Monday, May 9, 2011

Sets That Make You Go...WHAT??! of the Week: 2011 Topps NL and AL All-Stars Team Set

2011 Topps All-Star Team Sets...Really??!
I realize that this humble little blog is almost careening towards it's third anniversary.  What better time to bring back one of the original themes of the blog, the Cards That Make You Go...What??! of the Week.  The "What??!" is short for "What Were You (Topps) Thinking When This Card Was Developed/Designed/Created/Conceived??!"

When I first posted that I finally got my hands on many of the 2011 Topps Team Sets (those 17-card sets that they sell in retail, and at your local stadium), a comment from TonyGillen got my attention:

Not sure if you have seen them yet, but Topps has also made 17-card "American League All-Stars" and "National League All-Stars" sets in the same style of blisters as the team sets. (They were with the team sets at my local Target.) Similar to the cards in the team sets, except with the AL and NL foil logos.

Now, I don't recall ever seeing similar sets in the past (went on the Bay to look, didn't see any), so this is the first year that Topps issued an All-Star Team set to go with their 30 regular team sets.  What a great supplement to retail exclusive sets right???

Well, not exactly.

First of all, the cards, as has been the case with many of the team set cards, are similar to the 2011 Topps set.  Not necessarily a problem.  You also get players in their new uniforms here, just like in the retail sets, that won't appear in the regular set.  Again, not a bad thing.  These cards also come with an exclusive foil logo of their respective league.  A nice touch.

So what do I find wrong with them? 

Well, other than the fact that each set consists of 17 cards, you're not necessarily getting a "team" set per se.  And while I'm not going to get started on how they should have had at least "one rep per team, (come on with 17 cards and 16 on the NL, it wouldn't be fair), the player selection, albeit really good, could have been better.  This isn't the kind of product for the team collector anyway.

To wit, here are the checklists for both sets, in what would have been a two-column format, but blogger for some reason, won't let me code in tables:

2011 American League All-Stars Team Set:
  • AL1 Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees
  • AL2 Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Red Sox
  • AL3 Josh Hamilton, OF, Rangers
  • AL4 Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers
  • AL5 Joe Mauer, C, Twins
  • AL6 Justin Morneau, 1B, Twins
  • AL7 Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees
  • AL8 CC Sabathia, P, Yankees
  • AL9 Mark Teixeira,1B, Yankees
  • AL10 Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Mariners
  • AL11 Felix Hernandez, P, Mariners
  • AL12 Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
  • AL13 Jose Bautista, OF, Blue Jays
  • AL14 Adam Dunn, DH, White Sox
  • AL15 Carl Crawford, OF, Red Sox
  • AL16 Jon Lester, P, Red Sox
  • AL17 Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers
2011 National League All-Stars Team Set:
  • NL1 Albert Pujols, 1B, Cardinals
  • NL2 Roy Halladay, P, Phillies
  • NL3 Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies
  • NL4 Cliff Lee, P, Phillies
  • NL5 Tim Lincecum, P, Giants
  • NL6 Matt Holliday, OF, Cardinals
  • NL7 David Wright, 3B, Mets
  • NL8 Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Rockies
  • NL9 Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies
  • NL10 Zack Greinke, P, Brewers
  • NL11 Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers
  • NL12 Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs
  • NL13 Buster Posey, C, Giants
  • NL14 Joey Votto, 1B, Reds
  • NL15 Stephen Strasburg, P, Nationals
  • NL16 Jason Heyward, OF, Braves
  • NL17 Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals
Okay, some problems I have is that the AL team isn't even a complete team.  Forget the fact that neither team has a closer represented, but the AL team doesn't even have a second baseman.  They have four first basemen, one who had not even played in the AL yet.  They could have included 2B like Dustin Pedroia, or even 2011 Topps Series 1 cover boy Robinson Cano (yeesh, more Yankees) or even Howie Kendrick of the Angels (who made MY 2010 AL team). 

On the NL side, there is a bit more balance.  Four outfielders, seven infielders (all positions covered), one catcher, and five pitchers.  But of the five, two were in the AL the year before, and one of them was wunderkind, All-Star on potential alone, Stephen Strasburg.  Did Topps really have to include the guy in this set?  He's not even scheduled to play in 2011.  You might as well have included his future HOF teammate Bryce Harper in this set.  After all, this kind of product isn't subject to MLB Properties' RC rule.  Nothing against the future multi-time Cy Young winner, but he doesn't belong in a set like this.  Not yet.  The Nationals team set is one thing, an All-Star team set is a different animal entirely.

Overall, I still like the concept of All-Star retail sets.  Yes, they're limited to 17 cards per product (I'm guessing the 18th card is the checklist that people have to cut out from the don't do that???), but the player selection could have been better.

Now, I feel better.  Too bad about the column formatting though.


JayBee Anama

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is no checklist card on the package, but I DO cut out the checklist in card size and put it in my binder so I remember why I have a second "identical" set in there.