Having been recently appointed by Night Owl to Topps' new Baseball Card Blogger Idea Staff (or BBCBIS), this is my first suggestion for a new project for the good people over at Topps. (I'm not sure how often we'll meet, or how we'll all get paid, but I'm looking forward to this new and exciting opportunity.)
There are currently 289 members of Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and their ranks will add 3 more members this summer. Each of the members, in order of their induction, make up the first 292 cards in the new 2011 Topps Hall of Fame set, releasing in early 2011. Here's the kicker - each Hall of Famer is pictured on the Topps design from the year of their induction. For those members enshrined prior to 1951, Topps can chose to use an existing Bowman, National Chicle or other vintage design, or they can allow the esteemed artists serving on the BBCBIS to design Topps Cards That Never Were for those years.
The beauty of this set is there are no short-prints. Collectors will be able to buy packs, open packs, find cards they need for their sets and complete those sets. They'll also learn a little about the likes of Rabbit Maranville or King Kelly or Mule Suttles. To make the number of cards in the set a nice, round number, we'll allow Topps to fill out the set with educational baseball history cards, or maybe all-time record holder cards. I'm thinking a set with anywhere from 330 to 400 cards would be just about right. (And I repeat - no short prints.)
If Topps absolutely insists on it, we'll allow only 2 insert sets (at most) or we'll allow parallel cards of each of the base cards featuring the actual 2011 Topps base set design. But that's it. Abe Lincoln or James Knox Polk won't be showing up on any super short-printed 2011 Topps Hall of Fame baseball cards, that's for sure.
To kick things off, here's card #159 in the set - Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, inducted in 1976. I'll invite other members of the newly-formed BBCBIS to submit creations of their own.
And thanks again to Night Owl for the appointment!