Saturday, February 8, 2020

The First Phillie of 2020: A 10-Year Low

We opened our first packs of 2020 Topps on Saturday afternoon and I have one word to describe the design of this year's offering:  Messy.  While the photography used for the cards is great, the design itself is a major distraction with bars, lines and rectangles cluttering the card fronts.  Depending on the orientation of the photo, the player's name could appear on the right, left or bottom of the cards when thumbing through a stack.

My wife Jenna brought home three blaster boxes from Target, and as we opened the packs the consensus was that none of us liked the horizontal cards.  Which makes it fitting this year's First Phillie was a horizontal card - #190 Aaron Nola - as found in my son Doug's first pack of the year.  This is a set that won't look great in 9-pocket pages given that every other card is oriented in a different direction.  The backs of the cards are drab and unimpressive.

I'm also again bothered by the placement of "special" cards throughout the set, as Topps interrupts the flow of player card with Postseason cards, League Leader cards, team celebration cards or team cards.  I'd like these so much better if they were grouped together as subsets.

Ben was unimpressed
Doug just wanted the Trout card
And finally, and perhaps my final complaint, is that the Phillies primary logo has been altered by Topps here.  The bell should be blue and not white.  The correct logo was used on Phillies cards found within the 2019 Topps set, so why make the change for this year's cards?  Based on a gut reaction ranking, I'm bummed this is my least favorite design of the last ten years and I can't believe I'm already missing the imperfect design from 2019.

Also, I'm getting old.

Subjective, Unscientific Gut Reaction Topps Flagship Set Design Rankings (2011 to 2020), Best to Worst
Best - 2015 Topps #309
#2 - 2011 Topps #242
#3 - 2019 Topps #303
#4 - 2012 Topps #98
#5 - 2016 Topps #15
#6 - 2013 Topps #6
#7 - 2018 Topps #26
#8 - 2014 Topps #90
#9 - 2017 Topps #247
Worst - 2020 Topps #221

Past First Phillies


Jim from Downingtown said...

I only collect pre-1974 cards, so the only real complaint I have about Topps is their poor airbrushing.

night owl said...

The horizontal cards are the only decent-looking cards in the set.

Not one of Topps' better efforts and I knew it when I first saw the design last summer. But it's definitely better than those 2016/17 atrocities.

Jim said...

Night Owl - Interesting observation on the 2016 Topps set from a younger collector . . . It's my son Doug's all-time favorite Topps design, and I quickly realized that's the first set he ever collected and the first design he remembers opening from packs as a 9-year-old. He feels about those cards the same way you and I feel about the Topps cards from the mid to late '70s.

He was upset I had only ranked it #5 in my poll and I think the only reason it scores that high for me is that I clearly remember the design from opening packs with him. If not for that, it would have fallen further in the rankings.