2013 Topps Pro Debut showcases best of Minors
By Ashley Marshall
2013 Topps Pro Debut was released on Wednesday, and it features everything we love about the Minors.
There are prospects, mascots, logos, autographs and jersey patches, as well as special cards celebrating the 25th anniversary of Bull Durham and redemptions for full-sized, game-used pieces of memorabilia.
It is one of only two baseball card products exclusively focused on the Minors, and it’s an official product of Minor League Baseball.
Want a card of 2012 Moniker Madness winner Rock Shoulders in a Boise jersey? Check. How about a manufactured patch card featuring MiLB.com’s first-ever Mascot Mania winner Orbit? He’s there, too.
There’s even a card featuring Tim Kane and his son Peyton, who root for the Erie SeaWolves but live near Bowie, won a promotional contest to be featured on their own Corpus Christi Hooks baseball card. You can read their story in my colleague Ben Hill’s piece from earlier this year.
Want a card of Yasiel Puig in a Rancho Cucamonga jersey or Carlos Correa in his GCL uniform? How about stolen base king Billy Hamilton in his Pensacola jersey or Rougned Odor suited up for the Crawdads? They’re there.
There are 220 different base cards in the set, all of which have gold-bordered parallels and are sequentially numbered from one to 50. In addition, there are 15 base variation cards featuring some of the biggest prospects in the game like Carlos Martinez, David Dahl, Xander Bogaerts, Byron Buxton and Bubba Starling.
Those 235 cards are popular among fans and collectors for several reasons.
Firstly, this will be the only time some of these players will ever be featured on a Minor League card. Consider Puig. He’s almost certainly never going to be in a Rancho Cucamonga Quakes jersey again.
Secondly, because these base cards are relatively inexpensive, they attract prospectors looking to find future stars, as well as fans of individual teams who take these cards to baseball games and seek their favorite players’ autographs.
For those looking to pull an autograph straight from a pack, 26 different players have signed cards in this set. Among the more sought-after autos will be Taveras, Odor and Shoulders, in addition to prospects like Alex Colome, Yeison Asencio and Alberto Tirado. A total of 10 other cards are signed by two prospects, such as Marcell Ozuna and Adam Conley for the Hammerheads, the Marlins’ fifth- and sixth-ranked prospects.
There are two autographed cards guaranteed in every hobby box, and each version has a gold parallel, a red one-of-one parallel and the printing plate used to make it.
Boxes also promise either either a manufactured hat logo patch card with gold (/5), red (/1) and printing plate (/1) parallels or a Minor League mascot patch card, also in gold (/50) and red (/1) versions.
Among the 50 Minors logos available on the hat patches are the Fort Myers Miracle (Alex Meyer), Elizabethton Twins (Byron Buxton), Montgomery Biscuits (Hak-Ju Lee) and Trenton Thunder (Tyler Austin). No logo is represented more than once among those 50 cards.
In terms of mascots, look for the likes of Jamestown Jammers’ Bubba Grape, Buffalo Bisons’ Buster T. Bison, Fort Myers Miracles’ Miss-A-Miracle and the Potomac Nationals’ Uncle Sam.
You could get two manufacturer cards in one box, or you could get one manufactured card and one game-used relic. These include jersey pieces, while the harder-to-find jumbo patch cards feature and oversized swatch or logo numbered to five.
And finally there’s the Bull Durham series. There are cut signatures featuring Kevin Costner, Robert Wuhl, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins from the movie Bull Durham as well as buyback cards redeemable for packs of the Bull Durham movie cards.
And because everyone loves mascots and Minor League logos so much, here’s a look at all of them. I’m still trying to find the logo patches of Zack Wheeler, Henry Owens and Gary Brown, so if you find one I don’t have, Tweet a picture to me @AshMarshallMLB.