Sunday, April 3rd was the official opening day for the 2016 MLB season with The St. Louis Cardinals vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. While Clint Hurdle of the Pirates has stated previously that the team hasn't had a consistently good April since he took over as manager, their spring training seems to be panning out good for them; they took their first victory over the Cardinals, 4-1. Apart from a few early games being postponed for weather, 2016 is looking to be a great season for the MLB.
There are some amazing MLB players to follow this year, and this is always exciting for baseball card collectors, whether you're into sets, teams, or players. Getting started with the 2016 Topps Opening Day Baseball Hobby Box is great for casual collectors who simply love the game. The Hobby Box contains 36 packs of cards (200 cards) including 75 Series 2 preview cards. Every pack in the set comes with an insert: you can expect to see Opening Day Stars as stickers (not 3-D unfortunately), and costumed cheerleaders for the Mascots including enthusiastic characters like Mrs. Met and the Cubs' Clark. There's additionally 15 inserts for Top Bats of the game so you can keep up with player stats.
It's really amazing how quick young talent can become impact players in just one season. Take Miguel Sano of the Minnesota Twins for example, or Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs. This year, there's over 30 players getting their MLB Rookie cards like Luis Severino of the New York Yankees, and Stephen Piscotty of the St. Louis Cardinals. The 2016 Topps Series 1 Baseball Cards (which hit the shelves back on Feb. 3rd) gives baseball fans the chance to find their favorite rookies in both the 36 pack factory sealed Hobby Box and Jumbo Box. Every 2016 Hobby Box guarantees one autograph or relic card per box, and the Jumbo Box contains one autograph and two relic cards.
Besides the tremendous number of rookie players, the 2016 Topps Series 1 cards also include the Berger's Best collectors cards (65 cards with a 1:4 ratio per pack) that have reprints of players from every season since 1952. Baseball antiquity doesn't stop here - Season 1 also includes 100 Years At Wrigley Field (a 25 card set) highlighting some of the best moments at the Chicago Cubs' historic field.
Other Series 1 highlights to look forward to is the First Pitch cards (famous names who threw out the first pitches in 2015), Back-To-Back (15 cards) matches significant power hitting pairs, and the most luxurious insert, Topps Laser (25 cards) which are beautiful cards celebrating the 20th anniversary. There are many more amazing inserts including in Season 1; the Presses Into Service features an autographed relic, and autograph, and a relic, the Perspectives consists of 25 cards detailing player vantage points, and the World Series Coin and Stamp cards matches winners with a coin and stamp from the year they won. There's something for every collector in the 2016 Season 1 boxes, and so much to look forward throughout the MLB season.
Following the rookies to see who will be the next up-and-coming MLB giant is always one of the most exciting aspects of the game. Watching Mike Trout take AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2015 wasn't too hard to see coming, but back after his 2011 callup, he only hit .220/.281/.390 in 40 games. There are just as many amazing rookies this year as there were in 2015, and with players like Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins who's hit .209/.245/.326 in 138 plate appearances, Corey Seager of the LA Dodgers, Jose Berrios of the Minnesota Twins, and Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, it's going to be a blast predicting who will win the 2016 Rookie of the Year awards. For MLB card collectors, no box set comes anywhere close to the focus put on rookies than Bowman's. The 2016 Hobby (240 cards) and Jumbo (382 cards) boxes hit shelves on April 27. For Bowman Chrome card fans, we can look forward to the box release date on August 3rd. If you're into collecting autographs, prospectors and refractor cards, then the Bowman boxes are a perfect way to round out your collection.
One of the higher-end options for serious MBA baseball card collectors this year is the 2016 Topps Legacies of Baseball Cards (4 cards per pack, 1 pack per box, and 8 boxes per case). It's ideal for high-end autograph collectors, hit seekers, and vault metal card fans. Every box includes two on-card autographs and one of the new metal trading cards made with polished aluminum. There are two primary signature options on the abundant autographed cards: Tradition Autographs honor past and present players who performed "the right way," and Loyalty Autographs that feature the players who spent the majority of their professional career with one team. The Legacies of Baseball cards are truly works of art and as elegant as collecting memorabilia goes for capturing players and highlights of MBL 2016.
Every new season of baseball brings young and old fans together to talk about their best memories, player predictions, hitting scores, etc. These enthusiastic conversations stir up an ongoing fusion between the past and the present games that keeps everyone remembering the MLB roots and where it's going. Two fantastic baseball card series that embody the timelessness of baseball are the Gypsy Queen and Topps Heritage cards.
If you didn't already know about Gypsy Queen cards, 2016 will be their 2nd successful year for collectors; the box offers 350 cards (300 base set and 50 short prints) loaded with autograph and relic cards with past, present, and future stars. The artwork and style of these cards takes you all the back to the 1920s, evoking that classic, nostalgic "old-time" baseball feeling across many generations of baseball stars. 2016 Gypsy Queen cards are perfect, well-priced cards for retro card collectors and autograph collectors alike that hit the shelves on April 6th.
The 2016 Topps Heritage Baseball card box is an additional fun, retro-themes series, taking new players, and setting them in Topps's 1967 card design. The historic design includes 425 cards and 75 short prints. There's some great collector's inserts to look for, like the Baseball Flashbacks, News Flashbacks, Then and Now, and New Age Performers. There's even more impressive inserts in the Heritage box, and it's a perfect purchase for nostalgic card collectors, set builders, vintage card fans alike.