The international all-star action of the World Baseball Classic is here with teams from 16 countries taking the field and appearing on Topps baseball cards, too.
It’s in the plans to be coming to game-used cards, too, but for now fans will have to settle on buying their own caps and they’re available for 15 teams from New Era.
With Major League Baseball‘s historic trip to Cuba and the Tampa Bay Rays’ exhibition game against the Cuban national team on Tuesday, the spotlight is shining bright on the country and its rich baseball history.
One part of that history that might not be remembered by many collectors is the fact that there was once a minor league team in Cuba, the Havana Sugar Kings, that was a Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of the International League.
He’s already joined the Topps Authentics team as one of the top players on the radar of the company’s memorabilia division, but a hot start this spring just might have him on the radar of more collectors soon.
He’s Hector Olivera, and he’s hit .438 (14-for-32) with just a single strikeout in 11 games this spring for the Atlanta Braves, where he’s likely to be in left field on Opening Day.
“We’ve seen him juice some balls, but we don’t know if this guy is going to be a nine-home-run guy or a 15-18 home run guy. We might not know that until later this year,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He doesn’t take things for granted. There’s nobody that works harder than him. He’s here early, he works, and as coaches, that’s what you want to see and what he gives us.”
Update: The trade was never finalized with Chapman facing some off-field issues.
Cuban fireballer and four-time All-Star Aroldis Chapman is likely on his way to Los Angeles after the Dodgers traded a pair of prospects for him on Monday.
What does it mean for Chapman’s baseball cards?
Well, it should mean good things with the Los Angeles spotlight shining bright — no matter how rough things might get for the seemingly always under-achieving team that has won its division the last three years only to be prematurely bounced from the postseason.