2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom

What I pulled--
Die Cut Parallels – 20, including Evan Longoria and Tim Lincecum
Blue Parallel – Milton Bradley (#45/99), Conor Jackson (#48/99)
Gold Parallel – B.J. Upton (#2/50)
Numbered Rookie – David Hernandez (#156/199)
Ticket To Stardom – Joey Votto, Colby Rasmus, Nick Markakis, Travis Snider, Evan Longoria
Big Ticket – Brandon Webb, Alex Rodriguez
Season Veterans – David Ortiz
Authentic Ticket Stub Plus Relic – Jack Cust bat (#65/239)
Authentic Ticket Stub Plus 2 Relics – Jack Cust dual bat (#190/235)
Autograph Relic – Mat Gamel (#294/489)

When I heard about Topps Ticket to Stardom, I got very excited. It reminded me of one of my favorite sets
from the first half of the decade, Fleer Authentix.

I love the cards/tickets concept. I think it plays very well as a design. The base set of Ticket to Stardom is

fine. I might have liked unframed photos and a design that looks MORE like a ticket, but as it is, with the
white borders and bar code at the top, it is just fine. Not thrilling, but fine.

I also really like the insert sets. One thing Topps does not do enough of, in my opinion, is including unique

insert sets in its mid-range products. For fans of packs that give you something that looks different once in
a pack, this will make you very happy. Sets like this do not have to be numbered (these are not), as long as
they offer something fun to look at and pull. Mission accomplished.

I also really like the value in each pack – most have an insert, all have a die cut parallel (more on those in a minute) and, most
importantly, each pack has 12 cards. That number is very rare in a mid-range product, and is something that Topps deserves
props for.

Unfortunately, the rest of this review now has to veer towards the negative, and, I think these might outweigh the positive.

First, the die cut parallels. I love die cut. I really do. But if you are going to do it, make it a design that people will both notice and
appreciate. The perforated design is boring and way too subtle. I want flashy, not something you might miss on first glance.

I’m also really confused about the rookie cards. Some are numbered and are a separate part of the checklist, while others are
not numbered and are mixed into the checklist as regular cards. Why the distinction? And, if they are separate parts of the set,
why not make them look different? I’m thrilled that I pulled a true Gordon Beckham rookie card in this set, but it doesn’t make
sense that his card is not numbered, while David Hernandez’s card is. Either number them both, or don’t number any of them.

Next is the most disappointing part of the product – the hits. I don’t mind the Autographed Relic. In fact, I really like the design,
and don’t even have a problem with the player selection, even if I didn’t pull the biggest name on the list. But the Ticket Stub
Relics are a huge letdown (and that doesn’t even factor in pulling not one, but TWO Jack Cust relics – yuck!). So much more
can be done using a ticket stub. At a minimum, is should be cut to show what game it is from. One of mine is not. Secondly, I
realize that a lot of real estate is needed for the stubs, but the rest of the design should not be completely overshadowed. The
player is barely visible on my dual relic. Finally, and most importantly, if the ticket stub is the selling point, then tone down the
framing so that the stub isn’t lost in the design. The cards are just way too busy.

Yes, I was a bit letdown by Ticket to Stardom. Maybe I was hoping for too much. I frankly wish Topps would release more mid-
range products like this, rather than two Heritage Series, for instance. I just hope when they do, the execution is a bit