Fans of retro-themed sets have already seen Heritage and Allen & Ginter from Topps, but the company also has Turkey Red in the lineup for its third season. For 2007, Topps tapped baseball artist Dick Perez to create over 50 new paintings, resulting in cards that recall those of the early 1900's more than ever.
Hobby boxes of 2007 Topps Turkey Red Baseball contain 24 packs with eight cards per pack. On average, each box should hold two autographs or relic (Topps' name for memorabilia) cards.
Base Cards, Variations and Parallels
The 186 Turkey Red base cards really do look like works of art thanks to borders that simulate wooden picture frames. The Turkey Red logo is incorporated into the pictures while the player names appear on simulated plaques along the card bottoms.
Perez created paintings for 61 of the base cards, including veterans, legends like Mickey Mantle and even a few rookies like Daisuke "Dice-K" Matsuzaka. The paintings feature bright skies inspired by the original Turkey Red cards and stadiums like the Baker Bowl and Hilltop Park that were actually in use back in 1911.
Even the base cards without Perez' artwork have a very unique look thanks to a process that makes the backgrounds for the player photos appear to be painted. Card backs skip the usual stat lines in favor of fairly long write-ups for each player.
Keeping with established tradition for Topps retro sets, 35 of the base cards are short-printed. There are also variations for 15 cards with different pictures on the fronts, though the easiest way to identify them is by the Turkey Red ads on the backs.
All base cards also have three levels of parallels printed on Chrome stock: regular Chrome (numbered to 1999), Chrome Refractors (#'d to 999) and hobby exclusive Black Chrome Refractors (#'d to 99).
My review box had very nice collation, falling just a single card short of containing the entire non-short-printed base set. I also found 15 duplicates, five short prints, six Chrome parallels, four Chrome Refractors and a Miguel Cabrera variation.
Turkey Red doesn't have a lot of inserts, and the most notable set doesn't even focus on baseball players. The aptly named Turkey Red Presidents series has a single card for every man to ever hold the highest office in the U.S. government.
Though Topps lists them along with the box topper cards, the Alex Rodriguez Road to 500 cards come in the regular packs. This series has been running through all Topps baseball products in 2007, with a card for each of A-Rod's career home runs - 301 to 325 this time around.
My sample box yielded two Presidents cards from nearly opposite ends of the timeline (George Washington and George H.W. Bush) as well as a single Road to 500 card.
This isn't an autograph-heavy product, but there are some signatures to be found on Turkey Refractor Chromographs cards. Over 40 players signed cards on Chrome stock on a design that shrinks the picture slightly to make room for an autographed sticker.
The About.com review box contained no autographed cards.
Falling about two per hobby box, Turkey Red Relics turn the base card design sideways in order to make room for a game-used piece from one of over 50 MLB players. They're also fairly thick, taking the place of two regular cards in the pack in which they're found.
Both of the relics in my review box were game-used bat cards from guys who hit plenty of home runs: Sammy Sosa and Andruw Jones.