Hobby Musings: Topps gearing up for Series I Baseball release – One of the most anticipated days on the hobby calendar will soon be upon us. A tradition for decades now, Topps Series I Baseball is set for its official release on January 30th. While the product features autographs, relics and other modern touches, the heart and appeal of the product has mostly remained the same over the years. Featuring a larger checklist than most other products, Series I also helps a as way to kick off the new baseball year itself before spring training gets underway. I had the chance to catch up with Susan Lulgjuraj from Topps to see what the company had planned for this year’s release. The following interview was conducted via email.
KS: Sooz, 2019 Topps Baseball Series I is almost here. What are some of the highlights from this year’s product that fans can look forward to?
SL: 2019 Topps Baseball Series 1 is filled with everything collectors expect: a comprehensive base set (that will be completed when Series 2 comes out), fun inserts, autographs, relic cards and more. This year marks the 150th year of professional baseball and Topps is really celebrating that with special inserts.
KS: How are Manny Machado and Bryce Harper being handled in the release with their prolonged free agency delaying their 2019 team status?
SL: This is nothing new. These types of situations happen every offseason. Once they have signed with a new team, we will feature them in product with their respective ball clubs.
KS: The product has been a stalwart of the hobby for decades now and still follows the same relative theme each year. That being said, how much of a challenge is it for Topps to keep the product fresh and fun each year?
SL: The key for Topps when it comes to flagship is to stay relative and current. Every year, you can see how Topps incorporates what’s happening in baseball and pop culture to create dynamic cards and designs. Given the excitement and passion that the people designing and working on the product have, keeping it fresh and fun isn’t hard.
KS: As someone who has both covered the release of this product as a member of the media and now helps oversee its release for Topps, how significant a day is the release of Series I for the company and the hobby?
SL: I literally walk around the office handing out packs of cards, telling everyone Happy Series 1 Release Day! As a collector, it’s my favorite day of the year.
KS: Why do you think Series I still continues to resonate with collectors as much as it does?
SL: Heritage and history have a lot to do with it, as well as tradition. It’s also a great reminder that winter is almost over and baseball is right around the corner. Collecting brings together a sense of community and Series 1 rekindles that every year.
KS: Topps Baseball is released in a variety of ways between hobby and retail outlets. Is there ever any concern from Topps that the product could be watered down by all the various releases?
SL: There are exclusive inserts in each release to keep it fresh. There are some inserts you can only get in retail and can’t find in hobby and vice versa. Having it in different outlets ensures that collectors everywhere have a chance to get a pack of cards.
KS: With a new baseball season not too far away, the focus will be on this year’s rookie class. Which rookie do you expect will make the biggest impact on the hobby world this season?
SL: It might be the rookie who hasn’t been on an MLB roster yet. That’s part of the fun, seeing who comes up and makes the most noise.
KS: Who’s an under-the-radar rookie that fans should be keeping any eye on for trading cards?
SL: With such a long season and rookies called up all the time, I really feel we are going to see some amazing talent this year, and maybe a surprise call-up or two.
KS: For players who switched teams in 2019, when is the soonest we’ll be seeing them on Topps cards in their new jerseys?
SL: You can get those with TOPPS NOW right away!
KS: Besides Series I, what else does Topps have coming up for baseball releases?
SL: Just as the fun continues with Series 1, Heritage comes out in February, which is always a popular product with collectors. This year, the 1970 Topps Baseball design will be featured. We had a lot of fun with this one.
For more Hobby Musings from Kelsey Schroyer, follow him on Twitter @KelSchroy75.
Hobby Musings: Topps gearing up for Series I Baseball release
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