Monday, February 15, 2010

Box Break: 2010 Topps Baseball Series 1 Jumbos


I had some overtime on my paycheck, so it was time to order a box of 2010 Topps jumbos.  I love the jumbos and won’t touch the regular hobby boxes as long as these things exist.  I’ve had more luck with the basketball jumbos than I have the baseball jumbos, but my 2009 series 2 jumbo box was pretty loaded.

What’s not to love about jumbo packs?  You get one of each insert in every pack as well as a gold card and a Million Card Giveaway card.  Each box has one Mother real back, black parallel, autograph, relic and hat logo card.  For what some of the hat logo cards are selling for on eBay right now, you can get a jumbo box, sell the hat logo and end up with a lot more cards for a little more than the price of a hobby box.

2010 Topps has a great design.  Yes, the logos are large, but Topps did a great job of making sure that they don’t get in the way of the pictures.  Oh, the pictures.  The pictures in this set are beautiful.  Each time I go through the cards, I find something new that catches my eye (but unfortunately, none of the eye catching things have been a super RedSoxshort printed Abe Lincoln card).

I hate to dwell on the comparisons between Topps and Upper Deck’s flagship sets, but you have to do it.  While Upper Deck’s stadium cards are some of the drabbest, most boring cards that I have ever seen, Topps has some beautiful stadium pictures on their Franchise History cards.  Take this Red Sox card for example, this picture sums things perfectly.  You’ve got the historic Green Monster covered in banners celebrating the 2004 and 2007 World Series victories.  Yes, there are other World Series victories including the first ever, but none of those are as important as the first one after 86 years was.


Then there are cards such as this one.  How old is Randy Johnson these days and he’s still making plays such as this?  Great action shot with the ump in the background looking on to make the call at first base.

I don’t think that the backs of these cards have gotten enough attention at all.  The front and backs have similar designs which is nice.  The gradients look great.  Best of all, full career statistics.  Topps definitely didn’t phone it in on their first set with the exclusive MLB license.


It’s not all great though.  There are a few too many insert sets.  The ToppsTown cards aren’t all that great looking, but if kids like them then I’m fine with them being included.

I pulled silver cards of Lincecum, Mauer, Adrian Gonzalez, Longoria and Miguel Cabrera.  I pulled gold cards of Halladay, Tejada, Vlad, Manny and Ichiro.  I redeemed the codes, but I don’t think that I’ll be putting the set together.


I’m not a fan of the When They Were Young cards at all.  What’s worse is that Topps went and recycled pictures from previous cards.  What am I talking about?  I’ll tell you who I pulled from this set first and then I’ll show a card that most people probably haven’t seen before.  I pulled Little Papi, Little Damon, Little Berken, Little Beckham and Little Wright.  Luckily, these are the cards that are replaced when you get one of the one per box hits so you only end up with 5 of these ridiculous things.

There’s a company out there called Team Baby that makes DVDs for little ones to get them rooting for the team that their parents love.  Back in 2008, Team Baby struck a deal with Topps to include special cards in the DVDs of a player as a child.  The Red Sox DVDs contained David Ortiz, Mets DVDs had David Wright, Yankees DVDs had Johnny Damon and Dodgers DVDs had Russell Martin.  I haven’t seen the other cards from the DVDs, but I’m guessing that they have the same pictures that are in the When They Were Young insert set.

My daughter was given the Red Sox Team Baby DVD, but it came with a 10 card set of cards based on the 2008 design.  The cards were navy blue instead of white and the team name was in the Red Sox font.  They’re nice looking cards and show that the 2008 design was close to being a really nice one.


I’m not a huge fan of the History of the Game cards either.  This is something that I’d buy as a complete set, but not something that I’d chase to complete.  I do like the fact that I got a card of the first World Series with a picture of the old Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds.  These days you’ll find Northeastern University on those grounds, but there is a nice statue of Cy Young where the mound used to be.  I pulled cards 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 14, 23 and 24.


These cards are sort of blah and the relic versions aren’t all that better.  Players have holes cut in their legs and crotches for the insertion of the relics.  It works better on some cards than others.  My Peak Performers were Lincecum, Braun, Cy Young, Steve Carlton, Morneau, Stargell, Miguel Cabrera, Chipper, Pujols and Pedroia.  I won’t be chasing this set either.  There just isn’t anything appealing about this set to make me chase it.


Now this set is more fun and has more character to it.  These Tales of the Game capture some of the great things that make this sport so fun.  Everyone has seen Carlton Fisk’s game winning home run, but I wish that they had put the actual tale behind this shot on the card.  I’ve written about it before, but there’s a great story about why the camera was on Fisk and not the ball.  Give it a Google and I’m sure you’ll be amused.  I also pulled Pesky’s Pole which is nice.  The Sox later named the left field pole Fisk’s Pole in honor of his 1975 home run.  I also pulled a card of the David Ortiz jersey that was buried under the new Yankee Stadium and one for the Curse of the Bambino that I might have to burn.  I also got cards of Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Josh Hamilton, Ozzie Smith, Prince Fielder and 1952 Topps cards going for a swim.


