I am already looking back with nostalgia over 2009 Topps. What an impressive-looking set this is. It looks even better two years after the fact.
One thing I noticed when looking back through the set is how much Series 2 differs from Series 1. Most of the best photography appears in Series 1. Series 2 is an across-the-board sampling of great photos, weird far away photos, and, worst of all, underexposed photos. I can't believe how many inferior photos are in Series 2 after looking at Series 1.
However, the Nelson Cruz card featured here appears in Series 2. And, just as surprisingly, it is not the best Rangers card in the 2009 set.
Like the 2010 set, I figured out the best card for each team in the 2009 set. And I'm presenting them all here, just as I'm going to do for every complete set that I have.
Once again, I sat at a table to do this, not the floor as I did when I was a kid. I'll make it to the floor eventually.
American League East
Orioles: Juan Castro; Red Sox: John Lester; Yankees: Derek Jeter; Blue Jays: Alex Rios; Rays: Carl Crawford
Team with the best cards: Red Sox, again. I'm sure many collectors would have gone with the Kevin Youkilis or Jason Bay card. But I really like the Jon Lester photo.
Team with the worst cards: Blue Jays. Very run-of-the-mill stuff. The Rios card stands out slightly.
Team that I should go back and review: Rays. Carl Crawford is the best card, just like in the 2010 set, but I almost replaced it with a couple of other Rays.
American League Central
Royals: David DeJesus; White Sox: Paul Konerko; Indians: Asdrubal Cabrera; Twins: Brian Duensing; Tigers: Edgar Renteria
Team with the best cards: Royals. Lots of cards from which to choose. Same with the White Sox. I had to leave out the Carlos Quentin card.
Team with the worst cards: Twins. The photos are OK, just nothing that exciting.
Team that I should go back and review: Tigers. Again.
American League West
Mariners: Kenji Johjima; Angels: Jared Weaver; A's: Eric Chavez, Rangers: David Murphy
Team with the best cards: Rangers. Any team in which the Cruz card finishes second is doing well. The Murphy card was my card of the year in '09.
Team with the worst cards: A's. I only picked the Chavez card because it was interesting. But it has the look of a throw away photo by an amateur photographer.
Team I should go back and review: A's. But I don't think I'll find anything better.
National League East
Phillies: Carlos Ruiz; Mets: Carlos Delgado; Marlins: Matt Treanor; Braves: Yunel Escobar; Nationals: Lastings Milledge
Team with the best cards: Phillies. I really like the Pat Burrell dugout card, but the Ruiz photo is better.
Team with the worst cards: Mets. Delgado photo is nothing special, but all the Mets pictures were boring. Braves and Marlins were hurting for interesting stuff, too.
Team that I should go back and review: Marlins.
National League Central
Astros: Reggie Abercrombie; Reds: Joey Votto; Pirates: Nate McLouth; Cubs: Reed Johnson; Cardinals: Colby Rasmus, Brewers: Ray Durham
Team with the best cards: Cubs. I could have chosen a whole mess of them. Pirates were pretty good, but Series 1 only.
Team with the worst cards: Cardinals. Not happy with picking this card, but there is really nothing else.
Team that I should go back and review: Cardinals.
National League West
Padres: Edgar Gonzalez; Dodgers: Juan Pierre; Giants: Omar Vizquel; Diamondbacks: Conor Jackson; Rockies: Clint Barmes
Team with the best cards: Diamondbacks, I guess. Pretty mediocre group.
Team with the worst cards: Giants. There are some atrocious cards in Series 2, and I'm not just saying that because the team is trash.
Team I should go back and review: Padres. The Gonzalez card arrives very early in the set. I may have missed a card to compare.
OK, if you're keeping track (and why would you be?), there are three teams that have had the best cards in their division two straight years.
The Red Sox, Rangers and Diamondbacks.
There are also five players that have been the best card for both 2009 and 2010 Topps.
Asdrubal Cabrera, Carl Crawford, David DeJesus, Alex Rios and Omar Vizquel.
That just bolsters my theory that some players can't make bad cards.