Top Hobby Moments of the Year
It was quite a year for The Hobby.
Some of The Hobby’s Very Important Moments from 2023 include: the National Sports Collectors Convention (The National) setting an all-time attendance record, eclipsing the 100,000 mark; the return of the ever-popular MVP Buyback program; Tom Brady getting his 1st Bowman card, nearly three decades after the Montreal Expos selected the high school catcher; and Rookie Debut Patche Auto cards proving to be a big hit.
The 43rd National Draws Record Crowd
The National held in Anaheim, California, in 1991 had always been the benchmark for attendance for the largest annual sports cards and memorabilia show, until this year.
From July 26 to July 30, the 2023 National attracted a crowd of over 100,000 collectors. Held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, the National featured 660 dealer booths consisting of 352 dealers spread across the largest area ever used for a show at over 600,000 square feet.
The 2024 National will be held at the IX Center in Cleveland from July 24-28. With so much thirst for the hobby from collectors, it wouldn’t surprise any industry folks if another attendance record gets set.
Topps MVP Buyback Program
Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuña, Jr. became big chase cards in 2023 Topps Chrome®. That’s because the two studs won MVP awards in their respective leagues: Ohtani in the American League for the Los Angeles Angels and Acuña in the National League for the Atlanta Braves. As part of the Topps MVP Buyback program, anyone who pulled Topps Chrome cards of either Ohtani or Acuña could exchange them for store credit at their local hobby shop.
2023 Bowman Draft and Brady Day Mania
2023 Bowman Draft launched on December 12, featuring an exciting wrinkle, Tom Brady’s 1st Bowman as a Montreal Expo. The Montreal Expos selected Brady in the 18th round of the 1995 Draft, and this year’s Bowman Draft conjured an alternate Brady-verse: Brady played baseball for 23 seasons for the Expos and became one of hardball’s GOATS.
Come for the prospects, and stay for the Brady base, parallels, and autos, including the coveted Brady 12/50 gold parallel auto with Brady’s tongue-in-cheek: “If baseball doesn’t work out there’s always football.”
Rookie Debut Patch Auto Card
The Rookie Debut Patch Autograph Card is one of the most significant innovations in trading cards in years. All rookies who debuted from 3/30/23 – 5/31/23 have their Rookie Debut Patch Autograph Card included in 2023 Topps Chrome® Update Series. This 1/1 card features the player’s on-card autograph and the Debut Patch from their game-worn uniform, highlighted by Anthony Volpe, Jordan Walker, Masataka Yoshida, Kodai Senga, and more. This is a unique historical item for every fan and collector to commemorate a player’s first MLB game.
Rookies of the Year
Two of the most hyped prospects entering the 2023 baseball season went on to win the Rookie of the Year awards in both leagues.
Baltimore Orioles third baseman/shortstop Gunnar Henderson took home the American League honor, while Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll was named the National League’s top rookie. Henderson entered the 2023 season as the No. 1 overall prospect in the MLB Pipeline Top 100 Prospects list. Carroll was, of course, No. 2 in the preseason ranking.
Corbin became the first rookie in MLB history to tally 25 home runs and 50 or more stolen bases; he finished with 25 bombs and 54 steals. Henderson led all rookies in home runs (28) and was second in RBIs (82).
With a new crop of prospects rising to the top to start the 2024 season, it will be interesting to see if any rookie can match the success of Henderson and Corbin.
Ohtani to Dodgers
In the most groundbreaking move of the MLB offseason, Shohei Ohtani stayed in the City of Angels but signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Coming off his second league MVP award, the pitcher/designated hitter inked a lucrative 10-year contract with the powerhouse National League franchise. TOPPS NOW marked the moment by releasing Ohtani’s first card in a Dodgers uniform. The Ohtani Dodgers card set the all-time TOPPS NOW.