Are you digging Topps’ Diamond code cards? I am …


By Chris Olds | Editor

The 2011 edition of Topps’ code card madness has begun as the Topps Diamond Giveaway site opened on Tuesday with countless codes for free stuff being entered en masse.

You know, we’re all in search of those minty fresh 1988 Jody Reeds and 1983 John Dennys … right?

Well, a new part of the mix this year — to go with the heavy dose of vintage-flavor cardboard — are a few diamond-themed cards. There are die-cut cards which have a little less cardboard and then there are cards with a bit more inside … an actual diamond.

Topps’ promotional online presence began with last year’s popular Million Card Giveaway, and this year’s code cards are found one in every six packs.This year, though, each card also comes with a chance to “dig” for an additional prize as well.

After a long day of the typical to-do and a trip to Walmart for highlighters (that’s code for more packs of 2011 Topps), I settled down to rip into four jumbos and see what collectors were talking about on Twitter.

My packs were fruitless for new codes, so in the aftermath of many a code being redeemed, I decided it was time for my 19 code cards — all found in retail packs this year — to be unlocked.

I didn’t have high expectations after my first card, a 1996 Tony Tarrasco. That discovery prompted a Chris Rockinspired thought and then I moved on.

My second card, a 1973 Topps Dick Green, prompted a bit of mini-euphoria — it was an Oakland A’s player from back in the day — and not a 1986 Topps checklist (but I got one of those, too).

It prompted a tongue-in-cheek comment to anyone who was also entering their codes and reading my babblings online at the time. (There were a few of us with apparently little else to do on a Tuesday night.)

“Face it,” I wrote, “my codes are just better than yours…”

Turns out, my third code was pretty darn good — it has just 329 other equivalents to be found for the rest of the year-long program. “Congratulations! You’ve unlocked a card,” read my screen as I did a double-take looking at the image.

It wasn’t a 1988 Bip Roberts, but rather a 2011 Ubaldo Jimenez 1/1 diamond card — one of the ultra-rare cards with an actual gem inside. You can see a screenshot of it above.

Had it been one of Beckett’s beloved Box Busters videos, it would have been given a smackdown by the FCC.

Now, that used code card sits in a top-loader (I’m not sure why… just felt necessary) that’s marked “Ubaldo 1/1.” For the record, the front of the card shows Tim Lincecum‘s diamond die-cut insert …for all you Wade Boggs-style code card buyers.

After that, I apologized for a previous “can you dig it?” crack publicly — clearly, I could dig it now — and moved on to my additional codes. It was an untouchable stash that yielded a 1992 Jeff Fassero, a 1989 Tom Bolton, a 2001 Chris Stynes and, yes … even a 1986 checklist.

Despite my run of bad luck after landing a true big one, I’ll undoubtedly be back on the site for more soon — there’s digging to be done once it’s fully operational.

Why? I don’t know … I just will.

I’ve got to find that 1/1 diamond card of Nick Swisher.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


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  1. Patrick McRae 15 February, 2011 at 22:39

    I don’t know if it is happening to everyone, but everytime I go do a dig it never registers and I have to keep refreshing. Is anyone else having this problem?

    From mod: Yes, the dig area is having problems. (Mentioned in item above.)

  2. Blake 16 February, 2011 at 00:17

    I think its lame. I should have sold my cards on ebay. I really dont care about a virtual card or virtual diamond ring. If I want a picture of it – I will google it. The chances of getting prizes are 1 in a 1,000,000. I was really excited for this give away and once again, I am disappointed.

  3. Thomas King 16 February, 2011 at 04:38

    So Far, I have bought approx 40 packs of 2011 Topps, 10 of 11 cards were awful. Could be worse I guess. Could be another 2000 Topps Ivan Rodriguez or a 1961 Phil Rizzuto (Topps still has mine on back order from jan 7th)… The ring part is cool as well as the diamond dig page. Besides a 1973 Bob veale (First card entered of 11), rest of the cards have been nothing but middle 1990’s cards. Is 2/16/11 now, the trade feature is still not working properly. I hope they fix that soon as well. The Page Background is nicer for the contest than the Topps Million card Giveaway page. Only Part was they only let you see the last 3 recently pulled. of the Diamond anniversity parallel, I did manage to pull a Strasburg. woot woot.

