Thursday, January 21, 2010

Card-Ola: 2009 Topps Tribute

Now we're getting into the big-time, no fucking around, high-roller, wax! Let's see what I pull.

One box of 2009 Topps Tribute (supplied by Topps)
Six packs per box, five cards per pack

The Video

The Pulls

Base Set: 18 of 100 (18.00%)


3 Blue (numbered to 219): C. Beltran, J. Mize, L. Gehrig
2 Black (1:4, numbered to 99): C. Jones, J. Maurer
1 Gold (1:8, numbered to 50): G. Carter




1 Relic Base Card (47 cards, numbered to 99): D. Snider
1 Blue Relic Base Card (47 cards, 1:7, numbered to 75): A. Pujols
1 Black Triple Relic Base Card (five cards, 1:10, numbered to 50) B. Ruth
1 Autographed Relic Card (55 cards, 1:8, numbered to 99) T. Hanson
1 Autographed Black Relic Card (55 cards, 1:11, numbered to 50): J. Marichal
1 Autographed Gold Dual Relic Card (18 cards, 1:22, numbered to 25): A. Ramirez

The Scans

The Review

Tribute is a hit-or-miss, "lottery ticket," type of product. It was like that when Topps introduced the brand back in 2001, and it remains the same today. When Topps introduced Tribute back in 2001 it caused a sensation as it was their first fore into a super-duper-premium, $100/pack product. (Remember that triple-swatch Nolan Ryan jersey card numbered to 30 copies?)

But times, and The Hobby, have both changed. Had I ripped this five years ago, this box of Tribute would have been excellent. But now after a decade of similar high-end products, Tribute lacks the punch that made the early-00s editions so great.

What's great about this year's Tribute are the base cards. I'm not normally a fan of rainbow-foiled cards, but these are gorgeous. They remind me a bit of the Topps Gold Label cards of the late 90s, but with a mid-90s Fleer Flair-like thickness. Considering the demographic this product is marketed to, it's a shame that most collectors will overlook what may be the most beautifully designed base set of 2010.

Product Rating: 3 1/5 Gumsticks (out of five)

... and another thing.

I received this e-mail from a Stale Gum reader regarding the Babe Ruth relic cards people have been pulling out of Tribute and Topps 206.
"Hey Chris, what the hell is going on with Topps and their Ruth etc. relic cards of late. Looks like they are trying to pass off some wooden benches as game used memorabilia in Tribute and T206. People are getting pissed I'm sense a Topps uprising. I busted a case of this stuff and now proud owner of a Polar Bear Babe Ruth "Babes Ass Was Here" card.

"Here's the latest email I received from Topps:


Thank you for the inquiry, please note on the back of the card it says memorabilia. We apologize for any confusion but memorabilia can include a wide array of items and is not limited to just a bat piece. Again we apologize and thank you for your continued support of Topps.


Love the site. Thanks again.

John Popowich
Art Director
McQdesign Strategies
Calgary, Canada"

To be honest with you, it really doesn't bother me that Topps might have used a piece of a bench or a stadium seat, instead of a Babe Ruth bat. (Upon further review, the left "chip" on the Babe Ruth card I pulled out of this box certainly doesn't look or feel like maple or ash, and probably is from a stadium seat.) What does bother me is that nowhere on the card does it mention what the relics actually are. I'm not a lawyer, I just play one in the cardblogosphere, but Topps is correct when they say that "memorabilia can include a wide array of items and is not limited to just a bat piece." However, if it is not specifically labeled on the card, most collectors would assume (and rightfully so) that a relic card with a piece of wood attached to it is from the bat of the pictured player.

Whether it's stadium seat relics or base-card variations of Carlton Fisk, card companies have an obligation to tell collectors exactly what is (and isn't) in their product BEFORE they release it to The Hobby.

... and yet another thing.

The Autographed Relic card of Atlanta Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson is misspelled "Tomnmy Hanson."


Anonymous said...

I can't help noticing that Topps still hasn't explained what those wood chips really are.

Anonymous said...

Oy, it just keeps me farther away year after year with these products. It's not the price, it's the value and the ambiguity.

NMCLax24 said...

Wow, I'm not likely that. The product I like, it's the feeling of a bag being pulled over my head that really bothers me. Honestly, i think it would add more value to the product if they specified: this way they could have one card #d/10 or w.e. of actual babe ruth bat and the rest could be stadium seat. I think a lot of people would find stadium seat to be a nice relic, but it would emphasize the bat ones as being the ultra special find, rather than having an ambiguous piece of wood that no one has any clue what to value it at.

Also, does the stadium seat have to have been used by Babe himself or could it be from a bleacher seat where someone once watched babe play? If it is labled as being piece of Babe Ruth memorabilia I would think that the seat would have had to been used by him, otherwise it's just a piece of Yankee memorabilia, correct? Also, I might even value the seat relic more because if it was used by Babe, it would be a dugout bench would it not? and in that case, how many countless other legendary players would have been sitting in that same seat at one point, it's not like they replace the seat planks that often, yet Babe probably went through hundreds of bats in his career.

NMCLax24 said...

Quick question: how exactly do you go about getting topps to send you a free box of the product? and once you have opened the box for everyone, what becomes of the cards?

Peterson said...

I truly and honestly believe that this is the worst pricepoint-to-value garbage on the market. It's as if Topps had it made in Viet Nam or bangladesh and then air dropped it in ohio somewhere for it's release.
Next thing you know, they are gonna claim that someone else produced it outside of liscensing agreements...

Peterson said...

Oh, this one is and leaps and bounds above every other box break I have seen. we're talkin tragedy for what's in some of these boxes.
They tryin' to buy you off Chris? Cardola could get interesting in 2010.

Joe S. said...

Relics, in general, I like. They're over done, boring, trite, whatever. I get it. The ONLY thing starting to really bother me is the fact that the "disclaimers" are getting so vague. I have to wonder - do they do this simply to cover their ass but actually DO use real jerseys and bats? Or are we getting pieces of "jersey" from press conferences, or worse, Modells or Sports Authority?

Bluesky said...

If you don't make it clear that a wood relic in a high end product is not a bat, then that's lying/false advertising IMO

John Bateman said...

Oh, my did we get a shot of your stomach and (ouch) crotch during this video. I think I am going to be sick