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Too much of a good thing

Yesterday while shopping for furniture I knew that this would be my chance to finally get to Target to see if the 2024 cards were there.

I had checked for cards once before last week during a quick spin through Walmart. The area where the cards were was being replaced by Easter baskets and decorations for sale. The new card station was vacant except for some fantasy something or other.

So I don't know what's going on at the Walmart nearest me but it doesn't matter because Target's got cards!

Look, 2024 Topps has its own separate display of jumbo packs! I don't think I've seen that stand-alone display for cards since I was trolling for cards 2006-08 in Walmart. They used to have them in the main aisle in individual kiosks along with the other kiosks for hair care products and batteries and acid relief.

It makes it look like Target's treating the hobby seriously again rather than let the card shelf deteriorate in disarray.

I guess it wasn't inviting enough though, I grabbed just one and then took two hanger boxes off the usual display over to the left. I don't know why I gravitated toward the hanger boxes. I guess I wanted more cards than what the jumbos offer. Also hangers sometimes have decent stuff, while also are notorious for collation issues, which we'll soon see.

But there were no blasters that I saw and I guess loose packs are out (booooooo!) so that's what I took with me.

The cards still look great so I'll keep from repeating myself and focus on other things. I'll start with the jumbo pack.

 308 - Reese Olson, Tigers (RC)

First card of the year is a player I don't know, which is getting to be a tradition in itself when the first cards of the season show up. At least Olson appeared in 21 games last year, so it's more me not paying attention to the AL Central.

319 - Miguel Amaya, Cubs

Another guy I don't know. Maybe I should get an MLB subscription again.

247 - Clay Holmes, Yankees

A Yankee is a good time to show the back. It's super-clean. The lettering is a bit tiny for me but I haven't figured out whether that's my eyes or font choices. I'll have to compare with a card from the '70s and get back to you. Flagship card backs have been fairly utilitarian recently. I'd like to return to the days with pictures on the back ... or, I can dream -- cartoons.

 133 - Checklist, Resilient Reds Rookies (Elly De La Cruz and Matt McLain and Reds broadcast guy).

108 - Jarren Duran, Red Sox

Cards are still neon-esque. Nick, with his printing background, guessed that metallic ink was used for the neon parts.

317 - Starling Marte, Mets

OK, do you have those six cards memorized? Good.

106 - American League RBI Leaders

The head shots are a nice addition, really livens things up.

295 - Henry Davis, Pirates (RC)

Always a plus when I've heard of the guy with the rookie card logo.

318 - Justin Steele, Cubs (CC)

I'm counting rookie card logos and City Connect uniforms because there are too many of both. I may miss a CC uni or two though because who can keep track of them all?

264 - Clarke Schmidt, Yankees
212 - NL ERA Leaders

211 - Rays team card

119 - Hunter Greene, Reds
71 - Brandon Marsh, Phillies

128 - Christopher Morel, Cubs

I've seen this card a bunch. You've seen this card a bunch. The Future Stars logo is foily and I like the rainbow treatment but not crazy about it replacing the team name.

343 - Rowdy Tellez, Brewers
28 - Luis Matos, Giants (RC)
25 - Andy Ibanez, Tigers
54 - Luis Castillo, Mariners

187 - Joe Jacques, Red Sox (RC)

That's a great shot. I hope he gets more cards in the future and isn't know as The Rain Man. But I guess it's not such a bad thing for it to be the card people know.

330 - Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays

173 - Brady Singer, Royals

89 - Tyler Glasnow, Rays

Current Dodger breaking through the frame. Awesome.

Parallels and inserts portion of the jumbo pack. Nothing here does anything for me but nice to get a Dodger.

238 - Reds team card (CC)
11 - Spencer Strider, Braves (CC)
81 - Nick Fortes, Marlins
101 - Jordan Romano, Blue Jays

The vertical parade continues.

310 - Abner Uribe, Brewers (RC)
69 - Griffin Canning, Angels (CC)

102 - Freddie Freeman, Dodgers. DIRT!

First base Dodger is also Freeman. His cards seem easy to pull.

253 - Josh Lowe, Rays

All right, that's the end of the jumbo pack. At this point all is right with the world and I didn't suspect a thing, although I should have.

Hanger Box #1:

1 - Ronald Acuna, Jr., Braves (CC)

There's the cover boy. With all the City Connect displays it's been guessed that this is Fanatics' attempt to sell uniforms to the gullible fans. Next, your official Fanatics sliding oven mitt.

269 - Cristian Javier, Astros

118 - Nolan Arenado, Cardinals

I think back to when I was doing first-cards-of-the-year posts for sets like 2017 and 2021 Topps and I feel sad for younger night owl.

