As you are aware, 2017 Topps Series 1 baseball released a little over a week ago. I began searching my local Target and Walmart stores immediately but with no success in finding any, making the week between release date and the day I got my box of jumbos seem like an eternity. What's worse, UPS didn't deliver my package until after I had got back from lunch, so there it sat, at my desk, and I had no time to open it. Needless to say, I was in quite a hurry to get home and bust the box. I might have drove a little too fast, but no police were in sight and I was able to race home without hitting anyone.
So let's take a look at the contents, along with my thoughts on this latest product...
First 2017 Topps Card: #62 Daniel Murphy
First 2017 Topps Mariner/PC Guy: #243 Felix Hernandez
While not nearly as panned as 2016 Topps baseball, the 2017 flagship release certainly has its detractors. The traditionalists (of which I classify myself- to an extent) don't like the borderless design; others just don't care for the design itself: there's too much gray, it leaves a lot of empty space, the angles bother them... I personally like the design and found it to be much more attractive in-hand. It reminds me of 1994. We'll just call the set 94 2.0.
Another pleasant surprise were the photos. After featuring more tightly-cropped shots the last two or three years, Topps has moved away from the cropped shots, giving us a set that is more aesthetically pleasing.
The card backs are far more polarizing than the card fronts, with many collectors angered by the lack of full-career stats. While I prefer full stats, it doesn't really bother me that much. Other sets from the past gave us limited yearly stats (I'm looking at you, 1971!). No, my problem with the backs are primarily with the horrendous colors used. I can live with the orange, but the blue, red, green and purple backs... no. They look cheap. Like early Score products. Yuk.
As far as what I'll be collecting out of this year's set, that would be the base set. I'll do Series 1, 2 and Update (Series 3!) but will be passing on the insert sets. The one exception might be the 1987 tribute. Once again, I find myself a contrarian regarding the '87 set. I actually like it and think Topps did a hell of a job in recreating these inserts. The continuity of the set (players who were playing in '87 as well as current players, glossy fronts and original backs) is fantastic. As far as I'm concerned, I'd love to see Topps scrap the Archives set and do this every year- but only feature 1 season per year. Does Topps over do it on reprints and throwback sets? YES. But let me repeat-- I could get behind this if they used the same approach with other sets.
From the jumbo box, I was able to complete one full set, with 87 doubles.
Gold (4): Zach Britton, Angel Pagan, Tyson Ross, Brandon Belt
Negative (1): Michael Bourn
Rainbow Foils: (5) Marcell Ozuna, Jaime Garcia, Hector Neris, Chase Utley, Jason Hammel
Thirtieth Anniversary/1987 (10): Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, Bo Jackson, Alex Bregman, Wil Myers, Nolan Ryan, Tyler Glasnow, Andrew Benintendi, Kenta Maeda, Freddie Freeman (not pictured)
First Pitch (5): Judd Apatow, Joan Jett, Leslie Jordan, Chris Lane, Victoria Justice
5-Tool (5): Evan Longoria, Francisco Lindor, Buster Posey, Trevor Story, Dansby Swanson
MLB Network (1): Sean Casey
Rediscover Topps Buybacks (3): Damaso Garcia ('87, Silver), Jerry Grote ('74, Blue), John Cangelosi ('88, bronze)
Salute (10): Ty Cobb, Jacob DeGrom, Johnny Bench, Roberto Clemente, Jose Altuve, Brooks Robinson, Stephen Piscotty, Josh Bell, Jameson Taillon, Nolan Ryan
Bowman Then and Now (5): Eric Hosmer, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw, Buster Posey, Joe Mauer
Relics (2): Yoenis Cespedes, Miguel Cabrera (96/99) All-Star Game Medallion
Auto (1): Jacob DeGrom
Chrome Refractor Hobby-Exclusive Packs (8): Andrew McCutchen, Alex Reyes, Chris Sale, David Dahl, Gary Sanchez, Josh Donaldson, Trevor Story and this...
So for the second straight year, my box of Series 1 has yielded some really good stuff. Last year, it was the Buster Posey/Brandon Belt dual-auto and patch card. Makes me anticipate pulling something else really nice next year. But I won't get ahead of myself just yet- we still have Series 2 and Update to go.