top of page
file.jpg
  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

Ranking Topps Baseball Card Designs (2010-2024)

by Paul Semendinger

***

As we wait for the season to begin, I thought it might be fun to look back at some of the old Topps baseball card sets and rank the designs.


We're now up to 2010-2024.


Here are the designs year-by-year:


2010



2011


2012


2013


2014


2015


2016


2017


2018


2019


2020



2021



2022



2023



2024




Some thoughts:


By the time 2010 rolled around, we were no longer buying many baseball cards in my home. Long time readers of this site might remember that there were a few years when I bought one hobby box of Topps cards and shared the Yankees cards here, along with anything fun I acquired in that box. Ethan and I did this a few times while he was away at college. But, the the hobby boxes seemed to double in price a few years ago and the whole activity wasn't worth it any longer.


All that to say that for the most part, by and large, in a very general sense, I didn't spend much time, at all, interacting with any of these sets - even the ones I bought. (For those, I opened the packs, showed the Yankees cards on SSTN, and then put the cards into a box to give Ethan.)


Looking back at the last 15 years of cards, while the designs are all different, in some ways, these all look the same to me. Some are nicer than others, but they all seem similar. They are nice looking cards, but they seem to be missing something. It is 15 years of cards that all have the same general "feel" to me.


I can look at a 1957 Topps and know what year it is. I can do that for almost every set through the 1990s, absolutely through the mid-1980s. For these, I can't tell one from the next - even though there are differences.


Ranking them was especially challenging.


Some general thoughts:


2010 - I don't like when the player names are shiny because they are difficult to read. This set is nice enough. I guess the blue shadow isn't the best. There's nothing not to like, but there's nothing to really like either.


2011 - Nice enough. I like when they use the team logos. The little circle is good. The shiny name isn't.


2012 - This seems like a combination of 2010 and 2011. Good enough, I guess, except for the shiny name.


2013 - A little different. The home plate design and infield is original.


2014 - This seems like a repeat of the previous year. They are different, of course, but to my eyes, they're the same set. I always like the Yankees logo on the card more than the script Yankees.


2015 - The marble-like background is original, but as it changes going down the card, the bottom looks like a cheap off-brand set from the mid 1980s. Topps had something here, but lost it along the way.


2016 - Nice enough. Why they had to cut the logo to fit in a shape I don't understand. It seems they were trying to make the card look like some television graphics.


2017 - They really tried to make this like TV graphics and it's a complete miss. A zero.


2018 - Seems to lack any originality. The name and such becoming pixelated is different. I don't know if it's good. This is one of those sets that looks like every other set.


2019 - Nice enough. Nothing special I don't understand the background design.


2020 - Sideways writing? A complete miss.


2021 - Again, it has the "feel" of every other set. "This time we'll do the same thing, but add diagonal bars!"


2022 - Another one of those "looks like every other set" set.


2023 - They did something a little different here with the head shot, but I don't like it.


2024 - I want to hate this set, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. This set is completely different than the others. It's original. Distinctive. Neon writing. It's not great, but it is very original. Original is good.


I think, in the end, these sets seemed to be designed more for adult collectors than kids, and I think that's why they are all less than appealing to me.


***

MY RANKINGS:


  1. 2024

  2. 2014

  3. 2013

  4. 2010

  5. 2011

  6. 2012

  7. 2022

  8. 2015

  9. 2016

  10. 2019

  11. 2018

  12. 2021

  13. 2020

  14. 2023

  15. 2017


How do you rank these designs?

8 Comments


Diego Meredith-Marquez
Diego Meredith-Marquez
Mar 26

My Top 3: 2015, 2016, 2024

Honorable Mentions: 2010, 2017, 2019

Like

bgrindler1
Mar 16

After my last post I was thinking along the same lines, the fun of anticipating opening a pack hoping for a Yankee or Met or your favorite player from another team or a "star" and not utility backup from the worst team in the league, or the player you already have multiples of. Then trading with your friends to get rid of the multiples.

Your not alone in your three pack examinations to determine which one to buy.

Like

Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Mar 14

2015-Gold, 2024-Silver, 2023-Bronze. Any card that's either illegible or lacks a player's position is disqualified and banned from competition forever, like an East German women's weight-lifter on more 'roids than A-Fraud, Clemens and Pettitte combined.

Like

bgrindler1
Mar 14

I would also venture that by this time "premium" cards had became the rage, spurred on by both Upper Deck's cards (though that really started in the 90s) and the new speculator market, so the thought would be shiny equals a high-grade product and will generate oohhs and aahhs.

Like
Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Mar 16
Replying to

I lived for the clear triple packs! There'd be like 20 of them hanging by a punched-out circle at the top from a metal rod. I'd take them all down and inspect the six visible cards for each pack looking for Yankees and Mets (or at least the absence of Jack Heidemanns, which I seemed to get four of every year). Assuming I could only afford one such pack, I'd pick one with the best six for my purposes and then dutifully replace all the rejects back on the arm (I didn't want to leave the proprietor with a mess lest they stop stocking them).

Like
dr sem.png

Start Spreading the News is the place for some of the very best analysis and insight focusing primarily on the New York Yankees.

(Please note that we are not affiliated with the Yankees and that the news, perspectives, and ideas are entirely our own.)

blog+image+2.jpeg

Have a question for the Weekly Mailbag?

Click below or e-mail:

SSTNReaderMail@gmail.com

SSTN is proudly affiliated with Wilson Sporting Goods! Check out our press release here, and support us by using the affiliate links below:

587611.jpg
583250.jpg
Scattering the Ashes.jpeg

"Scattering The Ashes has all the feels. Paul Russell Semendinger's debut novel taps into every emotion. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll reexamine those relationships that give your life meaning." — Don Burke, writer at The New York Post

The Least Among Them.png

"This charming and meticulously researched book will remind you of baseball’s power to change and enrich lives far beyond the diamond."

—Jonathan Eig, New York Times best-selling author of Luckiest Man, Opening Day, and Ali: A Life

From Compton to the Bronx.jpg

"A young man from Compton rises to the highest levels of baseball greatness.

Considered one of the classiest baseball players ever, this is Roy White's story, but it's also the story of a unique period in baseball history when the Yankees fell from grace and regained glory and the country dealt with societal changes in many ways."

foco-yankees.png

We are excited to announce our new sponsorship with FOCO for all officially licensed goods!

FOCO Featured:
carlos rodon bobblehead foco.jpg
bottom of page