This year, for the third year in a row, Topps Pro Debut includes a Ben's Biz insert set.
A little background: Topps Pro Debut is a 200-card Minor League-themed set available at your finer hobby shops and, of course, online. Each 24-pack box is guaranteed to include two autographed cards and two relic cards (featuring uniform fragments and ephemera of that nature). The Ben's Biz insert set, like my writing, highlights the people, places and things that make Minor League Baseball unique.
This year's set has five Ben's Biz cards. Here they are, in no particular order:
Mr. Celery, WIlmington Blue Rocks
Why: Mr. Celery is a cult icon. No one really knows who he is or where he came from, but does that really matter? Whenever the Blue Rocks score, Mr. Celery emerges from his lair and engages in a celebratory dance. The fans love him, and he has becoming an unlikely and enduring Wilmington institution. READ MORE
Peg Johnston, Ohio ballpark fixture
Peg Johnston, an opinionated and independent retired teacher, is a fan of the Cleveland Indians and all of their Minor League affiliates. She's a Minor League mainstay in Northeast Ohio, regularly attending games in Mahoning Valley, Lake County, Akron and Columbus. She also keeps score at every game. Got a problem with that? READ MORE
McCormick Field, Asheville Tourists
Asheville's McCormick Field, which opened in 1924, is one of my favorite ballparks in all of Minor League Baseball. It's historic, unique and scenic, as the image on this card makes abundantly clear. I took this photo from the top row of the bleachers of Memorial Stadium, located on a hill overlooking McCormick Field. READ MORE
Roscoe the Rooster, Princeton Rays
At first glance, Roscoe the Rooster appears to be a normal Minor League mascot. But glances, no matter how many, will never lead the viewer to a discernment of what makes Roscoe truly unique. Roscoe can talk! This card won't convey that either, but still, it's the thought that counts. READ MORE
I concluded my 2018 travels at Grand Junction's Suplizio Field, and this marked a milestone: I've visited every active Minor League ballpark. This card celebrates my milestone, because before you can celebrate anything else you have to celebrate yourself. READ EVERYTHING