Shame on Topps.
I mean, really. First, there’s the silliness about the Jeter card, which has made finding a lone pack of 2007 Topps nearly impossible, and apparently not just where I live. The only ’07 Topps cards I’ve even seen in person were a handful of Red Sox cards given to me by the charitable (and apparently sympathetic) guys at the local card shop. I’m beginning to agree with the conspiracy theory that Topps did not just not notice until it was too late, as the company claims. How else to pump up lagging base-set sales than make everyone go crazy for what would otherwise be a 25-cent card? Frankly, if Topps wanted us to buy the line that they just didn’t notice the changes, maybe they could have been a bit more subtle — by say actually including all of President Bush’s left arm.
Second, there’s the matter of the typos. Granted, every set has typos. Some of them get corrected and turn the original error cards into collectors’ dreams (1990 Topps Frank Thomas RC, for example). In this case, though, Topps would likely spend all their newfound Jeter-spawned profit on ink and cardboard and high-gloss shiny stuff just to correct the mistakes found in this set.
For example, notice anything a tad off with the back of the Jason Varitek card above? Like, say, that the summary says he just finished his first season in the majors, despite the very obvious presence of more than one season in the majors? It’s pretty difficult to see what could have happened. The odd feat actually did happen (Youkilis, Hanley Ramirez and Varitek), and the paragraph actually uses his last name. But he clearly was not six hits away from .300 in ’06, or any other season, for that matter.
The excellent Baseball Card Blog runs down a couple more noticeable problems — for example the use of the wrong signature on Manny Ramirez’s card. The comments to that post also note another glaring error — the remarkable number of managers who finished with the same record last year and have the same career record. Of course, I have to take these claims at their word because — have I mentioned? — I can’t find a single Topps pack anywhere!!!!!
So, to recap: The Topps proofreaders remarkably failed to notice an 8-foot-tall amputated George W. Bush just over Derek Jeter’s swinging (and missing, might I add) bat, failed to realize that Jason Varitek was not a rookie, and failed to see that every manager does not in fact have the same stats as Joe Torre. They also somehow didn’t notice that Manny Ramirez suddenly developed arthritis and began scrawling his signature in crayon. (Which may actually be how he signs, for all I know — somehow there’s not a single faux-sig Ramirez card among the 46 in my collection).
The question, dear readers, is what exactly were Topps’ proofreaders proofreading? Because it sure wasn’t baseball cards.