2011 Topps Series 2 Box Break

For those of you that don’t know already, I am a huge nerd. I take pride in the things I collect, whether it be Pittsburgh Pirate programs, baseballs, or ticket stubs.

One thing that I recently got into has been the long-time hobby of collecting baseball cards. I was never into it much when I was little, but about two years ago I really got into it.

Starting last year, I made it a yearly goal to get all 660 cards that Topps has in its yearly set. I did it last year, and after getting the first 330 cards in Series 1 for about $15 on eBay, I’m well on my way to doing the same this year (though I’m also going after the additional 330 cards in the update that comes out this winter).

There is nothing quite like busting through a box of cards and seeing what you get. So shortly before coming home, I ordered a 36-pack box of Series 2 and it came in the other day. Here is what I pulled.

Base Cards: 227/330 (68.8%)

Though the base card design isn’t as good as the 2010 version in my opinion, Topps still has a great look to it. The photography continues to be really good, going beyond the static images of guys in their stances and wind-ups. I also got only two doubles besides the parallels, so that is always nice. Now comes the fun of trying to get the remaining 53 cards I need. To give you guys an idea what they look like, here are the Pirate cards I pulled (Note most of the good players were featured in Series 1).

I’m only one short as the Josh Rodriguez rookie didn’t come up in my box. Probably worth a whole two cents.

As with Topps’ main card set, the packs feature a ton of insert cards. In recent memory, a lot of them are trash-worthy and overkill. I’d much rather have a larger checklist of players then all these flimsy sub sets that I won’t collect. Let’s see what they had for Series 2.

Gold Parallel (Numbered to 2010) 3/330

These cards are essentially the same as the base, though they feature a gold border. Since they are harder to come by, they are meant to be more of a challenge to collect all 330. I don’t have the time or money to do that, so essentially these are worthless to me.

Diamond Parallel 9/330

Since this is Topps’ 60th anniversary of making cards, there is a diamond theme throughout the set. These parallels of the base cards are awesome. They feature a holographic twinkle to them that really looks cool. Though I won’t get all 330 of these, I’m definitely going after the Pirate ones, as they would look even better autographed.

Kimball Miniatures 9/50

These inserts are modeled after the Kimball mini-cards that appeared a long time ago. Series 2 featured cards numbered 51-100, and all of the subjects are former players (Series 1 was 1-50 and were all current players). These cards are nice, but are a pain in the butt to keep nice in a binder.

Diamond Stars 6/25

These cards really have no point to them, as you would have to live under a rock not to know about the players on them. However, a great holographic sparkle design like the parallels save them from being a waste.

Diamond Duos 9/30

These cards are the same as the “Legendary Lineage” ones seen in the 2010 edition, however instead of an old player being compared to a new one, it’s two players with something in common. Really no point to these, however I’ll hang on to the Andrew McCutchen/Pedro Alvarez one that I pulled.

Before There Was Topps 2/7

These cards detail various brands of baseball cards that were around before Topps. Yawn.

60 Years of Topps 15/58

These cards are reprints that are to give an example of each year’s design and a little lesson about the set of that year. Not too bad if this wasn’t basically the same thing as “The Cards Your Mom Threw Out” from last year. Nothing like getting “vintage” reprints from 2008 and 2009! Other than the Dave Parker Pirates card for 1975 and the Chris Carpenter rookie reprint that also has the original back to it, the rest are trash.

Topps 60 9/50

This set is supposed to chronicle the various leaders in statistical categories over the last 60 years. Some of them are flat-out stupid (Such as John Lester leading AL left-handed pitchers in strikeouts from 2008 to 2010) and some feature guys that barely crack the top 10 in some. Another dumb insert set.

Topps Town 6/50

Unlike last year when they came in every pack (and ended up in my trash), Topps Town code cards were harder to come by and were featured on nice holographic chrome stock. They also feature players other than the usual New York/Boston/Philadelphia players, making it a unique subset.

Prime 9 2/9

Unlike in past years, where each box came with a redemption card for a special “Red Hot Rookie”, Topps changed it up by starting the Prime 9 series. Basically, for a specific week, one of these cards can be turned in to your local hobby shop for a special chrome card. Each card is also good for an entry for a trip to the 2012 World Series. Though my Jose Tabata Red Hot Rookie card is one of my favorites, I can’t  argue against a system that gets you a nice card similar to that in your hand before January. I’ll have to wait to see how it goes before giving it a thumbs up or down.

“Hits” (Relics/Autographs)
1 (Mark Texiera Topps 60 Game Used Jersey Card)

My one “hit” in this box was a good one. Since this is the 60th anniversary, Topps has bolstered their relic checklist, and I got very lucky getting a Yankee. Though I wish it was a pinstriped swatch, I can’t complain about it as I’ve gotten crap in boxes in the past.

Final Grade: B

Though the design has come a long way from the mid-2000s when it was awful, Topps still lacks some features that make it a perfect card set to collect. Like EA Sports’ exclusive rights with the NFL for video games, Topps is the only licensed producer of baseball cards now. This has led to a declining product quality and the rehashing of the same ideas over and over again. But flaws aside, the price is right at just $2 per pack making it an easy set to get into. I just wish they would take some elements from Upper Deck before they were out of the baseball market, offering more hits and cutting down on mundane insert sets for a bigger base.

If there is anyone else out there into collecting I highly suggest getting in contact with me as I’m always up for trading!

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About suhlmann12
journalism student at Ohio University. Huge fan of Pittsburgh sports teams

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