Throughout my whole collecting career, I've never purchased new product so close to its release date. Usually I am content to see what ends up in the discount boxes or to wait for the price to come down, as I did with 2014 Stadium Club. I did buy last year's factory set on release day (which was the day after the All-Star Game), but the base cards had been out for months by then, so that doesn't really count.
So what newly-released goodness did $5 purchase?
|2015 Topps #45 Carlos Beltran|
Based on the pre-release images I'd seen, I thought this set was at least partially white-bordered. I expected to see the team colors on the bottom of the card, then a gradual gradient shift to pure white on the top. Turns out, that's not the case. The upper borders have a faint gray color that looks a bit like ice or frost. It's pretty faint, and it gets blown out a little in scans.
There is that ripple surrounding the team logo in the lower right, which is leading many collectors to refer to this as "the fingerprint set". There are a few other assorted curved lines and three rows of dots on the bottom that rather looks like something you'd find on a printed circuit board. Those concentric lines and various curves remind me a bit of 2014 Finest.
Overall, I really like this design, and I think it's been Topps' strongest effort in at least a decade. And there is that conspicuous and welcome lack of foil, aside from the Topps logo. That does make me wonder just how different Opening Day will look this year. It might take a sharp eye to tell the two apart.
|2015 Topps #311 Jhonny Peralta|
|2015 Topps #125 Troy Tulowitzki|
I just noticed that all three of those players above are wearing some pretty serious-looking elbow armor. I can't blame them, frankly. I was hit in the elbow by a pitch in little league, and let me assure you, it isn't an experience I'd like to relive.
|2015 Topps #139 Gary Brown (RC)|
There were quite a few team cards in this pack, which make up the bulk of the series' expansion from 330 cards to 350. Speaking of the Cubs, one of those team cards was a bit more special than the rest.
|2015 Topps Snow Camo #196 Chicago Cubs /99|
Topps may be finally taking a hint from their fans and cutting back at least a little bit on the colored parallels. There are still lots of them, but like last year, there aren't different border varieties depending on whether a pack came from Target, Wal-Mart, or Toys "R" Us. Those were purely an annoyance and I never saw any value in those.
|2015 Topps Snow Camo #196 Chicago Cubs /99 (Reverse)|
On the topic of insert cards, this pack didn't disappoint in that area.
|2015 Topps Highlight of the Year #H-29 Justin Verlander|
I was lucky enough to pull an insert of a Rockie as well.
|2015 Topps First Home Run #FHR-38 Troy Tulowitzki|
The last card I'll scan shouldn't be too hard to guess, based on the title of this post.
|2015 Topps First Pitch #FP-01 Jeff Bridges|
After watching that Bill Murray video, I think Topps missed an opportunity to engage internet users. How great would it be for this card to have a URL for the actual first pitch video, especially if Topps embedded it on their own site?
Anyway, to recap my first pack of 2015 Topps, I didn't pull any photo variations (I think), but a couple Tulowitzki cards, pretty good inserts, a fairly rare serial numbered parallel, and some wonderfully-designed base cards point to a bright collecting year ahead.