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Sunday, January 19, 2014

First Thoughts: 2014 Topps Pro Debut

My favorite leagues might be the lower minor leagues. I could get all righteous and talk about how pure the game is at that level - players don't make a lot of money and they haven't been jaded by fame, etc. And that probably has something to do with it. But really, it's just a different feel. It's a relaxed event, with smaller crowds, lower prices, a local feel, and less hype (think: sound and video effects, walk-up music, and so on).

I love MLB games, but I think I'd prefer to have a season ticket to a smaller A- or AA-level team. I seriously considered buying season tickets for the Gwinnett Braves while I was living in Georgia (money was the only real issue) - when there was discussion of a rookie level team around Atlanta about seven years ago and my town held one of the stadiums they were going to use, I had immediately decided I would be a charter season ticket holder. Too bad that never followed through.

Anyway, despite my interest in the minor leagues, I've never really collected minor league sets. But that doesn't mean I have no interest in them.
2014 Topps Pro Debut base cards use the same design as the MLB flagship base cards. I haven't talked about the 2014 design though I will whenever Series 1 comes out. The ubiquitous parallels come in gold #/50, silver #/25, red 1/1, and printing plates 1/1. Like the 2013 issue, some players will have variation cards.
The relics are called Debut Duds. In a few years, let's look back at the checklist and see how many of the players turned out to be duds. They come in gold /50, silver /25, and jumbo patch /5 parallel versions in addition to the base relic cards. There's one relic in every box.
I'm not about the normal, and this is not normal. Several of the minor league mascots will have their own card, though these will be embroidered manufacturered patch cards, limited to 99 copies each. I'm somewhat disappointed about that - I'd love to see a comprehensive mascot set. Gold parallels will be numbered to 50 and red parallels are 1/1s. There don't seem to be printing plates for this - the only set in Pro Debut without them.
Another set of interest to me is the hat logo manufactured patches, because many of those minor league logos are cool or funny. Last year's set had 50 cards; let's hope that this year has 50 different teams. These too will have gold /50, red 1/1, and plate 1/1 parallels. One manupatch is inserted into each box.
Of course, the big draw of minor league sets are the autographs, and there are two per box. These have stickers, and use the same design as the base cards. Gold /50, silver /25, red 1/1, and plates are available.
Really lucky box busters will get a dual player Side By Side card, with two minor league prospect autographs. And these will come in gold /10, red 1/1, and printing plate versions too.


  1. Wow... that mascot set would be fun to build. Too bad Topps didn't insert them 1 per blaster or make them numbered to 1,000 instead of 99.

  2. If I could pull hat logos from every pack I'd be buying. On the aftermarket, depending on the player, it seems you could buy an actual cap for the price three or four cards. I'd rather do that.

  3. Put me on the list of those disappointed that there are only 99 of each mascot. Not only do the minors have some of the coolest logos, but they also have some of the wildest mascots. There does look to be some nice looking subsets. Might have to get me a pack or two if I can track them down this year.

  4. Topps has a lot of great ideas. And then they turn them into limited cards that the people who would really want to collect them, can't. They're pricing their customers out of the market.