I finished opening my series 1 box last weekend. I hope to get a wantlist up this weekend, but work has been a bear. We’ll see. For my next post, I’ll be doing inserts. I’ll go in the order of “least favorite” to “most favorite”.
First, a couple that aren’t exactly inserts. This card is a trade-in that you can (if they play by Topps rules) take to a card shop in a couple of weeks and get a 5-card pack of a set called Spring Fever. This was a promotion from back in the 80′s, too – if I remember correctly.
I also got one out-of-bounds variations – of Mr. Steroid (but only from 2001-2003 ) himself! That’s right around where Jeter went into the stands, too. I think. A-Rod is probably closer to the plate. And Jeter did that in old Yankee Stadium. So not really the same spot. Oh, well.
The one insert set I just don’t really like at all is Chasing the Dream. I don’t like the grid on the side and the bottom. These cards commit some cardinal sins for me – they’ve removed the background, which in and of itself isn’t necessarily bad. But they’ve replaced it with something not all that interesting. Anyways, the idea of “Chasing the Dream” is a good thought on the theme, but I just don’t like the design. You get one of these per pack in a HTA jumbo box.
The next set I would say is “OK” – Chasing History, which also come one per jumbo pack. Not bad, but not great. The set is called chasing history, and the design isn’t bad – except it’s clearly built for swatch inserting. This set is very similar to the Golden Moments cards from last year (which were hand-picked for swatches, too), though I like this design a bit better. I don’t like that these have parallel versions inserted into retail packs with gold or silver foil and holographic (ish) backgrounds. Parallels of inserts. Nine times out of ten, not great.
The rest of the inserts I’d say Topps did a very good job with. The Greats is the next set. OK, so the set name could have used some work. But these cards are crisp and clean, and have a very thick card stock. They kind of look like it could be the next version of the Museum Collection set that Topps does. As an insert, they do well. 2 per box for these guys, which are also a hobby only insert set.
My absolute favorites last year were the 87 minis. This year, Topps is doing 72 minis. Last year, using the 87 design made sense. It was the 25 year anniversary of the 87 set and 50th for the 62 set, and while I’d have preferred a new wood border design, this was at least a way to pay homage. Not sure why they needed to be minis. For this year, though – 1972? It has nothing to do with 2013. So it doesn’t make a whole bunch of sense. But 1972 features a cool design, and these cards are well done, so I like them. You get one per jumbo pack of these. I actually got one dupe in the box – the horror!
Moving on up – I really like the Calling Card insert set. The cards feature a really nice faux painting picture of the player, and the background works well. Maybe best of all, the cards are meant to feature something distinct or unique about the player depicted. Like how CC Sabathia wears Mark Teixeira’s sock as a superstition. Or the unique batting stance of Kevin Youkilis. Good job on these, Topps! One every other pack in a HTA Jumbo box.
Last but not least – these are my favorite. I don’t always love shiny, but these cards have die-cut in a cool design, with a refractor-like finish that reminds me of 1993 Topps Finest. I love 1993 Topps Finest. I love these cards! Looks like the Ruth got cut off a bit on the scanner, but what can you do. It was weird to pull Stan the Man only a week or so after he died. RIP.
Overall – I’ve got to say, I liked the insert sets last year better than 2010-2011, and I think I like the crop from this year better than 2012.