Completed insert set – 2014 Topps Fifty Years of the Draft

8 06 2015

I finished up a 2014 Topps insert last month – and figured today would be an appropriate day to post the completion on this one.  The Arizona Diamondbacks are on the clock!

Info about the set:

Set description:  “Cards celebrating the 50th incarnation of the draft, with some of its most memorable past moments and selections.”  That’s the wording from the sell sheet.  I’m not sure why it says “moments” – it’s really just a set of 10 players who were drafted in the past year.  The cards have a white border with an inset gold border.  There are 4 home plates in each corner, which makes for an interesting effect.  The bottom has a “logo” for “50 Years of the Draft” above the player & team name. The back has an argyle background design with a write-up on the situation surrounding that player’s draft.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:18 odds (2014 Topps Series 1)

Hall of Famers: 1.  Only Johnny Bench.  Though Derek Jeter and Ken Griffey Jr. will join him soon.

How I put the set together:

  • 3 cards from my HTA jumbo box
  • 4 cards from trades
  • 3 cards from Check Out My Cards

Card that completed my set: #50YD-2 – Gerrit Cole

I got this via a COMC purchase last month.

Thoughts on the set:  This is a great idea, and I really can’t complain all that much – this is the type of set I think is great for an insert set.  It’s got a specific theme, and commemorates the draft in a year it’s coming up on its 50th anniversary.  Also, I like that they have the right team on the cards – it would seem out-of-place if Adrian Gonzalez was shown as a 30-year old in Dodgers attire for this set.  I tend to assume Topps won’t do something like this correctly, so kudos to them for that!

I actually wish the set had 10 more cards and was included in series 2.  I would have maybe split it and put 10 #1 overall picks in one series and then had 10 cards of guys drafted in the first draft.  Other than wanting more cards (which is the opposite of what I usually say in this section), I would have put the draft year and the draft pick number on the front of the card.

Highest book value: #50YD-7 – Derek Jeter

Best card (my opinion): #50YD-1 – Joe Mauer

This is the only card that was really from the draft.  This was taken at a press conference in Minneapolis the day after the Twins picked Mauer #1 overall in 2001.

Best card (my opinion): #50YD-10 – Johnny Bench

Obviously the only Reds player in the set, and this is a picture of Johnny Bench that has been shown many times before.  But this is also the only card

2014 Topps 50 Years Draft

2014 Topps 50 Years Draft 2





2014 Topps Update HTA Jumbo box – the hits

16 12 2014

You get 3 “hits” per box when you get a hobby jumbo box.  And one if them is a manufactured something or other.  They tend to be World Series related, and that means they tend to be Yankees.  I got a Lou Gehrig last year – this year I got a World Series Trophy of Whitey Ford.  I always kind of like these things, and this one is no exception.

2014 Topps Update WS Manu Trophy Whitey Ford

Next up is the autograph.  Another Trajectory Autograph, after I got Matt Adams in series 1, I got this dude Colabello in Update.  I’ve never heard of him, but apparently he had 27 RBI in April.  Maybe I’ll be hearing more about him in the future!

2014 Topps Update Trajectory Auto Colabello

I saved the relic for last.  You’d think the relic wouldn’t be the best one I’d pull – but I got a super rare one.  A double jersey of Kershaw and Puig – can’t beat that!

2014 Topps Update AS Stitches Dual - Puig Kershaw

This card is #’d out of 25!  Anyways, that the hits.  Not too shabby!





2014 Topps update HTA Jumbo box – inserts

14 12 2014

On to the inserts for my next post on the HTA jumbo box I bought.  As usual, I’ll go in the order of “least favorite” to “most favorite”.

Topps has done 2 150-card insert across all three series the past few years.  One has a retro theme, and the other tends to be my least favorite.  Last year it was Chasing History, in 2012 it was Golden Moments, in 2011 it was Topps 60, and in 2010 it was Peak Performance.  All these sets have one main coincidence – they’re clearly made to “fit” relics and autos.  The set that was continued this year was “The Future is Now”. For this one, the design wasn’t nearly as relic driven – in fact, the relic or autographed versions for this set have a horizontal orientation.  And this set is only 90 cards, but each player has 3 cards, which I think is kind of silly.

The Update versions aren’t consecutively numbered – they are numbered as “CY1, CY2, CY3”.  This differs from series 1 and 2, which went 1-30 and 31-60.  As I’ve said many times before, I don’t like the “lettering” as opposed to the traditional “numbering”.  As a collector – it’s just annoying.  These cards aren’t bad, through, from a design standpoint.

