Nearly 68 years after his death, Babe Ruth still commands attention and adulation among baseball fans. We’ve all seen the video footage of the Bambino rounding the bases, doffing his cap as he savors another home run trot. On Monday, he was back in the spotlight with the release of 2016 Leaf Babe Ruth Collection.
The Texas-based company announced a deal with the Ruth estate over a year ago that gave it a license to use Ruth’s name and likeness and president Brian Gray indicated at the time it was his goal to “bring Babe Ruth to the masses”. With no MLB license, however, the distinctive Yankee logos were removed from images when the cards were created.
The base set of 2016 Leaf Babe Ruth Collection contains 80 cards covering his life and most memorable achievements. A hobby box will contain 20 packs, with five cards per pack. The design will feature Ruth in black-and-white photography, which will give the cards a stark, historic feel.
In addition to the base cards, there are two 10-card insert subsets. Quotables are exactly what you’d expect — quotes from Ruth himself. Career Achievements gives highlights of some of the staggering numbers Ruth put up during his career.
There are 20 boxes to a case.
Memorabilia cards are going to be hard to come by, falling two per case. There are bat card parallels — 80 from Ruth’s days in Boston with the Red Sox and 80 from his days in New York. They will be numbered to 3, to commemorate Ruth’s number; 1/1 versions also will be offered.
Yankee Stadium seat relics also will be sprinkled throughout the run as a parallel to the base set.
The biggest prize a collector could pull from 2016 Leaf Babe Ruth Collection is a 1/1 cut signature of Ruth.
The “The Babe Ruth Collection” is ambitious, but with the start of baseball’s regular season just around the corner, the timing is perfect for Leaf. There have been great and exciting players since Ruth — Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Ken Griffey Jr. come to mind — but the Babe remains a cut above. This product should be fairly easy for set builders to complete, and the inserts and memorabilia cards add a chase element that could appeal to both modern card collectors and those who simply love the Babe.
Current box prices are $30-35 online with 20-box cases at around $550. Click here to see them on eBay.