The season’s first baseball card issue hits store shelves and our box breaker gets to work.
By Rich Klein
Each year the new Topps Baseball set is among the most anticipated releases of the year. With a history that dates back to 1952, the arrival of the company’s flagship brand is the card collector’s version of a new Beatles single (or maybe U2 for the more contemporary crowd?).
The basic Topps set is for many collectors, the core value that connects any of their old cards to cards of the present day.
Topps has many major challenges in creating this set each year. They try to keep the focus on current major leaguers while ensuring there is a place for veteran collectors to connect with their collecting past.
In addition, one must feel they enjoy opening the new Topps product, which for many collectors brings back the memories of that gum which always tastes better in your memory then it did when those sugar slabs were actually included in the packs.
So, how are this year’s cards? Pretty similar to many basic Topps cards of recent vintage.
The fronts have white borders surrounding the photo. The team name is in the lower left corner while the player’s name is on the bottom. The horizontal backs include another player photo, biographical information, a brief informational blurb and seasonal and career stats. The very readable card numbers are located in the upper right on the back. Big, bold numbers are always appreciated by those who sort cards by the thousands.
The current on-line and local store price for these boxes are currently in the $55-65 range.
Hobby boxes do state that one should receive either an autograph or a relic card in each.
So how’d we do?
Base Set: We pulled 244 of 330 cards in the series with six duplicates. Pretty nice distribution. No Pie in the Face or Vintage Player short prints
Gold Parallels (#d to 2010): Jason Grilli, Dodgers History, Nationals History, Chris Snyder, Brandon Allen
Black Parallel (#d to 59) Andrew McCutchen
Cards your Mother Threw Out: Dwight Gooden, Reggie Jackson, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Eddie Murray, Dustin Pedroia, Albert Pujols, Cal Ripken, Jackie Robinson, Tom Seaver, Gary Sheffield, Robin Yount
Cards your Mother Threw Out Original Back: Mike Piazza (1995)
Whey they were young: Jason Berken, Ryan Doumit, Brian Roberts and Justin Verlander
History of the Game: 1st Professional Game 1871; American League 1901; Babe Ruth, Johnny Bench, DH Rule 1973; 1st Major League Game in Japan 2000 Peak Performance: Roy Campanella, Dizzy Dean, Bob Gibson, Rogers Hornsby, Walter Johnson, Jackie Robinson, Tris Speaker, Chase Utley; Honus Wagner
Peak Performance Relic: Scott Kazmir
Million Card Giveaway: Received six cards; the web site is not supposed to open until February 15th; so we’ll see if anyone good comes out of these cards. If a good redemption is pulled, we will update.
Tales of the Game: Prince Fielder; Josh Hamilton, Roger Maris, David Ortiz’ Jersey, Ozzie Smith, Jimmy Piersall, 52 Topps High Numbers Dumped into Water
Legendary Lineage: Gary Carter/David Wright; Whitey Ford/CC Sabathia; Lou Gehrig/Mark Teixeira; Bob Gibson/Tim Lincecum; Babe Ruth/Alex Rodriguez; George Sisler/Ichiro Suzuki; Duke Snider/Andre Ethier; Warren Spahn/Tommy Hanson; Honus Wagner/Hanley Ramirez
Turkey Red: Josh Beckett,Gordon Beckham, Vladimir Guerrero, Cole Hamels, Edwin Jackson, Pablo Sandoval, Mike Schmidt, Miguel Tejada, Kevin Youkilis
Ticket to Topps Town: Ryan Braun (2); Miguel Cabrera (2); Adam Dunn (2); Adrian Gonzalez (2); Zach Greinke; Vladimir Guerrero; Roy Halladay; Josh Hamilton; Ryan Howard; Ichiro Suzuki; Adam Jones; Tim Lincecum; Evan Longoria; Joe Mauer; Brian McCann (2); Andrew McCutchen (2); Albert Pujols (2); Hanley Ramirez (2) ; Manny Ramirez; CC Sabathia; Miguel Tejada; Justin Upton; David Wright; Kevin Youkilis
Ticket to Topps Town Gold: Roy Halladay; Adrian Gonzalez; Joe Mauer; Justin Upton
I’d say with a good start on a base set and the many insert cards we pulled, this was a pretty solid value for the money. The Million Card Giveaway puts a little suspense and intrigue into the packs and draws on the long history of Topps baseball cards. It’s a nice touch.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]