Topps Chrome in baseball has been a collector favorite for many years. MANY years. This year, now that we are getting a clearer picture of the brand strategy, has left a bad taste in the mouths of many vocal members who have already started opening the product. For the most part, the design or look of the base cards and autographs are not the problem (as expected), instead focusing on issues with proximity to other product releases, redemption and case content.
Here are some of the goodies up so far:
2013 Topps Chrome Gerrit Cole Black Refractor Silver Ink Auto /25 – Wow, I am holding out hope these cards make it into football. Amazing.
2013 Topps Chrome Jose Fernandez Gold Refractor Auto /50 – Uh oh, some editor is going to take some heat on this one.
2013 Topps Chrome Jose Fernandez Auto RC – maybe it will be corrected here?
2013 Topps Chrome Evan Gattis Blue Refractor Auto /199 – Really nice card.
There are a few things that have ended up very positive as a result of this release. First is that Topps has committed to updating the hobby through social media on the different progress on redemptions that are outstanding. Because this product seems to have some major issues with obtaining signed cards from the players, this is a very positive step forward. While there are still major issues with the whole process in general, this is progress we havent seen in over 8 months from a company that has been fucking terrible at managing the customer service aspect of their product support. Although the redemption issue is as much a player issue as a Topps issue, its clear they are starting to see its effects on the way their brands are perceived.
This leads me to a second point of positive progress. Obviously, there has been enough noise about the situations that they are taking notice and listening to what we have to say. Im not saying they have been worthy of praise for making changes, YET, but this is a good step. They easily could have told us to kick the tires and leave, but they didnt. Good move.
Here is the main issue with Topps Chrome. First off, Bowman Chrome comes out on 9/27, and Topps Finest shortly after that. I think its safe to say we are in for a long few weeks of baseball redemptions if Topps Chrome is any indication. They posted a list of the redemptions outstanding, and there are some big names on this list. Names that are consistent across the major brands releasing this week. Additionally, is there really a need to release three products in a row, with all the same relative target audience? Not really, at least in my opinion. Bowman Chrome is a huge product, especially with Puig’s first BC auto, but the thunder can be expected to be a bit muted now that we see Finest and Topps Chrome are sandwiched on either side.
We are also starting to see that there are odd variations that dont seem to fall within the normal definition of baseball cards. Although unique is a word that could be used to describe them, I dont see much point to making a card like this. It really defeats the purpose, even if they are rare variations to a readily available set. Someone should have mentioned that this is not exactly a great idea, somewhere in the production process. Its that simple.
That’s not saying Chrome doesnt have redeeming factors, because it does in the additional content (like silver ink autos) that was added. It has some nice autograph on card content that looks good when live – this fact is undeniable. Additionally, the brand still carries weight for the rookie cards of some of the bigger players. The design for 2013 Topps is well done, and as a result Chrome looks really nice. However, I feel as though this is a drop in the bucket considering the other issues mentioned above.
Here is the list of outstanding cards:
Aaron Hicks (25 cards)
Adam Jones (15 cards)
Albert Pujols (10 cards)
BJ Upton (15 Cards)
Buster Posey (1 card)
Cal Ripken JR (1 card)
Carlos Gonzalez (15 cards)
Carlos Martinez (10 cards)
CC Sabathia (10 cards)
David Wright (1 card)
Dustin Pedroia (10 cards)
Evan Longoria (10 cards)
Frank Robinson (1 card)
Freddie Freeman (5 cards)
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Jered Weaver (10 cards)
Justin Upton (15 cards)
Ken Griffey Jr. (1 card)
Mark Trumbo (15 cards)
Matt Cain (10 cards)
Miguel Cabrera (16 cards)
Prince Fielder (31 cards)
Robinson Cano (10 cards)
Will Middlebrooks (10 cards)
Willie Mays (1 card)
Yu Darvish (56 cards)
AL East, AL Central, AL West, NL Central Box Loaders (15 cards each)