Putting a Smile on Classic Baseball Cards

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

Smiles aren’t something you see on a lot of baseball cards. But, really, how many players are beaming while they’re in the batter’s box? How many pitchers have a big grin when they’re throwing off the mound?

With action shots being the norm on most cards, there’s more intensity on them than looks of delight.

Even when there are portraits, happy faces aren’t always on display. Many people prefer a more stoic look.

How would some classic baseball cards change if the players were smiling? I used FaceApp to find out.

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2017 Topps Now Doctor Who Trading Cards Offered for a Limited Time at an Exclusive Online Space

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

2017 Topps Now Doctor Who trading cards bring the international hit to the print-on-demand realm.

Available exclusively through the Topps website, the set didn’t launch with an episode recap. Instead it was a special card commemorating the announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor.

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Running List of 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter Surprises and Things to Watch Out For

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

It’s summer. That means a lot of network TV switches over to reality show mode. Big Brother is one of those summer staples, going with the slogan, “Expect the unexpected.” Allen & Ginter, another summer staple, follows a similar path. Every year there are some surprises out there to be found. 2017 Topps Allen & Ginter follows a similar path.

With that in mind, here’s a quick running list of checklist additions, set surprises and things you might have originally missed. This is by no means an exhaustive list as of yet, but we’ll be updating in the days ahead to make sure you know what to look for.

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Steve Grad Appearing On CNN HLN To Discuss OJ Simpson Memorabilia

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OJ Simpson, the former NFL running back, actor, and subject of arguably the biggest trial in American history, has a parole hearing Thursday to determine whether he will be released after serving nine years of his 33-year sentence. Simpson was convicted of armed robbery in 2008 after he and his accomplices stole sports memorabilia at gunpoint.

Grad, whose authentication expertise can be seen on History Channel’s Pawn Stars, will discuss the ways that Simpson’s release from prison may affect the market for memorabilia from his career.

For more on Beckett Authentication, follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

2017 Topps Now Preacher Season 2 Trading Cards Offer Episode-by-Episode Recaps, Add Costume Cards

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

2016 Topps Now Preacher Season 2 trading cards are sticking with the same general concept as Season 1 — delivering small batches of new limited editioncards each week after every episode.

But there’s a new wrinkle this time around — costume cards.

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2017 Donruss Optic Baseball Variations Gallery

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

If you’re familiar with how things worked in 2017 Donruss Baseball, the 2017 Donruss Optic Baseball variations shouldn’t be tough to spot. Even if this is a new brand, they’re not tough to spot.

Still, let’s take a look and make it even easier.

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Top 10 Topps Allen & Ginter Non-Baseball Autographs

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

Topps Allen & Ginter autographs aren’t just about baseball. In the years since its revival, non-baseball has played a big role in the brand’s eclectic and often quirky nature. It has also made for a natural fit for some impressive (and valuable) signatures over the years.

So what are the most valuable Topps Allen & Ginter non-baseball autographs? Let’s count them down.

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2017 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Checklist Abides

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

2017 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball isn’t going to be confused with something from another brand. Keeping what makes it one of the biggest releases each year, it’s all about old-fashioned designs, quirky inserts and the other predictable surprises.

Autographs, memorabilia cards and rip cards continue to fall three per hobby box. Each pack also promises one mini card.

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2017 Donruss Optic Baseball Blends Old-School with Chrome

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

2017 Donruss Optic Baseball blends two schools of collecting. First is the old-school themes and general look of Donruss. Specifically, 1980s and early ’90s Donruss. There’s also the new school with the application of chromium stock, autographs and a rainbow of colorful parallels.

2017 Donruss Optic Baseball also brings Mickey Mantle cards back to packs for the first time since 2012.

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1982 O-Pee-Chee E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Box Busters

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Join Beckett Media’s Matt Bible and Eric Norton as they open some 1982 O-Pee-Chee E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial trading cards.

What will they find? Watch and find out.

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2016-17 Panini Grand Reserve Basketball Checklist, Team Set Lists

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

2016-17 Panini Grand Reserve Basketball is a new premium release brand bringing lots of autographs, memorabilia and inserts that use lots of technology.

