Grand Cards: A Look at 2010 Topps Through The Eye of a Tigers Collector

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Look at 2010 Topps Through The Eye of a Tigers Collector

At long last, I have 2010 Topps cards in my hands. First, a team set procured for $.99 on eBay with $3 shipping. Then, every regular insert card I need, this time off of Sportlots, for $8.75 delivered. Maybe that doesn't strike anybody else as being particularly impressive, but let it sink in.

I spent less getting all of the inserts that I needed than I would have buying a single cereal box, or half as much as a blaster.
had all of the inserts I needed for my Tigers team set (plus a bonus card), for roughly $.50 each.
I know that this robs you of the opportunity to open packs, but if you need to fill some set holes, Sportlots gets my recommendation--especially now that they've made it easier to buy from the same seller.

Anyway, with only the game used and autograph cards to go for my Series 1 team set, I thought some initial impressions are in order.

The Base Set

There's a lot to like about 2010 Topps. For one, the design looks much nicer in person than it did in all the scans. I've found that it's growing on me already. The Horizontal cards, of which the Tigers have only one, works particularly nicely.

On the vertical side, things work well too. The arched design can really add a lot to a photo like this, where I envision Magglio's helmet following the path of the arc as it moves towards me, before landing at my feet.

So, at least sometimes, the design is good. Especially good are the card backs, with this one here catching my eye because of the potential appeal it might have to the gals at Dinged Corners.

Different picture on the back, big team logo, nice write-up, easy to read numbers, the Backs are all good.

But all is not well in Toppstown. I do think that the design is growing on me, but I've still got some beefs.

The Checklist My stars, the Tigers checklist in 2010 Topps is horrendous. It features such Tiger greats as Aubrey Huff and Jarrod Washburn--two of the most despised Tigers in recent history--who already got their token Tigers card in 2009 Updates & Highlights, had a 0% chance of returning to the team, yet are in the set anyway. I understand including Polanco and Granderson--they were staples of the team for years. At the same time, we're missing Cabrera and Verlander, aka the two biggest names still on the them. I guess you need to same some for Series 2, but still...

The Design Ok, I know that I said that it's growing on me, but it just doesn't work all the time. Look at this, for example:

That card just looks weird with this design. It doesn't work. Nor does this:

Hey look, it's four Tigers and a bunch of empty space at the top!

That's the trick with a design that essentially frames the picture: if you choose a picture that doesn't frame up right, it looks bad.

Also, the Orange is too much for me. It's not a primary color of the team, and when the design is so dominant in a card like this it is just too much. It would be like making an A's card Yellow, or the Mets, well...Orange (which they did--and even they use orange much more prominently than the Tigers do.), or the Braves Blue (which they are) instead of Red (which they should be). Add that to the fact that Topps shows us all that could have been with Hank Greenbergs outstanding Short-Printed variation:

This card is superior to a regular Tigers card in every way. It is blue, not orange which works WAY better with this design. It also uses an Old English D instead of the script logo, which is a far far better design choice. Ahh, what could have been. Sigh...

Ok, but enough with the base set. A quick look at the rest of the set:

I think that these are awesome:

I love the legendary lineage set. I've heard people complain about it but I think that it is fantastic looking. I like the design, the player selection, the writeups on the back. These are sweet. Cobb and Granderson on one and two generation of Hebrew Hammers on the other. That's a great set and I'm looking forward to seeing more in Series 2.

Among the inserts, I think that the Turkey Reds, tired as people may be of them, continue to look great. Also, this Tales of the Game card is a winner in my book:

On the downside, the "Cards your Mother Threw Out" set is an abomination. There should be nothing in here from after 1970. The fact that Series 2 calls for a reprint of a 2009 Rick Porcello makes me want to yell at somebody. Also, I think that these look really cool:

But there are 8 Tigers in Series 1 alone. Add that to the fact that the Tigers logo just hasn't changed that much in their history and there is a little too much overlap. From what I see give me the old-style Cobb, Greenberg either Kaline or Kell and one of the new guys--not everybody.

Honestly, the good still outweighs the bad in this set.

The rest is mostly unremarkable comments about the rest of the inserts. They're fine. Peak Performance and Toppstown are generic but fine--different pictures on Toppstown regular and gold versions is nice to see.

There are a handful of retail inserts that I don't have my hands on yet but look like they're good. A continuation of last year's manufactured patches (found is blasters) is welcome except for this:


Cool! Oh wait...


Boooo! So far, 2009 U&H and 2010 Series 1 are the only sets to have these sorts of Tiger patches (4 total) and you're repeating one of them already? This is a team with 100 years of history. Give me a break. I love Hank Greenberg and I thought last year's patch was awesome. This year's, in isolation, would be awesome too except that it's basically the same thing. Bummer.

A Ryan Perry autograph and Jeremy Bonderman Relic Card is hardly cause for celebration, but fortunately, all is saved by the inclusion of Hank Greenberg, via relic and dual relic cards. Hank's the best. After the Cobb-overkill in last year's set (and still continuing, somewhat), it's nice to see another Hall of Famer get some love. Tip for the future--keep it diversified, Topps.

In all, I think that 2010 Topps is solid. I like what I've seen so far and think that it is a worthy successor to the 2009 set in just about all respects. With a stronger checklist for Tigers fans in Series 2, there's just more to look forward to, it seems.

For those of you not in the know, I'm currently snowed-in courtesy of over two feet of snow in Baltimore, and it's still coming. That means that I'll very likely have a Series 1 gallery post up for anyone that wants to peruse the whole set.