As I mentioned in a previous post, 2014 has the potential to be big for Baseball. With Masahiro Tanaka coming over, its clear there will be some big cards to be had as long as he will sign. The first big set of the new year releases soon, and has a few elements in it that I really like. However, it also has some MAJOR flaws in its design, and many of the cards continue to be lacking in visual appeal.
A few retail 2014 Topps cards have started to show up as well:
For a lot of the baseball cards we have seen in the flagship set, I don’t think the baseball design team is even close to as good as the football design team. Even funnier, is that they may be the same people, but may be acting with different limitations. Either way, im not a fan of the way this product has turned out over the last few years.
That being said, for the first time, Topps Strata Signature Relics will be crossing over to Baseaball, and all collectors should be EXTREMELY excited about them. They are easily some of my favorite football cards of the year, and I cannot be more excited they will be in this year’s baseball product. The checklist looks to be pretty good, and I would guess the cards turn out as nicely as they have before.
Here are the football versions for reference:
As for the rest of the cards, I like that they are making clear acetate versions of the base, which have worked VERY well in other sets. I also think the base design is really nice, over 2013 which I didn’t like as much. Topps baseball is almost always about the set than about the hits, and that leads to some of the issues that are going on, I would guess. I just wish that companies would move away from the trapped signature and relic designs and integrate the stickers flawlessly as if they were on card autos. No reason AT ALL to make the sticker its own separated element.
Bottom line, I think the hobby is moving away from sets like Topps baseball, and there are quite a few people who aren’t willing to let go. I would go as far as saying that baseball collectors are finally moving towards being more hit focused as the last of the set collectors move on, and I am perfectly fine with that. All things considered, we are approaching the end of an era, and though I don’t really mind, its not a good thing. Losing collectors is bad for business, but I don’t think sets like Topps 1 or 2 really are the big draws to bring them back. Just my opinion.