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Topps Drops 2023 Topps World Baseball Classic Release: What We Like And Dislike

The World Baseball Classic was one of baseball’s signature events in 2023. While Topps already celebrated the WBC earlier this season with 2023 Topps World Baseball Classic Global Stars they have brought us another World Baseball Classic offering to close out 2023.

2023 Topps World Baseball Classic is a much more high-end affair than the Classic Global Stars, which was a very entry-level set. But what does 2023 Topps World Baseball Classic offer collectors? What are the hits? And is it a worthwhile buy to wrap up 2023?

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2023 Topps World Baseball Classic release date and release format

2023 Topps World Baseball Classic dropped on December 20, 2023 on Topps.com.

Hobby boxes of 2023 Topps World Baseball Classic contain a single pack of 10 cards. Hobby cases contain 12 hobby boxes.

Each hobby box contains one Autograph or Autograph Relic per box. Boxes are selling on Topps.com for $79.99 per box.  

2023 Topps World Baseball Classic

Topps World Baseball Classic 2023 base set and design

The 2023 Topps WBC consists of a 100-card base set. The checklist features players from across the 20 competing nations in the WBC, with a strong concentration on players with major league experience.

The design features player photos within (and often extending out of) a multi-colored border. The player name and country name and logo adorn the card bottom.

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Mookie Betts 2023 World Baseball Classic

2023 Topps WBC parallels & variations

Parallels come in seven different flavors and are all serial-numbered. The print runs range from /99 down to 1/1s.

Parallels include:

  • Cracked Ice Foil – /99
  • Green Sparkle Foil – /75
  • Gold Rainbow Foil – /50
  • Orange Cracked Ice Foil – /25
  • Black Diffractors – /10
  • Red Hot Foil – /5
  • Foilfractors – 1/1

Thirty of the cards get Image Variations, with the same card design but an alternate image. These are seeded 1:3 packs with parallels versions also available.

2023 Topps World Baseball Classic inserts

Inserts land one or more per pack/box, and add an additional layer of chase to the proceedings.

Captains of the Classic feature the 20 team captains of the different nation/teams in the WBC, and land one per pack. Parallels include Gold Rainbow Foil (/50), Orange Cracked Ice Foil (/25), Black Diffractors (/10), Red Hot Foil (/5, and 1/1 Foilfractors.

2006 Topps contains 30 cards and are seeded 1:5 packs. Parallels include Gold Rainbow Foil (/50), Orange Cracked Ice Foil (/25), Black Diffractors (/10), Red Hot Foil (/5, and 1/1 Foilfractors.

International Gems feature precious stone inspired background and highlight 10 superstars from the tournament. Seeded 1:41 packs. Parallels include Black Diffractors (/10), Red Hot Foil (/5, and 1/1 Foilfractors.

Global Grandeur contains 10 cards featuring stars of the WBC Champion Japan squad. These are seeded at a tough 1:81 packs. Black Diffractors (/10), Red Hot Foil (/5, and 1/1 Foilfractors are the parallels here.

2023 Topps World Baseball Classic memorabilia/relics

2023 Topps World Baseball Classic brings a single memorabilia offering.

The WBC Base Relics consists of 12 cards, seeded 1:30 packs. Parallels include Gold Foil (/50), Orange Cracked Ice Foil (/25), Black Diffractors (/10), Red Hot Foil (/5, and 1/1 Foilfractors.

Topps WBC 2023 autographs

With an autograph or autographed relic in every pack, autographs are a huge part of the draw of the 2023 Topps World Baseball Classic release.

Autographs are the largest autographed offering, with 40 cards that are seeded in 1:3 packs. Parallels include Cracked Ice Foil (/99), Gold Rainbow Foil (/50), Orange Cracked Ice Foil (/25), Black Diffractors (/10), Red Hot Foil (/5, and 1/1 Foilfractors.

Country Debuts Autographs consist of 13 cards and are seeded in 1:40 packs. Orange Cracked Ice Foil (/25), Black Diffractors (/10), Red Hot Foil (/5, and 1/1 Foilfractors make up the parallel offerings.

International Gems Autographs gives 8 cards from the insert set the ink treatment. Seeded 1:343 packs.

Nameplate Patch Relic Autograph Books offer a nameplate patch in booklet form. The set consists of 37 cards and is seeded in 1:88 packs. 1/1 Flag Patch Gold Foil parallels are the only parallel.

