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Monthly Archives: April 2009

Behind the scenes: 2009 Sweet Spot Materials baseball

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Upper Deck‘s 2009 Sweet Spot Materials baseball set hasn’t even been officially announced yet, but that doesn’t mean that the folks at Upper Deck aren’t already busy crafting the cards that will be found in the latest installent of the popular Sweet Spot brand.

In fact, the company released several photos of cut game-used bat barrel nameplates that will end up on cards. Above is the nameplate off of a Joe DiMaggio bat and it’s been cut to size for a card frame.

See a few more after the jump …

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Preview Gallery: 2008-09 Ultimate Collection hockey

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Upper Deck released several images from its upcoming 2008-09 Ultimate Collection hockey set on Thursday. Check ‘em out …

The product is scheduled for an April 29 release. Each pack costs approximately $80 (no SRP released) and should include one autograph, one rookie and one memorabilia card per pack. One in four boxes will have a patch card.

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

Angels rookie Nick Adenhart dies in auto accident

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Los Angeles Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed in an automobile accident on early Thursday morning just hours after he pitched six scoreless innings against the Oakland A’s in Anaheim. He was 22.

The right-hander from Silver Spring, Md., gave up seven hits, striking out five and walking three in what was his fourth major-league start. He compiled a 37-28 record with a 3.88 ERA in four minor league seasons before making his major league debut with the Angels last year, going 1-0 in three appearances.

Baseball America ranked him as the No. 1 prospect for the Angels this season. He had been ranked the No. 2 overall prospect in the organization in 2007 and 2008 and the 24th best prospect in all of baseball last year.

Adenhart has appeared on 237 baseball cards, according to the Beckett database. His Rookie Cards can be found in several 2004 sets. His only autographed RC is in the 2004 Donruss Elite Extra Edition set (card No. 355), which was limited to just 653 copies and is valued at approximately $100. Three other Adenhart autographed cards from that set sell for $100 or more.

Overall, Adenhart signed 57 different cards from 2004 to 2009.

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

Product preview: 2009 Topps Chrome baseball

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Topps released preview images and product information for its 2009 Topps Chrome baseball set on Thursday with a 100-card World Baseball Classic insert set and plenty of rookies among the key highlights.

The base set will consist of 220 cards — 50 of those rookies — and will be capped by 21 autographed rookie cards, a checklist that includes the Braves’ Jordan Shafer, the Athletics’ Trevor Cahill, Braves import Kenshin Kawakami, Cardinals prospect Colby Rasmus and Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmerman among others.

The set, which will arrive in August, will include two autographed rookies per 24-pack box with approximately six WBC inserts and a host of Refractor cards per box. As with past releases, Red Refractors are limited to 25, Golds are limited t0 50 and Blues are 199. Standard Refractors are not numbered (with exception of the rookie autographs at 499), but will be found 1:3, so approximately eight per box. Also included will be 1/1 Superfractors and press plates.

Look for more images and key preliminary checklists after the jump.

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First look: 2009 Topps Football

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Topps released basic product preview information and images for its 2009 NFL set on Wednesday with a 100-card National Chicle insert set and cheerleader cards among the highlights.

Set for a July release, the $1.99-per pack product will include one autograph or Relic card per 36-pack box or two autographs and one Relic per HTA jumbo box.

The base set will include 440 cards, 110 of those rookies,  along with Classic Combos, League Leaders, Pro Bowl, Postseason Highlights as well as MVP and Rookie of the Year subsets.

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Post-WrestleMania thoughts: Wrestling & The hobby

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

As one of the 72,744 in attendance for WrestleMania 25 at Reliant Stadium in Houston on Sunday, it’s apparent how big pro wrestling has become, how much of it is a spectacle and how much of it is athletics. (Just watch the video above — while it lasts.)

Pro wrestling’s grandest stage is a larger-than-life event, a showcase of the ultimate in scripted danger. Yes, the results are fixed — manipulated — but there’s nothing fake about the falls and the passion. There was no blood on Sunday, but you can bet that there was real pain as the stars put their bodies on the line.

