Beckett Baseball: The Best of 2013 Awards — Collector’s Choice portion

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The baseball card year for 2013 is nearly complete and the calendar has turned, so now is the time where we are preparing our selections for the Best of 2013 — aka The Awards Issue of Beckett Baseball — where we present our picks for the memorable and notable cardboard of the year

As part of the issue, we wanted to make sure that you, the collectors, also have your picks noted. Here are the major categories that you’ll find in the next issue.

Cast your votes — after the jump — and let us know more in the comments below if you feel the need.

The Beckett Baseball Product of the Year for 2013 is ...

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See the rest of the categories after the jump.

The Beckett Baseball Player of the Year (on cardboard) for 2013 is ...

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Best Topps Product for 2013 is ...

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Best Panini America Product for 2013 is ...

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Best High-end Product is ...

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Best Retro Product is ...

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Best New Brand is ...

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Best Bargain ...

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Best Prospecting Product ...

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Best Base Set ...

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In the comments below, let us know your picks for …

Card of the Year (best/most iconic single card released in 2013 — one that defines the times)

Best Autographed Card

Best Memorabilia Card

Best Autograph Set

Best Memorabilia Set

Best Insert Set

Best Parallel Set

Best Box-topper Set

Best Rip

Best Gimmick

Best Base Set

Best ManuRelic Set

Best RC Crop

Best Photography

Best Surprise

Most-improved Brand

Best Shop Card Promotion

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


  1. joe
    Posted January 28, 2014 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    For best Panini America brand you did not list Elite Extra Edition. Just wondering why not.

    From mod: Fixed

  2. Posted January 28, 2014 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    I covered a bunch of these in my own awards a few weeks ago, so I’m going to plagiarize myself a bit here. There may be a slight Mets bias in these picks.

    Card of the Year
    2011 Bowman Platinum Autographs Matt Harvey BPA-MH

    If a two-year wait for a redemption autograph from one of the game’s biggest young stars who just had major surgery and will now miss all of this season doesn’t define the times, I don’t know what does.

    Best Autographed Card
    Topps Opening Day Mascot Autographs Mr. Met MA-1

    An autograph from the best sports mascot ever? Nothing else even comes close.

    Best Memorabilia Card
    Topps Museum Collection Primary Pieces Four-Player Quad Relics PPFQR-13

    R.A. Dickey, Matt Harvey, Johan Santana, and Tom Seaver memorabilia all on one card. While it’s tempting to go with something more like a 1/1 booklet card, I picked from the cards I actually bought last year.

    Best Autograph Set
    Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autographs

    Retired player autograph sets are making a comeback and this has been one of the best since 2001, before the Fan Favorites name was adopted. I can’t wait to see the 2014 checklist.

    Best Memorabilia Set
    Topps Tribute WBC Prime Patches

    This is the first time that WBC patches could be obtained at reasonable prices. It was strange not to have any WBC jersey sets, but this made it worth it. Besides, where else are you going to find Jae Seo memorabilia cards these days?

    Best Insert Set
    Topps Series 1-2 Cut to the Chase

    Die-cut chrome cards aren’t usually found in base Topps products, so this was nice to see. The Gallery of Heroes insert set in Topps Archives is also worth considering.

    Best Parallel Set
    Topps Archives Orange Parallel

    Parallels are running rampant in most Topps products these days, but Archives is only up to two parallels. The new one this year was a fluorescent orange parallel available only in 25-cent cello packs from hobby shops. This was something unique in a year filled with pink and camo parallels.

    Best Box-topper Set
    Topps Chrome Division Die Cut Boxloaders

    Are there really enough of these out there to need a category for them? Most boxes don’t even have one.

    Best Rip
    Topps Allen & Ginter’s Box Lids

    Just be careful where you rip them.

    Best Gimmick
    Bowman Sapphire Rookie Card Reprints

    I’m not sure what counts as a gimmick here considering that just about every other category is for one gimmick or another. The running insert set of sapphire RC reprints in all of the 2013 Bowman products is a bit different and the cards look great.

