The First Pack – 2019 Topps

There’s something special about the first baseball cards of a new year. Especially Topps. It’s been the standard set of baseball cards since 1952.

I don’t really get excited for Topps series one. Sure, it’s nice to have a new year of baseball cards being released, but the set is not even a top five release for me. But that all changes when I rip open the first pack. I’m wisked away to 1989 when it all began (sort of). My first set build was 1989 Topps, so each new year takes me back.

This week series one was released, and I didn’t venture out Wednesday to look at my local Target for blasters on account of the -55 degree windchills. So, after work Thursday I checked and the shelf was fully stocked.

Five blasters was what I had decided ripping, and possibly a hobby box this weekend. Last week, the About the Cards podcast asked its followers to tweet the first card from the first pack. It was Big Shep that posed the question, and one of his collections is Rockies rookie Garrett Hampson. No lie, this was the top card of my first pack.

How do you choose what exactly is the first card? For me, I say it’s the top facing card from the face of the wrapper. You open the cards from the back crease, and that card is backwards facing. I don’t count that. It got me thinking that I should post the results of my first pack. There’s supposed to be a book of this very premise where the author opened a pack of 1986 Topps baseball cards and went off to interview each player depicted in that pack of cards. I check in every now and then and it’s been a work in progress for five years and still hasn’t been published. I digress.

Card two was Reds outfielder Jesse Winker. I love this year’s design, and maybe I’m still in the honeymoon period of 2019 baseball cards being real. Usually I’m an old codger reflecting back on classic designs of my 1980’s childhood. Basically a “get off my lawn” attitude. My favorite part of the design is the player name with last name being big and bold.

Two of the first three cards are Rockies. Here’s pitcher Antonio Senzatela. Did you know Senzatela is the only pitcher since Joe Niekro in 1980 to post a relief win and drive in the only run of a 1-0 game? I love Topps stats, and learned so much about baseball history as a child reading baseball card backs.

The dreaded run of horizontal cards. First up is Braves pitcher Kevin Gausman. I guess it’s tough to get a good variety of pitcher in-action photos if you don’t pick some horizontal shots.

But I just dislike horizontal shots like the next card of Indians pitcher Andrew Miller. Now he’s a Cardinal, yuck.

Now this is a horizontal image I like. Diving photo of Royals outfielder Brett Phillips. Great looking card.

The middle of the pack is where the inserts are slotted. Mike Piazza is part of the Grapefruit League Greats set. The back explains how spring training helped Piazza transition from first base to catcher in the Dodgers organization.

Target and Wal-Mart each have a Retail only subset. Wal-Mary features a highlights set of Braves young star Ronald Acuna, while Target gets Gleyber Torres. I’m partial to Torres since he came up in the Cubs system before being traded to the Yankees as part of the Aroldis Chapman deal in 2016.

Salvador Perez pictured at bat. I must be attracted to these Royals cards because of the color blue.

Standard batting stance for Miguel Cabrera. Boring looking card.

A new take from a pitching photo. Almost looks like a drone shot. Love the angle here, too bad it’s a Cardinals hurler, though Miles Mikolas will be a good one.

This Martin Perez photo looks like it’s taken at the same height as the previous Mikolas card, just at a slightly different angle.

Pitchers on a run here with Mattthew Boyd of the Tigers.

Last card of the pack is Blake Snell. The American League Cy Young award winner in 2018. Plus and minus on Snell’s card back. I like that Topps included all of his minor league stats, but it takes away any good obscure trivia facts on Snell.

That was my first pack of 2019 Topps. Stay tuned as I review the Chicago Cubs cards from my five boxes.

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