By Rich Klein
In the Game (or ITG for short) recently released a new baseball product appropriately titled “Baseball Hits”. Each box contains five cards, all of which are what today’s collectors would consider “hits”. That's right...there are no base cards. It's kind of refreshing for a company to cut right to the chase.
Each master case has 48 boxes, with four 12-box inner cases. You get five-card boxes here. We won't even call them packs--and those boxes are currently selling online in the $80-90 range.
From checking the In The Game website, a complete checklist of this product along with print run information is available. This really solid information, replete with card designs, lets the collector know what he or she pulled from the box and the stated print run. The cards themselves are not serial-numbered.
The five cards in each box generally include four prospects and one veteran star. Among the memorabilia cards are Roberto Clemente bat knobs and Derek Jeter minor league jersey swatches.
There are a wide variety of named insert subsets here.
We opened two boxes to see what was inside.
Hero Autograph: Tim Raines (print run=80)
Full Body Autograph Cards Silver (Print run of 390): Matt Moore, Adrian Salcedo
Full Body Autograph Card Gold (Print run of 10): Brandon Belt (For those who may not follow prospects that closely, Belt is considered one of the top prospects in baseball and has a good chance to start for the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants during the 2011 season).
Lumbergraphs: Really neat design of how the autograph shows on the card: (Print run of 100): Kolbrin Vitek.
Full Body Autograph Silver (Print run of 390): Jarrett Parker
Full Body Autograph Gold (Print run of 10): Mike Trout (another hot prospect).
Reflections Autographs: (Print run of 5): Mike Trout
Trout has been selected by ESPN’s Keith Law, who is one of the leading experts on prospects as his #1 overall prospect. Baseball America has had him as the #2 overall prospect).
Country of Origin Autograph Silver (Print run of 40): Steven Ames
Lumbergraphs (Print run of 100): Devin Mesoraco
Baseball Hits certainly delivered what was promised with five solid hits in each box including a few that appear that they may go for extra bases. Tim Raines has a legitimate Hall of Fame shot long term and if either Belt or Trout work out the way they are projected, having signed cards from early in their career with limited print runs means great long-term potential.
In The Game doesn't have an official MLB license so Heroes and Prospects Baseball Hits can't utilize team logos of any kind, leading to some graphically adjusted caps and jerseys that bring the modern era Post Cereal cards to mind, but the card designs are quite solid which helps make up for that unfortunate detail.
A five-for -five day is usually a career highlight for a player and ITG is starting their baseball career with a solid day at the plate if our results are any indication. Baseball Hits was just released this week and boxes and singles have started trickling onto eBay. You can see them here.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]