WBC Relic Autographs are a larger set than the unsigned version, with 37 cards seeded 1:9 packs. Collectors will find parallels including Orange Cracked Ice Foil (/25), Black Diffractors (/10), Red Hot Foil (/5, and 1/1 Foilfractors.

2023 Topps World Baseball Classic pros & cons

Every product has their pros and cons, but how does 2023 Topps World Baseball Classic stack up? Red Hot Foil (/5), and 1/1 Foilfractors parallel versions are also available.

Pros – What’s to like about the 2023 Topps WBC release?

  • The $80 buy-in price for a box isn’t particularly high, making this an accessible break for the majority of collectors.
  • The rarer parallels and autographs (and autographed parallels) of the biggest names should be valuable hits.
  • It’s always fun to see players in uniforms representing their home countries.

Cons – What’s not to like about the 2023 Topps WBC release?

  • Japanese megastar and brand new Los Angeles Dodger Yoshinobu Yamamoto isn’t included in the checklist, a big omission.
  • While the checklist is short meaning there is a lot of star power, the nature of the set and the WBC means the set is devoid of rookie cards or prospects.
  • At $8/card (10 cards per box, $80 price tag) there’s a fairly high barrier to profit here. If you get the wrong autograph or Captains insert, excess value may be hard to come by.
  • There’s a good chance that the base cards and more plentiful parallels won’t have a lot of appeal (and value).
  • This is a late-season release of a tournament held 9 months earlier…will it capture the collecting public’s attention?

2023 Topps World Baseball Classic – Top 5 cards to watch and chase

When compiling a list of the most desirable cards, the “correct” answer is probably just “the 1/1 Foilfactor of the 5 best cards”. That list, while technically accurate, is a bit obvious and kind of boring. We’ll list a Top 5 of great pulls, but stick to base versions and mix things up a bit to help show off the variety of 2023 Topps World Baseball Classic.

5. WBC Base Relics Ronald Acuña Jr. BRC-RA

The NL MVP represented his native Venezuela in the tournament. These relics are seeded 1:30 packs.

4. 2006 Topps Insert Munetaka Murakami 2006-11

Murakami is one of the fewer players in the set that don’t have major league experience. But he will. Only 23 years old, Murakami has hit 208 home runs already in Japan, including 56 dingers in 2022. The terms of Murakami’s contract state that he must be posted to MLB teams after the 2025 season.

3. Country Debuts Autographs Julio Rodríguez CDA-JRO

Julio Rodriguez, one of the hottest young stars in the game, represented the United States in the WBC. The Country Debuts Autographs is a great representation of that representation. Seeded at 1:40 packs/boxes, these are scarce enough to be valuable but not so difficult that they’ll be unattainable.

2. Nameplate Patch Relic Autograph Books Mike Trout NRB-MT

With a nameplate patch and an autograph of USA captain Mike Trout, this book card has a lot to like. At a tough 1:88 packs, these are a tough pull but there will be enough of them out there that they will come available on the market from time to time.

1. International Gems Autographs Shohei Ohtani IGA-SO

It’s hard to beat an autographed insert of the current hottest player in MLB, who helped lead his Japanese squad to victory in the tournament. The fact that this features a cool precious stone background and the print run is just 10 copies only adds to the appeal.

2023 Topps World Baseball Classic Shohei Ohtani autograph

Final thoughts on 2023 Topps World Baseball Classic

The 2023 Topps World Baseball Classic set offers one last look at the tournament that highlighted baseball on the international stage this year. The product offers a reasonable buy-in price and guaranteed hits.

But it lacks rookie cards, a notable exclusion, and the general release timeframe probably means this won’t be a huge release. It can offer some low-cost fun and the potential for some interesting hits, but is unlikely a product to consider a major investment opportunity.

What’s your take on 2023 Topps World Baseball Classic? Planning to break a box? Or is this one best left aside? What’s your favorite WBC memory? Tell us about it at card_lines on Twitter.

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2023 Topps World Baseball Classic Checklist

Coming soon! Please check back.

Other recent and upcoming baseball releases

Mike D.

Mike D

Mike D. has collected cards for over 35 years, since he bought his first pack of Topps at the corner store in 1987. His fandom,  collecting interests, and contributions to Cardlines center around baseball in general and the Baseball Hall of Fame specifically.

Mike's collecting focus is centered on graded cards, mostly rookie cards, of Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers. Lately, he's been enjoying dabbling in graded minor league cards. A collector/investor with a "buy and hold" approach, Mike takes the long-term view with his collection.

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