The Lineage set, like the Peak Performances set, is good for player collectors, but that’s about it.  I’m not quite sure what Yaz and Youk have in common other than last names starting with Y.  Some players are grouped by team, some by position and others by a statistic they excel in.  The set is just all over the place.  I pulled 1, 2, 10, 11, 12, 17, 20, 22, 29 and 30.  I’ll most likely be sending these off in trades except for the Y Sox.


I thought that I would like these cards, but I’m not sure if I’m going to collect them.  I’m still working on the Trading Card History set from 2008 and I like that set more.  The reprints of the vintage cards just don’t look right and it bothers me.  Even the 87 Topps doesn’t look right.  It’s far too light.  My reprints were Aparicio, Mantle, Musial, Robinson, Palmer, Munson, Schmidt, Ozzie, Bo and Ichiro.  My real back card was Ryne Sandberg.


I’m still enjoying the Turkey Reds.  I think it would be nice if Topps could rotate sets though.  Next year bring back Topps Gallery and then the year after that do Cracker Jack.  My Turkey Red cards were of Howard, Tejada, Braun, Mantle, Victor Martinez, Greinke, Holliday, Kinsler, Sandberg and Josh Hamilton.  I still haven’t finished the 2009 Turkey Red set, but I’ll be starting this one as well.


You get 10 gold cards per jumbo box and these are now numbered to 2010.  My gold cards were Tommy Hanson, AL Home Run Leaders (Pena, Teixeira & Bay), Yankees Anthem in the Bronx (A-Rod, Jeter & Cano), Yankees Franchise History, Will Venable, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, Nick Johnson, Asdrubal Cabrera and Mike Gonzalez.  All of these are up for trade as are all of the gold cards that I’ve accumulated over the years.  I want to clear all of these things out to player and team collectors.  So, drop me a line if you’re interested.

My black bordered card was Roy Halladay numbered to 59.  I scanned it, but don’t feel like posting the picture of it.


My relic hit was a Melky Cabrera gray jersey swatch.  Just my luck to pull a Yankees card.  I was hoping to pull something Pedroia related, but my luck wasn’t with me.  I’m so over plain jersey swatches so most of these go right into the trade pile and this is no exception.

Here you can see how Topps just took the regular Peak Performance card and stuck a jersey swatch into it with no regard for the picture behind it.  Most of the pictures seem to be set up with that in mind, but it still doesn’t look all that great.  Does it look any better on the autograph card?  Let’s go find out.


Nope, it doesn’t look any better on the autograph cards.  In fact, since the sticker is larger these cards look even worse.

Aesthetics aside, I’ve wanted a Hanley Ramirez autograph for a while now.  I’ll hold on to this for now, but I’ll definitely have to upgrade to an on-card autograph at some point since this auto goes off of the sticker in 5 or 6 places it seems.  Ugh.  I understand why autograph stickers are used, but I’d rather have fewer autograph cards available and have them all be signed on-card.  Similarly, I’d rather have fewer jersey cards and have them all be something special.  If it’s going to be one color it should be almost the full size of the card and it should be autographed.


Another Yankee?  It figures.  The insert set that prominently features team logos gives me the middle finger.  Ruth seems to be one of the most popular players in this insert set even though he has two or three different cards.

I definitely need to pick up one of the Red Sox cards in this set.  I’ve checked out a few on eBay and those are just beautiful cards.

The only other thing is the Million Card Giveaway cards.  I got a set of 1 – 10 in my box and will attempt to redeem my codes tomorrow evening when I get home from work.  I’m hoping for something from the 70s or later even if they’re commons.  I’m also curious to see what kind of condition these cards are in.

So, that’s everything.  Even though I’m not a huge fan of a few of the insert sets, I still like this year’s set a lot.  I got a full set out of the box which is a big deal for me.  It’s worth buying the jumbos to not have to chase the set.  I’ve got plenty of trade fodder and can hopefully transform it into something nice to add to my collection.

On the strength of the great design, photos and variety of inserts this set gets an A- from me.  As usual, the jumbo boxes get an A+ in value.  MY box in particular would rate a B.  I got some nice Red Sox inserts, but two of my three big “hits” were Yankees cards.  The Ruth card is still a great pull regardless of the team.

Best of all, I think that I’m finally up to date on new boxes of sports cards that I wanted to buy.  Now I can bounce around a little bit.  I’ve been wanting to check out stuff like the late 90s Score Red Sox boxes and older Finest baseball and basketball boxes than can be picked up cheaply.  I do have one more box break waiting to be posted though and hopefully I can get that up tomorrow… er, later on today.


Play at the Plate said...

Hopefully you can turn the Ruth for a good buck if you want. I'd be interested in any Rangers gold cards you might have. Thanks!

Field of Cards said...

Nice write up as always.

It is kinda weird that the base set trumps the inserts for the most part. It seems like inserts would be so easy to design to make them cool. I know the blogger community could certainly do better if given the chance.

The Hanley and Ruth hits are great! Sticker and manu patch but they still beat anything my 4 hobby boxes yielded.

Offy said...

I might have something nice in the works involving the Ruth card.


Thanks for the kind words about the post. This one seemed like it took forever.

I was very happy with the hits. I've had a decent run of luck as of late.

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