2011 Topps Tier One BaseballBrand: Topps Tier One
2011 Topps Tier One Baseball Product Review
Reviewed by Paul Lesko
Good: Nice card stock, great chance at pulling a variety of rookies, stars and legends, low-numbered cards, overall intriguing product.
Bad: Fast break at one pack per box, but, you know that going in.
The Bottom Line: There are not many products that allow you to get multiple big hits from such a variety of players. 2011 Topps Tier One is definitely a fun product to break. Almost any collector should find something that impresses them.
Card Design: 4.8/5.0
2011 Topps Tier One has a great design. The card stock has nice feel coming out of the box and straight into a sleeve. The use of white space on the autos allows for big signatures. Also, the relic cards are well designed, although the ambiguous disclaimers that the cards are not from any specific game or season diminishes their value. While I'm normally not that into base cards, the simplicity of the design and numbering on these cards makes them more enjoyable. In essence, even the base cards are refractors.
I'm normally a prospector, but the chance of pulling current stars or legends in addition to rookies on the rise was more fun than I initially expected. Sure, there are duds in there (I pulled an Eric Sogard autograph), but there are also some great pulls (which was quickly balanced out by a Koufax dual relic). Also, the low-numbered cards really add value to a product that covers a lot of ground. I'm only slightly kidding when I say the absence of Bryce Harper from this product was a welcome relief.
For the price, this set offers an experience that should cover multiple bases for collectors. Normally, I'm a prospector, but the most fun pulls here were the stars and legends. Also, consider that these boxes go for just a little more than 2011 Bowman Chrome hobby boxes, but Tier One has two autographs and one relic (without all of those base cards you'll never look at again). With the Tier One checklist it's fairly certain there'll be a decent, if not big, hit in each box to make the money you spent worth it. It pains me to say it, but this product might have better value than Bowman, especially if you're one “hit" for Bowman is a Low-A pitcher with a WHIP approaching 2.
The Fun Factor: 5.0/5.0
The variety is the appeal. A chance of pulling a Pujols, Koufax or Hosmer, all in one box? With low numbered cards too? How can you not love to break a box? You're almost guaranteed to get one big hit too, if not more. Plus, the benefit of one pack means you'll know your hits a lot quicker without wading through multiple packs of cards you'll never look at again. If you can afford it, you'll definitely want multiple boxes. I know I'll be breaking more.
One of the trends of 2011 that few will complain about is a movement back to on-card autographs. It's a major selling point for the mid-end 2011 Topps Tier One Baseball. Single-pack boxes promise two on-card signatures and one relic card. Although the checklist shows lots of big-end signers, the key to this set are the lesser stars. A good chunk of the autograph subjects, particular in the On the Rise cards, come from players who are good but not necessarily great. It's reminiscent of 2008 Stadium Club Baseball, which offered one autograph per hobby pack. The set flopped largely because the huge majority of available autographs were from unproven rookies. Early checklist info for Tier One suggests a similar pattern for at least one of the two promised inserts, making the potential for a repeat of the Stadium Club failure possible (though by no means is a sure thing). Although there's a lot of excellent-looking design elements and compelling cards, there's also a lot that could leave some feeling a little empty afterward given the high price and expectations that come along with it.
Estimated Release Date: 11/9/11
Product Configuration: One pack per box, seven cards per pack
Price Point: High-End Baseball Card
Target Audience: Hit Seekers, Autographs Collectors, On-Card Autograph Collectors
- Two On-Card Autographs
- One Relic Card
- One Parallel Card
- Three Base Cards
- Seven total cards
- 100-card base set with each card being serial numbered /799.
- Base set parallels: Tier Four (/199), Tier Three (/50), Tier Two (/25), Tier One (/1).
- All autographs except for Triple Autograph cards and Cut Signatures have on-card signatures.
- All 20 Top Tier Autographs feature many A-list signers past and present. The checklist includes Hank Aaron, Rickey Henderson and Nolan Ryan. Top Tier Autographs fall one per 12-box case. Parallel: Gold (/10).
- On the Rise Autographs highlight 55 young and rookie stars. Parallel: Gold (/25).
- Fan favorites are the focus of the 55-card Crowd-Pleaser Autographs set. Recent stars such as Albert Belle, Edgar Martinez and Paul O'Neill are mixed with current stars like Brian McCann, Cliff Lee and Brian Wilson. Parallel: Gold (/25).
- Dual Autographs look for pairings such as teammates and franchise stars from different generations (15 cards, /25). Triple Autographs follow a similar pattern, except with three signatures instead of two (five cards, /10).
- Cut Signatures includes 25 one-of-ones from all-time legends including Joe DiMaggio.
- Top Shelf Relics provide a huge chunk of the memorabilia card checklist (50 cards). Parallels: Dual Swatch (/99) and Triple Swatch (/25).
- Prodigious Patches offers jumbo patch swatches for 25 players from today and yesterday (/10).