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Blog Bat-Around: 5 best pack-pulled hits (plus a few others)

All right, time to inject a little spirit of community into the blog world again. Everyone's gone off into their own directions, even if they didn't ditch their blog 10 years ago. What we need is another Blog Bat-Around.

This version was started by Matt of Diamond Jesters. Inspired by his recent pull of a Tony Gwynn bat relic in 2024 Topps, he listed his top five pack-pulled hits.

I'm taking up the challenge, but, per usual, I've got to complicate things.

For starters, Matt used handy-dandy TCDB to determine what hits he's pulled over the years. There's a way to filter out just those kinds of cards in your collection. However, I've received a number of hit cards -- autographs and relics -- from other collectors and they're all mixed in now. It's difficult to figure out what came from what.

I am relying on my trusty blog instead, it's got a pretty good record of what I've collected in the last 15-plus years. But the second issue is: what is a top five pack pull? For instance, the Gywnn card Matt pulled is objectively a top-five pull. But if I pulled that, I wouldn't know what to do with it -- except trade it to someone. Shouldn't "top-five" mean something I can use?

Thirdly, I've traded away a lot of hits for exactly the Gwynn reason. Others could appreciate them a lot more.

But I'm doing this exercise regardless. And I'm not stopping at five. I'm going all the way to 20. I'll separate the top five from the rest so you can stop reading at the end of five if you wish (if you're still reading now, that is). 
No reverse order this time. Starting from the top.

1. Gene Hackman/Coach Norman Dale, autograph

My top pull ever happened in 2017 when I extracted this Gene Hackman autograph out of a pack bought at Walmart. I knew right away that this was probably the best autograph in the whole 2017 Allen & Ginter checklist. Who doesn't love "Hoosiers"? I also knew right away that I wouldn't have it for long and I don't. It's one of the few cards I've sold for plus-$100.

2. Clayton Kershaw, relic

I've never been lucky enough to pull a Clayton Kershaw autograph -- we lowly retail purchasers take what we can get. But I thought it was phenomenal when I pulled a Kershaw relic card in 2016 out of A&G. The odds of pulling a hit of your favorite player have got to be up there. So I was happy.

3. John Smoltz, autograph

The "how" of pulling this is as good or better than the "who". I pulled this card out of a $20 repack box using a Target gift card I received for Christmas four days into 2017. I wasn't expecting much opening four packs of 2015 Topps Series 1 as I had completed the whole set more than a year prior. But then Smoltzie fell out. Not long after, I traded it to Johnny's Trading Spot for a 1958 Pee Wee Reese.

4. Curt Schilling-Josh Beckett-Daisuke Matsuzaka, triple relic

My chances for landing large hits were better in the first couple years of the blog as I was buying everything that moved, hobby and all. When would I ever purchases SPx now? When would I find a hobby shop that sold SPx now? SPx doesn't even exist anymore! Anyway, all those dudes up there were a big deal at the time. I traded it to the late, great Ben of Cardboard Icons.

5. Ichiro Suzuki, relic

Around 2018, 2019, my ability to pull hits out of packs decreased as I was buying fewer modern packs. But an Ichiro swatch snuck through in 2019. It wasn't as exciting to me because he is wearing a Yankees uniform, so I found someone to take it.

Those are my top five. And I still have only one of them. Now you know why I'm doing more than five!

Less words for the next 15.


6. Johnny Podres, autograph

I've mentioned this card several times. It's my first pack-pulled hit. I pulled it out of a rack pack in Buffalo sometime early in my return to collecting, probably in 2006. I missed entirely the sensation of relics and autographs first inserted into packs years prior so this was my first experience. Little did I know that "hits" can be much, much worse than this.

7. Rod Carew, relic

Part of a streak of hits pulled during the summer of 2016. I don't have it anymore. If Carew was a Twin, I'd probably still have it. And it's probably be in the Top 5.

8. Stephen Strasburg, purple refractor

Lordy this was a big deal when I pulled it out of Bowman in June of 2010 right when Strasburg Hysteria was in High Frenzy. I sold it, because that's what you do when hysteria hits, but I didn't find it fun (the buyer tried to welsh on the deal) and I'm glad I don't pull stuff like this a lot.

9. Robinson Cano, autograph

I don't remember the circumstances surrounding this pull out of Stadium Club. Obviously at numbered to 10 it's a big deal. Cano, I believe, was doing very well at the time because the online reaction to this was pretty big. These days Cano has kind of vanished out of memory with only his Mets disappointment in my mind. But yeah, don't have this anymore either.

10. Alex Rodriguez, relic

I pulled this during Gint-a-Cuffs festivities, the first year of it in 2009. For newbies, "Gint-a-Cuffs" involved a contest in which participants bought a hobby box of Allen & Ginter and showcased the pack on line, scoring it according to an arbitrary points system. A-Rod wasn't worth much because participants were penalized for pulling Yankees (good strategy), but a relic of A-Rod is a desirable pull in most cases. Still, I can't be having Yankees in the house, so it's gone.
All right, I promised to write less and I haven't. Let's see about the next five!

