Just A Break

It’s Saturday. The ladies are down for a nap, I got the yard done already, and I’m settling in to watch the Athletes take on the Dads in a Chappy vs. Tatis showdown. Sure, I wish it was the Astros doubleheader (which won’t start until 6 local time because it’s in Anaheim of Los Angeles), but this’ll do nicely. I’m going to knock out some applications and try to write a few letters before the gals are back up but first: a blog post! And not just any post, a box break!

I’ve had the itch to rip something (well, when does that itch ever really go away?), and retail has been absolutely impossible to find around here. Thanks flippers. I did luck into some Archives on a big box trip of late, but with the shelves bare I’ve looked around for some cheap things I can get my hands on – and that’s how I wound up with not one but FIVE boxes of 2000 Just Minors. Just the Preview is the first of the three 100 card series. The seller bought these for the graded cards, which were 1 per box and I think usually autographed. I made an offer, and that’s how I wound up with 120 packs for just a bit over the cost of a blaster. Let’s have a look at the first box! Stick around for the end, because I’m going to have a super-cheap break offer for you at the end.

This is a 24 pack box, so I’m going to keep remarks short. Pack 1 starts us off with Braves top prospect Rafael Furcal. I also landed future Astro Tim Redding in here.

Pack 2 brought some fire, with not only one of the likely autographs in the box, but two! These were actually stuck together, meaning an extra card snuck into the pack. That’s A.J. Burnett and Kevin Barker. Interestingly enough, these are Just 99 cards. I’m not sure if they just inserted extra stock or if they were intended to be from the previous year’s release.

Pack 3: Astros 3B prospect Chris Truby, future Astro and then Rangers prospect Mike Lamb. Also in here: Jared Sandberg – Ryne’s nephew, and Talmadge Nunnari, one of the best names I saw on our minor league road trip. You don’t forget that name.

Pack 4: Not a lot here. I saw Leslie Brea (lower right) pitch in the minors and got a copy of this card signed at the time.

Pack 5: we have landed our first insert! That’s a “Just Debuts” card of then Diamondbacks prospect Lyle Overbay.

Pack 6 started off with Astros 1B/OF prospect Aaron McNeal – that’s three of the four Astros prospects in this series. The Tim Drew card is notable as the only horizontal image in the series.

Pack 7: another McNeal in the bunch. One of the reasons for getting this box was to use as many dupes as possible for TTM. I still need to go back and write about the mega baseball roadtrip from 1999, but one of the big things I did on that trip was try and get a lot of the Just 99 set signed. I continued that a little with the 2000 set. Anyway, it’s fun getting these signed, and that’s a sneaky Jason Werth card in the middle of the bottom row.

Pack 8: A lot to love here. First, we start off with one of the heroes from that trip, Kevin Haverbusch. Then we’ve got cards of R.A. Dickey, Juan Pierre, and Matt LeCroy. Pat Strange was one of the cards I already got signed back in my youth. One of the big downfalls of this set is the commitment to gold text for the name, despite the color-changing nameplate. That makes some of these very hard to read.

Pack 9: That’s top prospect Nick Johnson signing autographs on the top row. I remember him being one of the big deals in this set.

Pack 10: There’s my fourth Astros prospect, Eric Ireland, on the top left. We’ve got another Furcal and one of the McDonalds – that’s Darnell on the bottom right. For those of you who like same-named guys, that’s Wes Anderson on the bottom left.

Pack 11: Another Truby *and* another Redding. I’ll definitely use those for TTM. That’s one of the Just The One cards of Rick Ankiel on the top right, they fall about one per box. It’s a five card insert set of Ankiel, who was the Minor League Player of the Year the in 1999, I believe. That’s Michael Cuddyer on the bottom left.

Pack 12: not a lot here either, outside of awesomely named Wynter Phoenix in the top right. I think I recall seeing Kit Pellow (bottom left) on that road trip, but maybe that’s some Mandela Effect creeping into my brain.

Pack 13: Cesar Izturis, another Talmadge Nunnari (it just rolls of the tongue!) and the speedy Pablo Ozuna in the bottom right.

Pack 14: Mike Lamb and Jared Sandberg again.

Pack 15: Mike Lamb again, and fellow Mike prospect Mike Zwyica, another fun name. That’s another Werth in the bottom row.

Pack 16 brought some more ink! That’s Erick Almonte, on another Just 99 card. We’ve got Haverbusch, Drew, future Astro Chad Harville, and one of the genuinely recognizable pulls in this set: Juan Pierre.

Pack 17: Eric Byrnes on the bottom row with T.J. Tucker, whom I saw playin Harrisburg on that road trip.

Pack 18: A few more recognizable names in Aaron Rowand and Joe Crede. Garry Maddox Jr. makes an appearance in the top right, and Darren Blakely is in the center on the bottom row. I’m pretty sure I got Blakely’s autograph on that road trip as well.

