2020 Topps Update Series Baseball Cards Look to the Past and Future

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With an uncertain present, 2020 Topps Update Series Baseball cards are looking to the past and the future to help fill out its checklist. These elements fit into a format that’s similar to recent years, rounding out the flagship for the year.

2020 Topps Update Series Baseball Base Set Basics

The main set consists of 300 cards. Part of it is the traditional mix of players changing teams this year. Some rookies will also be on the checklist. Subsets include stats leaders and combo cards with multiple players.

2020 Topps Update Series Baseball David Price

Usually, Update Series highlights the All-Star Game and its surrounding festivities like the Home Run Derby. But that probably not happening in 2020, at least as planned in July, the set has to take a different approach. In this instance, it means looking to past All-Star Games and Home Run Derby performances.

The parallel lineup is similar to the rainbow started in Series 1 and Series 2. At the hobby level, these include:

  • Rainbow Foil (1:10 packs)
  • Gold Foil (1:2 hobby jumbo, hobby jumbo only)
  • Gold – /2020
  • Vintage Stock – /99
  • Independence Day – /76
  • Black – /69 (hobby and hobby jumbo only)
  • Father’s Day Powder Blue – /50
  • Mother’s Day Hot Pink – /50
  • Memorial Day Camo – /25
  • Platinum – 1/1
  • Printing Plates – 1/1

Clear parallels are available for 100 cards. Printed on clear, plastic-like stock, each is numbered to 10 and only in regular hobby packs.

Select base cards also have Short Print and Super Short Print variations with alternate photos.

Prospect Inserts

Traditionally, the big draw for many in Topps Update Series is the Rookie Cards. With the 2020 season abbreviated at best, the number of available rookies could be very different.

Prospect inserts, which adopt the 1989 Topps Baseball “#1 Draft Pick” design, help fill the void. This set has a top-ranked prospect from every MLB team.

2020 Topps Update Series Baseball Prospect Jo Adell

Additional parallels come in Blue, Black (/299), Gold (/50), Red (/10) and Platinum (1/1). Autographs can also be found. These have no more than 25 copies each.

Inserts

2020 Topps Update Series Baseball inserts are a mix of new themes as well as expansions of sets from Series 1 and 2.

The year-long Decade’s Best set wraps up with more top 10 lists highlighting award winners, teams, hitters and pitchers over specific decades from the last 70 years.

2020 Topps Update Series Baseball Decade's Best

A Numbers Game is new to Update Series. The theme here is players who have had their jersey numbers retired.

Derek Jeter’s career gets the retrospective treatment in 20 Years of the Captain.

All three of these inserts have a handful of parallels: Blue, Black (/299), Gold (/50), Red (/10) and Platinum (1/1). Some cards in Decade’s Best and A Numbers Game also have autographs (/25 or less). 20 Years of the Captain has autographs as well, but these are one-of-ones.

1985 Topps Baseball gets a third installment. Vets, rookies and retired stars all get new cards using the 1985 design. These land 1:4 packs with additional Blue, Black (/299), Gold (/50), Red (/10) and Platinum (1/1) versions.

Sketch cards are randomly inserted into hobby and hobby jumbo packs. These all have original art done directly on the card.

2020 Topps Baseball Boxloader Patches take top cards from across 2020 Topps Baseball (Series 1, Series 2 and Update Series) and give them the manufactured patch treatment.

2020 Topps Update Series Baseball Autographs

For those collecting the earlier installments from the flagship 2020 Topps Baseball, some of the autograph themes will be familiar.

Baseball Stars is a broad-reaching theme to offer ink from current and past players. Additional parallels include Black (/199), Gold (/50), Red (/25) and Platinum (1/1). Baseball Stars Dual Autographs, which pair up signatures, have no more than five copies each.

1985 Topps Baseball Autographs come with on-card signatures from rookies, veterans and retired players. Black (/199), Gold (/50), Red (/25, hobby only) and Platinum (1/1, hobby and hobby jumbo only) versions are also in the mix.

