The Topps Opening Day brand debuted as a retail exclusive set for the 1998 season, and it returns again for 2019 in both hobby and retail outlets. The kid centric release contains 200 base cards and a slew of inserts that focus on the “lighter side” of the game.
Once again, the Opening Day design mirrors the Flagship design with the addition of a special Opening Day logo. Many photos are borrowed from the Series1 set, and a handful of parallels provide an additional chase for player collectors. Blue parallels are limited to 2019 copies, and Black parallels and printing plates are 1/1.
Photo variations return this year and are tough to find in opening day. They are more like a traditional SSP which is becoming a staple of many Topps releases. There are rumored to be 30 variations, however Topps made them somewhat of a treasure hunt and left it up to collectors to uncover them and bring them to the attention of other collectors. At the time of this post, 24 variations have been reported. Many of the variation photos seem to show the player in an off the field setting or celebrating in some way, but sometimes it’s hard to tell just by looking at the picture. However, if you check the code on the back of the card, you can remove any doubt. The base cards have a code that ends with 853, and the variations end in 871.
Inserts fall one per pack, but vary widely in scarcity. The 150 Years of Fun, Mascots, Opening Day, and Team Traditions sets are the most common. The Rally Time, Sock It To Me, and Dugout Peaks seem to be much more rare, falling in only 1:400 packs or more! That’s just a couple of these combined per hobby case!
There are 61 different autographed cards found in packs containing both players and mascots. An additional 55 relic cards join the hard to find hits within the product. One of my favorites is the Diamond Relics set which embeds a pouch of actual dirt from the players home stadium!
Following on the heels of Shohei Ohtani making has pack issued rookie debut in 2018 Opening day, Seattle Prospect Yusei Kikuchi will make his pack issued debut in the 2019 version.
I am a fan of interesting and unique inserts, and Opening Day delivers on that front. I am also a fan of the low price point. My only complaint about this product is the use of the flagship design. If the base set wasn’t basically a mirror image of Flagship, I’d be all over this set. In its current form, it too similar to flagship for me to put much attention to. I still buy a blaster or two, and if I come across some of my PC players I’ll add them to my binders, but I don’t go out of my way to collect this set.
I did pick up the blaster above so I’d have something to write about and show! It was about what I expected, and was a pretty fun break for $10. I’ll be adding the Trout, Ohtani, and Cubs to the PC, listing the Blue Parallel on EBay, and the rest will go on Sportlots.
For the entry level product, I’m a bigger fan of Topps Big League, but I know many collectors love Opening Day. I just like the unique design of Big League when you consider the price points are basically the same.
How about you?
Here’s a link if you want to see what I had to say about the 2018 version!
Check out the 2019 Topps release calendar to see what sets are coming out next.