Tuesday, June 28, 2022

What’s the deal with Series 2?

 I was thinking about Series 2 Topps after reading Night Owl’s post the other day that mentioned Topps needing to just go back to 1 series. I first remember purchasing packs in 1992, the last year of only 1 series. I guess 2 series is all I’ve known. Back in 1993 when the set was split into 2 series, the cards came out in January, so it kind of made more sense.
I was thinking about how many times I’ve ever purchased a number of series 2 cards since then, and I don’t think it has ever happened. I don’t know all of the answers or if they ring true with other collectors, but I have some theories. I first want to go back through each year and see what may have contributed to series 1 beating series 2. 
1993-I got a number of packs of Series 1 that my parents purchased, including a few rack packs after graduating 4th grade. I got a number of Series 2 packs (I was digging the Rockies and Marlins cards), but I just never had more of them than series 1. My working theory is that Series 1 just had longer to spend on shelves (from Jan to June perhaps?), and maybe Series 2 was pulled in the fall when football, hockey, and hoops came out. Maybe I just got tired of asking for packs or my parents quit offering?
1994-I think this may be the only time series 2 beat series 1. This was due to getting a box of series 2 around 1995 or 1996. If not for the box, series 1 would’ve won by a long shot. 
1995- Series 1 wins here. I got a number of packs of series 1 by themselves, and I also purchased 2 series 1 boxes with lawn mowing money. I remember maybe opening 1 pack of series 2. Maybe they just didn’t get on the shelves?  I only got 1 pack of Upper Deck, 1 of Stadium Club, so I just don’t know why I didn’t get more of series 2. 
1996- Series 1. Not by a long shot, but I think this was a case of getting a ton of packs in the spring, and only getting a few in the fall, and looking at other stuff as well. I think that I would just get so eager to see the new designs and what the sunsets look like, and series 1 does that, and you usually need a good handful of packs to get a decent sampling. Series 2 would have newer cards and maybe some prospects or draft picks, but no new designs really. A pack or 2 will basically tell me what I need to know. Back to the summer of ‘96 and Series 2, I was really hooked with these stupid 2 for $1 packs at Wally World with a sample of 5 different ‘96 brands and the chance to win the famous Honus Wagner tobacco card. I think I was all after the ‘95 UD minor league set chasing all of the Michael Jordan One on One inserts (which I still haven’t finished). 
1997-Didnt purchase too much series 1 but I only got like 1 pack of series 2. I think I switched to Collectors Choice by the time series 2 came out so that was probably why. I ended up with most of the series 2 set a few years later after my friends dad gave me what they had compiled. 
1998- I probably opened a good amount of Series 2 trying to catch the Rays first cards, but I still think I had more Series 1. Don’t know why. Maybe I just spread out my purchases among different brands in the summer. 
1999- ‘99 was a weird year for me. I didn’t get packs till a few months after they were out. I guess the ‘rents didn’t buy me any and I didn’t really have spending money or anything. I still think I opened like 5-10 Series 1 packs and 2 of Series 2. 
2000- I think I opened more Series 2 this year, but I got my first job in the summer, and there was just a ton of different sets out that year which got my attention in the spring. I also purchased the complete Series 2 set with my first paycheck. 
2001- It was probably in favor of Series 1, but I opened a good amount of Series 2. I think I purchased a box of series 1, a series 2 set, and a good number of Traded packs trying to pull the Pujols rookie (I did!). The Traded set threw a kink into everything, as it really gave Series 2 only 2-3 months to live before Traded kicked it to the curb. 
2002- I opened a decent amount of series 1 packs, but I think series 2 was right there with it. Traded probably took the cake for me. I was getting autographs at minor league games, and 2002 Topps Traded helped me out a ton with having cards to get signed. I also had a friend who hung out with me at the same time who opened a ton of Traded packs with me. 
2003- I put together a series 1 set from a box, so I think it gets the win. 
