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Joe Posnanski - The Topps Numbering System

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  • Joe Posnanski - The Topps Numbering System

    http://joeposnanski.blogspot.com/201...ng-system.html

    But the point here is not the cards themselves -- but the numbering system. I have, for your benefit, done what I have to believe is one of the most pointless research projects in the history of planet earth.

    When I was a kid, I noticed -- as countless kids before and since have noticed -- that while the Topps numbers on the back SEEM utterly random and stupid, there is some sort of secret-code logic to them. The best players get the round numbers. I don't remember the details of this discovery, but I do remember that really cool feeling of seeing a great player -- say Tom Seaver -- with a card number like 200. And I thought: Hmm, isn't that interesting. And then I saw another great player, say Johnny Bench, and his number was 500. And I went, whoa, wait a minute: They did this ON PURPOSE!

    So here what my idea: I figured I could go through all the Topps checklists -- yes, I said all the Topps checklists, hey this is my blog, not yours -- and pull out the players whose cards ended with 50 and 00. And I would see which players have been most honored by Topps.

  • #2
    My friends and I noticed this some years back. Aside from the numbers ending in 00 and 50 (on shorter print sets, 25 is also a solid number used), Topps has often done the same with big stars for #1 and whatever the last card in the set is. Just looking at 2012 set...

    001 Ryan Braun (first card of set - series I)
    050 Adrian Gonzalez
    100 Jose Bautista
    150 Roy Halladay
    200 Miguel Cabrera
    250 Jared Weaver
    300 Josh Hamilton
    330 Matt Kemp (last card of series I)
    331 ALbert Pujols (first card of series II)
    350 Evan Longoria
    400 Robinson Cano
    450 Justin Upton
    500 Alex Rodriguez
    550 Ian Kinsler
    600 Clayton Kershaw
    650 Prince Fielder
    661 Bryce Harper (last card of set)

    Justin Verlander was #639, which is a bit strange since he won both the Cy Young and AL MVP the previous season. I'd think he'd be #250 instead of Weaver.
    "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

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    • #3
      In the 70s we noticed that Topps gave the better players a card number that ended in 5 or 0.

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      • #4
        I can't imagine the value had Topps make Mickey Mantle's '52 card #1 instead of Andy Pafko. Or #7 for that matter. Naturally, a rookie is raley #1 in the set, but Bowman did do it with Whitey Ford in '51.
        "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Ben Grimm View Post
          I can't imagine the value had Topps make Mickey Mantle's '52 card #1 instead of Andy Pafko.
          Since Mantle is in the rare high series, that would probably make the majority of them worth less, but the high-grade ones worth more.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ipitch View Post
            Since Mantle is in the rare high series, that would probably make the majority of them worth less, but the high-grade ones worth more.
            I'll agree with that since higher grades of both Pafko and Benny Bengough are ridiculous simply based on how people used to collect them (first and last cards often have cross-crimps from rubber bands in case anybody doesn't know).
            "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

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