Are Topps Home Run Challenge Cards Worth the Effort?
There have been several attempts at blending real-life sports with sports cards and collector culture. However, one of the best attempts is the Topps Home Run Challenge.
In this article, we will take a deep dive into the contest. Among other things, we will learn what it is—and, more importantly—how to win it.
What is a Topps Home Run Challenge Card?
You can find the Home Run Challenge cards in Topps 2021 Series 1 Baseball or Topps 2021 Series 2 baseball.
Each card features a “homerun hero” and a unique code. Once registering, you select a specific game in which your Home Run Hero will hit a home run, and if you get it correct, you win what Topps calls a “Special Home Run Challenge Card.”
Historically, that means you win a card of that player numbered to the number of winners there were for the month.
It is a straightforward—and fun process—and any baseball fan could enjoy playing. Home Run Challenge gives another reason to enjoy watching baseball.
Where are they found?
There’s a thirty-card checklist featuring some of the best sluggers in the league, and the odds for pulling these cards are as follows:
- Retail Formats: 1:10 Packs
- Hobby: 1 per box
- HTA Jumbo: 1 per box
How do you redeem a Topps Home Run Challenge Cards?
By registering an account and going to the Topps Home Run Challenge website, you can enter the code and unlock an entry.
From there, you will receive a prompt to select a game for your player to hit a home run, and once you confirm it… congrats! That’s all it takes.
Now, just watch and cheer.
Should you Sell or Redeem Them?
The Topps Home Run Challenge is more of a fantasy game than a money-making opportunity. However, we will still look at the numbers just if you’re looking to turn a profit off them.
The truth of the matter is simply this: there is not a lot of money to be made.
Like any other cards, some players sell for more than others, but a quick search on eBay will turn up lots of unused cards from the 2021 campaign, and most sell for between $2-$5. A few—such as Mike Trout—might demand a bit more of a premium, but even some of the Trout’s fall in that range.
But can you make money, according to the numbers?
Let’s take a look.
Playing the Numbers: Making Money on Home Run Challenge Cards
To figure out if there’s money to be made, we’ll play out a hypothetical.
Here are a lot of 24 unused Topps Home Run Challenge Cards. They sold for about $44. For ease, we’ll average that at $2/card.
Let’s say you bought all these cards and strategically used them in different games over a single month.
Mike Trout is one of the best bets out there to hit a dinger. Therefore, we will adopt an optimistic outlook and use his most promising stats. In 2019, he hit 45 homers in 134 games for his highest home run tally. That’s a hugely impressive 33% of games or one out of three.
Assuming those odds applied to your 24 cards, you’d win 1/3 of them, or 8.
So how much are the winning cards worth?
Again, it depends on the player and the number of winners from that particular month.
For example, here’s a Ferando Tatis Jr. 2020 Home Run Challenge Winner card. This /844 card sold for about $20, and it is a card from Tatis’s breakout campaign.
And this Mike Trout winner /632 sold for $14.
But, as this search shows, most of the “winners” cards don’t sell for double digits. A safe average would be $7.
With that in mind, your eight winners selling for $7 each would lead to $56 of sales, minus the cost of shipping (and possibly eBay fees).
You actually lose a bit of money.
Of course, there are many unfounded assumptions at play here. However, the best way to use Topps Home Run Challenge Cards is by treating them as a fun way to watch baseball and possibly win a rare prize.
How to Choose the Right Game for a Topps Home Run Challenge
Your friends at Cardlines want to help you maximize your odds at pulling off a win for the home run challenge, so here are a couple of helpful ideas to consider.
Since the game concept revolves around picking which players will hit home runs in certain games, there is quite a bit of statistical analysis that can come into play.
- Try to pick a game where your home run hero has a good matchup against the opposing pitcher.
- Look for lefty/righty matchups or pitchers that give up the most runs to certain batters, and here’s an excellent resource to aid with that.
- Make sure the player is in the lineup. If you play a player that doesn’t play, your card is still “used,” and you lose it. Because of this rule, you should wait until on or near game day to ensure your player will be on the field.
- Keep in mind that—according to the official rules—if a player is to get injured and miss the season, you will lose all the unused cards of that player. Hopefully, this situation affects neither you nor the players, but it is worth mentioning. Therefore, your strategy of stockpiling cards for the end of the season—or waiting until your home run hero gets into a hot streak, is a bit risky.
Topps Home Run Challenge offers a fun and unique way to blend collecting and real-life sports. It’s exciting for the baseball enthusiast and could also be a great way to introduce a young collector to some of the thrills of the hobby.
While it might not be lucrative, it’s a lot of fun!