Set builders will rejoice, as Topps cut back its base set from 400 last year to 300 this year. And with a hobby box containing 36 packs and 10 cards per pack, it’s a good bet that completing the base set will take place.
That was the case in the hobby box I opened — a complete base set plus 21 doubles. So I was definitely rejoicing. But just to make things a little difficult, Topps threw in some base card variations; I received one of Cubs outfielder Albert Almora. In the variation, Almora is holding a weighted bat; he assumes a batting stance during game action in the base version.
Other collectors might find negative parallels, black numbered to 65, pink (50) and 1/1 versions in platinum, silver frame and printing plates. The black, silver frame and printing plates are hobby/jumbo exclusives.
The design mirrors those used in Topps Series 1 and 2 this year, so there are really no surprises there.
Topps promises one hit per hobby box, and the card I pulled was one of the 60 All-Star Stitches. This one was of Indians ace Corey Kluber and has a yellow swatch.
Inserts were plentiful. First Pitch returns for the Update set with 10 cards that fall one in every six packs. True to the average, I pulled six cards from the hobby box I sampled. These cards depict celebrities or special guests who threw out the first pitch of a game this season. My favorite is of 92-year-old Burke Waldron, who was dressed in his World War II sailor’s outfit and tossed a left-handed pitch to open the Mariners’ May 30th game.
It’s a continuation from the Series 2 set, so if one collects from both products there are 60 cards in total. A collector should easily pull four of these inserts from Update; I managed to find five.
Team Franklin is a 20-card insert set that features some of the top hitters in the game. The Franklin sporting goods logo is prominently displayed on the top right-hand side of the card. These cards fall once in every eight packs on average; I managed to go above average again and pull four of them.
Topps ends another successful run with its flagship product. On a topic not quite relevant to the update series — but I am going to mention it anyway — it’s too late to give advice for next year’s No. 1 card for the 2017 Series 1 set. After all, the contest held by Topps for fans ended in October. However, I’d seek an election recall and replace whatever won with a team photo of the Chicago Cubs. Heck, after 108 years, they deserve to enjoy that top spot.