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The first 2009 card break! I’ve only been back in the hobby for a year or so, but it’s so refreshing to begin again this yearly routine — wait patiently for the new cards to come, open the packs, start sorting, admire the cards, and then off into brand new 5000-count boxes. Now if only Manny would quit the charade and sign already (p.s. we all knew you wouldn’t go to D.C.)

My local Target finally put out its double-wide gravity feeder of 2009 Topps. Strangely, not unlike others out there, it appears retail outlets received their allocations of 09 Topps prior to hobby outlets. I know my hobby source hasn’t received theirs yet — which is irritating as I want more than just retail packs!

I bought five packs, and ended up with 49 base cards, five ToppsTown cards, one gold parallel, one Turkey Red insert, one Legends of the Game insert, and one Legends of the Game parallel, for a total of 58 cards. No, I wasn’t shorted — apparently the Students Work Hard cards and Topps Attax code cards count towards your total of 12.


Initially, I was irritated to learn that one of my 12 cards per pack would be these more or less useless ToppsTown inserts. However, in increasing the cards per pack to 12 from last year’s 10, Topps makes room for the insert as well as another card. This means a hobby box will yield 396 non-ToppsTown cards, which makes completing Series 1 conceivable with just one hobby box. Twenty-six of those 396 remaining cards are slated to be inserts, with the following ratios:

6 Legends of the Game inserts
9 Turkey Red inserts
6 Ring of Honor inserts
4 Numbered parallels
1 World Baseball Classic redemption

That’s 370 potential base cards per hobby box. That should, provided there’s good collation, yield an entire set. Looks like Topps was listening to collectors like myself after all.

While the collation looks like it won’t drive me mad, the parallels once again probably will. After glancing at the sell sheets, I knew that the Legends of the Game subset would be one I’d chase. But as you can see, that subset of course, has parallels. It does appear however, that the parallels are limited to the retail version — this makes sense, as these packs came from Target. Nonetheless, the these stupid parallels even exist is room enough for frustration.

I’ve been very impressed with the inserts from Topps, and this year is no exception. I figured it’d be hard to top last years Trading Card History and 50th Anniversary All-Rookie Team. The aforementioned Legends of the Game as well as Turkey Red look promising too. And with more cards per box, insert collecting doesn’t take away from base set collecting.

The first two Dodgers of the year are Chad Billingsley and Joe Torre.



Last year, Andy LaRoche was the first Dodger to appear, and incidentally, Chad Billingsley was the last. Bills gets to lead off in 2009. And of course, Torre’s Dodger “RC” of course didn’t come out until Series 2 last year.

Overall, I’m pretty thrilled with the design. The last three years of Topps have had their issues. 2006 was just not easy on the eyes — hated the font and the colors. 2007 looked great, but the black borders made them susceptible to dinged corners. 2008 returned to the white borders, but the quasi-retro design was lacking. 2009’s design is easily my favorite since 2005.



  1. I noticed the 12 cards per pack as well in the retail version, but all the hobby sells still show 10 cards in a 36 pack hobby box. Here’s hoping they’ve upped that number without telling anyone.

  2. Hey, just got your comment regarding my Ethier Turkey Red. I’ll swap it for the Hunter Pence if that’s available. Seems pretty even to me. What do you have planned for that Ted Williams Legends card?

    • I would, but I want to put together the whole insert set. What else can I interest you in?

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