2004- Another series 1 box, and the short time between series 2 and Update gives series 1 the victory. Plus, there was just so much out at the time. Remember the time when Target had  packs of  like 12 different products, boxes of 10, and a complete set or 2?  I stopped into Target or Wal-Mart (and my LCS) a few times a month, and just picked 5-6 different packs of cards and saw what they had to offer.  Instead of committing to Series 2, I purchased a pack of Fleer Flair Hot Prospects, Fleer Showcase Splendid Splinter, Fleer Tradition Box Score, Upper Deck First Pitch Spectrum, and Bowman Draft Heritage Chrome, and maybe 1 series 2 pack. Too much to choose from. 
2005- Another example of too much to choose from and the short gap between series 2 and Update. 
2006- I moved to AL in the spring, and money started getting tight. I probably purchased more of Series 1, and when I did get a little money saved towards the end of the year, I was trying to pull Pat Neshek rookies, so I grabbed Upper Deck and Topps 52 packs. 
2007- I think this was where Series 1 started getting released closer to March. It gave it a 1 or 2 less months for Series 1 to add cards to its totals but it didn’t matter. I purchased a number of Series 1 packs trying to pick up an extra of that Jeter card for a friend (I did), and didn’t really purchase that many packs of Series 2. I was more enamored with Topps ‘52, Chrome, Turkey Red, Bowman Heritage, and Update. 
2008- Same story, just had a ton of more product between Series 2 release and Update, but for some strange reason, it was Upper Deck stuff like Timeline, Piece of History, Baseball Heroes, Documentary, with some packs of Topps Chrome, and the random Bowman issue. I also opened a bunch of Update trying to get Evan Longoria cards. 
2009-I moved back to Florida in the spring, and money was tight again. I got a few packs of Series 1 and I may have gotten about the same amount it series 2. I think I actually have more of Update as my brother in law got me a blaster of it for Christmas. 
2010- Probably have more Series 1. I think I got a good amount of Upper Deck, but I got a ton of Bowman trying to pull a Harper (didn’t), and 2 boxes of Topps Chrome trying to pull a Strasburg (did). 
2011-I believe I got a box of Series 1, as I think I pulled an Alex Gordon autograph from it. Series 2 I probably have some packs from and I think I split my packs between Series 2, Pro Debut, Heritage Minors, and Bowman Chrome before Update came out. 
2012- This was where everything changed. I had met my wife in November 2011, and spent a lot of time with her. I tried to cut down with the card purchases as by December 2011 I had an engagement ring to save up for (which I purchased and gave to her in February 2012), and she was still kind of getting used to the fact that I had so many cards (fortunately she came around). I purchased a few Series 1 packs, and barely anything of Series 2 or Update. 
2013-This year was basically non-existent. I purchased a few Series 1 packs, and don’t remember buying Series 2 or Update. 
2014- I started buying a few more packs, mostly Series 1.  Got 1 or 2 of Series 2 probably, and in the middle of the 2 amounts was probably Update, although I probably have more of Update than I think as I was trying to pull a deGrom rookie (I did). 
2015- I got more of Series 1. I purchased a couple of packs of Donruss and Bowman, and Series 2. I think Update might be in between as I wanted to pull a Kris Bryant card (I did). 
2016- Same story. Series 1 wins, Series 2 just didn’t have enough time between its release and Update. 
2017- Series 1 wins, then Update, then Series 2. Was trying to pull the Judge from Chrome (I did), so it was a distant 4th. 
2018- Series 1 wins, and Update may actually be 2nd as Ohtani fever was rampant and his rookie was in Update. 
2019- I ended up purchasing the entire set (as I would the next 2 years as well), but so think I ended up having more packs opened from Series 1. 
2020- This was definitely the rare Update win. Series 2 was barely on shelves, so it didn’t stand a chance. Update was, and after months of no cards, I just wanted something to rip, so I probably purchased more than 2 boxes of it, coming like 7 cards short of putting the Update series together from packs. I ultimately got the final cards from eBay. 
2021- This was your standard Series 1, Update, Series 2 in the standings. Covid really messed things up for us collectors as I don’t recall too much Series 2 being available. 
2022- I’ve been lucky enough to have more than enough Series 1 on the shelves at Target, but so far no Series 2. Don’t know about Update, since Spencer Torkelson, Kjerstad, and Riley Greene among others will have rookies in Update. 

