Finest is like a family’s eccentric uncle — the guy who still dresses in bell bottoms and tie-dye shirts, but shows up for Thanksgiving dinner wearing a pilgrim outfit.
Like that unpredictable relative, Finest baseball will add some new twists to its familiar product–not the least of which is how it’ll be distributed.
Release date is expected to be the week of May 18. Once again, master boxes will be split into two mini-boxes. There will be six packs per mini-box, and five cards per pack. A hobby box should cost somewhere in the $80 to $90 range, depending on the retailer.
A full 2016 Topps Finest checklist is below.
The base set consists of 100 cards, featuring rookies and veterans on “chrome technology,” plus 10 short prints. Parallels will be plentiful, with refractors, Prism, purple, blue, green, gold, orange (numbered to 25), red (5) and 1/1 SuperFractors. There also will be 1/1 printing plates for each card. The short prints will have parallels in o
range refractor (numbered to 25), red (5) and a 1/1 SuperFractor.
Topps is promising two on-card autographs per master box. Finest Autographs will focus on rookies, veterans and all-stars; parallel chasers can find versions in blue, green, gold, orange (numbered to 25), red (5) and 1/1 SuperFractors. As in the base set, there also will be 1/1 printing plates for each card.
Finest Firsts Autograph cards are a new wrinkle. This subset will commemorate ever major-league rookie’s first appearance in the Topps Finest portfolio. There are no blue parallels for this subset, but collectors can pull green, gold, orange (numbered to 25), red (5), 1/1 SuperFractors and 1/1 printing plates.
Topps also will be offering Finest First insert cards that are not autographed.
Finest Greats autograph cards will fall one to a case. This insert will feature retired players and also will have parallels in gold, orange (numbered to 25), red (5), and 1/1 SuperFractor and printing plate cards.
A new autograph feature is called Finest Originals. These cards will have hard-signed signatures of Topps Finest buybacks from the past 20-plus years.
Two insert sets will debut in 2016. The Franchise Finest set will honor each team’s franchise player; the cards will be chrome refractors. The second set is the 1996 Intimidators, which will mirror Topps Finest’s “theme” cards from the first series of the ’96 Finest set. In 1996, players who were deemed intimidators included Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Edgar Martinez, Barry Bonds, Rod Beck and Sammy Sosa. Who will make the list in 2016? Candidates are plentiful.
Both subsets will have low-numbered variations with on-card signatures and parallels.
Topps introduced a Finest Careers die-cut set for 2015, using Derek Jeter for its debut run. For 2016, Topps will honor Ken Griffey Jr.’s career with a 10-card die-cut set that will fall one to a case. The subset also will have orange refractors numbered to 25, red ones (5) and a 1/1 SuperFractor. Topps is also planning to introduce autographed versions of the die-cut inserts, numbered to 5.
These certainly will be coveted by collectors, especially if (and most likely when) Griffey is elected to the Hall of Fame in January.
You can order Finest here.