Thursday, September 10, 2009

What's Left for Topps to Make for Baseball Cards in 2009?

As there hasn't been anything for me to talk about lately, I started thinking about what's left for Topps to make in 2009. You see, this is the final year in the four-year agreement that Topps and UD made with MLB Properties. If you recall, both Topps and UD agreed to produce 20 products each in 2006 and 2007, and then 17 products each in 2008 and 2009.

So far, Topps has either put out or announced the following products for 2009:

Topps Baseball 1 & 2 (yes, their flagship set counts as one product, not two)
Topps Updates and Highlights (coming soon, counts as a separate product)
Topps Chrome
Topps Heritage
Topps Heritage High Numbers (coming soon, counts as a separate product)
Topps Finest
Topps Triple Threads (coming soon)
Topps Allen & Ginter
Topps Ticket to Stardom (new in 2009, coming soon)
Topps Unique (new in 2009, coming soon)
Topps T206 (returning in 2009, coming soon)
Topps Tribute (returning in 2009, coming soon)
Bowman Chrome

That's 14 products with three more to be announced before the end of the year. And if you notice, I did not include Topps Attax in the above list. Why? Because, products similar to Topps Attax is exempt from the official list of products that MLB Properties considered as part of the agreement (just replace Topps Hot Button with Topps Attax in the original contract and you'll see what I mean).
From the above list, there are four new products in 2009, two of which are making their return to the lineup (T206 and Tribute). That means four products from last year's list won't be back for the 2009 season.

Now let's compare last year's product list:

Topps Baseball 1 & 2
Topps Updates and Highlights
Topps Chrome
Topps Heritage
Topps Heritage High Numbers
Topps Finest
Topps Triple Threads
Topps Allen & Ginter
Topps Opening Day (did not return in 2009)
Topps Co-Signers (did not return in 2009)
Topps Moments & Milestones (did not return in 2009)
Topps Sterling
Stadium Club
Bowman Chrome
Bowman Chrome Draft Picks & Prospects
Bowman Sterling

Collectors who keep tabs of this stuff knew that Opening Day, Co-Signers, and Moments & Milestones were not going to come back in 2009. With four new products, that means one product will not be coming back for sure. But which one would that be?

If Topps does not want to tick off a lot of prospect collectors (those affectionately known as Chromies), they're going to want to bring back the Bowman Chrome DPP. That should be product number 15. That leaves either Sterling brand (Topps and Bowman) and Stadium Club as the odd product out. Now, let's say for a moment that Topps is not going to be introducing (or re-introducing) any more new products this year. Which product do you see not returning?

Topps Stadium Club made it's triumphant return last year after a long hiatus, making many who petitioned to have it brought back happy. However, while the cards in the set were fantastic, bringing back the focus on photography thad made the set great, the price point was too high for a product (to super-premium product levels) that was should have been a premium product at best. So it wound up on many collectors "most disappointing products" list. Will it make a return in 2009? If it does, will the SRP's be lower?

Both Sterling (either Topps or Bowman) products are marketed as incredibly super high end products with super high SRP's to boot. With laminated wood boxes and packs featuring just one player (three cards) and a relic of another player, either one is not for the faint at heart. But with the economy the way it stands, will people WANT something that retails for more than $50.00 (possibly into the triple digits?) If you discontinue one brand's Sterling, do you cancel the other one as well? And to top it all off, the sell sheets for Topps Unique show cards that look to blow away any previous Sterling cards ever produced.

In defense of the brand though, Topps Sterling normally utilizes legends and the uber-uber superstars. This is a set tailor made to use the CMG exclusives. Bowman Sterling traditionally focuses on rookies and prospects, thus making it something for prospectors to fight over.

So, I ask (and will probably put a poll in later...) which of these four remaining products should be left off the 2009 product list:

Bowman Chrome Draft Picks and Prospects
Bowman Sterling
Stadium Club
Topps Sterling

Leave comments, or vote on the poll at the top of the blog.


JayBee Anama


beardy said...

I hope all 3 are gone, and new products released in their place.

Bringing back Tribute (which seems a lot like Sterling), it might be safe to say that Sterling is definitely gone. That would make sense, which is exactly why it probably won't happen.

Tommy said...

If I had to pick one .. it would be Topps Sterling. I have never collected any of the product. However, I would like to see Stadium Club shut down also.

I actually like the Bowman Sterling. I collect team sets .. and it was an easy completion. The refractors are pretty cool.

madding said...

If Stadium Club is set up like it was last year, then I don't want it to come back. Actually, it wouldn't be a bad idea if none of those three came back. Topps should focus their efforts on making sure their 2010 product line is the best that it can be in the first year of their monopoly.

Bring back Topps Total!

David said...

I was actually thinking about this the other day.I have no idea.

Chris Harris said...

I have it only pretty good authority that Stadium Club will not be back, and that both Sterlings and BDP&P will.