Tuesday, May 23, 2017

They can't all be heroes

Just before Twitter bud (@grogg) and fellow namesake (Greg) took off halfway across the country for his new place of residence, he shipped me this big ol' box of surprise.

In the past, Greg has sent me all kinds of cards and in all kinds of formats. Once they arrived in a complete binder. But this package was a little bit different and didn't contain any hand-selected cards.

Instead, the surprise was in the opening:

Two boxes of the only Panini baseball set I've ever cared about, 2013 Hometown Heroes.

That's 24 packs-per-box, chums, all of which I got to open.

I rarely get to do this.

I've mentioned my intentions of completing this set on the blog a few times and Greg noticed. The tricky thing about this set, though, is that I've accumulated much of it already. Most of what's left are a handful of base needs and the almost impossible image variation cards that make up the final 40 cards in the set.

So I was interested to see what kind of damage two boxes could do. Also, the boxes advertise "on card autographs!" so there's high intrigue already.

That's what the first box looked like as I prepared to dig in.

I'm going to show only the cards I needed from each box, so most of the cards you won't see here. But, believe me, I have a bunch of extras. If anyone is collecting this set, and isn't down to the final 30 cards, let me know. I probably have something for you.

Box 1

Box 1 yielded just three base cards that I needed, which tells you everything you need to know about this set. Some of the base cards apparently aren't really base cards, because they're a devil to find.

But that's three off my want list so I can't complain for too long.

That was my image variation. These cards are one per box, which I already knew, and which explains why they're so tricky to find and also how many people collecting this set stop at card No. 260 and yell "COMPLETE!" I, on the other hand, am a slave to the numbers on the back.

Hometown Heroes contains some pretty ridiculous parallels. There are apparently four "state" parallels in a box. Let's forget the lameness of gold-foil parallels for a second and focus on the state theme. The state represents where the player plays, which is as close to being redundant without being redundant as you can get. Yes, I am well aware that Seattle is in Washington. If the states depicted where the player was from, that might be a bit more useful.

One zip code parallel per box. This is a pretty good one to get. Again, the zip code goes with the city listed on the front. I'm not sure why we're supposed to care about that.

Those are the inserts that fell out of the box. I'm partial to the Nicknames insert, of course. The rest are OKish. The Rivalry cards have photoshopped the logos so completely that Kingman could be playing for the Angels there and no one would know.

Inserts also come with border parallels. Those are the three out of box 1. The black parallels are far better than the gold ones.

I was able to pull an autograph out of Box 1. Here it is:

Yup, it's a Cub. Grogg is a Cubs fan. I have no idea how he was able to pull this off. I am amazed.

Box 2

I'll let you know right off that Box 2 didn't contain an autograph. Apparently there is no one-per-box rule with Hometown Heroes. There are no odds on the box or the wrappers so I guess it's luck of the draw.

But I was able to pull a few more base cards that I needed with this box. Combined with those from Box 1, I'm down to needing 10 base cards to fill the set. It's too bad that 48 packs couldn't finished it off, but I guess that's modern card collecting for ya.

My one image variation card was of perhaps the most polarizing former player alive today. I suppose it's appropriate that he's all by himself.

Bring on the foil state variations because it's still 1998 apparently! I'll probably hold on to most of the inserts but any of these foil parallels are definitely up for grabs.

The one zip code variation. Now you know the zip for The Bronx. Feel free to chant it loudly while seated at Yankee Stadium. They seem to like doing that stuff there.

Box 2 was much busier with inserts.

Two more.

And those are the parallel inserts.

Those two boxes were pretty fun to open even if I still find myself needing some more base cards. Obviously I'll be cherry-picking those remaining wants online.

In total, I needed 8 base cards, 2 variation cards and 17 inserts from the boxes. They can't all be heroes when you're this far into the set.

But I sure do appreciate Greg being my box-supplying hero.


  1. Definitely a nice batch of cards.

  2. I know you don't particularly care for the Cubs, but nice pull on the Jo-dee Davis, catcher without fear! He doesn't get enough hobby love; a highly underrated catcher and key part of one of the city's most beloved squads.

    Also, those nickname cards are by far the best inserts. Since you love cartoons on the backs of cards, I can't say I'm surprised to learn that you're also partial to these.

  3. consider #157 done and sitting in your stack. I probably have the rest back home, but it'll be 6 weeks before I'm back there.

  4. I'd never seen that ridiculous "Rivalry" insert set. Let's emphasize the very thing we're not allowed to show you! It's even more ludicrous in Kingman's case as he only played 8 games for "New York Baseball Club" (but he did play 664 games for "New York Baseball Club")

  5. Parallel inserts should be banned. They're like inserts you could've had but are invalidated, so you're staring at them but still need one.
    The name with the most appearances on my remaining want list is Nolan Ryan. Still need three of his inserts, including the Curtain Call you got.

  6. I think this is my favorite Panini baseball product every. Great design. Solid checklist.

  7. Yeah, it's a solid set. You could set that Gwynn state parallel aside for me if you've got no other plans for it.

  8. one of my fave Paninis. Good looking Trammel! What a cool surprise from Greg!

  9. Did you pull any Bucky Dent? I needs!