2020 Topps Series 1 Hobby Jumbo Box Break (Sorta...)

Retail establishments near me were late in getting 2020 Topps Baseball on the shelves. By the point where it had been 4 days after it’s release, I still had not found any for sale at the area Targets. I would have checked a WalMarts, but no. I just don’t want to enter one of those places if I don’t have to. So with my arm firmly twisted, I guess I’d just have to go to the LCS for my first look at 2020 Topps.

Oh darn…

My plan was to buy the usual Hobby Jumbo box and do my pack by pack breakdown in a story here. But for whatever reason, be it a particular hot crop of rookies or this year’s “golden ticket” promotion, all Jumbo boxes were already sold out when I got there. I didn’t expect that…

Since I wasn’t all that excited about the base cards, I opted for the last 7 Jumbo packs and executed another raid on the singles boxes. As long as there are Twins, Rockies and Expos that I need in them, that’s a better use of my money than unopened wax of a product that does little for me.

So, I can’t call this a box break, since it was 7 packs and not 10. But that’s still more than enough for me to form an opinion on the product. I’m not going to review the box pack by pack, instead I will just lump it all into one and talk about what I want. Mixed in with some of the other stuff I picked up and like a lot more!

Nick Pivetta goes down as the first 2020 Topps card I pulled from a pack. And he's so happy, he's yelling about it! But we’ll get to those packs later. While I was in the store, I’d already picked out a small stack of 2020 Topps singles from the box on the shelf, so I’d seen several hundred of the cards before opening anything. Grabbing cards that I wanted, just in case I didn’t find them in my incomplete Jumbo box.

Like the full Rockies team set!

Or this excellent angry flying catcher action!

Or a much more docile catcher just doing his thing…

Or this great leaping catch at the scoreboard?

And a few pitchers I collect from teams that I don’t.

Definitely throw in a couple of 1985 Chrome Refractory cards of players I collect.

Since I couldn’t buy the planned sealed Hobby Jumbo box, I wouldn’t be getting the 2 bonus packs of 1985 Anniversary Chrome Refractory cards. And that kinda sucked. I like getting those and have pulled some nice singles from them over the last couple years of them being packaged that way. This year I’ll just have to buy the singles when I find ones I want.

The 2020 Topps singles that were made available at the store didn’t include any Twins. When I asked, he said he didn’t have the Twins priced yet, but this one was up at the register, and quickly made mine:

That’s a pretty cool card!

Since the new Twins singles were not yet available, I grabbed a few older cards that I noticed and needed. 

I didn’t need this 2005 Zenith Mozaics card of Mauer, Morneau and Jacque Jones. But for $1, I’ll gladly add a duplicate of a really cool card to my stack. Though I’ve always wondered why this card includes Jones instead of Johan Santana. These three played key roles on the previous year’s Twins team, but none of the three had the type of impact that Santana did. Santana was a fun pitcher to watch.

The beat up 1961 Topps Walter Johnson was only $1, and replaces a card stolen from my collection many years ago. Jim Perry’s 1963 Topps fills a team set void, even though he’s wearing the wrong hat. And that’s just a cool Puckett, from several years after his last game.

This would be my first card from the 1961 Baseball Scoops set, put out by NuCard.

I haven’t seen many of these out on the market.

2013 Topps Chrome Purple Refractor rookie card of a future Twins pitcher. 

I’ll even let the Rays uniform slide.

Here’s an example of a card that I never would have expected to buy, but given the price, I couldn’t turn it down. You have an autograph, a jersey swatch with a pretty decent chunk of patch on it, and a serial number out of 25. For $3! Yes! I’ll buy that! Even though I don’t care anything about Marlon Byrd. He was a decent player, who logged Major League time over 15 seasons. He made one All Star team, and was twice suspended for PED use. The second suspension ended his career.

But I like this card at this price, a great deal!

The exact same price bought me an Anthony Rendon 2013 Finest rookie. Going to be an adjustment watching him play for the Angels this year. I think his old team will still be okay, as this guy steps up and develops as his career moves along…

The World Series card and 1985 Anniversary Chrome were picked up as singles, the Home Run Challenge insert came from one of the Jumbo packs. I’m not planning on scraping off the code and playing along…

Cheering on Strasburg to beat those cheaters in Houston is a lasting memory from the World Series. 

A short printed version of Scherzer's base card features him wearing the old baby blue Expos uniform that the Nationals wore in a game last Summer. I want that card! And it sure is nice to have a team that I like on Topps yearly World Series cards. I’m not forced to look at Red Sox, Giants, Cubs or Cardinals! At least not this year. And once again, I may not have the Expos anymore, but at least the team they became is World Champion.

