By Rich Klein
In a year which has seen seismic changes in the card collecting world (and we have not even concluded our first quarter of 2010), Topps has had a great year re-establishing themselves as top baseball card manufacturer.
The first product to be produced as the manufacturer of choice for minor league cards is the 2010 Topps Pro Debut set.
As of press time, the Pro Debut box, which consists of 24 packs with 8 cards per pack was trading for approximately $85 from major online retailers of new wax. Topps promises two signed cards as well as a game-worn futures card numbered to 99 or less in each box.
And as for the set's design, the front and back of the minor league set are both very similar to the 2010 Topps base set, the only major difference being that there are no stats on the back of the Pro Debut cards, just a short bio.
One thing to keep in mind when opening a product such as this is that the verdict about many of the players' ultimate success won't be in for awhile. Sometimes you win with a "future star" and sometimes you don't.
Some careers end before the ink on the cards is even dry.
Card number 4 in this set is Grant Desme, a top ten prospect in the Oakland system at the end of last season. Over the winter, Desme decided to retire from baseball to become a priest. Of course if he ends up as the pope, then this will end up being the best card in this set by a mile. So, as Joaquin Andujar once said "Youneverknow".
With hopes that our box will yield more traditional prospects, here's what we found after ripping the wrappers open.
Base Set: 157 of 220 with no duplicates
Blue Parallel (#d to 259); Barry Butera, Todd Glaesmann, Pete Hissey, Seth Lintz, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Billy Nowlin, Jonathan Singleton
Gold Parallel (#d to 50) Zack Von Rosenberg
Single A All-Stars: Mark Cohoon, Russell Dixon, Sam Honeck, Brian Kemp, Sean Ochinko, Wellington Ramirez
Double A All-Stars: Reegie Corona, Brian Friday, Marvin Lowrance, Eddy Martinez-Esteve, Jesus Montero, D.J. Warick
Hall of Fame Stars: Jackie Robinson, Carl Yastrzemski
Autographs: Andrew Liebel, Will Smith (Wonder what type of jokes he had to put with when he was younger?)
Futures Game Jersey Card: Madison Bumgarner (#d to 139). The bad news was that this card was serial numbered to something a bit more than the box said. The good news is that the Beckett OPG did not have this card listed at the time we received this product. And the size of the swatch is huge so that helps to make up for the small numbering issue. As many fans know, Bumgarner is no bum, so this might be one to hang on to.
It's a new era for Topps with the launch of Pro Debut and might be a nice complement to your regular set, especially if you follow the game at its lower levels.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]