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Topps Baseball, Flashback Friday promotion debut F

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The 2007 baseball card season officially is underway with the arrival of the newest Topps Baseball set, along with the debut of the company's newest hobby shop promotion. The first series of 2007 Topps Baseball shipped Feb. 12.

It features 330 base cards that utilize a black-bordered design. Among the inserts of note are Generation Now, the first 200 cards of what will be a 600-card insert set focusing on today's young superstars; Greatest Generation, which focuses on retired players who also served in World War II; continuation of the Mickey Mantle Home Run History insert and debut of the Josh Gibson Home Run History insert; Relics and autographed cards from company spokesmen Alex Rodriguez, David Wright and Ryan Howard; 1-of-1 nameplate cards using letters from all of the 2006 All-Star Game jerseys; and the first 15 cards of a Mantle Story insert that will detail the life of Mantle over the next six years of Topps Baseball releases, with each series featuring a different classic Topps design.

The week of Feb. 12 also marks the launch of Topps' newest hobby store promotion, Flashback Fridays. Topps' Home Team Advantage hobby stores are scheduled to have special five-card packs available for five cents each on Feb. 16. Those cards are the start of a 25-card set.

For the next 20 weeks, collectors who purchase one pack of any Topps baseball product can get the next card in the set, with the new card of the week debuting every Friday.

The 25-card set will feature the design of the 1933 DeLong Gum set.

Topps public relations director Clay Luraschi said moving the release of Topps Baseball closer to the start of the season has added to the anticipation of the product.

"It makes a huge difference," Luraschi said about the later release. "It's more relevant and makes more sense to people to see new cards coming out now instead of a month after the World Series."

Still to come this month will be Heritage Baseball, followed by Finest. Next month will see the release of Opening Day Baseball, followed by Triple Threads in early April. Luraschi said the biggest thing the hobby will likely notice about the company's 2007 offerings will be the number of returning brands.

"We're not coming out with a lot of new products," he said. "Most of the products we're bringing out are either traditional products or newer brands that really solidified themselves last year."

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