The passion of the competitors is there — their mission for WrestleMania to be the one who steals the show, the one who is remembered, the one in the highlight reel forever. The passion of the fans is there, too — I’d bet that roughly 72,743 fans wore some type of WWE clothing — I wore my standard white dress shirt (had to have a pocket to secure my ringside ticket in mint condition, I swear). The days of wrestling madness in armories or high school gyms pales in comparison, even if the legends of yesteryear are more remembered than some of today’s stars.

And, in the ring, it was the Undertaker-Shawn Michaels match that stole the show, one for the eternal highlight reel and one — I’ll say it — that just might be the greatest pure WrestleMania match in history. At one point in the match, nearly every Michaels chop to Undertaker’s chest was matched by a Ric Flair “wooooo” from the crowd, while every countering blow from the Deadman was matched with a “boooo” — at least from many in my section.

But the mainstream main event — the one getting talked about on E!, in People magazine and in “legitimate” news outlets like The Los Angeles Times — was actor Mickey Rourke‘s knockout punch on Chris Jericho. Rourke, star of The Wrestler, had been involved in an angle for months — but it wasn’t clear what the payoff would be until his left hook connected with Jericho’s jaw and an in-ring celebration with Flair ensued.

Although the angle probably fell flat of many a wrestling fan’s expectations — everything from a rescue by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin or Hulk Hogan to a Randy “The Ram” Robinson appearance (Rourke’s character) had been hoped for — it was the WrestleMania Moment that the WWE had hoped for, one for the highlight reel on everywhere but a wrestling fan’s TV screen. The one that brings wrestling into everyone else’s living rooms.

And right alongside Rourke? The biggest wrestling star in the hobby right now – “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair.

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New season means new sausage race memorabilia, too

The Sausage Race is a Milwaukee Brewers tradition. (AP photo)

The Sausage Race is a Milwaukee Brewers tradition. (AP photo)

With a new season comes a new group of players — and probably some old ones, too — new hopes, new stars and, of course, some new memorabilia.

While thumbing through the Spring 2009 MLB.com catalog, yours truly found something that stood out from the team-branded clothes, autographs, framed displays and, of course, trading cards.

What stood out?

The Chorizo bobblehead doll from Forever Collectibles. (He’s at right — or on Page 18 for those scoring at home.)

That’s right, among the buying choices are bobblehead dolls for one of the richest traditions in all of sports — no, not the hot dog at a game — but the epic battle that plays out at every Brewers game between five of the biggest players around.

The Sausage Race.

It stars The Bratwurst, The Polish Sausage, The Italian Sausage, The Hot Dog and The Chorizo.

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Sneak preview: Topps Terminator Salvation sketch cards

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The latest installment in the Terminator movie canon is Terminator Salvation – what looks to be the darkest Terminator film yet when it arrives in May.

We’ve got a sneak peek at some of the Sketch Cards that Topps will be including in its set for the Christian Bale-led flick that arrives in card shops two weeks before the film arrives in theaters on May 21.

Hobby boxes will include one one-of-a-kind Sketch Cards, autograph cards or memorabilia card. The boxes will have a suggested retail price of $2 per pack. Some background on the set can be found here.

See more after the jump:

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Topps vs. Upper Deck: In Case You Missed It

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Topps’ Clay Luraschi and Upper Deck’s Kerri Stockholm squared off on the Rivals segment of Fox Business Channel’s “Money for Breakfast” program Monday morning.

The two longtime hobby executives appeared with anchor Alexis Glick and discussed recent hobby history and their respective companies’ plans to attract the next generation of young consumers. The segment, which coincided with baseball’s Opening Day, began with a brief baseball card history lesson before giving way to the live interview segment with Luraschi, who was in studio, and Stockholm. Read More »

A Match Made in Heaven

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If the WWE were more sports and less entertainment, one match in particular at Sunday night’s star-studded, sensory-soaked 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania would’ve sent the collectibles of two legendary combatants soaring into the realm of the unreachable.

