Featured Cards: 2011 Topps Phillies Team Set, #PHI11, Wilson Valdez; 2011 Topps Update Series #US189, Wilson Valdez
Yesterday, I spent the necessary time to properly file away the last few weeks worth of acquisitions into my collection — this involves a combination of binders and 3200-count boxes. While doing so, it came to my attention that Wilson Valdez received a rare treat from Topps: its Update Series card of him uses a completely different photo than his Topps Phillies Team card from the start of the season, and it shows a different position for him as well.
It gets even better — Topps completely replaced the text blurb and mini-photo inset on the back of the cards as well.
Now, under normal circumstances, I’d be ridiculously pleased by this. A bench player receiving such a treatment? Awesome. Hell, Topps didn’t do that for either Ryan Howard or Jimmy Rollins this year, and the two of them normally receive that treatment (Note: Cliff Lee’s Update Series card also uses different photos than his Topps Phillies Team card.) However, in light of my realization a couple days ago that Topps did not issue an Antonio Bastardo card this year, I’m actually disappointed that Topps did this rather than give Bastardo his due. Hell, I’d rather have seen a Vance Worley card (he only appeared in the Heritage set) or a proper John Mayberry card, who — as I noted a few days ago — received a Silk Collection card even though he didn’t receive a card in the main set, the Update Seriess or Topps Phillies Team set.
(Quick aside: I wonder how many other players have had a Silk Collection card without having a regular-issue card. It’s a rare case where a parallel isn’t actually a parallel, and it makes me wonder why Topps ultimately makes the decisions it does.)
All this does, for me anyway, is further illustrate the point that Topps needs competition. It knows exactly how many sets in a year it can make, but rather than properly marshal those resources in an effort to appease as many collectors as possible, it consistently shows nothing but indifference to team collectors, who indirectly probably make of more of the company’s business than they realize. Ultimately, I feel bad about picking on Wilson Valdez — who had nothing to do with this — on this particular issue. Out of the context of some of Topps’s other decisions, I think the new card is awesome. Having said that, I really would have rather had a proper card for Mayberry, Bastardo or one of the other bench players or relievers who did not receive a card this year.