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Could this end up being Bryce Harper’s lone (non 1/1) minor league certified autograph?

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

As Bryce Harper‘s first season as a professional player winds down with his Harrisburg Senators in the hunt for the Class AA Eastern League title starting next week, some collectors are eagerly looking forward to the arrival of 2011 Topps Heritage Minor League.

Why? Bryce Harper, of course.

While the 18-year-old No. 1 overall draft pick of the Washington Nationals probably didn’t live up to lofty expectations when he arrived in Harrisburg, Pa., he has hit a combined .297 with 17 home runs and 58 RBI this season — not bad.

Another stint in Class AA is probably needed — a .256 average with three homers and just 12 RBI in 37 games says that — it’s still not too much of a leap to wonder whether he’ll still be fast-tracked to the Nationals next season because of the attention and business-side potential, his immense potential according to one manager and, of course, his lofty contract.

Which makes me wonder … could this debut edition of Heritage Minor League end up including the only (non 1/1) certified autograph card made for Harper? It’s a possibility if he is, indeed, fast-tracked — he might not be around in the minors long enough to be in another Topps MiLB set.

This year’s Heritage Minor League set will include a pair of autographs and a Relic in every box but the real draw is the kid who has been dubbed baseball’s LeBron, the kid who has blown kisses to mouthy pitchers (read the potential link for the full story) and had nearly any outburst get way more media attention than any Class AA player should if he jaws with an umpire.

Harper is already a polarizing figure, a player fans show up to watch — and a player some show up to boo. That’s the kind of player who will get just as intense scrutiny on cardboard when he arrives in The Show. (As if you couldn’t figure that out by the demand for his cards that have been Beckett Baseball Hot List staples for some time now.)

There will be just 54 copies of Harper’s Real One on-card autograph (above) to be found with 45 parallel versions of the card in the mix, too. That’s fewer than 100 autographs for the entire product, which, while it probably won’t be a landmark release based on the rest of the checklist, might be the starting point for a Heritage set in the future. After all, Heritage is a line that has proven to be popular as it’s in its 11th year as an MLB release.

Could this Harrisburg Harper card end up being his lone MiLB autograph? It’s a possibility — but it’s also already among his rarest signatures made, too. It’s also — easily — much rarer than his popular 2011 Bowman autographs merely because the MiLB product’s print run will be nowhere near that of Bowman.

Those are a few reasons why I’ll be watching it closely — as close as an argument between Harper and an ump — when it arrives later this month.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

9 Comments

The Fighter

what’s up with his ears? is he a hobbit?

Posted September 2, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink
Kaf adfafsf

Heritage became popular because the cards were beautiful, this isn’t and that white box
looks like topps is opening themselves up to using sticker autographs for this product. Someone should get shot if that happens

Posted September 2, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink
chrisolds

I believe the other sigs ARE going to be stickers.

Posted September 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

Personally, I love the card. Harper is a phenom and while I typically hate all things Washington, I wouldn’t mind having him become another legendary player. Pujols and ARod are starting to get up there in age and while there are other fine young players, I don’t see a Ruthian figure among them. I know it’s all hype right now, but here’s hoping. 54 copies? Why not 62 since it’s the 62 design?

Thanks,
Jodi

PS. I just opened up a new store if anyone is looking for some cool cards. Just click on my name above to get there. (Mention this blog and get 50% off shipping) :)

Posted September 2, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink
Richard

This makes no sense.
You have Bowman Platinum Prospects autos out there this year, non-RC auto.
You have the original Upper deck USA auto cards.
Both reflect pre-RC auto cards.

Posted September 2, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink
danny

ummmmmmmmmm
2012 pro debut ?

Posted September 2, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Permalink
CNR

J4s Top Shop, are you going to spam your store in every blog post on here? Pathetic…

Posted September 2, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink
Kaf adfafsf

of course they are going to be sticker, that is cheaper for topps, heck topps even uses stickers on high end products! Ill stick with my ginter and heritage autographs. Has Bryce learned how to sign a card yet without it looking like garbage? If I was topps, and I just paid Bryce a kings
ransom to sign cards, and I was sitting there watching him sign a bunch of chrome cards and they all looked like garbage, I would be like…”ok” here Bryce, let me show you how to sign
those. Doesn’t matter, the guy is broken down already and he hasn’t even hit the majors.

Posted September 3, 2011 at 7:50 am | Permalink
john paul

i like the card. although, i really don’t see the need for topps to produce another minor league set. topps pro debut is already quite sufficient. i also agree with richard. they are not in a minor league uni, but his usa autos are quite pallatable, as long as the freakin’ bible verse is not inked in. i don’t see the need to saturate the hobby with minor league heritage cards. how about putting some more time and effort into the bowman heritage instead! of course, if one of these babies is being given out, send it my way!!!!

Posted September 3, 2011 at 10:40 am | Permalink

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