2020 Topps Series 1 Baseball ushers in a new baseball collecting season and few trading card options elicit the same excitement as the flagship MLB product. Formats include Hobby boxes with one hit and Hobby Jumbo boxes with one autograph and two relics.
Billed as the "Celebration of the Decades," cards are just one part of the historic 2020 milestone. The ultimate chase might just be the 25 golden tickets inserted in Series 1 packs. According to Topps, "Winners will be invited to an exclusive experiential event that will be talked about for decades!"
Releasing in June, Series 2 builds on much of the set while also adding in a few new things.
However, the cards are still the main attraction in 2020 Topps Series 1 Baseball. The base set again totals 350 cards, offering veterans, rookies, team cards, Future Stars, League Leaders and World Series Highlights to fill out the ranks.
Parallels are another option that further expands the large release.
2020 Topps Series 1 Baseball Base Parallel Breakdown
While not mentioned in the initial details, it seems likely that variations remain a staple of the flagship experience.
In addition to a fresh base design comes a new wave of inserts in the 2020 Topps Series 1 Baseball checklist. Heavily focusing on prior periods of the game, Decade's Best covers the 1950s to the 2010s with top 10 lists for the best Award Winners, Hitters, Pitchers and Teams.
Decade's Next is for the key up-and-coming player from each team, while Decade of Dominance takes a die-cut approach to the greats of past eras.
Collectors have their collective voices heard in Topps Choice, which awards the best design of each decade from the 1950s to 2010s by fan vote. These naturally have throwback designs.
Becoming an annual tradition, 2020 also celebrates the 35th anniversary of 1985 Topps Baseball with an insert line.
Nearly all of the inserts add Blue, Black (#/299), Gold (#/50), Red (#/10), and Platinum (1/1) parallels, as well as signed versions limited to 25 or less.
Retail-only Turkey Red 2020 (1 per pack) and Chrome Turkey Red 2020 bring back the past card design for current players. These both have Blue (#/50), Green (#/10), and Black (1/1) parallels, but the chromium cards are naturally Refractors and the one-of-one version is a SuperFractor.
Likely looking ahead to his possible 2020 Hall of Fame induction, the flagship set honors the Yankees legend with the Topps Now Derek Jeter Retrospective set that averages 1:18 packs. Hard-signed autographs for Jeter are numbered to three copies or one-of-one.
Fans of the long ball can also count on the return of the Home Run Challenge promotion. Featuring 30 different players, these cards average one per Hobby Box and one per Hobby Jumbo box. At retail, they fall 1:10 packs.
They can be tougher to pull, but 2020 Topps Series 1 Baseball offers many different autographs. The Baseball Stars Autographs line is not limited to just one decade as it spreads its gaze across MLB history. Parallels include Black (#/199), Gold (#/50), Red (#/25), and Platinum (1/1) versions. There are also Baseball Stars Dual Autograph cards, for those duos with a specific bond, limited to five copies or less.
Collectors can try their luck with World Series Champion Autograph cards for the 2019 winner, or chase playoff standouts from 2019 via Postseason Performance Autograph. These cards are each numbered to 50 or less with Red (#/25) and Platinum (1/1) parallels. Returning once more are the one-of-one Cut Signatures cards.
Even more '85 goodness is supplied with 1985 Topps Baseball Autograph cards for past and present stars. Numbered parallels consist of Black (#/199), Gold (#/50), Red (#/25 - Hobby), and Platinum (1/1 - Hobby/Jumbo) editions.
Largely mirroring previous sets, 2020 Topps Series 1 Baseball works in memorabilia pieces through Major League Material, Postseason Performance Relic (#/99) and World Series Champion Relic (#/99) cards. Major League Material also has Black (#/199), Gold (#/50), Red (#/25), and Platinum (1/1 - Hobby/Jumbo) parallels, while the Postseason and World Series sets only offer Red (#/25), and Platinum (1/1).
On top of that, the 1985 design gets another shoutout with 1985 Topps Baseball Relics. The parallel choices are the same as Major League Material.
The one-of-one In the Name Relics cards can be an impressive pull as each showcases nameplate letters from the 2019 MLB All-Star Game workout jerseys.
If your hunting signed relics in 2020 Topps Series 1 Baseball, check out Topps Reverence Autograph Patch (#/10 - Hobby/Jumbo), Major League Material Autograph (#/50 or less), Postseason Performance Autograph Relic (#/50 or less), and World Series Champion Autograph Relic (#/50 or less) cards. Each set has Red (#/25 or #/5), and Platinum (1/1) parallels.
Closing things out, Topps maintains its run of manufactured relics in Jumbo Jersey Sleeve Patch and Global Game Medallion. These commemorative relic cards are exclusive to Hobby/Hobby Jumbo boxes. Rookie Retrospective RC Logo Medallion cards are exclusive to retail Relic Blaster boxes.
Parallels include Black (#/199 or #/149), Gold (#/50), Red (#/10), Platinum (1/1), and Autograph (#/10 or less) versions.
Also tackling the '85 design, the 2020 Topps Baseball Silver Packs promo features exclusive chromium versions with numbered parallels and autographs. These bonus packs come in the sealed boxes at a rate of one per Hobby box and two per Hobby Jumbo box.
Shifting even more to a modern style, the 2020 Topps Series 1 Baseball design is again borderless. The full-bleed image adds a nameplate banner with a little haze effect that occupies one entire side of the card. In my opinion, this is more reminiscent of a Bowman design.
Another initial observation is that the layout for the names is a bit disorienting given that it is perpendicular to the card orientation. That means a lot of tilted heads to read the names.
Over the years, Topps has gone in many directions with their main MLB set design and 2020 joins a long and popular history of baseball cards.
If you need a refresher course, our Topps flagship gallery from 1951 to 2020 highlights all the designs so you can follow the progression and compare and contrast your favorites.
Estimated Release Date: February 5, 2020
HTA Jumbo Configuration: 46 cards per pack, 10 packs per box, 6 boxes per case
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