2001 Topps Finest Baseball

You're welcome to read just this review today, but you might also want to take a look at my review of 2001 Fleer E-X Baseball as it's tough not to compare these products that came out around the same time.  My first impression of 2001 Finest Baseball was not good.  I walked into my local store and found a $6.50 pack price!  The owner was quick to tell me that he wasn't gouging the price, but Topps had put only 20 packs in a box this year without reducing the price.  This is not something I like to see.  Upper Deck has done it a few times in recent years and I've been just as critical.

2001 Topps Finest Albert Pujols Autographed Card
Albert Pujols is the hottest thing in rookie cards right now,
but Topps should have gotten him into a real rookie card
instead of confusing collectors with this autographed insert.

I guess they figure putting one autograph card in every box was a good enough reason to raise pack prices, but in these times of two or three autographs or memorabilia cards per box, one basic autograph is nothing to get excited about.  Unless it's the autograph of red hot rookie Albert Pujols.  In a move that I still can't figure out, Topps has produced a very nice looking autographed refractor of Pujols, but they couldn't find a way to fit him into the base set!  Why?  I don't buy the idea that it was too tough to make one in time since they made the autograph card on the same nice stock.  I also don't buy that their checklist was firm.  If you can't bump one single A future star who has a 1 in 500 shot at being a star for a Major Leaguer who looks like a serious Rookie of the Year candidate then it's time to get out of the card business.  In addition to Pujols omission, you might also want to ask where are Ichiro Suzuki and Tsuyoshi Shinjo?  Topps was quick to get them into Topps Series 2, but they are missing from Finest.  Overall I like the card design and the numbered rookies (to 999) and rookie refractors (to 241) will make this a nice product for the card graders.  Topps also did something cool by buying back a bunch of 1993 Finest singles to insert in the packs, but in the end I feel that they should have spent more time keeping up with the hot hobby players.  

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