2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball variations come in three levels. This is in line with last year’s flagship SP and SSP cards. This time around, though, Topps has included the rarest of the three among the pack odds. They’ve given them a name, too — Ultra Short Prints (which is less confusing that SSSP).
As for what to look for, there are multiple things going on.
On some cards, it’s a basic photo switch. These cover lots of rookies and stars.
We Are Family: 2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball Variations Themes
For fans of the legends-themed variations, they’re back as well. These replace current players with superstars from the past. The vast majority of these are in the most common level of Short Prints.
They’re joined on the checklist by some top veteran stars and rookies.
The 25 Super Short Prints follow suit with rookies and stars. For the most part, the player selection in the SSP cards is limited to the most collectible players.
One standout theme is also the toughest. The five 2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball Ultra Short Print Variations all focus on a single thing — family. Players are pictured with their dads (or in Mike Yastrzemski’s case, his grandfather), all of whom were major leaguers themselves.
2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball Variations: Codes to Know
Looking for the fastest way to know whether you have a 2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball variation? Flip the card over to the back (and maybe grab some glasses if your eyes aren’t as good as they used to be).
That block of text at the bottom with all the copyright info and legal stuff? There’s something helpful. The CMP code at the end changes based on the card type. Think of it like a tag. Use the last digits of the string to tell different types of cards apart.
When it comes to telling base, SP, SSP and Ultra card types, these are what you need:
Base – 213
Short Print (SP) – 230
Super Short Print (SSP) – 231
Ultra Short Print (Ultra) – 232
Other inserts have different codes, but they’re not important here.
2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball Variations Odds
So just how tough are the variations in 2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball? That depends. Basic Short Prints are tough but not exceptionally. SSP cards are going to be tough to come by, but not impossible. Ultra Short Prints are like the mountain gorillas of Series 1 — exceptionally scarce.
Odds vary depend on the pack type. Here’s a look at the odds across hobby and retail:
Short Print Variations Odds
Hobby – 1:79
Hobby Jumbo – 1:24
Retail Gravity Feed – 1:69
Blaster Packs – 1:79
Hanger Boxes – 1:17
Fat Packs – 1:33
Super Short Print Variations Odds
Hobby – 1:2,348
Hobby Jumbo – 1:715
Retail Gravity Feed – 1:2,049
Blaster Packs – 1:2,347
Hanger Boxes – 1:492
Fat Packs – 1:966
Ultra Short Print Variations Odds
Hobby – 1:88,187
Hobby Jumbo – 1:27,242
Retail Gravity Feed – 1:74,986
Blaster Packs – 1:88,945
Hanger Boxes – 1:18,510
Fat Packs – 1:35,457
Specific print runs have not been announced.
2021 Topps Series 1 Baseball Variations Checklist
If you’re looking for a specific card, click on the links to see what’s currently available on eBay.
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.