2015 Topps Series 1—PREVIEW

Posted: January 28, 2015 by Crackin' Wax in Topps
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The hot stove has cooled down, fan fests and caravans have come to an end, and pitchers and catchers are due to report for Spring Training in mere weeks. Baseball is just around the corner. Capitalizing on fans’ and collectors’ excitement for the nearing baseball season, Topps unleashes its annual flagship set one week from today. Let’s see what Topps has to offer this time around!

Please, keep in mind, this is purely a preview—NOT a review!

ALL YOUR BASE
There are two big changes to the base cards this year. Firstly, Topps has decided to expand the checklist to 350, giving collectors even more cards to chase. Secondly, the base design is a major departure in concept from those of the past few years. Gone are the simple, solid borders (usually white) that Topps has recently employed. Instead, the player’s team colors are used as a bottom-to-top gradient and blended into what looks like a stone texture. Framing out the name and logo are what appear to be tracks left behind by a Light Cycle from the movie Tron, or possibly a circuit pathway. Behind the team logo is a circular wave pattern that, blended into the stone texture, seems to resemble a thumb print.

The base card checklist actually goes to 351. If you’ll remember, card #7 is retired/reserved for Mickey Mantle. Card #1 this year has been given to the recently retired Yankee Derek Jeter (which I’m sure Sooz had nothing to do with… lol). Each team is fairly well-represented, however teams like the Yankees, Braves, Dodgers, Giants, and Red Sox take their usual lion’s share of the checklist.

PARALLEL UNIVERSE
The annual flagship set just wouldn’t be the same without a whole rainbow (and then some) of different types of parallels of each card to track down. Returning are the awesome sequentially numbered Silver Framed parallels, just like the kind you’d find in Museum Collection, inserted 1 per hobby case and jumbo case. Other parallels include Gold (#/2015), Snow Camo (#/99), Black (Hobby and Jumbo only, #/64), Pink (#/50), Platinum (1/1), and Rainbow Foil (inserted 1:10). As usual, you will also find 1/1 printing plates in Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black of each card.

INSERT HERE
Topps has included some intriguing inserts this year, including the Baseball History Set (inserted 1:8) which features both baseball and non-baseball subjects. Perhaps the most interesting and anticipated inserts are the First Pitch inserts which highlight a celebrity, such as Eddie Vedder, tossing out the ceremonial first pitch of a game. These cards, per the checklist, are assigned by the team whose jersey each respective celebrity is wearing on the card. Other insert sets include Archetypes (inserted 1:6), Highlight of the Year (inserted 1:4), Inspirations (inserted 1:8), Gallery of Greats (hobby and jumbo only, 2 per box––also includes Gold Parallel #/99, hobby and jumbo only), Free Agent 40 (inserted 1:8), and Stamped Buybacks (hobby and jumbo only, 2 per box). Retail versions of this set exclusively include the following insert sets: Robbed, First Home Run, The Jackie Robinson Story, and The Babe Ruth Story. As per usual, there are promotional cards in the mix, as well. You’ll find The Pennant Chase (limited to 50 copies per team) and Online Code Cards (inserted 1:6).

HIT ME
You wouldn’t think so, but some of the best and most interesting hits have been coming out of Topps’ flagship set, and it looks like this year will be no different. As you can see by the example above, the much sought-after Strata (on-card, #/25) is back again (a type of hit I was lucky enough to pull last year). Also making its usual rounds are the manufactured relics such as those found in MLB Silhouetted Batter Logo Pin and the Future Stars Pin (including Vintage Parallel #/99). You’ll also find Birth Year Coin And Stamp cards. The above manufactured relics listed are found in hobby and jumbo only and fall at 1 per jumbo box and 1 per hobby case. In the way of relics, you’ll definitely get your fill with Career High Relics, Archetypes Relics (#/99), Highlight of the Year Relics (#/99), Inspirations Dual Relics (#/50), Gallery of Greats Relics (hobby and jumbo only, #/25), Free Agent 40 Relics (#/50), World Series Champion Relics (#/100), Postseason Performance Relics (#/100), In The Name Relics (hobby and jumbo only, 1/1), and Baseball History Stamps (#/10). If you’re more of an autograph collector, there are tons here, too. This checklist includes Baseball History Cut Signatures (1/1), Strata Cut Signatures (1/1), Career High Autographs, Archetypes Autographs (#/25), Archetype Autograph Relics (#/10), Highlight of the Year Autographs (#/25), Highlight of the Year Autograph Relics (#/10), Inspirations Dual Autographs (#/25), Inspirations Dual Autograph Relics (#/10), Gallery of Greats Autographs (hobby and jumbo only, on-card, #/10), Gallery of Greats Autograph Relics (on-card, #/5), Free Agent 40 Autographs (#/25), Free Agent 40 Autograph Relics (#/10), World Series Champion Autographs (#/50), World Series Champion Autograph Relics (#/50), Postseason Performance Autographs (#/50), Postseason Performance Autograph Relics (#/50), Birth Year Coin Autographs, and Spring Fever Promotion Autographs. Retail versions of this set exclusively include the following hits: Robbed Relics, Robbed Autographs, Robbed Autograph Relics, First Home Run Medallions, First Home Run Relics, and First Home Run Auto Relics. As you can see, there is something for just about everyone.

Perhaps the biggest hit this year might be the new Case Break Slot Redemption Card, good for one team in one of 21 different group case breaks that Topps will be conducting throughout 2015.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
I’m excited to see how this new design concept translates to the printed medium. I’ll be busting through a jumbo case, so I’ll get a good taste of much of what this product has to offer. With a variety of different parallels, inserts, and hits to chase, this affordable set is great for team and player collectors. With an expanded base card checklist, set collectors will be pleased to know that box and case prices are similar to those in recent years with smaller checklists. I predict this will be another fun one and I cannot wait to tear thru my case next week!

CASE BREAK
On Saturday February 7, 2015, I will be busting a jumbo case of this product for charity! Five dollars per team spot, up to a total of $150, will be donated to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. As of this posting, there are still some great teams left. Please take a moment to check out the 2015 Topps Series 1 Jumbo Charity case break page for more information and to grab your team!

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