Monday, August 25, 2014

How Much 2014 Allen & Ginter Have You Searched?

When I go out and pack search, sometimes I'll keep notes in my phone about how much product a store has on its shelves.  I do this to keep track of how much product is being purchased by other card collectors in between my visits to each particular store.  It also helps me know if any restocks have occurred since my last visit.  Yes, this is completely nutty.  It's a product of my pack searching obsession and my psychotic desire for having as much information at my fingertips as possible. 

So this year I kept an approximate count of how much 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter packs I've searched.  Based on my estimates, I think I've searched approximately 625 retail packs of 2014 Allen & Ginter. 

Is that a lot?  I don't know.  For the regular collectors it probably seems like some crazy amount.  But for any other pack searchers reading this blog maybe they don't think it's a lot.  Maybe they have searched even more packs.

Based on the retail print run of 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter, 625 retail packs is approximately 0.35% of the entire retail stock that Topps made.  Maybe some year I'll try to search a whole 1% of the retail stock.  While that is not a lot in the grand scheme of things, it would be an amazing feat to accomplish. 

I think that had I had more time on my hands, the number of 625 retail packs could have actually been bigger.  Sometimes when I was in stores I just didn't have the time to search all the product there.  If I didn't have a job and had more time to drive to all the Targets and Walmarts within a 2 hours drive of me, I probably could have doubled that number. 

So what should I have found in those 625 packs?  Well, based on the retail odds I should have found approximately 26 full sized hits (either full sized relics, framed mini relics, or autographs).  Of those 26 hits, 4 of the hits should have been autographs.

I actually found 15 full sized hits, and of those only 1 of the hits was an autograph.

So what gives?  Why is there this disparity?

Most of it is due to me searching a lot of retail gravity feed packs which have already been searched, and didn't have a hit because other pack searchers had been there before me.  This is typical, and to be expected.  Unfortunately, it also skews my results. 

If I ignore the retail gravity feed packs which I know had been searched before me (and I can safely know and assume this because I didn't find any hits in those packs) then I think the actual number of unsearched retail packs that I had searched was approximately 481 packs. 

What should I have found in 481 packs?  I should have found approximately 20 hits, and 3 of the hits should have been autographs.  That leaves me about five total hits short, and two of which should have been autographs.

What does this all mean?  Most likely I missed some hits.  Hey, it happens.  Sometimes I searched some products and I wasn't 100% sure there was a hit in it so I didn't buy it.  A couple of times there might have been hits there that I ended up missing because I didn't make the purchase, i.e. a false negative.  On the other hand, I had very few false positives this year - meaning times when I purchased packs which I thought had hits in them but didn't.  I think out of all the Ginter I bought this year it only happened to me twice.  The first time I was in a rush and mistakenly thought I had a hit when I didn't.  The second time was a packing error by Topps so that's not entirely my fault. 

How many Ginter packs do you guys think you've searched?  What is the most packs you've searched of any product? 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pack Searching 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter: The Last Hurrah

2014 Topps Allen & Ginter has come and gone.  It's been out for a really long time and been heavily searched.  Everywhere store I go to is barren and not a single hit can be found.  Here are the last two hits I found.

Miguel Cabrera
2014 Topps Allen & Ginter
Full Sized Relic
Odds:  1:79

I found a nice Miguel Cabrera bat relic.

Phelps Sweatt
2014 Topps Allen & Ginter
Full Sized Relic
Odds:  1:79

And a Phelps Sweatt relic. 

I was hoping to hit some crazy stuff this year but I really can't complain with all the hits I was able to find in retail.  With that, I'm done.  No more Ginter for me.  Time to move on and concentrate on something else.

Friday, August 15, 2014

I Spy Another Pack Searcher

A few weekends ago I was out on a little day trip, and decided to stop by a Target on the way.  By this point in time, Topps Allen & Ginter had been out for over three weeks.  I knew there were slim chances at finding hits but I figured I'd give it a shot anyways.

As I walked into the Target and started approaching the card aisle I could see the back of a person's head by the cards.  It was a man.  Wearing a hat, looking down intently at some packs of cards in his hands.

Instantly, I knew.  It was another pack searcher.

For a moment I considered strolling right up next to him and finger banging those packs with him.  (Would that make it a pack searching three-some?)  But then I decided against it.  While he and I are very much the same, I like to operate alone and in anonymity.  Instead, I decided to discreetly watch him from a few aisles over.

He looked to be searching Bowman Baseball.  He had some rack packs in his hands, and seemed to be checking out a few loose packs from the gravity feed too.  I haven't even tried to search Bowman this year.  The cards don't really interest me and I'd rather spend my money searching Ginter.

It was interesting to see what techniques he was using.  They were your usual techniques.  Nothing new or groundbreaking.  I wondered if he reads this blog.  I was pretty sure he probably was a subscribing member to one of the two major pack searching websites.  I wondered if I've ever been watched like I was watching this dude.  Probably.  When you've pack searched as much and as long as I have you've probably been noticed... oh, a lot.

I watched him for about ten minutes.  He seemed satisfied with one pack of cards, went to the cash register and paid for it.  I even watched him bust the pack on his way out.  He didn't seem crazy excited about whatever was in the pack but he also seemed satisfied.  I wonder what he pulled.  An autograph?  A numbered parallel?

Now that he was gone it was time for me to search.  I swooped into the aisle and started searching the Allen & Ginter packs.  Lucky for me, there was one hit to be found.

Ian Desmond
2014 Allen & Ginter
Full-Sized Relic
Odds:  1:79

It was an Ian Desmond relic!  Another nice looking card. 

