The first major baseball release of the year tells us the new baseball season is around the corner. This year, it comes out just following the Super Bowl, giving a clean break between sports. It’s that time of year where the new season is filled with hope, for all the teams not located in Detroit.
This year, it’s pretty apparent the production numbers continue to rise. Is that indicative of an increase in collectors? Or something else? It may take some time for us to be sure. The format of the release is the same as recent years. The base set features 350 cards, with a number of insert sets, as well as a set using the design from 1985 Topps. There is also a bit of controversy surrounding this release. In a 350 card base set, there is one single Texas Ranger. That might be understandable in a 100 card base set, but in the Flagship release?
A box advertises 10 packs with 46 cards per pack. It also includes 1 autograph and 2 relic cards. It also comes prepacked with two silver packs containing 1985 Topps Chrome variants, and an oversized Turkey Red card.
There’s not much new to say about the Topps Update release. It provides a nice end to the year of collecting during the playoffs. I know Topps releases products year round, but starting with series one of the flagship all the way through update provides a nice bookend for the season.
Maybe I just haven’t paid as close attention before, but the set does feel much more rookie heavy than I remember. That’s not a bad thing, but it seems a lot of them have barely been in the league. The base set contains 300 cards with the usual assortment of SPs, SSPs, and parallels. There are also a number of inserts sets, many of which are along the same line as those from previous releases. Unfortunately, the numbers start over again.
The Topps flagship release is one of their most well known and widely loved releases. It feels pretty basic compared to other releases, but it’s really not. It comes with a an assortment of insert sets, along with a large number of parallels and hits.
As this is a continuation of the earlier series 1 release, many of the inserts sets also continue from that release. We see an insert set modeled after the 1984 release, but this time featuring rookies and All Stars. We also get more sets celebrating the 150 years of professional baseball. The release is not without controversy, however. One insert set features a polarizing figure in the hobby, in Gary Vee. He has definitely brought some fresh eyes to the hobby, but it’s not clear to all collectors whether that’s good or not.
The base set features 350 cards, with 76 SP or SSPs variations, including a SP for hot rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. A box contains 10 packs with 46 cards each. There are two relic cards and one autograph advertised in each box.
Ah Bowman. I’m not sure there is another product in the hobby today that leans in to the lottery ticket aspect of collecting quite like Bowman. There aren’t many products upon release where base autographs can sell for many hundreds of dollars. The box prices end up reflecting this, however. While the suggested price is somewhere around $240, the boxes have been seen closer to $350.
Is it worth that price? Well, that’s where the lottery aspect comes in. If you hit a big prospect, it would be worth that much and plenty more. Most people will not hit the big prospect, however, and end up losing out. If you like the gamble of the prospect game, this is one of the best products for you. If you don’t, it’s probably better to just pick up what you like on the secondary market.
A jumbo box includes 12 packs of 32 cards, and advertises three autograph cards per box.
With Spring Training right around the corner, we get the first new signs of spring. After a very cold few days, any sign is welcome. It’s a fairly standard release, but it seems to have a few unwanted surprises this year. It seems the production has greatly increased once again. As a result, the chances at many of the number parallels are much more difficult than recent years.
Another unfortunate surprise is the apparent reconfiguration of the Jumbo box release. Aside from the more difficult odds for parallels, it seems many possible cards are either completely unavailable in Jumbo boxes or are on much steeper odds than the regular hobby release. In particular, the alternative image SPs and legends SSPs seem to be much more available in regular hobby box.