Sunday, July 24, 2016

Now or Never

Topps has taken Upper Deck's 2008 Documentary set to a whole new level. That 5,000-card set (almost) contains two cards for every game that occurred that season, one for each team. I went to a few games that season, and I'm sort of on the lookout for UD Documentary cards from at least one of those games. I always thought it would be cool to have a baseball card from a game I attended. Other than maybe a handful of 2007 World Series Game 3 highlight cards, I don't know for a fact that I have any.

Fortunately, Topps debuted a new concept this year called Topps Now. While it doesn't cover every single game, Topps is selecting three or four highlights from the previous day's games and offering them up on a print-to-order basis. I've been seeing them all over the Cardsphere throughout the season, but I just recently ordered my first one.

I caught a couple games when the Phillies were in town just before the All-Star Break, which I mentioned two posts ago. The highlight of the first game was Trevor Story and his two home runs, a highlight that showed up on a Topps Now card the next day. Still wanting to fill that gap of a card of a game I attended, I plunked down my electronic $10 and ordered one up.

2016 Topps Now #226 Trevor Story /1041
Though it's not serial numbered, the Topps website lists a stated print run of 1,041, which seems to be on the high end for Topps Now. Most of these cards just have a few hundred copies. And yes, $10 is a bit steep for a single card, but at least there's free shipping. In fact, it's probably one of the more expensive single cards in my entire collection.

And it's definitely the newest.

Trevor Story is quickly earning his place in the hearts of Rockies fans, including his performance last night, where he mashed another two home runs, good enough for another Topps Now card, which is for sale as I write this.

I missed that game, but I did go to two others in the past week in which Story added to his home run count, now up to 26. Tuesday night was against the Rays, and the only run the Rockies managed to put on the board after a two-hour rain delay was Story's solo shot in the bottom of the 9th. He got another one on Friday night against the Braves, which ended up being the game-winning RBI after the Rockies held on in a very shaky save situation.

Trevor's storybook season (pun intended) shows no signs of letting up. He's still got darn near half the season left, and has already eclipsed Troy Tulowitzki's previous record of 24 for an NL rookie shortstop. Five four more and he'll pass Nomar. A total of 39 will get him the NL rookie record all by himself regardless of position, and if he has another week like he did when the season opened, he could challenge Mark McGwire for the all-time rookie HR record.

I like this Topps Now concept quite a bit. The cards look and feel great, and they're fully glossy on both sides. The shipping time is a bit of a drawback, but the marketing opportunity here is huge. They could start running ads at the stadium as the game progresses and offer up a coupon code if you scan your ticket stub or something. Or hand out little redemption cards to fans as they exit the stadium. Just imagine if they started putting relics on these. I think the Topps Now concept is just in its infancy!

Another recent addition to my collection came from my mom when we entertained my family for the Home Run Derby, an annual tradition. She was at a local thrift store and remembered my 1988 Donruss post, the one where I wrapped up with Stan Musial's puzzle cards.

1988 Donruss #PUZ Stan Musial (Puzzle Card)
Well, she didn't find any of the full-size pieces, but she did run across a half-dozen examples of his card-sized 15-piece puzzle found in Donruss' Baseball's Best and The Rookies sets from 1988. It's in the same style as that Roberto Clemente puzzle that Julie from A Cracked Bat sent from my Eight Men Out wishlist.

Even though this is a standard-sized 2.5"x3.5" card, I'd go so far as to call this a mini. It's scaled way down from the full-sized Stan Musial puzzle, and contains less than a quarter the pieces. It's still big enough to read his key career stats, including his .331 lifetime batting average, 3 MVP awards, and an astonishing 24 All-Star games.

I do have a few extra copies of this card now, so if you'd like me to set one aside for you, let me know!


  1. Hey, sometimes you've got to splurge. The fact that you were actually at that game makes for a nice tangible connection and an interesting conversation starter.

  2. I haven't found a card highlighting a game I went to on the front, but Damian Rolls, '04 SPx card tells about a game I went to where he hit 2 HRs off of Roger Clemens on the back of it. I got Damian to sign it soon after I pulled it in '04.

  3. The game I went to last weekend was featured on a Topps Now card... but I just can't get myself to pay $9 on eBay. If the vendors end up selling them for less than $5, I'll grab one. Otherwise I'm okay with waiting 5 to 10 years and eventually finding it in some guy's dollar bin.

    1. Their eBay prices do seem to drop a little bit over time. But it would still be one expensive set to build.