Contributor: John Dudley
It’s a good idea to get your ducks in a row to start a new month. One way to do this is to have a good handle on what sports card products are coming out soon. So, consider this the first By the Numbers product preview. Let’s check out what March has to offer us.
A few things jump out about March’s calendar. First, there are no new 2023 Topps baseball releases. This is a bit surprising after giving us 2023 Topps Series 1 in February. Instead, it is back to the 2022 products for March. Delays are part of the hobby world for the foreseeable future so maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised. Alternatively, it could be a new trend where Topps isn’t giving collectors much notice of new releases. I wouldn’t be shocked if Topps springs a 2023 surprise or two on collectors in March. Not great for budgeting purposes, but it is kind of fun to have an unexpected drop now and then.
The other thing that immediately jumps out is that March is packed full of good releases regardless of what sport you follow. Heck, it’s even great for non-sports fans too. Even without 2023 baseball releases, baseball still has a strong month with an excellent crop of 2022 products. Every sport has a nice variety of products with a variety of prices with strong lower-priced, mid-range, and high-end categories all seeing multiple releases. There is something for everyone in March regardless of budget or sport.
The last thing that jumps out is that while there are a lot of products across all sports, we should declare March hockey month. The calendar is chock full of hockey products with a hefty slate of both 21/22 products and 22/23 products as they try to get back on schedule. I’ll have to get fellow SCN Newsletter writer John McTaggart to weigh in on the hockey products next time, but my hockey hobby knowledge begins and ends at Gretzky so I left them out of my preview, but there are a ton of good-looking products.
So, with apologies to hockey fans, here’s a look at ten of the top upcoming products for March. Please note, these are in release date order and not a ranking. I’d also note that while I chose ten releases to highlight, there are far more than ten worthy of a collector’s time coming out in March.
March 1 Releases
2022 Panini Phoenix Football 3/1
Panini’s first March release offers another chrome-based set that looks like it is made for breaking with two autos, 9 numbered parallels, 12 rookies, and 1 memorabilia card per hobby box. With 12 packs per box and multiple hits, getting skunked will be rare, hopefully. It’s a nice product but the lack of Brock Purdy on the checklist hurts it.
2022 Topps Allen & Ginter Chrome Baseball 3/1
Allen & Ginter is always a divisive release with folks either loving it or hating it. This is the chrome version that cuts down a bit on the nonsense, but not quite completely. The draw here is the refractor parallels with nine different versions. There are autos too, but at 1-per-case the draw has to be the refractors. I am curious to see how both Phoenix and Allen & Ginter look as both Panini and Topps have been having quality control issues on chrome-based products. My favorite thing about this release is the Over the Rainbow insert set which will pair players with leprechauns. If that sounds great, Ginter might be for you. If that sounds horrible, maybe stick to regular releases.
March 8 Releases
2022 Bowman’s Best Baseball 3/8
This set has a more than healthy fanbase. It gives a nice mix of prospects and rookies and a consistent aesthetic. One can identify a Bowman’s Best card without looking at the brand label and that is a great thing. Bowman’s Best gives you a healthy dose of autographs with four per hobby box and parallels. Here, the autos are the main draw with the parallels being a sweetener. With a strong group of rookies and prospects, this should be a fun product this year. The only negative is the healthy price tag as hobby boxes are pushing $300, but demand should still e high for this even at current prices.
2022-23 Panini Donruss Basketball 3/8
I buy Topps Flagship every year as part of my baseball fandom. It marks the start of the new season. Donruss and Hoops hold that place in my heart for basketball. Donruss in other words is a standard. Like pretty much every newer release, this year’s version offers two new SSP inserts that are sure to be sought after with Animation and Night Moves. The Night Moves one looks especially sharp. Hobby boxes have one auto per box along with a chance at other hobby-exclusive parallels. Really though, Donruss provides good affordable rookies that will always be some of the more recognizable rookie cards.
More March 8 Releases
2021-22 Panini Flawless Basketball 3/8
Donruss is a standard and now Flawless is too. It’s just your high-end standard. We are getting one of the 21/22 class’s premium most sought-after products. All of the rookie patches are game-worn (a nice touch) and will be key cards for years to come. The Triple Logoman makes a return with a variety of options. This product was the social media darling of 2022 and I can see the hunt for the Triple Logoman continuing in 2023.
2022 Upper Deck Fleer Ultra Marvel Avengers 3/8
It’s not all sports. The Avengers teamed up with two 90s mainstays to give us the most-varied Marvel release of the year. It looks like they threw the kitchen sink at this one with a wide range of insert options. I like the Checkmate set with the cards featuring die-cut designs as chess pieces. The Marvel Value Stamp cards are meant to hit the nostalgia button, but given the lack of interest in Value Stamp variants in the comic world, I’m skeptical they’ll catch fire. The Jambalaya cards will undoubtedly be hot as they are in every set they’ve ever been in.
March 15 and 22 Releases (Things Slow Down)
2022 Panini Prizm Football 3/15
Prizm is the key product for basketball and football. There’s not much to say other than that Prizm rookies and parallels are must-haves for most collectors. Profiles is a new SP line (looks fine) but the only other new wrinkle that is worth talking about is the Flashback Prizms which are designed after the 2012 inaugural set. Those should have a good number of fans. The other major change is the addition of No Huddle boxes which only have one autograph and access to exclusive parallels.
2022 Panini Obsidian Football 3/22
Obsidian uses a nice Art Deco style to add an air of class to the hobby. The base cards are sharp in black. The parallels are my favorite thing with the Electric Etch using etching and bright color schemes. Obsidian has a nice batch of inserts with fun die-cut designs this year. Tunnel Vision and Orbital cards both look great in previews. The only downside to Obsidian is that it uses sticker autos. Obsidian would be in the running for my favorite-looking product with a switch to on-card autos. It’s time for on-card autos to be standard in higher-end products.
March 29 Releases (Things End with a Bang)
2022 Topps Stadium Club Chrome Baseball 3/29
This is the product you hear people describe as their secret favorite. The thing is, I hear that a lot. Like all the time. This has gone from an under-the-radar gem to a highly anticipated release. The key here is the great photography. This product wins by not messing with the formula of the two products it combines. Great images from Stadium Club paired with shiny cards from Chrome with colorful parallels. This product is a hit with set collectors for a reason. If you haven’t put a set together in a while, this is a great place to start.
2021-22 Panini Eminence Basketball 3/29
I feel a bit like a guy with a bus pass discussing Lamborghini specs here. Eminence is the absurd fever dream of a product meant for the high rollers. Each hobby box features nine autos and one high-end memorabilia card. There are a variety of cards with precious metals and gems inserted into them and the autos will be some of the most sought-after in the market. This is the brand that is meant to one-up Flawless so I am expecting some amazing reveals once the checklist comes out.
That’s a pretty solid month and there are even more goodies in store. Which ones are you looking forward to? Which hockey products are the best? Let me know in the comments.
Also, if you haven’t checked out the insanely useful Card Shop Live app, what are you waiting for? It’s great for breaks, personal rips, singles, and hobby info. The breakers are all heavily vetted so no shenanigans here.
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