Sunday, February 8, 2015

Awesome night card, pt. 231: Plus a loooooong tangent on checklists


Hey, look! It's more 2015 Topps! It's more Salvador Perez! It's ubiquitous ESPN squeezing itself into the photo like it's a picture on a 1983 Fleer card!

This is one of the night cards in 2015 Topps. Obviously, in this day and age, there is no shortage of night cards in current sets. I'm not going to show all of the ones I pulled from 2015 Topps here. But it is interesting to note that I have pulled four of the five checklist cards in Series 1 already and that all of them are night cards. The rest:



And I'm showing the backs because I got somethin' to say:


The type is very tiny so you'll probably have to click on the image to see what I'm saying.

These four checklists indicate that I'm missing the card that features card numbers 1 through 71. I can't be faulted for assuming that the missing card is card #28 or lower, based on checklist subsets of the distant past. But based on recent history I would be wrong.

But before I get to that, I think it's key that Topps seems to be finally hitting its stride with these checklist cards. Ever since 2009, these cards have been featured in the base set. They're kind of a combination of two subset staples of 1970s and 1980s cards, checklists and highlights/record breaker cards.

Beginning in 2009, Topps ditched the separate unnumbered checklist and used select cards for checklists. Sometimes they were brought together with some kind of theme, often in a very awkward way. But as the years have progressed, the checklist cards have made more sense and been more interesting to me.

I'll show you what I mean:


2009


In 2009, Topps featured 10 checklist cards. That's so many that I can't fit them all on my scanner. I left out the last one, which features Diamondbacks Justin Upton and Chris Young.

Topps used the "Classic Combos" theme that it was regurgitating each year at that period. Unlike the mid-to-late '60s when cards like this popped up in very charming ways, these didn't work. They look like filler, especially when David Price appears on two different cards, staring blankly into the camera.



2010


Again, 10 checklist cards in the 2010 set. I had to leave out another Diamondback card, although I should have left out the horrifying Astros Photo Day card as it makes me feel sorry for any Astros collector every time I see it.

There is lots of filler, from the two different cards of Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun to a random Ruth-Gehrig photo that doesn't fit with the modern day "jockularity" featured on most of the other cards. And the less said about the titles for these things -- "Celeb 'Rays' Tion Time" -- the better.

As for the checklists on the back, they don't necessarily follow the pattern of older sets that featured checklists within the base set. Back then, the first checklist in the set featured the first group of cards in the set, the second checklist, the second group, and so on.


But in 2010, Card #510 features the last cards in the set (#608-660) while card #636 features #539-607 and card #637 features #470-538. It's also weird that the 3rd of 5 checklists is the last checklist in the set according to card number.

This is not an isolated phenomenon in recent sets. It pops up in the 2009 set and in others.

After 2010, I haven't completed any Topps sets, so my information about the checklists isn't complete either.


2011


There are 10 more checklists in 2011 Topps, but I have just five of them.

These checklist cards are more in line with the "highlights" cards that I know and love, although the highlights mentioned are sometimes very random. For example, Jim Thome is No. 8 all-time in home runs. Excellent feat, but not something you'd see in your Highlights subset in 1980. You wouldn't see a Rockies franchise record either, and not just because the Rockies didn't exist then.


2012


My dislike of the 2012 set is showing here as I have just two of checklists. They are both of the "highlight" variety and fairly legitimate, too. My guess is not all of them are as notable.


2013


All of the 2013 checklists I have are vertical, I'm not sure if they all are.

In 2013, Topps went with the stupid "Chase" theme and each of these cards reflects some sort of milestone "chase". The annoying thing (besides seeing "chase" on every card), is that it doesn't tell you anywhere whether the player actually reached that milestone or if they're still "chasing" it.

Like some of the other sets, the checklists are out of order on the back.

Card #303 -- the Alex Rodriguez card -- is the last checklist card in Series 1, yet it features cards #1 through #69. Cards #70-133 are picked up on card #89, Johan Santana.


2014


The 2014 checklists moved closer to featuring actual "moments" on the front. Each of these feats occurred on a specific date, which leads me to "why isn't there a date on each of the cards?"


2015


The same can be said for the 2015 checklists. Each of these occurred on a specific date. It'd be nice if that was mentioned on the front of the card.

For the record, Belt's home run happened on Oct. 4, 2014; Beltre's 2,500th hit happened on June 24, 2014; Salvador Perez's walk-off base hit happened on Sept. 30, 2014; and Kershaw's no-hitter happened on June 18, 2014.

Now, the one Series 1 checklist that I am missing is the Derek Jeter card.


 (Jeter's final game at Yankee Stadium was Sept. 25, 2014)

As mentioned at the beginning of the post, this card should feature a checklist for cards #1 through #71 on the back. But is it numbered lower than #29, which featured cards #72-140?

For that, I go to Cardboard Junkie, who happened to feature the back of the Jeter card on Twitter today.


Look closely and you can see that's a checklist for #1-71. But the card number is not lower than #29. Instead it's the highest-numbered checklist in Series 1, #319. The exact same thing happened in 2013 with the Alex Rodriguez card.

I don't know why Topps does this. It's entirely possible that in this "What? There are checklists in the base set?" era, that nobody cares, even Topps. It's not like anyone is checking these things off.

I'm not even going to throw a fit about this.

I'd simply settle for dates on the front of each card that features a season highlight.

And maybe they could be put the cards at the start of the set like the old highlights cards. Or at least be grouped together like they once were.

I know, I know. That was then and everything must be so random now.

But somebody has to notice this stuff.

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Awesome Night Card candidate: Salvador Perez checklist, 2015 Topps, #210
Does it make the binder?: If I land a dupe of it.

2 comments:

  1. The only reason I can see for the out of order checklists is that Derek Jeter's base card fits into that particular checklist. Maybe Topps thought that would appeal to people more. Who knows? My biggest wish is that Topps would eliminate checklists altogether and bring back manager cards and put team checklists on the back like the 80s. Although that would probably require consolidating the two series into one. That would be my second biggest wish.

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  2. It doesn't really bug me that much, and I can be OCD about certain things.

    I'd rather not have the checklists in the set and just call it Highlights / Record Breakers like the good old days. Also, improving the design on the leaders would be good. I loved when 1987 / 1988 / 1989 Topps had subsets with distinct designs that still looked like they belonged in the base set (think '89 All-Stars). I'd imagine the growth of inserts are why this isn't the case any more.

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