Saturday, March 2, 2024

The First Phillie - 2024 Topps!

Topps mixed things up this year, making collectors wait until January 11th to reveal the design of its 2024 flagship set.  In year's past, the design was released in August or September and when the season came to a close with no announcement and no inkling as to what the 2024 Topps cards would look like, I was a little worried.  I prepared myself to be underwhelmed whenever the design was finally released.

My first thought on seeing the design in mid-January:  These are cool.  My second thought:  The neon-like team name is fantastic, and how has Topps not done this before?  This is what a baseball card in 2024 should look like.  It's a modern look with the foggy border elements Topps likes so much from recent years, but collectors are given a solid photo, a unique way of presenting the team name, the team logo and clearly legible names and positions.  It's a great looking card, and it springs to the top of my list of favorite Topps flagship releases over the past 10 years.

The set was officially released on Valentine's Day, but I didn't open my first packs until February 19th.  My wife Jenna found three blaster boxes at our local Target that day, and I happily opened all three after dinner.  In the past, we've made a big show of the first packs of the year, but this year was a little more subdued.  The First Phillie hunt was extremely anti-climatic, as J.T. Realmuto was staring at me atop the first plastic-wrapped bunch of 59 cards I took from the first box I opened.

This is an exciting design, and Topps clearly creates its base cards now to work well with multiple parallel versions.  It wasn't until I had the cards in hand that I realized the team name and photo borders have foil-like features to them.  Scans don't do the cards justice, as these elements can't really be seen unless you're holding them.  I had a blue-bordered Alec Bohm card in one of my three boxes, and I like the full blue border more than the smoky black and white border on the normal base cards.  That's my only complaint, and if I had designed the cards, each card would have a border color corresponding to the player's team.  I like the backs too - very clean, with complete career statistics as has always been the norm with Topps flagship sets.

Finally, it's a promising sign of things to come that three of my top four sets over the past 10 years are all recent releases.  With 2014 dropping off the list, here's a look at my updated rankings:

Best Five:  2024, 2015, 2023, 2022, 2019
Bottom Five:  2016, 2018, 2021, 2017, 2020

Best - 2024 Topps #194
#2 - 2015 Topps #309
#3 - 2023 Topps #278
#4 - 2022 Topps #249
#5 - 2019 Topps #303
#6 - 2016 Topps #15
#7 - 2018 Topps #26
#8 - 2021 Topps #79
#9 - 2017 Topps #247
Worst - 2020 Topps #221

2024 Topps #194 J.T. Realmuto


John Sharp said...

The JT Realmuto card is a good one this year.

bbcardz said...

"How has Topps not done this before?" I've been wondering about that myself. I'm thinking Fanatics/Topps brought in some new blood to think outside the box and create a this new and fun "Neon Sign" design. Kudos to the creator(s) of this design and to Fanatics/Topps for green-lighting it.

I also really like your idea of each card having a border color corresponding to the player's team. That would look great in a binder where the cards are organized by teams (like all of my binders). However, this might require some additional thinking about how to do the parallel cards.

John Bateman said...

I'll take your word "Scans don't do the cards justice" but on line the cards look kind of dreary - but the Realmuto is a good photograph