Sunday, November 24, 2019

Box Break: 2019 Topps Gallery

 I did a thing.

I...haven't been the hugest fan of Topps' Wal-Mart exclusive Gallery sets, as they're a bit too rookie-centric for no reason, and have the weirdest checklist logic. But they're a modest wintertime seatfiller, so I deal. I kept coming back to Wal-Mart in order to see if the Holiday Boxes had finally hit my area. They hadn't, but the Gallery mega-boxes had. I got one, thinking it'd be the same price.

It wasn't. But...whatever, I have a birthday coming up.

This is pretty much a...traditional box of this. Like, it's patterned like a hobby box, with 20 packs, 5 cards per, two hits, and a box-topper.'s a Wal-Mart product. So because Topps can't sell hobby boxes in hobby shops because it's a retail-exclusive, they're selling the retail store?

Because in a retail store like Wal-Mart, people aren't exactly looking for hobby-box amounts of cards. Target did the same thing, presenting HOBBY BOXES of Fire. And back in the day, Upper Deck deployed a similar strategy for Sweet Spot, selling a 30-dollar tin of the product in Targets everywhere. The goal, I guess, is to get kids into the more competitive stages of the hobby through a simple climate like a retail store. But to established collectors, it looks...backwards.

 Like here. Here is a BOXLOADER I got out of a box of product I bought at a RETAIL STORE. Boxloaders don't usually come out of retail products. But here we are anyway.

It's Jacob deGrom, the now two-time Cy Young winner, and NY sports hero. Not a ton of complaints here.

 Pack 1- This is what the base design looks like this year. It's fancier, but it's the same ol Gallery as the last two years. Note that they continued the trend of getting multiple artists to cover the product, rather than getting Mayumi Seto to do it all, because Topps doesn't like nice things. Like Chicle, having incongruent art-styles allow for some, like Story's and McCullers', to stand out in the wrong way.
 Pack 2- Base favorites. Again, the checklist puzzles me. Domingo Santana and Lance McCullers found a way into this set. Thankfully so did Cavan Biggio.
 And here's an amusing insert, a 1965 style reprint of JD Martinez. These look nice.

 Pack 3- The Kyle Tucker overexposure tour continues. Nice to get a cool-looking Phils Harper, and a routinely cool Thor.
And here's our first auto. Good news is it's a hometown Philadelphia Phillie. Bad news is it's reliever J.D. Hammer, who had a 3.79 ERA in 20 appearances out of the pen. He's...fine. But I'd have preferred Adam Haseley as an obligatory Phils rookie auto.

 Pack 4- Good enough pack selection, with Hoskins, Yelich and Sevvy, but the emphasis on unneeded rookies brings this one down for me.
Pack 5- Topps heard me there, as this one is ENTIRELY made up of unneeded rookies. Which is one of the reasons I don't love this product. At least Harold Ramirez' looks cool.

These inserts I really like. They are called Master & Apprentice, and it's a well-painted shot of two team legends, a former and a current. Yount and Yelich sounds about right.

 Pack 6- I like all of these. The Yu is a bit crunched, but it works as a horizontal.
And another one for the Kyle Tucker overexposure pile. This one does look cool, though. Kinda jarring that the banner says 'Houston' rather than 'Astros' though.

 Pack 7- Some more triumphs. Getting Acuna and Albies in the same pack is pretty cool. I really hope Giancarlo comes back around for the Yanks.
And we've hit our first parallel- this Freddie Freeman green-border is numbered to 99, and that's a pretty solid pull, too. Freeman's pretty awesome.

 Pack 8- Standard stuff, though nice of them to include Voit.
Ken Griffey is our obligatory Hall of Fame insert. Surprising they went for a picture from his 2009-2010 tenure in Seattle, rather than his legendary 90s run.

 Pack 9- Solid lineup here- three team heroes and a star rookie.
 This is a pretty cool Masterpiece insert of Randy Johnson. Kinda wish the rest of the set was set-up this way.

 Pack 10- More rookie nonsense. Paddack and Newman at least made it this year. And a Miguel Andujar, because sure.
This pack's Master and Apprentice, regardless of my hatred of the Cardinals, is pretty cool- Stan Musial and Paul Goldschmidt.

 Pack 11- Freeland and Luciano are good early-season estimates as to how 2019 would go. Ohtani and Jimenez are a bit more accurate.

 And here's a 65T of Miguel Andujar. I'm not complaining that I'm getting Andujar stuff here, but considering that Andujar is looking less and less like a part of the Yankees' future, I'm not sure how much use I'll have for him.

 Pack 12- Standard fare here. Ichiro looks awesome. Freddie we've seen.

 Pack 13- Rookies, an awesome Devers, and a well-painted Lindor.

And our second auto. I was worried this would be my second Sean Reid-Foley auto of the box. Thankfully it's only Reese McGuire, a sharp catching rookie who might go for a starting job in 2020.


Even better, I pulled a blue parallel, which are numbered to 50. Now granted, it is a Red Sox player, but as evidenced by a box break from earlier this year, Pedroia is one of the few lawful Sox pulls I will allow these days. Ya can't help but respect the way he plays.
 Pack 15- NOLA! Goldy! Not a bad smattering here.

Regardless of blurriness, this is another cool Master & Apprentice card of Frank Thomas and Eloy Jimenez. Honestly, I would have gone for Jose Abreu instead of Jimenez, but this still works.

 Pack 16- Hader's looks really cool, but that Judge is damn near perfect.

And a 65T insert of a guy I love pulling cards of, Buster Posey!

 Pack 17- Two Giants rookies, but both did things this year- Shaun Anderson was a solid low-rotation man, and Mike Yastrzemski was awesome. Lester and Bieber ain't bad either

 A LEGENDS SP of the great man on the package, Willie Mays!
 Pack 18- Nothing too special here, though I love that Boagerts card.

 A second HOF insert of another guy I can't go wrong with pulling cards of, SANDY KOUFAX.
 Pack 19- Well, here's the Reid-Foley I was expecting earlier, only this one's not an auto. Kluber's looks good.

 My second Masterpiece insert, a really cool one of Johnny Bench.

 Pack 20- The last of the base, including that needed Tatis rookie, and an awesome Folty.

 Of all the Master & Apprentice cards, this is the one I truly wanted- Vlad Sr. and Vlad Jr. This one looks so damned cool, and does both justice. I love it so much.

There was one more parallel left, a private stock parallel, #'d to 250, of 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts. Yes, I got Sox again, but...not a bad one to get. much as I gripe about this set, it's not BAD. It commits no sins. It just does some annoying things that are indicative of Topps' current release strategies. Base design is fine, inserts are great, hits are...expectedly meh, and I didn't feel gypped. So, all in all, not a bad deal.


  1. That was definitely a fun break. Thanks for sharing. You’re right - Kyle Tucker might be the most over-produced/overhyped rookie. The Vlad duo card is awesome.

  2. Sometimes I think the various art/sketch cards are straight drawn from .... other baseball cards. Check out the Ian Kinsler card in Gallery last year for an example. I got that vibe from a few of the cards you shared.

    And I did not know there were vintage style cards in this now, glad I checked out the break.

  3. Those 1965 inserts are pretty cool. With 40 different cards to chase, that might be a fun set to build.