2014 Topps Update Future is Now

The 1989 minis follow up the 87 and 72 minis from the last couple of years.  These have a die-cut theme that also makes the actual border colored instead of the white border that the original 89 design had.  I like the idea of the die-cut, though the 89 design is far from iconic in my mind.  The scanning doesn’t work out perfectly with these cards – it cuts a lot off here.

2014 Topps Update 89 minis

Fond Farewells is the next insert set.  These are obviously tailored for a relic, and I don’t like how much they’ve cut off the right side of these players to make that work.  But the theme is very cool – a look at how some of the best players finished up their career.

2014 Topps Update Fond Farewells

There’s another cool postseason insert set.  Last year it was postseason heroes, this is a 50-card World Series Heroes set.  Again, they went through with the lettering instead of numbering.  That particularly bugs me with this set, which should be numbered chronologically.  They should also sure as hell just add Madison Bumgarner to this set!

2014 Topps Update World Series Heroes

The next card is a remake of the old Topps Gold Label cards.  It’s kind of weird to take a set from 2000.  Is a remake of a card from 2000 a retro set?  Anyways, this is a framed variation.  It’s a gold bar with a front and back kind of glued on.  I don’t know if I like that feature.  It’s pretty cool to hold this card, as it’s very thick.  But the way the front and back are “glued” on makes it seem somewhat cheap.  Overall, very cool though with the crisp pictures here.

2014 Topps Update Gold Label Abreu

I like the next insert set the best – it’s called Power Players.  I just like the design here.  Topps had Power Players parallels in the first two series, and I have no idea if these are the guys who won each week or something.  But the bottom line, I like all the colors in his design!

2014 Topps Update Power Players





2014 Topps Update HTA Jumbo – parallels

12 12 2014

A quick post today – here’s the parallels from my Update Jumbo box.

Red Hot Foil

I got 10 of these, 1 per pack – which is what the odds say.

2014 Topps Update Red Foil

Topps Gold (#/2014)

Same thing with Topps Gold – 1 per pack.  It’s interesting – I think you get more Topps Gold when you buy a hobby box than a Jumbo box.

2014 Topps Update Gold

Black (#/64)

I didn’t get any camo, pink or clear parallels – but I did get a black parallel of former Red Drew Stubbs.  Former Red who hit a game winning home run against my team this year, that kind of started their slide after the All-Star break.

2014 Topps Update Black Stubbs

I also got quite a few variations.  All 3 you can find in fact.  The first is the sparkle variation, that I wish they hadn’t brought back from 2011.  If you can’t see it – the sparkle on this Tepesch card is on his belt.

2014 Topps Update Sparkle Tepesch

The next variation is of Dice-K – who I had forgotten was still in the major leagues!  His regular card shows him pitching, this version shows him attempting to lay down a bunt.

2014 Topps Update Variation Masuzaka

And last but not least is Collin Cowgill.

2014 Topps Update Cowgill

You can’t tell the difference from the front of this card.  It’s a saber metric variation, with all kind of crazy stats on the back!  What did I take away from this?  Cowgill had a really low BABIP when he was with the Mets.  That means his batting average on balls he didn’t strike out on was unusually low.

2014 Topps Update Cowgill Saber variation

Unlike other in the blogosphere, I like the last two variations.  I wish they were combined, though.  You don’t need so many types of variations, and the statistical ones are really easy to miss.  Having a card with the sabermetrics on the back and the different photo on the front would be cool.  I think the Matsuzaka is a good example of a picture variation to employ.  Unfortunately, there’s no theme to the picture variants.  Past years have had specific themes (i.e. – celebration), so you can tell when it’s a variation card without looking it up online.

I got one other card worth showing here – that’s the 75th anniversary buyback.  Another fairly unnecessary insert.  At least 76 Topps is pretty cool.

2014 Topps Update 75th Bruce Miller





2014 Topps Update HTA Jumbo box – base cards

10 12 2014

Along with the series 2 hobby box I bought last month, I also got a Jumbo box of Topps Update.  Here’s my first post for that – taking a look at some of the base cards.

As always, there are a bunch of the same subsets – the first one is the Checklists.  There’s 5 of these cards, and they showcase events from the 2014 season.  As usual – a few are questionable, meaning they just exist to get more cards of certain guys into the set.  The Tanaka and Abreu cards are particularly weird – they have a Rookie Debut subset and a checklist card for making their MLB debut.

