In the past I've done top 5 countdowns with modern sets when I've completed them, but I found enough compelling cards while searching through Series 1 that I decided to do a top 10 list this time around.
For those of you who haven't seen (or just plain ignored) my set countdowns in the past, what I do is I go through the entire set twice, and take out the cards that I believe have the best photos. This is by no means a definitive list, but it's what I like.
#10: Card 271 Pittsburgh Pirates team card
Those that know me are well aware that the Blue Jays are my #1 team. Always have been, always will be. But the Pirates over the last handful of seasons have kind of become my #1B team, and watching the outfielders dust each others shoulders off after a win has been a fun thing to watch. Also looking at this card I see the memorial patch on the right sleeve for Ralph Kiner, and I think of GCRL and all the patches he's shown off over the years.
#9: Card 340 Carlos Gomez
I like cards that show the essence of a player, and the Carlos Gomez card does just that. I'm sure that he's just hit a homer, and is thanking the deity of his choice in the way he knows how. Yes, he's pretty cocky, but he's also a pretty good ball player, and should be in CF for the Brewers for a while.
#8: Card 102 Gordon Beckham
Think '75T Boog Powell. That's what I did for a brief moment when I saw this card. No, it's not exactly like Powell's 75T card (which is a classic), but this isn't too shabby.
#7: Card 136 Manny Machado
Get used to seeing this guy. If he can stay healthy, and control his temper enough so someone doesn't throw at his head and kill him, he'll be around for a long time. This shot of him throwing from his knees is one of many defensive gems we'll see from the hot corner in Baltimore for at least the next decade.
#6: Card 314 Jackie Bradley Jr.
I could have easily ranked this card higher on the list. But I've highlighted enough shots of outfielders making great grabs at the top of these lists before, so I knocked JBJ down a bit. Still a fantastic photo.
#5: Card 177 Paul Konerko
Let's start a double dip of homages to retired players with this Paul Konerko card. The shot of him nearly in tears with the " P K" letters behind him is a great tribute to one of the South Side's best players in my lifetime.
#4: Card 1 Derek Jeter
I'm sure that there are people out there that may rank this card at the top of their list. For me, the top 3 cards that you're going to see shortly won out because of the photos. The Captain's card here reminds me that in the end, these are grown men playing a kids game, and more often than not, those same grown men will react like kids.
#3: Card 256 Adam Eaton
I love this card. Catching Eaton in mid air while sliding into home is nothing short of fantastic. Not too sure why the Red Sox catcher has his hands on his knees, unless he's bracing for a Karate Kid like kick from Eaton. Bonus points for the Gulf advertisement on Fenway's padded walls in back of Eaton.
#2: Card 184 B.J. Upton
To use a photograph that makes a light hitter like Upton look as bad ass as he does? Fantastic. Yes, it's kind of plain, but the facial expression combined with the glasses just does it for me.
#1: Card 300 Mike Trout
Maybe the best card over the past few years? A card featuring a young superstar raising a cloud of dirt while sliding into a base just cannot be beat in my eyes. I honestly don't think any other card comes close to this one in Series 1. What do you think?
Feel free to tell me what you think of my list in the comments. Remember, I'm not a professional anything. I'm just another card collector...
thanks for reading, Robert