2021 Topps baseball cards have been out for a while, though I haven’t gotten around to writing about them for a while. The baseball season has a way of pushing certain things to the back burner.
The main set is split into two series of 330 cards each. Series 2 is out this week, though I haven’t seen those just yet. Series 1 cards were out months ago, and here is a look at all the Dodgers cards in the set.
Fourteen of the cards are standard player cards.
The front is quite busy, both with the design — specifically the diagonals on the bottom of the card — and with the silver emblem on the top right, celebrating the 70th anniversary of Topps.
On the back are the usual stats and brief biographical information. League-leading stats are noted in red, as per usual Topps style.
The backs of some baseball cards have a sentence or two about the player, usually for the younger ones. Clayton Kershaw, with his 13 years worth of stats filling up most of the real estate on the card, does not have any such section, for instance.
But some of the ones that do are interesting, especially when including quotes. Chris Taylor’s card (No. 64) has this from Dave Roberts: “The way he cares, he studies — he’s what we are about.”
An unnamed past manager said of Brusdar Graterol’s fastball, “Everybody in the ballpark notices that it looks and appears different than everybody else.”
Gavin Lux (card No. 83) added power with a technique Dodgers coaches called “Exit Stage Right,” tucking his right foot over his left as he starts his swing, referencing an August 2019 article by Pedro Moura at The Athletic, though without attribution.
Topps has a few designations for rookies and young players — “RC” for rookie card, the player’s first card, as with Keibert Ruiz and Mitch White; “Future Stars” for Lux and Graterol; and Tony Gonsolin got the coveted “Topps All-Star Rookie” trophy.
There are also four cards commemorating the 2020 World Series, one for each of the four Dodgers wins.
On the back of the Dodgers team card, statistical leaders for several categories are shown. The “no qualifier” for ERA stands out, with Kershaw leading the staff with 58⅓ innings pitched in a 60-game season. The expanded rosters in a pandemic season, and subsequent more frequent relief usage, contributed to this, but this has been a trend in recent years. Only four times in Dodgers history have they had less than two pitchers throwing at least one inning per team game: 2016 and 2017 (one each), plus 2018 and 2020 (no qualifiers)
Topps Series 1 Dodgers-related checklist
- 5 - Julio Urias
- 13 - Mookie Betts
- 15 - Mookie Betts (World Series Game 1)
- 40 - Joc Pederson
- 44 - Walker Buehler (World Series Game 3)
- 50 - Cody Bellinger
- 57 - Will Smith
- 64 - Chris Taylor
- 67 - Clayton Kershaw
- 83 - Gavin Lux
- 85 - Brusdar Graterol
- 179 - Clayton Kershaw (World Series Game 5)
- 198 - Corey Seager (World Series Game 6)
- 201 - Dodgers team card
- 230 - Tony Gonsolin
- 235 - A.J. Pollock
- 256 - Keibert Ruiz
- 270 - Mitch White
- 302 - Max Muncy
- 303 - Mookie Betts/Cody Bellinger (checklist)
That final Dodgers card serves as a checklist for a portion of the entire set on the back, covering cards 265-297. There are 10 such cards in Series 1.