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Team sets are for suckers

I had to grab the 2023 Topps Dodgers team set for a reason only team collectors can explain, and probably do it sheepishly.

The Topps team sets aren't as fun as they were 10 years ago or even five. You always knew you were going to get "repeat" cards -- the front and back are the same except for the card number -- but there was enough variety to make it interesting. Either there were a few new players or a picture or two was different.

There's been less and less of that and now we team collectors are basically paying for a package of dupes.

But I'll show it off anyway.

These are the players who appeared in Series 1, all identical pictures except the Topps logo isn't foil.
The only player from Series 1 that doesn't appear in the team set is Cody Bellinger, now a Cub.
These are the players who are on the checklist for Series 2.

Part of the fun of the team set is at least getting to see what the Series 2 cards will look like. I kind of ordered this late -- Series 2 is supposed to be released June 7 (someone erroneously -- *cough, me* -- said it had been released already). Not a lot of time to enjoy the newness.
This year's team set's big attraction is James Outman, although it's lessened by him appearing in Series 2. Also, there's a slight nick in the upper left-hand corner of the card. These team set hangers are packaged pretty loose and if you order them through the mail they definitely slide around.
You can tell that J.D. Martinez is photoshopped into a Dodgers uniform. Trayce Thompson is the only horizontal card in the team set and if the photos hold for Series 2, he might be the only horizontal Dodgers card for an individual player in 2023 Topps flagship. That's no guarantee if we get different pix in Series 2 (fingers crossed).
There are two Series 2 Dodgers cards that are not in the team set. One is Miguel Rojas and the other one -- in another case of Topps wedging in rookies that don't belong -- is Yusniel Diaz.

Yusniel Diaz has been in pro ball since 2016, he's bounced around a lot. He got one at-bat, his first major league at-bat, for the Orioles last year. Just about anyone -- Jason Heyward, David Peralta, Evan Phillips, Brusdar Graterol, heck, Phil Bickford or Michael Busch -- would be a better pick than Diaz.

I know some people would say, it's kind of cool that this guy finally got a card, but that's what Bowman is for. I have 4 cards of Diaz from 2017 and 2018. That's all I need until he makes the majors with L.A., and not in a fictitious uniform. (He is hitting .342 in Double A right now).
So there's one guy in the team set that is not in Series 1 or Series 2 and truthfully, at least for this team collector, is worth buying the team set for, although I don't know if it's worth throwing down $14.

It's Noah Syndergaard, wearing a number he doesn't wear (he wears 43), looking more trimmed than he is now.

Obviously this is photoshopped. But it's a smart move putting him in the team set because with the way he's pitching, who knows if he'll stay on the team long enough to appear in the Traded set.
So not much excitement in the team set again this year, but it does feel good to get it in my possession. A lot of years I forget about it and then kick myself when I see a single variation.
Yeah, I'm a sucker. But I have company.


Chris said…
Wait, these are $14 now?? I think I paid $3 for my 2007 Red Sox team set.
night owl said…
Yeah, something like that. Maybe because I ordered online, but I saw some at Walmart a few weeks ago and the price was around there.
Yes.....yes you do. I still have to get my 2 TWO team sets. I have to keep one sealed with all of the others, and break one open for the team set/PC guys...the binders.
Jeremya1um said…
These team sets are quite the mystery. No Syndergaard in Series 1 or 2 but in a team set, and with the Rays and Nationals Tyler Glasnow and Stephen Strasburg are absent from the team sets and Series 1 and 2. I wonder who is making these decisions.
That Martinez card is a painful Photoshop job. And the Thor one, too, is pathetic. Topps clearly doesn't care about its customers.
gcrl said…
You do have company ( my hand is raised)
Brett Alan said…
I was looking for the Mets team set, but I honestly thought it would be under 10 bucks. Don't think I'd pay $14 for it.
John Bateman said…
WELL 14 X 30 = $420 - that is a lot
POISON75 said…
You also need to figure in the American League All-Stars as well the National League All-Stars & if there's any specials after that I say this cause I put the 2011 Version of these sets together.
BillK21093 said…
You can find them cheaper on EBay then $14

I got all 30 teams for less than $7 each.

I really like these sets
OhioTim said…
Our local Wal-Mart stores have been carrying these team sets for the last month or so, and the price point is $6. I have been able to pick up quite a few of the various sets.
Fuji said…
I will usually grab the A's team set if I stumble across it at Target... but I haven't been there in person lately. I think last year I bought them on the Topps website, but didn't see them on there this year (but honestly I haven't looked). Guess it wasn't meant to be.
night owl said…
Well if I paid too much, it's no big deal because I sure am not buying any besides the Dodgers. Why would I do that?
Doc Samson said…
Thank you, Mr. Owl. A very timely post. If anyone deals in graded cards, they probably already know that graded cards from team sets are worth slightly less than cards from a pack. Apparently there’s some sort of marking on the back that helps distinguish if a card came from a pack, team set or factory set.
Nick Vossbrink said…
I'm always intrigued by these for the guys who didn't make it into flagship. But I can never bring myself to spend the money for a set when all I want is one card since even $7 for a card of an end-of-bench guy feels stupid (if I can't bring myself to do it for 1966/67 high numbers why would I do it for modern cards).