  4. Shad Stephens 16 February, 2011 at 09:01

    I pulled the Angel Pagan 1/1 Diamond Card but had a time getting the “Digs” game to work but finally it did and I dug up rings of Ripken, Williams, and the Dodgers.

  5. noille 16 February, 2011 at 11:12

    13 common cards, 14 virtual rings… Woo Hoo! Just wondering if Topps wants any of my commons for their next promotion?

  6. Ken Uher 16 February, 2011 at 12:57

    I was lucky enough to get an Alexei Ramirez Diamond 1/1! Have all my digs in, I just want to trade some doubles of my rings now. I have Nolan Ryan, Lou Gherig, etc… should be fun!

  7. Keith S 16 February, 2011 at 15:59

    36 codes entered. 28 different “rings”. 28 of the cards are 80s-2007. Oldest card I got was 1961. Maybe the trading will make it better once that is active (APRIL!!!?!!!). Can’t say I am that excited about it overall, compared to the Million Card Giveaway.

  8. Quentin Paulsen 16 February, 2011 at 19:02

    I think the concept is good but when you keep hitting cards from the 90’s during the over production craze what real treasure is it. Buyback a few real gems and offer those and this contest would’ve been better!

  9. Scott Manies 16 February, 2011 at 22:50

    Love these cards. Best code was a 1956 Tommy Carroll. Not the most expensive card but now the oldest baseball card I own. :)

  10. Ray AUgust 17 February, 2011 at 06:32

    I did find a 54 Glynn that would have been worth $15.00 if it hadn’t been centered 100/0 in two directions. Digging did much better, I won 6 rings with six tries and a 60th Anniversary Commemorative complete set of cards. But the set won’t be ready to ship until August, 2011. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.


  11. Jeff Bunnell 18 February, 2011 at 10:49

    I agree Quentin. I was unlocking these (24 cards) with my 12 yr old and he kept saying “how come your not happy?”. I had to explain to him that the last thing I needed was another 1989 Ron Hassey card etc. I pulled an ’87, 2 ’89’s, 1 ’90 and 2 ’91s, not to mention some other mid-90’s cards…
    Is it too much to ask to get more cards from the 1970s?

    BTW, I didn’t get ANY of the 2011 die cuts or anything like that, which I had been hoping for…

  12. Penn Shelly 19 February, 2011 at 12:09

    I remember that night when u posted that live about pulling it. Didnt believe it at first but thats a great pull. I will let u knoe when i find that swisher :)

  13. Phillip Arnitz 24 February, 2011 at 21:18

    I actually have a lot of fun with these. Yea most of the cards you get are going to be very crummy, but all it takes is getting that one card that makes it worth paying the shipping charges to get them to you. Last year I unlocked 1952 Al Rosen…always cool to have a card from the first series.

  14. Phil Regetta 25 February, 2011 at 16:32

    Bought a blaster box today at Walmart and got two diamond giveaway cards. First redemption was a ’77 Tim McCarver. Second was a Diamond Die Cut Howie Kendrick! Yea! It’s up on ebay now.

  15. Tim 30 March, 2011 at 11:30

    Hmm, i got my diamond embedded card in from a code with the Lincecum die cut too o.O freaky… (and i felt neccesary to put it in a toploader!)

  16. Abe Doctor 4 April, 2011 at 12:35

    Has anyone seen these cards hitting E-Bay yet? Does anyone have a sense of how big the actual diamond embedded in the card is? Carat? Weight? Cut? etc…

  17. david 10 July, 2011 at 10:36

    I have 59 Rings and have won hundreds of cards but i am still digging for a mickey mantle ring will i ever dig it up who knows i have about dug up the whole playing field and still havent gotten any mickey mantle ring help does any one have a mickey mantle ring that they want to trade,if yes send me a email

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