New patches unveiled to mark big league debuts

MLB, MLB Players Inc., Fanatics, Topps, team up for new collectible

March 30th, 2023

When top prospects Jordan Walker and Anthony Volpe make their MLB debuts on Opening Day, they’ll be two of the first players to usher in a new era in the history of collectibles thanks to a new partnership between Fanatics, Topps Major League Baseball and MLB Players Inc.

On Thursday, Fanatics Collectibles and Topps unveiled MLB Debut Patches, a new memorabilia patch created specifically for trading cards.

Beginning on Opening Day, every new Major League callup will wear the MLB Debut Patch on their uniform through the game in which they make their debut. After that, the patch will be removed, secured and authenticated through the MLB Authentication Program, allowing it to be included in an upcoming Topps product.

“A Major League player’s debut day is a cause for great celebration and the culmination of many years of hard work,” MLB Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said in a press release. “Topps has been a great partner to baseball for decades, and I think this particular initiative is crucial to the development of deeper fan engagement.”

The presence of the Debut Patch just adds to the significance of the debuts of Walker and Volpe, who are the No. 4 and 5 prospects, respectively, per MLB Pipeline. With the top three prospects in baseball having already made their Major League debuts (Gunnar Henderson, Corbin Carroll and Francisco Álvarez), Walker and Volpe will be the two highest-rated prospects to be a part of the first Opening Day featuring the MLB Debut Patch.

Walker hit .277 with three home runs and nine RBIs in Spring Training to earn a spot on the Cardinals’ Opening Day roster, while Volpe batted .315 with three home runs and five RBIs to secure his place as the Yankees’ Opening Day shortstop.

“For a player, there is no bigger moment than the first time they step onto a field for their Major League debut,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said. “The Debut Patch is one way to capture the timeless nature of this moment and provide fans the opportunity to be part of it by collecting a player-worn item.”

Other notable prospects set to wear the patch during Opening Week are Colorado shortstop Ezequiel Tovar (No. 25 prospect), White Sox outfielder Oscar Colás (No. 85 prospect), and Atlanta starting pitcher Jared Shuster (Braves' No. 1 prospect), among others. 

“Debut Patches represent one of the first steps that Fanatics Collectibles is taking to bring the players and leagues closer to the products, and ultimately fans,” Fanatics Collectibles CEO Mike Mahan said in a release. “As a trusted partner of the league and players association, we are honored to partner closely with MLB and MLB Players Inc., to create this innovative, first-of-its kind program, and are committed to continue developing unique experiences for all fans and collectors.”