Gather round, little Chromies, and let's open us up a brand spanking new pack of Topps Chrome. What? You wanted to open a pack of Bowman Chrome? That set has better autos? Why, you pack of ungrateful whippersnappers, you'll open a pack of Topps Chrome and like it, by gum. Besides, no one ever pulls autos from retail packs anyhoo.
236 Kelly Johnson
123 AJ Burnett XFractor 1:3
95 Brian Schneider White Refractor #166/660 1:23
293 Brian Barden RC
Can't complain about this one, 2 refractors and a rookie. Topps finally wised up and started inserting a refractor per pack. Even the lousiest pack can seem good if one of the cards is oh so shiny. Somehow I beat even 1:1 odds and landed two refractors. One of them is Brian Schneider, but hey, it's numbered! if there are at least 661 rabid Schneider fans out there, I can make some good coin off this thing. Burnett is a slightly better pull, plus he's an Xfractor. Topps should have made the whole set Xfractors this year since they're so obsessed with teeny little squares. Teeny squares on the corners of the card, David Wright trapped inside a windowpane of squares on the wrapper and now shiny dancing little squares all over the card. Unfortunately the Xfractor squares don't line up with the corner squares so it's very hard on the eyes. Scanning an Xfractor is always fun though, it looks like AJ got blowed up in a game of Yar's Revenge in that scan.
The rookie I pulled is some scrub from the Diamondbacks. I tried looking up his stats and he has 1 hit in 12 at bats for... St. Louis?? Apparently he was waived by the D-Backs in August and was grabbed by the Cardinals. He's back up for a cup of coffee but hasn't gotten in a game yet for St. Louis. Barden's job prospects look tenuous at best, but as long as Bobby Cox is managing the Braves, Kelly Johnson has got a place on the roster. He could end up playing 2nd base, left field, center field, hell, he might end up the pitching coach next year. This is the guy Bobby stuck with as a rookie when he hit an 0-19 streak and he's not going anywhere. I'll give him credit, with his 15 homers and .870 OPS, Braves fans don't really miss Marcus Giles. Then again, Braves fans so deeply and desperately miss Maddux, Glavine and Millwood that they might not notice if their right nut went missing. I'll tell you what I miss: West Palm Beach. Ever since the Braves moved their spring training home to Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, Topps has been taking pictures in the exact same row of that stadium every year and putting them in the set. Ok, fine, its a nice stadium, but the same damn row?? Someone needs to spring for a Disney World Day Pass, load the whole team onto Space Mountain and let the photographer start shooting away. Now those cards would make some cool Xfractors.
Notes on Ephemera:
Original price of the pack: $2.99
What I paid for the pack: Full retail, like a sucker
Cards per pack: 4
Odds listed for inserts:
Blue Refractor 1:6
Sequentially numbered White Refractor 1:23
Autograph Rookie 1:122
Sequentially numbered Autograph Rookie Refractor 1:570
Sequentially numbered Autograph Rookie White Refractor 1:1475
Generation Now 1:17
The Mickey Mantle Story 1:23
Mantle Home Run History 1:24
Sequentially numbered Insert Refractor 1:71
Sequentially numbered Insert Blue Refractor 1:72
Sequentially numbered Insert White Refractor 1:185
Wrapper Weirdness: Nothing really out of the ordinary here, basic legalese mumbo jumbo typical of all Topps packs. No less than 5 websites are listed on the pack, one for each logo plastered on the back. In order of obviousness they are:
Mick's website redirects to swearingens.com, which looks like it was designed in 1997, so I'm not linking to that one.
You can get an insert card at the odds listed above by sending a 3x5 index card in a #10 envelope to a PO Box in Pennsylvania. Since the odds pretty much guarantee an insert a pack it might be a stamp well spent. Gotta be postmarked by October third though...
I'd tell you the answer for the Canadian skill-test question, but I'm afraid it would violate the DCMA. You Canadians should have paid atTENtion in math class.