226 - Grae Kessinger, Astros (RC)

I should have scanned this card. The Topps logo is not in the top left but in the bottom right between the rookie card logo and the position ball. Odd.

112 - Merrill Kelly, Diamondbacks (CC)

299 - Luis Arraez, Marlins

199 - Leody Taveras, Rangers
188 - Dane Myers, Marlins (RC)
34 - Ryan Mountcastle, Orioles
61 - William Contreras, Brewers

153 - Kyle Finnegan, WSH (CC). Yuck.

36 - Prelander Berroa, Mariners (RC)

I should count up how many players I know and how many I don't. I've been proud of being able to keep up relative to my age, but it's got to be at 50-50 now.

78 - Mark Vientos, Mets
293 - NL RBI Leaders
126 - Phillies team card
307 - Austin Hays, Orioles
227 - Jhoan Duran, Twins
348 - Dale Dunning, Rangers

My first run of repeats. No need to list all the cards and names. It won't be the last.
166 - Zack Gelof, Athletics (RC)
335 - Ryan O'Hearn, Orioles
290 - Thairo Estrada, Giants
117 - AJ Smith-Shawver, Braves
341 - Elehuris Montero, Rockies
122 - Cal Raleigh, Mariners

 Hey! More repeats! These are the guys who led off the post. I did not choose that jumbo pack wisely.

I forgot to list the parallels/inserts the last time so I'm going to keep not doing that. The Lane Thomas is the gold foil parallel while the Diaz and Contreras cards are the hanger box-exclusive yellow parallels, which are OKish. Both are headed to fellow trade folks as is the much fancier Hunter Brown numbered card.

Also, keep those Stars of the MLB cards in mind, too. (Will we see them again? Take a wild guess!)

211 - Rays team card (dupe)
119 - Hunter Greene, Reds (dupe)
71 - Brandon Marsh, Phillies (dupe)

43 - Daulton Varsho, Blue Jays

Cool card. Don't know if the ball's in his glove though. I don't have time to figure it out.

195 - Dominic Canzone Mariners (RC)
156 - Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks

246 - Chris Taylor, Dodgers

Nice to see Taylor not relegated to Update or a team set refugee.

174 - Nathaniel Lowe, Rangers
270 - Victor Mederos, Angels (RC)

20 - Pete Alonso, Mets

I'm pretty sure if I was a major leaguer I would refrain from celebrating in this fashion for fear that it would become my baseball card the next year.

254 - Bobby Witt Jr., Royals
284 - Randy Arozarena, Rays

Two notable ones to finish it out.

So, after two openings it doesn't look all that great with the dupes, but we're actually doing better than it looks.

On to Hanger box #2:

Ha, ha! You guys again! That is a first -- pulling triples on the first day of opening cards for the season.
I've been collecting for quite some time since Topps broke its flagship set into two series (three if you include Update) and that has never happened. I wasn't collecting when there were multiple series in the '60s and early '70s so I don't know if it was more common then, but I know when I was a kid if we pulled dupes we practically had a meltdown.
279 - Angels team card

 35 - Adley Rutschman, Orioles

240 - Andruw Monasterio, Brewers
239 - Keibert Ruiz, Nationals
265 - Alika Williams, Pirates (RC)


144 - Jacob Amaya, Marlins (RC)
158 - Yennier Cano, Orioles

285 - Willi Castro, Twins

162 - Matt Waldron, Padres
221 - Charlie Morton, Braves (CC)
33 - Willy Adames, Brewers
142 - Joey Meneses, Nationals
321 - Trey Cabbage, Angels (RC)
316 - Kutter Crawford, Red Sox

292 - Kodai Senga, Mets

206 - NL Batting Leaders. More Freeman!!!

I had to check if that was the same Arraez photo that's on his own card, but it's different.


192 - Orioles team card
276 - Gregory Santos, White Sox
80 - JP Sears, Athletics
329 - Checklist, Astros No-No

 Inserts and Parallels part 3, but THE SAME STARS OF MLB CARDS. 😒

This was a very Reds-friendly break, though those blue print cards don't do a thing for me.

274 - Riley Greene, Tigers (Greene seems to approve of the Future Stars logo).

312 - Steven Kwan, Guardians
160 - Ji Hwan Bae, Pirates

60 - Jasson Dominguez, Yankees (RC) - Wooooo, hot rooooooookie card alert!

107 - Shane Bieber, Guardians

There was something on Twitter about the ball being photoshopped but I think it was just the Matt Manning card (EDIT: No it's Bieber, too).

185 - Spencer Torkelson, Tigers
125 - Jake Burger, Marlins (CC)
219 - Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Reds (CC) (his name is brutal when you're running out of patience with a post)
336 - Dean Kremer, Orioles (CC)
234 - Wilmer Flores, Giants

 283 - Emmet Sheehan, Dodgers (RC)

There you go, there's the traveling Topps logo. It would have fit fine in the upper left.

