Thursday, December 20, 2018

2005 Topps Turkey Red: Your Great-Great Grandfather Would Frickin Love These

Remember tobacco cards? Yeah, neither do I. They were way before my time and, more than likely, yours as well. But we’ve all seen them, and pretty much everybody loves them. The color, tasteful design, and beautiful painted images along with the feeling of physically holding a little piece of history is enough to win over even the most modern collector.

So when the vintage-nouveau movement took over in the early 2000’s, Topps took it upon themselves to push the envelope as far back into history as it could by re-launching the long-defunct Turkey Red brand. Some of the first collector cards ever made were Turkey Red tobacco cards, and Topps did a heck of a job creating new cards faithful to the originals right down to the feel of the paper.

Personally I’m not a big Turkey Red guy, but I like the thought and effort that went into these. Design-wise I prefer the embellished frame of the 2007 set, but I do love the thickness and matte finish of the ’05 and ’06 sets (they are basically identical). While lacking that tangible history quality, the cards feel great.

2005 Topps Turkey Red #89

Something you can say about the ’05 set and no other one is that the image looks to be a direct transfer from a run-of-the-mill action shot. In subsequent sets we got images of Junior in front of large, sweeping stadium backgrounds all far away and bathed in sunlight. These were obviously painted (or at the very least, photoshopped) that way, but that extra step was not taken for the Kid this year. There are plenty of base card images in this set that are far more attractive than the Griffey.

That being said, this card back is damn near perfect. There is a slight patina to the paper color, almost a tea-stained quality that only adds to the vintage feel and appearance of these cards. And that blurb is one of the best accounts of Junior’s amazing career one could possibly fit into five sentences (up to 2005, that is). Bravo.
2005 Topps Turkey Red #89 Red

The parallels featured colored borders and not much else. Topps included a handy border color indicator on the back for the colorblind. The fact that Junior was with the Reds when these were made is a happy coincidence for this parallel. I like this version the best of the ’05 TR Griffeys I've seen.

Junior was still an Upper Deck guy when this set same out, so there are no autos or relics for him. Harumpf. Here are the Griffeys I still need from 2005 Topps Turkey Red:

#89 White
#89 Black #/142
#89 Gold #/50
#89 Suede 1/1 

As a set in and of itself, I’m not really a huge fan of these; but as a reboot of an ancient brand, the cards are pretty cool. And I love the backs. I give the Griffeys of 2005 Turkey Red a yawn-plus.


  1. I like these. They aren't UD Masterpieces, but they are pretty good. I've gotten a few signed via TTM and they always come out well.

  2. I go back and forth on Turkey Red. There have been moments when I really enjoyed them... but right now they're just "meh". However... I really, really like the Dick Perez Great Moments series which uses the Turkey Red design.

  3. This is one of the sets that got me back into baseball cards around the mid-2000s. They'll always be great to me.


    1. Do you still have your Leaf 25th Griffey? Would like to purchase if possible.

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