2006 Finest

What I pulled--

Parallels and Inserts:
Red Refractor - Clint Barmes (#246/399), Shawn Green (#179/399), Garrett Atkins (#208/399)
Blue Refractor - Garrett Atkins (#166/299), Mark Prior (#176/299), Adam Dunn (#162/299)
Red X-Fractor - Randy Johnson (#60/250), Ervin Santana (#64/250)
Green Refractor - Bobby Abreu (#120/199)
Blue X-Fractor - Mark Loretta (#128/150)
Black Refractor - Jose Reyes (#33/99)
Green X-Fractor - Rich Harden (#29/50)
Gold Refractor - Miguel Perez (#17/49)
Mickey Mantle Finest Moments - MM7: Nine consecutive seasons 100+ runs (#345/850), MM16: 1509 career RBI (#740/850)
Mickey Mantle Finest Moments Refractor - MM11: 18 World Series HRs (#165/399)
Barry Bonds Finest Moments Refractor Box Topper - BB9: 107 extra base hits in 2001 (#250/425)

Base Autograph - Chuck James
Blue X-Fractor Autograph - Anthony Lerew (#29/150)
Finest Refractor Autograph - Miguel Cabrera

Topps Finest is just that - one of the Finest products on the baseball card market.

With a legacy that dates back to 1993, Finest is one of Topps' most consistent brands, delivering
"Super Premium" cards to collectors. This year's design is one of most attractive in recent years,
though, which just adds to an already alluring product. Packaged in three six-pack mini-boxes, the
packs are loaded with shiny, thick stock cards, lots of layers of parallels, one Mickey Mantle insert
per mini-box and one autograph per mini-box. It isn't the cheapest product out there (each mini-box
will run around $45-50), but the value each box provides is potentially worth every penny.

Each pack gives you at least one parallel. The colors and serial numbering are plentiful, with each version
coming as a regular Refractor and an X-Fractor. In addition to the parallels are the aforementioned Mantle
inserts and autographs. Topps has been celebrating Mickey Mantle across all of its brands this year, and
Finest is no exception. The Finest Moments inserts are gorgeous and highlight some of the great
achievements from his career. These cards have Refractor parallels, as well, which heightens the chase
even more fort die-hard Mantle fans. Then, there are the autographs, which come one per mini-box. The
majority of the signers are young players and soon-to-be major leaguers who make the cut under the new
MLBPA rules, but there are some high-end players thrown in (I was very lucky and pulled an autograph of
perhaps the top young hitter in baseball, Miguel Cabrera). If there is a quibble with the product, though, that
is where it lies - many collectors would probably prefer an autograph list of more established players. And,
for an added bonus, there is the BArry Bonds box topper if you buy a full box of three mini-boxes, which, like
the Mantle inserts, celebrate the numerous milestones he has achieved.

As with the also recently released Bowman, Finest is one of those products that follows along the lines on "If it ain't broke,
don't fix it". For many years, this has been a favorite product of high-end collectors who don't mind paying a little extra to get a
little extra. With this years baseball field design replacing the vertigo-inducing pseudo-bullseye from last year, the one fault
from last year is gone.

If you aren't lucky enough to pull an autograph you are happy with, you probably won't agree with my grade for Finest. Let's face
it - something like that can make all the difference in the world. But even if you don't, this is a product that is really tough to find
fault with........................