Sometimes the baseball cards gods are with you when you create a set. Whenever there are two players off to starts such as Kris Bryant and Joc Pederson and even secondary rookies such as Mike Montgomery has two straight shutouts, you know 2015 may conclude as one of those generational years for rookies (1964, 1986, 2001 come to mind).
One of the issues for Topps is their base set with the three series (I, II and Update) forces them to use a lot of players. Topps made its first two series 350 cards each this year. And when you have this many rookies and other youngsters developing into stars, card collectors are staying busy with the hunt. Bryant is the big draw in Series 2.
Combining that love of young players with the way Topps honors past players in their insert sets and you can see there’s an ongoing effort to appeal to a pretty large demographic.
As usual, Topps hobby boxes for Series Two have 36 packs with 10 cards per pack. The design is the same as Series One and as usual there is either one relic or autograph card per box. Nick’s Sports Cards here in Texas reported good sales at $64.95 per box and also mentioned that just about every baseball issue is doing well for them right now. Meanwhile leading online retailers are between $60-65 per box before shipping charges (check them out on eBay here).
Any Topps base product has many parallels and variations and using the Beckett OPG is almost a mandatory tool in writing these reviews.
Here’s what we pulled in the box we received from Topps:
Base Cards: 296 of 350. We did not notice any SP’s or other variations. We also did not notice any duplication in the box.
Rainbow Foil Parallel: Josh Beckett HL; Desmond Jennings, Miami Marlins, New York Yankees
Gold Parallel: (#d to 2015): Chase Anderson, Cody Asche, Jay Bruce, A.J. Burnett, Brandon Guyer, Daniel Hudson, Hector Noesi, Albert Pujols, Matt Shoemaker, Max Venable
Framed Parallel (#d to 20): Tyler Clippard
Baseball Royalty: John Smoltz, Frank Thomas
Eclipsing History: Nomar Garciaparra/Jim Rice; Rickey Henderson/Lou Brock; Nolan Ryan/Sandy Koufax; David Wright/Darryl Strawberry
First Pitch: Kelsey Grammer, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hatt; Melissa McCarthy; Chris Pratt
Heart of the Order: Paul Goldschmidt, Ken Griffey Jr., Hanley Ramirez, Giancarlo Stanton; Mike Trout, Ted Wiliams
Highlight of the Year: Roger Clements, Bobby Doerr, Lou Gehrig, Clayton Kershaw, Edgar Martinez, Sandy Koufax, Babe Ruth (1933 All-Star Game); Nolan Ryan Tom Seaver
Stepping Up: Jacob DeGrom, Reggie Jackson, Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela, Joey Votto
Til It’s Over: Lou Brock; Matt Cain; Ken Griffey Jr.; Salvador Perez; Nolan Ryan
Original Buybacks: 1968 Ed Stroud; 1973 Mark Belanger. Our two cards were both in at least EX condition and to me that is perfectly fine for these types of buybacks. We know there were some issues with series one buyback cards being in low grade. I know Nick will always state that he is very ready to sell Topps plenty of buy back cards in nice shape to ensure collectors will get cards they will enjoy out of those boxes.
Career High Relics: Derek Jeter
Although we did not score a major hit, the Jeter relic card wasn’t bad. They’ve been bringing $10-20 with that pinstripe relic piece.
Make no mistake, though, Topps flagship isn’t a “hit-based” product. It is geared toward set builders and with an average card cost of less than 20 cents per card, it’s hard to complain. Times have changed but it’s a little reminiscent of the hobby glory days when you pulled 540 cards out of a box for less than $20.
Considering this year’s rookie class, some of the base cards throughout the three series will likely be more popular than many of the inserts anyway.