On a side note, it is gratifying to walk into a Target or Walmart these days and see countless rows of blaster boxes and packs from all sports. Thank goodness. Card shortages at stores or registering to view boxes of product was an aggravating experience.
While Target still limits the number of items you can buy, Walmart does not.
I no longer chase the Topps flagship set, although I do buy a complete set when those boxes are released. Got to keep that complete set streak from 1968 intact, you know. And if not for 11 high numbers from the 1967 set and seven from 1963, I’d have every set done since 1960.
Of course, some of those cards I may never get, like the Pete Rose rookie card from 1963. But I am reconciled to that.
Anyway, the 2023 Topps Series Two set is a continuation of Series One, with 330 cards in the set. Cards are numbered from 331 to 660, featuring veterans, rookies, future stars and team cards. Series Two features the rookie cards of Kodai Senga, Anthony Volpe and Jordan Walker.
I do like the design that Topps has chosen for this year’s set. There is an action shot on the card front that dominates the space, with a white border and a thin line containing the primary color of the team’s uniform.
A mug shot of the player is positioned in the lower left-hand corner, with his name in white block letters below the smaller photograph. His position is anchored in the bottom right-hand corner of the card when the design is vertical, while slightly more toward the bottom center for horizontal layouts.
I have made no secret through the years that I prefer a vertical design. That goes back to when I began collecting in 1965. All of the player cards had vertical layouts, and the only exceptions were team, World Series and league leaders cards.
To me vertical always looked better in binders.
As far as card backs go, I never minded the horizontal layout. There are columns of statistics to present to the collector, and horizontal is a much better look. Series Two follows the same pattern, highlighting the player’s vital statistics and year-by-year numbers. Where there is room, a short biography or a paragraph explaining a career highlight is included.
The third parallel in the box was a Rainbow Foil card of Pirates pitcher Rodney Contreras.
Every pack in the blaster had a Stars of MLB insert, a 30-card set, so I pulled seven of them.
Another insert card I pulled was a World Baseball Classic card of Sandy Alcantara. There are 60 cards in this subset.
In its tribute to the 35th anniversary to the 1988 Topps design, the blaster had one of the 1988 Topps card insert and one of the 1988 Topps All-Star Baseball cards. Both insert sets contain 50 cards.
I pulled a 1988 Topps Baseball card of Julio Rodriguez and a 1988 Topps All-Star Baseball insert of Buster Posey.
The card I pulled was of the Mets’ Francisco Lindor, who already has 12 homers this season.
The final card I pulled was the commemorative Father’s Day Team Patch, a manufactured relic. My card featured Hunter Greene of the Cincinnati Reds, along with a blue logo against a white patch background.
Consistency is the hallmark of Topps’ flagship set, and Series Two follows that pattern. There are few surprises that I saw, but if you are set collector, this is the must-have set. Now, collectors will await the Update set.