    Best Base Set
    Bowman Chrome

    Are we counting the prospect “insert” set as part of the base set? Because it’s silly to consider it anything else except for loophole purposes. Bowman Chrome’s delay until late September helped to load it up with Rookie Cards and the prospect set had lots of big names, including a few that were in the chrome prospect set from Bowman. With the same photographs. The timing of the release (just two days after Topps Chrome) may have caused it to be overlooked.

    Best ManuRelic Set
    Topps Proven Mettle Coins

    I don’t know how you can top huge pieces of metal with a card wrapped around the edge to leave both sides exposed.

    Best RC Crop
    Panini America’s Pastime

    Jersey and patch cards from Zack Wheeler, Juan Lagares, and Scott Rice. And probably some stuff from the other 29 teams.

    Best Photography
    N/A – too many duplicate photos used over and over.

    Best Surprise
    Bowman Chrome Byron Buxton Blue Wave Refractor Autograph BCP-BB

    How could pulling one of these from a redemption pack not be the best surprise?

    Most-improved Brand
    Bowman Sterling

    2012 Bowman Sterling had a lot of design problems, so just about anything would have been an improvement. With better card design, a better checklist, and better refractors, Topps brought it up to the level of a premium product.

    Best Shop Card Promotion
    Panini Black Friday

    There’s just nothing else in the industry like Panini Black Friday. There’s not all that much baseball in it, but as a baseball-only collector, I like getting a few nice cards from other sports along with some interesting baseball cards. The multitude of Topps Archives promotions this year had me hitting all of the local card shops repeatedly, but nothing that come out of those was better than the Puig lava flow parallel I got from Panini Black Friday.

  3. Ian Gibbs
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Card of the Year – Puig Topps Chrome Auto

    Best Autographed Card – Puig Topps Chrome Auto

    Best Memorabilia Card – Triple Threads

    Best Autograph Set – Topps Chrome

    Best Memorabilia Set – Triple Threads

    Best Insert Set – Archives Basketball retros

    Best Parallel Set – Bowman Chrome

    Best Box-topper Set – Archives

    Best Rip – Bowman Sterling

    Best Gimmick – Archives Stickets

    Best Base Set – Topps Heritage

    Best RC Crop – Topps Chrome

    Best Photography – Topps

    Best Surprise – Puig!

    Most-improved Brand – Bowman Chrome

    Best Shop Card Promotion – Topps Archives promotions

  4. Jason K
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Card of the Year – Topps Chrome Puig

    Best Autographed Card – Topps Chrome Puig Auto

    Best Memorabilia Card – 2013 Topps Ultimate Chase Ruth Auto Relic (the one the girl pulled in her first box)

    Best Autograph Set – Hometown Heroes or Archives (Tie)

    Best Memorabilia Set – Triple Threads

    Best Insert Set – A&G Across The Years

    Best Parallel Set – A&G Minis

    Best Box-topper Set – A&G 1/1 (If you count that as a box topper)

    Best Rip – ARCHIVES!!!!

    Best Gimmick – A&G 1/1

    Best Base Set – Topps Series 1&2

    Best ManuRelic Set – No such thing as a good ManuRelic

    Best RC Crop – Bowman

    Best Photography – Topps Series 1&2 (every year)

    Best Surprise – A&G 1/1

    Most-improved Brand – Not a brand. But, as company, Panini’s products were better this year than last

    Best Shop Card Promotion – Archives

  5. J.R.
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Card of the Year – 2013 National Treasures Yasiel Puig from National Pastime- THE CARD THAT WAS ADVERTISED AND DOESN’T EXIST!

    Best Autographed Card – see above.

    Best Memorabilia Card – see above.

    Best Autograph Set – 2013 National Treasures RCs

    Best Memorabilia Set – see above.

