Some people love the fact that baseball cards have been reduced to two main options between the Topps and Panini brands of cards. Of course, within each of those you’re going to have a handful of choices, and sure, there is variety between most of them.
That said, it’s still not crystal clear in terms of which types of baseball card packs you should be buying. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you won’t find a crystal clear answer either in this or other blog posts.
The reason is, the answer rests with you and your collecting or flipping preferences. Are you a buy and hold type of person? Or are you someone who can’t even wait to get out of your car to rip a pack? And then once you rip, do you want to collect the set? Are you only looking for inserts or case hits?
Best Baseball Card Packs & Boxes to Buy in 2023
There are a ton of choices, and while we are going to go through a few different options to buy so far in 2022, the best packs for your might be different than the best for me, and so on.
2022 Topps Chrome: Best of the Year
November 2022 Update: In case you haven’t heard Topps just announced their MVP Buyback offer, which means you can now redeem Aaron Judge and Paul Goldschmidt cards from 2022 Topps Chrome to participating local card shops for $20 in store credit! There is a ton more to know, so be sure to check it out.
Just when you thought the collecting season was over, Topps always comes through with the delivery of 2022 Chrome. Just a fun set altogether, with each year giving us something new, no matter how much of a gimmick one might believe it to be.
The logofractor, which can be found in mega boxes to go along with the still semi-new Speckle and RayWave refractors.
All that said, it wouldn’t be a major release if it didn’t come with a bit of controversy, and this one is a bit larger on the scale of “meh” to “wow.”
Here is part of the statement from Topps:
“Topps’ highest priority is our customers, and we want to provide you all with an update regarding the 2022 Topps Chrome Baseball product. After discussions with our manufacturer, we understand that the planned bonus short print variations of five rookie subjects were incorrectly not included in the collation of select product SKUs…”
Meaning, some of the biggest chasers weren’t included in some products.
But rather than just say sorry and move on, Topps is attempting to make good:
“For those who purchased the Hobby or Hobby Jumbo products that did not contain the short print rookie variations, Topps is providing 1 additional 4-card silver pack for each 2022 Topps Chrome Hobby and Hobby Jumbo Baseball box purchased through Topps.com, hobby shops or breakers that purchased directly from us. Topps has updated these additional silver packs to include 4 cards, and the short print variations will be randomly inserted in these packs. Additional cards may include a mix of 2022 Chrome Baseball base cards, along with inserts and other surprises.”
So, while all is not lost, take it as a blip, and still enjoy the product.
As an additional option, Topps also released Topps Chrome Logofractor edition. I’ll be honest, I’ve bought a couple in hopes of hitting a Julio Rodriguez or at least a couple Aaron Judge or Paul Goldschmidt cards to redeem through the MVP offer but I’ve come up pretty empty-handed. I have one more on the way, so we will see if that third box can salvage the spend.
2022 Topps Series 1: Best for “Everyone”
To kick off the 2022 season, Topps introduced their series 1 packs to a ton of excited fanfare. Not only were collectors and flippers salivating to get a new product, but the introduction of the Wander Franco “true” rookie card made things all the crazier.
And that’s one big reason why 2022 Topps S1 is on this list—do you want to chase one of the most hyped rookie cards in recent memory? And even though the value of the card has decreased dramatically, there is no telling what the future holds.
Besides Wander, though, Topps flagship is flagship after all, offering plenty of everything for every type of collectors. For instance, Topps flagship is a must for set collectors, offers “true” rookies for rookie collectors, fun inserts for insert collectors, and of course chances at big hits for thrill seekers.
And let’s not forget those who might be interested in short prints and variations. Topps flagship (and another release on this list) sure has plenty to offer in that regard.
One more thing to note with these is that pack configurations in terms of number of cards, types of cards, odds, etc. are going to vary based on the type of pack, whether it’s hobby, jumbo hobby, retail, retail exclusive, etc.
For example, if you happen to find a hanger box/pack at your local Walgreens (yes, Walgreens sells cards), you’ll probably find exclusive to Walgreens yellow parallels. Same for those found at Meijer, but as Royal blue parallels, etc.
Franco aside, there is Jarren Duran, who similarly, just hasn’t lived up to the card hype yet, unfortunately. That’s not to say all hope is lost, but many have turned their attention to Series 2…A hobby box includes 14 cards per pack, 24 packs per box, with one auto or relic and a box topper.
- Hobby: 14 Cards
- Hobby Jumbo: 46 Cards
- Retail: 16 Cards
- Blaster Packs: 14 Cards
- Hanger Box: 67 Cards
- Fat Packs: 36 Cards
Read More: Hobby Boxes vs. Blasters
2022 Topps Heritage: Best for Nostalgic Set Collectors
Speaking of complete sets and variations, let’s talk about 2022 Topps Heritage as one of the best. While Topps Heritage packs won’t offer as much in the way of hits or even shiny inserts, there are a lot of variations to keep an eye out for, including team color logo swaps, action variations, and the elusive flip stock.
While Topps Heritage goes out of its way to offer these in abundance, it’s also the best brand in terms of being able to easily confirm whether or not the card you’re holding is in fact a variation. That’s thanks in part to an actual marking on the back of the card, and not having to rely on an obscure numbering system written in super fine print on the back of the card (like Flagship).
