Thursday, May 13, 2010

Opening Day Cubs Set

After getting the Topps factory team sets, I next set my sights on Topps Opening Day. This is one of many products that I knew nothing about. So it was time for me to do some learnin'!

Topps released their first Opening Day set in 1998. The design was similar to the base set, except the border was a different color and the Opening Day logo was added. This was during a three year run when Topps didn't issue a Traded set. I wonder if the thought was to do the updates right when the season started, rather than waiting until the end of the season. There were only 165 cards in the set, compared to 503 in the base set.

Opening Day returned in 1999 and Topps followed the same formula through 2008. The cards were always the same basic design as the base, except for a color change to the border or some other element, plus the addition of the Opening Day logo. The set was also much smaller in number than the base set. Opening Day had more updated cards than series one, though the updated pictures were usually photoshopped. If you wanted authentic photos, you had to wait for series two or the traded set.

After taking 2009 off, Opening Day returned in 2010. But the Opening Day cards lacked the design change as in years past. The only difference is that the player's name on the Opening Day card is printed in regular ink, as opposed to the silver outline on the base cards. I actually like that because it makes the names easier to read. The names also scan much better than the base set.

Over the 12 year run of Opening Day, there have been a total of 75 Cubs players featured. That works out to about six per season. I picked up all the cards from Sportlots, most for 18¢ each.

The 2010 set has seven Cubs. None of the seven were new to the team, so the cards all contain actual photographs. Three of the seven, Dempster, Lee, and Lilly, are featured in the base set's series one, and the photos are the same. The other four, Fukudome, Ramirez, Soriano, and Zambrano, will show up in series two.

When compared to the Factory Team set, four of the players (Fukudome, Lee, Ramirez, and Zambrano) have different photos. I wonder why Topps made the switch?

Here are the seven 2010 Opening Day Cubs:

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