In our newest round of Better Than a Box, we pit New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge against a newly arriving box of 2023 Bowman Baseball Hobby.
At 30 years old, Judge is already putting his name in the same company as some of the all time great Yankees and with the unmatched and deeply rich history of the organization, that’s definitely saying something.
The towering 6’7″ 280 pound Judge is as large as the city he plays in. In 2017, he set the Major League baseball rookie record with 52 home runs. Unless you’ve been living in the wilderness for a year, you know Judge cracked 62 home runs in 2022, breaking fellow New York Yankee Roger Maris’ all-time American League record while earning the AL MVP award.
He will most assuredly pass the 250 home run mark this season and be well on his way to putting up some eye popping career numbers if he continues this pace throughout his prime. He can also make some pretty great plays in the outfield–just ask Shohei Ohtani.
Judge will be facing a big box of prospects in the 2023 Bowman Baseball Hobby box, currently selling for around $300.
You will get no argument that the Bowman product is filled with a lot of potential future stars, whether it be Baltimore Orioles prospect Jackson Holliday, Arizona Diamondbacks young phenom Druw Jones or number of other youngsters whose fathers may or may not have played in the majors.
The question is, are you going to take your chance ripping a hobby box and be patient enough for those players to pan out (or not) or would you rather land four awesome cards of the most prolific home on hitter of the era?.
The Rookie Card
The rookie card in our lineup is a PSA 10 Gem Mint 2017 Finest Judge RC. Finest has always been a solid product and this particular card design is a little futuristic and shows Judge mid swing, with the all important RC logo attached. At right around $75-$80, this gets the collection started off with a lead off home run.
The Autographed Card
Our autograph card of choice is the banger for this bunch. It’s a beautiful 2016 Bowman Inception jersey auto of the then prospect for the Yankees. I’m a big fan of the artistic, somewhat enigmatic designs of Inception. A prospect card of Judge with a pretty game used mem piece and auto right around $250 is about as good as you’ll find right now. Clearly this is the centerpiece of our collection.
The Jersey Card
The jersey card of choice comes out of the always popular Topps Allen & Ginter product. We chose one from Judge’s historic 2022 season, as the card also features a nice pinstripe and in the very throwbackish mini version. Considering the year and the product–not to mention that occasionally these pop up with a pinstriped patch, this is a great edition for less than 20 bucks. As a bonus, it’s listed as “game used” memorabilia so we will keep our fingers crossed.
The Numbered Card
For our serial numbered cleanup hitter, we wanted something from earlier in Judge’s career–and something that’s a little different. From 2018 Bowman, this is a great action shot of Judge barreling down the baseline on a beautiful day at the ballpark. The Sky Blue parallel is perfect and numbered to 499, offering an easy chance to grab a great early career card for a price of barely over $10.
The verdict in this case is that the Judge cards might cost you just a few bucks more than the Bowman box but as the Yankee captain continues to amaze, our quartet would certainly be a tough choice to turn down.