So there you have it. I think for myself, I just like seeing the different designs and subset designs of new card sets ( non-Topps stuff included), and after getting a good fill after a box or so worth of packs in Series 1, I maybe only get 10 or so of Series 2, and either get bored, or Update or some other set comes out. If a new rookie could make their first appearance in Series 2, I still don’t think it would do anything, as it only has 3 months to sell. 
I would be happy with 1 series and an Update series in August or September to have cards of new rookies and new team photos. I would even be ok without the ‘23 rookies in the ‘23 Update set. It would drive the demand for the regular ‘24 set and the true team collectors would be chasing the Update sets. Maybe it would drive up sales of other sets like Stadium Club, Opening Day, Heritage, whatever. Then Update would actually serve a purpose and it would shake some of these collectors out of the ‘Hey! This guy played for the Red Sox in 2020 and just signed as a free agent with the Mets and is with them for the 2021 season!  Why does his 2021 Series 1 card still show him with the Red Sox???!!!!’  The postseason highlights cards in 2021 Topps show the 2020 postseason, so why shouldn’t the photos reflect the 2020 set?  The stats on the back do. If this ‘yearbook style’ approach isn’t good enough for you, just wait for Heritage or Stadium Club, and if you really want them on the Topps design, Update will have you covered. Maybe make it 100 or so cards bigger to feature all of the trades and rookies, but a little patience on collectors parts would solve the problem of Topps flip flopping between yearbook style and back every decade or so. It wasn’t yearbook style for the 80’s, and only switched in 1993 for the expansion team cards, and then only 1998 for expansion players and a few random guys. I want to say it didn’t switch to non-yearbook style again until 2005. This one really screwed the pooch as far as guys that love yearbook style, as they had postseason highlights cards in Series 1 which highlighted the 2004 postseason, then postseason highlight cards in Update for the 2005 postseason, making us wait until November for Update. Then the floodgates opened, and many free agents who changed teams in the ‘05 offseason were pictured with new teams in the ‘06 set (or pictured with their old team uniform and listed with their new team, see Geoff Blum and Tom Gordon). It’s been like that ever since, and now people freak out if free agents aren’t shown with their new team uni with whom they haven’t even played a game yet. Hello airbrushing. Plus, it just pushes the Series 1 release date from January 1 to the middle of March. 
All in all, I just think a 600-700 card Series 1 released in January with a 400-500 card Update with a few rookies and more traded players releasing in August would suffice. Everyone to play a game in the season gets a card. At least that’s my dream set. 
Do you have any thoughts on Series 2?  How should it be released?  Scrap it altogether?  Do your Series 2 numbers lag and for what reasons?  
Thanks for checking out my latest post. 


  1. You know my thoughts: Go back to releasing it all at once in February if you can't update at least some of the players in their proper uniforms in Series 2.

  2. I'm all for scraping series 3, limiting flagship to 600 cards, and the update set to 300. I'd be good with that, especially if the held off releasing flagship after the season starts, and update after the World Series.

  3. I started collecting in the overproduction era. To me the flagship set should have 792 cards in it. I prefer the yearbook format because the stats on the back reflect last year, not this year.

    I can see the good and the bad for both one series and two series. If you bought two boxes of a set with two series, you should be very close to completing the set. If you buy two boxes of a single series, you might be close, you also might get a lot of dupes. Then again, it would be nice to get an entire team set all at once in February instead of waiting to see which stars are getting postponed until June.

  4. I wonder why it posted me as Anonymous?

    1. Not sure. I know a while back I would try to comment and it would post as anonymous and once I deleted the cookies I believe it changed back and let me post as my user name.