Wednesday, July 18, 2018

2018 Baseball Treasure Review - A diversion from the typical baseball card collectible

When it comes to sports memorabilia, copper, silver, and gold are usually associated with colored parallels in a Topps’ baseball card products; however, 2018 Baseball Treasure provides collectors with an opportunity to score a MLBPA licensed coin minted in a precious metal. Thirty of the top MLB players are included in this heavy-duty set.

2018 Baseball Treasure Packs
The coins come encased in a thick card that has the player’s name, team, and jersey number on the front, with similar info on the back, which allows the minted design to jump to the forefront. Each pack contains one of these cards, with the majority being of the copper variety. A deeper dive into the product could yield one of the .999 pure silver coins (1:432 packs) or an ultra rare gold Aaron Judge coin (52 in total).

Baseball Treasure gives different entry points that allow a wide range of fans to get their hands on the coins. On their website, coins are available in quantities as small as three packs, and options go all the way up to a 432-pack case, pretty much guaranteeing one of the silver coins at those levels.

2018 Baseball Treasure Coins
The three packs opened for this review drew copper coins of Justin Bour, Paul Goldschmidt, and Yoan Moncada. Each coin presented well in their cards and look like they would make a perfect display for a work or home office desk in a proper holder.

Baseball coins are not a new product, and while collectors looking to get into 2018 Baseball Treasure as an investment are probably better served putting their money into a mutual fund, a few packs would give most aficionados an interesting conversation piece that is a diversion from traditional baseball cards.

Monday, July 16, 2018

2018 Topps Inception Baseball Review - A striking shift for Topps baseball

For baseball card collectors who are looking for an intrigue filled chase have to go no farther than 2018 Topps Inception. The single-pack boxes serve collectors with a dynamite design and impressive looking autographed cards that are far distinguished from many of Topps’ previous releases.

2018 Topps Inception / Topps
Opening the dark colored boxes, one immediately gets the vibe of the charcoal marbled motif of the base set, which creates a mysterious, yet attractive backdrop for each card. The 100-card base set features a mix that tilts towards the top rookies in Major League Baseball. Each base card is thicker than your typical Topps release, further signaling the enhanced quality of this product.



The box provided for this review also yielded two parallels, which range in typical Topps fashion in both color and quantity. The varying colors in the backgrounds of both parallel cards in this pack enhanced the eye appeal of the cards in this series.


While the base cards and their parallels make up the majority of the seven-card pack in each box, the true champion of each box was the autographed card. The autographed relic card that came in this box just popped in a variety of exciting ways. The red (/25) parallel of this card made the sticker autograph on the card stand out due to the stark contrast from the background. While I am normally not a fan of sticker autographs, in this case, the combination worked to perfection. When you add in the multi-colored relic, and the throwback uniform in the photo, the signed card in this box was truly a gem.

2018 Topps Inception Anthony Banda Autographed Relic / Topps
With 2018 Topps Inception, the storied baseball card manufacturer attempts to present collectors with an option that goes beyond your typical single hit product. The combined attention to detail on the base cards with the striking autographed insert cards pushes Inception to the forefront of this segment of the baseball card market.

Monday, July 9, 2018

2018 Topps Finest Review - Does Topps Finest have enough star power to shine?

Serving collectors with a mix of simplicity coupled with a high-end finish, 2018 Topps Finest looks to satisfy hobbyists’ urges to have a product that delivers in both price and presentation.

2018 Topps Finest - Topps
The 100-card base set provides a sampling of stars from around the league with about 20 rookies sprinkled in, including Shohei Ohtani. While Topps made sure that the cream of the league is accounted for, fans of the smaller market teams will find that only one of their players made the cut, or in the case of the Miami Marlins, none at all. Despite Miami’s absence from the set, collectors will still be satisfied with the starry design that has become the hallmark of Topps Finest.

2018 Topps Finest / Topps
Further adding to the chase of the base set are 25 short printed cards, which includes Atlanta Braves sensation Ozzie Albies. Coming in at a rate of 1:28 packs, their scarcity will undoubtedly make Albies’ rookie from this set one on collectors’ checklists for the rest of the season.

2018 Topps Finest Rhys Hoskins Finest Hour / Topps
Each master 12-pack master hobby box advertises two autographs. The box provided for this review drew a spectacular looking Rhys Hoskins Finest Hour Refractor autograph (1:156 packs) and a Dustin Fowler base autograph, both on-card signatures. Rarer signed inserts include a Cal Ripken Die-Cut Finest Careers subset that are serial numbered to 10, and the Sitting Red autograph series (1:544 packs) that includes the likes of Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant, Manny Machado, and Mike Trout.
 