This was actually one of the first pack searchers that I've come across in a very long time.  When I was first starting out, I seemed to run across at least one other searcher every few months.  Now though, I think it's been over a year since I've seen another pack searcher.  Maybe it's because as I've become more proficient at pack searching I don't spend as much time at the stores as I used to.  I have a mental picture of that guy in my mind.  I'll keep an eye out for him again.  He must be local.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pack Searching 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter: My First Autograph

I've actually been keeping track of how much 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter I've searched.  I've been doing that to see how many hits there should be versus how many hits I'm finding.  This sort of gives me an idea of how many hits other pack searchers are finding who have beat me to the stores and how many hits I may be missing.

Based on my how many packs I've searched, I actually figured that I should have come across approximately 2.5 autographs so far.  I hadn't hit a single one yet, so either I was getting a little unlucky, or I had missed the autograph hits.

The fact that I'm due for an autograph has been killing me.  It's been making me want to go out farther and farther on pack searching road trips to find the hits.

One night, when I had some free time and no obligations, I finally gave in.  I hopped in the car and made a 30 minute trek to a Target a couple towns away.

I've had good success at this Target before.  I know it gets searched by other pack searchers, but I've also found hits there from products which have been out for a long time too.  That means that the other pack searchers who do search this store don't visit it very often.  I was hoping that they hadn't visited this store in a while.

When I finally got there and checked out their Ginter stock, I could clearly see that it had been searched.  Much of it had already been purchased too.  Even so, I came all this way to search this Target so I wasn't about to leave before searching it myself. 

I've said this a million times before on the blog, but you never know what you'll find unless you look.  So I looked.  I finger banged the shit out of those packs and came across a hit.

It was the only hit in the store, and it was my first autograph... finally!

Andre Rienzo
2014 Topps Allen & Ginter
Framed Mini Autograph
Odds:  1:144

It was a framed mini autograph of rookie Andre Rienzo!  This card isn't worth a lot, but it doesn't matter.  To me, it has a different value.  It represents all the critical thinking, research, and effort I've put into searching and finding the hits where other pack searchers don't want to search. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pack Searching 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter: All One Target

The Target closest to where I live is usually the last Target on Earth to get in new cards.  Sometimes, I have to wait two weeks or more after release day before the new product starts showing up on the shelves.

I had actually stopped visiting this Target on a daily basis because I figured that it would be a long time before they'd get their stock of 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter.

But after not visiting the store for a whole five days, which is a really long time to not visit a store when it comes to pack searching, I went back to take a look.

And to my complete surprise, there it was!  Only one and a half weeks after release day it was here!  Sitting on the shelves was a plethora of Allen & Ginter.  It looked like the Ginter fairy just shat rainbows full of Ginter across the shelves.  I hadn't seen so much Ginter at any of the other Targets I visited.

But the question was: was it already searched?

After calmly taking stock of the situation, and giving things a preliminary once-over, I realized it hadn't been searched, and hits were abound. 

Carlos Gonzalez
2014 Topps Allen & Ginter
Full Sized Relic
Odds: 1:79

Starting things off was a Carlos Gonzalez bat relic. 


Carlos Gonzalez
2014 Topps Allen & Ginter
Full Sized Relic
Odds: 1:79

And then I hit another!  The same card!


Yadier Molina
2014 Topps Allen & Ginter
Full Sized Relic
Odds: 1:79

And then a Yadier Molina relic!


Aroldis Chapman
2014 Topps Allen & Ginter
Full Sized Relic
Odds: 1:79

And then a Aroldis Chapman relic!


Edwin Encarnacion
2014 Topps Allen & Ginter
Framed Mini Relic
Odds:  1:240

And then I finally hit a framed mini bat relic!  These are a lot tougher to pull this year since Topps has now made the full-sized relics the more common relic.  This one is of Edwin Encarnacion!


Kyle Seager
2014 Topps Allen & Ginter
Framed Mini Relic
Odds:  1:240

And the other was a framed mini bat relic of Kyle Seager!

After pulling all these hits, I was simply in awe.  I just sat in my car for a few moments, thinking about how lucky I was.  Since I hadn't visited this Target in five days, I had no idea how long this was all sitting here.  Maybe it was only put out today and I was the first one to find it.  Maybe it had been out for five days and nobody else came by to search it.  Either way, I just couldn't believe my luck that it was here, I was clearly the first to find it, and there were so many hits here.  Unbelievable.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Pack Searching 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter: Tanner Foust

Another relic hit.  I'm still looking for my first autograph. 

Tanner Foust
2014 Topps Allen & Ginter
Full-Sized Relic
Odds: 1:79

I have no idea who this guy is.  But from doing a quick Google search, I see that he's a professional race car driver, stunt car driver, and talk show host.  He's done stunt driving for The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift, Iron Man 2, and Dukes of Hazzard.  Pretty cool.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Pack Searching 2014 Topps Allen & Ginter: Dr. James Andrews

Another relic hit. 

Dr. James Andrews
2014 Topps Allen & Ginter
Full-Sized Relic
Odds: 1:79

I guess it's pretty cool to have a Dr. James Andrews relic since he's a famous orthopedic surgeon whose client list includes Jamaal Charles, Tom Brady, Albert Pujols, Michael Jordan, Emmit Smith, Drew Brees, Roger Clemens, Bo Jackson, Adrian Peterson, Brett Favre, and Rob Gronkowski.

He's also the team doctor for Alabama, Auburn, and the Washington Redskins.  He must be good!