A far more dignified cardboard tribute than what Fleer came up with in their dying days as a viable trading card producer:

2005 Fleer Tradition

Six sad cut out Expos players on Nationals cards. I already had all of these, they came from buying a wax box of 2005 Fleer Tradition. This was a few years after Fleer’s assets were purchased by Upper Deck. It was a cheap enough box, and I thought the hits were an acceptable gamble. I got jersey chunks cards of Jim Thome and Roger Clemens, but my guaranteed autograph was an expired redemption card for John Gall. Who? I never tried to get Upper Deck to redeem it, because the disappointment from the box and product alone was enough for me.

That redemption card is in my 2005 binder today. I really should have scanned it...

All that was the complete opposite of this:

I was a big fan of Donruss’ Team Heroes sets. Even though I didn’t buy any packs of it before 2005.

I’ve never liked card designs where a big empty space is left to add jersey and/or bat pieces and/or autographed stickers to it. If you don’t get the full prize, you pull a card that looks incomplete. At least they tried to fill this wasted space with something here.

I think I need both the 1975 Topps Fairly and the 1980 Topps Rogers for team sets. I'm not sure, still working on updating my Expos albums. (No, I didn't... But I'm getting closer to having actual functioning team wantlists!) I know I don’t need the 1997 Pinnacle Fletcher, but that card rules enough that I can justify 50 cents for another copy.

Enough of the cards from last century, lets rip open some Jumbo packs of 2020 in 2020!

When I asked what people were chasing to make the Jumbo boxes sell out so fast, one answer I was given was the crop of rookie cards in 2020 Topps series 1 was very strong. So let’s take a look at some of the rookies that were occupying the 7 Jumbo packs that I was able to pick up with my X-Mess gift cards:

Nico Hoerner was a recent draft pick of the Cubs. Since he’s a Cub, he already has a built in collector following. Not as grand as a Yankee or a Red Sock, but that Cubs blue guarantees people will pay attention top him for at least a while. And in most cases, overlook a bit of overrating.

Not sure why Dante’s kid wasn’t included in 2019 Topps Update Series 3. Looking at some of the other Rookies included in this set, I’m still not very clear on understanding how Topps and Major League Baseball decides who can and cannot be included each year's set.

Gavin Lux is probably the most anticipated rookie card in Series One, at least going into Spring Training. I guess he’s going to be good. As if the Dodgers need more of this.

His teammate looks like he’s trying to give mid-1970’s Oscar Gamble a run for his giant-afro-stuffed-into-an-oversized-hat money. Difference is, May's afro is bright orange! You don’t see that every day... I spent most of this offseason hoping the Dodgers would trade May to a team that I don’t hate. That Ginger Afro feels like something I should be collecting.

If Josh Hader had oranges in his hair, Dustin May has grapefruits!

Ahh… Let’s go sideways!


Jaylin Davis was sent to San Francisco by the Twins, at the July 2019 Trade Deadline. The trade was for relief pitcher Sam Dyson. Who arrived in Minnesota as damaged goods, and spent most of the rest of the season on the Injured List. Shortly after his season ended, rumors started that he beat up his ex-girlfriend. Dyson will miss the 2020 season due to injuries, and I don’t care if he ever plays again.

That had nothing to do with Davis. I do wish him well on a Giants team that likely will do nothing. But that’s a pretty cool picture!

Not as cool as this one!

Grisham is now a Padre. Hooray for him. The Brewers are going to be the opposite of good in 2020.

Brendan McKay was heavily rumored to be drafted by the Twins, with the first overall pick in 2017. Minnesota took Royce Lewis instead, and McKay went 5th overall to Tampa. He’s still intending to both pitch and play first base for Tampa, and I think they should let him. But only if he does both at the same time! Now that would bring some fans to watch the Rays!

I’m still glad Minnesota took Lewis.

Why wasn’t this guy in 2019 Topps Update Series 3? He played enough last year to win the Rookie of the Year award, so who can explain that omission?

Speaking of the Houston Assholes…

Congratulations Alex, you’ve been crowned as my most hated baseball player of 2020! 

I watched you sit next to Altuve and no-sell the entire cheating scandal. “Major League Baseball did their investigation and I don’t feel it’s right to comment on that. It's in the Commissioner's report. We're moving on...” Or whatever nonsense you spouted. Act like it wasn’t on you guys all you want, just because the players were given immunity on the whole deal. But your boss lost his job, and his boss lost his job because of what you players did. If that means nothing to you, that's fine. Don’t apologize for it. And you're a piece of shit. In my book, you’re just as dirty as those who injected steroids into their asses, in order to break some of baseball’s most sacred records. You guys cheated your way to a championship. Enjoy it. But you have no soul and I will never cheer for you or your shitty team.

