Not sure if you kids have heard, but the National is in town! No not the band you dirty little hipsters, but The National Sports Collectors Convention has made its return to Chicago. I missed the National the last time it was in Chicago because I was floating over killer whales in Vancouver, but I do plan on showing up for a couple of hours this year.
Not sure what I'm going to go after or what my budget will be (nothing like having a plan!) but I'm leaning towards more baseball than hockey and maybe even some memorabilia as well. After all, we're finally moving to a one-bedroom apartment and might actually be able to find a spot to display some stuff.
As a bit of a warmup I bought something that I'm pretty sure I haven't purchased since I lived in Florida (about 5 years) and is probably the least efficient way to build a set. That's right I forked over $19.99 for a blaster box. A box of what – 2015 Stadium Club!
I've liked what I've seen so far – Topps seems to be bringing it back to the mid/high-level set with great photographs. In all likelihood I'll pick up a box of this at the National, but let's see what my two Andrew Jackson's got me.
Pack One -
First Card of the Year - Luis Aparicio – Lots of former players in the set this year including some that you normally don't see in other releases. He also gets the nod for best looking card in the pack. It was kind of a blah pack to start off with.
Other cards – Jorge Soler (RC!),Garrett Richards, Brett Gardner, Anthony Rizzo
Pack Two -
Best Looking Card – Sonny Gray. Nice use of the horizontal framing. That was one thing I loved about the original run of Stadium Club – full bleed horizontal cards.
Other cards – Jay Bruce, Buster Posey, Wily Peralta, Dusty Baker
Pack Three -
Best Looking Card – C.J. Wilson. Another horizontal card, Wilson rocks the gas mask and swim goggles look as he exchanges a high-five with a random fan.
Other cards – Andrelton Simmons, Phil Hughes, Alex Cobb, Andrew McCutchen
Pack Four -
Best Looking Card – Yasiel Puig. Nice use of the dusky sky in the background as Puig walks back out to the field between innings. Love that we know the exact time that the photo was taken. Does it count as a night card?
First Orioles Card – Manny Machado. Most relaxed photo of the set I think. Also love the blades of the grass under the ball. Sharp.
Other cards – Masahiro Tanaka, Henderson Alvarez, Stephen Strasburg (Gold Parallel)
Pack Five -
Best Looking Card – Elvis Andrus. Action shot! Result of this play – Andrus either sprains his thumb or dislocates his shoulder. Still a good-looking shot.
Other cards – Anthony Rendon, Nelson Cruz, Corey Kluber, Hisashi Iwakuma
Pack Six -
Best Looking Card – Albert Pujols. Another Angels celebration card. They sure celebrated a lot for not winning the World Series.
Other cards – Jjonny Peralta, Josh Harrison, Pablo Sandoval, Brock Holt
Pack Seven -
Best Looking Card – Tim Hudson. Great photo of the long-time veteran kissing the championship trophy. It's not quite like kissing the Stanley Cup, but still a great photo.
First Insert – Starling Marte Luminous Triumvirate. A 1:32 hit. I done beat the odds! And it's shiny!
Other cards – David Price, Josh Donaldson, Sean Doolittle
Pack Eight (The Bonus Pack!)
Best Looking Card – Dale Murphy. Favorite card of the box, honestly. I love the composition of the photo and the old-school Braves uniform.
Bonus Best Looking Card – Ivan Rodriguez. Proportion is everything in the photo. The glove looks huge, the body looks small and his head makes him look like a living bobblehead. Yet, for some reason it all comes together.
Other cards – John Olerud, Starling Marte, Chris Sale (Gold Parallel)
So did I get my money's worth? I think so. Forty cards in the box, two parallels and one insert. It's a nice start to completing the 300-card base set and I prefer packs that have more base and less inserts (number one complaint about the flagship product.
That's all for now, maybe a post-National wrap up post in a couple of days.