Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In-Depth Preview: 2009 Topps T-206 100th Anniversary Edition Baseball

By now you've probably seen some of the preview images for 2009 Topps T-206 100th Anniversary Edition Baseball. The set came out seven years ago in case you didn't. In all seriousness, the century celebration release makes more sense than the 2002 release, at least if you think round-number anniversaries are important. So what's in store for this late-season release and is it worth going after? It's still a little early for me to decide but hopefully this will help you a little.

The base set consists of 300 cards including a mix of veterans, old-timers and young bucks. As you might expect, Topps is bringing along some variations that are also shortprints. This I don't mind too much because you can put together the regular set without too much of a challenge. I'd actually like to see the checklist a little bigger to make building a set a little tougher. For those who enjoy putting together master base sets, a total of 50 variations will provide a chase component. No odds on variants have been released yet, but the subjects have.

Short Print Variations:
1    Ryan Howard
10    Andrew McCutchen
19    Mel Ott
23    Koji Uehara
28    Kenshin Kawakami
36    Jimmie Foxx
41    David Hernandez
44    Michael Bowden
49    Walter Johnson
57    Matt LaPorta
61    Derrek Holland
66    Ty Cobb
71    Dustin Pedroia
72    Rick Porcello
83    Rogers Hornsby
87    Ryan Perry
90    Alex Rodriguez
102    Hanley Ramirez
103    Andrew Bailey
107    Fernando Martinez
113    Tris Speaker
116    Chase Utley
120    Derek Jeter
129    Ichiro
130    Honus Wagner
137    Mark Teixeira
138    Elvis Andrus
142    Evan Longoria
143    Cy Young
154    Mickey Mantle
160    Thurman Munson
171    David Wright
174    Gordon Beckham
175    Manny Ramirez
177    Pee Wee Reese
181    David Price
207    Jackie Robinson
224    Roy Campanella
231    CC Sabathia
234    Grady Sizemore
237    Christy Mathewson
254    Johnny Mize
262    Tommy Hanson
268    Aaron Poreda
271    Lou Gehrig
274    Colby Rasmus
286    Tim Lincecum
287    Babe Ruth
299    Albert Pujols
300    George Sisler

The base set will also include a Bronze parallel set inserted at a rate of one per pack. Isn't the excitement over parallels in this set around the tobacco minis? Is another parallel really necessary? I'd prefer an extra base card myself.

Mini parallels return in all their many-backed glory, paying tribute to the original T-206 set that also had several different variations advertising different types of tobacco products. Mini parallels will come in the following versions:
  • Polar Bear
  • Old Mill
  • Piedmont
  • Cycle (#/99)
  • Short Prints (limited to the 50 short prints)
  • Gold Chrome (50 short prints, #/99)
  • Silk (50 short prints, #/50)
  • Carolina Brights (#/1, hobby exclusive)
Autographs and game-used relics fall two per box. Regular autographs will come in two different versions. The first is on the regular-sized card. The mix of vintage design and Topps silver foil stickers really don't have much appeal for me here. The second version sounds a little nicer - T-206 Autographs featuring tobacco-sized autograph cards held inside a classy Piedmont frame. Topps hasn't released images of these yet but due to the smaller size I'm hoping that the autographs are hard-signed like they are with Allen and Ginter.

NFA-1 David Wright
NFA-2 Johnny Cueto
NFA-3 Evan Longoria
NFA-4 Gio Gonzalez
NFA-5 Juan Rivera
NFA-6 Ryan Braun
NFA-7 Joba Chamberlain
NFA-8 Dustin Pedroia
NFA-9 Jay Bruce
NFA-10 Jordan Zimmermannn

