Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: 2016 Topps Series 1 Jumbo

     It's been a while since we've been excited about an upcoming release. Perhaps it is the full-bleed design on this year's cards or just the fact that Illinois basketball is terrible this year and has left us poking around the house, staring out the window, and waiting for spring, but whatever the reason, the three weeks leading up to Topps' flagship release seemed nearly unbearable.

     We'll start with some background. Topps Jumbos include 10 packs with 50 cards per pack. The checklist sports 350 cards plus several photo variation short-prints and super short-prints. In addition, the product includes rainbow foil parallels, gold parallels, black parallels, vintage stock parallels, and clear parallels. A variety of insert, game-used, and autograph sets are thrown in as well. Each Jumbo box contains at least 2 relics and 1 autograph. Plus, Topps inserted original buybacks stamped with the 65th Anniversary logo.

Let's start with the base:

Collation: 350 out of 350 (100% completion) plus 80 duplicates

It's always good when you can get all the cards you need for the set out of one box. We have to admit that we snaked the Cardinals for our PC and only got duplicates of the Lance Lynn so we're still eight cards short of the set.

Design: Full-Bleed

     We love the full-bleed design. It's clear that Topps is riding the success of 2015 Stadium Club by incorporating the full-bleed into their 2016 flagship set. They feature great photography and crisp logos.

Cardboard Quality: This year's Topps are still a little flimsy, but for the price and taking the photography into account, we don't think it detracts much from the overall product.

Next up, let's have a look at the parallels.

Rainbow Foil (6)

     The Rainbow Foil cards aren't much more than shiny, unnumbered parallels.  For the most part, our rainbow haul was less than impressive. We received Nathan Eovaldim Mike Zunino, Luke Gregerson, Chris Coghlan and Alcides Escobar. Our standout rainbow foil was this Chris Davis/Nelson Cruz/Mike Trout card:

     We'll follow up with the Gold parallels which weren't any more impressive.

Gold Parallels (4)

     We received four gold parallels which are base cards stamped with a gold honeycomb on the edges and numbered to 2016 on the back.

     Besides the Wainwright that we unveiled in yesterday's Cardinals post, we missed on these as well. The names Marcus Semien, Justin Turner, and Chad Bettis inspire fear in the hearts of no one.

Our vintage stock parallel pull wasn't any better.

Vintage Stock (1)

     Don't be disheartened by the lack of star power surrounding this Chris Colabello parallel numbered 92/99. As retro product connoisseurs, we appreciate Topps' effort with these parallels. The fronts feature the glossy base design with an old-school Topps logo. The backs have no gloss cardboard. There's nothing like the feel of a vintage baseball card. These are numbered out of 99.

Once again, the Topps brand is heavy with insert sets, many of which we didn't get our hands on. Nonetheless, we were more than satisfied with the insert designs and the players we pulled from the box.

First Pitch (5 and a duplicate)

     We know some people like these First Pitch inserts, but if asked, we would leave them out of the lineup. Not to mention, it's irritating when we pull insert duplicates from the same box if we haven't gotten the complete set. With that said, it's still pretty cool to see Bill Withers on a baseball card.

Wacky Packages (1)

     How bout some New York Deli Mitts? Granted, they aren't Cardinals Eggs, but we love this product. What can we say? We grew up in the 80s hoarding Garbage Pail Kids stickers. We're sad that we only pulled one of these promos.

Berger's Best (10)

     Berger's Best is a collection of 65 reprints. One for each year of Topps beginning in 1952. Rather than reprinting the card backs, Topps included a short essay regarding the player. Once again, we pulled a duplicate without completing the set.

     Fortunately, that player is Willie Mays on the 1952 Topps design so it didn't sting all that much. We think we did pretty well with the Berger's Best. We pulled these active players:

     How can you go wrong with Kris Bryant and Clayton Kershaw rookie reprints? We also pulled a slew of Hall-worthy players:

     Bench, Ricky, Murray, Smoltzy, and Piazza. Not too shabby. We've loved Topps reprint issues since 2001. These make the grade.

Pressed Into Service (6)

     Sure, it's fun to know that some of these guys appeared on the mound, but did they really require their own insert set? At least it added another Musial card to the checklist and to the Cardinal Sauce collection.

100 Years at Wrigley (6)

     The 100 Years at Wrigley insert set is fun although we take issue with non-cubs being included in the set. Especially since we didn't pull the Musial. The Cubs have gotten so little over the past 100 years that we just think it's twisting the knife a little to include The Man and The Babe in this set. 

Perspectives (10)

    Besides some of the autograph and relic cards, we think Perspectives is the best offering in this product. We managed to land some up-and-comers, some HOFers, and even a couple Cardinals. Perspectives is a big win for Topps this year.


The Hits (2 relics and 1 autograph)

Scouting Report Relic CC Sabathia

Commemorative No-Hitter Pin Clayton Kershaw

Scouting Report Autograph Kurt Suzuki

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 

Concluding Thoughts: As always, Topps' flagship product was fun to bust. It is neither overwhelming nor underwhelming, it just is what it is. Overall value for the money spent is pretty close to even and the variety of parallels and inserts make for an interesting break. We do admit that it is a bit disheartening when a manufactured pin is the best card in the box. Luckily, the collation was great and we won't have to crack another one open until Series 2 is released.

In the meantime, Collect Hard!


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