Lets face it people, 2016 was about as good as it gets in terms of the way events played out for the hobby. A widely collected team finally wins the championship after 108 years. Both of the top two collected players in the hobby win the MVP of their respective leagues. A new 27k per box product hits shelves, and sells out about as fast as anything has ever sold out. How do you follow that up?
If Mike Trout is the current face of Baseball cards, he is starting to feel some heat from Kris Bryant, especially now that the curse of the Billy Goat has been broken. Being that Topps and Bryant have a great relationship, as they do with Trout, we should see a huge focus on both continued for this year. Unlike Trout, whose luster might have started to wear off a bit due to volume of availability, Bryant is about as white hot as it gets right now. If he has the kind of season this year that he did last year, nothing would be better for Baseball cards.
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There are good young players quickly making their way through the ranks of widely collected teams as well. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez for the Yankees especially, filling a gap left behind by some droughts of collectible players since Jeter left. Speaking of everyone’s favorite number 2, he is back again in the hobby, and continues to make waves with Topps products. His cards are reminiscent of what happened with Ichiro a few years ago, but Jeter is on a different level. There are a lot of people who are happy to have another big signature available in packs.
I still have a lot of questions about this year, as I think that there are major balls still in the air with the sustainability of the industry. Adding in further questions around digital and I hope that 2017 can be even close to the year that 2016 was for Baseball. With the absolutely incredible success of Topps NOW during the playoffs and world series, they have a hard act to follow in continuing to innovate with the way things are going to play out. I am curious how they incorporate more cool content more regularly instead of the general daily cards that are released regularly.
As a collector who has turned to Baseball more frequently with Panini’s poor execution on the NFL side, I want this to be the banner year tha t2016 turned out to be. I have a feeling we have a lot to gain, but it all depends on the execution. Topps banked some big wins on risky endeavors last year, and its yet to be seen if more risks will be taken. If they choose to continue down the path less traveled, im waiting with intense curiosity to see if more wins are achieved. For the sake of cards as a whole, I hope they are.