NEW BASEBALL CARDS OUT

The 2022 baseball season brought lots of new and exciting rookies and players to the baseball card collecting hobby. While the national pastime has seen ups and downs with the pandemic and lockouts impacting the sport, the baseball card industry is thriving with new releases each year from all the major manufacturers.

Topps, who has had the MLB license for decades, launched several new baseball card products in 2022 that featured the latest rookie classes and star players. One of their biggest and most anticipated releases each year is the Topps Series 1 baseball cards. The 2022 Topps Series 1 cards came out in late February/early March and had rookies like Julio Rodriguez, Bobby Witt Jr., Spencer Strider and more on their rookie cards. As per usual with Topps flagship products, the designs were clean and classic with photos on the front and stats/biographies on the back. The parallels and short prints in the set attracted lots of attention from collectors chasing after rare and valuable cards. Overall it was another successful Series 1 launch from Topps to kick off the new baseball year.

In April, Topps followed up Series 1 with their Topps Series 2 release. This set built on Series 1 by including players who may have been missed in the first series as well as additional rookie cards for players who made their debuts after Series 1 was finalized. Notable rookies in Series 2 included Hunter Greene, Michael Harris II, and Adley Rutschman. Topps also introduced new subsets like “Icing On Top” parallels and “Sparkles” short prints to add appeal for collectors. While Series 2 doesn’t generate as much hype as Series 1 given it comes out after the season started, it still offered collectors more chances for rookie cards of the upcoming talent.

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Following Series 1 and 2, Topps then shifted their focus to specialty products based around certain teams or player tributes. In the summer they launched their MLB All-Star Game set celebrating the midseason classic from Dodger Stadium. This included base rookie cards for the AL and NL rosters as well as parallels and autographs of the All-Star participants. Another summer product was Topps Now MLB Debuts which quickly produced cards for players within days of their first big league game. This allowed for ultra-short printed cards that captured memorable MLB starting points.

Arguably Topps’ most creative product of 2022 was their MLB S2 Hobby-Exclusive In Action insert set. With photography and designs never seen before in hobby boxes, this 125-card insert set featured dynamic action shots of the game’s biggest stars. Each card was hand-numbered to /75 copies or less, making for some truly one-of-a-kind collector’s items to be found in Series 2 hobby boxes. The In Action cards highlighted exciting and memorable in-game moments that collectors and fans could appreciate.

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Topps Chrome is always one of the most coveted releases each year due to the refractors, negatives, and parallels that can be pulled. Their 2022 Topps Chrome baseball cards hit the market in September/October and as usual had theclean aesthetics and “chrome” style collector’s loved. Big rookies like Oneil Cruz, Bobby Miller and Brandon Lowe all appeared on coveted refractors that will gain value over time. Topps Chrome is a perfect blend of classic design and modern “hit” chaseability that draws people into the baseball card scrap packs and boxes.

On the higher-end side of things, Topps offered several luxury products for those looking for autographs and memorabilia cards. Their 2022 Diamond Icons featured swatches and autographs of baseball legends on luxurious card stock. Bowman’s Best brought retro designs mixed with current star rookies and hits. Topps Tribute honored Hank Aaron at the one year anniversary of his passing with touching autograph and memorabilia cards from his iconic career. And Topps Inception focused on rare 1/1 printing plates, autographs, and patch cards inserted at extremely low odds.

Panini was also very active in 2022 with their Donruss and Contenders lines of baseball cards. The Donruss Optic product saw an October/November release and had many of the same rookies as Topps Chrome like Oneil Cruz and Adley Rutschman. However, Panini packs can be identified by their “hits” being primarily memorabilia cards rather than autographs. Contenders also incorporated rare acetate parallels and serially numbered rookie patches. Meanwhile Panini’s Classics line brought vintage-inspired designs mixed with today’s players. Overall Panini offered collectors variety in styles that complemented Topps’ traditional flagship offerings.

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Less known brands like Leaf, Allen & Ginter, Stadium Club and High Tek also put out 2022 baseball sets. Leaf Metal Draft focused on prospects from the Rule 5 Draft. A&G had their trademark curios and traded cards mixed in with MLB stars. Stadium Club used vibrant photography on high-end stock. And High Tek featured rare prism and neon parallels to chase. These alternative card companies provided niche products for collectors seeking something outside the Topps/Panini mainstream.

On the whole, 2022 was another massive year for new baseball cards reaching the market. With so many rookie classes and star players to feature, Topps and Panini paced major releases throughout the season. Alternative brands supplemented with specialty products. Overall the baseball card industry remains as strong as ever thanks to the influx of new players, designs, parallels and “hits” being inserted in packs, boxes and cases each year. Whether collecting base cards or chasing rare pulls, 2022 ensured collectors had no shortage of options to enjoy America’s pastime in card form all season long.

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