Thursday, February 18, 2016

Boy Did Topps Blow It

I had some time to get into my 2016 Series One purchase.

Normally when I get a new series, I'll start by showing the Cubs team set.  Then I'll move on to the complete base set and then finish with the inserts.  This time, thought, I've got to start with the inserts.  Topps really did blow it and I couldn't wait a few days to get this up.

Actually, it is just one very disappointing insert set.  

Wrigley Field celebrates 100 years could have been an awesome set.  So many historic things have happened in the ballpark.  A 25 card set could really include some great baseball history.  But no.
  • Instead, we celebrate 100 years during the ballpark's 102nd year
  • We celebrate three players (Bryant, Russell, Schwarber) that haven't even played a full season in the ballpark.
  • We celebrate two more (Rizzo, Arrieta) with just a few years of time with the Cubs
  • We celebrate recent Cub hall of famers (Sandberg, Dawson, Jenkins, Maddux) but not Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, or Ron Santo.  How the heck can you celebrate Wrigley Field and exclude Mr. Cub?
  • We celebrate a Williams...Ted Williams, not Billy. Really?
  • We celebrate Babe Ruth's alleged called shot with a picture of the Babe at Comiskey Park
  • We celebrate the first night game at Wrigley, not with a night shot of the ballpark, but with a daytime shot of Rafael (Steroids) Palmeiro.  
But forget all of that. Lets look at three cards that leave me extremely disappointed.  How the heck could Topps do this??

I already posted about the marquee card that shows the marquee painted red even though it was green when the picture was taken.  Now look at the back of the card...

...Topps knew that it wasn't red, wrote about it, and then ignored on the front what was written on the back.

Moving on to this card of Greg Maddux.  The front is fine. That is August 15, 2004, when the Cubs held a ceremony honoring him for his 300th win.   But the back, well, take a look.

The paragraph plays up the fact that he left the Cubs, had great years with the Braves, and returned to the Cubs which allowed the fans to see his 300th career win at Wrigley Field.  Seems nice.  But...

When Maddux picked up his 300th win on August 7, 2004 against the Giants, the game took place in SAN FRANCISCO!  

The knuckle-head that wrote the card must have assumed that the picture on the front of the card was from the day he won his 300th.Nice job of fact-checking, Topps!

But wait, there's an even bigger and more ridiculous error on this card...

...for the seventh inning stretch (which should have had a picture of Harry singing, not Maddux and Jenkins).  Harry Caray brought that with him from his White Sox days when he started with the Cubs in 1982.  But not according to Topps.  Take a look...

... wow.   "Cubs owner Bill Veeck"?????  Really?  What absolute stupidity!  How could someone with any knowledge of baseball write that?  Apparently any semblance of baseball knowledge is not required by Topps.  The real story is that Veeck, the WHITE SOX owner, planted the mic in Harry's booth at Comiskey Park some time in the mid-70's.  

And the last line on the card...the vocalist never exhorts the Wrigley Field fans to root, root, root for the home team.  It's root, root, root for the Cubbies!

Does Topps care at all about accuracy?  Doesn't anyone edit or proofread the cards?  Once again, I humbly offer my services to Topps as the official Cubs fact-checker.


  1. I guess I'm most disappointed with Topps celebrating with players (Russell, Bryant, Schwarber) and events outside Wrigley Field's first 100 years. I think I saw a Cole Hamels card on Ebay... I'm assuming it's the no-hitter from this past year.

  2. It is entirely disappointing that Topps would have all these issues. It's also entirely avoidable, but they are too busy creating new JPEGs for Bunt to proofread or fact check.

    It's kind of like last year in Archives, when Carlos Gomez appeared as Khris Davis in the set.

  3. ugh. this is a disappointment. A smaller set and getting things right would have been more desirable and more collectable. I don't mind inserts, but if your gonna go to the trouble to make one, try and get them right. On the plus side it looks like this will be an ez set to pick on this year.

  4. Sometimes with images, Topps is very limited by what they can use. In the case of players, Topps can only show players of which they have rights. ... In the case of the factual errors, that is an issue and I will bring it to someone.

    1. Don't know if you can say or not, but does Topps still have rights to use pictures of Ernie Banks? How would it work with a deceased player? Same with Ron Santo. Does his family not allow his image to be used?

    2. In not being a representative from Topps, I can only offer an opinion as a consumer. But, in this case, Topps has been issuing cards for Santo, Banks and Williams for decades. Bumming the same photos over and over, but even in the case of last year, Topps used a photo of Banks with Obama which was awesome as it stepped way out of the normal box. Surely that could have been done. Surely the fact checkers could have done a much better job. Topps needs to be held accountable, rather than just saying oops and moving on. There are plenty of people like Paul who are more than knowledgeable, and there are more than enough resources to get these things right. College-aged researchers do better jobs than these so-called professionals at Topps. I went from being very excited to get the set, to now not wanting anything to do with it. It looks like (on the surface) just another excuse to pump out more cards of Bryant, Rizzo, Schwarber and Russell and include some popular HOFs just for posture. To which they must have had this planned for a while with Musial merch included. Just disappointing.

    3. Deals expire all the time. We cannot currently use Banks on cards. It expired. Topps would have to come to an agreement with his estate to use his likeness. Unfortunately, there were mistakes made, and those will be addressed. But sometimes, Topps' hands are tied are certain things like what images it can use on cards, and who they are allowed to put on the cards.

  5. And I thought Topps getting the year to Robin Yount's rookie card was bad on the back of his Berger's Best card, that was just one digit. It's too bad too, this would have made a nice continuation set though the series. Like Topps use to do, remember all those Mickey Mantle and Barry Bonds home run cards? Heck I kind of like the idea of an insert set celebrating the history of some the other great old teams as well. It would be a great tribute to the fans, like a set for the Reds, Pirates, etc. But you know maybe with some fact checking and not grabbing things off of wikipedia.

  6. Those are some freakin' egregious errors. Don't blame you for being disappointed.

    It's the 100th anniversary of the *Cubs* in Wrigley, isn't it? Of course, the set isn't called "Wrigley Field celebrates 100 years of Cubs baseball".

  7. I dunno. I can understand your disappointment. But, as a Mets fan, I'd happily take an insert set devoted entirely to my team, even if they weren't the players I necessarily wanted to see so honored and even if they got the most basic of facts wrong. I tend to buy cards for the fronts, not the backs. Remember Broders? There was nothing at all on the back of those, but people bought them because the fronts were so nice (at least until people found out they weren't licensed).

    Think of it like that guy explaining Christmas on the "Voyage of the Damned" episode of Doctor Who:
    "I shall be taking you to Old London town in the country of UK, ruled over by Good King Wenceslas. Now human beings worship the great god Santa, a creature with fearsome claws and his wife Mary. And every Christmas Eve, the people of UK go to war with the country of Turkey. They then eat the Turkey people for Christmas dinner, like savages!"