Topps Takeover, Pt. 2: Turning Subsets Into Inserts

I mentioned yesterday that I’m in the process of getting a large sum of money (joke) from a Nigerian Prince (joke) and I’m going to use the proceeds to buy Topps outright (Plot device!  Joke!).

This is the second in a series of posts about what plans I have for the flagship Topps baseball card set.

Back when I was a kid, there were 24 teams and sets were 660 cards.  Take out all the subsets and you have roughly 20-25 different players per team…  Backup catchers!  Relief pitchers!  Utility guys!  O, that strange and curious land!

As I’d mentioned, we’re going to have four 198-card series, the first coming out in February (so as to allow our loved ones the opportunity to give us chocolate and cardboard for Valentine’s Day).

The base set, numbered from 1 to 792, consists solely of cards of individual players. That works out to be an average of 26 cards per team.

You ask, “Joe, if the 792 cards are all individual players, what happens to All-Stars, League Leaders, Combo cards and that sort of thing?”

Well, that’s where things get interesting.

You know how Opening Day has an insert set of Mascots, and those cards are identical to the base set except for the card numbers? We’ll, I’m going to have a similar Mascot insert set… and one for ballparks, and one for All-Stars, and one for season highlights and and so on. All have their own numbering that runs consecutively from series to series.

Why do it this way? Every set collector wants the players, but not everybody wants managers or ballparks or mascots in their set. You don’t want managers? Don’t collect that insert set. Want just the players and the ballparks? Collect just those, and for the rest of the inserts you can do with them whatever you already do with unwanted inserts.

Speaking of Managers, I’ve got my own secret evil plan for that insert set… and I’m going to use my custom set for illustration purposes.

Every manager gets their own card.  And, let’s say that this guy’s team…
2014 TSR MC-1 Kirk Gibson
…continues to struggle, and he gets fired. Well, his replacement will appear in a later series.

(And for those keeping track at home, this is the first Diamondbacks card I’ve featured from my custom set.)

For even more fun, I’m going to use an idea from early 1980’s Donruss sets. Remember how they featured certain notable coaches, guys like Felipe Alou, Johnny Podres and Cal Ripken, Sr.?  I’ll admit that, at the time I was fairly “meh” about cards of guys I just barely knew or didn’t know at all. But now, as a middle-aged guy I have to say… How cool would this be?
2014 TSR MC-4 George Hendrick

AWESOME SAUCE!!!!!!


Before I get completely off the subject of subsets turned inserts, I’d like to mention a few other things about these…

Since this set is going to reference only to events and awards for the year of the set, All-Star cards will appear in Series 3; League leaders, awards, World Series cards and such will all appear in Series 4, which will essentially be the “year in review” series.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be an insert, but it would be fun to have a tribute card to any superstar who’s retiring that season.


I’ve got some more plans to share for next year’s Topps flagship;  If  you have any suggestions, leave a comment.  I’d love to hear your ideas!

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6 thoughts on “Topps Takeover, Pt. 2: Turning Subsets Into Inserts

  1. 1) Bring back ‘stud’ numbers. Cards numbered 100, 200, 300 etc should be the ‘best’ players in the game.

    2) I disagree on one of your guidelines. I like the World Series cards. Let’s have one card honoring the defending champs. Maybe just a card showing the celebration or the key play of the Series. Make it’s number coorispond to the season of the Series. This year’s WS card would be #13 for example.

    I like this whole concept btw.

  2. Love the concepts so far, but there are two things important to me as an old-school collector:

    1) actual wax wrappers that leave gunk on the top card and advertise things I can’t imagine anyone actually buying,

    – and –

    2) gum. Actual powdered pink-coloured chewable substance. May or may not shatter on impact.

    This entire industry fell apart when those two items disappeared. To me, anyway.

  3. Pingback: Topps Takeover: The Designs I’m Using For Next Year’s Archives | The Shlabotnik Report

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