T-206 Autographs
FMA-1 Gordon Beckham
FMA-2 Koji Uehara
FMA-3 Ryan Perry
FMA-4 Elvis Andrus
FMA-5 Jonathan Van Every
FMA-6 Glen Perkins
FMA-7 Jordan Zimmermann
FMA-8 Daniel Schlereth
FMA-9 Chris Volstad
FMA-10 Ryan Braun
FMA-11 Nick Evans
FMA-12 Fernando Martinez
FMA-13 Shairon Martis
FMA-14 James Parr
FMA-15 Mat Gamel
FMA-16 Michael Bowden
FMA-17 David Hernandez
FMA-18 Chris Young
FMA-19 Denard Span
FMA-20 Phil Hughes
FMA-21 Jason Motte
FMA-22 Clayton Kershaw
FMA-23 Justin Masterson
FMA-24 Vinny Mazzaro
FMA-25 Gregor Blanco

A few solid names standout a little but for the most part, the autograph checklists look quite boring to me. I'd be happy to get a Braun, a Wright or a Longoria but do we really need another Mat Gamel autograph or another Clayton Kershaw?

Perhaps the most intriguing addition to this T-206 incarnation are the hobby-exclusive T-206 Cut Signature Book Cards. They combine both a buyback and a cut signature in those book things that Topps seems to love to push. Not that I'll ever have one, but how would you display these things? Additionally, you could double the hits by offering the same buybacks and the cut signatures separately. With only ten cards, all being one-of-ones, I doubt that they'd be driving sales too much.

Like the T-206 Autographs, Relic Cards come in Piedmont frames. Adding to the chase factor are Polar Bear and Old Mill parallels.

T-206 Relics
FR-1 Alex Rodriguez
FR-2 Ryan Howard
FR-3 David Wright
FR-4 Albert Pujols
FR-5 Evan Longoria
FR-6 Chipper Jones
FR-7 Carlos Beltran
FR-8 Ichiro
FR-9 Hanley Ramirez
FR-10 Carl Crawford
FR-11 David Ortiz
FR-12 Nick Markakis
FR-13 Michael Young
FR-14 Hideki Matsui
FR-15 Ryan Braun
FR-16 Robinson Cano
FR-17 Miguel Tejada
FR-18 Prince Fielder
FR-19 Cole Hamels
FR-20 James Loney
FR-21 Brian McCann
FR-22 Ty Cobb
FR-23 Jimmie Foxx
FR-24 Jackie Robinson
FR-25 Babe Ruth

Although it's been about five years since I've been excited about regualr game-used bat and jersey cards, the checklist here is very good. Sure, Miguel Tejada game-used cards are easier to find than his age on his birth certificate but you've got several legends to make up for it.

Not surprisingly, Topps will be inserting T-206 buybacks. Printing plates will also be included for both the regular-sized cards and the tobacco mini parallels.

Although 2009 Topps T-206 100th Anniversary Baseball is a trip into familiar territory, it's territory that has about as much history in the hobby as any other. I'm personally not totally sold on it overall enough to go after it by more than a single box but I can definitely see this being a fun impulse pack buy. Seeing as how the original set stretched from 1909 to 1911, I wonder if Topps has plans to stretch this release out? And, no, I'm not trying to plant any ideas.

2009 Topps T-206 100th Anniversary Baseball is set for a late-November release. So even with a delay, it should be in stores in time for Christmas lists.


FanOfReds said...

The set looks/sounds interesting...but I'm scared as a set collector that there are wayyyyy to many rare cards (especially the minis) to be able to give this one a shot. Still, we'll see - I'll be sure to look for the set when it comes out.

Anonymous said...

So many far more appropriate choices you could've made rather than Kershaw to pick on the autograph checklist for. :(

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

is there a white stock minis short print

Anonymous said...

This set is more fun than a barrel of Monkeys, folks. If you do not have the Personalities, numbered to 206, yet, whacha waitin for? only 206 of each. Not mentioned are the T206 foils inserted in 2010 Topps. Numbered to 999, 499, 50, 25 and 5.
Finally is the true 1/1 Truefractor. BEAUTIFUL CARD!!!!
Only seen, on EBAY. Sold appropriately.
People who even make a stab at this are going to end up with some TOUGH short prints. And they are gonna sell high later on. the Carolina Brights are 1/1. That is more exclusive than even a 1909 Honus Wagner.