Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cardboard appreciation: 2009 Topps Gerald Laird

(It's the first vacation of the season! No agonizing over what to appreciate! Isn't it obvious? I appreciate vacations! Time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 112th in a series):

It took me two years to recognize this. While leafing through my 2009 Topps set, looking for the best card for each team, I came across something that I've written about before.

Back in 2008, I wondered why Topps would issue more than one card of the same player in the same set. Now, I wasn't talking about a subset or an insert set, or an all-star, postseason or leader card. I was talking about issuing two different base cards of the same player.

Topps did this in 2006 with Scott Hatteberg. It did this in 2007 with somebody named Elizardo Ramirez, as well as Bengie Molina. In fact, Topps has done it a lot in the last few years and has been doing this in sets since at least the mid-1990s.

I still don't understand why it's happening, as this never happened 20 or 30 years ago. And it seems to be happening with the strangest players.

I thought we had escaped 2009 without two cards being issued of the same player. But I came across the Series 1 card of Gerald Laird as a Ranger.

And then I came across the Series 2 card of Gerald Laird as a Tiger. Too weird.

Why does Gerald Laird get the privilege of having an updated card in Series 2 instead of waiting for Topps Update like every other player? And why does my complete set of 2009 Topps not include probably a 100 or more bench players and middle relievers but include TWO cards of Gerald Laird.

I can sort of understand this with a superstar player. Upper Deck was forever issuing multiple base cards for the top players. But Topps operates under the assumption that you get one base card of every notable and semi-notable player in each flagship set (yes, I know it's not like Topps Total, but that's not my point). When you buy Topps flagship, you expect one card of Wandy Rodriguez or Jason Bartlett or Denard Span. There is no reason to expect two of them.

It's just odd.

Another oddity is the card backs:

The backs are the same, except for the listing of the new team and the change in how Laird was acquired in the vital stats.

Also, interestingly, the Tigers Laird has an error. The "Career Average by Ballpark" that is listed over the graphic "dome" on the Rangers' Laird card is missing the stats on the Tigers Laird card.

Of course, all of this makes me want to go through my 2010 Topps set and see if anybody received two base cards.

I guess that also gives me a reason to look forward to 2011 Topps Series 2.

I can't wait to get two different cards of Jason Vargas.


  1. I appreciate seeing a Ranger in the series, but after seeing the Cruz and Murphy in your last post, I appreciate this card less. I must say I didn't realize he had two cards in that set.

  2. It's even worse when the player gets two cards and didn't even change teams or anything. I guess that's more of an Upper Deck thing, though, but I'm pretty sure it's happened once or twice with Topps as well. The thing that annoys me with this year's set is that rookie cup cards are no longer considered the player's base card, yet I believe the backs of the cards are indistinguishable.

  3. There is already a player with 2 cards in 2011 Series 1. Stephen Strasburg is cards 10 and 183.

  4. I believe Gaby Sanchez also has two cards in 2011.

    On the Laird card, the spacing of the font on the back is different too. Check out his little write-up, and focus on the second line of copy. "He" appears further left on the second card, and the word "and" is on the third line in Series 1 but on the second line in Series 2. Weird.

  5. The difference between the two cards of Strasburg and Sanchez is the rookie cup on one of the cards, right?

    My brain can handle that more than the Laird deal.

  6. 2001 topps michael tucker...i have no idea why...i just recieved them both back signed from ttm

  7. It's probably a Topps makegood - Laird was traded early enough in the hot stove that he should have been depicted with the Tigers in series 1 and topps messed up by showing him as a Ranger and then did a make-good in series 2 so those Laird fans wouldn't have to wait until October or November for the update. ;)