Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Box Review: 2002 Playoff Piece of the Game (Hobby)

The 2002 Playoff Piece of the Game set features 50 commons, 50 rookies, and a boatload of memorabilia cards!  According to the box, there are 195 unique memorabilia cards plus another 400 numbered memorabilia parallels.

The hobby box contained six "packs" (really cardboard pouches).  Each pack contains 4 base cards and 1 memorabilia card.

The packs are more accurately cardboard pouches.

In addition to one swatch relics, there are a variety of dual relics and prime patches available.

In our box, we ended up with 23 of the 50 commons (46%) and 1 of the 50 rookie cards (2%).  As you can see from the checklist below, the 50 commons are made up of almost entirely the stars of the time.  The rookies are hit and miss (mostly miss) but that's to be expected I suppose.

The base commons have a nice, clean design.  I happen to like the large team logo and the faux wood look works with the card design.

The backs of the base cards are also clean and well-designed.

I would have preferred to see a bit more in the way of statistics, but for a set driven entirely by the hits the "regular" 'ol base cards are well done.  I could see myself chasing the full base set if this set were released today.

The rookie cards are serially numbered out of 500 and comprise the final 50 cards of the base set.  Each rookie card has the same design as the regular base card except there is an addition of the word "rookie" next to the player's number.

  Our only rookie was of Ben Howard (Padres) and was numbered 314/500 in gold foil on the reverse side of the card.

Although I happen to like the base cards, no one in their right mind would spend that kind of money on a box for only 24 base cards.  The real draw of the box are the various relic cards.  As you can see from the checklist, the relic set contains a much wider variety of players (including some retired players like Harmon Killebrew, Nolan Ryan, Reggie Hackson, and Rod Carew) to go along with the big name current players.

It's also interesting that a bunch of the players featured in the relic set (notably Barry Larkin) did not appear as part of the 50 card base set.

In total, we ended up with exactly six hits (as promised).  Two of the six hits were serially numbered but none of the hits were of the double swatch variation (nor did we luck out and pull any prime patches).

The hits we did get were:
POG-3.  Albert Pujols (base)

One thing that I love in regards to the relic cards is that Playoff added a picture of the actual item from which the relic came and they told you what game(s) the relic was used in.

For the Pujols, the base was used on July 5, 2001.  You can also tell that there are multiple versions of the Pujols card (the other version features game used baseballs).

POG-30.  Ivan Rodriguez (bat)  #066/100

Unlike the Pujols relic, the Rodriguez card doesn't actually state which game(s) the bat was used in.  A quick glance through the other four relics shows that only the base relics actually have the game information.  Even so, all six relics show a photo of the original piece of equipment from which the relic originated.

POG-32.  J.D. Drew (jersey)

The Cardinals fared well with the box - two of the six relics were of St. Louis players (though I think everyone would agree the Pujols is the better relic).

POG-56.  Mark Grace (bat)

There is also a fielding glove variation card for Mark Grace.  I would have liked to have pulled one of those!

POG-76.  Sammy Sosa (base)

As I mentioned above, two of the relics were serially numbered.  The Ivan Rodriguez card was numbered in silver foil out of 100.  The Sosa is numbered in bronze foil out of 250.

POG-89.  Vladimir Guerrero (jersey)

No dual relics, no prime swatches, but at least a couple of base relics mixed things up a bit.

Overall, I give the 2002 Playoff Piece of the Game box the following rating:
Set Design:  A-
Collation:  B+
Opening Thrill:  B+
Overall:  B+

The box was indeed a lot of fun to open, but in the end, I had to dock it a bit since we didn't pull any relics with a "wow" factor.  I was also disappointed to not get a single Red out of the box.  It's hard to not to get excited knowing that each pack you open will hold a hit, but without some autographs, there isn't likely to be a lot of value in the majority of the hits.  Of course, had we opened one of the boxes with a Nolan Ryan relic (or even a Barry Larkin relic), my overall grade may have been different!


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