With three packs per box and lots of hard-signed ink, the early details on this product tease the potential to pull some major hits along with coveted inserts that utilize a variety of printing technologies. With a name like Grand Reserve, can we expect anything less? Read More…

2017 Topps Now Baseball Cards Tell Season’s Story

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

2017 Topps Now Baseball sees print-on-demand cards return for a second season. And while much of the concept remains the same, some changes show the line is evolving.

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2017 National Sports Collectors Convention Exclusive Cards

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

The National never has a shortage of cards. The rows upon rows of dealers are one of the big draws each year. Collectors will also have a chance to get lots of 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention exclusive cards not available anywhere else.

Some require special purchases. Others are given out simply for attending the show with the right ticket package. And you might even find some just for being somewhere at the right place at the right time.

In the weeks leading up to the 2017 National, manufacturers will be announcing their various programs and how to get their particular exclusives. We’ll keep a running list here as things are announced for easy reference.

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Awesome Inserts: 1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars Crusade

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

When it comes to card design, there’s a fine line between being classy and gaudy. 1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars Crusade navigates it nicely, resulting in one of football’s more popular inserts of the late 1990s.

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2017 Onyx Platinum Elite Baseball Highlights Top Prospects, Reasonably Priced Autographs

2017 Onyx Platinum Elite Baseball Autographs

By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

2017 Onyx Platinum Elite Baseball takes a streamlined approach to prospects and autographs. The checklist isn’t nearly as big as you’ll find in a Bowman product or Elite Extra Edition, but that’s intentional.

The product does have base cards but it’s likely to be the autographs that get most of the attention. These land two per box.

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2017 Panini National Convention Wrapper Redemption Details

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

The 2017 Panini National Convention Wrapper Redemption showcases the many sports under the company’s umbrella. Football, basketball, baseball, NASCAR and soccer are all included in the wide-reaching promo set.

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2017 Panini Pantheon Football Features Metal, Memorabilia and Autographs – Checklist, Team Set Lists Are Up

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

2017 Panini Pantheon Football marks the brand’s gridiron debut following a kickoff in baseball last year. And while football keeps the overall high-end, hits focus, there are some differences.

Six out of the seven cards in each box have either autographs or memorabilia.

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A smashing good time: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Dominic Moore on Smashfest and hockey cards

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

This Thursday evening, over 20 members of the National Hockey League Players’ Association will be in attendance at the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto and participating in a table tennis tournament as part of SmashfestVI.

The annual event, which was created by Toronto Maple Leafs forward Dominic Moore, is set to raise funds for charity and allows fans in attendance to mingle with players and even take part in a Pro-Am Doubles Tournament in addition to enjoying food and drink as part of a fun evening. There is also an exclusive set of trading cards produced by Upper Deck that will be given out to guests as well.

“We’re pumped! It’s hard to believe it’s been six years,” Moore told Beckett Hockey earlier today. “Our goal from day one was to make it first-rate and have everybody come away saying, ‘hey, that was a blast!’ We’ve hopefully succeeded in doing that, but it’s always a work in progress.” Read More…

2002 Inkworks Men In Black II Box Busters

2002 Inkworks Men in Black II Box

Join Beckett Media’s Matt Bible and Eric Norton as they open some 2002 Inkworks Men In Black II trading cards.

What will they find? Watch and find out.

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Cody Bellinger Rookie Cards and Other Important Early Cards

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

After making a quick and dramatic impact, interest in Cody Bellinger Rookie Cards and anything with his name on it is rising. That’s what happens when you start setting some impressive home run records during your first couple of months in the majors.

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Topps Now Platinum Member Cody Bellinger Autograph Among 2017 MLB All-Star Exclusives

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

Topps Platinum membership has its privileges. At the start of the year, Topps surprised some of the biggest 2016 Topps Now buyers with a package that included several big-name autographs. The letter that came with it said that they’d also receive some other opportunities over the course of the season. As it turns out, some more exclusive cards came from it at a special event held in conjunction with the 2017 MLB All-Star Game.

Among the cards? Autographs from Cody Bellinger, Ian Happ, Eric Thames and Adam Jones.

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2017 Topps Stadium Club Variations Gallery

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

If you’re digging into 2017 Stadium Club Baseball, you’re probably going to spend a lot of time looking at photos. And for good reason. But now the 2017 Topps Stadium Club variation short prints are probably going to have you go back and look again.

