Our favorite mirror set from Hell is back, and Topps made a couple of goofs.
First we have here an Albert Pujols black parallel card numbered 26/25. This is merely laughable. I guess my cynicism was unfounded and the quality department at Topps really is that inept. Unless that's what they want me to think.....
This next goof is a little more near and dear to my heart. Brandon Jones is an outfield prospect for the Braves that is trying to win a platoon job with Matt Diaz in left field. There's an autographed card of Brandon in the set, and I thought I might try to snag one. Here's one of Brandon's base cards:
And here's the Auto:
Hmmm... Looks like this is a card for Joe not me. Apparently Brandon got traded to the Reds and came down with overnight Michael Jackson disease. So much for my Braves auto. Topps hates me.
The best thing about Moments and Milestones is it's a textbook example of gimmickry combined with artificial scarcity with just a smidge of overproduction. A cocktail that initially intoxicates the crowd but eventually leads to ruin, wrecking the hobby in a wild orgy of parallels before everyone is forced to check into rehab as part of a court ordered mandate. You remember back in the wild and wooly days of the mid 90's? and how when Upper Deck inserted a card with a little swatch of a jersey in a pack? How everyone went bugnuts crazy over them? And since everyone wanted them so badly every manufacturer started putting them into everything? And after a few years they became so dirt common, you could pick up pretty much anyone for a couple bucks? This is what Donruss started, and Topps is finishing with serial numbered cards.
A serial numbered card used to be something rare and special. Donruss Elite cards from the early nineties were numbered to 10,000 - an enormous number nowadays - but they were hard as hell to find and were a really, really, big deal. The print runs slowly started shrinking, first 5000, then 2000, then 1000, then parallels on top of parallels. This is still back in the late nineties mind you, so the numbers were still a big deal. Then Topps Stars came out in '98 and had an entire serial numbered set, complete with a bunch of layers of parallels. This effectively killed any specialness that numbered cards had, but the really low numbers were still good. Something numbered out of 100, out of 50, out of 25. I pulled a Greg Maddux Blue Foil Leaf Z-Axis die cut or some some nonsense in '98 or so and I about lost it. The card was goofy looking and had a big printer's roller mark right in the middle but it was numbered out of 50! Holy crap! Something numbered that low had to be special.
Then Donruss came in with their Parallelapalooza. They figured out that people liked low numbered cards. The problem with low numbered cards is that you can't make that many of them by definition. However, parallel sets were common and accepted. Different foils, slight variations, something just a touch different, and you got a parallel set. Now, if you create a WHOLE lot of parallel sets, and serial number them all to really low numbers, you can print up the same amount of cards you printed before, but now they have ADDED VALUE. If you rip a pack and get a crummy parallel card that looks the same as the other cards, it's pretty boring. But... pull one numbered out of 25 and that's a hit! So Donruss released a whole lotta parallels and now there are a whole lotta cards out there numbered to under 50. Not so special anymore. There's still one bastion of serial numbered sanctity and that's the 1/1.
One card. That's it. The only one out there. The only one ever. A unique little snowflake. You can play shenanigans with that other stuff, but this, this is untouchable. It's the only one! How can a company screw that up? 210 cards. Each card has a parallel card for each number of whatever stat on the card. Tom Glavine has 300 wins, there are 300 versions of that card. Each version has a 1/1 red parallel. I'm not even gonna try to do the math, but that's a helluva lot of 1/1s over a 210 card set. That's also not counting the 1/1 press plates in the equation. There's also 1/1 autographs, don't forget them. Net result:
378 1/1 Milestones cards on eBay right now.
True 1/1 cards selling for under five bucks.
Excellent Topps. Eeeeexcellent.
Kill off all this gimmicky crap so we can get back to collecting cards again.