1986 Topps Vince Coleman RC
The 1999 Topps set also comes to mind as being a memorable box. The Series I boxes released right after Thanksgiving that year and I was away from home in St. Louis. I still managed to locate a card shop nearby where I could buy my brand new Topps box. In fact, for many years growing up and during the early part of my adult life the product was always released right after Thanksgiving, but before the holidays. Topps has moved the release date back into January and February which irks me a little somedays, but I am still not sue there is anything like it. The highlight from that set was the variation on the Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa home run cards.
1999 Topps Mark McGwire #220 62 Variation
Both variations were a huge deal for Topps that year and paved the way for a series a variation cards that still find their way into the boxes of Topps every year. The 2003 Bonds cards also offered a variation on the Home Run Record, but I am not sure they hold the value that the McGwire and Sosa cards hold. More recently I think the variations have become silly at times. The 2007 Derek Jeter and the 2010 Ryan Dempster/Abe Lincoln stand forefront.
Even today, there are still memorable cards each and every year even if the variations have gotten a little silly and out of control. For example, this year I really enjoyed finding the complete set of 1987 minis. They were a throwback to a set that I remember collecting as a kid and really enjoyed assembling the set, not only across the first series, but also the second series and into the update set which will release in a few weeks. I especially enjoyed this Ryan Howard card:
2012 Topps Ryan Howard 1987 Mini
Pretty cool of Topps to put a card in with a player wearing an 80s throwback uniform. It would have been a cool touch to see on some of the other cards in the set, but I realize you cannot get everything you always want.
Going into this fall the days on the calendar are getting shorter and I still wish that Topps would change the release date back to fit in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but in the meantime I will offer one other suggestion for Topps heading into the 2013 set:
Can we please get rid of the airbrushed cards?
They have appeared in Topps sets for the better part of the decade and they almost always blight up the set. For example, the 2002 Jason Giambi card features him wearing a Yankees uniform since he had just signed with the club that offseason. However, the card just looks ridiculous with the airbrush.
2002 Topps Jason Giambi
As traditional as Topps tries to be this card throws tradition to the wind. Everyone knows what the Yankees uniforms look like and, not matter your feelings for the team one way or the other, they never change. This is not a Yankees uniform. Why not put him in the Update set?