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2004 Topps Cracker Jack Baseball Cards Review

Following in Topps' line of updated vintage sets, 2004 Topps Cracker Jack Baseball takes on the classic 1914-1915 Cracker Jack sets. Like their T206 and T205 offerings, there's plenty to get excited about as the look of old is combined with the chase of new players to create one fun break.

When I crack open a bag of Cracker Jacks, I don't know what's more exciting - the candy or the prize. Topps has taken that concept with this set. Each pack has eight cards (seven base, one mini parallel) plus a surprise pack with a parallel sticker and either a checklist, relic, autograph or vintage repurchased card. So it's kind of like a box holds 40 packs rather than just 20. This makes pack busters such as myself very happy. It also feels like you're getting pretty good value as well.

The base set's design is pretty simple. Mostly portraits with only the occassional action shot, the pictures are put on a striking red background. It's clean without any room for clutter. The card backs mimic the 1914-1915 set, offering player bios but no stats. In keeping with the classic set, some of the card backs are printed upside down. The original set was meant to be glued into an album so when you flipped the page up, the text was facing the proper direction. While this is the kind of detail that really adds authenticity to the product, it's also annoying when you're sorting the cards as some invariably end up facing the wrong way. I could also not figure out why only some are printed this way and others not.

The checklist is a broad mix of veterans, rookies, retired stars as well as a couple of head scratchers. Jeffrey Loria, owner of the Florida Marlins is thrown into the set, another detail from the original set that had the owner of the World Series winning team.

Like most every Topps product, there's a bunch of variations and shortprints that make building the set a challenge, which is good or bad depending on how you look at it. Some of the quirks contribute to the overall feel of the product, while some feel arbitrary and just add confusion.

The inserts are highlighted by several parallel sets. Landing one-per-pack, the mini parallels are shrunken down versions fit to the measurements of the original set. The red backgrounds are the common cards, with blues falling one in ten packs and whites landing 1:6,189 packs. My box yielded no whites (not surprised), three blues (including a short print) and the rest were red. So I beat the odds on a blue but that really doesn't matter to me as I'm not collecting the set and they're a little too tough to find so I imagine there are few who are working on them.

The surprise packs stickers seem a little monotonous. They look just like the mini red parallels except for the backs that say 'peel here' to show they're a sticker. Had the regular parallels not been included, these would have been a nice feature. However, as the set is built, it comes across as overkill. I would have preferred the stickers be nixed and had the basic parallels inserted into the surprise packs.

Each box promises a combination of two relics, autographs or vintage buybacks. My box had a couple of game-used cards: an Albert Pujols bat and Paul Lo Duca jersey. While game-used doesn't have nearly the impact as it did five years ago, I still get excited when I find one.

Ultimately 2004 Topps Cracker Jack is a wonderful product for those who crave opening packs and building sets. You're not going to get a huge pull most likely but it's nonetheless a lot of value packed into a box.

2004 Topps Cracker Jack Baseball Box Breakdown:

Packs per box: 20
Cards per pack: 9
Total cards: 181

Cards in set: 290
Singles: 140
Doubles: 0
Triples+: 0

Inserts: 42

* Combined odds for autographs, relic cards and repurchased cards are 1:10.

 


Edwin Jackson autographed 2004 Topps Cracker Jack card #178
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2004 Cracker Jack Kevin Millwood Game Used Jersey #SO-KM PSA 9! Phillies! POP3
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2004 Cracker Jack Eric Gagne Game Used Jersey - #SO-EG - PSA 9! Dodgers! POP 1!
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2004 Cracker Jack Derek Lowe Game Used Jersey - #SO-DL - PSA 9! Red Sox! POP 1!
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2004 Cracker Jack Rich Harden Game Used Jersey - #SO-RH - PSA 9! A’s! POP 2!
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2004 TOPPS CRACKER JACK #TB-AD ADAM DUNN JERSEY CINCINNATI REDS 6045
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2004 TOPPS CRACKER JACK #TB-BB2 BRETT BOONE JERSEY SEATTLE MARINERS 6045
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2004 (ATHLETICS) Topps Cracker Jack Mini Blue #102 Barry Zito
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2004 (BB) Topps Cracker Jack Mini Blue #167 Rocco Baldelli SP
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2004 (ORIOLES) Topps Cracker Jack Mini Blue #175 Javy Lopez SP
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2004 Topps Baseball Cracker Jack Packs Lot Of 3
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2004 Cracker Jack 123 Strikes You're Out Jersey Mini John Smoltz
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