Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Whether you plan to stay in or go out to celebrate, I wish you and yours a healthy and happy new year!  I hope you will continue to visit my blog (and maybe even trade some baseball cards and/or LEGOs with me in the upcoming year).

Happy 2013!!

Trade Stack 44: 9 Cards, 9 Sets, 9 Teams!

Here is how this works:
Every so often (i.e. whenever I feel like it), I will add a card to a "Trade Stack".  Whenever the stack becomes appealing enough to someone, that person needs to comment on the post saying they'd like to claim the stack AND tell me which card they are sending off of my want list.  That's all you have to do - trade me ONE card (or more, of course) card from my want list for the entire stack of cards that I'm offering.  Each time, it will be first come, first act quickly (unless of course you are a gambler and hope to wait it out until there are 10+ cards in the stack that you want in exchange for a single 2004 UD Vintage card that I am looking for)!

The Trade Stack:
Last update:  12/31/12

I posted my 2013 New Year's Resolutions a few days ago in an effort to "beat the crowd".  Today, while you are reading everyone else's resolutions, why don't you also take a moment to see if the current trade stack is of interest to you.  After today's addition, the stack will be 9 cards tall - certainly not a bad haul for any single card (or more) off my want list!  

Today's card is from the 1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated box that I recently busted.  The card is thicker than than most typical base cards - and with this addition, there are now nine teams representing nine different sets in the trade stack.  It's hard to beat that for variety at least!  Eventually someone will claim the stack - the question is, when?

1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated:
172.  Cliff Floyd - Marlins

1991 Score:
460.  Frank Viola - Mets

1985 Topps:
604.  Daryl Sconiers - Angels

2000 Skybox Metal:
98.  Bobby Higginson - Tigers

2003 Fleer Authentix:
104.  Chris Snelling - Mariners

2012 Topps Archives:
12.  Pablo Sandoval - Giants

1998 Upper Deck Collector's Choice:
54.  Kevin Foster - Cubs

1991 Donruss:
(MVP Subset)
412.  Chris Sabo - Reds

2005 Upper Deck Classics:
98.  Lyman Bostock - Twins

Want the card(s) in the stack?  Act fast - tell me which card you will send me off my want list in the comments below!  You must leave a comment on the trade stack post in order to claim the card - no more claims via email!  If no one claims this card within a reasonable amount of time (a few hours up to a few days, depending) - I'll add another card to the stack and the process will start again!

Previously Claimed Trade Stacks:
Stack 01:  2 cards by dayf
Stack 02:  8 cards by Justin
Stack 03:  17 cards by Cam
Stack 04:  4 cards by Cam
Stack 05:  9 cards by Daily Dimwit
Stack 06:  4 cards by The Lost Collector
Stack 07:  1 card by Baseball Dad
Stack 08:  1 card by M. Spiegel
Stack 09:  6 cards by bwsmith25
Stack 10:  6 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 11:  1 card by Patrick
Stack 12:  5 cards by Matt B.
Stack 13:  4 cards by Steve G.
Stack 14:  3 cards by ShaneK
Stack 15:  7 cards by Ryan G
Stack 16:  1 card by longlivethewho
Stack 17:  4 cards by hiflew
Stack 18:  4 cards by Potch
Stack 19:  2 cards by Axemanohio
Stack 20:  5 cards by by Play at the Plate
Stack 21:  5 cards by BA Benny
Stack 22:  1 card by IkesCards
Stack 23:  8 cards by Axemanohio
Stack 24:  1 card by BA Benny
Stack 25:  2 cards by Jeff P.
Stack 26:  10 cards by Axemanohio
Stack 27:  1 card by BA Benny
Stack 28:  7 cards by ThingsAreFunnerHere
Stack 29:  3 cards by TheBrooklynMet
Stack 30:  4 cards by Adam C.
Stack 31:  10 cards by Play at the Plate
Stack 32:  8 cards by Josh D.
Stack 33:  6 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 34:  1 card by Potch
Stack 35:  9 cards by Cool Breeze
Stack 36:  11 cards by Kev 
Stack 37:  6 cards by Tunguska
Stack 38:  12 cards by Baseball Dad
Stack 39:  8 cards by Spiegel83
Stack 40:  1 card by Kyle4KC
Stack 41:  4 cards by dayf
Stack 42:  1 card by AdamE
Stack 43:  1 card by madding
Stack 44:  ?? by ??