I’ll be less harsh on Cole since he wasn’t there at the time, and now he’s a Yankee.

So I’m still not going to like him.

Okay… Happier thoughts now… Puppies… Kitties… Rainbows…

Rainbow Foil Parallels!

Which seem to scan better horizontally?

As mentioned earlier in regards to the Chrome Refractors, this years flashback set to beat into the ground is 1985 Topps. In my earliest days of collecting, I was drawn to 1985 Topps singles. I loved the bold team nameplate, the highlighted team logo and team colors used in the design. The Jumbo box minus three still had a decent selection of 1985 Anniversary cards. (Always nice to get another Ripken!) Bonus points to Topps for remembering the exact color combinations used in the original 1985 set. Although, I can only speak of the cards I've seen.

Of course the Marlins didn't exist until 1993, so Topps could use creative license on those team colored borders. And what they went with is really sharp. Super extra bonus points for the Yamamoto photo in the Marlins 1997 World Series home uniforms. Great card Topps!

Look! A hit! 

Merrifield, in a different color jersey, attempting to turn the double play at Target Field. Numbered 35/199. This is pretty cool, and means that I will see at least one of the three promised hits. Topps also got the Royals 1985 card colors correct here.

Some more base horizontal cards I liked. The Giolito is a Gold Parallel, and one of the best photos in the set. 

I like the Tanaka a lot too.

Aaron Nola again gets a nice base card...

Too bad a blurry Bryant blocks a Cub that has learned how to levitate. That skill alone deserves it's own card.

Eric Hosmer wishes he was cool enough to dance with his teammates. Maybe if he remembered how to hit home runs?

Those retro Phillies uniforms are pretty sweet.

Sorry Dustin May, your hair can't compare to the consistently awesome mane of Bryce. And Roman Quinn needs to do a better job of color coordinating his batting gloves to alternate Phillies burgundy.

Mengden is still sporting the Rollie Fingers handlebars in a Athletics retro uniform. Although the stirrup-less A's stirrup socks bother me. Why does the fake stirrup just end, far before the shoes begin?

A three pack of reasons why Oakland could pose a serious threat to those no good cheating Houston Assholes. The Jesus Lizard(o), Lazer Ramon and the 7 Foot Hippie are all players I'm looking forward to seeing play in 2020.

You know who else is excited about the prospects of Athletics baseball in 2020?

This guy right here!

Between my booming dislike of Houston, my long standing dislike of the Texas Rangers, the mouse inspired dislike of the California Angels of Anaheim Los Angeles California, and the endless anonymity of the Mariners, I've started to follow and actually like the A's more and more. To the point now where I check Athletics singles almost as often as other teams for cards I might want to add. (Especially the 7 Foot Hippie.) I blame you!

Before Super A's Fan Rob of New Mexico was a Super A's Fan, he and I enjoyed lamenting the sad state of being a Rockies fan. We went to games at Coors Field (after waiting for some chick to buy the team at the ticket window) and sometimes believed that this would be their year. With the exception of 2007, the Colorado Adapted Rockies always let us down.

He moved to New Mexico some years back, where it was discovered that his new (old) home was for some unexplainable reason, within the Colorado Rockies television territory. Meaning all Rockies games would be blacked out of the MLB Extra Innings TV package he ordered each season. Rockies games weren't even carried on any television channels in his part of New Mexico, which is well over 500 miles away from Denver.

So he needed to find a new team. And settled on the A's.

Our old team (Colorado) won the "most non-2020 cards" picked up on this day at the card store. There was a box of Rockies singles that I'd forgotten to look through in the past, and needed to see what stars were there waiting for me. Not like anyone else buys Rockies cards!

Starting off with three Green Chrome parallels from 2011 Topps Heritage. I read the other day that Ubaldo Jimenez is going to Spring Training with the Rockies, in an effort to teach their current rotation how to walk 5 and give up 8 runs in 2 1/3 innings. Not sure they need help with that, Ubaldo... Carlos Gonzalez is going to camp with the Seattle Mariners and Ty Wigginton has a Chrome version of the ugliest card of 2011!

Some more assorted Rockies I didn't have previously.

Even more assorted Rockies I didn't have previously.

2013 Topps decided to rip off their early 1970's sets with mini cards. Instead of limiting this insert set to one year's design, both 1971 and 1972 are represented. Neither year did Topps make mini cards. That was 1975. But maybe no one noticed?

I'd never seen these 2014 insert cards before. I like this one.

