2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball is in a celebratory mindset. It’s the 70th installment of the flagship line since its landmark 1952 debut. So there’s lots of looking back. At the same time it does what all flagship releases do by reflecting on the current state of the game and its stars.
2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball Checklist Overview
Compared to recent years, the 2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball checklist takes a bit of a step back as far as size goes. It’s 330 cards, which is down from 350.
The rookie crop features many players debuting in the shortened 2020 season.
Subsets include Future Stars, World Series Highlights and League Leaders. Team cards are also part of the checklist.
As usual, parallels are vast. And with the return of white borders, they should show prominently. Parallels available in hobby and hobby jumbo packs include:
- Rainbow Foil – (1:10 packs)
- Gold – /2021
- Vintage Stock – /99
- Independence Day – /76
- Black – /70 (hobby and hobby jumbo only)
- Platinum Anniversary – /70
- Father’s Day Blue – /50
- Mother’s Day Pink – /50
- Memorial Day Camo – /25
- Printing Plates – 1/1
- 70th Anniversary – 1/1
Gold Foil parallels return as hobby jumbo exclusives. These land every other pack.
There’s also 100 Clear cards. Numbered to 10 and done on acetate, these are only in regular hobby packs, not hobby jumbo or retail.
Old Is New Again
Nostalgia and history make regular appearances in every modern flagship Topps Baseball release. And with this being an anniversary year, it’s even more prevalent in 2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball, particularly with the inserts.
70 Years of Topps Baseball highlights seven decades of flagship designs with different players. It has a 70-card checklist of current and retired players. Select cards also have autographs (/10 or less).
Retail tins return for 2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball. These include one exclusive Chrome 70 Years of Topps insert done on Refractor stock.
Another place to find old designs is Topps Through the Years. Featuring 25 cards, it goes into different Topps brands, not just flagship.
The History of Topps uses ten cards to chart defining moments in the company’s past.
Sticking with the 35th anniversary theme from the past few years, 1986 Topps Baseball resurrects the big headline design with a lineup of vets, rookies and retired stars.
Topps Through the Years and The History of Topps and 1986 Topps Baseball all have Blue, Black (/299), Platinum Anniversary (/70), Red (/10) and Gold (1/1) parallels.
Hobby jumbo boxes are the only place to find 1951 Topps Major League All-Stars Box Toppers. Twenty-five players are in the set, which uses an early design. Autographs, which are on-card, come numbered to 10.
History of Topps Baseball Buybacks are limited to 70 cards. These are original cards from the past that have been numbered for this release.
On the retail side, there’s 1952 Topps Redux where 50 current players are put on the landmark design. These are one per retail pack and have Red (/70), Black (/25) and Platinum (1/1) parallels. Every tenth retail pack has a 1952 Topps Chrome Redux insert. Parallels for the shiny versions include Red (/70), Black (/25) and Superfractors (1/1).
Additional 2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball Inserts
Topps Double Headers are two-sided cards of 25 stars from the past. One side has their first Topps card while the back is their final one as a player. These draw from 1990 Topps Doubleheaders.
Topps Platinum Players Die-Cuts feature some of the biggest names to appear on the company’s cards. Once complete, it will have, appropriately enough, 70 cards. However, only the first 25 are in Series 1. These also have Blue, Black (/299), Platinum Anniversary (/70), Red (/10) and Gold (1/1) versions as well as autographs (/10 or less) for select cards.
It’s not just players’ on-field accomplishments that are highlighted in 2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball. Stars in Service focuses on the good being done by players in their communities through their charitable efforts. Parallels include Blue, Black (/299), Platinum Anniversary (/70), Red (/10) and Gold (1/1). Some also have autographs that top out at ten copies.
Sketch cards come with original art. Hobby and hobby jumbo packs also have Shaped Sketch Cards. However, these are tough with just 70 total across the product’s print run.
Autographs and Memorabilia Cards
70 Years of Baseball Autographs use the anniversary theme to showcase signatures from several generations. Parallels include Black (/199), Gold (/50), Red (/25) and Platinum (1/1). With just five copies each, Dual Autographs are among the toughest in 2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball.
