Topps Baseball Set Reviews
2020 Topps/Topps Update
Set Size: 700/300
Players With Dual Cards: Rich Hill, Joe Jimenez, Luis Severino, Tyler White, Stevie Wilkerson
Card #1: Mike Trout
Subsets: League Leaders (10) Checklists (20) All-Stars (36) Home Run Derby (16) Rookie Debuts (8) Combos (10) Active Leaders (30)
The Best Cards: #U-98 Jose Iglesias
Notable Uncorrected Error Cards: #27 Brewers Team (longest win streak should be seven) #242 Alex Young (redundant RC logo) #259 Jaylin Davis (was Player of the Month, not Week) #U-216 Sean Murphy RD (Matt Chapman pictured)
My Thoughts On The Set: 2020 Topps was nearly not purchased by me. The feeling was at age 40, it was time for me to move on from collecting. But here we are. I don't know if I'll continue beyond this year, but I don't know a lot of things, do I?
The base set was deep and well-balanced except for one Ranger in Series 1 #166 Nick Solak; here's more on that). My Giants weren't represented as well as they could have been (No Tony Watson or Pablo Sandoval).
Speaking of the Rangers, all of their Series 2 and Update cards feature a special stamp acknowledging the debut of new Globe Life Park. So basically, every Ranger except Solak.
I wasn't big on the vertical name/team layout at first. Even though I got past that initial aversion, Topps did a poor job differentiating commons from subsets. Blink and you miss the Active Leaders or Rookie Debuts or All-Stars in the Update set. I long for the days of subsets receiving a separate design from regular commons...
In 2017-18 Topps, only a few lines of stats were listed on reverses. In 2019 Topps, full stats returned except for Albert Pujols and CC Sabathia, who saw their first two seasons (2001-02) omitted. This year all of Pujols' stats are printed (Sabathia was denied a sunset card). But the header still omits the word "Complete" from "Major League Batting/Pitching Record" on all commons.
Ian Kinsler received a sunset card. Sabathia, Curtis Granderson, Ben Zobrist and Brian McCann did not.
Also not receiving cards: suspended players Odubel Herrera, Domingo German and Felipe Vazquez, all of whom were very naughty in 2019. German was mentioned on the Yankees team card, however.
What endeared this set to me was the long-awaited Update Set, which was not released until the first week of November. My hopes of commons totally replacing the absent 2020 All-Stars were dashed, but it was kind of cool seeing past Stars in the current design, I must admit.
Despite a handful of redundant (players from Base re-appearing in Update in the same uniform) cards, there were loads of dudes not included in the base set. Plenty of relievers, plenty of rookies, even a Terrence Gore sighting!
Furthermore, the absence of an early 2020 season meant the return of posed front images for dudes with new teams! Who cared if they were doctored and/or obviously Photoshopped on their background? I sure didn't.
I've never been a fan of Active Leaders subsets because they fall out of date too quickly, and this year's no different (2012 Topps had one, as well). Topps ended up with about 5-6 Miguel Cabrera cards in the set...and no Pablo Sandoval.
For some reason, Topps discontinued the Update set US numbering, switching to U and a dash.
Historically, you always flip a Topps card bottom-left up to view the reverse. In the Update set, that is no longer true for many cards. In fact, some horizontally-oriented fronts have upside-down reverses...wonky.
2020 Topps falls in love with the terminology "spike curve" and "home run percentage", just so you know. Also, multiple cards make references to unnamed coaches, reminiscent of Score and their various "observers".
All in all, a fine set that I definitely do not regret investing in.