2018 Topps Finest Inserts / Topps
For 2018’s iteration of Topps Finest, it appears that Topps has placed an increased focus on the base set and autographs, narrowing the inserts to only a handful of subsets: Cornerstones, Sitting Red, Finest Firsts, and the Cal Ripken Finest Die Cut Careers. Topps extends the life of both the inserts and the base set in the form of different colored serial numbered parallels. One hopes that Topps will keep this theme throughout their future 2018 products, making their insert sets easier to digest and track down.

2018 Topps Finest Sitting Red Inserts / Topps
Sorting through the bevy of Topps’ annual baseball card issues, it is easy to overlook Topps Finest, as it comes right before the hyped releases of Topps Series 2 and Topps Stadium Club; however, this should not be an excuse to take a pass on it. Enthusiasts who take the dive into 2018 Topps Finest will find a product that supplies fine looking cards that create a spectacular backdrop for their autographed versions.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Baseball Happenings Podcast - Peter Kerasotis - Author of 'Alou: My Baseball Journey'

Peter Kerasotis, the co-author of Felipe Alou's new biography, "Alou: My Baseball Journey" appears on the latest edition of the Baseball Happenings Podcast to discuss how he finally convinced the 83-year-old Alou to tell his life story.
Alou: My Baseball Journey - University of Nebraska Press
Kerasotis illuminates Alou's status as a pioneer for Dominican baseball players, detailing how he persevered through Jim Crow segregation as the first player to leave the island and make it to the major leagues. He reveals Alou's tremendous character through the grace in which he handled the many obstacles throughout his six decades in baseball that ultimately led to him becoming the first Dominican manager in major league history.


Baseball Happenings Podcast - Peter Kerasotis Interview

Monday, July 2, 2018

2018 Topps Pro Debut Baseball Review - A set right on time for summer travels

With school out and temperatures heating up, families are heading on road trips throughout the summer. Along their journeys will be stops at minor league stadiums across the country, filled with the hopes of cheap entertainment and a glimpse at the next major league superstar. Topps helps fans traverse the bush leagues with their release of 2018 Topps Pro Debut, saving a trip for those who cannot get to the reaches of Fort Wayne, Indiana; Everett, Washington; or Biloxi, Mississippi.
2018 Topps Pro Debut / Topps
The 200-card base set features a wide representation of the top prospects across all levels of the minor leagues. Ronald Acuña, Hunter Greene, Royce Lewis, and Gleyber Torrres are some of the more notable players in the set, and Topps adds a nice wrinkle by leaving card number 200 for the former Heisman Trophy winner turned New York Mets outfield hopeful, Tim Tebow. Also of note within the base set is a card dedicated to Derby, the late bat-retrieving dog from the Trenton Thunder.


After spending some time handling the set, the striking design is more evident upon further handling. When holding the cards at an angle to the sunlight, the action photos are set so that the image isolates from the background, giving the appearing of the action jumping off the card. This effect gives collectors a premium looking card without the price tag of a chrome issue.


The insert sets include those that you would expect from the oddities of attending a minor league baseball game. Topps dedicates one set to the travels of minor league baseball writer Benjamin Hill, who chronicles the culture for MiLB.com. Another set highlights the various tribute night uniforms worn across the leagues that serve to drive attendance and apparel revenue.



Following the lead of their major league releases, 2018 Topps Pro Debut keeps collectors on their toes with base image variations and parallels. This box yielded one image variation (1:100 packs) and two green parallels.


In an effort to drive collectors towards 2018 Pro Debut, Topps advertises two relic cards and two autographed cards per box. The box provided for this review was a bonus of sorts, as it drew three relic cards (two of Tim Tebow), as well as two base autographs of Kevin Maitan and Ryan Vilade. The real treat of the autographed inserts is the Splash of the Future set, which are serial numbered signed cards that feature a distinct mostly black and white image that sets it apart from the base set.


As minor league stadiums across the country begin to fill up and they play out their own midsummer classics, fans will be in search of Topps branded cards of their newly discovered future stars to collect and chase autographs. With a box of 2018 Topps Pro Debut clocking in at $70, the recipe is right for a fun-filled summer at the ballpark.