‘Living 200’: Ranking Our Favorite Baseball Cards from Topps Living Set #101-200

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Last year Topps surprised the trading card industry with a unique one-of-a-kind set like no other produced before. The baseball card set was called ‘The Living Set‘, and each week three new trading cards would be released and sold only online for a seven day span. Once that window was over, the cards would never again be printed. Players could only be featured in the set one time per team they’ve played for, and the set would feature rookies, veterans, and legends. Produced entirely using the artwork of legendary sports card artist Mayumi Seto, the set is stylized after the iconic 1953 Topps baseball design.

The set started off extremely strong with Aaron Judge (Print Run 13,256) earning the coveted first card in the set. The set was overall met with optimism and speculation, as many of the key rookie cards in the set produced huge print runs, such as Ronald Acuna Jr. (PR: 46,809) and Gleyber Torres (PR: 28,550). While superstars, rookies, and hall of fame players still generate large numbers (such as #200 Mike Trout with a print run of 22,017), the set has come back to earth in weeks, with most print runs hovering in the 3000 range.

COMC Communications Manager James Good and Senior Business Analyst Grant Wescott each own a copy of the full set from #1 to #200 and counting. Some 30 plus weeks ago, we asked them to talk about the set and give their 10 favorite cards from the first 100 in the set. You can read that blog here. With the set now surpassing 200 cards, we’ve asked them to chime in with their 10 favorite cards from #101 – 200. 

Grant Wescott (In no particular order)

Topps Living Set Card #200 – Mike Trout – Print Run: 22017

Topps has historically saved round numbers on many of their checklists for the very best in the game. Remember Babe Ruth at #100? I don’t think there was much doubt leading into the card #200 release day who would be featured on it.

Topps Living Set Card #193 – Ken Griffey Jr. – Print Run: 8369

Beautiful card of my all-time favorite player. That swing never gets old.

Topps Living Set Card #180 – Nelson Cruz – Print Run: 3581

The Nellie you see on this card is the Nellie you see in every game he plays, defying multiple laws of nature while wearing a grin.

Topps Living Set Card #173 – Fernando Tatis Jr – Print Run: 10099

One milestone for any young professional baseball player is when they get to see their first Topps card. There has to be a little extra appreciation from this 20 year old star when that card happens to be such an amazing hand-drawn portrait.

Topps Living Set Card #154 – Stan Musial – Print Run: 4575

One of baseball’s good guys, Stan the Man was famous for making people happy both on and off the field.

Topps Living Set Card #132 – Daniel Mengden – Print Run: 3250

Topps Living Set has seen a few errors along the way, but none so blatant as the Rollie Fingers wrong name error (I kid).

Topps Living Set Card #127 – Kris Bryant – Print Run: 5361

A striking image of Kris Bryant, who appears is now back to his 2016 MVP form.

Topps Living Set Card #192 – Wade Davis – Print Run: 2605

Nick Markakis famously held the long-standing record for low print run since week 2 of TLS with 2,678 copies. That is, until Howie Kendrick came along at card #183 with 2,633 copies. That is, until just a few weeks later when Wade Davis set the new low with this card. As someone who plans to buy the set forever, it’s kind of fun to watch my complete set become even rarer.

Topps Living Set Card #109 – Nolan Arenado – Print Run: 4065

Artist Mayumi Seto captured some big emotion on this one. Arenado is one of the elite players in the game today, yet for some reason still a bit overlooked in the hobby. I love this card.

Checklist Card 1-100 & 101-200 – Print Run: 4393

I’m going a little off script here because 1) these are two cards, not one, and 2) they aren’t technically part of the set. Doesn’t matter. I was more excited than I had reason to be when these were released. I’ve never checked a single box on a checklist. I’m not about to start now. Why does this make me happy?

James Good (Ranked in order of favorites)

Topps Living Set Card #193 – Ken Griffey Jr. – Print Run: 8369

There was no other pick for me. Griffey was an unexpected surprise at #193, and tops my list as my favorite TLS card in the entire set, surpassing Babe Ruth (#100) and Mitch Haniger (#54) in my top 3. That iconic Jr. smile is infectious.