And while the above is true, there is still a very real possibility of getting an auto, and because they are fewer and further between, there might be a better chance for those who actually hit an auto to hit something with some nice value—plus, all autos are on-card, which on the Heritage vintage style and design, always looks pretty nice.
2022 Topps Cosmic Chrome: Best New Product
If you ever thought Topps was short on innovation, you thought wrong. Well, let me rephrase that—if you ever thought wouldn’t attempt to turn a non-chrome product into a chrome product, you thought wrong. Shoot, actually, let me try one more time…if you ever thought Topps wouldn’t attempt to turn a chrome product into something even more, you thought wrong.
My point? If ever you see a paper product like flagship, Allen & Ginter, or Heritage, etc., you might see some type of chrome rendition of that same product in the future.
And while it might seem like I’m complaining, I’m most certainly not! I love chrome shininess.
Anyway, all this brings me to the fact that we’ve had Topps paper, Topps Chrome, and now Cosmic Chrome!
2022 Topps Archives: Best for Nostalgic Fun Collectors
I had to put this one right after Heritage because Archives offers some of that same nostalgic feeling, but with a bit more variety. I really don’t know how to describe it other than a more fun version of Heritage.
Part of it is due to the fact that the designs include a few different years and not just one (including a 1987 that feels like we’ve seen a million times, but also 1992 Topps for the very-sweet rookie debut cards, 1963, and 1981).
And while we didn’t get a movie-based insert like the Bull Durham, Major League, and The Sandlot cards from the past, movie poster cards and box toppers are fun as well.
2022 Bowman: Best for Prospects
Prospecting isn’t for everyone, so if you’re in that group, feel free to skip ahead here because I don’t think there is much that I can say to convince you otherwise. But for the rest of you, 2022 Bowman packs will offer much of the prospecting fun you’re used to seeing, plus a few new wrinkles in the way of new Lava refractor parallels, and more.
- 1st Edition Hobby: 10 Cards Per Pack
- Hobby Jumbo: 32 Cards Per Pack
- Hobby: 10 Cards Per Pack
2022 Archives Signature Series Active: Best for Autographs
When it comes to picking the best card for autographs, it’s hard to debate that the product that guarantees an auto in every “pack” is the way to go. Now, with that said, some might argue that this is more of a “box” of cards based on the price, but it’s still an option.
If you’re not familiar, Archives Signature Series cards are called “buyback cards” meaning they aren’t a “new” release in terms of design, but rather an older card that has already been released but then “bought back” to be autographed by the player and then stamped with a serial number.
2022 Topps Gypsy Queen: Best Oddball Pack
Gypsy Queen is always a curious release, and definitely strays furthest from the norm when compared to the rest of the packs above and below.
In terms of card feel and finish, they are most similar to Topps Heritage, and are also alike in their many different, sometimes head-scratching variations, like missing nameplates and more.
So, while I prefer for my cards to have names printed on them, Gypsy Queen can still be a lot of fun given their uniqueness. I’m also a fan of the autos, which can include booklets, and like Heritage, are on-card.
2022 Topps Series 2: Best New Pack
Topps made hobby headlines twice of late—once by releasing a checklist that didn’t include any of the 2022 Topps Series 2 rookies everyone was expecting like Bobby Witt Jr., Jeremy Pena rookies, Spencer Torkelson cards, or a Julio Rodriguez RC…only to surprise everyone with SP rookies of Witt Jr., Torkelson, and Rodriguez.
So, if nothing else, 2022 Topps S2 packs might be fun to purchase if you’re a thrill-seeker looking for what is sure to be a valuable SP rookies if you’re lucky to find one of those.
Separate from its series one counterpart, series two does not offer the “Wander Franco” chase-hype cards like the previous release. That said, there are plenty of valuable cards in 2022 Topps Series 2, including, yes, a Julio Rodriguez rookie card (albeit an SP), Spencer Strider, Oneil Cruz, and others! A hobby box includes 14 cards per pack, 24 packs per box, with one auto or relic and a box topper.
Not to mention fun and different Ultra SPs. Last year we had the enlarged domes of baseball’s best stars with the big-head variations, and this year we have mascot heads!
Topps 2022 Opening Day
The traditional Topps flagship set, but with the Opening Day logo on it. Cool. Of course, though, there is a bit more! This box isn’t the definition of “flashy” as it doesn’t even promise a relic or auto, and is actually considered one of the lower-end options.
That said, it carries 36 packs of fun with seven cards per pack, along with fun SPs. This box also has a Wander Franco rookie card in it to chase, so there is that—”look” out for those unassuming “Dugout Peeks” cards.
Overall, this box won’t typically give a collector an amazing auto or relic, but it will deliver a lot of cards for a good wax-ripping time.
Baseball Card Boxes to Buy in 2022
Now, when buying hobby boxes, prepare to spend a bit more than what you were planning on for with packs, as prices can range anywhere from $70-$400 depending on the product. Usually, though, these boxes guarantee at least one autographed card or relic patch, etc.
With a few different Topps options to consider, it can be difficult to know which is the better buy. And remember, “better” will mean something different for each of us—is it value, is it hit quality, is it entertainment and inserts?
Keep all of this in mind as you consider the different 2022 baseball product choices.