Who is Nick Solak?
Glad you asked.
And thanks to cynicalbuddha for scanning his card into Trading Card Database.
Nick Solak is a former Yankees, former Rays prospect who appeared in 33 games for the Texas Rangers last year.
That, apparently, qualifies him for being the only Texas Ranger to appear in the 350-card base set for 2020 Topps Series 1, a checklist of which was released this morning.
That's right, the ONLY Texas Ranger.
I did the count and the Rangers, with Solak shouldering the entire load, come up a distant 30th behind the 29th-place Orioles, who have a more typical seven cards.
Here is the breakdown by team that I compiled earlier:
Dodgers - 17
Astros - 17
Nationals - 16
Cubs - 15
Athletics - 14
Brewers - 14
Indians - 14
White Sox - 14
Phillies - 13
Angels - 12
Blue Jays - 12
Braves - 12
Padres - 12
Red Sox - 12
Reds - 12
Twins - 12
Yankees - 12
Cardinals - 11
Giants - 11
Marlins - 11
Mets - 11
Diamondbacks - 10
Mariners - 10
Rays - 10
Tigers - 10
Royals - 9
Pirates - 8
Rockies - 8
Orioles - 7
Rangers - 1
That comes to only 347 total, and there are two "combo cards," so I don't know where I missed a spot -- this sinus issue isn't going away -- but I do know THERE AREN'T ANY MORE RANGERS!
How does this happen?
This is a notable goof. It's possible there is a reason for it. Ryan Cracknell from Beckett brought up the possibility of the Rangers' recent change of its logo affecting things -- and, man, if anything could cause such a blatant screw-up, it's licensing rights and trademarks -- but it still doesn't seem like it explains Solak, and only Solak, slipping through.
Although set-collectors may be on the decline -- and Topps has definitely shown it doesn't care much about them anymore -- team collectors remain a sizable and vocal part of the collecting scene.
Sure, I can't find a Texas Rangers collector anymore to send my unwanted cards, but the team isn't going anywhere. They weren't dead-last a year ago anyway. They've got guys on their team that I've heard of: Gallo and Choo and Calhoun, and Kluber now, I mean, come on!
Topps' base set, especially Series 1, used to be the "set of record," the set that represented the season just passed. All the players and teams were there, fairly equal in representation. That's become less and less the case in recent years.
What is the Topps base set now?
WHO IS GOING TO BE AT CARD NO. 1?????????
WHO ARE ALL THE HOT ROOKIES??????????
There are 47 rookie cards out of the 350 cards in 2020 Series 1, according to the checklist. That's 13 percent of the set. How many of those 47 have I heard of? I don't know, maybe 5? But that doesn't matter: how many of them are going to be on baseball cards in three years? For too long I've been purchasing base set rookies who I look back on five years later and say, "WHO?"
Oh, and Solak is one of the 47.
There may be a reason why Solak is the only Ranger in Series 1. Perhaps in the weeks ahead, or when Series 2 is released, it will become clear.
But it doesn't look good now. It especially doesn't look good that this is happening to a smaller-market team like the Rangers (although if this happened to the Yankees or another big-market team, all holy bubble gum would break loose).
Speaking as a Dodger fan, I certainly don't need 17 Dodgers in Series 1 to collect. One of them is Tyler White, for crying out loud. Give his spot to a second Ranger.
I will steadfastly collect the first packs of the season until I can't anymore, but it's a bit sad to see what Topps' "flagship" set has become.
Once, I pulled cards like these out of Topps' flagship:
I don't know ...
Maybe it's time for MLB to grant someone else a license.