Pack 19: Not sure how, but I got that Jermaine Clark autographed somewhere. Jay Gibbons is the other name here, in the lower left.

Pack 20 brings another big hitter into the fold: Josh Hamilton! Not to be sneezed at either is top prospect and future Astro Carlos Peña.

Pack 21 carries the other McDonald, Donzell. Along for the ride are Marcus Giles and future Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson.

Pack 22 has Brent Butler, who my adolescent brain always thought was related to Brett. He’s a good signer apparently. That’s Adam Piatt in the middle and long Ryan Anderson next to him rounding out the top row.

Pack 23, our penultimate pack, features Corey Patterson. Not much else going on here.

Pack 24: phew, this was somewhat exhausting. A few familiar names – Ben Broussard, Michael Restovich, the return of Chad Harville – but not much here either.

Overall, this was a fun box. I made proper scans of the Astros cards. Ireland was drafted out of high school, made it to AA Round Rock in 2000, and was released. He spent ’01 in AAA Sacramento for Oakland, then jumped to indy ball before returning to the Astros system in ’02 and ’03, but that was it. Redding made it up in ’01, and hung around the rotation for a couple years before being traded to San Diego for Humberto Quintero. McNeal never made it to AA Round Rock in 2000 and was shipped to San Diego during spring training of ’01. Truby actually made it to Houston in 2000 and there was hope that he’d replace Ken Caminiti, but he was traded to Montreal during spring training of 2002 for Geoff Blum.

Here’s a better look at the inserts from the box. Well, the Patterson is technically a box topper, which came in a little envelope with a picture of the card on it. I’m not sure if they are all like that, or if Patterson’s card was just the example for the Just Tools inserts. This was the only box with a topper still in it. I dig the ticket style of the Debuts inserts, and am trying to put together the Ankiel inserts.

Here are scans of the autographs I landed. Burnett is a name, so that’s cool. I actually saw Barker on that mega road trip and got him to sign a Just ’99 card, so that’s cool too. The Almonte is a nice looking sig.

I went ahead and ripped another box later on in the day, because I can’t help myself. Not too different as far as the base cards, but here are the inserts. This box only had one autograph in it. I got a different Ankiel, so that’s cool, and the Barry Zito is a pretty nice land as well.

Alright, if you were paying attention up top, I mentioned that I’m going to break one of these boxes! And, it’s going to be super cheap! You can claim a major league team for just $2 JUST $1, and that’ll get you all the cards of the prospects pulled from the box. In fact, if you buy in and I somehow don’t pull one of the prospect cards for your team, I’ll fill the hole from my other boxes. So you’re getting a team set and a couple shots at an insert or autograph. If you pick the Cardinals, you’re almost guaranteed to get a Rick Ankiel insert, I’m almost certain they fall one per box. Here’s a link to the set on TCDB if you’d like to peruse the checklist (remember, this is the first series, so it covers cards 1-100). Claim a team in the comments, and hit marc [dot] brubaker [at] gmail for payment via Paypal. That two bucks includes non-machinable PWE shipping, so this is an extremely affordable break. We’ll break this one next Friday, I think.

Update: All remaining teams are now just $1! If you had already claimed a team, you can claim one additional team! I’ll be ripping this Sunday night.

Double update: Got busy and probably ripping this on Wednesday night now, so you’ve got a little more time to scoop a team if you’d like one.

Anaheim Angels
Arizona Diamondbacks
Atlanta Braves – Colbey at Cardboard Collections
Baltimore Orioles – Justin @CharmCityGraphs
Boston Red Sox
Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox – Colbey at Cardboard Collections
Cincinnati Reds
Cleveland Indians
Colorado Rockies – @prisonneil
Detroit Tigers
Florida Marlins
Houston Astros – Billy @ Astros A to Z
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Dodgers – Greg @ Night Owl Cards [PAID]
Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins
Montreal Expos – Mike @ Not Another Baseball Card Blog
New York Mets
New York Yankees
Oakland Athletics – @imoMitch
Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Seattle Mariners
St. Louis Cardinals – Kerry at Cards on Cards [PAID]
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Texas Rangers
Toronto Blue Jays – Mike @ Not Another Baseball Card Blog

Alright, my time was interrupted earlier, so I’m going to settle in for game two of this weird Astros-Angels doubleheader and probably rip another box of this. These 7-inning doubleheaders are messing me up.

8 Replies to “Just A Break”

  1. Okay this design is kind of wild. Pretty sure I don’t like it but it’s also much better than it has any right to be. Nice Gerut pull too (I actually have that card). I was sad to see that there were no Stanford guys in this set but it’s nice that you grabbed one from the 1999 version.

    1. Haha, I hadn’t even checked Gerut yet. This design is a mixed bag. Back is the same photo for the top half, then a white box with vitals and one line of stats. Doesn’t even tell you the big league club – it says who drafted or signed him but if they changed systems there’s no update. The middle series has the color block centered about at the lower third, and I like that placement better, but the gold text is nigh unreadable on some cards.

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