Thursday, September 15, 2016

One man, one card

(The deadline to enter the anniversary contest is almost here. If you're interested, you have until 9 p.m. tonight EST to enter the contest. It's closed to participants after that. On with the show).

Here is a card of the Washington Nationals' Trea Turner. Fine player. Top prospect. Doing well in his first extended time with the big-league team. Saw him play for Syracuse last season. Started at shortstop. Went 1-for-3.

Turner is card No. 300 in this year's Allen & Ginter set. It's the last card before the 50 short-prints hit.

OK, that's enough of Turner, right? Every player gets just one card (or if it's A&G, every celebrity, thinker or edifice). One man, one card. It's the foundation of set-collecting. As important as one man, one vote. Without it, the whole system is compromised.

So, let's get into the short-prints.

Specifically card No. 342.

Uh ...

I will never get over this. No matter how many times I pull a different card of the same guy from a single set, I will stare at it and stare at it while my brain says to myself "this has got to be some other guy, it has GOT to be some other guy!", until it comes to the realization that "they bleeping put two cards of the guy in the same set!"

There is nothing different about these two Trea Turner cards other than a different photo, different background color splotch and different number on the back.


Now as mind-boggling as I consider this, I realize that this isn't the first time that this has happened in Allen & Ginter.

Three years ago, the last three cards in the set were repeats of cards that showed up earlier. The only difference that time was a different color splotch in the background and the card number.

Those are cards No. 266 and 348, 243 and 349 and 100 and 350, from top to bottom.

At the time, it was guessed that these cards might have something to do with A&G's Crack the Code contest. But the cards had zip to do with solving that code.

To me, this bit of mischief tarnished the set. It was as if Topps drew up 347 cards and then couldn't think of three more cards and just duplicated the final three. I'm sure that's not what happened, but that's what it looks like, and you will not be able to convince my brain that has been collecting for 40-plus years otherwise.

Even though A&G likes to play fast-and-loose with people's concepts of a set in a variety of ways, it's probably not a coincidence that I haven't completed an A&G set since 2013. A line can be crossed when tinkering with the foundation of a set.

Topps has put the same player in the same flagship set many times. That's not the problem. More than one card of the same player is fine if there is an all-star subset, subset of any kind, checklist, even if you want to feature the player with a rookie cup and without. I got no issues.

But two cards of the same guy -- both of which say, "Hello! This is my base card!" -- I don't know what I'm collecting there (I realize one card of Turner is in the non-SP portion and one is in the SP portion, but that means nothing to me, it's all the same set to me).

This is something I've pointed out before and multiple times. And it's been something that's happened for at least 20 years if not longer. Upper Deck threw random cards of the same player in the same uniform with nothing to distinguish the two cards from each other outside of a different photo for virtually its entire existence (and to me that looked sloppy).

But this time the set is only 350 cards large. And two of them are Trea Turner.

I hope the other cards don't realize there is just one of them and two of him and start a revolt.


  1. I hadn't realized there were two Trea Turner cards. At least there's not two Mike Francesa cards.

  2. At least the photos are different this time (small consolation)

  3. I never knew about this. If Topps is so bad off that they can't think of 3 more people/players to finish off their set, they can always put me on a card.

  4. 2016 Trea Turner < 1954 Ted Williams

  5. I agree completely, though a cheapskate (like me) who only collects the non-SP base set would never know the existence of an alternate Trea Turner.
    I suppose if companies are desperate to include two images of certain players, the alternative is to release SP photo/art variations with the same card number as the "base version". I don't really like not knowing which variation I'm holding without hunting down a scan online, but I think it's better than a "350 card set" featuring "300 unique subjects".

  6. I've always assumed that the duplicates in A&G had something to do with the Code, which I've always found a bit ridiculous. To hear that they don't is...well, not all that surprising. Topps isn't exactly known for putting out their best work here recently. Thanks for the post!

  7. I bet they'd say that they had three other individuals slated for the "double" spots, but they couldn't agree on compensation, or there was a conflict of contracts or something and they didn't have time to sign up anybody else.
    Though I can't say whether I'd prefer two cards of a semi-interesting person or two more cards of things like Gravitational Waves, Barbed Wire or the Polar Vortex.

  8. The 90's did these types of things the right way when you double up a guy. I liked what upper deck did in 97 series 2 with the griffey subset but adding an extra base card of someone even though it's an "sp" can be a head scratcher

  9. Shame on Topps. They have room for two Turners... but can't add a single Kurt Suzuki or Tony Gwynn. Shame. Shame. Shame.