11. Jose Altuve, auto/relic

This probably should be higher. I have blind spot with Astros. I grabbed this out of a single hanger pack of 2020 Topps. A week later the world shut down, cards were whisked off of shelves and this seemed all a dream.

12. George Foster, autograph

Pulled from a Christmas cornucopia of blasters purchased by my sister-in-law in 2022. Foster as a Red is one of those childhood titans that always has meaning, which is why I still own this card.

13. Wander Franco, refractor

At the time, in the spring of 2022, there was no one better to pull if you wanted to sell a current card. I sold it. I'm glad I pulled it when I did ... for more than one reason.

14. Johnny Cueto, autograph

My first hit pulled after starting a blog. It came out of a pack of 2008 Stadium Club ... well, the redemption did. Then I waited and waited. But it showed up.

15. Billy Ripken, F-face variation

Ha, ha, this is one of those delayed pack-pulled hits that happen periodically. I got a box of 1989 Fleer from Johnny's Trading Spot to open and the most notorious card of 1989 fell out.

OK, five more ...

16. Theo Epstein, relic

Allen & Ginter has lots of fun stuff like this. I don't know what the jersey bit is (it's possible I determined the source when I pulled this in 2018). But this is a card that suits others more than me. I can say that about virtually all Cubs cards. See: the three Anthony Rizzo relics I pulled in 2017. I now own none of them.

17. David Wright, relic

Did you know sometimes I bought TWO hobby boxes of Allen & Ginter for Gint-a-Cuffs festivities? WHO WAS I? This is a pretty one from 2010 A&G. Very colorful. It's long gone.

18. Max Muncy, Independence Day parallel

This card, numbered to 76, of a starter on my favorite team, was pulled on my birthday, while I was on vacation, the summer after Muncy's World Series heroic home run, from a pack my daughter bought me. You can't beat that.

19. Jimmy Rollins, relic

Another hit pulled from a Gint-a-Cuffs box. Contrary to the pulls shown here, my Gint-a-Cuffs pulls were pretty lousy -- don't look at your old blog posts, kids. Rollins was a great player at the time and I liked him but he shouldn't be No. 3 all-time in pulls from all the A&G hobby boxes I've bought.

20. Nana Meriwether, autograph

Pulling a card of Miss USA is something you can only do in A&G.

I don't know how "sick" any of these hits are. I'm not that kind of a collector. But looking back on them all over the last couple of days, I feel like I've been pretty lucky to pull them.

My chances of doing the same are a lot less these days, but there's always hope, which is why we still all buy packs -- for our favorite players, yes, for our favorite teams, definitely, to finish a set, for sure, but also to pull something that makes the day worth it.


Jeremya1um said…
I was wondering if the Heritage Luis Robert SP you pulled a few years ago would make it, but I guess all of the others you listed were better ones. Glad to see you’ve pulled some nice stuff. I’ll have to get my best pulls sorted out and make a post.
I honestly open very little, but I enjoyed reading this one. I lived a little vicariously through you.
We did that 7 years ago? I'll have to peek at my newly renovated 2017 Braves binder.
Matt said…
I can see why you told me not to see your list. Incredible luck with Ginter!! I wished I had that luck and wished I had that number one card. Wow!

I wouldn't have called it a boring break if I had your luck!
Chris said…
I think I ended up with your Ichiro relic.

This is a great BBA and I hope it catches on, but I'll have to sit this one out. All of my top 5 pack pulls were sold long ago, and while some might doubt me without pictures, I'd be embarrassed to admit I let them go :/
Nick Vossbrink said…
Once I rule out stuff from guaranteed hit products like Archives Snapshots there's a very real possibility that the JD Drew relic I sent you years ago is in my top 5.
I would have thought the Podres would have ranked higher. I love the Foster Auto!
Two come to mind for me:

- An A&G framed mini Mariano Rivera auto. Although I definitely prescribe to the NYY being the Evil Empire, I do love this card. His signature is incredibly neat and legible.

- A 2020 Topps Update 2/5 Kershaw auto (sorry NO, I need to keep this). Although a sticker auto, it's still Clayton.
Zippy Zappy said…
"Shouldn't "top-five" mean something I can use?"
Big shocker but I agree with this sentiment. I've pulled three cards serially numbered to 1/1 and they're all long gone.
Fuji said…
You've had some very nice pulls over the years. That Hackman is truly a unique and high dollar pull. My other favorites would be the Ichiro, Carew, and Kershaw A&G relics. And it's really cool that you can say you pulled the iconic FF card from a pack.

I'm hoping to join this BBA. It will take some time to get a list put together though.
Jafronius said…
Great list! I also figured Podres would have been higher.