As soon as the Dodgers clinched the World Series title, I knew I would need to complete the commemorative trifecta.
It's pretty natural to want to have something tangible to remember a championship moment by your sports team. Videos are great, but they just don't mean as much to me as a physical object that I possess -- I can admire it quietly or take it with me.
For me, the commemorative trifecta is something you can wear that recognizes the championship, a publication that recounts the event, and a group of baseball cards that recalls the excitement.
About a month after the Dodgers won the Series, I received a commemorative Dodgers Series cap. I still need a piece of clothing. My wife has that but I don't (what's the deal with that?). I'll get something at some point, hopefully at a marked-down price.
I don't have a publication yet -- I would like to get the World Series program -- but the baseball cards finally arrived yesterday!
Yup, I decided to purchase the Topps x Ben Baller Dodgers World Series champions online-only set!
Now, before you get too judgy, a few points:
✳ Yes, back in the old days we waited until the following season for Topps to recognize the previous year's World Series champions. I get that, and I'm willing to wait for the Heritage cards that will recognize that. However, we've been living in a time of special commemorative World Series sets for more than a decade. I remember seeing the Topps 2004 Red Sox commemorative set maybe a couple of years after it came out and I thought that was a terrific idea. Also with the weird state of the hobby, who knows how long it'll take me to obtain cards that were once commonly available on store shelves.
✳ I like the look of the cards. To me, this is a better alternative to throwing money at Topps Now cards recognizing the World Series. Yeah, those cards have photos of actual game moments. But the presentation of those cards doesn't do it for me. Nothing about Topps Now makes me want to collect it.
✳ I didn't pay the ridiculous $100-$140 this set is going for on ebay.
I paid $33, plus shipping, for a set that advertised, "no box, no autograph" but all of the 32 cards in the set.
Fine with me. Who cares about a box? And who cares about the auto? Is an auto really worth charging an extra $67? That's insane. I don't want an auto in my commemorative Dodgers World Series set anyway. It'd look out of place.
When the package arrived (yes, it was delayed), it actually came in the commemorative box, so I don't know what I didn't get.
The cards are designed by artist and jewelry dude Ben Baller, who you probably know as one of the Project 2020 artists. He's one of the better ones in my opinion, although his obsession with gold chains is a bit too ... uh ... "baller" for me.
That's your basic card. There is not a lot of difference from card to card. But if you like the look -- which I do (a lot) -- then that is not a problem. I love the colors, the overwhelming blue and I like the L.A. backdrop. And I can ignore the "Ben Baller did the card" bragging on every card because everything else looks so cool.
The cards suffer the affliction of most Topps online sets in that the backs are absolutely mailed in. So don't look at the backs.
I SAID DON'T LOOK AT THE BACKS!!
(Good lord, can we mention Baller a few more times?)
I know I've said in the past that I'm not paying for half a card, but when your team wins the World Series for the first time in 32 years, you're willing to overlook things. Some people might have a problem paying a dollar per card for a creation like this, and I get that, but they're also probably not Dodgers fans.
Just about everyone who appeared for the Dodgers in the World Series is in the set. That means no Gavin Lux card, rookie obsessives.
This gives you a good idea. Virtually every obscure reliever is in there. Even Jake McGee, who I was barely aware was still on the team when suddenly I saw him in a World Series game.
This set really underlines the overreliance on pitching these days. Fourteen of the cards of current players show pitchers. It should have been 15 but Victor Gonzalez is not included. This is rather glaring as Gonzalez appeared in four World Series games and was a life-saver for the Dodgers in the postseason.
My guess is Topps didn't have Gonzalez under contract as he was kind of a surprise showing on the Dodgers roster this year. If so, it's just one of the legal marks on this set.
If you noticed in the picture earlier that some of the cards in the bottom right corner didn't look like the others, then you spotted the "legends" forced into this set.
I think this set answered that question that I asked several posts ago when discussing the Super '70s set. Yes, indeedy, I believe Topps is legally required to shove legends into every set, whether it makes sense or not.
The Robinson card doesn't make sense at all, given that this set is obviously a tribute to L.A. and Robinson never played for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Also, I'm starting to believe that Topps' contract with Don Sutton requires that he not appear in cards with his trademark afro as we're getting another early '70s photo of him.
But overall I'm pretty happy with this set and it's an excellent way to remember the Dodgers' World Series title on cards. I actually wish stuff like this was around when the Dodgers won World Series titles in the 1980s.
But we all know Topps dropped the ball on that then.