In the world of sports memorabilia, there is always excitement when a new and unique item hits the market. One such item causing a stir among collectors is the 2023 Bowman Draft Baseball set, which features an unexpected addition – a card of NFL icon Tom Brady, the legendary quarterback. Topps, a popular brand in the card-collecting world, is promoting this card as Brady’s first official baseball card. While this claim holds true if we consider only fully completed cards distributed in packs, it is not the first time Brady has appeared on a baseball card issued by Topps.
Interestingly, the first instance of Tom Brady’s presence on a baseball card goes back to 2014. Topps Five Star Baseball, a release that year, showcased Brady among its autograph cards. These cards were included as redemptions in packs, assuring collectors that they would receive the autographed card at a later date. However, nine years have passed, and these redemptions have yet to be fulfilled, leaving collectors in anticipation. It is worth noting that other famous quarterbacks like John Elway and Dan Marino, who were also drafted by MLB teams, were part of the original checklist.
The delay in fulfilling the 2014 redemptions could potentially be explained by the fact that this release marked the last season Topps held the NFL and NFLPA licenses before Panini acquired exclusive rights. The transition to a new licensing agreement may have caused logistical challenges, resulting in the delay. For collectors who have been eagerly waiting for these cards, the reasons behind the delay may offer little consolation.
Now, let’s fast forward to 2023. Tom Brady, now retired from football but still making headlines, has an exclusive autograph deal with Fanatics, the current owner of Topps. Capitalizing on the hype surrounding Brady’s iconic career, he is featured in the highly anticipated Bowman Draft. The set includes a total of 81 signed cards of Brady, each with its own uniqueness. Collectors can find versions like the Gold Refractor (limited to 50 copies), Orange Refractors (limited to 25 copies), Red Refractors (limited to 5 copies), and the one-of-a-kind Superfractor. Some cards even come with unique inscriptions, adding an extra personal touch.
One intriguing addition to this set is a rare unsigned version of the card, showcasing a young Tom Brady wearing a Montreal Expos uniform. This card pays homage to the 1995 Bowman Baseball design and harks back to a time when Brady was selected as a catcher by the Montreal Expos straight out of high school in the 18th round of the 1995 MLB Draft. However, as history shows, Brady ultimately chose a future in college football, leading to his legendary career in the NFL.
Despite the excitement surrounding the 2023 Bowman Draft and the exclusive arrangement between Fanatics and Tom Brady, collectors still have a lingering curiosity about the fate of the 2014 Topps Five Star Tom Brady redemption. Many inquiries have been made to Topps representatives regarding its production status, but as of now, there have been no updates. The collecting community eagerly awaits any news regarding the long-awaited fulfillment of these redemption cards.
In conclusion, Tom Brady’s appearance on the 2023 Bowman Draft Baseball set as an exclusive autograph signer has sparked excitement among collectors. While this card may be promoted as his first official baseball card, it is not the first time Brady has been featured on a baseball card. The ongoing curiosity surrounding the 2014 Topps Five Star redemption adds to the intriguing story behind Brady’s presence in the world of baseball memorabilia.