Monday, December 2, 2019

1978 Topps Rookies online exclusive

Topps recently got me to bite on another one of their online offerings. As the year winds down, Topps makes a final push to sell yet more "RC" emblazoned cards of the season's top performing rookies.

Throwback Thursday Set #45 - 1978 Topps Rookies

I don't buy much current product these days, so I'm susceptible to the "fear of missing out" on hyped young players. For the price of a blaster, this 6-card (24-player) set takes care of that FOMO and at least lets me feel like, on some very small level, I'm a stakeholder in these guys' careers. LOL.

The print run was 1296 sets. Not exactly "low numbered", but limited compared to standard base cards, at least.

I suppose Pete Alonso was the breakout rookie of 2019, so good to have him included. I think I only owned 1 or 2 of his cards before this, though I'm sure everyone will be flooded by his cards soon enough. The other 3 guys on the card have had some good buzz, too.

I know some collectors dislike multiplayer rookie cards, but I've got a soft spot for them. I remember as a kid being thrilled that one card could cram in so much pure potential. Sure, you'd typically see just one of the guys (or none of them) go on to have a decent career, but it was cool when occasionally two or three guys on one card became stars. The original 1978 Topps 4-player rookie cards had some winners among them, with the most notable being the one with Paul Molitor and Alan Trammell...

I don't have my copy handy, so here's an original via COMC for comparison. For the new version, the fonts are a little off. The most obvious difference is how the '78 cards grouped players by position, whereas the 2019 version randomly scatters 4 guys per card without concern for position, team, or league.

Of course it would have made sense to label these "Rookie Stars", but I guess Topps is weird about using the word rookie sometimes.. perhaps due to legal/licensing issues. Whatever the reason, it's dumb. But "Young Stars" it is.

Nice to add a new Tatis Jr card. And cool that my hometown Padres got 3 players into the set (tied with Toronto for most), though Luis Urias was just delt away the other day in a move that I and many other Friar fans don't feel great about.

And of course you got Vlad Jr. included, too. He didn't have the monster year he was supposed to, but we'll see how his sophomore season shakes out.

Here's the last card. Off the top of my head, notably absent from the set are Yordan Alvarez and Aristides Aquino, both of whom Topps is trying their best to ignore until 2020 so they can have a full year of cranking out "RC" cards for them rather than sticking them in Update and losing all those precious months printing cards to sell. Both those guys exceeded rookie limits during 2019 season, so they won't technically be rookies next year (Yordan Alvarez won the frickin' AL ROY already!), but for marketing reasons, their rookie cards will be in 2020 products. Dumb.

As with all of Topps' print-to-order sets, the backs suck. At least they made a half-assed attempt to mimic the original back design. And they're on standard Heritage-style cardstock, so no complaint there. Just these 6 cards per order; No parallels or chance at pulling a hit, but that keeps the price down, so it's fine.

That wraps it up. For the price of a blaster, I figure this was a good way to add rookie cards of notable young players to my collection since I don't much current product.
Thanks for stopping by.


  1. I was wondering why there was a lack of Yordan Alvarez cards this year, but your reasoning totally makes sense.

  2. The reason Alvarez doesn't have a rookie card is because MLB set a cutoff date for a player to debut in order to have RC logo on the cards. Alvarez missed that date and that's why Topps isn't allowed to put the RC logo on any of his cards, including his debut card for Topps Now.

    1. Ok, maybe Topps doesn't shoulder all the blame, but I still think it's a dumb policy. Alvarez made his debut on June 9, 2019. In this era of flagship released in 3 series, plus the countless other sets that release throughout the year, it doesn't make sense to hold out a player's rookie card like that.

    2. MLBPA not MLB I heard. Tommy Edman seems to be the last man in. And yeah it's a stupid-ass policy. Cut-off should be the trade deadline (yeah I'm also annoyed that Grienke, Puig, and Bauer didn't make it into Update with the right teams). Not EVERY rookie should make it in but the fact that they can hold spots for All Stars and HR Derby in early July means that cutting off rookies in early June is just asinine.

    3. Also. Interesting to me that Edman didn't get a spot in this set. He wasn't tearing it up but he had a quietly good rookie season.

      Also also. Would it have killed Topps to make this a 9-card set split up by position so you could also fit an entire set on a complete page?

  3. Cool little set Gavin. I stay away from these for the most part, but have picked up a few singles long after release on COMC in some cases. I think if you were going to go for one though you picked a good one!