Saturday, February 5, 2011

2011 Topps 5-Pack Highlights

The pack I wrote about a couple of days ago over at A Pack A Day was part of a group of five packs I bought that day. Lest any baseball card blog post go without the number "2011" in its title for the next three weeks, here are some of the most interesting cards I got.

A few base cards of note: #10 Stephen Strasburg
Not having purchased base Topps last year, I have to say that a small thrill lingers when a Strasburg is pulled. A tempered thrill, to be sure, but who's to say this guy won't return to form eventually? It seems unlikely, but stranger things have happened.

I love both of these Jennings and Polanco cards. They probably don't know it yet, and most of them likely never will, but a whole bunch of lucky fans just got onto a genuine baseball card. I like how Backwards Hat Guy at the Rays game came prepared, wristband and all.

The Galarraga is another great base card. Spectacular (or spectacularly bad?) uniform with the navy stripe down the front.

I got a single Brewer base card, #14 Randy Wolf.

I am sharing the love for the Platinum Diamond parallels. Not crazy enough to collect them all, but probably keeping these to enjoy aesthetically.

60 Years of Topps #60YOT-01 Jackie Robinson
One word: Played

History of Topps #HOT-1
Limp-dick design. I haven't checked for others in this set, but I hope they don't all look like this. It's as bad as a school-photo template offered by the photographer for $3.00 extra. All that's missing is the background with intersecting pink and blue lasers.

Diamond Duos #DD-BY Wade Boggs & Kevin Youkilis
Didn't like it last year, so what makes it seem like a good idea this year? Throwing what's basically a taco in another tortilla and another layer of cheese doesn't make it something different.

I know, let's take all of the rejected ideas from Legendary Lineage, slap an alliterative name on it, and present it as something new!
News flash: That idea seemed fresh back in 2001 Topps Football, but has since gone stale.

One Diamond Giveaway made it into my hands. We'll see what the future will hold.

Ty Cobb
I hesitate to really call this card anything. On eBay, this card has like fifteen different names: Vintage Reproduction, Vintage Reprint, Topps Reprints, Retro Reprint... do these have an official name? (Actually, I think I've found it. The pack odds list these as "Vintage Reproductions," odds 1:8.)

Here's another insert in need of a better name. The backs of these minis say "Champions of Games and Sports," and the wrapper calls them Kimball Champions. I like the idea of including champions of games, so I propose calling these Tiddly Winks. They're small and dainty, and could probably be used to catapult a small plastic disc into a cup. I am also keen on calling them Gumballs. Tiddly Winks, Gumballs... either way I'm happy.

Without question, here are my favorite inserts, the Target-only Red Diamond. It helps, too, that I got my favorite current Brewer. The red background pattern is evocative of the Rifleman, K-Man, and Master Blaster exploding supernova subsets from 1991 Score, and to top it off, Ryan Braun is about to get abducted by a giant floating diamond. All of a sudden, I want to listen to Wish You Were Here.

Base Set: A (except for some quality control mistakes that I'll get to in a future post)
Platinum Diamond Parallels: A
Red Diamond: A+
Tiddly Gumballs: B-
All Other Inserts: D(ull)

I can see myself collecting this set in an extremely piecemeal fashion a couple of packs at a time. Although I must say it's refreshing to get 12 cards in a $1.99 pack (or $1.89 when using my Target Visa). Actually, I think the approach I will take this year will be to build the set like I did as a kid, a little bit at a time. There's no rush, after all.


carlsonjok said...

I got an Aaron Cook platinum parallel, and it just doesn't do anything for me. I just imagine the following conversation at a Topps marketing department meeting:

Topps Guy 1: How can we appeal to the 8 year old girl demographic?

Topps Guy 2: Throw some glitter on it.

Topps Guy 1: Oooo! Good idea!

Granted, I got into baseball cards back in the early to mid 1970's when cards were printed on recycled shirt boxes (AND WE LIKED IT!), so maybe I'll just go sit on that park bench and mutter to myself while feeding some pigeons.

Retrofan said...

I've decided i'm going to focus my pack buying on Heritage and A&G this year. I can buy a factory set of this later. Like you said, it's not that stellar a product beyond the base set, and in Canada here I can't even get the Target or Wal-Mart exclusives which makes it less desirable all the same. I'll trade for the singles I want.