The Truth Shall Set You Free: Talking with TheTruth17
The people are one of the best things about the hobby. They're the game-changers. Chad Redfern, better known online as TheTruth17, is one of those people. His passion for the hobby has parlayed himself into the undisputed king of group breaks on YouTube and BlogTV. If you go to his live blog on a night he is planning to break, you will see tons of people waiting for it to begin. It looks like a line before a huge rock concert. With over 4,500 subscribers and more than a million total views, Chad has put himself on the map.
I had a chance to speak with him and get his story. This is the first part of an in-depth interview going over his start in the hobby, the present and the future. The truth is finally out there.
How did you get into card collecting?
I first started collecting at the end of 1989, beginning of 1990. My dad got me into collecting cards. He took me to a couple of local card shops here in Southern California. I even remember the first thing we bought was a complete set of 1989 Upper Deck with the Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card in it. I kinda stopped doing it once I got into high school and started concentrating on school and girls.
When did you get back into card collecting?
The first time it piqued my interest again was in 2003. It was the off-season for pro ball and I was back at San Diego State hanging out with my roommate. We were on our way to the supermarket and we saw a big sign for a card show and I was like, "Let's go check it out." We went in and started looking around. It was the first time I had ever seen cards that had the jerseys in them, cards with autos and stuff like that. I had never seen anything like that or have them like that when I was a kid. It sparked my interest to see how far the product had come. I mean baseball players bat and jerseys inside of the card was a trip.
When did you get on You Tube?
You know, three years ago this September 23 is the day I signed on and created my YouTube account.
Why did you post your first video?
The only reason I ever came out and made my first YouTube video, actually you can go back and look on YouTube, they had just come out with 2008 Donruss Threads Baseball. The big chase was that you could finally get a Pete Rose autograph. I went to the shop and ripped a few packs and actually hit one. I made my first video because I wanted to show it off to as many people as I possibly could. I got on and made the video, couple of comments, here and there, and I started talking to a couple of guys on there. I just started making more videos and getting more involved with the guys in the YouTube community. I stumbled across some people doing some group breaks. It seemed like a pretty fun idea to be able to buy into some high-end products for a cheap price. So I got in a few breaks and learned how it was done. I got some nice cards out of it. It just seemed like something really exciting for myself at the time. I didn't have a whole lot of money but I thought, “Man, I could do one of these breaks and I could open up six really nice high-end boxes all at one time." It is something I could never do on my own. So I made my first "sign-up" video to try to get people to join my break. That was a little under three years ago.
The first time you hosted a break, what was the product?
It was an incredible break for the price and the year. It was three total boxes of 2007 Ultimate Baseball, 2007 Exquisite Baseball and 2008 Premier Baseball. It was like $17 a person, and I think I bit the dust. I shipped everybody their cards for free. I took a loss on doing it, but in order to get started out and get people to join, I put it at a ridiculous price. But it was fun.
In your opinion, what are the components of hosting a successful group break?
I have been doing this for almost three years, and in the course of three years, I have never ripped anybody off, never done anything shady. I've built a reputation and gotten to know a lot of guys that continue to join my breaks. I think the guys that try nowadays think just because they see other people doing it, all they have to do is go order themselves a case of National Treasures and if they come on a blog show and show everybody they got it, that people are going to join.
You almost have to pay your dues, just like anything else. You have to build a reputation of being trustworthy as far as sending and receiving cards. I very seldom join someone's breaks that I haven't joined before. If I hit a $500 card in a break are they still going to send it to me? Will it end up on Ebay and they are refunding my money to get in and keeping the card? That kind of thing has happened in the past.
Another part of the recipe is personality. I see some guys that are just boring. I am not trying to be mean, but the only thing you hear coming out of there mouth half the time is "Come on guys, we got eight spots left." You have to have something to talk about. Have a backup plan.
In the end, what it all boils down to is trust. That is with any part of cards, whether it's doing a break or buying cards off Ebay. They trust me. There is no other way to put it. I have tried to stay consistent over the last three years. I have always tried to make a break enjoyable. I want everyone to have a good time while they are watching, whether they're joining the break or are one of the other 100 people just watching. People have told me before they feel like they can just hang out and have a beer and chill back. They just feel like we are hanging out. That's a big part of it.
In the end, you never get what your putting in. You're going to hit big every once in a while. I have always tried to have that atmosphere in my room. Now if you are joining, this is supposed to be fun for you. It is not supposed to be that you are joining and you're sitting there, your butts all puckered up and you're nervous because this is your last $40 you have to spend and your hoping that you hit. Like you're playing roulette at the casino or something.
Personally, what is your favorite product to break?
It's a tie between two. Bowman Draft and Elite Baseball. It's surprising right! To watch all of the high-end, super expensive boxes you can open, I love baseball prospects. That's what I love the most. I don't know how much Elite I have busted this year. That's my addiction side of the hobby.
Check back soon as Brad Campbell of This Cardboard Life continues his interview with Chad Redfern, aka TheTruth17.
2010 Bowman Sterling PITTSBURGH PIRATES JUSTIN WILSON SP PROSPECT AUTO RC
2010 Bowman Chrome Anthony Gose Autograph Auto SP
LOT (20) 2013 BOWMAN CARLOS CORREA 19 BASE 1 CHROME NON AUTO
RYMER LIRIANO 2012 BOWMAN STERLING AUTO