Like many collectors, I have been almost completely shutout from buying any unopened product at retail locations in 2020. Between the pandemic reducing my trips to these locations drastically, and the flipping vultures who purchase every bit of product the second it hits the shelves, it's been hopeless. In order to satisfy my itch to rip, I've had to modify my tactics a bit.
It was for these reasons that I recently succumbed to an offer in my daily email digest from Topps. Most of the time I scroll quickly through the available items, click Delete, and move on with my day. A few weeks ago though I saw a product that looked intriguing, and that was the Super '70s box (read: pack) you see above.
Each box features a single pack of 20 cards, at a price point of $24.99. Yes, you're paying $5 more than a retail blaster would set you back, but shipping is free, and as I said above good luck finding a retail blaster these days even if you wanted one.
Though I was born in the early '80s, and thus missed the '70s entirely, I still have an admiration for the decade and its baseball cards. I mean, just look at the awesome logo that Topps used on this box:
Sorta looks a little like Reggie Jackson meets Mr. Met to me. Long hair, a great mustache, tequila sunrise jersey, some cool shades, and blowing a nice bubble too. I'm no expert, but this is just about a perfect 1970s mascot if you ask me! This is the first time in a long time that I was impressed enough with the packaging that I couldn't bring myself to toss the box away. It's small enough anyway, and kind of a fun display piece in my home office/card room.
Opening up the box, you can see that there's an air-gap on the two sides, with the single "deck" of cards in the center. The cards come in a clear acrylic holder, and there's some black Styrofoam padding there to keep things fitting snugly.
It would have been nice to see Topps design a wax wrapper for these as an excuse to use that fantastic logo once more, but instead it's just some tamper-proof tape around the clear holder.
As you could plainly see in the above photo, the first card out for me was the great speedster Rickey Henderson. A satisfying first pull. I really just picked this up for the pure enjoyment of opening something. I don't plan to complete the set at this point, even though it is somewhat enticing at just 90 cards deep. Mostly I'm just hoping to get a few favorite players, and Rickey certainly qualifies. A cool opening card too, given that Henderson debuted in 1979 with Oakland.
It's obvious to me that Topps used the 1977 through 1979 flagship baseball sets as inspiration for the design here. The little position flag in the lower left is lifted right from '77 Topps, the cursive team name from '78, and the banner with the player name from '79 (though the colored banner contained the team name in that set, rather than the player name). As expected, this amalgamation results in a very '70s feel for these cards.
If a little over a dollar a card sounds pricey to you (and I agree that it is), I will at least say that Topps took it upon themselves to actually create card backs for these, which I have not always found to be the case with their online-only releases. They're very well done too, including cartoons (a must-have for a set paying tribute to the '70s), and they managed to fit that awesome Super '70s icon on there too! I have zero complaints about the design here, bravo Topps!
Second card in, and one of my top five favorite players from childhood. This one's a keeper for me. It does introduce one of my first gripes though about this release; I wish Topps would've stuck with subjects who appeared in at least one Major League game between 1970 and 1979. I get that they have to keep modern fans of the game interested, and that they'd never dare to release a set without a Mike Trout in it these days. Oh well, is what it is.
This Frank Thomas is just not an attractive card. A little surprised, and a little disappointed, that more effort wasn't made to find a better photograph of Big Hurt than this one.
I was going to complain that this Brooks Robinson card looks a little grainy, but then I remembered that photography wasn't perfect in the '70s either. Besides, we've got a Walt Disney advertisement on the fence back there. Yep, I like this one after all.
A decent cartoon on this card too, referencing Brooks' great nickname.
...because it references the iconic Paul Molitor/Alan Trammell RC from 1978 Topps!
With Robin Yount's card, we've now settled into a nice little streak of players who actually played in Major League Baseball during the '70s. As I said with the Koufax above, I don't feel like this image has been over-used by Topps or other card companies over the years. Nice Yount card, for sure.
I thought his cartoon was kinda cool as well, with Andre playing up his fans at Wrigley. A little odd in that he's depicted with the Expos on the front, but I won't be too harsh on Topps for that I suppose.
Roberto got a pretty good cartoon, too!
Since I don't have much to say about Eric Davis, I'll just point out that these are on a very appropriate Topps Heritage-like card stock.
One of the game's all-time great contact hitters, the late Tony Gwynn! Love the stylin' wrist-bands and that Starter-branded zipper!
Yeah, the active players just don't do much for me. Guerrero Jr. and Bregman will probably head out the door in trade packages at some future date.
As current players go though, I do like Nolan Arenado. Don't know if others will agree with me, but I feel he has a shot at Cooperstown if he can patch together another few good years here.
Awesome! Not only did I get a new Red Sox card for my collection out of the box, but it's also a very appropriate subject for the set. Fisk had some great baseball cards in the '70s, and this one will certainly have a home in my collection.
Great shot on this card of The Kid, smiling as usual. Not one, but two Expos cards in this pack!
That does it for the 18 base cards I pulled, but there were also two inserts to be had...
First up, a Magnificent Mustaches Wade Boggs. Great idea for an insert set for this release in concept, but a bit short of great in execution, I'd say. There are only five cards in this insert set. Think back to all the fantastic facial hair of the '70s, yet this fuzzed-out photograph of Wade Boggs with the Devil Rays (and with a pretty standard, boring mustache, to boot) made the cut? You can do better than that, Topps!
In addition to the 1970s designs mentioned above, 1975 Topps inspiration comes into play with the inserts for this release, with different colored upper and lower borders on each card.
If I was a little bitter over my first insert, the second one made up for it. Nolan Ryan was my absolute favorite player growing up, and I was happy to see this Ultimate Uniforms insert in my pack! I believe this is the same photograph used on Nolan's 1981 Topps flagship card, but I could be mistaken. Either way, a great end to the pack for me personally.
Topps really loved alliteration when it came to naming the inserts in this set, as aside from the Magnificent Mustaches and Ultimate Uniforms inserts that I pulled, there are also Happening Hairdos, Memorable Managers, and Spectacular Spectacles insert cards that you can pull from these packs.
All in all, that was a fun break for $25. Are there things I'd change about the release? Sure, it's not perfect, but it was an entertaining rip and made for a good blog post. At just $25, it's a lot cheaper than many of the products that Topps is peddling online these days, and brought me more satisfaction than many blasters I've opened in my day. I actually picked up a second pack of the stuff, but am keeping it unopened for now. Maybe I'll tear into it on a rainy day in the future, or maybe I'll sell it if prices keep going up over time. Not sure yet...
What's your take on Topps' Super '70s release? Interesting? Over-priced? Have you purchased any of these packs, or any other online products from Topps in recent months? Do you think they're a viable solution at a time like this when it's fairly impossible to find packs in stores? I actually found the price point and free delivery to my door in the COVID age pretty attractive, enough so that I purchased two packs of another online-only product that I'll be showing as soon as it arrives. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments though.
In case I'm not back tomorrow with a post, I'd like to wish a Merry Christmas to everyone who stops by here, and to all collectors out there! Enjoy the holiday, and be safe as well as merry!