Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Is It Safe? Have They All Been Confirmed? The 2012 Topps Update Series SP Cards.

I think many of us who follow the Hobby spent all day today scouring the Bay, reading box breaks, pack breaks, message boards, and even Twitter, trying to figure out how many SP cards were included in 2012 Topps Update Series.  It's become a tradition of sorts, every time the eponymous product (or even Heritage) comes out, everybody wants to know, "What are the SP's this time?"

Can you imagine what this task would be like WITHOUT the Internet?  We would have to wait for the Number One Source in the Hobby to put out their magazine to get this information.  At that point, the info is two months old.  And who knows if we'd ever even see any of these cards at the shop?  It could be the middle of the following year, and we might not even have seen a picture of some of them.

But we can all relax.  It's 2012.  Thanks to various sources, it can now be confirmed that there are 31 short printed cards included in packs of Update Series.  A handful of them are even those pesky "Super Short Prints" (SSP's to the rest of the Hobby), specifically because of that one blockbuster trade that happened in the middle of August between the Dodgers and Red Sox that Topps could not manage to include on time for production (will discuss this shortly).

The majority of the variation cards depict the players who participated in this year's All-Star Game in various stages of the festivities.  Whether it was the red carpet parade (or was it a blue carpet), the All-Star workouts, or the introductions before the ASG, the short prints follow the theme from throughout the year of showing players in lighter moments.  Below is the final checklist for those who need a quick reference (pictures will come soon):
  • #US10b Mark Trumbo (with teammates Mike Trout and Jered Weaver at the workout)
  • #US15b Justin Verlander (with fellow Tigers Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera)
  • #US37b Billy Butler (with All-Star Game ambassador George Brett)
  • #US52b Clayton Kershaw (with Matt Kemp prior to the ASG)
  • #US62b CC Sabathia (talking with Matt Kemp at the Home Run Derby)
  • #US87b Andrew McCutchen (from the Parade)
  • #US120b Robinson Cano (from the Parade)
  • #US133b Matt Kemp (from the Parade)
  • #US137b Josh Hamilton (during the player introductions at the ASG)
  • #US144b Mike Trout (during the player introductions)
  • #US162b Yu Darvish (from the parade)
  • #US241b Curtis Granderson (from the parade)
  • #US255b Joey Votto (with teammates Jay Bruce and Aroldis Chapman prior to the ASG)
  • #US259b Carlos Gonzalez (from the parade)
  • #US268b Craig Kimbrel (from the parade)
  • #US271b Ryan Braun (during the player introductions)
  • #US280b David Wright (with R. A. Dickey)
  • #US289b Prince Fielder (from the parade)
  • #US292b David Ortiz (during the player introductions)
  • #US299b Bryce Harper (from the parade)
  • #US299c Bryce Harper (talking shop with Chipper Jones at the workout...you just KNEW he'd get two cards) 
  • #US327b Chris Sale (with Paul Konerko and Jake Peavy)
As someone questioned on twitter, (and I'm paraphrasing here), "Why is it that we ridicule that other card company for creating cards of players without uniforms or logos but are fawning over the cards Topps put out?" The pictures from the parade depict the stars in suits, shirts, etc.  Panini could have easily done a set like this, and yes, many would probably slam them for doing so?  The difference here is that Topps was still able to incorporate the team logo onto the cards.  That's probably why many are a bit more accepting.

There are two cards that are SP's that didn't fit in with the above list.  The first is of Ichiro.  As you may recall, he was traded to the Yankees WHILE THE TEAM WAS IN SEATTLE!!!  So Ichiro's first game as a New Yorker was against...THE MARINERS.  To acknowledge the crowd, he bowed to them.  And that is what was used as his SP card #US272b:

2012 Topps Update Series Ichiro Suzuki #US272b
The second is of the All-Star Game ambassador, HOF and Kansas City Royal legend George Brett.  The reason why I didn't include his card with the list above was that he didn't have the All-Star Game logo on his card akin to the other 22 All-Star variation cards.  At the same time, his card isn't of the usual legends short-print variety (you know, of him during his playing days), even though he shares his card number with Royals All-Star Billy Butler (#US37c).

2012 Topps Update Series George Brett #US37c
Now the last set of cards are the super short prints.  The first five cards include players who were traded by their respective teams on August 25, 2012.  The trade sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford (both of whom were the key acquisitions and SSP subjects in 2011 Topps Series 1), Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto from the Red Sox to the Dodgers in exchange for James Loney, Ivan DeJesus Jr, Jerry Sands, Rubby de la Rosa, and prospect Allen Webster.  Of the nine players involved in the transaction, all four new Dodgers and only James Loney of the Red Sox are getting the SSP treatment.
  • #US1b Adrian Gonzalez
  • #US2b Carl Crawford
  • #US3b Josh Beckett
  • #US4b Nick Punto
  • #US5b James Loney
Card #US6b is of Kevin Youkilis, who was traded by the Red Sox to the White Sox on June 24, 2012.  Now, I have to question the reasoning behind excluding Youkilis from the regular set and making his card a SSP, especially when he was traded more than a month before the trading deadline.  If they could fit Ichiro into the base set (Ichiro was traded on June 23, one day before the change of Sox), why not Youkilis?

Finally, card #US7b is of Jim Thome, who was traded by the Phillies (the team he returned after the 2011 season) to the Orioles on June 30, 2012.  Now, just like Youkilis, there was plenty of time to insert Thome into the regular set, and not as a SSP.  So what gives here Topps???

So there you have it.  Pictures of the other 29 cards will come soon (just as soon as someone finds them all).  Enjoy.


JayBee Anama

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