Topps Opening Day Baseball: The Richard Nixon of Baseball Card Sets

by Chris Harris

In the wake of the 1972 Presidential election, Pauline Kael, the legendary film critic for The New Yorker, infamously quipped to an audience that she couldn’t understand how it was that Richard Nixon won re-election in a 49-state landslide.  After all, pretty much evNeftali Feliz 2012 Topps Opening Dayeryone she knew voted for his opponent George McGovern.  In a way, many baseball card collectors feel the same way about 2012 Topps Opening Day Baseball that Kael felt about Nixon.  They just can’t seem to understand why Topps continues to produce a card set that they, and other hardcore baseball card collectors, don’t collect.

Yes, Opening Day is essentially a rehash of the Topps flagship, and many hobbyists don’t feel the Jose Bautista 2012 Topps Openning Dayneed to collect something they already have.  But what many of those hardcore collectors may not realize is that the brand has been a persistent revenue producer for Topps at the mass-market retail level.  Despite a price-point of only 99 cents for a pack of seven cards, Opening Day has found a niche; if not with the baseball card die-hards, rather with casual baseball fans, kids, lapsed collectors, cheapskates, impulse buyers, and the otherwise curious.

2012 Topps Opening Day Baseball, scheduled for release about a month before the actual opening day, will follow the same pattern as previous year’s sets: 220 foil-free reprints from Topps’ flagship 2012 Topps Opening Day Matt Kemp set (74 of which will be from Series Two); a blue-bordered parallel serial-numbered to 2012 copies; and an insert in every pack.  Among the inserts available are cards of each team’s mascot, another batch of “Superstar Celebrations,” and the popular Azuna 3-D “Opening Day Stars.”

Finally, autographs of ten young stars will be randomly inserted into packs.  Among the players that have signed include World Series contestants Mitch Moreland and Neftali Feliz of the Rangers, and Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay.  Although the exact insertion ratio hasn’t been announced, if past years are any indication, they should be inserted at the “case hit” level.

Each box of 2012 Topps Opening Day Baseball will contain 36 packs of seven cards, and is scheduled for release, primarily to retail outlets, the week of March 4, 2012.  Packs will retail for $0.99.

Chris Harris is the author of, a popular hobby blog.