Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Pro Debut & Fire

New cards and some old Fire on last week's @CrackinWax #CrackinWaxMailDay includes a familiar design.

Topps Update isn't out yet, but this is about the time of the year that people really start to get sick of the base design. Many people were sick of it before the cards hit the street, of course, with the overall look drawing fair comparisons to recent Panini Donruss offerings. I haven't disliked it as much as I thought I would, and the annual Topps Pro Debut set usually offers a bit of an enhancement over the flagship set, with the player photos glossing on top of a matte background. I picked up a Pro Debut spot in a Crackin' Wax break (with another one on the way in the mail) and was able to add a few new things to my collection.

Ivan Herrera had a nice season at Springfield and was rewarded for his success by getting a late season promotion to Memphis, who like all AAA teams are playing until the end of September for the first time that I can recall. I don't remember if this is a permanent change or brought on as part of the delayed start to the season, but it's happening. I'd be thrilled right now if my hometown AAA team hadn't been run out of their own stadium more than a decade ago.

New in Pro Debut this year is a second design that uses the 1991 Topps look for some of its prospects. These are part of the base set. Along with some of the throwback inserts that you can find in Pro Debut boxes, the whole thing has a bit more of an Archives feel this year.

Most of the names were familiar to me, but Toerner's is not. This is my first card of the former 28th round pick, and is also his first Topps card. I have no idea why this didn't get a "Pro Debut" logo. Does anyone know what criteria Topps uses for this? Does anyone care? I know that Bowman 1st's are a thing, but I don't really think anyone cares about Pro Debut. I have a soft spot for the minor leagues, however, so I'm always going to be intrigued.

I also bought slots in a couple of Fire breaks (2020 and 2019) in advance of the 2021 release that hit Target's website recently. Nothing terribly exciting (for me) came out of the 2020 break, but I did get this Flame Throwers insert. This feels like it's auditioning to be some kid's bedroom Jack Flaherty poster.

Ditto this "Smoke and Mirrors" insert from the 2019 set. If only people still made "Magic Motion" Sportflics style cards these days. If you combined that idea with some of the artists behind Topps Fire, you'd have something intriguing, I bet. (Someone tell Fanatics about this.)

Here's my "hit of the week". I bought the last spot in the break and was rewarded with this sticker autograph of the former Cardinals first baseman Jose Martinez. He was a pretty cerebral player and a fun guy to root for while he was around.

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