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Series 1 prepping

Topps Series 1 is arriving next week, unless they push it back again, and it's become an online sport to look up the checklist and take shots at what's in it and not in it.
As a traditional collector, most of what's in the announced checklist doesn't interest me. I scroll right past all the various hits and other weirdness and focus solely on the base checklist, specifically the team checklists.
The first thing I'm looking for is which Dodgers made it into Series 1. Here is my answer for that:
40 - David Price
41 - Clayton Kershaw
50 - Mookie Betts
83 - Will Smith
204 - NL ERA leaders (Buehler)
237 - Albert Pujols
238 - Chris Taylor (combo card)
257 - Justin Turner
258 - Andre Jackson (rookie)
299 - Julio Urias
301 - Corey Seager
310 - Max Scherzer
Not including the leaders card, that's 11 players, which is on the slightly high end for a single team this year. More on that in a second.
The Series 1 Dodgers rundown tells me that Topps is saving Cody Bellinger, Trea Turner, Max Muncy, Walker Buehler, Gavin Lux and possibly Kenley Jansen, A.J. Pollock, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin and Chris Taylor for Series 2.
I appreciate Topps squeezing in one last Corey Seager Dodger card into Series 1 and upon reconsideration, I'm happy with Max Scherzer getting into Series 1, as with Topps' notorious New York bias, that was not a guarantee (there's no saying Topps doesn't throw a second Scherzer card into Series 2 as a New York Met).
OK, now for the team-by-team breakdown for this year's Series 1. The list does not include any league leader cards:
Arizona Diamondbacks - 11 cards
Atlanta Braves - 14
Baltimore Orioles - 9
Boston Red Sox - 15
Chicago Cubs - 5
Chicago White Sox - 15
Cincinnati Reds - 9
Cleveland Guardians - 8
Colorado Rockies - 10
Detroit Tigers - 10
Houston Astros - 13
Kansas City Royals - 9
Los Angeles Angels - 9
Los Angels Dodgers - 11
Miami Marlins - 11
Milwaukee Brewers - 11
Minnesota Twins - 8
New York Mets - 11
New York Yankees - 16
Oakland Athletics - 9
Philadelphia Phillies - 13
Pittsburgh Pirates - 9
San Diego Padres - 12
San Francisco Giants - 9
Seattle Mariners - 11
St. Louis Cardinals - 10
Tampa Bay Rays - 14
Texas Rangers - 7
Toronto Blue Jays - 11
Washington Nationals - 9
Except for one particular team, there isn't too much unusual here. The Yankees, of course, have more cards than any other team even though nothing they did in 2021 merits that status. Heck, the two World Series teams, the Braves and Astros, get 14 and 13 cards, respectively. The Rays benefit a bit from Wander Franco mania and teams on the rise as far as young stars, like the White Sox, Padres and Mariners, seem like they've gotten a bump. 

The team that stands out is the Cubs. FIVE CARDS?

This was brought to my attention by Wrigley Wax's post today. That is a freakishly low total in comparison, although, granted, it is not as bad as the 2020 Series 1 Rangers:

When I initially read WW's post, I assumed it was a case of Topps' random checklisting where it doesn't care that each team should receive a similar number of cards. But I think it's more of a case of the Cubs gutting their team last year and not a lot of familiarity with what's left on the roster on Topps' part.

The Cubs still do have as many players as any other team and I think they should get at least 7 or 8 cards in Series 1, which would match the next-lowest teams.

But this is me addressing old-school collecting and old-school concerns. One look at Topps' Twitter page lets you know it has too many irons in the fire for simple team checklist concerns. Project 70, promoting breakers, soccer cards, lacrosse cards, Elvis cards, probably NFTs of all of them, and as usual, stars & rookies, stars & rookies, all the damn time.

Fortunately, I don't have to care about all that. I just care about getting my base Dodgers every year, because that's what I did as a kid.

I'm now realizing I haven't shown a card on this post, so here is a card that arrived in the mail today from Matt of Diamond Jesters as part of my latest Time Travel selection.

It was a need in my pursuit of the 1970 Topps set.
The Angels had 24 total cards in the 1970 set, not including rookie prospect cards. There was no Mike Trout or Shohei Ohtani to prop up totals. Team totals for 1970 ranged from between 23 and 29. The highest total was not the Yankees (they had a mere 24) but the Orioles and the ... Pilots.
We'll see which teams have the most by the time Series 2 arrives. My guess is the Yankees and whatever team has the most YOUNG STARS.


bbcardz said…
I saw Wrigley Wax's post and was also very surprised, especially since the Cubs are such a popular team. I would think this will affect demand for Cubs spots in group breaks. In any case, I'm glad there's plenty of Dodgers and can't wait for Feb. 16.

btw, any chance you're rooting for the Rams this weekend because of who the Rams' kicker is?
Old Cards said…
Glad to see you got another card for your 1970 quest.
Nick said…
I can't say I'm too surprised the Cubs got shorted in Series 1 - seemed like they traded about half their roster. I do wish Topps would at least try to balance the checklists a little more, though.
RunForeKelloggs said…
I was not surprised to see the Cubs having few cards. I don't know how many people can now name five starters on that team that I followed way too closely from about 1969 to 1994.
Nachos Grande said…
I wish Topps could make the base set representative of all 30 teams. There's no reason why each team shouldn't have an equal number of players in the set (or at least, nearly equal numbers). Topps produces so many other sets that are top heavy with certain teams, there's no need to add flagship to that list.
Fuji said…
Holy cow! The A's have more cards in Series 1 than the Cubs? That's a head scratcher for sure.
Nick Vossbrink said…
9 Giants, 1 retired in early November, another 2 of declared free agency at the same time and are unlikely to re-sign. I know the looong lead times are screwing Topps a bit but the past two flagship CLs have been kind of disastrous for me as a Giants fan (last year's Update was awful too). And it's not even like the team sucked last year. I'll continue to complain about Topps not giving Tyler Rogers a card too. He's not only been one of the most valuable players the past two seasons he's a submariner where even the most basic photos are interesting.
cardstacks said…
That one card for the Rangers made me actually laugh out loud. How frustrating for a team collector.

Also Cubs being left with 5 cards is surprising due to the passionate fanbase they have.
Doc Samson said…
An excellent post once again, Mr. Owl. I know this isn’t possible, but I would love to know how much it exactly costs for Topps to produce all their cards for one year, including everything: photography, printing, labor, shipping, etc. I bet the number is higher than I think it is.
GCA said…
I'm like Cardboard Jones, in that I may try a blaster (if they're still $20 or less) or a few packs just to see them in real life, but that's probably all the effort I'll put forth toward flagship this year. Still waiting on Big League.