The State of Nachos Grande (Briefly)+ Pack War Pack #5

It's the final day of the year 2012.  I guess the Mayans totally screwed that prediction up.  There is a lot to look forward to in 2013 here at Nachos Grande.  For one, I have TWO new (unopened) boxes of cards to bust on the blog that I got for Christmas.  I also have a whole slew of LEGO minifigures to show off...and a sweet LEGO set that I got for Christmas (I think my wife thinks she married a twelve year old sometimes).  Finally, I have a few other surprises that will make their appearances in due time.  However, it's still 2012 so we have to wait at least one more day...for now, let's crack open another pack out of the repack box for the ongoing Pack War.

Pack Wars - Pack 05:
2010 Topps Series 2 (12 card pack):

The repack box had 20 packs in, unfortunately half of them were packs from 2011 Topps (Series I, II, and Update).  There were a few gems in the box though (including the current leader:  Allen & Ginter).  Will the 2010 Topps pack have any magic in it?

385.  Torii Hunter - Angels
The 2010 Topps design is still a favorite of mine, though I would have preferred team logos over the team name on the front of the card.  Even so, it's a nice looking set.  That said, Hunter's card is pretty blah.  +1

516.  Marlon Byrd - Cubs
Moving along.  +0

496.  Rajai Davis - Athletics
I seem to draft Rajai on my fantasy team every year...and every year I seem to drop and pick him back up two or three times over the course of the season.  He's unpredictable there but now he's on my turf.  -2 for making me scour the waiver wire too often.

384.  Chris Johnson - Astros

I miss the rookie cup logo that 2011 had on its rookie cards.  I'm amused that the back of Johnson's card talks him up by discussing his eight spring training home runs.  +5 for laughter.

469.  Alex Burnett - Twins
Another rookie, but I don't know anything about Burnett.  +1 for palm trees in the background.

Cards Your Mother Threw Out:  CMT113.  Justin Verlander - Tigers

Did my mother really throw out a 2006 Topps card...and if she did, can I blame her?  -2 for a good idea (CYMTO) done poorly (reprints of cards newer than 1982).

Blue back continuity set:  26 of 45.  Warren Spahn - Braves

To be honest, I have no idea what this set is.  I'm guessing by the blue back that it was some sort of Wal*Mart exclusive.  When I built the 2010 set, I did so by buying a couple of jumbo boxes so I missed out on all the retail only sets.  I'll give this a +10 because it was a pleasant surprise!

Topps Town:  Alex Rodriguez - Yankees
I didn't check the code to see if it still works...first one to claim it can have it if it does work!

Not only is this a useless card, but it's of a Yankee.  -8

337.  Carlos Zambrano - Cubs
Carlos was a hothead and most people don't seem to like him because of that...however, I always enjoyed his meltdowns because it meant the Reds had a chance to win!  +3 for melting down quicker than an iceberg in Hades.

580.  Ian Snell - Mariners
I didn't mind Snell when he was a Pirate but I don't think I ever realized he became a Mariner.  +1 for teaching me things.

549.  Derek Jeter - Yankees

I'm no Jeter fan, nor am I a Yankee fan...however, even I can respect this card.  I like the photo enough that I'll overlook the Yankee-ness of the thing.  +2

626.  Glen Perkins - Twins
We recently got a Perkins restaurant built a mile or two from my house which is good because I like breakfast food!  +5 for that, but -2 for making me hungry = +3 overall.

Pack total:  14 points

A decent effort, but in the end the pair of less-than-compelling inserts brought the pack down.  With five packs opened, the spread from first to worst is only 5 points, definitely a close race so far!  Will Allen & Ginter reign supreme (there's a second Allen & Ginter pack yet to be opened) or will some other set take away the crown?

Pack Wars II Current Standings:
+19:  2011 Allen & Ginter (6 card pack)
+16:  2011 Topps Series 2 (8 card pack)
+15:  2011 Topps Series 1 (12 card pack #2)
+14:  2011 Topps Series 1 (12 card pack #1)
+14:  2010 Topps Series 2 (12 card pack)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Trade Bait: Come and Get It!

