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2011 Topps ... please read anyway

How many times have you seen this card already? I know I've seen it on the blogs at least 4 or 5 times, probably more.

I think we've done it. I think we've killed 2011 Topps a week into its release. I opened my first packs Thursday night, and it felt like I was pulling dupes of cards I had never seen before in person.

But this is supposed to be a post that convinces you to look at my first 2011 Topps cards even though they have been displayed on at least 73 blogs in the last six days. So ... um ... let me just say you've never seen 2011 cards presented quite like this, all ... um ... night owly.

At least you know I'll kick ass with the scans. If I'm showing the first cards of 2011, I'm sure as hell showing more than three of them.

But before I display the two rack packs purchased at Wal-Mart (fully stocked with loose packs, rack packs and blasters), I just want to mention how well I did in A Cardboard Problem's case break of 2011 Topps. I selected the Dodgers, of course, and ended up with:

  • A Clayton Kershaw leather nameplate hit
  • A Matt Kemp jersey relic
  • Kershaw and Pee Wee Reese Kimball minis
  • Two Hong-Chih Kuo diamond parallels
  • A Casey Blake gold parallel
  • A Duke Snider 60 years card
  • More Jackies and Campys than I could count.

So, it doesn't matter what I pulled in these two rack packs. Any duds can't hurt me. And, believe me, they tried to hurt me.

Here we go with the first cards of 2011 -- ignore all those other posts you've seen. They were just cheap imitations of 2011 cards. The cubic zerconia of 2011 cards, if we're staying with Topps' diamond theme:


#116 - Russell Branyan, Mariners

First card of 2011 is a Mariner who hit .215 for Seattle last year. Out-standing.

#50 - Alex Rodriguez, Yankees

I mentioned several months ago that this year's 2011 design reminds me of 1997 Stadium Club, when Topps displayed the swoosh at the bottom of the card. But it also reminds me of this year:

Replace the baseball logo and curved name plate with a squished head and a straight name plate and you've got essentially 1996 Topps, with a little more modern photography.

#216 - Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

Nice card. By the way, the card stock is the same as always.

#323 - C.J. Wilson, Rangers

#265 - John Danks, White Sox

#161 - White Sox team

I may have found the card of the year already. I don't know what they're celebrating, but that is one awesome night card.

#73 - James McDonald, Pirates

Mis-stamped gold foil. I've really tried to cut down on the whining about cards, but this still irks me. If Topps is going to force foil on us every year, they should get it right.

#299 - Chris Carpenter, Cardinals
#185 - Peter Bourjos, Angels
#63 - Edinson Volquez, Reds

#98 - Bronson Arroyo

Topps is infatuated with Arroyo's leg kick.

#CMGR-17 Jimmie Foxx. One of the Reproduction card inserts. I rather like these. It's a nice switch from seeing riffs on Topps vintage all the time.

#TT5 - Roy Halladay, Phillies, Toppstown

Toppstown letting out its inner foilboard self. It's not really foilboard, but it is shiny and very Upper Deckish, circa 2005.

#242 - Brad Lidge, Phillies

#194 - Andres Torres, Giants

An excellent time to show the back with a stinking Giant. I'm not too impressed with the backs. The right side mentions what player shared the current player's card number in a random set (For example, Gary Matthews was card #194 in the 1977 Topps set). It's too tiny to read and way too random to care.

#149 - David Aardsma, Mariners
#76 - Tom Gorzelanny, Cubs

#259 - Kyle Davies, Royals
#160 - Josh Tomlin, Indians

#4 - Jason Kubel, Twins

#294 - Luke Scott, Orioles
#274 - Michael Brantley, Indians

#303 - Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins

The horizontal cards are grouped together, like they have been the last couple of years.

#61 - David Price, Rays

#110 - Ardolis Chapman, Reds

Topps could've had some fun and given him card #105.

#306 - AL RBI Leaders

I find these league leader cards boring (they need to vintage-ize them with cheesy headshots). But I understand the gold parallels are more difficult to pull this year, so if I'm gonna get a league leader card, it might as well be gold.

#226 - Jose Guillen

A diamond variation card of a super hyper, PED-using Giant jerk. Oh, happy day.

#KC39 CC Sabathia, Yankees, Kimball Champions mini

Fairly nice minis. Can't compare to A&G minis, but I like them. I am happy to say both Dodgers on the list are already mine.

