While 1997 was the inaugural year for 1/1’s (cards with a print run of just 1), 1998 was the year that popularized low pop serial numbering. In this context, ‘low’ can be defined as anything printed in less than 100 copies. In the late ’90’s, anything serial numbered <1000 was still very tough to pull. This means that anything <100 was extraordinarily rare and odds were astronomical.
1998 Finest produced some highly coveted and difficult insert sets which include “Centurion” and “The Man.” 1998 Finest The Man is a 20 card insert set featuring the biggest names of the year, guys like Griffey, Ripken, Piazza and, of course, Frank Thomas. The cards are printed on standard Finest grade card stock with a colorful metallic foil rainbow background that looks incredible under the light.
Product and Cost:
Last I checked a box of 1998 Finest series 2 can be had for around $25 while a case containing 6 boxes runs for $110. A box contains 24 packs which means that a single pack costs roughly $1.
1998 Finest The Man cards were inserted into packs of 1998 Finest series 2 at the following rates:
- The Man /500: 1:119
- The Man Refractor /75: 1:793
Base: In order to pull a base “The Man” insert, you would have to buy 119 packs of ’98 Finest series 2. This equates to roughly 5 (4.96 to be exact) boxes which will set you back a good $125 on average. Heck, may as well get a case at $110 and call it a day! Okay so fair enough. I have to buy a case of this stuff in order to pull one of these cards. What if I wanted to pull the Thomas? Given that there are 20 cards in the set, you would have to bust 2,380 packs of ’98 Finest in order to be guaranteed a Thomas base “The Man” insert! That equates to 99.2, or 100 boxes or 16.7, or 17 cases. Cost for 17 cases = $1,870! That’s just for the base Thomas card!!!
Refractor: This is where it get’s ugly. In order to pull a refractor “The Man” insert, you would have to buy 793 packs. This equates to roughly 33 (33.04 to be exact) boxes or 5.5 cases (5 cases and 3 single boxes), which will cost you $625 on average. Okay, great. I broke the bank and only pulled the Bonds, who cares!?! I wanted the Thomas, what will it take for me to be guaranteed the Thomas The Man refractor? Given that there are 20 cards in the set, I would have to bust 15,860 packs of ’98 Finest series 2. This equates to 660.8, or 661 boxes or 110.2, or 110 cases. Cost = $12,100! I would have to open 15,860 packs and spend $12,100 just to pull the Thomas “The Man” refractor. For a card serial #d to 75, that’s plain silly. Let’s have a little fun with this as long as we’re on topic. Let’s say that I wanted to pull all of the 75 available Thomas “The Man” refractors (assuming that none had been pulled). I would have to open 1,189,500 packs or 49,562.5 boxes or 8,260.4 cases. Cost comes to $908,675!!! Interesting perspective. Something to think about in the unlikely chance that you happen to stumble across a 1998 Finest The Man refractor.
Question of the Day:
If you’re a collector, share your last big pull.
To see what’s currently on eBay from 1998 Finest The Man, click here.
|Set||Total Cards||Print Run(s)||Odds|
|Card #||Player(s)||Card #||Player(s)|
|TM1||Ken Griffey Jr.||TM11||Jose Cruz Jr.|
|TM2||Barry Bonds||TM12||Larry Walker|
|TM3||Frank Thomas||TM13||Jeff Bagwell|
|TM4||Chipper Jones||TM14||Tony Gwynn|
|TM5||Cal Ripken Jr.||TM15||Travis Lee|
|TM6||Nomar Garciaparra||TM16||Juan Gonzalez|
|TM7||Mark McGwire||TM17||Scott Rolen|
|TM8||Mike Piazza||TM18||Randy Johnson|
|TM9||Derek Jeter||TM19||Roger Clemens|
|TM10||Alex Rodriguez||TM20||Greg Maddux|
I’d say my best pull as of late is my Ty Cobb bat card from 2009 Topps-206. I also just pulled an autographed Johnny Podres from some 2010 Topps-206. Maybe I should buy more of this product :-). . .By the way, my local card shop has 1993 Studio selling for fifty cents a pack – you got some competition!
Epic pulls indeed! 206 is a great product, as is ’93 Studio. Buy ’em up, those are fun to bust!
I meant to comment and forgot!
I want to say that 1996/1997 was when we started to see low serial-numbered cards. Pinnacle Totally Certified had Platinum Gold /30, as an example. Sure, there were a lot of inserts with a stated print run but not serial numbered, such as the 1997 Pinnacle Certified Mirror Golds /30 or way back to 1993 with Finest Refractors /241. Of course, there might be more than those out there as collectors are finding out, but those are some early examples.
Well, I told you my big pull in 1997 with the Finest Gold Embossed Refractor of Frank Thomas when I was at the National in Cleveland. Since then, nothing has compared!
Great call. I forgot about those pesky ’97 Pinnacle Mirror Gold’s. The ’93 Finest refractor’s are still eluding. Regarding your pull from ’97, one word: Epic! I still don’t have that card.