I posted the following cards yesterday, but it was (perhaps) too early in the morning for people to be thinking about possible trades.  Most of my "have lists" live at the top of my blog - which means I need to keep a box with the cards in an area that is fairly easily accessible for possible trades.  Since I don't have all that many cards for trade from the 1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated set, I wanted to offer them up one more time in case anyone is interested.  After that, the cards will go into either my box of cards I use as part of the trade stacks or into the various team duplicate boxes (which I take from when I complete trades as throw-ins sometimes).  As usual, I will trade for anything on my want list (including other 1999 S.I. cards that I need and/or LEGOs).

Here's what I have available for trade:

13.  Stolen Base Leaders (Henderson & Womack)
30.  Season Highlights:  Kerry Wood
41.  Season Highlights:  New York Yankees
60.  Prospects:  Padres
61.  Prospects:  Phillies
75.  Juan Gonzalez
81.  Raul Mondesi
99.  Mark Grace
104.  Vinny Castilla

114.  Albert Belle
119.  Rondell White
142.  Robin Ventura
149.  Alex Rodriguez
172.  Cliff Floyd
174.  Tom Glavine

This is a nice looking set that I think a lot of people ignored when it came out.  It got lost in the shiny and craziness that defined the late 90s!  If you are interested in any of the above cards (or any other of my trade bait cards) let me know via comments or email and hopefully we can work something out!

Pack Wars: Bringing Diamonds Back

After the 2011 Allen & Ginter pack crushed the 2011 Topps lead, it only seems fair to give base Topps a chance to reclaim the top of the leaderboard.  The next pack is also a chance for Series 1 to bounce back since the first Series 1 pack had the worst Pack Wars score to date.

Pack Wars - Pack 04:
2011 Topps - Series 1 (12 card pack)

The first Series 1 pack out of the retail pack only managed to score 14 points (two points worse than the 8 card Series 2 pack)!  Was the poor score a fluke or does 2011 Topps Series 1 really, truly suck?

281.  Kevin Slowey - Twins
Not much to say about Slowey.  The back of the card has a quote saying that "whenever he's (Slowey) been on the mound, it seems like we have really good chances to win the games."  That sounds like a backhanded compliment to me.  -2

289.  Yuniesky Betancourt - Royals
-3 points for having a name that I have to double check how to spell.

153.  A.J. Pierzynski - White Sox
I'd dock him 3 points as well but he'd probably try to rip my face off since he's mean.  -4 instead.

59.  Gaby Sanchez - Marlins

+5 for the rookie cup.

88.  Brian Bogusevic - Astros
I think I am going to feel bad for all Astros fans this coming season.  However, back in 2011 the Astros were in the NL Central and thus a Reds' foe.  -1 point.

293.  Justin Morneau - Twins

One of the few Twins that I can name, +3 for that alone.

BDW10.  Blue Diamond:  Joey Votto - Reds

WOOOOOOOOoooooooo!  A new Reds insert for me, and of Joey Votto no less.  I didn't own this yet so +20!

Diamond Duos:  DD-US:  Justin Upton & Mike Stanton

Other than the fact that these two are both outfielders, I don't think they belong on the same comparison card.  -3 points.

Topps Town:  TT-32.  Mike Stanton
I don't like getting back-to-back Marlins inserts, who wants Marlins cards?!  Heck, Marlins fans don't even show up to watch their own team play.  -3 for having lousy fans and a lousier ownership.

44.  Martin Prado - Braves
I'm not sure Prado is really an All-Star no matter what the facts say. -2 points.

290.  Ike Davis - Mets

I like the shot of the scoreboard in the background.  +2 points.

176.  Daniel Hudson - Diamondbacks
Nothing much to add about Mr. Hudson...he has the word "miraculous" on the back of his card though, that should be good enough for a +2.

Pack total:  +15 points

Well, it wasn't pretty but the pack managed to stay out of the basement.  The big catch (and best card of the repack box so far) was the Joey Votto Blue Diamond card since it was new to me.