Let's get back to the new Topps. And see how they treated the Colorado Rockies in their newest set.

I opened exactly one regular pack of 2020 Topps Series One, in addition to the 7 Jumbo packs. It had one Rockie inside:

Yay! He's still with the team going into Spring Training!

And so are these guys... Two of the biggest reasons the whole "Can't Afford the Arenado Contract" kerfluffle brewed up this winter. Perhaps if Desmond hadn't drawn all over his arms, he'd still be able to generate enough bat speed to hit a double every once in a while? And Davis doesn't even have the excuse of inked up arms ruining his command...

Less blame goes to Murphy, but he'll have to produce at near Trout levels in 2020 to justify that two year contract. Which is a shame that Rockies management have made so many poor budgetary decisions, because this team has some great talent.

Dahl can flat out rake at the plate. (If he can stay healthy...)

Jon Gray is just a couple of minor adjustments away from becoming one of the top pitchers in baseball.

And Sam Hilliard is... Well, actually I don't know much of anything about Sam Hilliard. 

Here's what I do know about Sam Hilliard... A few weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to create a power hitting first baseman in MLB: The Show 19, on the PS4. My new homemade player, Dick Pokii, was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 16th round of the 2019 MLB Draft. (Yes, that name is childish as hell, but I get such a kick out of making Matt Vasgersian say semi dirty names while doing play-by-play. Mike Hunt never gets old!) After a half season, the Orioles traded Pokii to the Rockies for a package including Brendan Rodgers. Dick Pokii was assigned to the AA Hartford Yard Goats, where he was a teammate of Sam Hilliard! In 2020 and 2021, Dick Pokii played for the AAA Albuquerque Isotopes, where he was again teammates with Sam Hilliard. In 2022, Pokii finally made the Rockies Major League roster out of Spring Training.

And Sam Hilliard is still an Isotope. 

Moral of the story? Maybe if Sam Hilliard had used his personality points to be more of a heart and soul captain, and less of a lightning-rod maverick, he'd be backing up Ryan McMahon at first base instead of Dick Pokii, in 2022!

Sure do love me some MLB: The Show on the PS4!

Hey remember when 1991 Randy Johnson appeared on a 1971 Topps card? Neither do I. But unfortunately Topps just can't help themselves and have to keep rehashing their old ideas. Every year. Every set. Pointless nostalgia...

Although I will give them some credit with their "Decade's Best" insert set.

Mainly because it's an original design, instead of the warmed over base card retreads we've seen thousands of times over the last 20 years...

This one's a favorite, love that photo.

Can't complain about Cal...

Can complain about the Atlanta Braves... Just not gonna right now...

And because one insert set looking back at a specific decade isn't enough for Topps, there's the "Decade of Dominance Die-Cut" set. One set to salute Tony Gwynn for being one of the greatest players of the 1990's, and another set to highlight his low percentage of strikeouts per at-bat in the decade.

Yeah, I can see why Topps had to do this...

Oh, and speaking of pointless...

The Hobby Jumbo box minus three still had it's second promised hit! A "Sleeve Patch" for Josh Bell of the Pirates. This patch isn't from anything. Doesn't commemorate anything. And really isn't that well done. It looks screen printed instead of sewn. It is serial numbered out of 199, if that counts for anything...

Here's a handful of veteran stars. Two throwing and two waving.

That picture rules.

Still a Billy Hamilton fan. He moves onto San Francisco in 2020.

For some reason, Seattle Mariners tend to have nice photographs taken at Oakland's stadium. This one ranks up there with Denard Span's excellent 2019 Heritage base card.

And not a bad shot from Target Field either...

And those jersey sleeves and shoulders are horrendous!

Last year's big rookie sensation, who I boldly predict will hit far less than the 53 home runs he belted in 2019.

Though I'd love to see 53 home runs from this guy in 2020...

Cool! I still got the three guaranteed Jumbo box hits, at the price of seven packs! Nice enough little sticker auto, on a clean design. The Dodgers seem to be high on this kid, so it has potential to be a decent pull. His autograph itself is better variation of today's typical player scribble. Kinda looks like it says WSUT.

Let's check the odds!

According to the back of the wrapper, WSUT's Baseball Stars are 1/41 Jumbo packs. Just one pack greater than the 1985 Anniversary Autographs. And that Josh Bell card with the fakey Pirate on it is 1/63 Jumbo packs. Guess that's pretty good...

Clayton Kershaw was represented in both base (left) and short print (right) form.

Nice cards and at least he zipped his pants.

