Well, I finally did it! I completed the '71 Update Mini set from last year's Topps Update release. The above Mike Trout card was the final piece to the puzzle. I feel like I'm kind of breaking out of a "card rut". Only collecting Padres can get a little boring after a while (especially as the cards worth having become harder and harder to track down), so having some mini projects to work on is fun. See what I did there?
Anyways, yeah, I love the 1971 design. Between sets like Heritage and Archives, and now with insert sets in the flagship set, Topps seems to be toeing that line and between charming us with nostalgia and going overboard with retro designs. Regardless, I will stand firm in my belief that I will never get tired of the '71 set design. It remains my favorite of all of the vintage sets from Topps.
So, without further ado, here are all 50 cards in the set, in groups of nine (side note: I need to get those newfangled mini-pages from Ultra Pro to store these guys in).
Wow, three Yankees on the first page? No bias there, right?
Best card: Trout
Honorable Mentions: Bo Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr.
Meh: Joe Mauer
Great, we go from bad to worse, or in this case, from three Yankees to three Dodgers. This is why hesitate to venture from my "Padres only" policy.
Best card: Jackie Robinson
Honorable Mention: Prince Fielder
Meh: Joey Votto, Justin Upton, the other Dodgers
Alright, now here's a pretty good page. Only one Yankee, and a couple of Hall of Famers. Love to see Greg Maddux in a modern release, though I haven't seen any of him as a Padre yet. Won't hold my breath on that one.
Best card: David Wright
Honorable Mentions: Stan Musial, Ian Kinsler
Meh: Shelby Miller, Mariano Rivera
Holy west coast teams, Batman! Six cards here are from either the NL West or the AL West. Some good players here, but lots of laundry that I don't like.
Best card: Cal Ripken Jr.
Honorable Mentions: Johnny Bench, Paul Goldschmidt
Meh: Dodgers guy, Giants guy
Alright, got some really heavy hitters on this one. I mean, David Ortiz and Frank Thomas? That's really heavy hitting. More than a few missing limbs here, with Thomas, Nomah, and Big Papi having their hands & elbows cut off by the border.
Best card: Will Clark
Honorable Mention: Yoenis Cespedes
Meh: David Ortiz
Last half of a page! Eh, I'm not really big on any of these guys, though Matt Harvey and Manny Machado seemed like guys who would be easy to root for. Not so sure of that now. Lots of weird looking expressions on some of these guys.
Best card: George Brett
Honorable Mention: Matt Harvey
Meh: Jay Bruce
Here's what the backs look like. A little brighter green than the original '71, but otherwise (from what I can tell), a pretty good remake. Adam Jones is a guy that I might start collecting a little more of now, ever since I found out he's from San Diego and is a Tony Gwynn fan.
Here's a breakdown of all of the players on the checklist:
5 cards - Yankees
4 cards - Dodgers
3 cards - Red Sox, Tigers, Reds
2 cards - Nationals, Royals, Mariners, Braves, Pirates, Rockies, Mets, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Cardinals, Giants
1 card - Diamondbacks, Marlins, A's, Rays, White Sox, Phillies, Angels, Twins
0 cards - Padres, Astros, Blue Jays, Cubs, Indians
Retired v. Active players:
15 v. 35
I like the ratio of retired to active players. Topps seems like they're pandering to the older collector, which is a smart move, without going overboard. I was still a kid when I bought my first "vintage" card ('67 Willie McCovey), so introducing whatever kids are into baseball cards to a little history isn't a bad thing either. Unsurprisingly, the Yankees and Dodgers are the most represented here, making up 18% of the set combined. Unsurprisingly again, my Padres get goose-egged, though it turns out that we weren't the only ones. Surprising that the Cubs got shut out as well.
Well, there you have it. Finishing a 2013 midway through the 2014 season takes a little luster off of the deal, but I'm glad to have it done. Black borders rule.
Have a great Sunday. Do good things.