Thursday, February 5, 2015

Happy Topps Day!

I have decided to declare today as a holiday - Topps Day - in honor of the first release of the new year.  I didn't have the foresight to take the day off work (that will change next year) but I did rearrange my schedule to carve out an hour and a half in the middle of the day to hit the LCS and pick up my Jumbo Box.  I typically get 1 Jumbo Box per release and with only one exception several years back the Jumbo Box gets me the entire set.  I am hopeful for the same outcome this year with the expanded checklist.

Both of my boys had sports this evening and I have some work to do to prepare for a Scouting Leadership meeting tomorrow night so I decided to just crack the first pack tonight and share the entire contents in this post.  If all goes as planned I should have some time tomorrow evening to crack the rest of the box and will post the highlights of each pack in another post.  Sound good?

So which card gets the honor of being my first card of 2015?  Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal:

Not the most exciting subject on the card to me but hey it is the first.  I reserved commenting on the design until I had a card in hand.  I have to say that I really like the card fronts.  As you'll see shortly, the coloring around the border changes based on the team which I really like - a great change from the white borders we have been "blessed" with the last several years.  The team logo is well placed.  I like the presence of the position in the circles and those again change color based on the team.  The font used for the player name and team name seems to work well.  My only complaint after looking through my first back is that most of the pictures are zoomed in fairly tight.  I didn't seem much in the way of action shots, most of the photos are cropped from the knees up or the waist up.  I suspect when I share my favorites of future packs you will see the few select cards with zoomed out shots.

 I am not a major inspector of the backs of cards but thought I would share this one card back and share my thoughts.
 The color scheme of the front border flows onto the back, I like it.  Also the same team logo, font for the player name and team and circle for the position are used.  The card number is nice and white and easy to read against the colored background.  I am not sure why the Series One is included, that is pretty easy to decipher based on the card number.  The stats are just big enough for me to read pretty easily and seem to include the right stats.  Once again WAR is included which I like.  I find it interesting that Rosenthal had a WAR of 2.2 in 2013 as a set up guy then shifted to the closers role and had a pretty solid year but only had a WAR of 1.0.  I also like the 3 lines of info about the player.  Those with fewer years of service get the same treatment.  The only small issue I have is the white font with the biographical data, it is so small that even though it is white on color it is a little challenging to read.

Overall I give Topps high marks for this year's design, one of the best in recent history in my humble opinion.  On to the rest of Pack #1:
 This pack did not start off strong for me. The best I can say is 10 different teams so I got a good opportunity to view the different color schemes.

The next group of 9 heated up.  A rookie of possible Dodger phenom Joc Pederson and two great cards of my World Champion Giants.  We have the same old league leaders cards of the last few years, I wish they would change those up a bit.  The horizontal cards are bringing the action to the base set, very cool!

 A few more of the waste/knee and up cards and a little star power with Yu and Hamilton.  This is probably Matsuzaka's last MLB Topps card with a career of stats since he decided to sign with a Japanese team for next season.

 A couple more rookies and a really nice shot of Yordano Ventura.  Every time I see a Zack Wheeler card I am haunted by the trade that sent him away. I think in about 5 years that will haunt the Giants.

Here are the final 2 base cards and the inserts from the pack.  I am a fan of the archetypes inserts and very glad to have scored the Jeter.  For the last few years I have built all the insert sets and will do so again this year and Jeter is always a challenging and expensive pick up.  The back of the card celebrates Derek's "clutchness", nice pickup.  The First Pitch insert is a nice new idea by Topps. I am not super connected to pop culture and probably won't recognize some of the people but I like the idea.  The Fisk celebrates the 40 year anniversary of Free Agency in baseball.  A nice tribute to a fairly recent part of baseball history.  The Clinton card is from an insert set that I believe will match one famous news event from a particular year with a baseball event.  The card is numbered 15A so I assume 15B will be of a player from 1992.  Finally the Highlight of the Year insert of Fergie Jenkins.  Again a pretty cool idea and a solid looking design.  I suspect there are a couple more inserts to discover in the rest of the packs but I have to say that in my opinion Topps did a great job on the inserts this year.

 The final card in my first Jumbo pack was hit number 1 out of 3 in the box:
This is an MLB Silhouetted Batter Logo Pin of  Cubs prospect Javier Baez.  The logo is made of metal and the card is fairly think and pretty heavy.  I have learned to accept these manufactured cards as "relic" hits in the jumbo boxes.  I think this is a solid design. I wish I would have pulled Buster Posey but you can't win them all.

There you have it, pack 1 of my Jumbo Box.  My goal will be to bust the other 9 packs and share some highlight sometime tomorrow.

Happy Topps Day!


  1. Looks like a solid pack! Looking forward to seeing what else the jumbo box had in store.

  2. Good review, sir. I guess Topps felt the need to include the "Series 1" qualifier on the back of the card because they expanded the size of the series this year? Just a guess, but ultimately, I mean, does it really matter? If you buy a factory set, are you really concerned about what series the card is from?

    1. That was my guess as well. Off the top of my head I guess I don't know the size of series one. Used to be 330, but now there won't be any confusion with it labeled on the back.

      When I saw the Baez card I thought it was a weird insert that featured tattoos of different players. (That would be kind of neat, no?) Baez has the MLB logo tattooed on the back of his neck. Metal pin, eh? Huh.

  3. Even though I was pulling for the Royals, that Bumgardner card is a beaut.

  4. I pulled a Buster Posey 1st HR manurelic from a Topps blaster if you want it.

  5. There was a big uproar on some of the message boards about Topps printing cards in China now and it turns out that it's just the manufactured piece that are made in China, which I think they have always been. But a good looking card.