2014 Topps Group Break Results and More
2014 Topps Series 1 was released earlier this month. I love a new set to check out each year…and the flagship Topps product continues to bring a lot of parallel chasing and questionable autographs peppered with manufactured relics and inserts out the wazoo.
My first thoughts are that I do not like the design much…my least favorite in the past few years for sure. The side cut with the team name just drives me crazy. I never understood having to waste space with both a team name and a team logo…it seems to me that one or the other would suffice. I’d like the cards so much better if the image didn’t get the weird side cut for the vertical team name tab. That being said the photography continues to be top notch but I am a little disappointed in the lack of variety in some of the cropping…as some other Dodger blog pointed out a few weeks back the number of “knees to elbows” framed cards is pretty substantial.
I was able to get in a group break through one of the big case breakers on eBay, rkcollectibles, where I finally landed the Dodgers so I sat one Sunday night glued to my laptop while six cases of Jumbo 2014 Topps were busted. We were actually shorted one auto in the six box sealed case, but rkcollectibles decided to random another to make up for it and gave the winner their choice of several nice cards they had on eBay (which I’m sure were all better than a Ricky Nolasco or Chris Archer trajectory auto that seem to come in EVERY case).
My hits were nice though, and although my hopes for a Pedro Martinez Before They Were Great Auto Relic redemption came up short I did do very well all things considered:
Some base parallels. I think I am going to see a ton of Onelki Garcia this year…
Just a few of the inserts. I am very hit or miss on inserts, but these all are pretty cool. I like the die cut 1989 min’s. It was my second year collecting cards and is the subject of my 1988 World Series Team TTM project.
Some cool SP variations. I didn’t get two of the Puig in this one break, however…one of them I pulled in a Walmart hanger pack the week before. I love the return of future stars. I just wish they didn’t SP so many freaking Dodgers. Second Puig is for trade, if anyone out there needs one. Looking for parallels and the other Dodger SP’s in recent years.
First, a Zach Greinke silk card numbered to 50! Pretty neat, I don’t think I have any previously existing silk cards (this break resulted in a ton of them actually which is apparently not the norm). I like the window so you can “feel” the silk. Also received the Buckner auto which I don’t mind. One of these days I am going to rant about how lame a Ricky Nolasco autograph is and it seems about as common as this one…however, the “rarity” of certain autographs is only part of my rant about Nolasco. This Buckner however, is alright. I think it MIGHT be a tad more suited for Topps Archives Fan Favorites but at least it’s not a current year player who isn’t a Dodger anymore, re: Nolasco.
These manufactured rookie class cards are pretty nice. I feel like if Topps is going to manufacture “relics” to put in product this kind is the way to go. They are really nice cards, look better in person, and feel like you are getting something a little more cool than a manufactured patch or relic normally feels like. They are thick and sweet. I was so happy to see both Sandy and Jackie pulled from the break. I think my package also contained a full six sets of base Dodgers so that was cool albeit expected. Overall I feel good about the break. A nice variety of Dodger hits, SPs, inserts, etc.
After reviewing the 2014 Topps offering I have a few thoughts.
This product is essentially issued in three series these days, correct? Series 1, Series 2, and Updates and Highlights. I like being able to open cards so early in the year. I understand that this time line that we enjoy also presents certain logistical issues with players appearing on old teams, before winter transactions might have even begun, etc. But why can’t they plan who are going to be in these sets a little better? A late trade or spring signing always happens but it should be the exception…not the norm…to have players showing up in outdated uniforms. I know that current year cards are sometimes seen as a tribute to the previous season…but at the same time if they are going to continue using the Series 1/2/Update formula then why can’t they put forth a little more effort?
Here’s what I mean…of the eleven regular issue Dodger cards in the set, three of them will not be appearing in a Dodger uniform to begin 2014. I haven’t checked the ratio of other teams or anything so maybe some teams are better or worse but 27% of the Dodger team pictured on cardboard in Series 1 isn’t going to be on this team. Again, I understand if a late trade suddenly placed Mark Ellis on a different team or if Ricky Nolasco suddenly was cut…but these guys were basically not in the forecast for a while now…there’s no sense in seeing them in Dodger blue to begin 2014. Especially since, my next point, SO many prominent Dodgers were left out of a regular issue Series 1 card in 2014! Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, A.J. Ellis, and many more could’ve “more safely” filled the slots occupied by Nolasco and Ellis and therefore would’ve freed up a spot in Series 2 or Update for another new rookie or late offseason/early season transaction or call up. Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford are all nowhere to be found in Series 1…which makes sense as there were quite a few trade rumors and what not swirling around the Dodgers OF’s as recently as the winter meetings. I get that. This makes sense. Mark Ellis and Ricky Nolasco do not.
The Michael Young Conundrum
Michael Young is the third player featured as a Dodger who will not be back with the team, or with anyone in MLB it turns out, after his retirement was announced weeks ago. I am somewhat more forgiving for this type of situation, since there was a shot he would be back with the Dodgers and there wasn’t any certainty about his retirement or signing with somebody else, etc. My issue with this is that the lasting legacy of Michael Young is going to be as a Dodger in one of the worst eyes closed throwing pictures I have ever seen. Ugh. I like the final card for retired players…but man even though his WAR as a Dodger was -0.2 (and -1.3 for the 2013 season) he deserves better than this. Similar to the god awful diving Kemp picture from a couple years ago, I can only speculate that somebody at Topps is a Giants fan.
Have a week!