Monday, June 6, 2011

2010 Topps Update hobby baseball box

As promised, here's the other box I nabbed at Saturday's autograph signing/show.  Also, you'll note that once again I'm tinkering with the way I do box reviews because I'm always trying to get something that looks good, provides reasonable information and doesn't take five hours to do.  I hope you like this latest incarnation.

Box:  2010 Topps Update baseball hobby box
Packs/cards:  36/10
Price:  $25

Base cards:
Design grade:  B-  A typical Topps effort, with not a lot that stands out.  Being a bit old-school, I preferred the original concept of "traded and rookies" instead of "traded, rookies, all-stars, home run derby and whatever else we could cram in there".  The older sets were under 200 cards and this one is 330, which is more than I really needed.

Base set completion:   239/330 (72%)
Extras:  20 doubles (8% of base cards pulled)
Collation grade:  D

Once again, Topps sets the bar pretty low on collation--without those doubles I'd be closer to 80% of the set.  I bought this box knowing I wouldn't be that close to completing the set (this many inserts will do that to you) but I still thought I'd be better than 72%.

Inserts (99):

Vladimir Guerrero Black #27/59 (1:105, 0 expected):  A-  I generally like Topps' various color parallels and black works here; I just wish they went back to the serial numbered stamping instead of just printing it.

Peak Performance:   4 (1:8, 4 expected):  B  This seems like a reasonable set, a continuation of an insert that started with the 2010 flagship set.  I at least like the design, and the concept's kind of cool.

Turkey Red:  9 (1:4, 9 expected):  A  This is simply a classy looking set.  I don't collect it myself, but it's a solid effort on Topps' part.  Only the Cabrera is a keeper for me.

Vintage Legends:  9 (1:4, 9 expected):  A  Because these aren't straight-up reprints, but rather players depicted in past Topps set designs, I'm on board.  Again, I'm not actively collecting these, but some of them really look nice, my favorite being the Campy, which just looks awesome.  Former Wolverine Sisler is PC, the rest are up for grabs.

Million Card Giveaway:  9 (1:4?) including #s 21-30 except 28:  B-  This is kind of a retroactive grade, but considering my feelings on the MCG, I'm still a bit lukewarm.  I bought the box knowing these were no longer active, so don't think I was holding that against Topps.  I do like that the cards themselves are somewhat collectible, featuring past great Topps cards. 

Cards Your Mom Threw Out:  12 (1:3, 12 expected):  A-  My only real ding to this set is that Topps has done the reprinting thing to excess.  Granted it's nice to see some that haven't been reprinted before, but that's mainly because they've only existed for 10 or fewer years.  Former Michigan star Larkin's PC, the rest are yours.

Cards Your Mom Threw Out Original Backs Joey Votto (1:36, 1 expected):  A-  Same grade as the above since the excessive reprinting is still a ding, but I do like the original back concept.

Legenardy Lineage:  5 (1:8, 4 expected):  C  The design is pretty good, and in general the concept is great, but REALLY, TOPPS?!  Walter Johnson/Stephen Strasburg?  I'm sorry, if we're making a comparison to that HOFer, Justin Verlander is a good active player to consider, not a guy with a handful of stars.  Dubious comparisons abound in this set, my biggest annoyance with it.

Gold:  6 (1:6, 6 expected):  A-  I'd be worried if I bought a Topps box and it DIDN'T feature Gold parallels!  As usual the design is great, but like the Black set I miss real serial number stamping.

More Tales of the Game:  6 (1:6, 6 expected):  D-  Baseball history:  good.  Baseball history as chosen by Topps:  bad.  Baseball history as chosen by Topps on cards with butt-ugly design:  1990s Detroit Tigers bad.

ToppsTown:  36 (1:pack, 36 expected):  Z--  Quite possibly one of the worst things Topps has ever done, and that's saying something.  If not for these wastes of cards plus the doubles, I'd need just 35 cards to complete the set I wanted.  Not pictured for obvious reasons--KNOCK THIS SHIT OFF, TOPPS.

Rookie Refractor Box-Topper Jon Link (1:box, 1 expected):  B-  Not a terrible idea, but disappointing when you consider many box-toppers are at least hits.  Also, mine was creased pretty well (more noticeable on the back) despite the fact that the pact itself looked fine.  In its favor:  it's a Refractor, and everybody loves those.

Overall insert grade:  C-  This is simply waaaaaaaaay too many inserts.  One per pack would have been reasonable maybe, but I always buy Topps flagship for the base set.  ToppsTown is an abomination and there's no way I needed many of these at the expense of base cards.  

MLB All-Star Game Workout Jersey Brian Wilson (1 auto/relic:box, 1 expected):  D  Here's the other reason I was strongly considering getting a jumbo box when (or IF) the price was right--I definitely prefer autos and was hoping at least for a bat barrel card since I liked the look of those.  Instead, I get the traditional boring jersey card, albeit of a currently popular player.

Overall hits grade:  C  I cut Topps a little slack here because the box is clear that you get one auto OR relic per hobby box, plus it's not like this is exactly a premium product.  Still, would it kill Topps to take the lead in killing off boring one-color jerseys, or at least relegate them to truly low-end sets such as Opening Day, if we must put up with that yearly crapfest?

Value grade:  B+  Despite my complaints, I got all this for $25, which seems about right.  Much more than that (such as the original price) and I'd be complaining a lot more.  I think the inserts and lack of a chance to pull a complete set pull this down quite a bit, but a lot of what you get is worthwhile, and 36 packs needs to continue to be the Topps hobby box standard.

Recommendation:  Buy this set, but get a jumbo box.

As stated in the insert list, everything except what's noted is available for trade.  As of the time of this posting, here's my wantlist for this set:
1 3 9 13 14 17 20 22 28 42 48 49 54 55 59 66 71 72 78 83 84 87 88 89 105 109 111 113 116 120 121 122 126 131 134 135 137 143 144 145 159 163 164 169 177 181 182 183 200 201 202 205 206 208 209 212 213 214 217 218 223 224 227 234 242 248 251 252 255 259 261 263 264 266 268 269 270 273 276 283 289 294 298 301 307 309 311 321 322 324 327 Strasburg661


  1. If that Santana Gold is available, could you set it aside for me?

  2. Seriously, the Johnson/Strasburg comparison really had me scratching my head too. The thing with 2010 Update is that they really went all out with Strasburg. Three base cards (the 661, rookie debut and a checklist), a ToppsTown, Peak Performance, More Tales of the Game, a Turkey Red and that Lineage card I just mentioned above. There is probably one or two I missed too. Too much for a kid who had barely any experience. I should have some of the cards you need for your set, I'll let you know what I come up with.

  3. I'm digging the fact you picked up a box of nice cards for $25. Thats just over the cost of a blaster, so you can't beat that.

  4. What is the point of a Brian Wilson card if you don't get to see his tiny lumberjack-infested beard??? Bad form, topps. The Vlad is awesome though.