MLB Network in Secaucus hosted this month's launch of the 2017 Topps Baseball Card Series.
Through a partnership with the Network, Topps has included a set of cards of several MLB Network personalities and analysts including broadcaster and studio host Greg Amsinger. Amsinger was thrilled to be included in the new set:
"It's a great honor. When I found out they were going to do this for the MLB Network talent, I was blown away by it, but you know Topps is a great company and I've worked with them before and they kind of understand what baseball fans care about."
Amsinger is still a big collector and is now enjoying opening packs with her six-year old son:
“A baseball card isn’t just something you flip off of a screen and it goes away, you physically hold it. The physicality of the card shows how much you care about the player or the team the player plays for by making sure it’s in good condition. There’s something about baseball cards that’s missed in todays day in age of flipping from one app to the next on your phone”.
Amsinger says he's a big collector of rookie cards and has always loved any Ozzie Smith baseball card:
"I am proud to say I own three Ozzie Smith rookie cards and those are in cases, you can not bend them, they mean the world to me."
The Vice President/General Manager North America Sports & Entertainment at The Topps Company is David Leiner. Leiner was on hand for the 2017 reveal event. He's been a huge Chicago Cubs fan for many years and was overjoyed with the Cubs winning the World Series.
Cubs star and NL MVP Kris Bryant is not only the first card in the set but the superstar signed a deal with Topps for autographs and appearances.
If Leiner could have any card from past seasons, his choice would be pretty clear:
"I probably would have to go with the 1954 Topps Ernie Banks, not the most valuable card Topps has created but as a Cubs fan, I met Ernie numerous times throughout his life and have nothing but great memories of Ernie Banks. Obviously, I never watched him as a player but if I could get that 1954 card in perfect gem- mint 10 condition, I just think that year's design is iconic."
Leiner says he's seen an increased interest in baseball cards since Chicago beat Cleveland in the World Series. Topps Digital is growing too, but Leiner admits many collectors still want to hold the cards in their hands:
“There’s still something fun about that tactile inherent, collecting physical trading cards, putting them in their album, filling them in their backpack, you know the value of having the Kris Bryant card in Chicago, that rookie card”.
Topps is expanding its First Pitch lineup, which features action shots of celebrity first pitches at ballgames. The celebrities featured include Steven Colbert, William Shatner, Joan Jett and John Goodman.
Someone who is no stranger to being on baseball cards is MLB Network Analyst Harold Reynolds who was a guest on SportsJam with Doug Doyle back in 2013. Reynolds was featured on many Topps Cards during his playing days. He spent most of his career as a second basemen with Seattle. He also played for Orioles and Angels.
As a two-time All-star, three-time Gold Glove winner and 1987 American League stolen base leader, you would think being put on another Topps card wouldn’t be a big deal…but Reynolds was pleased how the MLB Network cards came out in the set. Reynolds admits it's even a bigger deal for one of his studio colleagues on the set:
“You grow up wanting to be on a Topps baseball card, but Greg Amsinger trust me, this is like the crowning achievement for him, he’s been the biggest Topps nut and he’ll be handing these things out everywhere he goes. It will now be a business card for him”.
Before we left, Harold Reynolds and I looked at the back of his card. He was pleased the stats and notes….. You can find out more about the Baseball card set at topps.com.
Click above to hear the entire SportsJam with Doug Doyle podcast about Topps and the MLB Network.