/50.

  6. The Ted Williams brand is DEFINITELY my cup of tea. It's one of my favorite sets ever.

    Aside from my yearly boxes of Topps Update, I'm almost exclusively a singles guy now. The incentive to drop good money on a box of cards just isn't there for me anymore.

  7. Singles and sets.. I like to know what I'm getting for my money.. I have an almost complete negro leagues insert set. Do you want it.

    1. Oh and yes I do like the Ted Williams sets

  8. I love the Ted Williams sets. Two of the best sets ever issued.

    Like you I used to bust boxes, but have since moved on to singles and sets. As a teenager with a part-time job in the 1990s, I think my entire paycheck went to my local card store, and I opened a box of every single baseball product that came out, I think. My collecting interests mean it's rarely worthwhile to buy a box, or even packs anymore, and they're even more expensive here in Japan. I have put together a few sets the "hard" way starting with boxes recently - 2012 Triple Play for example. I might do that with 2013 Triple Play. But when I can get a base set and all the inserts for half the price of a box, why bother paying extra for a couple "hits" that aren't worth the added cost?

  9. I like the Ted Williams set. Honestly I've never seen the cards in person.

    I may have satisfied my urges to bust boxes with the case I just opened. Deep down, I love the thrill of the chase, I suppose.

  10. The Ted Williams set is nice. I'd open a box of that for the right price.

    I wish I could afford to bust boxes just because I love ripping packs. Pulling a great card is always fun. It's far too expensive though and I find it's often times disappointing. Buying singles isn't quite as fun, but it gets the job done a lot cheaper.

  11. I love the Ted Williams set, but I only have a few cards of it via repacks. I used to buy boxes all the time but they are too expensive now. I'll buy a box if it's cheap (my last one was 1987 Sportflics - 10 bucks) or I buy the discounted blasters a year later. I do buy a lot of singles now as well.

  12. At one time I was a box buster but about 6-8 years ago I decided to just go with singles, it is cheaper and I get what I want. I still will pick up a couple of hobby boxes around tax time but it is blaster boxes and singles otherwise.

    I love the 1993 & 1994 Ted Williams sets. They are great for getting autographed because the design is so open, so you can find quite a few signed for a reasonable price.

  13. I love me some box-bustin'.
    Haven't done it for a long time.

  14. Back in the early/mid 2000's I busted a lot of boxes. Now I just get together with a couple of friends once a month and we bust a cheap box. Satisfies the need to open something while not breaking the bank.

  15. I haven't bought a box of cards since the junk wax era. Maybe that sentence explains itself.

    I really like the Williams sets. I have a handful of those cards and I ought to go out and find some more.

  16. I love to open packs! If they are stickers or baseball cards. The simple thrill of not knowing what you'll get is the best!
    I only bought a couple of boxes (those with 36 pack and so) to open. Those are really expensive so I prefer those boxes with mixed packs. Those are the best. Even when you get lots of wax packs ;)

  17. If I really want to complete a set, I like to buy a full box so the collation will get me one efficiently. I didn't really realize that was better than buying random rack packs when I re-entered collecting in 2010, and consequently I have a ton of 2010 Update extras.

    I do like looking through all the different cards I have from the late 90s though, when I would buy a different pack every week, and now I have a nice variety from each year. So, I try to pick up a little of everything new that comes out, and a lot of the stuff I like.

  18. The Williams set isn't really my thing but it's cool nevertheless.

    I'm much more of a singles guy, but I get a box or two (maybe, maybe three) a year.

  19. break a box when its a good deal.

  20. The Williams set looks alright; wouldn't buy a pack but don't hate them when they show up in repacks. I guess I'd be considered to be a set seeker, just buying packs to get close to the set and then (recently) turning to the net for the rest. Back in the Star Trek / Wars CCG days, a couple of college buddies and I would combine for a box of the expansion sets. That's all the box busting I've done.