Monday, February 27, 2023

First Impressions - 2023 Topps Series 1

I'm fairly certain my local Wal-Mart isn't carrying baseball cards anymore. It seems like they haven't had any of the latest releases in almost a year. I had an opportunity to check the card section at Target, and wouldn't you know it, success! Target may end up being my local source for cards. For now, I'm happy to open a hanger box of 2023 Topps and give my initial review:
#173 San Francisco Giants (TC)
The first official card of 2023 is a team card. I can almost convince myself the guy on the left has three arms and three legs...
#178 NL Home Run Leaders (LL)
#303 Wild West (CC, CL)
What in the Multiverse of Madness? Is it me or is this guy hugging himself?

#211 NL ERA Leaders (LL)
#191 Caleb Smith
#49 Mitch Hanger
#276 David McKinnon (RC)
#125 Marcell Ozuna
#233 Taylor Rogers
#41 Brian Serven (RC)
#17 Shohei Ohtani
OK, let's talk about the design. I like the Jumbotron head shot, the team colored borders and the home plate positional element. What I don't like: the small player name and even smaller team name, plus the sharp angles not going the full width of the card area. Minor stuff, really. All in all a nice looking set.
#278 Aaron Nola
#90 Korey Lee (RC)
#290 Max Fried
#179 Carlos Rondon
#286 Ezequiel Duran (RC)
#47 Ryan Mountcastle
#98 Mike Yastrzemski
Maybe it's me and it's just this particular pack, but it seems the photos themselves aren't as interesting as in past years. Yaz's grandson is one of the better photos in this pack, but even it suffers from a weird cropping that makes him knee himself in the head.

#264 Steele Walker (RC)
#197 Andrew Benintendi
#55 Cristian Javier
#266 Tommy Pham 
My first official Red Sox card of 2023, and it's a mid-season pickup who isn't on the team anymore! It's a good opportunity to talk about the backs. Yay for readable card numbers! Not horrible design-wise, but nothing outstanding either. I need my glasses to read anything else on the back, but at least we get full career stats!
#325 German Marquez
#327 Patrick Sandoval
#298 Shane Bieber
#153 Kevin Gausman
#107 Sandy Alcantara
#184 Beau Brieske
#312 Pavin Smith (Gold parallel)
Now we get to the bonus portion of our pack. Kicking things off is this gold parallel of Pavin Smith, who I'm almost positive I saw play while he was with the University of Virginia (Go Cavaliers!) The Diamondbacks colors compliment the gold border really well.
#SMLBC-2 Mike Trout (Stars of MLB Chrome insert)

So yeah, Topps is doing this generic insert set again, in regular and Chrome versions. Yawn..
#280 Julio Urias (Rainbow Foil parallel)

The Rainbow Foils look nice. The stars in the lower corners really stand out with these parallels.
#SMLB-14 Bryce Harper (Stars of MLB insert)
#SMLB-7 Jose Ramirez (Stars of MLB insert)
#SMLB-27 Freddie Freeman (Stars of MLB insert)
#SMLB-24 Pete Alonso (Stars of MLB insert)
#T88-78 Robin Yount (1988 Topps Baseball 35th Anniversary insert)
Topps shows it can in fact move on from the 1987 design with this years 1988 tribute. I will say I'm torn with showing players who were actually in the 1988 set. I think I'd appreciate more if Topps only did this for the Hall of Famers who appeared in the set (and not to Hall of Famers who weren't).
#22GH-20 Mike Yastrzemski (2022 Greatest Hits insert)
It's a Mike Yastrzemski hot pack! I like the concept of this insert set, but the design is so-so. And what's with the demonic shadow hovering around the red area? 
#313 Cal Mitchell (RC)
#74 Tarik Skubal
#171 Mychal Givens
#132 Gavin Sheets
#204 Manuel Margot
#210 Not Bad, Rook! (CL)
After all these years later, and Miggy still has that childlike smile he had when he was a young Marlin. His love for the game is going to one of the things I'll miss most about him once he retires after this season.
#54 Marcus Stroman
#5 Albert Pujols
Speaking of retirement, kudos to Topps for giving an all-time great a proper sunset card. (They even gave him card #5!)
#320 Cade Cavalli (RC)
#151 Tyler Wells
#261 Martin Perez
#183 Seiya Suzuki
#269 Steven Matz
#182 Nick Pratto (RC)
#68 William Contreras
#66 Brandon Crawford
#154 Jonathan Aranda (RC)
#60 Josh Rojas
#279 Yu Darvis
Am I the only one who is over the City Connect Uniforms? They were fun little money grabs at first, but I'm getting tired of seeing so many alternate uniforms on baseball cards. The Negro League throwbacks never got this much exposure.
#259 Mark Appel (RC)
#326 Walk-Off Waterfall (CC, CL)
#190 Bro Time (CL)
#226 Michael Harris II (ASR, RC)
#194 Josh Staumont
#220 Chicago Cubs (TC)
#292 Texas Rangers (TC)
#113 Star Power (CC, CL)
#174 Celebration In Seattle (CC, CL)
#70 Darin Ruf
#168 Atlanta Braves (TC)
So there you have it. This is likely the last "pure" Topps base set before we start seeing the Fanatics trademark, right?


  1. Wondering if a pack will appear in the next time travel trade. It's been my source for the first new cards of the year for the past few years.

    Speaking of which, mailed out two PWEs to you today. Thanks!

    1. Had you read my post on Friday, you would know the answer to that ;)

  2. I think you're right about Fanatics taking over after this year, which was why I considered pursuing this set. But the jumbotron-headshot graphic takes up a lot of real estate and crops a lot of photos. That said, there are nice ones in this set. And I need to pick up that Yount insert somehow.

  3. Yeah, that team name really could be gone since you have the large team logo. I too am over the City Connect uniforms. Thanks for showing off the cards!

  4. Opened up a box that came from our Walmart...our Target was already out.

    I really like these cards, especially the Miggy/Greene card.

    I'm going to try and complete the Greene Rainbow 🌈 as far as I can get.

    Good Job! 👍

  5. Yup, city connects are played. ... I'll trade the '88-themed Devers for that foil Urias.

  6. Your scanner was born to meet the Rainbow Foil cards.

    That Yaz card made the phone feel heavy in my left hand.