1996 was the year that Topps introduced the Chrome line, 1996 Topps Chrome Baseball. This set, much like its traditional flagship base counterpart, hosts a roster of superstars. This set however, is much smaller in comparison and by default, defines much higher quality. The stats include 4 cards per pack and a $3/pack SRP. I have noticed that this price point may vary in today's market and the availability of these packs dries up more and more with each passing year. This fact is something that I am starting to realize more as we grow further away from the '90's. Plain and simple, unopened '90's product is only getting harder to find.
You may not be able to see much of what is stated here on the back of this pack so I will shed some light. It's a list of odds:
- Refractor 1:12
- Wrecking Crew 1:24
- Wrecking Crew Refractor 1:72
- Masters of the Game 1:12
- Masters of the Game Refractor 1:36
The refractor parallels to each of the insert sets are 3x tougher to pull than their base counterparts. I like that there are only two insert sets, each with only one parallel. This information is simple and easy to digest. I respect Topps for their degree of simplicity with this inaugural Chrome release. Nice work Topps!
The Base Design:
Those 3D star designs really pop out. I have always enjoyed those stars. Notice how the stars are filled with stars. I enjoy this quite a bit but then again, I have always been a fan of stars. I didn't pull any in this pack but the refractor parallels of these Star Power sub-set cards are incredibly attractive. Even the base are not too shabby. Just an all around pleasant look. The card in the center shown above represents the base design while the two Star Power cards come from a sub-set within the base set.
The backs of these cards are modern versions of classic Topps card backs. Here you have the players total major & minor league totals and a brief biography. This release features a thumbnail image of the player with a classic home plate icon in the background. The subtle soft teal compliments the royal blue, gold and black. An attractive design for its time.
As the years pass, unopened '90's product is just getting harder to come by. I picked up this pack for a few bucks but it was the only time I had ever seen it. Although I collected cards that year, 1996 Topps Chrome Baseball was well out of my attention range and even if it was in sight, it was priced above what my budget for the time could afford. These days, it's affordable by comparison to what's being released in today's market... but that's if you can even find it.