Friday, May 28, 2021

The Last Last Day of School?

Today I sit in my empty, summer cleaning-ready classroom, the students having just left the building on the last day of school. At our school, we have a faculty luncheon to close out the year, but there are two hours between when the students leave and when the luncheon begins. There are a few end-of-the-year loose ends to tie up, such as cleaning the classroom or getting check-out sheets signed. But I don't have those things to do. Taking advantage of free labor, I give each class a cleaning chore before the last day. So by the time school lets out for the summer, I'm all set. With that little time-to-myself-at-work period, I like to open some packs or boxes of cards that I have set aside for the occasion.

This year feels different, though. First, I wasn't able to procure any unopened cards. Obviously, Walmart and Target weren't options for me. I went to the friendly LCS, but I couldn't justify spending the money for new products, and I wasn't about to drop $40-$60 for a blaster box. But I did find these two grab boxes for $6 apiece. I picked up one football and one baseball and I figured that I would most likely run across something that I needed. And about a penny or penny-and-a-half per card, it seemed worth the investment. We'll check out the contents in a minute.

The second reason that it feels different this year is that not only do I have the counters cleared off and the tables shoved against one wall, but I have also removed all of my personal effects from the room. This was my last year as a classroom teacher. Next year, I'm moving into an administrative role at my school. So I'm not sure if I will continue to use the last day of the school year to open some new cards before I go home. I won't have my own, private classroom for the task. Plus, this day won't mark the beginning of summer break anymore. At least not in the way it has in the past. Things will still definitely slow down enormously compared to the school year. But next Tuesday, I'll be back at it for a few weeks before I get any extended time away. So I'm looking around this empty room, walls bare and cabinets empty, books boxed up and bookcases gone, and it's certainly not the typical last day of school.

But what you're really here for are the cards. So here are some of the highlights of my end-of-school year. Having bought this top of grab box from this shop before, I expected the football to outshine the baseball. Typically, the football boxes lean toward modern Score, while the baseball has more 1990 Donruss and 1991 Upper Deck than you can shake a stick at. I figured the value of this purchase would come if I could just get a few cards I want to keep and a good stack that people might actually be interested in trading for, even if I ended up with piles of overproduced cardboard that nobody wants to take off my hands. 

(Get ready for a lot of pictures!)

Well, baseball didn't disappoint. Not only was it not filled with junk wax, but it even had some non-base cards. These are actually all pretty good players, too. I don't collect any of these guys specifically, so they're probably going to be available for trade if anybody wants them.

So to my surprise, 1991 Upper Deck wasn't the most dominant set in the box. In fact, it didn't even show its face. Here are some of the most plentiful sets I pulled out of the baseball box.

Lots of 2019 Heritage, which I like, but didn't buy much of. Here are a few Heritage keepers from the box, highlighted (for me, at least) by the Pat Neshek callback card.

There was also a lot of 2020 Panini Chronicles in the box. I bought a few boxes of 2017 Chronicles, the first year Panini produced it, and I was severely underwhelmed. Since then, Panini has changed the format of the set, incorporating designs from the past and crossovers with their football lines, and I like the change. I would buy Panini Chronicles if I ever saw it in the stores--which I never have. This is a sampling of the variety of sets represented in 2020 Chronicles. I think they look really good. Why does Panini seem to struggle so much with creating an attractive Donruss or Prizm set for baseball when they clearly have the capability to come up with something good like this?

A very pleasant surprise was the inclusion of Stadium Club in the box. Let's just behold the marvel of Stadium Club in this representative sample. What greats cards and great shots. Mike Soroka insert available for trade, if anybody's interested. I'm starting to notice that the box is kind of Braves-heavy now. Freddie Freeman in particular has a few nice cards in this box.

I'd be remiss if I failed to show off the additions to my Cubs collection. Once again, Stadium Club steals the show.

And here are a few other definite keepers for me. I love all four of these cards for various reasons.

So no early 90s Upper Deck or Donruss. In fact, these are the oldest cards of the entire box: 2014 Bowman Chrome. Definitely not what I expected. Also, you can totally see my ID badge in the reflection of this picture.

As for football, I expected some 2019 Score, based on my past experiences. Anyone who has ever collected football cards can immediately tell me what the majority of this box was.

Yep, 1989 Pro Set. This one seemed to have had all the star power removed from the set, too, so there isn't much to show off. The best card in 1989 Pro Set was probably Howie Long.

You probably recognized a lot of older Topps, too. It was one 1985 and a big stack of 1988, which didn't interest me because I've already completed that set.

There were a few interesting cards, though. Such as these Mosaic parallels.

Or a few other inserts and parallels. Of course, I love the Aaron Jones. Darius Leonard is a sweet card of a good player, too. There were a few Red Press Proof from this year's Donruss, but I only showed Quentin Nelson because he was by far the biggest name. Jimmy G and Damien Williams are available for trade.

And this was the rest of the keeper pile. Not a lot that interested me from the football box. I'm pleased with the haul, though, and I'm considering stopping by for another box on my way home. 

I haven't put it all on TCDB yet, but there may be some desirable cards on my tradelist in the near future. If you need 2019 Heritage, let me know because that was the biggest stack. Or if you want 1989 Pro Set or 1988 Topps football commons for a set build, I might have something for you.  
Concerning the new position, I have no idea what it will do to my posting frequency. Not that I'm all that frequent anyway, but I will just have to see what a new job will do to my schedule. I have some new series planned and some old ones to finish off that I hope I'll still be able to get to.

Note: I did decide to pick up another box on the way. I picked out a baseball box and found this inside:

Lots of red and candy striped borders. This box is almost entirely 1990 Donruss, 1988 Fleer, and 1990 Fleer, three of my least favorite overproduced sets. D'oh!


  1. Nice going on that baseball box! And congratulations on the new role!

  2. Congratulations on wrapping up the school year... and making the move to the "dark side". Lol. Just kidding. I hope you enjoy your new role in education. Have a great summer!

  3. You'll probably be adding a few years to your life by moving out of the classroom :)