Pack Wars II Standings:
+19:  2011 Allen & Ginter (6 card pack)
+16:  2011 Topps Series 2 (8 card pack)
+15:  2011 Topps Series 1 (12 card pack #2)
+14:  2011 Topps Series 1 (12 card pack #1)

Pack Wars: Allen & Ginter Drops the Hammer

Yesterday, I began the process of busting 20 packs out of a repack box as part of Pack Wars II.  At this point, the leading pack as 16 points.  Will Allen & Ginter crush the 2011 Topps Series 2 pack or will Series 2 reign supreme for at least one more pack?

Pack Wars - Pack 03:
2011 Topps Allen & Ginter (6 cards):

The 2011 Allen & Ginter set is a favorite of mine so I'm obviously excited to open the pack.  That said, there isn't much that I still need in the set so I'm expecting a bunch of duplicates.  Even worse, this pack only has six cards which means beating a score of 16 might be too difficult to do!

193.  Jorge De La Rosa - Rockies
We begin with a dud.  +1 because I like Ginter.

240.  Matt Holliday - Cardinals

Ew, a Cardinal!  I'm no fan of Holliday's, though I don't despise him as much as I do guys like Chris Carpenter.  -2 for being the wrong team in red.

186.  Yunel Escobar - Blue Jays
Once again, another rather dull card.  I don't have anything against Escobar (or the Blue Jays) so I'll give this a +1.

Ascent of Man:  AOM13.  Eutherians

The Ascent of Man cards are a bit of a lightning rod for those who don't want discussion of creation vs. evolution cropping up in their baseball cards.  Ignoring that aspect, the set itself is pretty cool because it makes a giant mural if you line up all the cards in order.  +5 for the unique design element, +5 more for being one of the better images in the mural = +10 total.

Hometown Heroes - HH8.  Stephen Drew - Diamondbacks

Another insert (though these are basically one-per-pack cards) unlike the 1:6 Ascent of Man cards.  I like the biographical information on the back of the card though, so +4 for Stephen Drew.

A&G back mini:  139.  Tim Howard

I love the mini cards, easily the best part of Allen & Ginter.  Unfortunately, I'm trying to collect the regular back minis, not the ad back minis!  That said, there are worse subjects to get than Tim Howard I suppose.  +5 for being seeded 1:5 packs.

Code card advertisement
It turned out that the ad cards were instrumental in solving the Ginter code back in 2011.  That was kind of cool then but it doesn't net the pack any points now.  +0.

Pack total:  +19

Woah!  The Allen & Ginter pack has become the new "top dog" in the Pack Wars.  Too bad for A&G that there are still 17 more packs that need to be opened.  Even so, the bar has been raised slightly - will any other pack be strong enough to clear the new hurdle?

Pack Wars II Standings:
+19:  2011 Allen & Ginter (6 card pack)
+16:  2011 Topps Series 2 (8 card pack)
+14:  2011 Topps Series 1 (12 card pack)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pack Wars Continued: 2011 Topps

Earlier today, I opened the first pack out of the repack box that I'm using for Pack Wars.  The initial pack (2011 Topps Series 2) scored a seemingly impressive +16 points.  Will the first pack's total be enough to win the entire competition or will the second pack out of the box immediately trump the first's total?  Let's find out!

Pack Wars - Pack 02:
2011 Topps - Series 1 (12 card pack):

There are four of the Series 1 packs in the repack box.  I still need exactly on exactly one of the diamond parallels from Series 1 (#306).  If any of the four packs have that card, it'll be tough to beat that pack in terms of score!

85.  Jack Wilson - Mariners
I've already decided that I'm not going to scan every card in the pack (unlike the first pack).  You've all probably seen your fair share of 2011 Topps at this point.  As for this card, "meh" is all I can say. +1 I suppose.

189.  Kerry Wood - Yankees
Ugh, a Yankee.  -5

208.  Clay Buchholz - Red Sox
Ugh, a Red Sox. -3

303.  Emelio Bonifacio - Marlins

A great photo if you ask me, I love the shot of all the dirt flying!  +5

161.  Chicago White Sox
I kind of like the team cards (though not as much as I used to when I was younger).  I'll still give this one a +3.

306.  AL RBI Leaders

If only this were a diamond parallel instead (this is the lone diamond parallel card I need from Series 1).  I'll give it a +2 though just for informing me which card it is that I need without me having to look through my binder.

