Friday, February 21, 2014

10 things repacks offer that 2014 whatever doesn't

I had a day off the other day and to get the hell away from the Olympics I went out on the town. But I was with family, so instead of ending up at some bar on the sketchy side of town sitting next to a strumpet named Tina with vodka breath, I landed in the card aisle at Target.

There were only three realistic options in that aisle. Some 2014 Topps, some 2013 A&G or some repack action.

I'm not collecting 2014 Topps and all the Series 1 Dodgers are mine, so that's just a parallel exhibition and I didn't have the heart for it. I looked at A&G and that just seemed too expensive to me. But two repacks -- 200 cards -- for $10 bucks? That I can do.

Even the guy who is always behind the checkout counter recognized the benefits of that kind of deal. "You get a lot of cards," he said. One of these days, I'm going to ask him if he's a collector. But right now he's annoying me because every time I go through his line with cards, he says "what's your favorite team?" and I tell him "Dodgers" and he gets this scrunchy look on his face that just says "Yankee fan." And then I get in his line two weeks later and he repeats the whole scene and I'm hurt because he doesn't remember my enthusiastic Dodger response and then I wonder why I care about whether some Yankee fan remembers me.

Anyway, 10 bucks yields lots of cards. I've gone on an on about the benefits of repacks and I always feel like I'm repeating myself or repeating other blogs. We all know that the chief benefits of repacks is you get a lot of old cards for a good price.

But what else? What else can repacks offer that the latest and greatest -- we hiked the price on you because it was born in 2014 -- can't?

Well, I just so happened to come up with 10 things that repacks have over 2014 cards. And those things were all featured in the repacks that I bought Wednesday.

So observe where your hard-earned money is going when you buy a repack and where it isn't going when you buy 2014 whatever:

1. Cards cut from a magazine: Perhaps there would be some upset collectors if 2014 Topps contained flimsy cards physically cut with scissors from a magazine. But I wouldn't have a problem. This card, by the way, is expertly trimmed. Nice job, random collector from 1991.

2. Rated Rookies: Sure, 2014 Topps has "Future Stars," but they don't even know how to properly label the subset, lumping known players with full major league seasons under the Future Stars tag. Rated Rookie will have none of that.

3. Legends of the game cards without the implied "we can offer you legends of the game and NO ONE ELSE CAN" that comes with legends cards in current sets: There were lots of Yankees in these repacks. But I didn't mind these ones.

4. Legends who you haven't been beaten over the head with these last few years: I hate that I'm saying this out loud, but I'm a little sick of Sandy Koufax cards in current sets. Find some other guys please. And, man, I've been saying this for like five years now.

5. Upgrades: I imagine some people shy away from repacks because they know they're going to get cards they already have. So? It gives you an excuse to pull those cards out of your collection and see if you can upgrade any of them. I love doing that. By the way, repack gods, I could really use an upgraded 1987 Topps Mel Hall card. I'm sure you only have a few thousand of those to spare.

6. Unadvertised colored refractors: One of the great perks of repacks is mojo cards like these that are totally unexpected. In current sets, if you want to obtain a chrome product, you have to track down a pack or a box that actually says "chrome" on it. In fact, it's probably screaming "CHROME" on it. You can't just have a chrome card fall out of a 2014 product unexpectedly. That would be giving you an added bonus and we all know that the only bonus available for card consumers is "7 packs plus one additional pack."

(P.S.: The Kinsler is already spoken for)

7. Expos: If you pull an Expo in a current product, it's probably some legend homage. Andre Dawson in an Expos uniform. And we're supposed to get all nostalgic and weepy and grateful to Topps. Dudes and dudettes, buy a repack and your chances of finding Expos explodes exponentially.

8. Holograms: Somewhere, at some point in time, it was decided that holograms weren't cool anymore. I don't know who was on this committee but I hope they're happy with themselves. Holograms never stopped being cool. Thank goodness repacks know this.

9. Players who you've interviewed: OK, this applies only to me. But I'm getting so editor-like that my interviewing days are almost behind me. That means the players who were graced by having a conversation with me are all old-timers ... in repacks.

10. Autographed cards: Sure, Jason Hirsch played about a third of a season for the Rockies and that was it. But I have pulled an autograph card out of a retail product maybe two or three times in my life. So this is a rare day indeed. And it did not come from 2014 product, nor from a hobby box. It came from a repack.

Implied in all of this is that repacks have an element of fun that current cards do not. Sure, current cards are fun, especially when they first hit the stores. But current cards have a short shelf life.

Repacks have an almost unlimited shelf life. If they're around 30 years from now, I'll be having the same kind of fun as I was in 2014.

And I guarantee you, those repack cards will be more interesting than whatever 2044 product is in the card aisle.


  1. I can't believe you didn't hit the oddballs. So many great oddballs in those repacks. From food issues to Duracell to those old box set cards from fleer and woolsworth.

    1. 1, 3, 4 and 8 all fall under the "oddball" category, so I think I covered it.

  2. A night out with the Target! All family nights should include a Target trip.

  3. Target repacks are the bomb. I think I am coming to the conclusion that the $5 100 card rack packs seem the best for me.

    1. I'm with ya, Jeff. Those are a whole lot more fun than a pack of the new stuff for not that much more $

  4. Holograns will always be cool. How they were just an early 90s thing and the disappeared is baffling.

  5. Target has these 20 pack repacks for $20. 1 Pack of 2008 Heritage Hobby and 13 packs of what eppears to be the Topps Set that had Joe Mauer on the cover. and 5 or 6 other packs. Can't bring myself to bit off on them. And what is with the 4 packs of Topps with 1 bonus Power Play card. Are the PP cards that popular?

  6. I stopped at Target Wednesday and picked up 3 of the hard plastic repacks. Nice stuff, some stars, some oddball and a couple of unopened packs. 2013 Topps update and a pack 0f 89 Fleer and it was a Rickey Henderson, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Fred Lynn and a Kevin Mitchell: I'll take that pack any day. And a ?, which repacks to you like, the soft rack pack or the hard plastic packs that are a injury hazard to open?

    Jerry Yeager

    1. I like the rack packs. You can get them for cheaper than the plastic thingies and -- I may be imagining this -- but the cards seem better.

  7. All I know is if I pulled that Tino Martinez from a repack, I'd dance for joy.