#DD-KT Killebrew and Thome Diamond Duos

These would have worked a lot better if they were die-cuts. But this is a nice pairing. Card is dinged in the lower right corner.

#T60-12 Prince Fielder, Brewers, Topps 60

Fielder really fills up that 60 in the background, doesn't he? I mean those are some round numbers back there. That's not a 1 and a 7. It takes a wide body to obscure a 6 and a 0.

#95 - Mickey Mantle, 60 Years of Topps Cards Your Mother Threw Out Or Something

I am not kidding when I tell you this card has two creases in it and is dinged up at the top center. Click on the scan. Pulled out of the pack like that. Classy.

#1 - Ryan Braun, Brewers.

I do not remember the Brewers ever wearing helmets with an "M" that large in their history.

#23 - Jaime Garcia, Cardinals
#44 - Martin Prado, Braves

#290 - Ike Davis, Mets

#176 - Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks


#178 - Heath Bell, Padres
#93 - Paul Konerko, White Sox
#327 - Cristian Guzman, Rangers

#311 - James Shields, Rays

#224 - Milton Bradley, Mariners
#129 - Lucas Duda, Mets
#145 - Freddie Freeman, Braves
#213 - Brandon Snyder, Orioles
#319 - Braves team

#146 - Roy Halladay, Phillies, NL Cy Young

#CMGR-6 Christy Mathewson, Giants/Nationals

#TT9 - Adam Jones, Orioles, Topps Town
#308 - Ian Desmond, Nationals
#22 - Barry Zito, Giants
#101 - Gregor Blanco, Royals
#48 - Andrew Cashner, Cubs
#266 - Rickie Weeks, Brewers

Well, that was dull.

#208 - Clay Buchholz, Red Sox

This is how Buchholz should be featured. Far away.

#190 - Coco Crisp, A's
#288 - Matt Capps, Twins
#18 - Kevin Millwood, Orioles

#108 - Zack Greinke, Royals

Way to wait for Series 2, Topps

#126 - Padres team

#135 - Mike Stanton, Marlins

Yay! The gold rookie cup is back!

#77 - Tim Hudson, Braves
#181 - Magglio Ordonez, Tigers

#84 - Roger Bernadina, Nationals, diamond parallel

The parallels are not numbered on the back.

#KC19 - Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays, Kimball mini

#DD-SC Seaver and Chapman Diamond Duos

#T60-40 Michael Young, Rangers

#100 - Albert Pujols, Cardinals, 60 Years of Topps

Well, at least it gives me a chance to compare last year's design with this year's. I like this year's better. But 2010 had more character.

The back of this card mentions Pie-in-the-Face cards and describes them as a "current treasure." I've never been so happy to miss out on a treasure.

#203 - Bob Feller, Indians, 60 Years of Topps, The Lost Cards.

This is like some subset of the 60 Years of Topps insert set. Good luck keeping track of all that.

#125 - Evan Meek, Pirates
#92 - Chris Narveson, Brewers
#286 - Melvin Mora, Rockies

#147 - Jon Niese, Mets

And there you are.

So, do I like them?

Yeah, I do. The design is neat and clean. The photography appears to be better than last year, although it's a small sample size. I like the diamond parallels. A couple of the insert sets are cool, but nothing I'm interested in collecting, possibly because there are too many that are similar to last year.

And that brings me to the ultimate question:

Now that I've seen the cards, will I try to complete 2011 Topps like I completed 2009 and 2010 Topps?


I'm sitting this one out. Perhaps I'll regret it when someone proposes a trade and wants nothing but 2011 Topps in return, but I think my card money will be more useful in other areas this year.

I'll grab a pack here and there like I did in 2007 and 2008, but my heart's just not in it this year.

Besides, with all the Dodgers from the set I just landed, there really isn't any reason to buy any. Not Series 1, at least.

So, you have fun, guys and girls. Promise you'll write.


Arno said…
What's with pulling all the lame Giants?

Also, willing to trade one of those Kuo Diamond cards? : )
I'm afraid to see what Marie pulled for the Rangers in that case break since I didn't get a chance to get them. Congrats on your restraint this year.
Greg Zakwin said…
I hope you'll be posting a pic of that Kemp relic at some point soon.

And congrats on doing so well in the case break.
night owl said…
Are No: Believe me, if I didn't do so well in the case break, that is the first thing I would've mentioned in this post. Absolutely worthless team.

And, yup, I'll trade you a diamond Kuo.