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2017 Topps Series 2 Baseball Box Busters

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Join Beckett Baseball’s Dave Sliepka and Brian Fleischer as they open some 2017 Topps Series 2 Baseball.

What will they find? Watch and find out.

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The Fantastic Photos of 2017 Topps Stadium Club Baseball

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

I love great photos. Whether they’re hung on a wall, printed in a book or on my screen, I like looking at the stories and emotion behind them, even if that means imagining them. Needless to say, I’m into card sets that focus on photos. When you’re talking baseball cards today, that means Topps Stadium Club.

2017 Topps Stadium Club Baseball keeps with the brand’s tradition of standout images. Even with a big list of autographs and other inserts, my attention goes right to the base set to see what sorts of images found their way onto cards.

It’s not just action shots, either. There are plenty of cards that are posed portraits or capture softer moments of the game.

I’ve picked 11 of my favorite images from the 2017 Stadium Club base set (the variations have plenty more). I could easily pick 50 more but a lot of the fun is going through and discovering the shots for yourself.

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2017 Panini Revolution Soccer Box Busters

2017 Panini Revolution Soccer Hobby Box

Join Beckett Media’s Brian Fleischer and Dave Sliepka as they open some 2017 Panini Revolution Soccer.

What will they find? Watch and find out.

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2017 Rittenhouse Women of Star Trek 50th Anniversary Trading Cards Include First Vanessa Williams Autograph Cards

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

Star Trek may have celebrated its golden anniversary in 2016, but five decades is a big deal. So much so, the celebration carries on to 2017 Rittenhouse Women of Star Trek 50th Anniversary. Besides, 51st Anniversary sounds strange.

The product delves into the ladies from all five of the shows.

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2017 Baseball Card Release Dates and Set Information

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Looking for 2017 baseball card release dates, checklists and set information?

You’ve come to the right place.

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2017 Leaf Trinity Football Checklist Brings Back the Traditional Autograph Trifecta

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

If you’ve collected Leaf Trinity Football (or baseball, for that matter), then you probably know the drill. 2017 Leaf Trinity Football sees that brand return with an all-autograph checklist stemming from three distinct styles of high-end cards.

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2017 Topps Star Wars Galactic Files Reborn Trading Card Details

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

One of Topps’ most comprehensive Star Wars lines is returning after a nearly four-year absence. With new movies, TV shows and more to draw from, 2017 Topps Star Wars Galactic Files Reborn covers all corners of the expansive fictional universe.

The large checklist delves deep into characters with other areas of the product digging even further.

Hobby boxes come with two total autographs or premium inserts.

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2017 Topps WWE Undisputed Checklist Continues to Stress Autographs

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

2017 Topps WWE Undisputed marks the third time out for the only high-end brand in professional wrestling. Once again, there’s a hit in every pack with eight autographs promised in every ten-pack box.

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2017 Panini Gold Standard Football Sees Brand Return to the Gridiron — Checklist and Team Sets Lists Posted

2017 Panini Gold Standard Football Good As Gold

By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

2017 Panini Gold Standard Football marks the brand’s return to gridiron. Although it has been a regular on the basketball calendar for years, 2011 is the only other time it has been a standalone football set.

Like its hoops counterpart, much of the product’s attention is on autographs and memorabilia cards with five total in each seven-card box.

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Ichiro, Long Lines and the Pursuit of 2001 All-Star FanFest Exclusives

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

Aaron Judge isn’t the first rookie to bring a ton of hype, excitement and awe to the All-Star Game. For me, when it comes to fresh faces and the Mid-Summer Classic, it will always be about Ichiro.

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1998 Pikachu Illustrator Pokemon Card Lands on eBay with a $75,000 Price Tag

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By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

Hands up if you hear about Pokemon cards and think they’re “kids stuff.” Many kids do collect the cards and play the game, but so do adults. And like baseball cards, non-sport cards and things like Magic: The Gathering, there are some Holy Grail Pokemon cards. The 1998 Pikachu Illustrator Pokemon card is like the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle or MTG’s Black Lotus.

And one of the elusive Pikachu cards has landed on eBay with a $75,000 asking price.