Diamond Duos:  DD-PC.  Albert Pujols & Miguel Cabrera

I don't care for the majority of the Diamond Duo cards (these are seeded 1:4 packs).  That said, this is a nice pairing that actually makes sense (power first basemen from each league).  +5

60 Years of Topps:  54.  Justin Verlander

Topps has used the reprint gimmick way too much for me to have any interest now in sets like 60 Years of Topps.  +2 though because it is Verlander and he's a beast.

Topps Town:  13.  Chase Utley

I would prefer to give this card a -10 but I was dumb enough to collect the entire Topps Town set so I can't do that.  Instead it gets a +1.

220.  Todd Helton - Rockies
A nice card of the lifetime Rockie, +3.

245.  Neil Walker - Pirates
I kind of like the Pirates, +2.

277.  Trevor Hoffman - Brewers
Seeing Hoffman as a Brewer feels wrong to me, even now.  -2

Pack total:  +14

A score of +14 puts this pack firmly in second place.  Too bad I've only opened up two packs thus far.  It's hard to believe that a pack with three inserts (plus 4 extra cards) couldn't muster up enough points to defeat an 8 card pack...but that's how the cookie crumbles I guess.

Pack Wars II Standings:
+16:  2011 Topps Series 2 (8 card pack)
+14:  2011 Topps Series 1 (12 card pack)

Pack Wars: 20 Packs, 1 Champion!

For Christmas, my youngest brother bought me one of the "Championship Collection" baseball trading card repack boxes from a big box store.  The repack comes with 16 packs "plus 4 bonus packs."  Where I come from, that means 20 packs.  What's more fun than opening 20 packs of assorted stuff?  Having a pack war of course!

First, here are the various competitors:

  • 4 2011 Topps Series 1 (12 cards per pack)
  • 2 2011 Topps Series 2 (12 cards per pack)
  • 1 2011 Topps Series 2 (8 cards per pack)
  • 3 2011 Topps Update Series (12 cards per pack)
  • 2 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter (6 cards per pack)
  • 1 2011 Bowman Chrome (7 cards per pack)
  • 2 2010 Topps Series 2 (12 cards per pack)
  • 1 2009 O-Pee-Chee (6 cards per pack)
  • 2 2008 UD Timeline (6 cards per pack)
  • 1 2006 Topps Series 2 (6 cards per pack)
  • 1 1989 Fleer (15 cards plus a sticker per pack)

I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by the included packs, especially the Allen & Ginter and UD Timeline packs.  Both of the aforementioned sets are sets that I still need cards from, so if I'm lucky maybe I'll actually get a card I need from the repack box!  I'm also looking foward to opening the O-Pee-Chee pack and the Bowman Chrome (O-Pee-Chee because I like it, Bowman Chrome because Bowman is confusing and maybe I'll learn something).  There are a few too many 2011 Topps packs in the box for my liking, but that's ok - maybe I'll get one of the diamond parallels I need!

As with my other pack wars, points will be assigned arbitrarily by me.  All decisions by me are final.  If you don't like my scoring, get your own repack box and do it your way!  Most of the cards will be available for trade too, so if you see something you want give a holler!

To begin the Pack Wars, let's open up a pack and see where the initial entrant scores.  From there, it'll be up to each successive pack to try and best the current high score.  Highest score at the end wins.  Any wagers on which pack will end up on top?

Pack Wars - Pack 01:
2011 Topps - Series 2 (8 card pack):

We begin with the only 8 card pack of Series 2 Topps from '11 (the other pair of Series 2 packs both have 12 cards in them).  Will the 8 card pack boast some sort of super awesome card to make up for its thinness or is the pack total destined to be bested by the next pack opened?  Only one way to find out.

