Monday, February 10, 2020

First Impressions - 2020 Topps Series 1

It took a few extra days, but the new base set finally reached the shelves of my local Wally World. The previews I've seen so far haven't been kind, so let's see if they look better in hand.

#280 Tony Gonsolin (RC)

The first card honor goes to Frank Zappa! Enough has been said about this Bowman-like design already, and I feel this design takes a step back from the more appealing designs of the past two sets. The sideways name plates doesn't bother me as much as the overall sterile design.

#284 Jason Kipnis
#78 Bo Bichette (RC)
#172 Sonny Gray
#67 Tyler Beede
#131 Ketel Marte
#244 Chris Paddack (FS)

I'll be honest, I almost missed the Future Stars label on the bottom. It seems the subset design elements are less pronounced on the cards - like they're not supposed to be noticed. Even the ASR Cup logo seems smaller than normal.

#82 Jorge Polanco
#199 Domingo Santana
#160 Christian & Nolan

The multiplayer cards are back, and I really like this one in particular. I prefer the ones featuring players from different teams. It reminds me of the subsets from the days of my youth.

#61 Like Father, Like Son

Another cool multiplayer, this seems like a missed opportunity by not including Vlad Jr on it. The Blue Jays have three second generation players, which is unique. Why not show all three?

#327 Cavan Biggio (FS, RC)
#52 Yasmani Grandal

This is one of the better action shots I've seen so far in this product. You can't go wrong with plays at the plate!

#DB-70 Frank Thomas

Now we get to the inserts. The Decade's Best looks like a fun insert set, and they really did a good job capturing that 90's look in it's design. The other decades I've seen look good too.

#RH-10 Rhys Hoskins

This year, Topps has chosen Rhys Hoskins as one of the two players to build an insert set around. Really? Rhys Hoskins? Don't get me wrong, I like the player and feel like he could be an All-Star someday, but he wouldn't be high on my list of guys to focus a 30-card insert set around. Besides, a Phillies player was used last year. The least they could do is spread the love around and pick a different team.

#DOD-12 Ichiro

Topps continues to focus on the fact we are in a new decade with theses Decade of Dominance die-cut inserts. I kinda like the overall look of this one, even though I've never been a big fan of die-cuts.

#TR-97 Anthony Rendon
#TR-77 Buster Posey

Topps also brings back the Turkey Red design, which is OK but not something I'm overly excited about. It's been done before, Topps!

#260 Zack Greinke
#342 Taylor Rogers
#100 Alex Bregman
#191 Jeremy Jeffress
#272 Carlos Santana
#176 Brandon Belt
#53 Pete Alonso (LL)

Again, the additional bar denoting this as a League Leaders card is minor and easy to miss. Personally, if you're going to have a league leader card, you could at least denote on the front what stat the player led the league in.

#137 Merrill Kelly
#84 Ken Giles
#293 Wade Davis
#267 Joey Votto

Finally, a look at the back. I'm glad full stats are back again, but holy snooze-fest Batman! This is one of the most boring set backs on a base set I've ever seen. Outside a little splash of color, this is dreary and bland design.

#128 Steven Matz
#38 Austin Nola
#58 Jesse Winkler
#350 Pete Alonso (ASR)
#119 Kyle Schwarber

I'll be honest, this set doesn't generate a lot of excitement for me. I'll chase my team cards, maybe buy another pack or two. I just don't see myself buying as much of this as I have previous years. At least Heritage comes out before the end of the month...


  1. Frank Zappa. Nice. I feel like that'll be in a haiku at some point, right? Dang. The Jays have three 2nd generation players? That's pretty cool. You're totally right. That was a missed opportunity.

  2. I actually think the 2020 design is slightly better than 2018, though I agree it's a step down from last year.

    Personally, the set appeals to me because it has a lot going for it, including the '85 inserts, Turkey Red, etc. Can't wait for Heritage to come out!

  3. So you got the Bichette RC, the Biggio RC, and the combo card? That's pretty cool... at least if you were a Jays fan :)