My Last Packs Of 2020 And My First Packs Of 2021

I have to admit, I’ve been having trouble writing posts for this blogs, or at least ones which aren’t part of an ongoing series I can lean on. It’s not from lack of ideas, I keep getting those… but it always comes down to:

  • I forget to write ideas down
  • I write ideas down but forget to go back and look at them
  • I come up with an idea that’s good for several posts but halfway through it slips my mind
  • I need to scan cards
  • I need to find cards so I can scan them
  • All of the above

…So today I’m just going to give in to my Quarantine Brain and write about the last packs I purchased in 2020 and the first packs I purchased in 2021… packs which were separated by a 2+ month pack drought.

The last packs I purchased in 2020 were a couple of Topps Match Attax packs, which were the only sports-related packs in my local Targets at the time.  These cards turned out to be pretty… um… interesting.

This… um… colorful design, combined with 2021 Topps Baseball, have me thinking that I should go on Twitter and start a rumor that Panini has secretly taken over Topps.

Yes, there’s a soccer player called “Nacho”.  Insert your own wordplay here.

The cards are interesting in hand because there are a lot of different textures at work on the front of the card, and certain bits of the design pop out more depending on the color scheme.

The packs weren’t a waste, as I got some trade bait out of the deal… I happen to know someone who collects Kylian Mbappe, so Shoebox Legends can expect to find this shiny shiny card in his mailbox before too long.

Last week my wife did a Target run and found some 2021 Topps blasters on the shelf. That evening we opened some packs together… She’s just interested enough in cards to open packs now and then and see what the cards look like, but then the cards get handed off to me.

We opened four packs, and I think we agreed that this was the best base card out of the packs. Freddy Galvis is shown with the Reds, but he’s now with Mrs. Shlabotnik’s Orioles (with hair intact)

For those who still haven’t seen these cards in person, my take is pretty similar to a lot of other people: I don’t like the design but less awful in hand. The player’s name is hard to read, you can’t just glance at the card and read it. The photography isn’t great, but that’s to be expected since the photographers had to keep their distance from the players.

About these next two cards Mrs. S said “You’ve got doubles of Jacob deGrom… No, wait a minute…”

I saw this card of Chadwick Tromp and said “That’s the picture you chose, Topps?” and soon after started work on making my own custom of Tromp which would leave Topps in the dust.

…Only when I went out to the Getty Images website to find a better photo, I realized there weren’t any that were significantly better. Topps is off the hook.

As for inserts… I got a Ken Griffey “Double Header” (1989 Topps Update on the front, 2010 Topps on the back) but that wasn’t worth scanning.

I got this 1986 Topps throwback, which isn’t bad if a little dark. It’s a little interesting that they changed the Mariners color from blue on the original to the dark teal on this one.

What surprised me the most in these packs were the 1952 Topps throwbacks… I like them more than the other cards in the packs, which immediately struck me as odd because I’m not a fan of the original.

Here’s the entirety of my 1952 Topps collection:

The well-loved Hank Thompson was part of a small vintage lot I got from a family friend when I was a teenager. The Monte Kennedy came from Shoebox Legends a couple of years ago. I can honestly say I’ve never purchased a 1952 Topps card.

It’s not a great design, it’s just the first conventional card set that Topps put out, and it has that iconic Mickey Mantle card (which is not his rookie card, despite what many say).

That being said, and also despite the fact that Topps has beaten this dead horse many times, I found myself drawn to the 1952 throwback inserts.

I like that the photo takes up much of the card, I like that Topps didn’t try to make these look kinda sorta like the painted originals, but I think the main thing for me is that they’re on traditional card stock. They feel something like the baseball cards I grew up with. I guess that goes a long way with me.

And that’s enough rambling from me on these packs.

9 thoughts on “My Last Packs Of 2020 And My First Packs Of 2021

  1. SWEET!!! Now I definitely have to get another envelope out the door to you knowing you pulled a shiny Mbappe! By the way, completely agree that while iconic, the ’52 Mantle is NOT a rookie. I am intrigued by the ’52 inserts though I’ve yet to see any in hand (as I’ve yet to see any 2021 Topps blasters in the wild).

  2. Hehehe that’s a nice gift of the Mbappe. Dude is a stud and will hopefully be the face of soccer for a while.

    I used a different Tromp photo for my custom. He’s masked but it’s a better shot. Am hoping he signs at spring training but things have been quiet, too quiet, so far.

    And yeah I don’t like the 52 design. Especially with action images. Stomps too much on the photo for my taste (reminding me of 1990s foil stamped horridness). But you’e absolutely right about it being refreshing to not do a fake painting. I do think 52 and 53 only work best with paintings but they have to be real paintings not a photoshop filter.

  3. ’52 Topps is probably the most overused design in baseball card history (’87 Topps being a close second), but I too like those ’52 inserts from this year. They stand out among the general apathy of the other insert sets. And that Freddy Galvis is definitely one of the few bright spots of the base cards.

  4. The 2021 Topps looks like something Donruss did a few years, the 86 & 52 inserts are nice, I agree that the 52 design is being over done. At $6 per pack its a lot of money for a product that should be $2 per pack, no thanks to the flippers that buy up every baseball card product & sell it for at least 2 to 3 times or more what they worth. These flippers should go out & get a real job instead of just buying trading cards & selling them for outrageous prices. Bottom line, I will wait for the factory sets to come out, much cheaper. The last time Topps did 52 set was in 2006 when they did football heritage. Not into soccer cards.

  5. I’m a bit disillusioned with new baseball cards after looking forward to 2021 Heritage for so many years. It’s here…and I don’t care. Makes me a bit sad. The only “new” that appeals to me are the customs from you and a few other bloggers. Having those in hand would be the best of the bestest! Now you – you go get to printin’!

    • I’m not quite as disillusioned as you are, but the current hobby environment has taken a lot of wind out of my sails and I’m not as excited as I thought I would be. I still hope to buy a fair amount of Heritage

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