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It's OK to be superficial sometimes

The latest card release news is that Topps has resurrected its Total brand from around the turn of the century but has turned it into an online product that is distributed in stages, so they can hook collectors throughout the year.

I am steering very clear of this reboot because even though 2019 Total contains the same vast checklist and a comprehensive view of each team, the cost aspect that helped make Total Total is not there. It appears that the new version will cost you a buck a card.

That's too much for me for this set. Honestly, the look of Total has always been a drawback for me and it's enough to ignore it. Many collectors who bought packs of Total during its first appearances (when I was not collecting at all), pine for the days of Total and the very appearance of Total's dull, dull, dull, dull, duuuullll design throws them into fits of nostalgia.

I appreciate the original Total's mission and its low cost, but, I am superficial when it comes to cards. I need them to look nice. I need them to be attractive. The best thing anyone can say about Total's design is that it is "functional." But functional is not enough for this superficial hobbyist to collect those cards. I want my cards in sun dresses with bows in their hair and bracelets on their wrists. It's one the few places in life where I can judge something by the way it looks and get away with it. If you're talking an all-inclusive baseball card set, I think the old Upper Deck 40man sets were much more appealing.

So, anyway, boring old Total is back with lots and lots of cards that are kind of snooze-inducing and too much money.

I shall pass and instead accumulate old Total cards sent to me by fellow collectors.

These are 2003 Total needs that I received from Johnny's Trading Spot. The Troy Brohawn card at the top is also a need. The most appealing part of Total, of course, is being able to collect a Troy Brohawn card. No other brand is going to waste their time on players like that.

Total tried to do parallels back then but they were the simplest kind of parallel ever. Gray borders. Woo! Rein it in a little, Total!

In 2002, Total was glossy and apparently someone thought that was way over the top, too, as it dispensed with it the following year.

Johnny also sent me some more puzzling cards from around the same time period. Every time I get stuff like this I am grateful I did not collect at this time.

"Throw a stamp on it and you've got an instant parallel!" Such bizarre thinking during this era. These are the "Home Team Advantage" parallels from the 2000 Topps set. I accept such things because team collectors must. but guess what goes in the garbage first if someone decides I must downsize my collection?

"Hey, night owl, you just showed those!" No, no I didn't. Don't you see Darren Dreifort up in the top right corner? He wasn't there in the previous scan. No, these are the "Limited Edition" parallels from the 2000 set with the foil-stamped words over the player's name. Really dumb, but Johnny was right, I did not have these.

Of course, Topps continues to perpetuate the "foil stamp means it's a new card" falsehood with buybacks. They just can't let go.

Johnny also sent some more recent Dodgers. I enjoy these cards more than the Total cards because of the colorful and flashy designs. Go superficiality! Of course, the Panini card fails because the pinkness is on the back and that's so inept I still don't know how Panini manages to create cards and distribute them.

Various 2018 Dodgers needs. You can tell I dropped out of collecting 2018 needs. I didn't generate a want list for half of this stuff.

The last cards I'm showing are good, old, sensible 1970s cards. I have all three of these cards already, but the bottom two are upgrades while I will accept as many versions of Walter Alston's final solo card that people want to send me.

Perhaps the most welcome item in the envelope was a Dodgers pocket schedule from 1988. You remember what happened in 1988, don't you?

That's very cool.

Obviously, people may collect anything they want and if they want to accumulate boring, old Total or throw money at the Total reboot, I'm happy they've found what they like.

However, I will continue to track down cards that contain both substance and appeal. See? I'm really not superficial. I just like the whole package.


  1. Those good, old, sensible 1970's cards look so good compared to the latest cards.

  2. The 2019 Topps Total have 7 Braves (so far) plus the black, red, and 1/1 parallels. If the base cards are going to be a buck, I'll have to wait until someone sends me those, lol.

  3. That's kind of how I feel about Topps Big League. I appreciate the price point, but the design is, as you say, functional.

    1. Edit: I meant last year's Big League. This year looks great, in my opinion.

  4. I don't love or hate this year's design. It's okay. But a buck per base card? Doesn't Topps remember their roots? I realize the world doesn't revolve around me... but if I didn't know better... I'd think that they released this product just to annoy me.

  5. As someone who collected a lot of those 2000 Topps back in my youth, I had no idea these parallels existed, and I don't think I was any the worse for my ignorance.

    And I'm not really sure about Topps' strategy here. Did they expect that many people willing to shell out a dollar for a base card of a bench player? Hit chasers don't want that, and neither do us base card/low-end folks.

  6. I liked the old Topps Total sets for the player variety and the fact that the last few sets were NOT glossy. Good for getting stuff signed. I appreciated the simpler designs too. A couple years back when had a chance to get Eric Gagne to sign something I went with a Topps Total card over other, more frilly things I had sitting around. The card was not glossy and the front image was uncluttered, which was most fine for my purposes. This year's version ... no thanks. They took a good thing and turned it into a money grab. But it's like that with everything now, especially with baseball.

  7. Total and complete scam. To push sales, suddenly there are unannounced autos in their smarmy, little ten dollar packs. Nice after thought Topps. Give me 70s any day of the week. Platform shoes are part of my dress code.

  8. I was thrilled to hear that Topps Total would be coming back, but I absolutely hate the way that Topps is marketing it. I'd love to see them turn it into an inexpensive retail and hobby product next year, however.

  9. A little comment in defense of the original run of Total: They were a nice respite from the endless FOIL and CHROME and REFRACTORS of the day. Dull? I won't argue the point, but I sure did like me some "simple" at the time.


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