Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Five years is a long time, the sequel

Five years ago, I wrote a post titled "Five Years is a Long Time," in which I updated readers on the vast changes in players' careers in a five-year period.

It was a bit surprising to see the results and the post drew a lot of comments.

Well, five more years have passed since that post. Crazy, I know. And the set that was just coming out when I wrote that post -- 2011 Topps flagship -- is now going to kindergarten.

I figured another comparison post was in order. But I don't have the time I had five years ago, so I won't be calculating like I did the last time. This time, I dug out all of the cards with the rookie card logo that I have from that flagship set (the set isn't complete) and briefly reviewed how those players have progressed since.

See, this way I get to bash the rookie card logo while working on the post. It's double the entertainment!

The most notable rookie-card logo player from that set that I own -- as of this moment right now -- is White Sox pitcher and jersey carver extraordinaire Chris Sale.

There are a handful of other rookie-card logo players who have made out pretty well for themselves, too:

Only Freeman and Duda are still with the same team and Duda is injured, but you get the idea.

There are several other players with that logo that are still MLB relevant in one way or the other in 2016:

Abad and Jeffress were just involved in deadline trades.

But even with those 15 players, I own a healthy stack of 2011 Topps rookie card logo guys who aren't in the majors anymore, most of which haven't been there for years.

That's 28 players, some admittedly sidelined by injury (Tim Collins, Aaron Crow), some sidetracked by fate or their own bad decisions (Greg Halman, Josh Lueke), some who had the audacity to injure national treasure Buster Posey (Scott Cousins) and some still holding on in the minors.

Yet there are also plenty who played a handful of games in the majors in 2010 or 2011 and then disappeared, which tells me they shouldn't have been the set in the first place. Those barely-there major leaguers are the least favorite part of the flagship set these days.

The rookie-card logo is always very hit-and-miss in flagship. It performs much better in the Update set, possibly because Topps has the chance to evaluate the players while they play the season instead of awarding the logo in the offseason as it does in flagship.

That explains why the rookie-card logo guys in 2011 Update are much more impressive:

Also, I had no idea -- and this is me being even more clueless about rookie cards than I was five years ago -- that the Mike Trout Update card was selling for such prices. I figured it was some other Trout rookie card that I didn't own.

Maybe I should be selling this somewhere.

Five years from now, who knows where the guy is going to be. (Insert the way-too-easy "the Yankees" comment here).


  1. Maybe Topps' goal was to print rookie-logo cards who appeared in the major leagues that year as opposed to showcase and predict the star rookies who would go onto bigger and better things.

    It's like the Rookie of the Year award where receiving the award doesn't really guarantee long-term success for a player and at times - there will be players in the same rookie class who had longer and better careers.

    1. Yes, I understand the rookie-card logo wasn't an indicator of future success.

      The part that annoys me is many of the rookie-card logo guys are wedged into the set just because they're rookies. I'd rather players who had legitimate time in the majors the previous season, but don't get cards, be included. Instead we get guys like Brett Sinkbeil, with 3 whole games in the majors when he got a card, and that's all he ever played.

      Make players like that share a card with some other rookie, like Topps used to do.

    2. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

      I do imagine being that player and getting a big league rookie card - it's something I would always be able to showcase to family / friends - regardless of whether or not I had any sort of MLB career.

      Multi-player cards are annoying.

  2. I'm all for losing the RC logo. Then again, I'd also be happy with Topps going back to either a 660 card base set issued in one series and then a 132 card update/traded set or a flat 792 card set with just the later being more of a traded/update say the last 132 cards.

  3. Nah, he won't be a Yankee. In five years Mike Trout will have earned his third MVP award, already in his 2nd or 3rd year of a multi-year contract to stay as a member of the 2nd-place Angels.
    Rational thought might win the day here, it seems.

  4. Future Dodger Mike Trout.

    Sidenote, this is the first pack of a flagship Topps product I ever opened (2011 Topps Series 2). It brings back fond memories for me. My last year of high school. The Diamond Giveaway. Harper-mania. How time flies...

    1. Future Yankee Mike Trout
      Future Dodger Bryce Harper

  5. If you are interested in completing the set I have most of it available for trade, particularly series 2. Same for 2010.

  6. That M.Trout rookie is the only Topps base or traded/update card I'm missing back to 1969.

  7. I'll never forgive you (in a jokingly sort of way) for including a liquorfractor parallel of that Trout RC in the prize lot for your contest a year or so ago that I obviously didn't win. You probably could have sold that for like $150 or something, though trading it to me would be much more fulfilling, I'm sure. And I'd like to call unofficial dibs if another one ever falls into your lap.