Let’s take a look at the 2020 Topps baseball card set by using various Angels cards. The 350-card Series 1, the first half of this year’s set, has been out for a few months.
The number one card in the set has long been a prestigious honor, and in recent years Topps has put the choice up to a vote. Just as in 2016, outfielder Mike Trout was picked as the No. 1 card in the 2020 set. It’s the third time he’s been No. 1 in the Topps set (also 2014).
The back of Trout’s card is also a perfect showcase for red ink, which denotes leading the league in a particular category.
Of the statistics listed on the back of Topps cards, Trout has led the American League in at least two categories in each of his eight full seasons, with 2017 and 2018 the “down” years with leading only two stats.
Series 1 has not only the Trout card, but Shohei Ohtani as well. The back of Ohtani’s card highlights his unique two-way status, but unfortunately only shows his batting stats on the back of the card. Perhaps because Ohtani did not pitch in 2019.
In addition to the statistics on the back, Topps on most cards write a sentence or two that highlights a facet or accomplishment of a player’s career. For fan favorite David Fletcher, his factoid compared him to Trout, which is always good company.
Rookie cards have an “RC” designation on the front, which is evident in Patrick Sandoval’s card here:
Team cards have long been a staple of Topps sets, a chance to show a group shot of players or sometimes a manager, with information about the team on the back. In the Angels’ case it makes two things quite evident: (1) Trout is quite good, obviously; and (2) the “no qualifier” in ERA is a gut punch, perfectly encapsulating the nightmare that was the Halos’ 2019 starting rotation. They are the only Angels club without a pitcher who had enough innings to qualify for the ERA title.
Series 1 of 2020 Topps has 350 cards in the set, of which there are 12 Angels cards.
2020 Topps Series 1 checklist
1 — Mike Trout
19 — Angels team card
66 — Andrew Heaney
112 — Max Stassi
115 — Matt Thaiss
125 — Shohei Ohtani
134 — David Fletcher
151 — Tommy La Stella
171 — Kole Calhoun
205 — Patrick Sandoval
237 — Luis Garcia
339 — Hansel Robles