428.  Brett Myers - Astros

There are crimp marks on the bottom of this card, not a good start.  -5

446.  Brandon Beachy - Braves

Beachy is from a town in Indiana called Kokomo.  That's a great Beach Boys reference tucked away on the back of Beachy's card!  +5

517.  Fred Lewis

It's a Red (even if it is 'ol Fred).  +5

531.  Juan Rivera - Blue Jays

I guess the photo is slightly above average.  +1

Diamond Giveaway code card

This would have been worth $3 or more back in 2011.  Now?  It's worthless.  -5

Topps 60 insert #T60-99.  Jacoby Ellsbury - Red Sox

The Topps 60 cards are seeded 1:4 packs (at least for the 8 card packs).  The back of the card lists the Red Sox September Average Leaders from 2007-2010.  What a great (yet worthless) statistic to celebrate on a baseball card.  What makes the card complete is that even with the contrived statistic, Ellsbury still isn't #1 on the list, Victor Martinez is!  +2 because I laughed, +5 insert = +7

417.  Miguel Cairo - Reds

A two Red pack?  I guess this pack really does want to win the entire pack war, that's upping the ante immediately.  Good stuff, even if the two Reds combined age is about 150 (I kid, I kid).  +5 for being a Red, +2 for being the second Red = +7

545.  Jose Tabata - Pirates

Pretty boring shot here, nothing else to say about the card other than the fact that I don't hate the Pirates.  +1 because I'm feeling generous.

Pack total:  +16  (average card score:  +2)

Best pack total so far:  2011 Topps Series 2 (8 card pack):  +16

1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated Trade Bait!

Last night, I posted (finally) the full box review of my 1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated box that I busted earlier this year.  This morning, I thought I would make the following duplicates available for trade.  As usual, I will trade for anything on my want list (including other 1999 S.I. cards that I need and/or LEGOs).

Here's what I have available for trade:

13.  Stolen Base Leaders (Henderson & Womack)
30.  Season Highlights:  Kerry Wood
41.  Season Highlights:  New York Yankees
60.  Prospects:  Padres
61.  Prospects:  Phillies
75.  Juan Gonzalez
81.  Raul Mondesi
99.  Mark Grace
104.  Vinny Castilla

114.  Albert Belle
119.  Rondell White
142.  Robin Ventura
149.  Alex Rodriguez
172.  Cliff Floyd
174.  Tom Glavine

This is a nice looking set that I think a lot of people ignored when it came out.  It got lost in the shiny and craziness that defined the late 90s!  If you are interested in any of the above cards (or any other of my trade bait cards) let me know via comments or email and hopefully we can work something out!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Box Review: 1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated (Hobby)

The 1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated is made up of 180 base cards plus a slew of insert cards.  The hobby box contains 24 packs with 6 cards per pack.

The regular base set (cards 1-180) are divided up into 107 regular base cards plus 5 subsets.  There are 30 different Team 2000 cards, 9 Postseason Review cards, 11 Award Winners, 21 Season Highlights, and 2 Checklists.

According to the pack wrapper, there are 4 different insert sets to chase plus another two Hobby Exclusive insert sets.

  • 25 Headliners (1:4 packs)
  • 15 Ones to Watch (1:12 packs)
  • 13 Fabulous 40s (1:20 packs)
  • 10 Diamond Dominators (Pitchers 1:90 packs, Hitters 1:180 packs)

Hobby Exclusive inserts:

  • 13 Fabulous 40s Extra (only 642 numbered cards)
  • J.D. Drew autographed card (250 hand numbered cards)

Although I didn't pull any of the hobby exclusive inserts (and really, the J.D. Drew autographs aren't nearly so exciting a decade-plus later), I did well otherwise.  However, before we get to the inserts, let's look at the base cards and the various subsets.

The first 9 cards in the set are Postseason Review cards, starting with Derek Jeter as card #1 celebrating the Yankees sweep of the Braves in the World Series.  I still remember this World Series as one of the few Series where I wanted both teams to lose (the Braves seemed to be the Reds' nemesis in the 90s and the Yankees are, well, the Yankees).  My box gave me 5 of the 9 Postseason Review cards.

Beginning with card #10 (and ending at card #20), there are 11 different Award Winner cards.  Each card features the National League and American award winner for a specific category.  My box yielded 5 of the 11 cards in this subset.

The next 21 cards are from the Season Highlights subset.  I fell 7 cards short of completing this subset (or, if you don't want to do the math, I ended up with 14 of the 21 cards).  The Season Highlights do not go in chronological order (an oversight if you ask me).  Some of the cards I got highlighted the Diamondbacks first game as a franchise, Chris Hoiles' two grand slam game, and Kerry Wood striking out 20 Astros among other gems from the 1998 Season.