    Best Insert Set – 2013 Allen & Ginter Bicycles minis

    Best Parallel Set – 2013 Golden Age Nadja Back Minis

    Best Box-topper Set – 2013 Allen & Ginter Wonders of the World

    Best Rip – 2013 Allen & Ginter Box Lids

    Best Gimmick – 2013 Allen & Ginter Mythological Relics

    Best Base Set – 2013 Allen & Ginter

    Best ManuRelic Set – none. ever. period. Unless 2013 Allen & Ginter Mythological Relics are considered manufactured.

    Best RC Crop – 2013 Bowman Inception

    Best Photography – 2013 Topps SPs

    Best Surprise – 2013 Allen & Ginter Box Lids

    Most-improved Brand – 2013 Golden Age, because they left it the same! Love that product, and Panini usually finds a way to mess it up after a year or so.

    Best Shop Card Promotion – 2013 Black Friday.

  6. Posted January 29, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    great looking cards nice break we like watching LETS GO BUCS

  7. deeeez
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    would love to see a poll for worst products of the year let down product of the year as well

  8. Cory Furlong
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Best Autographed Card – Axl Rose

    Best Memorabilia Card – 5 Star bat knobs

    Best Autograph Set – Topps Archives

    Best Memorabilia Set – Topps triple threads

    Best Insert Set – Topps Chrome Update Chasing History

    Best Parallel Set – Bowman Gold refractors

    Best Box-topper Set – Ginter

    Best Rip – Archives

    Best Gimmick – Topps Update Mega Box

    Best Base Set – Topps Update

    Best ManuRelic Set ?

    Best RC Crop – Topps Chrome Update

    Best Photography – Topps Series 1 & 2 and update

    Best Surprise – Bowman Inception

    Most-improved Brand – Panin

    Best Shop Card Promotion – Archives orange foil cards

  9. Mike Pereira
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    Card of the year is got to be Puig’s superfactor. That thing had a journey of its own this year and made alot of people money.

  10. Phil
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Mr. Met as the best sports mascot ever? He’s not even the best in his own division of his sport!

  11. phillies_joe
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    You needed to segregate Topps Update Chrome from Topps Update and Topps Chrome (I don’t count is as an insert or continuation). That is one awesome set!!!!!

    Card of the Year – Puig Update Chrome
    Best Parallel Set – Topps Pink
    Best Box-topper Set – A & G
    Best Gimmick – A&G cards hidden in lid
    Best Base Set Topps Flagship
    Best Photography – Topps Flagship… Wise from Update best picture
    Most-improved Brand – Topps Flagship
    Best Shop Card Promotion – Spring Fever

  12. heyyo
    Posted January 31, 2014 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    Card of the Year – 2013 Topps Allen & Ginter #44 – Yasiel Puig

    Best Autographed Card – 2013 Topps Turkey Red TRA-MTR Mike Trout

    Best Memorabilia Card – 2013 Panini Golden Age Museum Memorabilia – 21 Max Baer Jr.

    Best Autograph Set – 2013 Panini USA Baseball Champions

    Best Memorabilia Set – 2013 Panini USA Baseball Champions

    Best Insert Set – 2013 Topps Chasing History

    Best Parallel Set – 2013 Topps Opening Day Blue Foil

    Best Box-topper Set – 2013 Panini Cooperstown

    Best Rip – 2013 Topps Opening Day

    Best Gimmick – The flood of prospecting products and the fools who think they’re making a smart investment in them

    Best Base Set – 2013 Topps

    Best ManuRelic Set – 2013 Topps Retail Rookie Reprints

    Best RC Crop – 2013 Topps Update

    Best Photography – 2013 Topps (Not a good year for photography overall. Need Upper Deck or Stadium Club back!)

    Best Surprise – 2013 Topps Opening Day

    Most-improved Brand – 2013 Topps Gypsy Queen

    Best Shop Card Promotion – 2013 Topps Archives Promos (other than the 3 week delay)

  13. Nick Mikulicich Jr.
    Posted February 4, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Does an Axl Rose redemption count as a gimmick?

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