Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday Twofers--First 2011 Packs!

I took my daughter out for some ice cream and shopping tonight. During our trip to Target, I thought I would make a run down the card aisle to see if they had any of the 2011 Topps I baseball in stock. They did, and I bought. Now, one of my New Years Card Collection Resolutions was that I wasn't going to be spending much money on packs (or boxes)- instead, I would purchase hand collated sets. But this is the Topps base set we're talking about, and since I've been getting anxious for baseball season, I thought what the heck. I actually purchased a hand collated set this week for $25 delivered- so this will hold me over until it is broken down and shipped...

2011 Topps Jumbo Pack #1
#122 Bobby Jenks
#170 David DeJesus
#150 Miguel Cabrera
#209 Carlos Santana
#141 Checklist 2 of 5- Ubaldo Jimenez
#65 Chris Sale- RC
#158 Casey Blake
#279 Nick Swisher
#238 Pedro Ciriaco-RC (Platinum Diamond parallel)
CMGR-21 Lou Gehrig (1933 DeLong Reproduction Card)
KC-8 Ryan Braun (Kimball Champions)
DD-KA Ian Kinsler/Elvis Andrus (Diamond Duos)
T60-20 Manny Ramirez (Topps 60)
#60YOT-52 Cliff Lee (60 Years of Topps)
#232 Jamie Moyer
#16 Aramis Ramirez
#305 James Loney
#174 Roy Oswalt
#270 Ubaldo Jimezez
TT-5 Roy Halladay (Topps Town)
#199 Jimmy Rollins
#39 Ian Kennedy
#127 Chris Volstad
#72 Jair Jurrjens (FIRST BRAVE of 2011!!)
#43 Brendan Ryan
#57 Mark Trumbo (RC) going to Endued
#309 Chicago Cubs
#275 Clayton Kershaw
#172 Lyle Overbay
#163 Carlos Pena
#252 Michael Saunders
#59 Gabby Sanchez
#329 Brett Wallace
#315 David Ortiz
#306 AL League Leaders (Cabrera, Rodriguez, Bautista)

2011 Topps Jumbo Pack #2
#4 Jason Kubel
#294 Luke Scott
#116 Russell Branyan
#50 Alex Rodriguez
#52 Tampa Bay Rays
#83 Greg Halman (RC)
#132 Brian Duensing
#187 Milwaukee Brewers
#235 AL ERA League Leaders (Hernandez, Buchholz, Price)
#200 Ichiro
#CMGR-26 Ty Cobb (1932 US Caramel Reproduction)
#TT-35 David Price (Topps Town)
#325 Jason Werth
#313 Chris Coghlan
#269 Stephen Drew
#180 Paul Maholm
#13 Billy Wagner
#123 Mike Lowell
#280 Andrew Bailey
#42 Mariano Rivera
#259 Kyle Davies
#160 Josh Tomlin
#213 Brandon Snyder (RC)
#165 Jeremy Hellickson (RC)
#51 David Eckstein
#134 NL Batting Average League Leaders (Gonzalez, Votto, Infante)- Platinum Diamond Parallel
#KC-4 Johan Santana (Kimball Champions)
#DD-VG Joey Votto/Adrian Gonzalez (Diamond Duos)
#T60-6 Robinson Cano (Topps 60)
#60YOT-#33 Tony Gwynn (60 Years of Topps)
60YOTLC-10 Stan Musial (60 Years of Topps-Lost Cards)
#191 Jay Bruce
#217 Yunel Escobar
#154 Marlon Byrd
#267 Jose Contreras
#230 Aaron Cook

The cards in the base set are typical Topps: good, clean design and a variety of photos in both the portrait as well as the landscape view. The design actually reminds me of the 1994 Fleer set, which included the A-Rod rookie card. Rookie Card selection should once again be strong, as the first series includes Freddie Freeman, Kyle Drabeck, Desmond Jennings, Aroldis Chapman, and Jeremy Hellickson. One unique aspect to this years set is found on the back of the card. The right and left side includes a bar that runs vertically, and in the right bar there is information on the right side about a counterpart card from another season. For instance, on card #170 (David DeJesus), Topps tells us that " in the 1972 Topps set, card number 170 was Vida Blue." I don't recall Topps ever doing that previously, and I like how they are attempting to connect the 2011 cards to the history of the company. The one negative aspect of this feature is on cards featuring players from the Padres and Pirates. Topps uses team colors in this bar, and the cards featuring Pads and Bucs use yellow-making it difficult to read the white font used in the bar.
While I have always liked the base Topps sets, I have been less than thrilled with the inserts- especially in recent years. Many of the inserts in this years Series I are reminiscent of previous inserts (think of last years Cards Yo Mama and the Legendary Lineage cards- that's what you get with the 60 Years of Topps and Diamond Duos; the Kimball's Champions are nothing more than an Allen & Ginter mini with an action shot to go with the portrait.) And like last year, there are many variations, short prints, and manufactured patch cards. Unfortunately, Topps is also once again determined to rob the set collector of base cards for their set by including one Topps Town per pack. This is my biggest complaint with Topps- and after last years update set, I vowed I would not try to build any more sets because of that reason.
Because it's the first release of the baseball season, Topps will once again be a popular product with collectors. Set collectors such as myself would be wise to save their money and pick up a hand collated set on the cheap. Others look for the big hits, and there's the typical array of relics, short prints, variations, and autographed cards in Series One for those folks to chase. Perhaps it's time for Topps to cut back on the number of rehashed insert sets, and to include only the relics, short prints, and autographed inserts. Does anyone even collect the rest of the stuff anymore?


  1. If I'm not mistaken, that is Brett Wallace's first Topps base card. And Brendan Ryan and Carlos Pena? What team's are they pictured on?

  2. Hey, at least this year's ToppsTown cards look better! I applaud your decision to save money and buy the set on fell swoop, but I love opening packs too much to do that. Of course I may end up following in your steps soon as the card budget is shrinking ever so constantly!

  3. Wallace- could be. I don't recall if he was in the Update set in '10. The Pena is with the Rays, and Ryan is pictured as a Card. Another problem with Topps is that they continue to include F.A. in Series 1 sets- call me cynical, but I think it's all about the $$$. Yes, they can then go on to produce a larger set, meaning more green!
    Colbey, opening packs/boxes is fun, but it's a financial thing for me. I don't do much trading, and would rather put that money into something I know I'll want to keep.