May 09, 2014

UPDATED 5/9: Which Cards Made the 2014 Topps "Top 50 Rookies" Buyback Checklist?

2014 Topps is here and the past few weeks have seen multiple eBay sales of buyback rookie redemptions. The only thing is, Topps hasn't publicized which rookie cards have been included in their top 50. It begs the question: Which cards should make the "Top 50 Rookies" buyback checklist?

Here's my shortlist. I updated it to include recent eBay sales prices:

eBay Sale $Sold/Unsold?
11952Willie Mays$2,500.00Unsold
21952Mickey Mantle
31952Ed Mathews
41954Al Kaline
51954Ernie Banks
61954Henry Aaron
71955Sandy Koufax
81955Roberto Clemente
91955Harmon Killebrew
101956Luis Aparicio
111957Jim Bunning
121957Brooks Robinson
131957Frank Robinson
141957Don Drysdale
151958Orlando Cepeda
161958Roger Maris
171959Bob Gibson
181960Carl Yastrzemski
191960Willie McCovey
201961Billy Williams
211961Juan Marichal
221962Lou Brock
231962Gaylord Perry
241963Willie Stargell
251963Pete Rose
261964Phil Niekro
271965Steve Carlton
281965Joe Morgan
291965Tony Perez
301965Jim Hunter
311966Ferguson Jenkins
321966Jim Palmer
331967Rod Carew
341967Tom Seaver
351968Johnny Bench
361968Nolan Ryan$899.00Unsold
371969Reggie Jackson
381972Carlton Fisk
391973Mike Schmidt$127.50Sold
401974Dave Winfield
411975Jim Rice$46.98Sold
421975Gary Carter
431975Robin Yount
441975George Brett
451976Dennis Eckersley
461978Eddie Murray$22.49Sold
471979Ozzie Smith
481980Rickey Henderson
491982Cal Ripken Jr.
501983Tony Gwynn
1984Darryl Strawberry$7.50Sold
1984Dwight Gooden$36.01Sold
1990Frank Thomas$51.00Sold

Update 5/9/14 - Am I missing something here? Why is a Frank Thomas rookie card—usually $4 max—selling for $51?!? Seriously, what is wrong with this picture? The thing about all of these newer cards being included in this buyback program is that it means a more hallowed card from the Fifties (or Sixties or Seventies) is not included. Thomas I understand. Darryl Strawberry I do not.

Update 3/12/14 - Not only is it interesting that Dwight Gooden is considered a top-50 rookie, but that it sold for $36.01! If this is his card from 1984 Topps, we're talking about a $3 card, at best. Why would you pay 12 times that much for the same card? So with Gooden and Strawberry in the top 50, my thinking now is that a couple from the 1960s didn't make the cut.

Update 2/19/14 - It looks like Darryl Strawberry's 1984 Topps rookie made the cut. A redemption card recently sold for $7.50 on eBay (2/17/14). This means that (at least) one of the cards listed above is not included as a buyback.

Bolded entries are cards that have been offered for sale on eBay, confirming they're being offered as part of this buyback insert.

Taking into consideration that these cards are buybacks, that would lead me to believe that they'll all be vintage, and that Topps wouldn't go to great lengths to buy back a 1989 Topps Traded Ken Griffey Jr. card and release it as part of this set, even if you could make a legitimate case that Griffey's rookie is one of the company's top 50.

"Rookie" is a tricky word here, though, as Mays's and Mantle's 1952 cards are not technically rookies, as both players' rookies are in the 1951 Bowman set. That said, my list does not include Bowman cards; if we're including Bowman, then Albert Pujols's 2001 Bowman Chrome autographed rookie would definitely be included above.

Another point is whether Topps includes Pete Rose's rookie, or if it opts to go with someone safer, like Don Mattingly or Bert Blyleven. As a collector, you'd hope that they'd include Rose, as it's the right thing to do. But remember how Topps didn't mention Rose by name as the all-time hits leader on the backs of cards in 2013's flagship set? I distinctly remember the company line being that their action was the "right thing to do" (I'm paraphrasing here). So when it comes to Rose, the "right thing to do" has one meaning inside the walls of One Whitehall and a decidedly different meaning in the rest of the world.

It will be interesting to see whose rookies are included in the official checklist, and what sort of hoopla this set will generate.

Another update: What's also interesting about this buyback is how much these cards are reselling for. I think you can chalk the high Rice price up to a newness factor, and that the buyback redemption was pretty much unexplained at the time of the sale. I can't think of any other reason why someone would pay 5x the going rate for a Jim Rice rookie card. (In fact, the Schmidt went for about double the going rate for an ungraded version of this card.) The Ryan has been offered three times with no purchase: $1,499; $999; and $899, though all as a fixed-price "Buy it Now." The Murray, Rice, and Schmidt cards have been offered as straight auctions.

One final thing: It has not been advertised if the cards received will be raw or graded. I'm pretty sure Topps would announce the cards as graded if it were the case, so if the cards received are raw, what condition will they be in? Did someone just pay nearly $47 for a Jim Rice rookie card in very good condition?


Stubby said...

Given Topps' previous behavior in these sorts of things, I'd say its almost a certainty that they would include Griffey Jr. Probably Ichiro as well. In fact, if Topps follows their usual pattern, at least half of the "set" will be fairly recent and of minimal value.

Cards from the Quarry said...

I'd bet the 93 Derek Jeter is going to be in there probably instead of the Bunning.

Ben Henry said...

Here's something: The Jim Rice auction closed at nearly $49! What's the difference between his original $10 card and the card you'll get as part of this year's redemption?

Hackenbush said...

I'd add Billy William's 1961 teammate Ron Santo.

joe don't know said...

Your list is surprisingly similar to those cards pictured in a jigsaw puzzle I received for Christmas.

xavier higgins said...

Straw's original rookie card was in the 83 topps traded set, the 84 base card is junk.

xavier higgins said...

I would hope any of the 80's rookies would be of the tiffany variety.

Bryan Tippet said...

Just received my Dave Winfield buyback. No 1/1 stamp, just a 7 8 or 9 grade card.

How should I feel?