Today's word for the day is parity. I am not talking about the usual sports definition of parity, the level of competition within a particular league, although that is important as well. I am talking about a card company offering an equal portion of cards for each and every team within a set. Obviously as a Rockies collector, I can shoot off about 20 sets in which my team received the short end of the stick, but none of them will be the Topps flagship set. That is one of the main reasons that I started this countdown, not only because the Topps flagship set is the best known set of a particular year, but it also usually the most equitable. Equality of teams is one big thing I look for in choosing a set to collect. You may have noticed in this countdown that I have diversified among all of the teams as well. I chose exactly two cards for each franchise as examples for the card fronts with the exception of the Senators/Twins who got three. Why the Twins? Well, I was one year short of having an example card for every year and the Senator was the cheapest I could find quickly online. For now, let's break into the top 20 of The Best Topps Set Countdown.
PLUSES - Interesting photography. I am not a fan of facsimile signatures on the front because they usually impact the photo, but I love the back placement on this set. I also enjoy the bullet point set up on the back, nice and different. The back layout in general was a drastic rearrangement which works for me in this case.
MINUSES - The landscape orientation cards do not look like they belong in this set. The design for them is just off. Less than complete stats on the back leave one wanting more.
PLUSES - A lot of information (team name, logo, position, uniform number) is on the front, but not in a negative way. It doesn't seem crammed in at all and flows nicely. The back is fantastic and seems to be perfectly placed.
MINUSES - The Topps logo is off-color in most cases and proves to distract from the card. The above example shows this perfectly with the deep red logo distracting from the blue and purple card.
PLUSES - The stadium photo on the back was a fantastic addition following the "overproduction era" card back. The changing to the white card stock was also a step forward, although I understand why some would see this as a minus.
MINUSES - The front design is a tad boring, although the color scheme for most sets was very nicely chosen.
PLUSES - As far as front design goes, this is probably the best of the 1980s. The photo combinations work well for showing an action shot and a close up. I also like the minor addition of a player silhouette behind the Topps logo on the back. It really perks up the back.
MINUSES - Aside from the silhouette, the back is rather drab. The orange coloration is sort of dreary, although it does make the stats very readable.
PLUSES - The action background on the front is great. It is perhaps the best background of any set on this list. I really enjoy the comic strip on the back. It works much better than single comics.
MINUSES - It is too similar to the 1955 set to be ranked much higher. Reverse the positions of the two sets and this would be a top 5 set easily.
Now we are getting to the sets that fall just shy of my love category. I am enjoying writing on this end of the scale because the minuses are becoming harder and harder to come up with.
Does the question of parity in sets appear on other team collector's minds? Even collectors of team such as the Yankees and Braves should have a valid opinion on this because most of the time they have to spend more money to get a team set than myself or a Pirates fan for example.