Thursday, October 4, 2012
A couple of weeks ago, I put together a list of the five most pointless baseball card sets of the last five years. As someone who had been collecting and writing about cards for the same amount of time, I figured I was as worthy as anyone else.
That post was basically met with a collective yawn, except for some people who wanted to know why Documentary wasn't on the list.
But lack of positive reinforcement has never stopped me before (which explains why I've been working the same job for so long), so I am continuing on the same theme. Except this time, I'm rating the most memorable sets of the last five years.
This wasn't quite as easy to do as finding the most forgettable/pointless. After eliminating high-end sets (nothing that doesn't reach the collecting masses can be called memorable), I ended up with eight sets that I thought qualified. I was forced to whittle it down to five. And none of those sets are from anything more recent than 2009. Make of that what you like.
I really wanted to put National Chicle from 2010 on the list, but it's such a wildly inconsistent set that I couldn't do it. I still really like it, though.
These two sets also just missed the list:
2008 Timeline and 2008 Stadium Club. I liked both of these sets so much that I set out to complete each of them. And I've failed in each task. I've given up trying to complete Timeline and have started to trade some away. I'm holding on to Stadium Club for reasons I can't figure out.
Both sets are plagued by short-printing in the most obnoxious manner possible, Stadium Club in particular. It's almost as if the card companies defied you to complete it. So, I can't put either of these sets on the list, even though I think both look tremendous.
But that's not to say that the five sets that remain don't feature short-prints. In fact, three of them do. That's just a way of life for sets today I'm afraid.
So short-prints or no, here are the five most memorable sets of the last five years:
2008 Topps Allen & Ginter
For me, this is the high cardboard mark for Allen & Ginter. I'm a bit biased because 2008 is the first year that I collected A&G, but to me, this set just looks the way A&G should. I like that all of the type on the bottom is one color (the blue of '06 and the orange of '07 doesn't look as classy). For the most part, I like the presentation of the images a lot better than some of the sets that followed. This set is pure class.
2009 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee
It takes a lot for me to complete three full-sized sets in one year. But that's what I did with 2009's offerings. And OPC can take the credit for that. If it wasn't so wonderfully quirky and reminiscent of sets gone by, I wouldn't have bothered. But the photos won me over and it was too colorful for me to ignore.
2008 Topps Heritage
The best part of Heritage is being able to collect an entire set of cards with a design from years ago. When it's a design like 1959 Topps -- one of the greatest of all-time -- that makes it probably the most entertaining set to collect all year. If I was able to focus, I would put my efforts into grabbing the SPs I need and finally finishing this set off. Every time I look through the '08 Heritage binder, I wonder if Heritage will ever be that good again.
2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces
Maybe you think I shouldn't put this set here because it's basically a repeat of the original Masterpieces set from 2007. But I didn't collect anything modern in 2007 other than Topps base. So this was my introduction to Masterpieces. I also have to say I like the look of '08 Masterpieces slightly better than '07.
I think this set and the '07 set may go down in history as one of the greatest sets of its time. I've certainly come around on it.
What's this? A common, ordinary flagship set at No. 1?
Yes. Here's the deal. In 2009, I had collected Topps flagship for three years after my return to collecting. 2006, 2007 and 2008. Those aren't the greatest years for Topps and I collected progressively fewer cards each year. By '08, I was practically disgusted with Topps base and was wondering why I should bother with '09.
I think if 2009 wasn't as good as it was, especially the first series, then it's possible that I wouldn't be still buying Topps flagship outside of a couple of packs. But thanks to 2009's interesting photos and pleasant design, I completed the '09 set, then completed 2010, and have bought sizable amounts of 2011 and 2012 (even if I don't like the 2012 set much).
To me, that defines a memorable set. 2009 will always have a place in the Pantheon of My Completed Sets (What? You don't have one, too?). Right up there with Topps 1980 and 1983 and Upper Deck 1993 (but not quite at the level of '71, '74 and '75 Topps).
2009 Topps changed my mind-set, and it probably can take a little bit of the credit for why I continue to buy modern cards and continue to write about modern cards.
And do little "best" and "worst" posts like this.
Yup, 2009 Topps, it's all your fault.