Topps has seen the demand for Ohtani autographs in the hobby burgeon interest in Bowman and thus decided to milk the cow further.
When Topps, the premier manufacturer of MLB trading cards, announced that cards autographed by Los Angeles Angels prospect Shohei Ohtani would be available in Bowman 2018, it probably anticipated a resulting spike in demand for boxes and cases of the product. That’s exactly what happened.
Because of that success, Topps has moved quickly to get Ohtani autographs into its next major baseball release, 2018 Topps Heritage. Due for release on the last day of February, Ohtani autographs will be found in Heritage now as well as Bowman and Topps Chrome.
A full checklist for Heritage is not yet available, and thus it’s currently unknown how many copies of the card Ohtani signed. The name of the game for Topps and trading card distributors is creating as much demand as possible, so it’s likely that the number of these cards to be found in boxes of Heritage will be small. A small number of new cards to insert in cases of the product also likely made it easier for Topps to manage, as the rest of the product has likely been finished for months.
Besides the autographed card which lists Ohtani as a pitcher/designated hitter, Topps has also inserted a short-printed card which lists him as a pitcher only. Again, until the official checklist is released, no information is available as to exactly how many of these cards have been produced. Topps has said that another such card is planned for 2018 Topps Heritage High Number which will list Ohtani as a hitter.
How much value Ohtani will bring to the Angels remains to be seen, but he has already brought tremendous hype to the hobby of collecting baseball cards. As long as that continues, expect everyone in the industry to do everything they can to capitalize.