The 2000 Skybox Metal set consists of 200 base cards plus an additional 50 cards (numbered 201-250) which are short printed prospect cards.
The hobby box I opened contained 28 packs, with 10 cards per pack. At a robust 280 cards per box, the Skybox feels like you are getting your money worth simply from the weight of the box (and each individual pack).
According to the pack wrapper (and the side of the box), there is a single parallel set (called the Emerald parallel).
There are also 7 different insert sets:
- Fusion (seeded 1:4 packs)
- Talent Show (seeded 1:4 packs)
- Platinum Portraits (seeded 1:8 packs)
- Hit Machines (seeded 1:20 packs)
- Heavy Metal (seeded 1:20 packs)
- Autographics (seeded 1:96 packs)
- Base Shredders (seeded 1:288 packs)
If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive box with a nice variety of inserts (including shiny inserts and die-cut inserts, plus the slight chance at an autograph or relic, the Skybox Metal box is a good choice)!
As you can see from the checklist, the various inserts include players from a variety of teams (rather than simply the same five or six players over and over). Personally, I like that even though it probably does decrease the "value" of the box since there are fewer Ken Griffey Jr's and Derek Jeter's since some of the insert slots are taken up by guys like Vernon Wells, Pat Burrell, and Shawn Green.
My box yielded 235 base cards in total. I was able to complete the entire 200 card base set plus I landed an additional 35 base duplicates.
The front of each base card has a photo of the player plus a sort of weird design as part of the background. Some players have a design that is best described as a fingerprint while others have a spiral or a sunburst. The design isn't overly intrusive, in fact, you don't really even notice it unless you either hold the card in your hand or see it on a scan.
The back of the card is fairly minimalistic in design. You get a second (different) photo of the player, a team logo, and two lines of statistics. Once again, the design of the card won't knock your socks off but it certainly holds up over time (unlike some other sets from the era)!
The final portion of the base set (cards 201 - 250) are all short printed prospect cards (seeded 1:2 packs). As expected, my box yielded 14 different prospects. The prospect checklist is fairly weak so although the prospects are short printed, there shouldn't be a lot of difficulty in tracking down the majority of the players. By my estimation, the best players in the prospect subset set are: Lance Berkman, Josh Beckett, Alfonso Soriano, Pat Burrell, Vernon Wells, Eric Gagne, Joe Nathan, and Rick Ankiel. A few solid names but certainly nothing spectacular.
My box gave me the following prospects: Mark Quinn, Norm Hutchins, Calvin Murray, Kevin Barker, Gary Matthews, Jr., Josh Beckett, Adam Kennedy, Jeff DaVanon, Glen Barker, Buddy Carlyle, Cole Liniak, Eric Gagne, Juan Sosa, and Rick Ankiel.
As you can see from the scan, the only difference between the prospect cards and the regular base cards is the little "prospects" logo on the front of the card. The backs of the cards are identical to the regular base cards (except instead of MLB statistics you get a short write-up for the featured player).
Of course, the box isn't just base cards and prospects - there are a variety of insert sets to be found, plus one parallel set: The Emerald Set.
The Emerald parallels are seeded 1:4 packs for the regular players (cards 1-200) and 1:8 packs for the Prospect cards (cards 201-250). My box had seven regular Emerald cards (exactly as expected).
The only difference between the Emerald parallels and the regular base cards are that the Emerald parallels have a green stripe across the front of the card and a little "E" in a circle on the back of the card to denote Emerald. If you can't tell from the above scan, my Emerald cards were of Chris Singleton, Mo Vaughn, Jim Thome, Pedro Astacio, Scott Williamson, Kent Bottenfield, and Gary Sheffield. I was, of course, most excited by the Scott Williamson since I collect Reds cards!
The prospect portion of the set also has an Emerald parallel version (seeded 1:8 packs). My box forked over three: Kevin Barker, Cole Liniak, and Eric Gagne.
It's interesting to note that I also landed the regular prospect card of the three players that came in the Emerald version.
It wouldn't be a box of cards from the turn of the century if there weren't a slew of inserts - and of course, since the box is from 2000 there are indeed a bunch of insert sets (7 to be precise)!
The Fusion insert set consists of 15 total cards seeded 1:4 packs.
As expected, I pulled 7 different cards. Unfortunately, the one insert card that I really wanted (the Fusion card featuring Sean Casey and Barry Larkin) eluded me in this box. I did end up with a nice Ken Griffey Jr/Alex Rodriguez card (among other cards) though.
The Talent Show insert set is another 15 card set that is seeded 1:4 packs.
Unsuprisingly, I pulled 7 of these as well. Each Talent Show player was an up-and-comer according to Skybox. However, a quick glance at the 7 cards that I pulled will show you that perhaps Skybox didn't do such a great job choosing guys with actual "talent."
The Platinum Portraits set consists of 10 cards that are seeded 1:8 packs.
I beat the odds slightly here by pulling 4 of the 10 cards. I did manage to get the other Reds representative in the various insert sets (Sean Casey) but I would have much rather had the Larkin Fusion card. Oh well, beggars can't be choosers and I should simply be happy that I pulled a Reds insert!
The Heavy Metal insert set consists of 10 cards seeded 1:20 packs.
At approximately 1 per box, this set is underwhelming (to say the least). My lone Heavy Metal card was of Vladimir Guerrero. Unfortunately, the foil has a bit of chipping/flaking on the front of the card. It's unfortunate but even so, the design of the insert set is lacking...this is easily my least favorite of all the insert sets in Skybox Metal.
While the Heavy Metal set was a dud, the other insert set seeded 1:20 packs (also with 10 cards) is the Hit Machine set - and these cards are awesome.
Look at that die-cut beauty! I'm not even a Braves fan (or a Chipper Jones fan) but I don't think I'll be letting go of this card any time soon. I wish there was a Barry Larkin Hit Machines card, but alas, there is not.
Finally, we move to the two rarest sets (Autographics seeded 1:96 packs and Base Shredders seeded 1:288 packs). The Base Shredder set is a relic set (but I didn't get one in my box). I did, however, manage to land one of the Autographics cards.
My autograph was underwhelming (Glen Barker) but even so, at 1:96 packs I'll take it! I do appreciate the fact that the signature is on card. Mr. Barker has a pretty nice signature - you can even make out his name!
Overall, I give the 2000 Skybox Metal box the following rating:
Set Design: B
Opening Thrill: B
I'm obviously a bit biased because the box held an autograph, but even without the auto I would have been happy. I especially like being able to complete a full base set from a single box - an easy A for collation (plus all the inserts were spot on according to the stated odds). Even better, each pack had at least one insert, short print, or parallel in it which made opening the packs quite a bit of fun. I did have to dock the "set design" score a bit though because after awhile all the base cards begin to blend into a single mass of silvery-gray card stock. The insert sets make up for the blandness of the base set a bit though, especially the Heavy Metal set.
The only downside to the box is that there is very little reason to ever open two of them - you are probably better off trying to track down any missing short prints (of which you'll have a bunch) plus any inserts of interest on the secondary market. Even so, this box earns a B+ overall ranking which is quite good (I can be harsh grader at times)!