  • Albert Pujols: 500th Home Run.  Excellent choice.
  • Miguel Cabrera: 2,000th hit.  Another good choice.
  • Yu Darvish: Fastest to 500 strikeouts.  Interesting choice – and one I approve of again.  I didn’t know he’d broken a record held by Kerry Wood.  By striking out his 500th batter in 401.2 innings, he broke Wood’s record of 404.2 innings.  He also did it even quicker if you look at batters faced – he struck out 500 in his first 1,659 batters, while Wood did it in 1,729 batters (Baseball reference is great for things like that).
  • Masahiro Tanaka/ Jose Abreu: MLB debut.  I think the reason for these is that both guys are international stars who debuted.  But it’s a bit unnecessary with the Rookie Debut subset.

2014 Topps Update checklists

I would have rather seen something commemorating the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field.  Or maybe the games the Dodgers and Diamondbacks played in Australia to open the season.  Or one of the no-hitters by Josh Beckett, Clayton Kershaw or Time Lincecum.  Or Jimmy Rollins breaking the Phillies’ all-time hit record.  Or David Ortiz hitting his 450th homer.  And any other events that I didn’t think of.  There were probably a few other things Topps could have honored.  Man, even a Jeter card would have seemed better than these!

Speaking of Jeter, this All-Star card could be his last Topps card.  I’d hope he has a 2015 card, but who knows.

2014 Topps Update Jeter (2)

These could also be the last cards for these three guys.  I didn’t even know Bobby Abreu had signed with the Mets.  And I wasn’t aware Ibañez had signed with the Royals until I started seeing him in the dugout during the playoffs.  Along with Giambi, they’ve all had pretty nondescript ends to their careers.  But they were solid careers, for sure.

2014 Topps Update Giambi Ibanez Abreu

Topps thankfully removed the Home Run Derby subset – it was such a waste to do cards for the Derby and then the same guys would have All-Star cards.  Here’s the subset of All-Star players.  I think every photo is either from the All-Star game or from Monday’s festivities.  That’s pretty cool – even with the unabashed Gatorade advertising from the Chapman and Gomez cards.  I wish they had a more distinct design however, to separate them from the rest of the set.

2014 Topps Update All Stars

I found these two All-Stars interesting.  Same player, but shown in different teams since they were traded for each other!

2014 Topps Update Lester Cespedes

That’s the thing Topps Update does.  It used to be new guys who had signed in the previous offseason.  But starting about 6 or 7 years ago, they started being even more up-to-date, with traded players in their new uniforms who had actually moved in the regular season.  This is a good thing.

2014 Topps Update Traded in season

And just like 30 years ago – Update is still a great source for players in new uniforms who moved in the offseason.  Though now they sometimes make it into series 2 that way.  That is not a good thing in my opinion – I like the base set to be representative of the previous year!

2014 Topps Update Traded offseason

Here’s some of the more notable names in the rookie debut subset.  This isn’t a “base card” – a player could have a card in this subset and a regular card.  Though Tanaka and Abreu made it into series 2.

2014 Topps Update Rookie Debut subset

Of course they do have the standard rookie cards in the Update set.  Here’s George Springer, who hit 20 homers in less than 300 at bats this year.

2014 Topps Update George Springer

He would be right up there in the Rookie of the Year running if the Astros were still in the National League.  Instead, Jacob DeGrom will probably win that award.  He went 9-6 with a 2.69 ERA in 140 innings.

2014 Topps Update Jacob DeGrom

Oscar Taveras was fairly underwhelming in his debut season, but he did hit a pretty big postseason home run in the NLDS.  I actually wrote this post the night his death came out.  I have written much about my unabashed hate for the Cardinals – but that’s very sad.  He had a lot of promise, and it’s sad when the baseball world loses someone too young.

2014 Topps Update Oscar Taveras

Mookie Betts was much better in his call-up, though he had nearly as much fanfare.  however he

2014 Topps Update Mookie Betts

I’m pretty surprised they didn’t get Javier Baez into the set – kind of weird.

Anyways, finishing it up, here are some of my favorite photos from the set.  The first two cards are not celebration variations or anything like that – just the way the cards fell.  Joba makes this list for Update for the 2nd year in a row.   I can’t tell what that ring is for David Ross – it doesn’t look like his WS ring – anybody know!

2014 Topps Update good pics





2014 Topps series 2 hobby box – inserts & the hit

4 12 2014

The last post for my series 2 packs is the inserts and the lone hit.  One thing I noticed in this series – there were fewer inserts than in series one.  That’s a good thing by my book!

As always, or at least “as usually”, I’ll go in the order of “least favorite” to “most favorite”.  My least favorite cards are these buyback things.  I would rather have pulled two more base cards or two more inserts.

