Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The "10" Highly Subjective "Best" Baseball Cards of 2016

Oh man. So I was so very ready to just say that this was the card of 2016. Captured a great moment in the 2016 season, a fan favorite player doing something out of character.... Ask me at almost any point of the year, and I would say this was it, hands down. Then something happened . . .
Really Topps? There's also a card commemorating this homer in Topps Heritage High Numbers. So, the Topps Now version is no longer special in any way. I will say of the three versions, the Topps Now card has my favorite photo choice, and the better copy on the front. But we'll cry our Topps Now tears another time.
Here's another example of Topps capturing a great moment - Joey Bats with the epic playoff bat flip. I picked the chrome version because the bat is kinda sorta in 3-D on the card.
This was a very recent addition - I spent the $14.99 for the 8 update chrome cards and several packs of regular Topps Update. I love that this card is super sparkly and shiny and new, and juxtaposed against that is Denard Span's salt and pepper beard. I'm a fan.
Get used to seeing Stadium Club cards in this rambling list. There are quite a few. This could be a still from "The Natural" with the sunlight streaming through the open areas of the stadium. Really nice photo.
This is possibly blasphemy, but I think this card was one of the few that met the standards of the 1967 set. Several of the 2016 Heritage cards were washed out / over saturated using a technique to make them look like vintage cards. This one has a little bit of that, but it's not overly distracting. The "Tigres" jersey variation is the cherry on top.
I won't go crazy with Twins cards in the list, but I was quick to make an exception for Sano under the Target Field lights. The Future of the Franchise in a nicely framed shot.
Speaking of frames, The Archives set paid tribute to the 1991 Topps set. This shot right down the foul line mirrored the tremendous photography that defined the 91 set.
Ok, one more Twin. This photo was taken in the Twins' previous home, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. "The Rat" Gary Gaetti is in the background as "Sweet Music" delivers to the plate during the 1987 World Series. Viola was the MVP of the Series, then went on to win the AL Cy Young in 1988. Great memories with this photo.
I was trying to decide between this Met robbing a home run and the card of Juan Lagares robbing a home run - The tie breaker is having Bullpen Coach Ricky Bones all bundled up in the background of this one.
The Saint Louis Arch is a perfect backdrop for this card - the throwback uni on Grichuk is a nice touch.
I'm not really a Royals fan, or a Salvador Perez fan, but this card captures his love for playing baseball, and that's a wonderful thing!

There were many honorable mentions I could include here - Billy Hamilton bunting on his Topps Bunt card, The Buxton / Sano Twin Terrors Heritage card, the entire Stadium Club set.... it was too bad that there were only Topps cards on this list, but the truth is that Panini's efforts were not quite up to the task.

2017 Topps will be out in stores in about a month, and the cycle will start all over again - it's currently below zero here in Minnesota, but I'm already thinking about spring.


  1. I think this is the third time I've written this in someone's comments... Joey Bats gets my vote. Love, love, love... that card.

  2. Great list, but zero Strata cards makes me sad. Granted, it probably wasn't seen much, but I thought it was the best set of the year... yes, even above the high and mighty Stadium Club (though last year's SC would've beaten it).

    1. Should have had a disclaimer that there are some products I haven't seen yet. Strata and Gold Label come to mind.

  3. If you can narrow it down to one, then I'll get you entered in my contest. Just let me know!
    For the record, I really like the Grichuk card... and that's saying something considering the source.

  4. I like both the Bat Flip and Colon (trotting) equally

  5. I love all these cards, especially the Grichuk. That card alone pretty much sums up how great Stadium Club is.

  6. That Jon Gray card is great! It was my pick for Best Card of 2016.