With the 2016 baseball season in full swing Topps is prepared to release one of its most popular baseball products. Topps Chrome Baseball is a rookie oriented product, meaning veteran and legends collectors may want to think twice. As is the case with any “chrome” product there are large numbers of shiny parallel cards accompanying each set, increasing the overall all amount of cards by a considerable margin. Premium hits for Chrome focus on the autographs, which fall at a rate of 2 per hobby box. Judging by the official checklist memorabilia seems to be a non factor for this product, with inserts being the only other type of card.
Topps Chrome Baseball Parallels
Topps Chrome Baseball is a product with a long list of base cards, 200 in fact, plus an additional 10 image variation cards. And all of these cards have parallel sets accompanying them, which is great for people who do player rainbows, but not so much for those who like a variety of cardsets. There are 2 non-numbered parallels sets, Refractor, and Prism Refractor, these are accompanied by 3 sets of parallels that are numbered, but to varying degrees (Purple Refractor, Blue Refractor, and Green Refractor). The remaining parallels all have defined print runs with Gold Refractor being /50, Orange Refractor /25 (Hobby exclusive), Red Refractor /5, SuperFractor 1/1 (Hobby/Jumbo exclusive), and the full set of printing plates, which of course are 1/1s.
These parallels carry over to the other cardsets at varying degrees. Some sets have no listed parallels, while others have quite a few. This means that certain cards will be harder to come by, as there are less versions of them on the whole.
Topps Chrome Baseball Autographs
As I said earlier Topps Chrome Baseball is a very rookie oriented product and this shows clearest in its autographs. The Rookie Autographs set contains a staggering 71 cards, each with 7 parallels plus printing plates. Collectors can expect to see names such as Henry Owens, Tyler, Duffy, and Zach Lee among the available names. This is a great chance for fans to grab their teams rookies while they’re hot. Unfortunately no Toronto Blue Jays made this particular list.
Young stars autographs don’t stop at the basic rookie set, nope, they also have the Youth Impact Autographs set. This 18 card set has a limited amount of parallels (3 plus plates) and offers up names such as Carl Edwards Jr, Jon Gray, and Miguel Sano. A nice set for rookie collectors who want a little harder pull.
Moving past the rookies we have a few other sets to look at. First off, collectors of last year’s product will be happy to know that Carlos Correa’s autograph card has been released as an update in this set. One set that that has caught my eye is the MLB Debut Autographs set. These cards feature established players and honour their own MLB debuts. This gives it a throwback style that I kind of like. As a historian I enjoy any set that pays tribute to the past achievements of players. Names like Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, and Mike Trout all crop up in this set. Definately one for collectors to enjoy.
More Topps Chrome Baseball Autos
Keeping with this throwback feel the ROY Chronicles Autographs honour past rookie of the year winners. This 12 card set has only 3 parallels, plus plates, and is sure to have healthy resale value, as all of these players have desirable autos. Names such as Buster Posey, Evan Longoria, and Ichiro all have a spot on this list, something that even casual baseball fans can tell is significant.
Many of the names that showed up in the previous 2 lists are also present in the Team Logo Pin Autographs set. Added to these names are stars such as Jose Fernandez, and especially for Jays fans, Jose Bautista. This is a nice addition as there does not appear to be a huge number of Blue Jays cards included in the product (boooo Topps). Although I should note that as a follow up set to the Series 1 and Series 2 sets of earlier this year, Bautista’s base card features the now famous bat flip from last year’s playoffs. Jays fans are sure to want to get their hands on those.
Rounding out the Topps Chrome Baseball autograph collection is a Dual Autograph set. This 10 card set features no parallels (yay) and offers combinations such as Carlos Correa/Fransisco Lindor, Alex Gordon/Alcides Escobar, and Bryce Harper/Mike Trout. These are always fun sets because the only thing better than 1 autograph is 2 autographs. I am seriously impressed with how many autographs Topps has managed to include in this product. Some fans may mourn the lack of memorabilia, but personally I’ll take an auto over a jersey swatch any day.
Topps Chrome Baseball Inserts
Rounding off the Topps Chrome Baseball is a series of different insert sets. While inserts certainly don’t command the value of autographs, they can be fun to collect, especially for younger collectors. The First Pitch set appears to be an interesting one, as it doesn’t feature baseball players. This set features celebrities that have thrown the ceremonial first pitch at ball games and includes names like Don Cherry, Tony Hawk, and George H.W. Bush. While this is only an insert I would be interested in having Topps create an autographed version.
Keeping with the rookie theme of the product Topps has also included a Future Stars insert that boasts Kris Bryant, Jose Abreu, and Mookie Belts, among others. The rookies also have the Youth Impact insert set, which is essentially the non-autographed version of the Youth Impact Autograph set. There are a couple different names include, but they are basically the same, save the autograph.
The final 2 insert sets are the Perspectives set, and the ROY Chronicles set. The ROY set, once again, is essentially the baby brother to the autographed version of the same name. With only a couple small differences in names, collectors should look to get matching sets. The perspectives insert features 20 cards, without parallels. Here we see familiar names such as Robinson Cano, David Ortiz, and Ichiro. This mesh of players should be fun to chase.
Overall I must confess that despite the parallels, I am actually impressed with Topps Chrome Baseball. The guarantee of 2 autos per hobby box makes up for the lack of memorabilia, and the price of about $65usd per hobby box is very affordable. These cards come in both Hobby and Jumbo box forms, with hobby boxes having 2 autos, and jumbos having 5. I’d say that this product lends itself very nicely to both box breakers and single pack hobbyists. Topps has proven that they are still the best name in baseball.
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