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The lone Ranger

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?

Well, it's:




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.


Nachos Grande said…
I understand the "high end" stuff having unequal team representation. Those sets aren't meant for set collectors. But flagship? If there's any set that is still for set collectors, it's got to be flagship - no reason that I can see for Topps to not make roughly equal representation across all the teams.
Old Cards said…
In your post on 12-27-19, you understood we were not interested in 2019. Why would be interested in 2020?
Base Card Hero said…
That's absurd! This is supposed to be the set that sets the season. What gives!?
Brett Alan said…
That is INSANE. There must be some explanation--I mean, I understand that there aren't many Rangers collectors out there, but they can't be any harder to find than, say, Rays collectors. It doesn't seem that anyone has really noticed--the Beckett and Cardboard Connection listings on the set don't say anything about this, at least as of now.

Sucks to be the person who pre-bought the Rangers team set on eBay, from listings like this one: Enjoy your one common card for $5.76 with shipping!
If I recall correctly, other teams have changed their logos while still having more than 1 card in the checklist but hey, maybe they're saving up for Series 2 :)
Brad Hill said…
Leave it to Topps...
kcjays said…
As a set collector and Royals team set collector I'm used to there being a smaller number of cards than my NL team, the Cardinals. But 1 card! That's insulting. I certainly hope that there is a balancing in Series 2.
Sidenote: I did a quick count of the Royals cards scanning the list on Cardboard Connection and only counted 8 Royals cards. I'm sure you're correct at 9. Happy to know that I missed one.
night owl said…
kcjays ~

Lopez, Mondesi, Dozier, Starling, Keller, Kennedy, Soler LL, Merrifield, McCarthy.

Sean said…
In Japan the sets put out by the major maker in the 1970s (Calbee) would always exclude the players from one team (the Orions) since they were owned by a company that was a business rival of Calbee's snack division. So for about a 10 year stretch the flagship sets all just featured players from 11 out of the 12 teams in Japanese pro ball.

I'm kind of surprised to see that Topps is doing that, though undoubtedly for different reasons.
bbcardz said…
This is pretty unbelievable. I'm glad I'm not a Rangers fan but I do feel sympathy for them.
Jeremya1um said…
I’m surprised it wasn’t the Rays or Marlins. Wouldn’t put it past them to do something like this to my Rays in 2021. If that happens, I’m Panini’s #1 customer. What a crappy thing to do to Rangers fans.
sg488 said…
I could not agree more with your final sentence,bring back Upper Deck Baseball!!
Yeah, this has really stirred up some controversy. Interesting thought from Cracknell, but if that’s the case, wouldn’t there be no Rangers cards at all? Who knows. Hopefully they make up for it in S2 for Rangers fans.
Fuji said…
One Ranger? That's cardfoolery. And heck yeah... it's time to grant someone else a license. I say give Panini and Upper Deck MLB licenses.
madding said…
This is godawful and I instantly regret buying into a group break of this garbage. I'm obviously not a Rangers fan, but I'm super pissed about this as a team collector.