The hobby- and hobby jumbo-exclusive Topps Reverence Autographed Patch cards are another place on the checklist with hard signatures. Base versions have ten copies while parallels are limited to Red (/5) and Platinum (1/1).

Major League Materials Autographs (/50 or less) are a more common for of signature relics. Cards also have Red (/25) and Platinum (1/1) parallels.

Should you stumble upon one of the product’s Cut Signatures, they’re all one-of-ones.

Memorabilia Cards

The All-Star Game has long been an anchor for memorabilia in Topps Update. That’s still the case in 2020 Topps Update Series Baseball, but the approach is different using swatches from warm-ups used between 2013 and 2019.

All-Star Stitches are the most common of these. Silver (/50), Red (/25) and Gold (1/1) parallels add a further chase element. Dual and Triple versions are all numbered to 25 or less. All-Star Stitches Jumbo Patch cards have no more than five copies plus a one-of-one Platinum parallel. All-Star Stitches Autographs and All-Star Stitches Dual Autographs all top out at 25 copies each. Also on the checklist are rare All-Star Stitches Jumbo Patch Autographs.

Major League Materials skip the All-Star theme and go with swatches of game-used gear.

Own the Name Relics return with full letters from the back of a jersey. Although these are all considered one-of-ones, players may have multiple letters.

Manufactured Relics

The Derek Jeter focus returns a pair of manufactured patch sets. Available only in hobby and hobby jumbo packs, 20 Years of the Captain Commemorative Patch cards include a Hall of Fame patch. Jeter’s Final Season Commemorative Patch cards include the shortstop’s teammates from 2014. These include recreations of the special Yankees patch worn that season.

Both sets have Black (/50), Gold (/25), Red (/10) and Platinum (1/1) parallels. One-of-one Jeter signatures are in 20 Years of the Captain while Final Season Autographs are numbered to 25 or less.

Bonus 2020 Topps Update Series Baseball Silver Packs

Silver packs continue to act as incentive for hobby and hobby jumbo box purchases. These feature special versions 1985 Topps Baseball Chrome cards not available elsewhere.

Autographs and parallels are also available.

There’s one Silver pack in every hobby box. Hobby jumbo boxes have two.

2020 Topps Update Series Baseball Silver Packs

2020 Topps Update Series Baseball cards at a glance:

Cards per pack: Hobby – 14, Hobby Jumbo – 46
Packs per box: Hobby – 24, Hobby Jumbo – 10
Boxes per case: Hobby – 12, Hobby Jumbo – 6
Set size: 300 cards
Release date: October 30, 2020

What to expect in a hobby box:

  • Autographs, Memorabilia or  Manufactured Relic Cards – 1
  • 1985 Topps Baseball Inserts – 6
  • Silver Packs – 1

What to expect in a hobby jumbo box:

  • Autographs – 1
  • Memorabilia or Manufactured Relic Cards – 2
  • Silver Packs – 2

The full 2020 Topps Update Series Baseball checklist and team set lists will be added as soon as they’re available, likely shortly before the set’s release.

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Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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7 comments

  1. Randy Johnson 27 May, 2020 at 13:26

    The prospect inserts look very cool!

    I almost wish Topps would consider a new format for the Update set and maybe go deeper into rosters, using this year’s altered season as a test launch.

    There really isn’t a product out there right now that goes deeper than maybe 10-12 players per team even with 3 different Topps flagship releases.

    I’d much rather have my team’s middle relievers and backup players for my PC than the redundant MLB debut cards, for example.

  2. Lloyd Vansyckle 27 May, 2020 at 16:32

    Yes I agree with Randy. However, many longtime collectors want the debut/rookie cards. Without them, it decreases demand for collectors to want to buy cards like these.
    Regards,Lloyd

  3. Frank Drey 27 May, 2020 at 20:04

    Are the prospect cards considered inserts, which will be in addition to the 300 card base set?

  4. Bryant 27 May, 2020 at 20:05

    I want to start collecting baseball cards. When these come out, where can I buy it?

    • Ryan Cracknell 28 May, 2020 at 17:26

      @Bryant – It should be available anywhere baseball cards are sold: card shops, online sites, Walmart, Target, etc.

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