by Drew Pelto, AKA *censored*

Wow, have I ever been busy. I just noticed it’s been almost a month since my last article. Unfortunately, it only gets worse as the NAHL season starts this week. Actually, that may be better– I have plenty of downtime on road trips.

In hindsight, there’s one thing I wish I had done with this whole series of articles. As I was starting on it, I thought “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to open a pack of each of these sets and kind of just write about what I got in them along with the review of the set?” But by the time I had that idea, I had already posted the intro and two articles, and realized that anything from before 1980 would be way out of my price range. Maybe I can do it in 2026 when Topps hits 75 years, and even put it into book form.

You may remember when I wrote about 2009 and 2011 Topps that I had only bought one pack of each of those seasons’ Topps sets.  Sadly, I have more of those than I have of 2010, where I bought a whole zero packs and only traded for a few autographed singles. So I’m going into this one somewhat blindly.

Of course, one could say the same about me reviewing the older sets. It’s not like I have many cards from the 1950’s or 1960’s sets. In fact, I think I have a whole two Topps cards in my own collection from before 1972 (a 1971 Gary Neibauer– no, I don‘t know who he is either– and a 1959 Hal Naragon– former Indians‘ catcher). So like those sets, it involves a lot of reliance on photos online and just reading through the checklists to get it done.

Why didn’t I buy much in 2010? Mostly I had other things to use my money on. My wife and I were planning a trip to Minnesota (which we will be doing again this weekend), and we had a Texas Rangers’ ticket deal, so we had to save money for gas for the 4-hour round-trip drive to games. And it was around this time that I stopped caring about the new sets. The 2007 fake error revolution was starting to sour me on the new Topps releases.

But despite my lack of interest, I really liked the design Topps used. It’s rare that a team is depicted by anything other than plain text or the team logo. But this time, borrowing a page from 1991, Topps used the team’s text logo on the front of the card. Frankly I wish that was used more often.  Logos are good and all, but using an alternate form with the jersey text instead of the cap insignia is a nice change of pace.

Oh lord no... Not... MORE FAKE ERRORS!

The front has all the info I like– player name, team name/insignia, and position, all well-placed and well-designed. They continued the A/B variation idea that I loathe, so it loses some points there. And the Abe Lincoln on Cubs cards idea. What next, Monica Lewinsky on the Nationals cards? Come on now. And the “Pie in the Face” variations– why only Yankees in Series 1? They aren’t the only team to do it. Nor are they the inventors of it. More “force the Yankees down everyone’s throat” ideas from our favorite New York based card manufacturers. Thankfully (I guess) they added others in Series 2.

Topps: Conveniently ignoring non-Yankees since 1952.

I like the backs too. I’ll admit, I’m a major stat geek. I’ve spent two years trying to apply Sabermetric ideas and principles to the world of junior hockey. So far, it is a failed venture. Anyways, Topps has started including OPS in the past few years on hitters’ cards and WHIP on pitchers’ cards. Good stuff. I love advanced stats like those, even if they’re the most basic ones. If they had more room, I’d love to see VORP, WARP, and Win Shares added, but there’s only so much you can do in a 2.5”x3.5” space without requiring the use of an electron microscope. Maybe get rid of the overrated RBI column.

Yep, I called RBI's overrated. What of it?

I feel spot #35 is warranted in spite of all the design strengths.  The reason being we don’t know much about the rookie crop in this set just yet. Sure, you get Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Carlos Carrasco, Josh Thole, Michael Brantley, Jason Heyward, Austin Jackson, and Stephen Strasburg among a group of 56 rookies, but to me, you can’t get a truly accurate judgment on the talent of a rookie class until 5-10 years after their debut. You could get some future Hall of Famers here. You could also get some Hall of Really Good or Hall of What Could Have Been types. Posey’s leg, Strasburg’s elbow, Heyward’s actual talent, Grady Sizemore’s occasional abilities and health limiting Brantley’s playing time, they’re all up in the air right now. This set has Top-15 or even Top-20 potential depending on how the players eventually pan out.

All you have to do is look at photos like this, and suddenly it makes sense why pitchers' elbows fall apart.

I’m still amazed that I didn’t buy any packs of this. Anyone want to give me a few?

About the Author: Drew Pelto is in too much shock that he didn’t open a 2010 Topps pack to write anything significant in the “About the Author” section. He wrote this back on Memorial Day while listening to KMFDM because off-days are highly conducive to that sort of stuff. And because he has a major crush on Lucia Cifarelli.