Friday, November 28, 2008

2008 Baseball Cards in Review - Topps (Part 1)

This just happens to be my 200th post.

When I first saw the design for 2008 Topps, I didn't like it much. But its grown on me and now I like it quite a lot. In fact I think its the best design since 2003. This year's Topps features 660 cards, issued in 2 series. I bought 5-6 blaster boxes and managed to get 84% of the set. There are a number of subsets as usual. I'm only going to feature a few of the subsets, this post is already going to be long. And I'm going to feature the inserts separately, probably in several other posts, just because there are a lot of them. The design is simpler than last year's and white vs black. The Topps logo and player name are in silver foil. The backs are pretty typical for the Topps set with complete career stats and, if room, some biographical info about the player.
As they have for several years, there is a gold bordered parallel set, numbered to the set year. The only difference from the base card is the gold border and the words "57 Years of Collecting" in silver foil at the top of the photo. Beckett gives the gold bordered cards a 8x premium over the base cards.

In 2007, Topps introduced another parallel, called Gold Foil. Instead of silver foil, the cards have gold foil. In my opinion, it is very difficult to distinguish a gold foil card from a regular card. They are not serial numbered. This Kevin Gregg card is the only one I have.
Beckett gives the gold foil a 2.5x premium over the base but these seem to be a much harder pull. Out of 847 cards I pulled 9 gold bordered cards but only 1 gold foil. I didn't see any last year. There is also a black bordered parallel numbered to 57 and a platinum parallel numbered to 1. Good luck with pulling one of those.
When Mickey Mantle died in 1995, Topps 'retired' the number 7 card. But in the past few years, they've included a #7 card, featuring the Mick himself.
A long running subset is the League Leaders. Between them, Kazmir, Santana and Bedard struck out 695 batters in 2007.Another long-running subset is the Awards cards. Braun hit .324 and 34 home runs in his rookie season. His average was down a bit this year, but he hit 37 home runs, was an All-Star and led the Brewers to the playoffs.

This card is from the Topps Opening Day set. This is a separately issued set which Topps has had since 1999. The Opening Day set features the same design as the regular set but with a different border color and the Opening Day logo. There are also fewer cards in the set, this year had 220. There are no subset cards. I managed to acquire about half the set in one 20-pack blaster. These caused a stir in the blogging community when they came out due to the startling red border. I kind of like them myself.
And finally we come to this years so-called error card. Most collector's call this a gimmick. Yea, I agree, its a gimmick but I'm glad I got one. As you can see, that's Rudy Giuliani photoshopped into Red Sox celebrating their 2007 World Series win. Of course, the 'joke' here is that Giuliani is the quintessential New Yorker who said he was a Red Sox fan after the series. My question is, how many people will remember this in another year? How many people even understand this now? Wasn't he a presidential candidate sometime in the early years of the 2008 presidential campaign which seemed to have lasted for the past 4 years? Oh, and don't forget he was America's Mayor.


deal said...

The photography to me is the big drawback to this set. Everything looks so small or just a poor shot compared to UD. My other quibble was with the topps logo being in the center of the top of the picture. you can tell several shots had to be cropped in such a way that the players head would not be covered up.

However, I love the inserts. I like Year in Review which doesn't seem very popular in other outlets. And of course Trading Card History Rocks, I wonder if they can do this set again or if issuing TCH in future years would be to much.

Motherscratcher said...

Nice review. Looking forward to more. I like those Opening Day cards myself. I think the reb lookas pretty cool. To tell the truth, I'm still new to collecting and thought that they were some kind of parallel.

Motherscratcher said...

red looks

or reb lookas, I guess. whichever.

capewood said...

In response to deal, yea, I don't like how the Topps logo is placed either. I originally didn't like the team names in circled letters, but that's what I've come to like.

night owl said...

I actually think 2006 is the best Topps design of the last five years (I may be biased as I collected the whole set that year). I grew tired of the '08 design rather quickly, but maybe some time away from those cards will make me grow to appreciate it more.

Congrats on No. 200!

Ben said...

I like 2008 Topps, I think Upper Deck has the better design, but '08 Topps were the first cards I bought after 14 years, so I like them by default.

I'm lacking 30 cards from the Opening Day set and can't find anymore blasters at the stores... so I'm a bit sad about that, but I'll survive. I really like the red borders.