1986 Topps Baseball returns with autographs and memorabilia cards. Autographs are on-card and come with Black (/199), Gold (/50), Red (/25, hobby only), and Platinum (1/1, hobby and hobby jumbo only) parallels. Relics have the same general parallel lineup as autographs.
Playoff baseball gets its annual mix of hits. Both World Series Champions Autographs and Postseason Performance Autographs have 50 copies or less and come with additional Red (/25) and Platinum (1/1) versions. The themes carry over to autograph relics that have similar numbering and parallels. There are also relics (/99) that have their own Red (/25) and Platinum (1/1) versions.
Major League Material take a broad theme for offering memorabilia from a variety of players. The parallel lineup for these includes Black (/199), Gold (/50), Red (/25) and Platinum (1/1, hobby and hobby jumbo only). Major League Material Autographs come numbered to 50 or less with additional Red (/5) and Platinum (1/1) takes.
While Topps Baseball is traditionally a line that uses sticker autographs, there are a couple of places where on-card ink is present. Among them are Topps Reverence Autograph Patch Cards (/10), which also have a premium piece of game-used gear. Parallels include Red (/5) and Platinum (1/1). Topps Reverence is a hobby- and hobby jumbo-exclusive.
In the Name Relics, which have letters from jersey nameplates, and Cut Signatures are some of 2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball’s one-of-one hits.
Hobby packs have a couple of exclusive commemorative relics.
Spring Training Cap Logo Patch Cards recreate the patches found on preseason hats. Parallels are Blue, Black (/299), Platinum Anniversary (/70), Red (/10) and Gold (1/1). Autographs have no more than ten copies each.
Iconic Card Patches recreate some of the company’s iconic cards as jumbo patches. Similar themes have been done in the past, although not in the past few years for baseball.
Blaster-style retail value boxes have exclusive Topps 70th Anniversary Logo Patch cards that are one per box. The parallel lineup for these include Blue, Black (/299), Platinum (/70), Red (/10) and Gold (1/1). Select cards have autographs as well, which have no more than ten copies each. These will continue throughout the 2021 flagship line with Series 2 and Update.
Home Run Challenge
The Home Run Challenge returns for another year. With these, collectors predict the day that the player on their card will blast one over the outfield fence.
Go to the special website, enter the code on the card and pick the day.
Correct predictions result in an exclusive prize card.
2021 Topps Baseball Home Run Challenge cards are one per hobby and hobby jumbo box.
2021 Topps Baseball Silver Packs
Silver packs are back in 2021. Inserted one per hobby box and two per hobby jumbo box, these bonus packs come with exclusive chrome cards.
Parallels and autographs are also available.
Like 2020, silver packs are inside boxes and not given out separately.
“A Unique Experience”
Similar to the Golden Tickets found in 2020 Topps Baseball, there’s a special event planned for a select group of collectors.
A total of 50 special tickets are available in packs throughout the year (25 in Series 1). Those who get one get to attend an exclusive event that will have MLB players in attendance. Exclusive cards are also part of the package.
Ticket holders can bring a plus-one.
The event is tentatively set for fall, 2021.
2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball cards at a glance:
Cards per pack: Hobby – 14, Hobby Jumbo – 46, Retail – 16, Gravity Feed – 16, Blasters – 14, Fat Packs – 40, Hanger Boxes – 67, Tins – 75
Packs per box: Hobby – 24(plus one Silver pack), Hobby Jumbo – 10 (plus two Silver packs), Retail – 24, Gravity Feed – 36, Blasters – 7, Fat Packs – 108, Hanger Boxes – 1, Tins – 1
Boxes per case: Hobby – 12, Hobby Jumbo – 6, Retail – 12, Gravity Feed – 6, Blasters – 40, Fat Packs – 1, Tins – 40
Set size: 330 cards
Release date: February 10, 2021
What to expect in a hobby box:
- Autographs, Memorabilia or Manufactured Relic Cards – 1 Total
- Home Run Challenge – 1
- Rainbow Foil Parallels – 2
- Silver Packs – 1
What to expect in a hobby jumbo box:
- Autographs – 1
- Memorabilia or Manufactured Relic Cards – 2
- Home Run Challenge – 1
- Gold Foil Parallels – 5
- Silver Packs – 2
The full 2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball checklist and team set lists will be posted as soon as they’re available, likely shortly before the set’s release.