Why The F*%£ Can’t Topps Sort Out Their RC’s?

OK… OK… Sometimes I really despair over the tiniest, most insignificant things in life. I often worry that I might be missing something bigger by sweating the small stuff all the time, but occasionally there are those moments of sheer frustration born out of something which, on the surface, is pretty mundane and banal!

Collecting baseball cards shouldn’t be something to stress over. It should be about the fun; the community; the Hobby!

But every once in awhile maybe it doesn’t hurt to let off a little steam, you know? Shout from the rooftops even if there is no-one around to listen, or even care!

After my brief time away from the Hobby I’ve spent the last few days reacquainting myself with everything card-related that’s been occurring since the Red Sox somehow used their proliferance of facial hair to convince my Cardinals that they no longer knew how to hit or score runs (still not bitter)! This reacquaintance is still an ongoing process but I have had the chance to check out some of the products that I’ve missed.

And one such product was 2013 Topps Five Star Baseball!

Now, I know that the 2012 set had its fair share of issues – the epic QA fail that was the chipping and that ill-judged 5-Star Club thingy were a couple that I remember standing out – but from the early previews of the 2013 set I remember really liking what I saw! 2013 Five Star Baseball is last year’s news already (literally as well as figuratively) but I’ve only just come across it and can’t help marvelling at the sheer beauty of what Topps has produced here. Still waaaaayyyy out of my price range, but a lovely set all the same!

However one thing about it really bugs me on initial viewing, and that’s Topps’ inability to sort out their problem with the RC logo conventions. Check these two cards out –



On the top we have a Manny Machado base card #’d/75 while underneath we have an autographed card #’d/353.

“So what’s the big issue here Andy, you cantankerous English bastard?”, I hear you all cry!!

The issue for me is that the RC logo is on the wrong bloody card!!

What the hell is it doing on the autograph card when there’s a perfectly good (and much rarer) base card without a RC logo on it? Shouldn’t the base card in any set be the one that’s designated the RC, where applicable? What’s the deal with Topps and their never ending quest to create autographed RCs seemingly out of everything these days??

I don’t know!! Maybe it’s just me that still gets bothered about stuff like this? I know that there are plenty of you out there that still DO care about the status of the venerable old RC, even though its existence these days seems to be becoming more and more irrelevant to Topps and to certain sections of the Hobby.

At the end of the day should this be something to even care about?

Does it really matter where a RC logo appears, or more importantly doesn’t appear?? In the age of the Prospect card does the RC even have that much significance to the average collector anymore? or has it become something of an anachronism – a remnant of an older and more simpler era of collecting?

I’d love to hear all your thoughts on this one!!

6 thoughts on “Why The F*%£ Can’t Topps Sort Out Their RC’s?

  1. Since the days of multiple baseball card sets, it’s been up to collectors to decide which cards “count” as a player’s rookie cards.

    I remember back in the late 1980s, during Mark McGwire’s first run of popularity. The cards we cared about: his 1987 Donruss Rated Rookie & his 1985 Topps Olympic card. The 1987 Fleer Update couldn’t be pulled out of a pack and came out later than the other cards, so it was less popular. The 1987 Topps card was an afterthought because it wasn’t even McGwire’s first Topps card.

    By the “official” rookie card rules of the era, the 1987 Topps and Donruss cards counted, the 1987 Fleer was an “extended rookie card” and the 1985 Topps card was just out in limbo. But it sold for more than any of the rest except for the 1987 Donruss.

    I don’t care about the rookie logo, and I think that it’s silly that Topps gets to use it more than once per player.

    1. I agree with you Paul, but I can’t get past that bloody RC logo! It haunts me with its faux-official air!!

      It is really annoying how Topps applies it across its range of products and cards, and I’ve always felt that Prospect cards shouldn’t count as true RCs!

      But that’s just me and I often feel that I’m in the minority on this one!

  2. The while RC logo its a mandate from MLB. MLB put on a bunch of rules one year about RCs (and former players) being in sets. It is part of the reason Bowman has such a God awful numbering system too.

    I agree with you though, the bar card should be the RC.

    1. Yep. MLB “defines” what a rookie card is and such card then gets the official logo. They also limit who can appear in a regular set (so, technically, all those “pre-rookie” prospects in Bowman are “inserts”, even though those are what you buy Bowman for). But there’s a reason for it all. I don’t know if anybody remembers, but there were a bunch of fly-by-night card companies in the 90s issuing cards of high school (and even some grade school) players on the theory that, if any of them hit it big, those would be their “true rookie cards” (since they were the first appearance on nationally distributed cardboard of the players in question). Griffey and Jeter were two such players, as I recall, who were issued on such cards before appearing in major company sets. And (it was the 90s, afterall) people were buying into it. The major card companies started down the same path–with all the draft pick cards and whatnot. Heck, I have more major league cards of lots of guys who never played in the majors than I do of lots of players with long major league careers. MLB figured they’d better step in and “clarify” things before someone started slapping baby pictures on cardboard and calling them rookie cards. Even with only Topps holding an MLB licence, MLB has kind of lost control of the situation again. Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects is one of the most popular products out there. And what’s the draw? The first cards of players (most years away from making the majors, if any do) in major league uniforms (quite badly airbrushed on, in most cases). And unlicensed Leaf has a product called Perfect Game, which features nothing but the top high school players. You think the 2013 Perfect Game Fenway Parks (yeah, that’s his real name) card (and autograph) isn’t going to be the most valued cardboard of the man if he makes it big in the majors 5 years from now?

  3. When it comes to current rookie cards, I’m totally confused. I would have thought they’d put the RC logo on the unsigned base card, but this further proves that they need to set up an online class that offers college units on the subject.

    Side note: nice card. I really like this year’s Five Star autographs. Just posted my custom box on my blog this morning.

    1. Then I’ll go check it out Fuji!!

      I know I’m not the only one who yearns for simpler times re the RC, but I’m realistic enough to know that those days are gone.

      As the Hobby and the market has evolved there seems to be little place for the RC proper these days, and it’s pretty much been left behind!

      Shame really, but the price of progress!!

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