Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Box Review: 2000 Topps TEK (Hobby)

The 2000 Topps TEK set is a monstrosity if you try and collect every version of every base card.  On the other hand, if you only need to have one card per player, then the set is easily completed (in fact, one hobby box will complete the set for you)!  The box contains 20 packs with 4 cards per pack.

As I mentioned above, the set is quite convoluted in that there are 45 different base cards (but each of the 45 base cards comes in 20 different versions).  If you do the math, that means the master base set consists of 900 cards!  To make set collecting even more difficult, five of the base card versions are severely short printed (seeded 1:10 packs) and five of the players are short printed (seeded 1:2 packs).

Overall, the pack wrapper has the following odds for the various inserts:

  • Sequentially numbered rookie card (1:2 packs)
  • TEK Special Color (1:10 packs)
  • Sequentially Numbered TEK Die-Cut Gold Parallel (1:42 packs)
  • TEKtonics (1:30 packs)
  • DramaTEK Performers (1:10 packs)
  • ArchiTEKs (1:5 packs)

Since a hobby box has 20 packs, you'd expected to get 10 rookies, 2 special color cards, 2 DramaTEK Performers, and 4 ArchiTEKs.  Happily, the box I opened (which was used for a group break) delivered on all the expected inserts plus more!

The base cards (and all the inserts) are printed on clear plastic which makes the cards a bit thicker (and stronger) than your typical base card.  Each card version has a different background (some are nice, some are a waste of plastic).  I feel a bit sorry for anyone who tries to acquire all 900 base cards...but if you buy a single box you do end up with at least one card of each of the 45 players in the set (at least we did in this particular box).

In this box, we ended up with 64 base cards, 10 serially numbered rookie base cards, and 10 other inserts for a total of 84 cards.  That means that four of the packs contained an extra card as the box should have only held 80 cards total.  It's not often that happens, but I'll take it!

As I mentioned above, after sorting the entire box we got at least one card of each player - and no more than three cards of any one players (with no duplicates at all).  Collation was wonderful!

Each base card comes with one of 20 different backgrounds - for posterity, here are 14 of the 15 common backgrounds (our box did not come with any cards with background #11 (Player's Career AVG/ERA).  It should be noted that designs 1-5 have the same main player image, 6-10 have second player image, 11-15 a third, and 16-20 a fourth player image so there is some variety in terms of the looks of the card (besides the background).

1:  MLB Logo

2:  MLBPA Logo

3:  League Logo

4:  Team Logo

5:  Team Home Cap Logo

6:  Team Primary Logo

7:  Player Hometown

8:  Player Signature

9:  Player Career SLG/WIN %

10:  Player Primary Position

11:  Player Career AVE/ERA
None in box

12:  Player Left/Right

13:  Player Birthday

14:  Veteran/Rookie/Prospect

15:  HTA Logo

Overall, many of the backgrounds are pretty stupid.  I suppose it would be difficult to come up with 15 different backgrounds...but I think Topps could have done better than "slugging percentage" or "hometown."  The team logo cards are nice - easily my favorites!

Moving on from the base cards, the box also included 10 serially numbered rookies (exactly as expected based on pack odds).  There are 5 rookies in the set and we pulled exactly two of each (which was nice).  None of the rookies amounted to much (besides maybe Brett Myers so there's virtually no value in the rookie cards at this point in time).

Each rookie is numbered out of 2000 on the backside of the card.  The rookie cards also come in the 20 different background varieties!

The pack wrapper promises some inserts as well and this box of Topps TEK didn't disappoint there either.  We pulled two of the short printed color variation base cards.  The first being background #17 of Tony Gwynn...

...and the second being backgrund #18 of Carlos Beltran.

We also lucked out and pulled one of the die-cut gold parallels numbered to only 10!  In our case, it was a card of Josh Girdley #10/10.  The die-cut gold parallels are seeded 1:42 packs which makes them slightly tougher than one per every two boxes to find!

Finally, we ended up with a bunch of actual inserts including our expected four ArchiTEKs (seeded 1:5 packs).

The ArchiTEKs design is solid, but not terribly spectacular.  I was happy to see Ken Griffey Jr. as a Red show up in the set though since I had the Reds in the group break (this won't be the first time Griffey shows up as an insert either)!

The final two promised inserts are DramaTEK Performers (seeded 1:10 packs).  We pulled another Griffey Jr. plus a nice card of Vladimir Guerrero.

Despite the DramaTEK Performers being a tougher pull, I think I actually prefer the look of the ArchiTEK set.  In fact, if I were to try and complete any insert set from 2000 TEK, it would be the ArchiTEKs.

The final card from the box is another Ken Griffey Jr. insert!  This time its a TEKtonics die-cut insert seeded 1:30 packs.

This card is pretty awesome - and it's another Red!  The shattered glass effect is kind of cool - and it fits in with the TEK wordplay that Topps did for all the inserts.

Set Design:  B-
Collation:  A+
Opening Thrill:  B
Overall:  B+

I enjoyed opening this box quite a bit.  The Topps TEK set doesn't produce the highest possible thrills since there are no autographs, relics, or even super rare inserts - but it does deliver a consistently fun product from opening pack until the final pack.  Even better, you could get two boxes of TEK and probably end up with very few duplicates thanks to the crazy numbering/background designs that exist within the set.  If Topps had been just a bit more clever in coming up with background designs, this could easily have been an "A" product in my book!  Even so, it's still a fun rip that I would recommend to anyone who likes the (limited selection) players in the set.

4 comments:

cynicalbuddha said...

I always thought this would be a great set for Topps to bring back as an insert in it's flagship. Kind of like what they did with their clear parallels, but maybe make them a bit more common. I seem to remember a blogger, can't remember who, who had attempted the master set and was very close.

petethan said...

I agree that they stretched the background thing a little thin, but this was my favorite set from the break. Thanks again for hosting this.

Joe Frecker said...

Thanks for the education on this complicated set. Crazy how they try to make every card a rare one.

CaptKirk42 said...

Nice review. Excellent group break. Dang it I had commented on this post yesterday but I accidentally clicked "sign out" instead of "publish". and didn't have the energy to retype what I was going to say.

Some of the designs are real cool the MLB logo, Team cap logo, Team primary logo and even the regular team logo. Some of the other designs I think are rather silly and or stupid. That might just be me sorry to people who like all the designs. I might try to build a basic base set of the 3 or 4 logo designs I like above, not sure if I'll try for all 4 though, maybe just 1 or 2. I have no desire for a "Master" set.

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