Topps Living Set Card #179 – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Print Run: 27749

This was clearly a landmark card for Topps and Seto, so I’m guessing that she had plenty of time to work on this portrait. It clearly shows in the photo-realism of Vladdy Jr.’s first true Topps RC. The level of detail of this card, especially when it’s in-hand, is unreal. The hat logo, the hair, the Nike swoosh logo. I’ll take this card all day long over his first flagship Topps RC in series 2.

Topps Living Set Card #200 – Mike Trout – Print Run: 22017

We all knew that Mike Trout was going to be #200, and the card delivered exactly what we wanted, and what the set needed. The huge print run was a shot in the arm to TLS at the right time.

Topps Living Set Card #127 – Kris Bryant – Print Run: 5361

I love the sideways glance of Bryant in this card. The Cubbies deep blue jersey is among my favorite jerseys of all-time, so I might be a bit partial here.

Topps Living Set Card #156 – Ryon Healy – Print Run: 2765

Healy has a lot of critics here in Seattle, but I’ve been a big support since the day we traded for him. This card that broke a 102 card drought for the Mariners in Topps Living Set and also captured Healy’s positive personality and his professed enjoyment for the game the baseball so very well. It’s a shame he’s dealing with spinal stenosis, the same ailment that shortened the career of fellow 3B David Wright.

Topps Living Set Card #136 – Mariano Rivera – Print Run: 8945

The timing of this card was impeccable – right after Mariano became the first player to unanimously be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in the first year eligible.

Topps Living Set Card #118 – Nolan Ryan – Print Run: 6745

Ryan’s career spanned the course of 4 different decades. Ask 10 different fans about Ryan, and you might get 10 different memories. My earliest memories as a fan of the game were of ‘The Ryan Express’ as a non-nonsense 40-something fireballin’ Texan. This card brings me back to all those early 90’s junk wax cards of him that helped kick start my passion for the hobby.

Topps Living Set Card #178 – Xander Bogaerts – Print Run: 3776

I’m not much of a Red Sox fan. Correction, I slightly despise most Boston-area teams (Ya’ll aren’t the underdogs, ever, just stop). But I love this card of Bogaerts. Again, the artwork on this card when it’s in-hand truly makes me appreciate the card so much more.

Topps Living Set Card #106 – Cal Ripken Jr. – Print Run: 6423

Similar to my memories of Nolan Ryan, I best remember Cal Ripken Jr. during his iron man stretch, with the gray hairs on the sides of his head becoming more prominent each year. That said, I love the throwback artwork on this card, and the white Orioles cap really seals the deal.

Topps Living Set Card #121 – Buster Posey – Print Run: 3990

Catchers get the short end of the baseball bat when it comes to trading cards, often depicted wearing their full gear. This card steps away from that, giving us an excellent portrait of Buster that shows a side of him that few cards have. Now let me get on my soapbox…

Buster Posey is one of the most underappreciated players of this era. Even Giants fans will credit the team’s three World Series in six years to their stellar pitching, pointing to Madison Bumgarner, and I don’t disagree. But who do you think called all those games behind the plate? Three Rings, Four Silver Sluggers, 2010 ROY, a Gold Glove, and a Batting Title later, I can’t wait until Cooperstown calls for Buster Posey.

We’re 200+ cards into the set, and yet there are so many players who haven’t earned a spot into the coveted Living Set yet. Who do you want to see in the next 100 cards? Let us know in the comments below! 

2 thoughts on “‘Living 200’: Ranking Our Favorite Baseball Cards from Topps Living Set #101-200

  1. Wonderful article. I, too, am a committed, one-set-a-week-TLS-guy-against-my-wife’s-wishes. I love the selection. I have never complained about a release. On my wish list, however, I want more of the older guys—even commons. And, I wish the great managers would begin to show up.

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