Topps Sterling came out in 2006 to rave reviews, even a few upturned eyebrows on my end. It had on card autographs from the living players included in the set, and ridiculous amounts of relics and cuts for the people who were dead. I remember watching a few case breaks at a local shop and seeing a Mantle cut and a Dimaggio cut come out of consecutive cases, along with a whole lot of other cool cards. Basically it was the checklist that drove the product, capped with autographs that actually made the boxes worth while.
In 2007, the product returned, not only at the same insane price point, but with a crappier checklist and sticker autos. At this point the product became more of a one hit Triple Threads box with no retina-torching foilboard and the chance of getting a jersey letter at one per case. Collectors inexplicably bought THAT much more of this product, and it was cemented as Topps’ highest end product available for the next two years.
Well, its coming back AGAIN for 2010, and there is seemingly zero improvement to the horrid concepts that this product embraces. I have always said that the golden rule of Topps states that no product over 100 bucks should ever be bought, and it was mostly due to the complete crap that Sterling brought to the table. Although you now get more hits for the worst price point product available on the market, it still lacks in just about every category.
I think its safe to say that Strasburg will end up in this product along with a bunch of other guys that move away from the original intent of the set, and it may include a few on card signatures to boot. However, its still going to be stuffed full of weird stats and stupid sayings spelled out in lame die cut swatch windows, and booklet cards for the sake of booklet cards. I would normally be much more worked up about the audacity of Topps to try and skate through on the coattails of a set produced almost 5 years ago, but im just tired of the general viewpoint around the hobby in general.
As the popularity of products like this show, people don’t care about how a card looks as long as every inch of it is covered with swatch windows and jersey pieces. No matter that the cards look hideous, and that the foil stickers become the focus of the cards instead of the players, people don’t give a fuck about it. That’s what I am the most tired of, and it’s the reason why the people like me who care about design and layout are bored out of our skulls with products made by companies that don’t try anymore.