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2017 Donruss Elite Football Box Busters

2017 Donruss Elite Football Hobby Box

Join Beckett Media’s Eric Norton and Paul Wirth as they open some 2017 Donruss Elite Football.

What will they find? Watch and find out.

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Why The ’99 MLB All-Star Game Will Always And Forever Be My Favorite

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I Was There

I think attendance is imperative to claiming that a specific sporting event is your favorite of all time. In this case, the ’99 Major League Baseball All-Star Game is the only MLB All-Star Game that I’ve been to… But so what? As proof, that’s me in that photo up there on the right in that gigantic red plaid shirt. I am confident that if I went to every single All-Star Game for the last twenty-five years the ’99 game couldn’t be topped. Ever. Here are my reasons why:

It Was at Fenway

Fenway is the best place on earth that doesn’t have an ocean view. Period. It’s home to my favorite team. It’s one of my favorite places. Enjoying the game was going to be a lock.

I Was There with My Brother and My Dad

Having the right company at a big game is key. In this case, being with my dad, the person responsible for my Red Sox and overall sports fandom, and my brother, the person I’ve shared it the most with, was perfect.

We Had A Sweet Corporate Hook-Up

In 1999 my dad was an executive at a Fortune 500 company and that was how we got tickets not only to the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game, but was also our super special backstage passes to almost everything. My brother and I were basically the two kids in Jurassic World, cruising around Fenway, cutting lines, checking out whatever we wanted wherever we wanted.

Get a photo in front of Ken Griffey Jr.’s All-Star locker? Check.

Stand inside Fenway’s famous scoreboard? Done.

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Watch batting practice with Bob Gibson and Keith Olbermann? Sure.

Sit in Nomar’s locker? Yeah, why not?

Whatever we could think of, we did it. And it was amazing.

Ted Williams Was There Too

That’s right. Teddy Ballgame was all over Boston that weekend in what was his most famous and celebrated final appearance. He wasn’t in great health, but he was everywhere. Boston’s most revered figure at Boston’s most revered place. How can you top that???*

*I know we’ve won 3 World Series’, an NBA Championship, a Stanley Cup and five Super Bowls since then, so Papi and Brady and Pierce and some other guys can jump into the ‘favorite Boston athlete’ discussion… But back then, despite no championships, Teddy was at the top of any list on an almost mythical level. Yeah Larry Bird and Bill Russell and Bobby Orr and others were up there… But Ted Williams seemed to hover slightly above everyone else. Anyway, he was there. And it was great.

Also, Every Other Great Past and Present MLB Star was There to Celebrate the All-Century Team

When I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE. Wherever you went you saw baseball royalty. Mays, Aaron, Musial… Nolan Ryan, Johnny Bench, Ozzie Smith… George Brett, Rickey Henderson, Frank Robinson…

Everywhere you looked at the game or around town, another Hall of Famer or future Hall of Famer was hanging out.

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For a couple of kids who spent their formative years memorizing Beckett’s baseball card guides, it was like Night at the Museum, where all of my brother and mine’s favorite cards came to life. I’ll never forget it.

Pedro

Personally, Pedro is my favorite Red Sox player of all time. Was then. Is now. Every start was an event for me in those days. Was he gonna strike out 10? 15? Maybe 20? How many guys was he gonna make swing and miss for a third strike? Is he gonna throw a perfect game? Is he gonna toss Don Zimmer to the ground by his ears?

I honestly believed anything was possible when he pitched.

And then… At the biggest All-Star Game in front of the biggest names in the game, he struck out the biggest bats in baseball… And got them out in order.

He struck out Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa in the first. Then he struck out Mark McGwire. Then a ground out by Matt Williams. Then he struck out Jeff Bagwell. Six up, six down in an All-Star Game. Five Ks. It was insane.

He struck out a set of guys that combined for about 2,000 home runs. And certain ones were at the height of their (alleged) juicing powers.

We stood for every Pedro pitch. And he delivered.

I’d be lying if I said I remembered much of the rest of the game. I was too drained and the buildup of the All-Century team before the game and Pedro’s performance made the excitement impossible to maintain…

But we got our moments. We got our memories. And that’s why, for me, the ’99 All-Star Game at Fenway Park will always be the best.

What is your favorite All-Star Game memory? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook.