Monday, March 28, 2022

First Impressions - 2022 Topps

It's almost like it was planned. The day after MLB announced the end to the lockout and that the baseball season could officially begin, I found a sizable amount of 2022 Topps at My local Wal-Mart! There were no individual packs, just boxes and hangers. I grabbed one of each, and joyfully ripped into the hanger box, just so I could give you my first impressions!
The official first card of 2022 goes to...
#258 Andre Jackson (RC)
Thanks to a recent Night Owl post, I looked back and discovered that my first card for the past three base sets have all been Dodgers (Tony Gonsolin in 2020, Julio Urias last year). That's an odd streak, and I have no idea who this guy is!
#275 Ketel Marte
#256 James McCann
#12 Gavin Sheets (RC)
#27 Mike Trout
#226 Josh Donaldson
#66 Connor Wong (RC)
Wong is my first Red Sox card of the pack, and since I've already traded for him, my first Red Sox double.
#236 Freddie Freeman
#101 Clint Frazier
#61 Jackson Reetz (RC)
#4 Travis d'Arnaud
#139 Omar Narvaez
#186 Jake Burger (RC)
#200 Ronald Acuna Jr.
We haven't talked about the design yet. From the moment the design was first released to the public, I've dubbed this the "Wrench set" since that what the bottom banner reminds me of. I like that Topps is using some curved lines in the design, and the partial baseball logo works well. Names are more readable than last year, but the team name is still too small and the position is so faded I wonder why they even bothered. It's better than what they've put out the previous two years.
#92 Avisail Garcia
#158 Riley Adams (RC)
#115 Austin Riley
#292 Kyle Higashioka
#231 Ronnie Dawson (RC)
#46 Raimel Tapia
#183 Ji-Man Choi
#252 Victor Reyes
Here's a look at the back. I'm genuinely happy my old eyes can read the card numbers! For all the good stuff, however, I need to break out my reading glasses.
#322 Joey Gallo
#313 Brady Singer
#150 Juan Soto
#237 Albert Pujols
#220 Gerardo Parra
#36 Jorge Alfaro
#244 Shane McClanahan (FS)
#HRC-3 Mike Trout
I'm digging the design of this year's Home Run Challenge cards, with the exploding baseball in the background.
#26 Devin Williams (blue parallel)
#T87-43 Jesse Winker
I get it. Everyone is sick of the 1987 design, it's been used again and again until it's become cliche. You know what? I still love it. No other design takes me back to my childhood quite like that wood-grain border. Give me all your unwanted  '87 Topps redesigned cards!
#SMLB-25 Nolan Arenado
#SMLB-13 Jacob deGrom
#SMLB-2 Ronald Acuna Jr.
#SMLB-28 Clayton Kershaw
These remind me too much of the "Stars Of The Game" inserts from 2019. 
#WTTS-2 Mike Trout (Welcome To The Show insert)
#203 Wade Miley
#246 Mauricio Dubon
#282 Carlos Rodon
#89 Jorge Mateo
#174 Hunter Renfroe  
Another Red Sox player, this time in the yellow "city" uniform. I've seen less than half of the set, yet I'm convinced no other set has ever show as  many distinct uniforms. It almost feels like every player is wearing something different. (Hmmm...might make an interesting blog post...)

#162 Spencer Howard
#130 Tyler Gilbert (RC)
#94 Cedric Mullins
#249 Zack Wheeler
#85 Rodolfo Castro (RC)
Am I the only one who looked at this card and thought he had three consecutive o's in his name? A failure of fonts!

#87 Nolan Arrenado
#315 Pete Alonso
#298 Drew Ellis (RC)
#321 City Of Walk-Off Love (CL)
#181 NL RBI Leaders (Duvall/Riley/Albies)
The top 3 league leaders are all from one team. I wonder if this has ever happened before?

#127 NL Strikeout Leaders (Wheeler/Scherzer/Burnes)
#109 Toronto Blue Jays (TC)
#260 Trevor Story
#318 Josh Reddick
#49 Brett Gardner

It's always cool when you catch something when cards are back to back. In this case, we have two players in mid flight!

#211 Cristian Javier
#177 Carson Kelly
#247 St. Louis Cardinals (TC)
#136 Houston Astros (TC)
#124 San Diego Padres (TC)
#274 Tampa Bay Rays (TC)
Add this to the list of things that annoy me about the Rays: 100 games won last season, without a single pitcher qualifying for the ERA title? 

#255 Chicago White Sox (TC)
#210 Oakland Athletics (TC)
#167 Daniel Bard
#289 Nate Pearson

Overall, I'm liking the set. It's not fantastic, but it's solid and more memorable than most of the designs they've pushed out recently. This may be the last Topps set we see without the Fanatics logo squeezed in somewhere, so if so it kind of marks an end of an era.


  1. This didn't occur to me when I pulled it but the Renfroe photo looks like something you'd pull out of 2009 OPC, something about the photo angle.

    I barely know who Andre Jackson is. All you need to know is he has no chance this year to make the starting rotation.

  2. Mike Trout hot box!

    '87s and Stars Of the repetition? That never happens!

  3. The Reddick and Gardner cards being pulled back to back is awesome! I sure hope they don't clutter the flagship design with a Fanatics and Topps logo. I'm guessing they'll roll with just the Topps logo... and toss the Fanatics name somewhere on the back.

    P.S. I love the 1987 Topps design too, but at the same time I agree with those who feel it's been way overused. It's like my mom's tonkatsu (pork cutlet). She'd make it for me whenever I'd go down to Vegas and visit them. But as much as I loved it... I wouldn't want to eat it five days a week.

  4. I recently opened my first blaster. What surprised me most was that the 1987 were glossy. That felt weird and unexpected.

  5. Indeed, a much better set than the last couple of years...and we got to get some packs in a store! Thanks for showing off the cards!