Grand Cards: Tigers Gallery Checklist: 2010 Topps Pro Debut

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tigers Gallery Checklist: 2010 Topps Pro Debut

The big-ish news in Tigers world right now is that Casper Wells is getting called up to the club to make his Major League Debut today. With that happening, I couldn't think of anything more appropriate than posting up a gallery of 2010 Topps Pro Debut which, coincidentally, features Casper Wells as the very first Tigers Card.

I love Pro Debut. Wait, let me qualify that. Pro Debut is not my favorite set nor am I going gaga over it, but I love it for what it is: a nice Minor League set. While many may complain about a "rehashed design" or a checklist that features so many totally obscure names that you don't really know what to do with, I have a completely different take. To me, this set is a supplement to Topps' 2010 flagship offering. By keeping the design consistent, the team collector can add these minor league cards right to the team set, while using the color and logo differentiation to keep things fresh. In all, the set has everything you would want. Ok, everything I would want. Nice pictures of game-action minor leaguers, multiple minor league teams, minor league logos--the works.

My only gripe is that from a Tigers standpoint, this set is barely more than a West Michigan Whitecaps team set. The degree to which the set skews towards that team (and, I would imagine, that level of minors in general) is a little bothersome. Would it have been too much to ask to get ONE Toledo Mudhen?

I also have to ask myself, what exactly is the point of this set? That's not entirely fair, as the point of the set is to be a minor league set, nothing more, nothing less. But what is the point of Bowman that everyone is going all crazy over? Aren't the Bowman Prospects and the Topps Pro Debut pretty much the same? I'm still struggling with that one, and I'm not sure how things will evolve if Topps continues producing Pro Debut in the future.

Bottom line for me: this set is cheap, fun and introduces you to one of the best things in all of professional sports, Minor League team names and logos. A little more diversity among my teams would be nice, as would including minor league cards of players while slightly more of a "Prospect" status, but in all, I'm glad that we have a legit minor league set to call our own for the first time in who knows how long.

Base Set The base set is the bread and butter of things in Pro Debut. Designed after Topps' flagship design for 2010, the "swoosh" varies with team colors and appropriate minor league logos are affixed. That is my favorite part. It's hard to say whether I would have liked Pro Debut as much with a different design that would have muted the minor league angle (e.g. 2007 Topps). Good representation among Tigers' minor league clubs although, as I already mentioned, there are a whole lot of Whitecaps goin' on. Not much in the way of star power, but could be some major leaguers in the mix. Casper Wells, after tonight's game, will be the first.

FWIW, a few nice parallel versions exist: Blue (#/249), Gold (#/50) and Red (1/1). Topps gets bonus points for limiting the number of parallels to a reasonable amount. Also some cards have a (meaningless) "Pro Debut" stamp on them, indicating that this is the first professional card of said player. With the rookie card rules being what they are, I see no point to this, but whatever.

#14 Casper Wells

#16 Robbie Weinhardt

93 Edwin Gomez

#130 Wade Gaynor

#182 Gustavo Nunez

#201 Brandon Douglas

#204 Billy Nowlin

#210 Bryan Pounds

#213 Mark Sorenson

#214 Jordan Lennerton

#217 Erik Crichton

Inserts The inserts--at least the inserts that Tigers farmhands are in--are simple: All Stars. Pro Debut highlights All Stars from all levels of the minor leagues, and the Tigers have a few including, current backup catcher and starting catcher of the future Alex Avila. Austin Jackson is featured in this insert set, but it is as a Scranton Yankee as a AAA All Star. Not a Tigers card. Simple set, perfectly fine, I probably won't collect it unless Topps' flagship All Star cards take the same design, which I would doubt because they're kind of bland.

Also, how old are these players? I'm looking at you Michael Rockett and Deik Scram.

#A-4 John Murrian

#A-27 Michael Rockett

#AA-2 Deik Scram

#AA-6 Alex Avila

Relics Not much in the way of Tiger "hits," but we do get one: Current Tigers' second baseman Scott Sizemore with a big 'ol red swatch of futures jersey. There is a base version numbered to 139 copies, and a gold bordered version numbered to 25. A relatively nice looking card of Sizemore (his first relic card, AFAIK), that could fit seamlessly in with the Tigers flagship set.

#FGR-21 Scott Sizemore Jersey (#/139)

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