For once it's been a pretty eventful offseason for the Minnesota Twins. After a slow start, building more depth than anything, they finally made a big splash in the Josh Donaldson signing. Then a week or so ago, news broke that the Dodgers were trading Verdugo to the Boston Red Sox for Mookie Betts and David Price. (I did not pull a Betts card out of these packs, so I have nothing to scan.) They were also trading Kenta Maeda to the Twins for Brusdar Graterol, and flipping the guy I wrote this story about, to Boston. Then a buncha crap happened and the trade kinda fell through. Then the trade happened, but in a different way. The part I care about is still Maeda holding a rotation spot for the 2020 Twins, and Brusdar now pitching for the Dodgers. I still hate both the Dodgers and the Red Sox, but whatever...

(Oh, and I find it more than slightly hilarious that after the giant stink the Red Sox threw up over Brusdar Graterol's medical records, now Alex Verdugo showed up the Red Sox camp already hurt. He's questionable for the start of the 2020 season. Delicious irony!)

All of this mess would have been avoided had Minnesota been able to sign this guy:

Wheeler (and his patented Topps' Pitcher Face) was known to be a prime target of the Twins in free agency this offseason. But he chose the Phillies, for more money and his preference to stay on the east coast. So he wasn't a viable option for Minnesota. Looking back at how this offseason played out, I'm happy they didn't pounce early and stayed flexible with the money they did spend. And this offseason, they spent more than I've ever seen the Twins put out. At least they did it wisely.

Stacking up on cheaper established pitching allows a great deal of depth, and no need to rush a bunch of talented young arms like Thorpe. He doesn't get much press, but his numbers across all levels of minor league ball have been incredible.

One of the casualties of roster turnover... Both Cron and last year's second baseman, Jonathan Schoop, were not resigned by Minnesota. On the same early January day, both Schoop and Cron signed identical one year contracts with the Detroit Tigers for $6.1 million dollars each. So they're staying close...

Couple more horizontal Twins cards. Marwin Gonzalez high fiving teammates after a victory and Jorge Polanco almost tagging out Nico Goodrum, by a fingertip. One note on Marwin, he was a member of the 2017 Houston Astros, and arguably benefitted greatly from all the sign stealingness. But on the first day of Spring camp, Marwin became the first hitter tied to the scandal to apologize. That should have been Altuve and Bregman apologizing weeks ago, instead of no-selling questions at AstroFest (or whatever it was called).

This a a great dugout shot that isn't often seen on cards.

Here's Garver on the defensive end of the game. Love catchers gear photos. Even if the chest protector is ruined by a giant Nike swoosh and his name just below his neck. Just in case opposing batters forget who is catching, and missed it on his back?

Four more Twins veterans for the team set. Hopefully 2020 is the season Jose Berrios finally makes that final step into being the elite pitcher everyone has predicted he would be for years. I was glad to see Pineda re-sign with Minnesota for two more seasons. Even though he will miss the first 2 months of 2020, to finish up his PED suspension. On the bright side, that will reduce some of the season long wear on his arm, making him a more effective weapon for a post-season run.

Best Twins card of series one.

Unless there's a better one I haven't seen.

So that's that...

I said in my review of 2019 Topps Update that I wasn’t impressed by what I’d seen of the 2020 Topps base card design, and wasn’t likely to chase completing the set. Now that the cards are out, and I’ve seen a bunch of them, I’m kind of keeping that opinion. I will probably pick up some packs here and there, and singles that I like when I find them, but I don’t see myself putting in the time and effort to finish this one.

I like 2020 Topps a lot less than 2019 Topps. 

Which I liked a whole lot less than 2018 Topps. 

A set that ranks high on my list of favorite Topps sets.

There, that's better!


I need a good sammich.

I'm going to get to work on that...


  1. First I have been able to see those World Series cards, thanks for posting.

    How much was the Rendon Finest RC? I have been thinking to move one of those that I have.

    I kept hoping you would luck into one of the Nats/Expos photo variant cards. If they are SP, there are possibly more printed than the Golds. If they are SSP, they will require a little more coin.

    1. The Rendon was only $3, so it's probably worth holding onto, unless you needed a cup of coffee. Once the set has been out for a while and more cards hit the market, I'm sure I'll be able to find a copy of that Scherzer Expos card for $5 or less. Benefit to collecting a team no one cares about!

    2. oh, thanks. I saw his base RC in 13 Update were starting to creep up into the double digits. I can't keep every card, so I figured to send that Finest on in to COMC to essentially buy some other $3 card.

  2. 3 bucks for an auto-relic--let alone one with a patch--pretty much is always a good deal. Byrd was on the Mets for a while, and we Mets fans liked him. I'd pay $3 for auto-patches of former Mets all day long.


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