To say that the baseball card landscape has changed in the last decade might be an understatement, but there’s been one prospecting brand that has delivered many of the biggest names early and often and delivered a good amount of ink, too, thanks to Hot Boxes.
It’s packed a number of surprise inclusions, a tremendous rainbow of serial-numbered parallel autos and even some pretty good bargains as many collectors have their established habits elsewhere. In recent years, it’s also given us a teaser of younger USA Baseball players, too.
This mainstay — and arguably a simultaneous sleeper — is Elite Extra Edition.
The 2014 release, for example, includes one of the first autographs for the guy who is likely this year’s No. 1 draft pick, Hunter Greene. He was a member of the 15U USA Baseball squad that year and his ink can be found alongside a USA auto of Yankees prospect Blake Rutherford and more established big-league names such as Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner and Luis Severino. Your typical box will include six autos and one USA memorabilia card, while Hot Boxes will deliver even more.
The earlier years of Elite Extra Edition during the past decade look a bit different than they do today. The 2007 release, for example, takes a bit of a multi-sport approach with baseball stars alongside notable college coaches and some elite names in other college sports. (That’s different than the initial 2004 release, which was not followed up until this one.) The baseball auto crop in this includes some A-list big-leaguers such as David Price, Josh Donaldson, Max Scherzer, Jake Arrieta, Jason Heyward, Madison Bumgarner, Chris Davis, Todd Frazier and others. The coach crop includes Rick Majerus, Dean Smith, Steve Spurrier, Tom Osborne, Jerry Tarkanian, Vince Dooley, Jim Boeheim, Ara Parseghian and plenty more, while Rebecca Lobo, Amanda Beard and Jennie Finch are among the other sports. These deliver four autographs or memorabilia cards per box.
In the next year, Donruss/Playoff pulled back on the non-baseball inclusions a bit — you still get Derrick Rose, O.J. Mayo and Michael Beasley (How’d they work out?) — but there’s a baseball auto crop that includes Buster Posey, Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton, Rick Porcello, Brandon Crawford, Josh Harrison, Pablo Sandoval and even Cat Osterman for the fans of legendary college and USA softball. You’ll land four hits per box in most cases.
The 2009 and 2010 releases have some of the obvious names of the era — Mike Trout, Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado, Gary Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard — but also some surprises such as Pamela Anderson, who was a big fan and booster of the Pepperdine baseball team. That means you can find a limited number of her autos alongside those other notables. Boxes of these years are admittedly not as easy to find as others, while 2011 has a decent crop of autos that includes Francisco Lindor, Greg Bird, Anthony Rendon, Gerrit Cole, Dylan Bundy, Archie Bradley, Javier Baez, Michael Fulmer and George Springer to name a few.
The 2012 release marked the first inclusions of USA Baseball players — Rutherford in the mix there — while a crop of autos includes some strong MLB players. They include Carlos Correa, Corey Seager and Addison Russell. The next year? Also a biggie with Kris Bryant, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and this year’s guy out of nowhere, Cody Bellinger. You also potentially found the first ink of USA player Mickey Moniak who was last year’s No. 1 pick in the MLB Draft.
The last two years of EEE have had a much more colorful look while also delivering the good volume of inked parallels. The 2015 release is stacked with Yoan Moncada, Dansby Swanson, Alex Bregman and Andrew Benintendi leading the way, while last year’s has another Greene appearance in USA threads as well as guys who are still making their way up the ranks along with a guy named Tim Tebow … who sells pretty well. The 2016 release also marked a format change with more memorabilia in the mix, too.
Below is a gallery with a small sampling of Elite autos found in the last decade — and that’s largely just the standard ink. There are also insert autos to be had throughout those years. Check ’em out before you check out a box.
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