109 - Michael Kopech, White Sox
147 - JJ Bleday, Athletics


Seventeen rookie cards by my count, not counting the repeats.

I lost track of the City Connect uniforms. But it didn't seem quite as much as I expected. Even with all the doubles I still landed enough cards for 28 percent of the set, which I guess isn't too bad on first try.

Retail isn't the best for card purchases -- I know that -- but it used to be better.

Glad I don't have to wait for them anymore. I'll probably grab a pack here and there in the months to come, they look too nice to stay away. I think I'll still like it a lot when Series 2 comes out, which is always the test of how much I truly like a set.

And if it can overcome this ...


Jeremya1um said…
At least the triples had a decent prospect (Olson). Sheehan kind of resembles Don Sutton.
John Bateman said…
The 3-D effect - a little bit like 1988 Topps but it seems to happen on only 20% of the cards. ODD

Henry Davis - his bat goes behind the team name - ODD
POISON75 said…
Mr Owl let me know when you are ready for me to send you my updated version of my lists of 24s that I need as well I hope you were able to locate that missing 2006 Fleer card I asked you about.
Nick Vossbrink said…
Future Stars replacing the team name generally not great but it works here in part because the team logo is still present.
BaseSetCalling said…
Well Reese Olson is throwing the first pitch of Tigers Spring Training tomorrow. A 21 Starts rookie card is better than a 2.1 Innings RC.

We may not ever see a better look at those cool Dodger Team Socks than on that Chris Taylor card.
bbcardz said…
I'm wondering if this "Neon Sign" design was first intended for an insert set or even for a more upscale line of Topps cards. In any case, I'm so glad Topps made this the base card design. btw when I see Sheehan pitching on TV, he slightly resembles Jerry Reuss.
Anonymous said…
The Arenado was the best-looking of the bunch. Some person named Chris Taylor probably comes in second, though his socks look like something out of that Queer Eye show.
OhioTim said…
For the most part, I have had pretty good success with collation this year. I have gotten some repeat cards but I know I can use them as trade bait. I am jealous that you got the Francisco Lindor 1989 Topps thoisugh. That is my top card on a need list for series 1. I am also collecting the Stars of MLB.
Doc Samson said…
Thank you for sharing, Mr. Owl. These cards look very interesting. They remind of 90’s Score cards, but in a good way. I really like how the neon pops.

One thing that struck me is the photography. While crisp and colorful, it looks like the poses are pretty monotonous. This appears to be an ongoing problem for Topps since 2012. Just a sea of redundant action shots. Anyway, thanks again.
It would be neat if photos for flagship would focus on skill sets of players. For example, Arraez would be great seeing his swing in action. Maybe an occasional switch up (like yout previous pitchers bunting).

I haven't seen a lot of swing shots in this design mainly celebrations or post hit photos.

Fuji said…
Never thought to look for a stand alone display of packs at Target... but I have checked the card section and it's been bare. I the they should have left the team across the top on the Future Stars subset and put the Future Stars neon right above the name down below like years past. But that's just one little things I don't like. Overall, I really like the overall look of the front card design.
gogosox60 said…
All those repeat dupes for a series that is now 350 CARDS!!!!
Grant said…
The collation this year is absolutely awful! I bought a jumbo box and a hobby box and still needed a dozen cards to go along with a couple hundred extras. Fanatics is brutal on set builders! In the past I would get the set with a jumbo box and have around 50 dupes.
Nick Vossbrink said…
Probably worth commenting here about collation as well. Is definitely weird outside of retail too. I joined a 3-jumbo break and ended up with only 2 base cards of a couple guys and 6 of some others. In the past 3 jumbos were good for 3 complete team sets plus some extras.
carlsonjok said…
While I agree with you with regard to liking the base card design, I am going to take exception to your take on the blueprint inserts. I actually like them.
Jafronius said…
Thanks for sharing! My Target had the standalone display in the toy section, so check there if you don't see it with the cards. And they still have loose packs, but the vendor just had a box of it, still no gravity feeders. I was pleasantly surprised by the neon shine when I opened the packs in my car after work.
Michael D said…
I'm a fan of the set. Distribution in the boxes is pretty bad and to be honest, I haven't been real impressed with inserts. I guess that's a good thing, so I don't get wrapped up in trying to collect that too.
Nick said…
Collation issues always seem to be an issue with retail. On the rare occasion I actually find cards at Target/Walmart, I'm constantly pulling doubles and triples - just another reason I tend not to buy as much retail anymore.
gcrl said…
here i was hoping you would need one of my christ taylor quadruplicates. i bought two blaster, a hobby jumbo box, a fat pack and did not get mookie betts' base card in any of them.