With Major League Baseball back and Spring Training underway, March and April are great months for the release of new baseball card products with some of the most iconic and long-running products hitting shelves in the lead up to Opening Day.
2022 TOPPS HERITAGE BASEBALL
Topps 2022 Heritage Baseball was released March 11 with this year's offering paying homage to the 1973 Topps baseball set in design and in spirit.
Hobby boxes offer one autograph or relic card per box and consist of nine-card packs and 24-pack boxes found in 12-box cases.
Heritage Hobby will retail for around $115. This is a great offering that sells out each and every year in the shop. We have a number of customers who will buy this until there is none left as they build sets, subsets and chase their favorite players.
The base set is rather large as it consists of 500 total cards. Card numbers 401 to 500 are considered short prints and will be found one in every three packs. In the Heritage base set you will find a mix of current superstars and all-time greats. You will also find the first RC logoed cards of Tampa Bay Devil Rays mega prospect Wander Franco.
There will be a chrome parallel of 100 of the base cards with multiple chrome parallel sets to choose from. Base parallels include black border numbered to 50 copies and Flip Stock numbered to a mere five copies. The aforementioned Chrome parallels consist of Hot Box Refractors, regular refractors, Silver, Black border, Gold border and 1-of-1 SuperFractors.
You will also find a select number of players in mini-base cards also numbered to 100. Keep a close eye on the pictures on the cards you pull out of packs as there are a number of photo variations, including Action Image, Nickname and the ultra-rare Throwback Uniform.
There are a large number of inserts in this year's offering, including Baseball Flashbacks, New Age Performers, News Flashbacks with notable cultural and world news from 1973 and Then and Now, an insert set that showcases past and present stars of the game.
The main attractions of Topps Heritage are the beautiful autographed cards, including the on-card Real One autographs.
There are extremely limited hand-numbered Real One Special Edition autographs numbered to 73 copies, Real One Dual Autographs numbered to 25 or less, and the stand-out Real One Triple Autographs numbered to just five.
A pretty spectacular insert set is the Cut Signatures 1-of-1 cards. They feature baseball players and celebrities from 1973.
Heritage also offers some beautiful relics and auto relics in the Clubhouse Collection. You will find Clubhouse Collection relics, dual relics, triple relics and quad relics featuring some of the greatest players in the history of the game coupled with current MLB superstars.
The Clubhouse Collection autographed relics and Clubhouse Collection dual autograph relics might be the main event of the product. Collectors will find hard signed cards coupled with some really beautiful game-used relics.
Signed game-used memorabilia cards feature the likes of Mike Trout and other big-league superstars. The Flashback Autographed relics honor key players and moments from the 1973 season.
There is a Hobby-only 1973 Mint card offering that displays various coins from 1973 as well as a 1973 US postage stamp relic which contains stamps released in the same year.
There are box toppers found one in every hobby box and they vary from 1973 baseball posters, 1973 baseball originals or oversized 1973 Topps baseball cards. There are on-card oversized 1973 Topps baseball autographs numbered to 25 copies or less for select superstars.
2022 BOWMAN BASEBALL
The iconic Bowman brand will release its 2022 Bowman Baseball product in late April. One of the most eagerly anticipated releases of the season, Bowman always offers the best young talent in rookies and prospects.
There will be a Hobby box that consists of 10-card packs, 24-pack boxes being found in 12-box cases as well as Jumbo boxes that consist of 32-card packs, 12 packs per box and in eight-box cases.
As has been pretty standard with Bowman releases in the past, the base set contains 100 paper base cards with an additional 150 paper prospect cards. There are a number of paper parallels in which the borders change in a wide range of colors, including Sky Blue border, Neon Green border, Fuchsia border all the way down to 1-of-1 Platinum borders and 1-of-1 Printing Plates.
The prospects will also be featured in the classic Bowman Chrome with an array of refractor parallels to choose from. Look for base refractors, Speckle refractors, Green mini-Diamond refractors, Orange Shimmer, Red Lava and 1-of-1 one SuperFractors and 1-of-1 Printing Plates.
Again Bowman offers Prospector’s Special Die-Cut variations numbered to 49 copies found exclusively in Hobby boxes.
There are a number of insert sets, including the debuts of Bowman Invicta found one in every 24 packs and Bowman in 3D! found one in every 18 packs. These are two new inserts that are pretty spectacular and a fresh look for the ever-evolving Bowman brand.
The musically- inspired Hi Fi Futures are found one in six packs, while the brand-new and cutting-edge Virtuosic Vibrations are found one in eight packs. Collectors have come to expect the Bowman Scouts Top 100 and ROY Favorites that will both be back for the 2022 release.
Some of the most iconic releases of young players over the past decade are the First Bowman autographs and, of course, they will be back in full force again with this 2022 offering. The Chrome Prospect autograph series is the coup de gras with another strong line of potential baseball superstars putting pen to paper for some outstanding signatures.
Autograph cards for the top rookies and prospects are in the Chrome rookie autograph set and each card comes in a plethora of refractor parallels from the base refractors numbered to 499 down to the now legendary 1-of-1 SuperFractors. These cards will most assuredly be the go-to card for any rookie who becomes a superstar or even has a few solid weeks in the bigs.
Many of the aforementioned inserts also come in autograph form, including Bowman in 3D! autographs, Bowman Invicta autographs, Bowman Scout’s Top 100 autographs, ROY favorites autographs and Virtuosic Vibrations autographs.
Collectors can also attempt to track down a very limited number of 2022 Bowman Ultimate Autograph Books numbered to 10 copies, All-American game autographs and Bowman buy-back autograph cards can be found, too.
2022 DONRUSS BASEBALL
As we are covering iconic, flagship baseball card releases we must also mention 2022 Donruss Baseball that will be releases on April 13.
Carrying a price tag of just north of $100, this is one of the best bangs for the buck in the hobby each season.
The most notable omission is the team logos and insignias but that doesn't stop Donruss from offering a cutting-edge, worthwhile product.
Each hobby box will offer two autographs and one relic per box as well as 29 special parallels. Hobby boxes consist of eight-card packs with 24 packs per box and 16 boxes per case.
The iconic Rated Rookies are found within the base set as a 50-card subset. There are a variety of parallels, including Liberty at a rate of one per hobby box, Independence Day at a rate of four per hobby box and the hobby-exclusive Holo Blue, which come in 24 per box.
Donruss continues to push the envelope and offer a number of insert sets. Some familiar features and returns include Dominator and the iconic Elite, as well as brand-new options including Bomb Squad and The Hit list.
Other original themed insert sets include the Unleashed insert that features top hitters in the game tearing it up in front of a pretty vicious looking bear.
The caricature driven Whammy case hit inserts are back for another season. You will also be able to find 12 Rated Prospects which look very similar to the classic Rated Rookies found in Donruss products.
2022 Donruss offers a strong autograph and relic line, including Classics Autographs, Monikers, Signature Series and Superstar Scribbles where you will find autographed cards of all-time greats Mark McGwire all the way to super prospects such as Wander Franco.
As far as memorabilia goes, there is a nearly 100-card deep insert set called Retro 1988 Materials that pays homage to the 1988 Donruss card design while carrying a nice swatch from the featured player.
This is a very solid pickup for the price point and will keep collectors guessing and happy with what they find in hobby boxes and packs.
— Tony Reid has written about sports collectibles for such publications as Beckett and Sports Collectors Daily. He works full-time at a sports card shop in Central Pennsylvania and collects RCs in baseball, basketball and football. You can reach him on social media at @reidrattlecage.