There has been a vicious battle between Topps & Upper Deck that’s been going on since 1989. That year a new company brought “high-end” to collecting and shook up the establishment.

Since my return to collecting in 2007, I have given the “Best of the Flagship” award to Upper Deck two years in a row. I’m afraid to say that despite another strong effort by Upper Deck, this year Topps is truly the king.

From a strong and classy design to the best inserts hand down (Turkey Red), Topps took charge and even featured better photography than the usually reliable Upper Deck.

This year’s Updates & Highlights was an improvement over the 2008 edition but clearly Topps phoned it in this time around, especially in the photography department. The inserts are still brilliant (Propaganda, etc.) but this set is not quite as impressive as the first two rounds.

If you’re a Topps completist, this is a must-have release for the 2009 calendar year. If you’re into great baseball cards and your brand of choice is Topps, skip Updates & Highlights and pick up a box of Topps Chrome instead.


Current eBay price – $35+ for Hobby, $70+ for Jumbo

Guarantees – 1 relic or auto per Hobby, 3 relics or autos per Jumbo

Look for – Printing plates, Jumbo patches

The Good:

Turkey Red inserts best of 2009

Updates rosters and lots of new players

The Bad:

Topps took a step back with photography


Autograph – Mat Gamel

Final Grade: C+