by Rich Klein
One of the longest standing traditions at Topps is the season-ending “update” set. In fact, if you really think about that, the concept of updating a card set goes back to the Old Judge days of the late 1880’s with all the different poses of players and team updates.
Topps used to produce cards by series, with the final series sometimes offering new information about players and sometimes updated photos. A good example of that is the 1968 Topps Jim Bouton card in which the first sentence of his bio on the back reads: “Jim pitched his way back to the Yankees after being the club’s most impressive hurler this spring.” That was fairly typical of the verbiage on high number cards for many years.
Series distribution ended in the 1970s and it wasn’t until 1981 that Topps launched its annual year-end, stand alone update product. The first was a boxed set known as the 1981 Topps Traded factory set.
That first traded set continued the card numbers of the basic set, but the following year Topps gave the set its own numbering as a separate set. That idea continues today, but Topps has expanded the set and also distributes it through packs and boxes.
The 2010 Updates and Highlights set, as it’s now called, was pre-sold to much fanfare because of uber prospect Steven Strasburg. His injury quelled the excitement a bit and this product is currently trading at $40-50 on line with the prices being slightly higher in the retail store arena.
Topps continues many of the same insert sets that started with this year’s Series One product and continued through Series Two.
At the $40-50 level, which is similar to the prices for Topps Chrome, this was a really fun product to open as you will see. Each box has 36 packs with ten cards per pack and one autograph or relic card per box. You won’t pull a complete set from the box, thanks to all of those inserts.
Here’s what we pulled:
Base Card (Commons); 247 of 330 with 10 duplicates. To my wife’s relief, we did get both Cliff Lee Rangers cards in this mix. After my wife went with me to game three of the World Series, she has developed into a Rangers fan all of a sudden and decided she wanted any and all of the Rangers cards we got from this break which included an Elvis Andrus AS card and a Colby Lewis card.
Gold Card Parallels (#d to 2010); Orlando Cabrera, Blake DeWitt, JA Happ, Jerry Hairston Jr., Brendan Harris, Koyie Hill
Chrome Refactor Box Top: Chris Heisey
Veteran Short Print: Jim Palmer
Strasburg Insert: #661 (Different from the Million Card Giveaway or the Factory Set #551)
Attax Code Cards: Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, Starlin Castro, Robinson Cano, Shin-Soo Choo, Adam Dunn, Adrian Gonzalez, Roy Halladay, Josh Hamilton, Jason Heyward, Austin Jackson, Ubaldo Jiminez, Adam Jones, Clayton Kershaw, John Lackey, Mike Leake, Francisco Liriano, Evan Longoria, Nick Markakis, Hideki Matsui, Brian McCann, Andrew McCutchen, Jake Peavy, Hunter Pence, Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Carlos Santana, Joakim Soria, Alfonso Soriano, Mike Stanton, Ichiro Suzuki, Kurt Suzuki, Justin Upton, David Wright, Kevin Youkilis.
Tales of the Game: Andre Dawson/Alex Rodriguez, Roy Halladay. Eddie Mathews, Tape-Measure Single, There’s no Tying in Baseball, Triple Billing.
Cards Your Mom Threw Out: Jason Bay, Yogi Berra/Roy Campanella, Reggie Jackson, Derek Jeter, Ubaldo Jiminez, Barry Larkin, Roger Maris, Mike Piazza/Ken Griffey Jr., Brooks Robinson, Nolan Ryan, Darryl Strawberry.
Cards Your Mom Threw Out Original Back: Lou (Lew) Burdette.
Vintage Legends: Johnny Bench, Roy Campanella, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson (2 of this card), Johnny Mize, Mel Ott, Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Ozzie Smith
Turkey Red: A.J. Burnett, Roy Campanella, Chris Carpenter. Josh Johnson, John Lackey, Carlos Lee, Christy Mathewson, Ben Sheets.
Peak Perfomance: Vladimir Guerrero, Roy Halladay, Dustin Pedroia, Daniel Nava, Jered Weaver.
Manufactured Rookie Logo (#d to 600): Stephen Strasburg.
Million Card Giveaway: Code cards were exchanged for1990 Dave Righetti, 1983 George Wright, 1983 Atlee Hammaker, 1979 Randy Lerch, 1979 Bo Diaz, 1978 Glenn Adams, 1976 Dwight Evans, 1961 Tony Gonzalez, 1961 Dick Howser (RC).
Wow, that’s a lot of cards out of a box at this price point with a nice all-around mix. It’s nice to see good cards at an affordable level and see this past season’s players in their current uniforms.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]
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