First off – I am a hopeless geek. So, when you are reading this review, and thinking ‘wow, anyone who likes history this much is a huge geek’ – you are right. But, then – you are reading a baseball card blog, so I think we are almost even. 😉
I am going to do this review in two parts – the base set, which really deserves its own post, just to cover everything, and then all the hits (Chromes, relics, inserts, etc). The base set is broken up into several 10 card subsets, each with a different retro Topps design, and a differet theme. I’ll tackle them in numerical order. The titles are mine, as I am unaware of an official Topps-sanctioned naming breakdown.
Military Heroes – Once you get past the fact that the card backs are printed upside down relative to the card fronts, this is a neat little subset. I got all 10 of these cards in my break, and one double: John McCain.
Politicians – everyone’s favorite, right? Ranging from George Washington, to the first of many (many) Barack Obama cards in the set, this features the big names and some more obscure guys as well. This is your chance to learn about George Mason, beyond what you heard when GMU made its improbable Final Four run. I hit all 10 of these as well, with two doubles.
Activists – here we have those who strove for civil rights, women’s rights, worker’s rights, and those who just tried to make the world a more even place for everyone. Again, I hit all 10 with two doubles – Jackie Robinson and Medgar Evers
Firefighters – Dubbed ‘Bravest’ as their team name, I’m not going to argue with that. This section is kind of neat, as it features a lot of notable people who weren’t necessarily known for being firefighters. Guys like Paul Revere and Benjamin Franklin.
Law Enforcement – lots of notable names here, and a good mix of old and new. Frank Serpico, Eliot Ness and Wyatt Earp share cardboard with John Flynn,David Lim and Justin Garner.
Heroic Entities – I wasn’t really sure how to group this. Its a collection of heroic groups and movements. The VFW, ASPCA and ACLU share time with the American Red Cross, Women’s Suffrage and Navajo Code Talkers. This was the first subset that I didn’t receive a double for.
Physicians – lots of doctors here. Some you may have heard of (Jonas Salk, Charles Mayo), and some you probably haven’t (Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail, Elizabeth Blackwell).
Humanitarians – A self-explanatory category, and a mix of familar and unfamiliar names. Erin Brockovich and Jimmy Carter share a 9 pocket page with Norman Borlaug, Florence Kelly and Jane Addams. This subset was home of the first base card I didn’t receive – #75, so if anyone can help me out with that it would be super.
Diplomats – with a few exceptions, this is just another ‘politicians’ subset. I guess the two kind of go hand in hand.
Writers – kind of a neat category here. Obviously, there are some tough decisions to be made as to how to include 10 American authours of influence. I think they made out OK – Carl Sagan, John Steinbeck and Nellie Bly are in good company here. Of note – the authour of Silent Spring, Rachel Carson makes an appearance in this set. My PhD research touches on legacy organochlorine insecticides in the atmosphere.
Historic Events – a chronological look at important events in American history. This subset is 25 cards deep, and is my favorite. First of all – I am missing #107, if anyone has it. This set ranges from the Boston Tea Party to Flight 93.
Short Prints – lots of Barack Obama, as I think these are mainly focused on the 2008 Presidential Election. Cool cards, but I like my history to be a bit older than last year. I am not actually chasing the SP’d portion of the base set, so if anyone out there is – drop me a note and we can probably work out a deal.
There you have it. My only issue is getting a lot of doubles from the base set, while still missing out on some cards. With a set this small, one box should guarantee a base set. Other than that – this was a blast to open, sort and put away. Lots of interesting information on the card backs. Because I have almost the entire base set, I probably won’t be breaking too much more of it, but there are a few insert sets I won’t mind adding to.