Play at the Plate: A Matt Harrison auto was the best Ranger pulled. There was a Nolan Ryan jersey card that was the best hit, but he's an Astro on it.

Greg Z.: I certainly will, although they will have scans up on their blog soon.
Eggrocket said…
The backs aren't horrible, but you're right...that card number trivia is way too random. That's only interesting if there's some type of connection.

Know what I'd like to see featured as trivia instead? Players who shared their uniform number in the history of the team. Your posts on Dodger numbers got me thinking.
Thanks for the info Owl. I'm in on the Gyspy Queen break so I'll be hoping for something better from the Rangers in that case.
Eggrocket said…
PS-I'm kind of diggin' the design this year. Not sure I like the team name relegated to the corner, but overall I'd give it about an 8 out of ten. But that's me.

PPS-What's with the italics for "could" on the back of the Torres card?
Two Packs A Day said…
I'm sorry to hear about the card stock this year - I didn't like 2010 stock with the various semi-notching on one card in every pack and all the upturned or minor dinged corners. I bet a slightly thicker card stock might hold up to printing/packout better.

As for the foil stamping issue (i.e. James McDonald), I'm sure Topps will correct them by the time NFL cards come out. From my 2010 experience, I enjoyed the white lettering on the NFL player factory set cards while I still don't like the silver foil lettering of the baseball cards.

Milton Bradley - I'm surprised they didn't put Abe Lincoln on the scoreboard behind him. ;) I bet if he's around for 2012, his Topps base card will have him in front of yet another scoreboard, perhaps Fenway Park.
Two years of board game in front of a scoreboard is too much, IMHO.
hiflew said…
I'm with you NO on avoiding the flagship set. I am putting my money this year toward the Heritage set that I avoided like the plague the last 2 years. Of course I will still collect the Rockies.
Not collecting the main Topps set? You could always Thorzul it, and just watch the set trickle in.
dayf said…
So you're sitting out on Topps... and you're sick of Heritage... and Gypsy queen is just too Retro... and Allen & Ginter is played out... and Bowman's lame... and Triple Threads is too expensive... so what's left? You going to get a case of Opening Day?
AdamE said…
Take away the borders and change the team symbol to and they remind me of a late 90 Stadium Club. Cant think of which year and don't feel like getting the cards out to figure it out just for a comment.
Steve78 said…
Anybody else notice what they did on the Torres back write-up? Talk surgery, then say he got an award for his guts?
Matt Runyon said…
Great job pulling those Giants cards (especially the Mathewson) :)

You gotta like those retro uniforms on the Padres card.

That "M" really looks bad on the Braun card. What's up with that?

I'll do what I usually do with modern cards. I'll pick up a couple of packs to see what the cards look like, then I'll get a complete set. I'll also do a team set of the wonderful Giants. I'm not much of an insert/parallel fan.
Anonymous said…
Well, I'll do Topps, Heritage, A&G and maybe Gypsy and Bowmans. So I got yer back. No shiny for me though.

Braun's helmet is one thing that irritates me about throwbacks. GET IT RIGHT OR DON'T DO IT!

I remember when the Pacers decided to throwback their classic 1970's ABA uniforms. They botched it so bad.
night owl said…
That's right, dayf, I'm getting a whole case of Opening Day, pulling the Under the Lights inserts and then burning all my modern cards with the packaging remnants ...

Don't make it sound worse than it is. I'm still taking a wait-and-see stance on A&G. I like Heritage better than last year (but still won't try for the set). Gypsy Queen, we'll see. I doubt it, but Chicle surprised me last year.
I opened 3 jumbo boxes of 2011 Topps last night, and while I wasn't overwhelmed with great pulls, I was satisfied with what I got. I'll hopefully post some tonight. I love the diamond parallels. The photography is a lot sharper and clearer (reminds me of 09 Topps and 08 Stadium Club). I was pretty happy.
Arno said…
Cool. If you email me your mailing address, I can send you some stuff from your want list? Thank you!
flywheels said…
That was a great case break last night! Can I convince you to let go of those diamond parallels? I've got some new Dodgers (including a Nomo I hope you don't have) I can send you.
night owl said…
Colbey ~ If you're talking about Guillen and Bernadina, I'll be happy to send them to you.
AlbuqwirkE said…
I really like seeing scans of these cards on all the blogs because I have zero intention of purchasing even a single pack.

Nice to see James McDonald on a horizontal card.