As best as I can tell, Topps started a new practice back in 2009 of paralleling some of the base cards with short print alternatives. I don't recall this being done before other than the Jeter/Mantle/Bush card from 2007, maybe the collector craze of that card gave them the idea two days later. The subject of the SPs has ranged from long retired superstars to gatorade baths to sunglasses to different stat backs.
I did some research and found the following counts and types by year. These are the base card parallels contained in the 2 Topps Flagship releases and the Update set.
2009 - 61 Total
59 SPs of retired legends, 1 SP of Barak Obama, 1 SP of current player (CC Sabathia) in alternate jersey
2010 - 75 Total
55 SPs of retired legends, 1 SP of current player (Curtis Granderson), 7 SPs of teams of the past, 5 SPs with rookie cup logo variations, 4 SPs with Abe Lincoln in the background, and 3 SPs with Pies in the Face
2011 - 76 Total
74 SPs of retired legends, 2 SPs of new Red Sox in new uniforms (Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez)
2012 - 81 Total
12 SPs with teammates, 9 SPs in suit/dress shirts, 9 SPs with players in dugouts, 8 SPs with new teams, 6 SPs of retired legends, 4 SPs of players with mascots, 3 SPs each with Gatorade, with Pies in the Face and with throwback/alt jerseys; 2 SPs each of players celebrating, featuring squirrels, rookie cup variations and with fans; and 1 SP each Bryce Harper 661 Rookie, flag in background, with a trophy, wearing glasses, with gumballs, back of jersey, beastmode shirt, with glove, at press conference, with no hitter ball, on trolley, throwing left-handed, with All-Star game jersey, with George Brett, with sign and bowing.
2013 - 100 Total
25 SPs with great catches, 17 SPs with Sunglasses, 15 SPs of retired legends, 10 SPs in different colored jerseys, 9 SPs signing autos, 7 SPs with group photos, 2 SPs of teammates, 2 SPs with players from other teams, and 1 SP each of with award, blue cap, giving speech, pitcher batting, giving a high 5, a horizontal card, in the dugout, running, coming out of the pen, arms up, big glove, sliding and Prince George of Cambridge
2014 - 327 Total
151 Sparkle SPs, 110 SPs with SABRmetrics on back, 23 SPs with Future Stars, 13 SPs with different jerseys, 12 SPs celebrating, 4 SPs in the dugout, 3 SPs with players fielding, 2 SPs each of players looking up, with glove and goggles, 1 SP each of Gatorade, Snoopy, hands on hips, in front of fans, press conference, post season sweatshirt, making a fist, throwing, with teammates with a bat, tossing a bat, with water, throwing underhand and on deck
I am a big fan of the Retired Legend SPs. Back in 2009 I did contemplate whether or not they should be part of my Topps set run and quickly decided against it. I am glad because what started as 61-76 SP parallels of mostly retired stars for the first three years has ballooned to 327 different SP parallels. (I believe there were the sparkle parallels before 2014 but couldn't track down a checklist, if you can direct me to one I would happily update the numbers.) Seems like Topps took a solid idea and blew it up under control.
I have several of the Retired Legends in my player and Giants collections and love hunting those down. I have been picking up the other types of Giants when I can find them at a reasonable price. Here are 3 recent pick ups:
As I was putting this post together, I realized why I like the 2014 Stadium Club release so much, it is a 200 card base set of cards that would fit into one of these SP releases.
So, what are your thoughts on these Topps base parallel SPs?