2015 Topps Baseball - Jumbo Pack Review

2015 Topps Derek Jeter

This is the base card, there is a variant as well.
This is the base card, there is a variant as well.

2015 Topps Has Arrived

For baseball fans and baseball card collectors Spring Training is a great time of year. Not only is baseball starting back up and soon to be dominating the headlines, the first baseball card product of the year has arrived, 2015 Topps Series 1.

For the last few years, the flagship Topps product has been the first product to appear on store shelves and finally, finally, Topps does not sport a plain white border this year. In fact, this year's cards look awesome. I have picked out card #1 Derek Jeter to showcase here as well as a couple of NY Mets cards.

I think the fact that this year's design accommodates all of the names on a leader card will also be appreciated by collectors. It may not have been obvious last year but the curved border didn't fit the names all that well.

Meet the Mets, Well Some of Them Anyway

American League RBI Leaders - Trout, Cabrera and Cruz

A nice looking card and the names actually fit.
A nice looking card and the names actually fit.

Vargas Flexing Short Print

This is a variation card.
This is a variation card.

Notes About the Product

So I bought and opened a Jumbo pack. These packs have 50 cards in them, a number of them being specialty cards of some kind. This includes basic inserts, parallels, game cards and short prints. There were 7 of them in this pack which I believe is actually less than in previous years but I still had fun opening this. It is expensive at $12 a pack, but there is a chance to pull some amazing cards out of these packs.

My luck held true to form so I did NOT pull some super card.

That said, I did pull some really nice stuff, starting with this Short Print card of Kennys Vargas. All of the Short Print cards show some odd thing on the card, like this guy flexing his muscles. Several short prints show Gatorade showers or a picture showing the player with another player on the card. There are also Sparkle short prints where a sparkle can be seen somewhere in the picture. As these short prints don't feature a different picture, they can be hard to spot. There are several blogs on the internet that show pictures for all of the various short prints in this year's set.

Biz Markie, Really?

Most of the other subjects in this set are current - where did the A's find Biz Markie??
Most of the other subjects in this set are current - where did the A's find Biz Markie??

What I Pulled - First Pitch

My first specialty card is from the First Pitch insert set. My card features rap legend Biz Markie. This is a fun set to collect as there are only 15 of them and they are not hard to find in packs. The McKayla Maroney card will be popular as well as the 50-cent card if you've seen the video of his amazing(ly) bad pitch.

Other celebrities featured in the set include Eddie Vedder, Macklemore and Austin Mahone.

These card do follow the base card design a little too much for my liking. I want my insert cards to look like insert cards but the First Pitch logo should help collectors pull them out.

Say Hey Archetype

Can't go wrong with a baseball legend
Can't go wrong with a baseball legend

What I Pulled - Archetypes

This is a very nice looking insert card that has depth in the design with the words in the background appearing to be a different distances from the foreground. This set features some of baseball's greatest players from the past with a few more current stars mixed in. I have to say that I generally do not like mixing current and former stars in insrt sets because then the focus of the set gets lost. I happen to have pulled Willie Mays. Should he be in a set that also features Yoenis Cespedes?

I like Cespedes but he has a long way to go until he deserves to be included in a set with baseball immortals like Mays, Aaron, Nolan Ryan and Ted Williams.

Rainbow Foil? Sounds cool...

...but it's really just mirror foil.  We've seen Rainbow Foil cards years ago and they looked much different than this.
...but it's really just mirror foil. We've seen Rainbow Foil cards years ago and they looked much different than this.

What I Pulled - Foil Parallel

This set features many parallels to the basic set. Parallel cards feature the same basic design of the base card but have a distinct difference incorporated into the card like a different color border. Here is a partial list:

  • Gold - Sequentially numbered to 2015
  • Snow Camo - Sequentially numbered to 99
  • Black - Sequentially numbered to 64
  • Pink - Sequentially numbered to 50
  • Platinum - Numbered 1/1
  • Rainbow Foil Parallel - Inserted 1:10

There are a few other Hobby and Retail only parallels as well. The card featured here is a Rainbow Foil parallel where the entire card is printed on foilboard.

The Babe's Called Shot

Cool Idea, nice card - set has an odd mix of players including Jose Canseco
Cool Idea, nice card - set has an odd mix of players including Jose Canseco

What I Pulled - Highlight of the Year

This insert set is a 30 card set featuring highlights from certain years. The players featured in this set run from Legends like this Ruth card commemorating his called shot in the 1932 World Series, to players like Fernando Valenzuela and Josh Beckett for certain pitching performances. Gain, I'm never fond of mixing retired and current players in this way but Topps does this all of the time. At least I pulled the Babe Ruth card.

Gold Border Staple

Always a nice addition to the base set, probably the only one people really collect
Always a nice addition to the base set, probably the only one people really collect

What I Pulled - Gold Border Parallel

This is another parallel card that Topps has featured in it's packs since 2001. These gold bordered cards are also serial-numbered on the back of the card to the year of the cards issue. This card is serial numbered 0276/2015. As a collector, the actual number in the serial number is generally not important unless it's the first card of the run or a star players uniform number. If you pulled 001/2015 or 002/2015 for the Derek Jeter gold card, you'd have a really nice and unique item.

There are a number of Contest cards available with codes as in years past. I did pull a Babe Ruth Called Shot contest card. I entered in the code since the site is up and running.

Hanley on the Sawx

Several other players are featuring on their new teams starting with this set.
Several other players are featuring on their new teams starting with this set.

Promotions - Spring Fever Packs

As they have done for several years now, a Spring Fever promotional contest card can be found in Series One packs. This card entitles the collector to a Spring Fever pack which your store owner should have available starting today (February 12, 2015). The promotion only runs for about two weeks and the packs will likely be gone sooner than the end of the promotion. The cards themselves are printed on foilboard so they look really well done. This years set features a few players on their new teams, like the Hanley Ramirez card I have featured here. The packs do contain autographs though I'm sure they are difficult to find.

Quick Conclusions

Buying a Jumbo box (which will set you back a little over $100) is the way to go. In any given box you are guaranteed an Autograph card and two relics. The odds of pulling any number of other specialty cards is also much better in the Jumbo packs. As a collector, I'm thrilled to see that someone with an eye for design stepped in and made some very attractive cards. They have managed to get away from white bordered base cards, reprint cards, and lame inserts like Boyhood Photos. All of the insert sets look interesting. I don't think we need all of the various parallels but they do add value to a box break, or a pack break like this.

Topps started putting codes on the backs of the cards starting with last year's Heritage set. While the numbers are very hard to see, please note that regular base cards have a code of 1061 on the back. The Kennys Vargas short printed card has a code of 1901. The short printed Vargas card was also packed in the middle of the Jumbo pack with the rest of the specialty cards.

For those of you wondering, as of today (February 12, 2015) Beckett does have pricing online for this set as it's on fire and many sales are stabilizing the prices for these cards. The Jeter Base cards lists at $4, the Vargas Short print at $15 and the First Pitch, Highlight of the Year and Archetype cards all list in the $2 to $3 range.

I'll post again when I break either a Jumbo or regular box but I have to say, this year's set looks like a winner. I would also say that the retail blaster boxes, that come with manufactured patches and can be found in Target, Wal-Mart and Toys R Us are also good buys. Now go buy some packs and find something rgeat for your collection.

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Comments 1 comment

catfish33 profile image

catfish33 22 months ago from Maryland

I bought a hobby box for $59.99 at my local hobby shop, and I agree with you on this year's design. It's a big improvement over the all-white cards of the past few years. I like the set a lot!

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