A hobby box contains 36 packs, with 10 cards to a pack. Hobby boxes also come with a promotional silver pack that contain four chrome cards that are designed like the 1983 Topps set. Some promo packs limited edition parallels and/or autograph cards. Topps also promises either one autograph or relic card per hobby box.
Since I enjoy collecting the flagship set, I bought a hobby box of Series 2. The design, as one might expect, is very similar to Series 1, with full bleed photography and some nice action shots. The design is mostly vertical, although it seemed as if at least three base cards from every pack had a horizontal design.
Other parallels include Vintage Stock, numbered to 99; Independence Day, numbered appropriately to 76; black, a hobby and jumbo box exclusive (67), Mother’s Day pink (50); Father’s Day powder blue (50); Clear, a hobby-only parallel (10); Negative, exclusive to hobby and jumbo boxes; and 1/1 Platinum parallels and printing plates.
The big hit in the box was an autographed rookie card of pitcher Keury Mella. The right-hander began spring training with the Cincinnati Reds this season but was optioned to the Daytona Tortugas of the Florida State League in March. He has since been promoted to the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos of the Southern League.
Mella is scheduled to be the starting pitcher for the South Division squad in Tuesday’s Southern League All-Star Game, as he sports a 6-3 record with a 3.10 ERA.
The stats are nice, but something better than a sticker autograph would have been nicer. However, the signature is bold and written in a blue Sharpie, and while Mella’s handwriting is so-so, the autograph card is not so bad.
Also returning are the inserts that bear the 1983 Topps design. Also returning for Series 2 is the Home Run Challenge, a 50-card promotion that allows collectors to scratch off a panel on the back of the card and enter the code on Topps’ website. If a player homers in the game you’ve chosen, you win a prize.
Topps All-Stars is a 99-card subset, with 75 designed like the 1983 All-Star cards. The backs of these cards describe a great moment from an All-Star game. The remaining 24 are rookies and sports the 1983 base design. In the box I opened I received six All-Stars and three rookies.
Longball Legends, also making its first appearance, is another 50-card insert that chronicles prodigious home runs. I pulled five of these cards, too.
The 2018 Topps Series 2 set provides continuity for collectors and throws in enough wrinkles to make it interesting. It remains a set builder’s delight, and chasing the inserts is still challenging but not impossible.