Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Box Review: 2000 Fleer Tradition (Hobby)

The 2000 Fleer Tradition set is a 450 card set printed on "old school" cardboard (as opposed to the glossy stuff that most modern cards are printed on).  It can be said that the 2000 Fleer Tradition set began the retro "fad" that's still going on to this day - it certainly inspired the likes of Topps Heritage and Allen & Ginter as well as sets like Gypsy Queen and Goodwin Champions.  For its part, the 2000 Fleer Tradition set is clearly modeled off of the 1954 Topps set.

Each hobby box contains a whopping 36 packs with 10 cards per pack.  The box itself feels hefty, it's quite satisfying, and oddly reminiscent of boxes of yore (as I'm sure Fleer intended)!

The 2000 Fleer Tradition is definitely aimed towards set collectors (and thankfully there are no short prints in the set).  However, there are a smattering of inserts that one can pull including the following:
Now, I'm interested in the base cards from this box, but there are a variety of inserts as well:

  • 15 Who to Watch (1:3 packs)
  • 15 Dividends (1:6 packs)
  • 10 Ten-4 (1:18 packs)
  • 15 Hall's Well (1:30 packs)
  • 15 Grasskickers (1:30 packs)
  • 10 The Ripken Collection (1:30 packs)
  • Fresh Ink autos (1:144 packs)
  • Club 3000 (1:36 packs)
  • Club 3000 relics (numbered, no pack odds given)

Since a box contains 36 packs, you would expect the following:
12 Who to Watch
6 Dividends
2 Ten-4
1 Hall's Well
1 Grasskickers
1 The Ripken Collection
1 Club 3000

Obviously some boxes will contain two Grasskickers (seeded 1:30 packs) while others will have autographs or relics (both quite rare).

Turning our attention to my actual box, we begin with the base cards.

As I mentioned already, the set is a great throwback set - and the card backs continue the theme with comics (for players without a long playing career - all players get full career statistics here which is awesome).

My box provided me with a grand total of 333 base cards (but 84 of them were duplicates - or triplicates/quadruplicates in a few cases).  I love getting a ton of base cards...but I hated the poor collation.  In the end, I ended up with 249 unique base cards.

For the record, I bought the box with the hopes of completing my set (which didn't work out) but I did land 66 new cards which is just under a two new cards per pack ratio.  I guess that's alright.

Now, I was mostly interested in the base cards this time around - but in the interest of a proper box review, let's now turn our attention to the inserts.

Who to Watch:

Seeded 1:3 packs, we would expect to get 12 Who to Watch insert cards.  My box actually yielded 13 Who to Watch cards which is cool...except I only got 7 unique cards.  I ended up with four Peter Bergerons which is simply ridiculous.  I actually like the Who to Watch cards - they are glossy so they stand out from the base cards (plus they are die-cut nicely).  Looking back on it, the checklist is actually fairly weak (Soriano and Wells are probably the two best names in the fifteen card set).


Seeded 1:6 packs, we would expect to get 6 Dividends insert cards.  Once again, my box over delivered - we pulled a total of 7 Dividends cards (though only 6 of the 7 were unique - I ended up with two Sammy Sosa cards).  The Dividends insert set is also 15 cards in total size - so it's basically twice as hard to complete as the Who to Watch (based on insertion ratios).  It should also be noted that the star power in the Dividends insert set is much higher than that of the Who to Watch set!


Seeded 1:18 packs, we would expect to get a pair of Ten-4 inserts.  Unfortunately, my box yielded only one such card - the Derek Jeter shown above.  That's certainly a bummer since I like the Ten-4 design quite a bit.  There are no Reds in the set, but I would have liked to pull the Ken Griffey, Jr. card.


Seeded 1:30 packs, we would expect to pull one Grasskicker card per box.  Unfortunately, my box was completely devoid of any Grasskicker cards.

Hall's Well:

The Hall's Well cards are also seeded 1:30 packs.  However, I actually pulled one of the Hall's Well cards (unlike the Grasskickers).  Printed on an acetate card stock, the Hall's Well cards are pretty sweet - and the Frank Thomas is a good one to pull.

The Ripken Collection:

The Ripken Collection cards are also seeded 1:30 packs, so you'd expect to get one in a hobby box.  My box was stuffed with Ripken cards - I ended up with three different Ripken Collection inserts (perhaps the third was in place of a Grasskickers card)?

All of the Ripken Collection cards feature Cal Ripken, Jr. on vintage Fleer designs.  I guess it's kind of a neat idea (for its time) but it certainly feels like a dated insert idea today.

Club 3000:

The Club 3000 are proper box hits, seeded 1:36 packs.  As expected (for once), I received the exact number that I should - one.  As a kid, I loved the Club 3000 cards - they seemed quite special to me then (and they were quite rare for a kid who barely could ever afford to buy more than a pack or two of cards a week).  For that reason, the Club 3000 cards will always have a special place in my heart!

Fresh Ink:

The Fresh Ink autographs are seeded 1:144 packs - but my box beat the odds by delivering a nice signature card (the signature is on card even).  I have to admit that it's probably one of the least exciting names on the Fresh Ink checklist...but beggars can't be choosers!

Overall, I give the 2000 Fleer Tradition (hobby) box the following rating:
Set design:  A
Collation:  D
Opening thrill:  C
Overall:  B

It's fair to say that in this case, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  The set design is great, and I appreciate the complete lack of short prints.  I can't completely look past the terrible collation though - both in terms of base cards and inserts.  The (slight) chance for an autograph or Club 3000 relic adds a bit of thrill to the opening of the packs, but since the odds are stacked against you it's basically only a pleasant surprise should actually find a hit.

Overall, I love the concept of the set - and the box was quite a bit of fun to open (though the constant duplicates soured the experience somewhat).  Pulling the autograph was a nice surprise, but since I don't know anything about Ed Yarnell, nor do I collect the Yankees, the pull didn't affect my overall rating of the box at all.  I'd recommend the 2000 Fleer Tradition box for any set collector - or anyone pining for cards of know, someone looking for tradition!


Fuji said...

I really enjoyed Fleer Tradition products when they were around. Today's my first time seeing that awesome Ripken insert set. Might need to build it or buy it depending on current eBay prices.

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