The tradition of baseball and trading cards: opening a box of Topps 2013

(WXYZ) - Part of being a sports fan is collecting memories attached to the games, players, and moments we watch unfold in front of us.

Another part of being a sports fan is the physical collection of those memories in the past time as common to sports as the games themselves. Trading cards have long held a firm place in the world of sports, and as baseball season begins, so too does collecting season.

Prince Fielder made news in February when he and Topps debuted the largest trading card ever created , as part of a promotion for the company's flagship brand. The Tigers first baseman is featured on the boxes and packaging for 2013 Topps Baseball Series 1.

Recently, Topps sent us a box of the cards with Fielder plastered all over the cover. We busted it open, and have this review for collectors new and old:

2013 Topps Baseball Series 1 Box Break
36 packs per box - 10 cards per pack

Base Cards (330 card set): 291 (88.1% of the set)
-Including 12 Detroit Tigers cards
-Only one duplicate

Chasing History Memorabilia: one card
-Brian Wilson

1972 Topps Mini Inserts 2013 Topps Baseball 1972 Buster Posey Image: Nine cards
-Buster Posey, Trevor Bauer, Chris Sale, Paul Konerko, Josh Reddick, Felix Hernandez, Yu Darvish, Bryce Harper, Roberto Clemente

Calling Card Inserts: Four cards
-Brandon Phillips, Jonathan Papelbon, Reggie Jackson, Pablo Sandoval

Chasing the Dream Inserts: Six cards
-Devin Mescoraco, Giancarlo Stanton, Jonathan Niese, Addison Reed, Yu Darvish, Jose Altuve

Chasing History Inserts: Nine cards
-Cal Ripken, Jr., Babe Ruth, George Brett, Nolan Ryan, Warren Spahn, Derek Jeter, Tom Seaver, CC Sabathia, Bob Feller,

Cut to the Chaes Inserts: Three cards
-Paul Monitor, Tony Gwynn, Mike Schmidt

The Greats Inserts: Two cards
-Ken Griffey, Jr., Bob Gibson

Gold base card parallel (serial numbered /2013): Four cards
-Tom Layne RC, Carlos Gonzalez, Russell Martin, Cabrera/Hamilton/Encarnacion AL RBI Leaders

Emerald foil base card parallel: Six cards
-Adam Jones, Jered Weaver, Todd Frazier, Jamey Carroll, Dan Uggla, Will Venable

Topps Series 1 does exactly what the new collector and the veteran collector hopes for. Each box contains nearly 100% of the base set, combined with the thrill of ripping through packs, seeking inserts, memorabilia, and autographed cards.

Each box is guaranteed one big hit, and fittingly, the one we pulled came from the World Series champion San Francisco Giants.

The set design is one of the strongest Topps has debuted in years. The foil lettering and the team logos are slick, but not overwhelming. The inserts are more suited for a higher-priced brand, and so seeing them in Series 1 is a welcomed thrill with each pull.

The challenge for Topps is to keep making a product that is fresh and new, after years of finding itself the absolute staple on baseball collectors' shelves. The photography is, as usual, award-winning. Maybe the only knock would be the checklist. Some players we expected to find were missing, and others who ultimately found their way into the set made us scratch our heads.

The 1972 mini inserts are fantastic. They are a subset worth collecting, but then again, I'm always partial to a nostalgic, tiny set. The Cut to the Chase inserts were also head-turners, and I like that their odds are tougher than other inserts in the box.

The brand, the set, the box-breaking experience, it's all a part of baseball. And this year, Topps connects with nearly every aspect of its 2013 Series 1. Grade: A-

Brad Galli is a Sports Reporter for WXYZ in Detroit, and a longtime collector of trading cards. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradGalli .

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