This years set includes 5 different parallel versions of the set. Rainbow Foil (1:10), Gold (1:14), Vintage Stock (1:270), Pink (1:535), and Platinum (1:26,699) Not to mention the base set includes 2 variations the now traditional "short print" (1:125), and the "SUPER short print" (1:1,247) Of course there is a litany of insert sets MLB Debut (1;2), Berger's Best (1:4), Perspectives (1:4), The Greatest Streaks (1:4), 100 Years of Wrigley Field (1:8), Walk Off Wins (1:8), Back-to-Back (1;8), Pressed into Service (1:8), First Pitch (1:8), 2016 Presidential Candidates (1:12), Bunt Code Card (1:19), and Bunt Player Card (1:3,741) Topps certainly wanted to make their release something collectors will chew up for the next couple months before their premium releases. So here is how I fared with my blaster box. My first card of the year was....
So what else did pack #1 unveil?
Here are the rest of the cards from pack #1 Nothing too exciting, though I still find the acknowledgement of the WHIP statistic with a WHIP leader card a bit funny, seems to be very fantasy baseball oriented. I just like tradition, and would have been happy with Win, ERA, K, and Fireman leader cards like they have been doing for over a half century.
The other card in this pack was this propaganda piece from Topps. Here I am asked to "Rediscover" their product. Well, considering I have been away from the hobby for quite a bit, I guess I am rediscovering it, and just like when my cats turn in their litter box and "discover" what they left behind, I want to quickly cover this in sand. This card hits all the current social media nomenclatures, give your Facebook links, Twitter handles, web addresses, all the current business card offerings. Speaking of offerings, I am rewarded with a $0.50 discount for any of their products for the upcoming year. I plan to buy Heritage for sure, so I guess I can expect to pay $79.50 for a box rather than $80. Sweet 1/2 percent discount!! Thanks Topps! Who am I kidding, I will constantly forget this card and never even redeem it, only finding it after it expires.
This card is one of Topp's promotional efforts to revive their "Wacky Package" sticker line. For anyone that is not familiar with Wacky Packages, these were cartoon style cards of familiar products that are parodied in some rather silly or disgusting manner. The artwork was great, and they were always fun cards to get as a kid. I am not sure how I feel about these. Part of me likes that they are bringing them back, and this card certainly represents the style and spirit of the old Wacky Packages, but the fact that Topps is trying to insert the now standard marketing of "autographs" or "relics" to the cards makes my eyes roll a bit. I guess I will reserve my thoughts until I see the actual product.
The rest of pack #3
My first "Back to Back" insert. I always liked Edgar, and I think he is a Hall of Famer, but I doubt the media will allow him enshrinement. Junior was pretty good too. The pixelated dissolve in the middle seems like they had no idea how to solve blending the two players together. I would think they would have had numerous shots of the two players together that they could have used rather than force the images together in this crappy method. This design has a late 80s Fleer feel to it.
Another MLB Debut card and still looking the bastard child of 96 Upper Deck Predictor and an Gypsy Queen card.
The rest of pack #5 - The Puig card makes me wonder if he actually catches the ball or if it drops. The look on his face is not reassuring. Future Star Kole Calhoun seems a bit of a reach, but I guess you have to pimp somebody. Calhoun had a strong debut, but he regressed last year, and I see him more like Marty Cordova.
My first insert from the "Walk Off Wins" insert set, of former Red and current ChiSox third baseman, Todd Frazier. This card would bewilder Forrest Gump,. ("Todd Frazier, you are missing your legs!!!") Pretty bland insert set IMO.
The rest of pack #7 - Kaleb Cowart looks like he stole David Bowie's pants from "Labyrinth."
More inserts, an interesting choice with Josh Hamilton as his off field problems have tarnished his career as well as his cardboard interests. A nice card theme with the "Pressed into Service" of position players that had to pitch. I wish they expanded it to players manning a position you would never think to find them, such as the time Kirby Puckett played second base.
The rest of pack #8 - The Nick Hundley card looks like he is receiving a soft underhand lob from that beanstalk basketball player from earlier.
"Agent Carter" Haley Atwell throws a first pitch during a cold April game at Kansas City. Based on that form, she looks like she did a 200% better job than the human light pole. Bernie Williams rounds the bases in his Tyler Durden cosplay costume. look at those glasses!! The first rule of MLB Debut set, is we don't talk about MLB Debut set!!
The rest of pack #9 - The checklist card with Papi and Pujols looks like Pujols is looking for a simple handshake, but Papi is about to give him the 5 minute version with 62 different types of shakes and grips.
The ten acks offered nothing extraordinary, the inserts came at the standard seeding. No great hit, but there would not be great hits if you got one in every box, so onto the bonus pack with the gold medallion card, and the pull was.....
The final open was the jumbo pack which offered a lot of duplication. Card came in 3-4 card runs that I had seen in the blaster box. THe inserts were:
Here are the great horizontal cards from the series, just emphasizing how strong they are compared to eh base vertical cards. Topps really should have done all the cards in this format.
So I will say that the experience of ripping this blaster and jumbo was rather underwhelming, and that is not a bad thing, as it just affirmed my intent NOT to bother with this set. Maybe I will grab a single card or two of a player that ends up on my 2016 fantasy baseball team, but other than that, I will just flip what I can and send out the rest to collectors that can use the cards. I give this set a C- with the Perspectives and 100 Years of Wrigley the only saving graces from a lower mark.