Everyone and their brother seems to hate this set - naturally I wanted to see it for myself...I often collect sets other people hate (UD Spectrum, I'm looking at you). It makes set completion easier because no one wants their cards (or at least that's my thought process...it apparently doens't quite work out that way since I still haven't complete either the '08 or '09 Spectrum set).
Let's dig in:
What I bought:
2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom Blaster
$19.99 from Target
49 (out of 225) - 21.7%
My box contained two Reds which was nice. I think Topps is a lot better than Upper Deck in including guys from "less popular" teams such as my Redlegs. As for the cards, they are ok. Relatively thin stock is disappointing, but I suppose for a set designed to be "ticket-esque" the stock shouldn't be overly thick. The photography is rather blah as well...
Base card parallel:
8 (out of 225) - 3.5%
In a word, pointless. Either make all the cards have the perforated edges on top and bottom (to look like a ticket, I get it), or else have none of them cut that way.
Ticket to Stardom (seeded 1:4 packs):
2 (Mauer, Kemp) (out of 15) - 13.3%
Eesh, I like the white bordered base cards ok but these are ugly! Not cool.
Big Ticket (seeded 1:8 packs):
1 (Lincecum) (out of 15) - 6.6%
This reminds me of the typical Topps base set inserts of the late 90s, early 00s. Big, gaudy, and yet, somehow kind of boring.
Seasoned Veterans (seeded 1:12 packs):
1 (Howard) (out of 10) - 10%
Now this is an insert set that I could learn to like. It's small, but you only likely to pull one of these per blaster meaning you'd need perfect collation and 200 bucks to complete this set. Thanks, but no thanks Topps.
Ticket Stubs (seeded 1:36 packs):
1 (Chris Young)
Here it is, the "hit" of the blaster...which is nice since there is only 1 hit like this per 4.5 blasters. Unlike others, I don't mind the ticket as "hit" idea. In fact, for a low-end product, I think the ticket is a much more interesting "hit" than the same old white uniform swatch. Of course, the ticket in question ought to somehow relate to the player on the card...
Overall impressions and score:
Base design: 6/10
Nothing spectacular, nothing terrible.
Parallel design: 1/10
Absolutely no reason to have parallels with perforated edges as mentioned above.
Insert design: 2/10
Not impressed by most of the inserts.
"Hit" design: 7/10
For a low end product, I like these. I wouldn't want to open up a ticket stub if I paid a lot per pack but it's at least something besides the typical white swatch. Plus, it's more likely you'll pull a hit of some type because ticket stubs are easy to come by for card companies!
Overall score (not an average):
A nice little product for low end buyers. It reminds me a lot of UD Collector's Choice of the late 90s. The base set is large enough that it makes buying a couple of blasters worthwhile, but small enough that you should be able to complete the set without too much difficulty. The parallels are beyond pointless though, and most of the inserts are uninspiring to say the least. The ticket stub hits provide a little bit of excitement
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