There are times when the most releases you can issue earlier in the cycle really help a card company. Whenever there are quarterbacks drafted very high or can’t miss prospects coming out for the other sports, there is tremendous interest in the early releases. Sometimes, the prospects have great years or someone else breaks through to push through the new products.
Other times, and this is especially true for baseball, the best rookies may not be on a roster until May 1 or even later, but still well within the rookie card guidelines. The 2015 “official” rookie class was spearheaded by Bryant, Correa and Lindor bur plenty of other rookies got a few minutes in the sun as well. Here in the Dallas area, we even had the brief rise of Joey Gallo before he slumped to finish his major league tour. But for a few shining moments, we had plenty of people chasing his cards.
All of this discourse explains why, when I stopped into Triple Cards in Plano to ask about the most recent releases, he mentioned how 2015 Topps Update Baseball was doing far better for him in the first ten days of release than last year’s set.
It just seems like a stronger selection of players in 2015 than in 2014 and collectors seem to agree. We do know there are 73 rookie cards in the set. In actuality, tough, the majority of those who open these are collectors and not dealers or investors. It’s an ‘Update’ set so it’s not all rookies. Some are players who just changed teams. I think it’s fun to see cards of players who appeared in the post-season like Jose Uribe and Kelly Johnson.
Part of the appeal may be in the larger base set. At 400 cards, it’s the biggest the hobby has seen in a very long time.
Topps again stuck with the traditional model of 36 packs per hobby box with 10 cards per pack with one autograph or relic card in each box. Triple Cards did report decent sales at $65.75 per box while leading on-line retailers are currently at $45-50 before shipping. It’s a price point suited to collectors who aren’t necessarily hunting for the best hits. Jumbo and blaster boxes are also available.
Here’s what we pulled:
Base Cards: 306 of 400. Even if about all you pulled were base cards, your per card cost is only about 15-20 cents. Topps hustled to get some players who were moved at the trade deadline, like Cole Hamels and Jose Reyes, into the set in the uniforms of their new teams..
Pose Variation: Ichiro (on deck circle). The variations can be frustrating for traditionalists but I have to admit it’s fun to pull one.
Rainbow Parallels: Yunel Escobar, Sean Gilmartin, Justin Upton
Gold Parallels (# to 2015): Nolan Aremndo, Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson, Carlos Gomez, Jim Johnson, Mike Leake, Mark Melancon, Jordan Pacheco, Joe Panik. Cory Rasmus Felipe Rivero, Mark Rzepczynski, Juan Uribe, Logan Verrett, Shane Victorino, Tyler Wilson. Vance Worley
Pink (#d to 50); Aroldis Chapman
Highlights: Hank Aaron, Lou Brock, Ubaldo Jiminez, Bob Lemon, Albert Pujols, Tom Seaver (2 different cards), Fernando Valenzuela, Hoyt Wilhelm
Rarities: Shawn Green, Don Mattingly, Anibal Sanchez, Billy Williams
Rookie Sensations: Jose Fernandez, Dustin Pedroia, Buster Posey, Mike Trout, Fernando Valenzuela, Ted Williams
Tape Measure Blasts: Andres Galarraga, Bo Jackson, Reggie Jackson, Giancarlo Stanton
Whatever Works: Richie Ashburn, Craig Biggio, Joe DiMaggio, Nomar Garciaparra, David Ortiz
Buybacks: 1957 Bob Nieman, 1973 Bob Montgomery, 1974 Scipio Spinks, 1976 Cookie Rojas, 977 Ed Bane, 1979 George Brett
Career High Autograph: Kyle Seager
It was fun to pull six buybacks but the ’79 Brett was in extremely poor shape. It’s nice to pull an original card of a Hall of Famer but I’m not sure why Topps can’t do better quality control on those. Even an EX card doesn’t cost much but isn’t ugly. Another local shop, Nick’s Sports Cards, always points out with a great deal of pride that the vintage cards he gives to his kids as part of the “good deed” bags he hands to the parents, have better quality cards than many of what was in the Topps buybacks.
2015 Topps Update sort of completes the flagship brand for long-time collectors. While many choose to simply buy the full set, there’s enough in an unopened box to make it more fun, even if you have to track down the remaining cards for a set.
You can check out singles, sets and boxes on eBay here.