2018 will go down as an interesting year for me. For one, it marked my return to blogging about cards, at least part-time. It also marked the first time in four years that I collected Jose Canseco cards. I had a lot to catch up on and by the time I had everything I missed from 2014-2017, I began picking up all sorts of new issues of Jose from the active card season.
Not to say that all has gone well. In fact, there were many cards I avoided adding to my collection, including all Panini America efforts. Leaf Trading Cards added a surprise NSCC-exclusive to the mix but despite its very cool look, I still haven’t made a serious run for it and it remains on the back burner along with all other non-licensed cards. Nothing against Panini and Leaf collectors but for me, no logos is a deal breaker.
3. 2018 Topps Fire (featured on Wax Heaven)
Topps Fire is a brand I am not all too familiar with and for the most part, not a fan of. However, this year they absolutely shocked me thanks to an amazing photo of Jose from his 1997 season, mixed in with a design that appears to be a throwback to those late-90s Fleer/Skybox products from our childhood.
While the base card scores BIG, there are far too many parallels that are really tough to tell apart and a certified autograph which features a different photo and a lousy sticker autograph. There’s also a neat, super short-print dual autograph with Khris Davis, if that’s your sort of thing.
2. 2018 Topps Stadium Club (featured on Wax Heaven)
I haven’t purchased a box of cards in a decade. I gave up all things non-Canseco in 2008 but damn it if this year’s Stadium Club didn’t have me doubting my decision. This was the nicest-looking Topps baseball product I have seen in YEARS and with the addition of super-rare inserts and Superfractors, it was a winner all the way.
As for Jose Canseco, he is featured in rare autographed inserts and even an on-card autograph of his base card but for me, the Refractor version is my pick for the second-best Jose Canseco card of 2018, so far. It was going to be an easy winner until Topps came hard with this next product ………
1. 2018 Clearly Authentic Finest All-Stars
When I began collecting baseball cards, I could not have even dreamed up a card like 2018 Clearly Authentic even on the strongest of mind-altering hallucinogens. For one, we were still three years away from the introduction of Finest Baseball and Refractors. Second, Upper Deck had introduced pack-inserted autographs but they were literally impossible, once-in-a-lifetime pulls.
Topps Finest changed the entire hobby, for good or bad depending on who you ask (and their age). For 2018 Clearly Authentic, Topps didn’t just copy and paste an iconic card of Jose … they re-created his very first Finest card and added a new photograph and on-card certified autograph to boot. It literally is the perfect baseball card for a Chrome/Refractor addict like myself.
While there are no Refractor versions of this truly magnificent baseball card, there is a 1/1 Gold Signature version which sold for just under $500 dollars at the time of its release. It’s very likely that once this card lands a home in someone’s Canseco collection, it won’t be seen again for many years OR at least until said Canseco collector decides to sell of his collection.
Anyway, I’d be happy with just a non-gold version.