The long overdue Topps Baseball makeover has finally happened. The 2016 base version features an almost-full-bleed photo — a distinct and much-needed difference from the white borders that became a pillar in recent Topps releases. The new look is similar to the popular Topps Stadium Club and Fleer Ultra sets of the early to mid 1990s. A faint smokey effect on opposite corners of the base cards seems to enhance the photo and adds to the modern design. Additionally, a diagonal team logo is placed in the corner alongside a small text box at the bottom.
Although change does not come easy for extreme traditionalists — a large segment of the baseball card collecting hobby — Topps deemed the change necessary moving forward. In a press announcement, Topps senior art director John Doldan stated, “We have had a white border for so many years and it was sort of a staple of the Topps design. I think we are trying to move forward and make the cards a little more modern and current. I think gradually we have been going in that direction and break from the past a little bit.”
The 2016 Topps Series One base 350-card base set feature rookies, veterans, future stars, World Series highlights, league leaders and team cards. Mike Trout was voted by fans and collectors to be card #1. One of the more colorful cards captures the infamous Jose Bautista playoff bat flip.
The series also pays homage to late Topps patriarch Sy Berger and the history of Wrigley Field with special subsets. The 65-card “Berger’s Best” subset features an iconic card reproduced from each year since 1952. The “100 Years of Wrigley Field” features 25 of the most memorable Chicago Cubs moments.
The rookie checklist features:
- Hector Olivera, Atlanta Braves
- Henry Owens, Boston Red Sox
- Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs
- Corey Seager, Los Angels Dodgers
- Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins
- Michael Conforto, New York Mets
- Greg Bird, New York Yankees
- Luis Servino, New Yankees
- Aaron Nola, Philadelphia
- Stephen Piscotty, St. Louis Cardinals
- Trea Turner, Washington Nationals
The new look combined with unique subsets and a decent rookie checklist makes 2016 Topps a winner. Looking forward to Series 2 in June.