Saturday, November 10, 2012

30 Year Top 50: Topps Triple Threads

#34-This post is going to be slightly different than the other posts that I have made for my Top 50 countdown.  I came up with the idea of doing this countdown leading into my 30th year in baseball card collecting this summer and put thought and consideration into where to rank all the different card sets that I have brought into my life since the summer of 1983.  The Triple Threads brand started in 2006 and is still currently running.  Every summer I eagerly await the release of Triple Threads and cannot wait to pick out a handful of really cool cards to add to my collection.  In many ways, the Triple Threads set is a top 10 on my personal list, but looking at the big picture and taking into account important rookies, design, etc, etc this is where it falls.  Note that I did not attach a year.  I do have a few I like more than others, but not a clear cut favorite.  Let me walk you through why I love this product:

2006 Triple Threads
I was initially really excited about the release of Triple Threads in 2006.  I rushed up to a card shop, which is no longer with us, in Durham to buy a pack.  Quickly spotting the product behind the counter I bought a pack of the high end product and immediately remembered my rule about high end wax.

2006 Topps Triple Threads Dan Johnson Dual Jersey/Autograph

Starring me back in this face was this Dan Johnson card.  Of course, he ended up playing for the Durham Bulls and won the International League MVP, so I would have ended up with the card in my collection anyway.  Right?  Disappointed, I did not open another pack of Triple Threads the rest of the year.  Since that time I have traded for a few.

2007 Triple Threads
My second venture into Triple Threads went much better.  I opened approximately zero packs of product, but worked the secondary market very hard to come up with a few gems for my collection.  My favorite:

My first Triple Threads card with a patch piece was a Shawn Riggans with two jersey pieces, a piece of green patch from the old Devil Rays unis, and an autograph.  I found it cheap in an Ebay auction and picked out the card since Riggans was having a great season for the Durham Bulls.  Riggans struggled in the majors and now out of baseball.  Still a cool card and turned the corner for me on this product. 

2007 Topps Triple Threads Shawn Riggans Dual Jersey/Patch/Autograph

2008 Triple Threads 
We all have misses in life and the 2008 Triple Threads set was a miss for me.  I didn't have many players I was excited to collect out of this set and the players I did collect, well....

2008 Topps Triple Threads Elijah Dukes Triple Bat/Autograph

I think I also picked up a few Jo Jo Reyes cards, Melky Cabrera, and a few other infamous characters.  I did pick up a good selection of Matt Holliday relic cards from this set after the Rockies run to the World Series.  This was the first year that I really went after the relics cards along with the autographs.  More recently, I landed a nice Dimaggio relic piece in a trade.  

2008 Topps Triple Threads Joe DiMaggio Six Piece Relic

2008 Topps Triple Threads Matt Holliday Six Piece Relic

2009 Triple Threads
I have two favorites in my collection from the 2009 set and would rank this set in a three way tie for the lead in the best Triple Threads sets.  My favorite card I picked up in 2009 which is a Ryan Braun patch/autograph.  This card has patch pieces from his Futures Game relics, the red/black/yellow pieces along with a thicker piece of black or navy patch.  I also love the word: HAMMER on the card.  If I ranked all of my Triple Threads cards against each other this would finish in the top 5.  

2009 Topps Triple Threads Ryan Braun Triple Patch/Autograph

My second card I picked up a few years ago after watching Nolan Reimold play for the Norfolk Tides. Sometimes I get a feeling about a player I watch in the minors and was fairly impressed by Reimold.  I found this card on Ebay really cheap and figured I would, at worst, have a really cool looking cards.  Reimold is looking like a regular though, so I think I did well with this card.  I love the orange jersey pieces and the yellow/red/black patch piece like the Braun. 

2009 Topps Triple Threads Autograph

2010 Triple Threads
I loved the 2010 release of Triple Threads.  If I had to narrow the Triple Threads sets down to the best, this would be another among my favorites.  The best part of the 2010 release was the inclusion of on-card autographs.  In someways, it gives this release a slight nod over the 2009 set, except the more standard looking Triple Threads cards were still sticker autographs.  My favorite two on card autographs were Andrew McCutchen and Howie Kendrick.  The McCutchen was my first McCutchen autograph and the Kendrick card is just signed really cool.  I've always like Howie's signature and I like how he just wrote over the whole card.  

2010 Topps Triple Threads Andrew McCutchen Jersey/Autograph

2010 Topps Triple Threads Howie Kendrick Jersey/Autograph 

The regular Triple Threads cards were still cool, but again, Topps used sticker autographs.  My favorite has to be Zorilla.  Ben Zobrist.  Again a personal Top 5 Triple Threads card. 

2010 Topps Triple Threads Seven Piece Relic/Autograph

2011 Triple Threads
The 2011 release was similar to the 2010 release in many ways and again, I would consider this to be among the three best Triple Threads sets along with the 2009 and 2010.  The veteran cards were generally sticker autographs.  My favorite is my Miguel Cabrera autograph, which I also collected all of the similar relic cards.  

2011 Topps Triple Threads 13 Piece Relic/Autograph

The young star players in the set were on card autographs like the 2010 release, but I felt the design of the 2011 cards was a little truer to the set.  

2011 Topps Triple Threads Jaime Garcia Triple Jersey/Autograph

The real drawback to this set, in my opinion, is the veteran cards with a single piece of jersey or patch.  If you are going to use sticker autographs the only reason to duck the design of the Cabrera card above is to cheapen the product.  I love the Matt Holliday card below, but I would have gladly tried to find a copy with multiple relic pieces in the regular Triple Threads format.

2011 Triple Threads Matt Holliday Patch/Autograph

2012 Triple Threads
I feel like the set has taken a little step back this year.  Still a really cool product and I own several really nice cards from the set, but the player selection is a little lacking in my opinion and there are several cards which are repeats from previous years.  Also, similar to the 2011 is the pattern on the autographs. Veterans are on stickers, younger players are on card, and there are single jersey autographs that are also stickers.  My two favorites from 2012:

2012 Topps Triple Threads David Freese Autograph

 2012 Topps Triple Threads Lance Lynn Jersey/Autograph

If you like the follow up I do on card sets not in my Top 50 be sure to check back tomorrow for a special piece I am putting together on a few sets released over the past few years similar to the Triple Threads releases.  

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