2014 Topps s2 75th buybacks Tovar Cowens

The “Upper Class” insert wasn’t continued (yay!) – so my least favorite this round was “The Future Is Now”.  This isn’t a bad design, and I kind of like the darkening effect put into the photos.  But the thing I don’t like – it’s a set of 30 cards but only 10 players.  Each player has 3 cards.  They also have random quirky phrases on the front. I like that there are no retired players; they tend to overdo that.

2014 Topps s2 Future is Now

Replacing the Rookie Cup inserts from series 1 is Saber Stars, which is a fairly cool insert.  This set goes over the newer stats and how those players stack up – like “fielding independent pitching” and “UZR”.  The design is kind of so-so, but these are interesting reads to me.

2014 Topps s2 Saber Stars

Topps did 1987, 1972 and 1971 minis over the past few years – this year they went back to the 25 years ago idea and created a die-cut version of the 1989 set.  The scan is pretty challenging on these – oh well.  These are up there, but not my favorites from series 2!

2014 Topps s2 89 mini

Replacing “Before They Were Great” as the thicker inserts was “Future Stars that Never Were”.  This gives a Future Stars design at different old Topps sets.  I love this idea, and kudos to Topps for thinking up cool ways to incorporate this into various older designs.  These are tough pulls – you only get 2 per box.

2014 Topps Future Stars Never Were Koufax Gwynn

I also pulled the gold version of the Jose Canseco – there are only 99 of this insert parallel.  This was a pretty decent pull – 1:387 odds.  I think this is a bad card in this set.  First – it’s from 1987, when Topps had Future Stars.  So I don’t really think doing it in those years makes sense.  Second, more importantly, this one has the All-Rookie Team cup – it just doesn’t seem right to make a card that has both of those subsets!  Go ahead and throw it on Jose’s 1986 Traded card, that works better for me.

2014 Topps Future Stars Never Were Gold Canseco

The main reason I usually go for the HTA jumbo box is that you’re guaranteed to get an auto, a relic and a manufactured relic.  Well, as expected, my hit was a relic – Jacoby Ellsbury from the Trajectory relic set.  In fairness – I like that this set is only available as a relic or autographed version.  I didn’t like how Topps was just creating inserts where the design was so clearly built for relic swatches.  I’d rather keep those concepts separate – otherwise the non-relic inserts just don’t look very good.

2014 Topps Trajectory Relic Ellsbury





2014 Topps series 2 hobby box – parallels

2 12 2014

The last post was the base cards from my hobby box – today are the parallels.  There are a big old boat load of parallels this year, which isn’t new.  But there are even more this year than previous years because there are yellow and green ones available via certain retail packaging.  I did a count for series 1, and there were 15 different types.

Red Hot Foil

I only got 6 “red foil” parallel cards – I was surprised these were less plentiful than the Gold parallels.  Looking at the backs of the pack, however – that’s the odds.  These vampire cards come one every 6 packs! I mentioned it with series 1 – but I’m not sure why they didn’t call this with “ruby” to go along with the previous years’ gemstone themes.

2014 Topps s2 Red Hot Foil

Topps Gold (#/2014)

Topps Gold came much more frequently; I actually got 11 of them.  I think this may mean that series 2 was produced in much lower quantities than series 1.  I would guess Topps keeps unnumbered cards like Red Hot Foil at the same odds through all series, so the cards numbered out of 2014 come more frequently in the smaller production run.

Obviously the Abreu is the one I’d be most excited about here.

2014 Topps s2 Gold

Power Players

This is a partial parallel of the set, totaling 220 cards (110 per series).  There is a code on the back that you can get some kind of prize.  I never tried them out this year.

2014 Topps s2 Power Players

Camo (#/99)

Back for its second year are camouflage inserts.  I got one in series 1, and I got one in this box.  I guess it’s of this year’s NL batting champion!

2014 Topps s2 Camo Morneau

Black (#/64)

Topps has had these for as long as I’ve been back in the collecting world.  Unlike series 1 – I did in fact pull a card in this box!  And, just like the Morneau camo – it’s a pretty good player.

2014 s2 Topps Black Ortiz

Pink (#/50)

This box was a cornucopia of parallels – I got a pink card, too!  This wasn’t a recognizable guy.

2014 s2 Topps Pink Joey Terdoslavich

I didn’t pull a Silk (#/10), Clear (#/10), Platinum (#/1), Printing Plate (#/1).  And of course I didn’t get any of the 5 retail-only versions.