Saturday, November 2, 2013
A steady decline
Back in 2010, Topps held an unprecedented promotion.
That year, they launched their "Cards Your Mom Threw Out" series, one that I still rank as one of the greatest insert sets in Flagship history. As many of you know, I'm a sucker for old-time reprints.
In accordance with the CYMTO release, Topps began their "Million Card Giveaway" promotion. As the front of this promo notes, it was an effort to give back the cards your mom threw out.
I was head-over-heels for this promotion from the moment I first heard about it. While the codes could've netted a pretty penny on the trading forum I was on at the time, I still tried my luck with every single code I pulled in 2010.
Even if the card I redeemed was a bust, the actual "Million Card Giveaway" promos themselves were pretty neat on their own.
While I'm sure many people simply threw these out after the codes were used, I do consider what you see above to be an actually Roger Maris card, one that's worthy of a spot in my A's binder.
It's one of only six cards I have of him as a Kansas City A.
While I paid a decent price for having the cards shipped to me, I did manage to accumulate quite a nice batch from my efforts in 2010.
Of course, almost all the codes I redeemed weren't all that rewarding. Most were '88 Topps Scott Sandersons, '90 Topps Jeff Ballards, etc.
Against all odds, though, one of the codes I redeemed netted me 1980 Topps Jose Cardenal, a card I'd desperately wanted at the time. After all, it's the fan favorite's only issue as a New York Met. (As far as I know.)
The best part about the "Million Card Giveaway" was the fact that you could trade with other fellow collectors on the Topps website.
I had the good fortune to redeem a '53 Topps Connie Ryan (a former Phillie) with one of my codes. It was a nice card, no doubt. In the end, though, I thought it'd be nice to see what kind of return I could get for Mr. Ryan.
After a few weeks of trying, I finally got a taker. I swapped my '53 Topps Ryan for a beautiful '65 Robin Roberts. It's a card of one of my all-time favorites on my absolute favorite Topps design.
I specifically remember the trade because it occurred right before Roberts's unfortunate passing. After that, I had a bunch of sad collecting hounds pestering me for my '65 Topps card of his. I declined every offer I got without a second thought.
There was no way I'd ever get rid of that one.
It's still one of my most prized possessions.
In an attempt to capitalize on the success of their original "Million Card Giveaway" theme, Topps has tried various promotions every year since.
And, as far as I'm concerned, they've all been complete busts.
For their 60-year anniversary, Topps introduced a diamond theme to their 2011 release. Much of it culminated with their "Diamond Giveaway" promotion.
I probably redeemed about half of the ones I pulled, not getting a single worthwhile piece in the process. Eventually, I started just trading them away.
At least the giveaway promos themselves still doubled as actual cards for my binders, though.
In 2012, Topps tried to cram the whole gold theme down our throats.
Again, it came to a head with their "Golden Giveaway" promotion.
All I remember from this were the remote chances of redeeming an actual card. I vividly remember most collectors getting those worthless coins.
I traded nearly every single one of these puppies I pulled. They were still netting good returns on the trading market at the time, so it was a no-brainer.
Eventually, I wound up redeeming a couple codes I had left over at the end of the year, just for kicks.
Each one netted me one of those damn coins.
I didn't think a promotion could get more worthless.
Until 2013 came around, that is.
If you ask me, Topps has done a fine job this year. I haven't had all that many gripes with their product.
However, their "Million Dollar Chase" promotion has to be one of their most forgettable efforts of the year.
To be honest, I'm not even sure how these things work. I don't know where to redeem them. I don't know what exactly the big "chase" is. And I don't know what the prize is. (Although I guess it has something to do with a million dollars.)
Apparently, not many people do. I've had a tough time just giving these things away here in 2013.
The worst part?
Unlike the past three years, these can't even double as real baseball cards for my binders.
I can't find a single redeeming quality to the "Million Dollar Chase".
Until I was perusing my binders this afternoon, I hadn't realized just how worthless these grand Topps giveaways had become. The "Million Card Giveaway" in 2010 was a whole lot of fun. Even today, I still look back on it with a huge smile.
But everything since them has been a bust.
I'm not sure if Topps is planning to unleash some new giveaway onto us next year, but I sure hope it's something good.
The collecting world could sorely use another good promotion, if you ask me.