Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm Happy, But Should I Be Concerned???

Either I'm the only person who noticed that the 2009 Topps Series I Sell Sheets came out today, or nobody cared (or the blogosphere decided that I alone should be the first to post the sheets...ego, stop typing!!!).

After going over the specifics, I'm am looking forward to next February (must add a countdown gadget to the blog soon) and getting my hands on the new cards. But in a way, I'm a bit concerned. Because for the first time in recent memory, Topps actually announced that they will shortprinting certain cards into the eponymous Topps set. While this is technically not the first time Topps has shared card numbers with certain players, the fact is that they are forewarning us that they are adding shortprinted variation cards into the Topps set. To be more specific, look below:

"So what?" you say. "Big deal!" you say. If you have not seen the preliminary checklist for 2009 Topps Series 1, let me give you a bit of a preview (and the usual warning, the checklist is subject to change):
  • Card #1 is Alex Rodriguez. The next card is also numbered #1, but it's Babe Ruth.
  • Card #10 is Marlins 2B Dan Uggla. Card #10 is also reserved for Rogers Hornsby.
  • Card #55 is shared between SS's J. J. Hardy and Pee Wee Reese.
  • Justin Morneau and Lou Gehrig share card #90.
  • C. C. Sabathia and Cy Young are both listed as card #170.
  • Chase Utley and Jimmie Foxx are listed as card #200.
  • Miguel Tejada and Honus Wagner are paired together for card #205.
  • Geovany Soto and Roy Campanella hold card #210.
  • Card #215 is listed as Ian Kinsler and Jackie Robinson.
  • Ryan Braun and Mel Ott share card #240.
  • Grady Sizemore and Tris Speaker both lay claim to card #270.
  • Greg Maddux and Walter Johnson get card #287.
  • Card #290 goes to both Albert Pujols and George Sisler.
  • Ichiro Suzuki and Ty Cobb both hold down card #300.
  • Yankee catchers Ivan Rodriguez and Thurman Munson are listed as card #305.
  • Johan Santana and Christy Mathewson share card #310.
  • Finally, Miguel Cabrera and Johnny Mize get card #320.
So what's happening is that the 17 legends are going to have 2009 Topps base cards. But instead of taking out 17 current players who could use the exposure, they are short-printing the legends' cards. The guy at Stale Gum would call this a gimmick, but Topps is making the announcement before hand. At least there is that kind of warning. But how short printed will these cards be? Will they be 1:2 packs, 1:12 packs, 1:36 packs, 1:72 packs...I could go on here...? What would be considered a complete set? A set of 330 cards or a set of 347 cards? What will the factory sets have? Are they going to do this again with series 2?

On one hand, I do like the fact that they paired up legends and current superstars appropriately. It would be awkward if let's say they paired Pujols and Campanella or Maddux and Mize. And I'm sure that the pictures of the legends will look great with that 2009 Topps design. Maybe Topps is making the announcement after the last two years of being slammed about including these "unannounced gimmicks," the ones that the blogosphere so mercilessly slammed them for, to keep critics quiet. Who knows? So I'm excited and yet concerned. I'm sure that by the time the cards show up next year, my worries will be abated. Maybe I'm making too much of a big thing out of it. Until then, I can only speculate...


JayBee Anama

P.S. And yeah, Mickey Mantle comes back as card #7. This time though, there is no current player that gets shortprinted as a variation...YET!!! jba

P.S.2. If you saw the checklist, there are a number of TBD's (for playoff highlights, award winners, etc). I think it's safe to say that Tim Lincecum will get card #78 (NL Cy Young), Evan Longoria gets #134 (AL ROY), and Geovany Soto gets #276 (NL ROY). jba

UPDATED: Wednesday, November 12, 2008.

Stale Gum has reported that the short-printed legends cards will appear 1:6 regular packs, 1:1 HTA jumbo. That softens the blow just a bit. I just hope that this is just a one year (or one-series) thing. jba

UPDATED: Friday, February 06, 2009.

I know that a number of message boards have been linking to this site since the news of the Obama and CC Yankees SP cards came out. The checklist above was based on information taken from the original checklist. This morning, Beckett reported that Topps confirmed that there are 19 SP's inserted into series 1, and included a more accurate checklist. You may find that checklist by clicking the words "the checklist is subject to change" in the original article. jba


Captain Canuck said...

does this mean that they are short printing the current stars as well? That would suck.

Anonymous said...

A gimmick is a gimmick, announced ahead of time or not. I like that they are making cards of older players, but I don't like that they are shortprinting them as a part of the regular set.

Anonymous said...

If the legends are shortprinted, I really don't care. If I feel like chasing them, I will. If not, then I don't have to count them as part of the set.

If card companies must do shortprints, the best way to handle it would have a regular version of the card number that's not shortprinted so the few surviving set builders can blow off the shortprints without leaving a hole in their sets.

I have the feeling that both the current players and the legends will be in short supply relative to the other cards in the set. That seems unfair.

dayf said...

I don't have a problem with variations. I always liked 'em in Heritage as long as they were reasonably inserted. At 1:6 packs these aren't too hard to find and it's a little fun for the set builders. I only really get irritated when they are 1 per case or when they number them 661 and screw up the set.

As for #7 Mantle, Topps has made that number Mantle-only forever and will keep printing #7 Mantle cards until Upper Deck gets the exclusive ligence back and they have to leave that card out again.

TDLindgren said...

I like the idea of short prints of the legends. It will make the cards more collectible and at 1:6 packs fairly easy to obtain. I'm not a set builder anyway and only collect cards of the players I like, so it won't affect me at all. I like the idea of having a Ruth and a Cobb on the 2009 Topps design as well as the #7 Mantle card.

Goose Joak said...

Isn't it (or shouldn't it be) standard for set builders to just build a complete set from the "base set" of cards? Meaning "all otherwise equally available cards?"

This isn't a new concept. For instance, it's not like error card variations from the 1980's were considered part of the "complete" base set. They were short printed variations of base cards and therefore not necessary to "complete" a base set unless you wanted every single possible version of every single card.

I feel the same way about "card 661" as well.