Continuing with the subsets, the next 30 cards are the Team 2000 cards (one for each of the 30 MLB Teams).  The cards highlight three young players for each team that are supposed to help the team by the year 2000 (i.e. the next year).  Looking over the cards that I got (23 of the 30), most of the featured players were total flops!

Finally, at card #72 in the set (remember it's only a 180 card set), we arrive at our first actual regular 'ol base card (in this case, Ben Grieve).  The front of each card has team colors and (for the most part) a nice photo of the player in question.  The back of the card gives full career statistics (which I like) plus a second photo (once again the color scheme is team specific).  There is also a small team logo at the bottom of the card (which makes searching for cards from a particular team a piece of cake)!

There are plenty of action shots and other unique shots in the set which is nice.  Some of my favorite base card photos include the following:
Sammy Sosa:

The overheard shot is cool enough, but look at the moment captured just as the baseball is meeting (or is it leaving?) the bat.  Great photo.

Mark McGwire:

Epic is the only word that comes to mind to describe this photo.  If I were a Cardinals fan, this would probably be one of my top 10 favorite cards.

Vladimir Guerrero:

Not every shot is strange - some do nothing more than capture the essence of the beautiful game of baseball.  Seeing Vlad running after a batted ball is good stuff.

Chan Ho Park:

A few of the photos have a goofy element to them - this Chan Ho Park card was easily my favorite of the "goofy" shots.

Craig Biggio:

When I was in fourth or fifth grade and playing Little League, I used to do a similar maneuver at times to try and get on base.  Umpires didn't fall for it then, and I'd like to think they won't fall for it now.

Barry Larkin:

Of course, my favorite base card has to be the Barry Larkin card!  This one is particularly great though with all of the flying dust!

The final subset is only 2 cards in size (and I only got one of them in the box) and that is the checklists.  Not much to say about these except the fact that I like having checklists in sets!

I must say, the regular base cards are (for the most part) much nicer than the various subset cards.

Since this is a box from the turn of the century, you know there should be a variety of inserts in it.  Luckily, Fleer didn't disappoint.  The most common insert is Headliners of which there are 25 total (seeded 1:4 packs).  I got six which is exactly as expected in a 24 pack box.

The Headliners have a matte finish on the front of the card rather than a glossy finish which makes the card feel a bit more like a newspaper (hence the Headliners theme).  The one shame is that the article in the background of the image is the exact same on all the cards.

The Ones to Watch insert cards are seeded 1:12 packs so you'd expect two in a 24 pack box which is exactly what happened.  My Ones to Watch were of Gabe Kapler and Ryan Minor - certainly not the most impressive players ever.  The Ones to Watch are the shiniest of all the inserts in the set.

The final insert that you'd expect to find is the Fabulous 40's which are seeded 1:20 packs.  Interestingly enough, my box yielded two of them (Mark McGwire and Juan Gonzalez).  The Fabulous 40's cards are embossed which makes them instantly recognizable as compared to the other inserts.

Although my box didn't yield any of the numbered hobby exclusive inserts, I did land one of the Diamond Dominators cards.  Mine was of Randy Johnson (a pitcher seeded 1:90 packs).  The Diamond Dominators are printed on a clear acetate card, once again making them stand out from the rest of the inserts as well.  The image of Randy is embossed (as is his name at the bottom of the card).  I would like to have a full Diamond Dominators insert set someday, they are my favorites by far out of the various inserts.

Overall, I give the 1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated box the following rating:
Set Design:  B
Collation:  A
Opening Thrill:  B
Overall:  B+

The base card design is great (especially a lot of the photography) but the disproportionate number of subsets (many of which are boring) hurts the overall set design score.  The collation within the box was perfect - no duplicates at all.  There aren't enough packs in the box to get a full set though which is a bummer for such a small base set.  Although you can get an autograph in the box, it's only of J.D. Drew which hurts the opening thrill.  Even so, I was excited when I pulled the semi-rare Diamond Dominator card.  This particular box earns a B+ overall, it's definitely a fun box to open though it won't floor you in any particular category.