Thursday, May 5, 2016

Thoughts on 2016 Topps Series One

Who is card 7?  What happened? What was it left out? I was baffled when I read that Series One would contain 350 cards but landed Chase Utley's 351 in the early packs I opened. I'm still confused. I don't get it. They seem to skip 7 every year. I am sure there is a reason. I see Mickey Mantle was card 7 from at least 2009 through 2012. Did they retire his number? I'm sorry but I find this weird...anyway...

I should state from the beginning that this is the first set I've assembled contemporary to the cards being released since the spring and summer of 1990. I use that as my date because I have no recollection or familiarity with the 1991 design. Last summer I assembled two sets of 1987 Topps, which was great fun. It feels, working with the 2016 edition, like I just awoke from a coma. The differences are so vast. I can safely say that baseball cards have come a very long way since then, and another disclosure: before last summer I hadn't so much as looked at a card in perhaps 20 or so years. Then, back in 1990, Topps baseball cards looked like the below left. The design bore a quasi-homage /take-off/resemblance to the 1988 Donruss (below right).


I prefer cards with borders, so the 2016 Topps was a little disappointing in that regard. It always made me feel like I  had something to hold on to on the card. That being said, obvious cutting errors might now be harder to spot. However, that's a personal preference and doesn't detract from how amazing I find the photography to be. It must be nearly impossible to determine a photograph to use. Digital photography must enable several hundred to choose from for each player for each game. I guess there is no excuse, with so many potential images to choose from, for a player like poor Edwin/Ed Nunez to have cards as awful as his was in 1985 or as confused as Willie McGee looked in 1986. (Although I realize this was just Willie's permanent face.)


Poor Ed/Edwin. Poor Willie.

Being 'new' again to baseball cards, I also find the horizontal cards hard to adjust to, but I very much like the idea.

Below are the cards in roughly 50 card stacks showing also a Mike Trout base card and camo jersey variation. The Posey card is a rainbow foil parallel. The smokey stuff on the card is one of those things that fall under the category "just because you can, doesn't mean you should'.  Kind of like screwing with the color and/or flavor Oreo's (Cinnamon bun Oreo's, really??) . Just don't. It doesn't do anything for me.




There are a number of cards, 4 in the first 30 alone, for rookies with some major league stats (or none, even) but for which there are no major league stats on the verso of the card.


Alec Asher, above, had an abominable 0-6 record with an ERA over 9 for the Philadelphia Phillies last year. Was not putting that on his card an act of kindness? I disagree with this.



John Hicks, above, played in 17 games last year for the Mariners. I'd like to see his full stats on the CARD and not have to go to Baseball-Reference.com to see them. Though I love having the website at my finger tips wherever I go.


Richie Shaffer hasn't played a major league game yet. He should not have a card. Much less be the third bloody one in the entire set. Certainly there were enough qualifying players that do or did warrant receiving a card? Jerad Eickhoff appeared in 8 games last year for the Phillies, he does and should have a card. Again, having his full stats for minor league and major league play would be handy. Some players even have something like 10 years (or ten teams worth) of minor league service on the backs of the cards. I guess I'd like some consistency.


Phew: that was close. The (then) Cubs' outfielder Chris Coghlan made it safely away from the fiery explosion at Citifield taking place during filming of the MLB Network's new baseball, Hard Out, inspired by Die Hard. Bruce Willis is set to play former Nationals manager Matt Williams.


I heard a rumor Adam LaRoche actually walked away from baseball because Topps airbrushed out his kid from the photograph on his card (above right) for wearing the wrong uniform.


The card for Andrew McCutchen, my current favorite player. This is his first first card without dreads, I think, for a long time and am surprised this isn't recognized with a label. This is the first card of his I got and it seems preposterous that according to The Trading Card Database he has, already, more than 2,700 cards, which is 400 more than my childhood favorite player.

Over and above any of this, I have really enjoyed building this set. I loved almost every minute of it, even getting five Trayce Thompson's in my first seven packs. I do miss the wax wrapping. With so many throwbacks in play these days, is there a wax pack or a rack pack out there to be had that I don't know about? I think for Series Two I might venture into the Hobby Box arena to try it out.

I would be remiss if I didn't talk about all the many inserts. Too many is an understatement.

I have another page on this blog that lists the 2016 Topps Series One duplicate cards that I have. If anyone wants some or all, please do not hesitate to contact me. Not listed there yet are many of the many inserts that I've pulled out of packs. 

Thanks for stopping by.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, yes, Topps did retire the #7 for Mantle. It goes well with Topps's New York-Centricity.

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