First look: 2012 Topps Tribute baseball cards


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps unveiled its first high-end product of the 2012 baseball card season Tuesday evening, and it’s the newest edition of the product that might have been the runaway hit of the high-end offerings this year.

It’s Topps Tribute.

Back for its fourth straight year, Tribute will include an autograph or Relic card in every $50 pack with every six-pack box of this hobby-only line including three on-card autographs. Every autograph and Relic card will be limited to 99 or fewer copies, and there will be a parallel card also found in every pack when it arrives on Feb. 7.

The base set will consist of 100 cards mixed between active and retired players with seven parallels and printing plates for each card, while seven Relic insert sets and an additional set of autograph cards — Tribute to the Stars (signed on stickers) will also be found.

The Relic lineup will include World Series Swatches — retired World Series winners — as well as Championship Material cards that will showcase two swatches from active players who have World Series rings. Others include Retired Remnants, Positions of Power, Superstar Swatches (each with a rather Triple Threadsian diecut window), Debut Digits (first uniform number) and Prime Patches. All cards also will be paralleled with versions limited to 50 copies or less, while the patches will be limited to just 24.

Among the players on the preliminary checklist who are slated to sign for the product are: Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax — three pretty big names — along with Albert Belle, Johnny Bench, Robinson Cano, Carlton Fisk, Reggie Jackson, Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, Evan Longoria, Don Mattingly, Joe Mauer, Stan Musial, Mike Schmidt, Frank Robinson, Nolan Ryan and many others.

The autographed cards will be paralleled seven times apiece with new additions being Onyx parallels — signed with silver ink — Purples (1/1s) and Oranges limited to 25. Others will include Blues (/50), Golds (/15) and Reds (/5) along with printing plates.

Among the Tribute to the Stars signers are Jose Bautista, Buster Posey, Musial, Schmidt, Jackson, Bob Gibson, Kemp and others. These cards will be found as a bonus hit in the packs, are limited to just 24, and also can be found with a Purple parallel limited to just one copy..

Over on the Relic side, some of the notable names include Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard, Tim Lincecum, Albert Pujols, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Joe DiMaggio, Willie McCovey, Al Kaline and more.

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


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  1. SesameSt4Life 30 August, 2011 at 17:28

    High end product with plain, dinky “GU” ovals, kind of sad and weak looking to me. I guess people want to buy for the serial numbers? Tribute is a product I am NOT a fan of and all of the eye-sore Gold doesn’t improve it for me.

  2. steve 30 August, 2011 at 18:15

    not even officially in the “playoff race” of the 2011 MLB season (although several divisions & even the wild cards…..might be already done) & Topps has unveiled, the base set design and now the first high end (but….who is going to give them any competition ?? by the way…..way to go MLB on keeping things fair and wanting kids to stay collectors, along with the adults ……you get a big F- on that part of your report card) offering of 2012.

    Rumor has it that we are going to start seeing previews of 2013 products before christmas this year !!!!!

  3. Mark 30 August, 2011 at 23:30

    BO-RING! Instead of abstracting the background behind every player, why can’t Topps create cards (including GUs and autos) that have excellent photography? The uniqueness of the photo is the only thing that is going to make these kind of cards interesting or distinctive. Two-thirds of the above Longoria auto is a blank, white space…why?

  4. Houdini 31 August, 2011 at 03:12

    Yeah, I agree. I am not a fan – especially of that sticker auto crap. I realize that these would be “extra” autos, but I just hate them!

    However, Tribute is always a fun group break if you can open it in bulk. I love to see the greats: Aaron, Mays, Ryan, Koufax, Musial, Schmidt, and… LONGORIA! :)

  5. tom waldron 2 September, 2011 at 08:28

    So for 300.00 + I get stickers more scractched cards to return ,bat cards -err seat relics uhh and that little snippet left on the cutting floor for a jersey card. How about gettin the photoboys at Uppper Deck to come in and stick me a huge patch or 2 and on card auto-s –no redemptions and maybe we’ll buy this . god awful this is what you get with no competition…… jus saying

  6. John E 16 March, 2012 at 05:20

    I seeing tribute cards listed on e-bay with serial nubering inconsistant with any checklist I have seen. Example – prime patch cards to /4, Tribute to the stars / 15 Unless I am missing something I think it is pretty sad that a accurate and complete checklist cannot be available prior to the release.

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