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.


Laurens said...

The Million Dollar Chase and the Bowman Challenge [the prospector's version] were busts.

Was there a point to either game and is anyone right now gloating about doing well in their contest?

petethan said...

The 2010 promotion is what returned me to the joys of collecting through packs, rather than buying a factory set. I got a (surprisingly beat up) 1964 Willie McCovey/Leon Wagner "Friendly Foes" card, and a sweet '74 Luis Tiant, among others.

The next year (and this is the first time I'm admitting this to anyone) I had one of those diamond-topped Kershaws coming... but I waited too long to request shipping and lost out.

That's the last time I paid attention to one of those things. But, like you, I'm grateful for 2010 promotion and its lasting effects.

Metallattorney said...

I agree very much with your points, even though I redeemed every single code card all four years. I felt like if I didn't I would miss out on something big. I loved the Million Card Giveaway and amassed a lot of vintage Red Sox cards by trading on the site. My favorite card was a Reggie Smith rookie card. The Diamond Giveaway was similar though I really wish I could have gotten one of the die cut cards. I did manage to get a 1965 Topps Dick Radatz which I love. The Golden Giveaway was a massive bust for me. I redeemed probably 20 or 25 of these and never got a single card. The coins were worthless because they did not give you anything real. This year's codes were better than last year's at least. I got a Blue Wave Refractor pack in the Bowman game, and kept one of the code cards because it had Matt Barnes on it. I got a couple of autographs from the Topps codes. But I realize I was likely one of the lucky ones. I hope they go back to Million Card Giveaway, but I doubt they will.

Cards from the Quarry said...

I missed out on the majority of the 2010 promotion, but I absolutely loved the Diamond Giveaway. I built a good chunk of my Rookie Cup collection through trading on that site. I would love it if something similar was included in 2014. It might actually be the first thing to get me excited about next year's set.

cynicalbuddha said...

Great post Nick. I had thought about doing something similar a while back. I only got to participate in the first Million Card Giveaway, the next year they voided the contest out to anyone outside the contigious USA. And it pissed me off because I had earned the Diamond set from the Diamond giveaway. I even called Topps to ask what the hell was up and after 3 calls some finally realized that the contest was void up here in Alaska. But at least I can still sell my codes to defer the cost of the cards. And you're right this years promotion was terrible and pointless. Anyone win the Million dollars? No? Well better luck next year I guess.