Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 Topps USA Baseball Hobby Edition Complete Set Box Break Recap and Review

USA Baseball was founded in 1978 to oversee amateur baseball and organize our country's national teams.  Topps was there in the beginning to cover USA Baseball.  Here is an example.
Most of you know this is Mark McGwire’s 1985 Topps card, a card that played a significant role during the hobby’s boom in the late 80’s and is still sought after today.

While you can find USA Baseball cards in products like Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects, to really delve into the different team's players you must turn to the sets specifically dedicated to USA Baseball.  This year the hobby edition of 2011 Topps USA Baseball Box Set is excellent, fully covering three of USA Baseball’s National teams, Collegiate, 18U and 16U.

It’s obvious that this set falls under our boxed set classification for the purposes of this review.  Besides the 61 card base set, the box promises to deliver 7 Autographs and 3 Relic cards but we did a little better than that.

Here are some of the cards from our box.

 From The Collegiate National Team
 Deven Marrero, front and back

 Josh Elander, Michael Lorenzen

 Marcus Stroman, Michael Wacha

From the 18U National Team
 Albert Almora, Gavin Cecchini

 Walker Weickel, Addison Russell

 From the 16U National Team
 Keegan Thompson, Bryson Brigman

 Austin Meadows, Zach Collins

The Hits
 Zach Collins Triple Relic #/240, Carson Kelly Triple Relic #/240

 Corey Knebel Red Triple Relic #/25

 Clate Schmidt Triple Auto Relic #/214, Brady Rodgers Triple Auto Relic #/214

 Jeremy Martinez Auto, Mark Appel Auto
 Troy Conyers Auto, Tyler Naquin Auto

 Cole Irvin Red Auto #/99, Matt Vogel Gold Auto #/25

Overall look
The design here is straightforward and attractive.  No stats here.  Just write-ups on the back but that makes sense considering the amount of games these teams play.  Regular card autos are on-card done in blue, red & green ink and gold paint.  While I am not a fan of paint pens on regular cards, the gold auto I received was very clean.   Doing these with a thin pen helps a lot. 

Does the checklist of players feel complete?
Pretty much the full rosters for all three teams are here so that is as complete as one could expect.

Are there any bonus cards included?
Yes, the hits.  Very nicely done with a good distribution of players from the three teams. Anyone who makes a USA Baseball team has to be a top player, but a nice percentage of the hits here were of the standouts amongst them.

Boxed Set vs. Set Building
No set building option here.

 5 out of 5

2011 Topps USA Baseball Hobby Edition Box Set should be a part of your yearly Baseball card purchases, especially if you are into prospecting.

Review box provided by Topps

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