Sunday, September 23, 2018

Topps Living Set

I received my first Giants card from the Topps Living Set this week.  It is of Giants rookie pitcher Dereck Rodriguez.  If you haven't been following the Giants this year, Rodriguez has been a very nice story.  He is the son of HOF Catcher Ivan Rodriguez.  The Giants acquired him as a minor league free agent in November of 2017 after the Twins organization released him.  They brought him up in late May of 2018 as injuries overtook their pitching staff.

He made his MLB Debut on May 29th in relief against the Rockies giving up 4 runs, only 1 of those earned.  That was one of only 3 appearances across 18 starts and 2 relief appearances to date where he gave up 4 or more runs.  He has only pitched fewer than 6 innings in all but 3 of his starts and has been one of the most solid pitchers on the Giants staff.  After a rough outing this weekend against the Cards he still has an ERA of 2.50, a WHIP of 1.084, 88 Ks and 33BB in 115.1 innings pitched.

On Giants sites, he is being touted as a Rookie of the Year award candidate that just isn't realistic, others have had better seasons. However he is having a very nice season and gives some hope for the Giants in the future. I have watched several of his games and he pitches with a maturity and confidence.  He seems to have pretty good stuff as well.

Here is a look of the front and back of the card:

As you can see, the cards are modeled after the 1953 Topps design and I like them quite a bit.  They are standard size cards and the art work is done by an artist named Mayumi Seto.  The backs are a pretty good representation as well down to the cartoon work and facsimile autograph.  The idea is that a player will only be represented once in this set unless he changes teams.  Theoretically the set can go on forever hence the Living Set name.

Topps is up to 84 cards right now and Rodriguez is 2nd Giant.  Unfortunately Joe Panik was the first at card #2 and despite close to 2000 of them being sold a major premium is being placed on the first 3 cards.  Panik's are going for well over $100 and I didn't pick one up early enough.  I could see going $25-30 maybe but it could be a while before one drops that low.  I did pick up a Rickey Henderson card a little while back, there are some retired players in the mix as well.

I haven't been as diligent as usual in reading blog posts throughout 2018 so forgive me if this is a question already asked.  What are your thoughts on the idea/concept behind Topps Living Set?  Have you picked up any cards yet?


  1. I have not picked up any cards from the set. I guess I like the concept but the cost is much too prohibitive for my blood. Also, as a set collector the idea of a never ending set kind of scares me!

  2. I completely misjudged the popularity, but I also have this feeling that at some point these will be dollar box fodder. I haven't bought any because it's hard to justify $5 for a card like this when I can get 5 $1 cards that might have a lower print run. But they look good and the concept is interesting.

    Also of note, Topps found a way to wedge Ohtani on the back of this one, too.

  3. I’ve spring for the three Redsox. Happy with the cards.

  4. I've sprung for the Orioles so far (2 cards). Also bought and sold an Ohtani right before the market dropped on that card so I'm actually ahead of the game right now. I like the concept and will probably continue to get the cards direct from Topps until I see them drop in the secondary market.

  5. I have the whole set. My wife got a job recently, so I can stomach the price tag for now. It's a pretty fun idea. There is a Twitter account ( ToppsLivingStat ) devoted to different statistics about the set, like print runs by team, position, week, and such. It's a fun follow.

  6. I don't really like them, honestly. I've never been a fan of mass produced art cards, going back to my days as a kid pulling Diamond Kings from Donruss packs. I passed on the Topps Gallery set last year, and have never been tempted for any of the Living Set cards, though it's a novel idea (and from an "investment" standpoint, perhaps I should have snagged some). But yeah, too expensive and they creep me out, no offence to the artist. Not for me.

  7. I like the idea behind a "living set", but I kinda wish they would have created a new design released in packs instead of turning this into an Archives/Heritage/Topps Now kind of thing.

    As for Rodriguez, he's one of the best things the Giants have going for them this season. I heard two different people on Saturday asking for his cards.

  8. Yay one of the lone bright spots this season!

    I love the idea of a living set. I hate the execution—both the expensive limited distribution and the way the design is so dated with (in this case non-existent) stats on the back and RC logos on cards that supposed to be timeless. Also the idea of including retired players is a complete anathema to the living set concept but Topps is gonna Topps.

    I'm with Fuji. If this were released in packs en masse I'd be all over it. My dream scenario though would be for Topps to replace the yearly team sets with two annual living set releases (yes re-releasing cards each year if needed)—one mid-year with the Opening Day 25-man rosters and one post-season with all the other guys who appeared on the active roster that season.