I rag a lot about Topps’ monopoly because the truth is, I want to see competition in the trading card industry like many of us had growing up. The saying competition breeds excellence isn’t just a cliche. Look at the wonderful products were were getting in the late 90s when Topps was going up against Upper Deck, Fleer/Skybox, and Pinnacle/Donruss. It was an era of renaissance in card collecting.
Today, we have licensed baseball cards from Topps Company and everyone else has been left in the dust of an exclusive contract. So when I run into Topps products with lazy card design, lousy selection of photography, and using relics/autos as crutches I become really disenchanted with our hobby. That doesn’t mean I hate everything. I absolutely adore Chrome and Refractors and always will.
When 2018 Topps went live earlier this week, I was still bent out of shape about the company’s decision to no longer include full career stat lines on the back of cards in lieu of Twitter and Instagram handles. As you can imagine, for a 30+ year card collector, that move left a really bad taste in my mouth. If I was planning on bustin’ even a pack or two, Topps’ stat blunder helped make my decision for me.
Well, a few days passed and all people were talking about on Twitter and card forums was the debut of Topps’ flagship. After being turned on to the cards and the inclusion of several Jose Canseco cards, I finally jumped on the bandwagon and have become completely immersed in these new Topps cards. As expected, the big sellers are the chrome and autographs but other cards have really impressed me as well.
I could just dwell on the beautiful Chrome Refractors in the set but the cards that have completely won me over are the 1983 throwbacks, specifically of the players who were actually around long enough to be included in 1983 Topps, such as Ryne Sandberg. You can go ahead and keep your Aaron Judge throwbacks, toss me a Darry Strawberry or Cal Ripken Jr. Nothing against the new school but … c’mon.
Below, I’ve posted the 2018 Topps throwback cards next to their original, 35 year-old counterparts and in every single case, Topps hit an absolute monster of a home run. I sure as hell can’t complain too much more about Topps, at least for quite some time. Not only did they tip their hats to nostalgia collectors like m e, they also peppered the entire brand with gorgeous Chrome and fancy Refractors to add extra value to your box.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Topps’ flagship but I don’t know how much longer I will be able to hold out when I am seeing cards like these being pulled. For anyone looking to SAVE their money and not end up giving it to Topps, I highly recommend you avoid Brent & Becca’s Twitter account as they seem to be going through and showing off an endless amount of 2018 Topps including some really rare, high-end pulls.