2011 Phillies Cards in Review: Parallel Card of the Year

To those who’ve been keeping up with 14,000 Phillies over the past few months, I’m sure that this category might seem somewhat bewildering. After all, I posted a rather lengthy five-part missive back in September wherein I unleashed a furious lobby of Sturm und Drang at parallels. However, that does not mean I completely despise them. After all, I’ve actually posted more than a few scans of parallel cards since beginning the blog, so clearly I collect more than a few of them. In fact, while I do believe that parallels are mostly a waste of my time and resources, occasionally I find myself pleasantly surprised by a particular parallel card or series, and I wish to celebrate the best of those in my 2011 Phillies Cards in Review.

I’ll start with the Parallel Card of the Year. The primary factor here is that the parallel captures a little something extra that base card design lacked. In other words, whatever changes Topps made with the parallel actually made the parallel card more desirable than its base set counterpart. (The same criteria applies to the Parallel Series of the year, but more on that tomorrow.) In particular, there were two cards this year where the parallel was a marked improvement. The first was Jamie’s Moyer’s Target Retro Logo parallel. I know that Topps made such a parallel for every card in the set, but I think that there should be a new rule: as an acknowledgement of how hard it is to do, Topps should put out a parallel card bearing the old logo only for those players still playing past their 40th birthday. I especially love the fact that the back of the card uses the same dark, harder-to-read plain cardboard back that Topps employed right up to the end of the ’80s. Do this only for all the old-timers! Unfortunately, the Target Retro Logo parallels have a fatal flaw: there’s foil (a holdover from the base set) all over the front of the damn thing. With no foil on it, this card easily wins the Parallel Card of the Year award.

So, thanks to this drawback — one that is just too hard to overlook — the winner of the Parallel Card of the Year Award goes to…

Mike Schmidt for his 2011 Lineage 1975 Mini!

Admittedly, the jury is horribly biased — I love it when Topps reuses old designs. But what made this parallel all the better is that because Schmidt appeared in the 1975 set, it was like Topps was resurrecting the Topps Fan Favorites line all over again. In fact, there was one attention to detail that I especially loved: the card uses the same color configuration on the borders as Schmidt’s original 1975 card. Unfortunately, like the Target Retro Logo cards, Topps’s execution on Lineage 1975 Minis was flawed. In regards to Schmidt’s parallel, the Lineage 1975 mini lists his position as “Third Baseman” whereas the original 1975 card listed it as “3rd Base.” I have a couple other small nitpicks, but none of them are as egregious as the foil on the Retro Logos, and since we’re celebrating our winner, we’ll save those comments for some other post.

Tomorrow: Parallel Series of the Year

Featured Cards: 2011 Topps Opening Day Blue #102, Carlos Ruiz; 2011 Topps Target Retro Logo #232, Jamie Moyer; 2011 Topps Lineage 1975 Mini #53, Mike Schmidt

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