by Rich Klein
I realize I’m probably in the minority among collectors but I believe there is truly a place for Topps Opening Day to exist in the baseball card marketplace. This product becomes a lower price-point option for new collectors, kids and collectors who appreciate basic card sets without a lot of bells and whistles . It also provides a great deal of cards for the money. The 2012 Opening Day product is no exception to this rule. You’ll always find a nifty little surprise or two. Among them this year? Issued the first week of March, Opening Day is home to Topps’ first Albert Pujols’ standard issue Angels card.
Opening Day, which uses the same design as the basic 2012 Topps set but has the opening day logo on the front, features cards from both the first and second series of Topps. To me, this set becomes a nice preview of what some of the second series photos will look like. Each box contains 36 packs with seven cards per pack for a total of 252 cards. That means for barely more than a dime per card, any collector will receive a good assortment of the leading players entering the 2012 season. Quoting that former Dallas Cowboys football coach Bill Parcells: “It is what it is.”
Topps is very consistent on what Opening Day promises. It’s been around for nearly two decades and it’s obviously been successful. It serves a lot of purposes. It can even be used as something to purchase when looking for baseball card packs to put into goodie baskets for youngsters who don’t need a ‘relic card’ to feel like they got something good.
And yes, Opening Day does include some autographed cards randomly inserted, so it’s not totally devoid of hits. The master set is 375 cards and can be found online for less than $80.
The current selling prices for these cards are $34.25 at my local card store (Triple Cards in Plano, TX). The owner’s comment was this set fulfills a need for the $1 per pack collector. The price among leading on-line retailers is currently between $25-30 per box.
Some of the elements, like Mascots and Superstar Celebrations and designed to appeal to kids who are getting excited about the upcoming season. It’s also designed to give some home to the collector who likes to put together complete sets but doesn’t need the number eight hitter in the Astros lineup to feel he’s got a good representation of the season.
Here’s what we pulled from our box:
Blue Parallels (#d to 2012): Billy Butler, Derek Holland, Brian McCann, Sergio Santos,Chris Young
Mascots: Billy the Marlin, Dinger, Gapper, Kansas City Royals, Phillie Phanatic Pirate Parrot, Paws, Slider, TC, Wally the Green Monster
Elite Status: Prince Fielder, Carlos Gonzalez, Alex Gordon, Ian Kinsler, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Reyes, James Shields, Jered Weaver
Fantasy Squad: Migual Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Starlin Castro, Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia, Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, Troy Tulowitzki
Opening Day Stars: Adrian Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw, Dustin Pedroia, Troy Tulowitzki
Superstar Celebrations: Eric Hosmer, Matt Kemp, Martin Prado, Alex Rios, Geovany Soto, Dan Uggla, Justin Upton, Troy Tulowitzki, Joey Votto, Ryan Zimmerman
Lots of cards, lots of good players and even lots of fun extras in every pack. You won’t go broke gambling for a big ‘hit’ with 2012 Topps Opening Day. Not much more any collector could ask for. To see just how reasonably priced this stuff is, click here to check boxes, singles and sets on eBay.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]