But since the outcome of the utterly breathtaking Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels epic was scripted and because we’re talking about professional wrestling, one of the greatest matches of all time – and that is, by no means, hyperbole – will likely never get its secular due. Which means it also has little to no chance of resonating with mainstream collectors. Read More »

Box Busters, WWE-style

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We know you can’t get enough pro wrestling — well, we can’t anyway since WrestleMania 25 is just hours away — so here’s a Box Busters episode featuring some new WWE products from Topps and a look at some wrestling-related contests (free stuff) that Beckett readers can win.

Check out the video by clicking here.

MLB Players Association opens test store in New York

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The MLB Players Association is opening a prototype store for baseball products at the New York Mets’ Citi Field today — a store not run by the team but rather the Players Association and another company, Aramark.

This test store will feature player-only merchandise licensed by the MLBPA’s Players Choice group licensing program. The store will help launch new items, test future products and host player-related events.

Among the licensees featured in The Players Clubhouse include VF/Majestic,
Nike, Twins, Topps, Upper Deck, WinCraft, Forever Collectibles, PhotoFile
and Rawlings.

U.S. presidents will return to eTopps

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Last year was the year of the politicians trading card, everyone who opened a pack of cards and found one of the countless non-sport cards in baseball packs will agree.

But what many newer collectors may not know is that when presidents return to eTopps this year, it will actually be the third annual installment as the first eTopps presidential cards were released in 2007.

This year’s offerings of Allen & Ginter eTopps presidents, which will be encased and sequentially numbered,go on sale on Monday at 1 p.m. Eastern and will be available until April 13.

The 2009 lineup includes George H.W. Bush, Harry S. Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and William Howard Taft.

The 10 greatest pro wrestling cards

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Millions (and millions) of fans watch pro wrestling every week on television, but many won’t admit it. That’s OK — it’ll be our dirty little secret. But there’s no doubting that people are interested in the pop culture phenomenon that’s part sport, part soap opera but wholly entertaining for many.

How much interest is there in pro wrestling? A lot. If the DVDs, video games and countless other items don’t tell you that, consider this — there are two companies producing wrestling cards these days. That’s more than you can say for a few pro sports.

On Sunday, the traveling caravan known as World Wrestling Entertainment makes its biggest stop of the year in Houston for WrestleMania 25, so we figured now’s the time to examine 10 classic cards that should be in any serious wrestling collection.

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1. Hulk Hogan — 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Autographs
Let me tell you something, brother, there’s nobody bigger in WrestleMania history than Hogan. And in the last decade of card sets only a handful carry as much weight as the 2006 Allen & Ginter baseball release. Included as a “world’s champion” for wrestling, Hogan signed just 200 of these cards, which sell for roughly $150. (The card was pricier before his family’s recent drama.)

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Topps set to bring back T-206 baseball cards in fall

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Topps announced on Thursday morning that it will be bringing back the classic T-206 brand of baseball cards this fall — 100 years after the original release.

The company is creating a six-card preview set made exclusively for attendees of the 24th annual Hawaii Trade Conference on April 19-23 in Florida. The set will include Honus Wagner, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Jackie Robinson and Ty Cobb.

The tobacco-card sized preview cards will be limited to 100 copies apiece. They will be gifts to attendees of Topps’ “Meet the Industry” session at the conference on April 22.

Topps’ last T-206 release came in 2002, while a T-205 set was made in 2003-2004 and Allen & Ginter, which included tobacco-sized mini, has been made since 2006.

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com.

Latest marathon insert set from Upper Deck focuses on Michael Jordan

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First there was the 6,000-plus card Yankee Stadium Legacy baseball set last year. Then there was the 2,500 20th Anniversary Retrospective set that we’ve just started to see in 2009 baseball packs.

But now, it’s basketball and it’s Michael Jordan – perhaps the most notable basketball player and athlete alive — who will have a 1,170-card tribute set from Upper Deck.

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Upcoming Goudey baseball set will include Tiger Woods autographs, 1930s autographed buybacks

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lr-buyback-autograph-frischUpper Deck announced on Wednesday that its 2009 Goudey baseball set will include a select number of autographed Tiger Woods Sport Royalty cards — a few with inscriptions — as well as a handful of 1930s Goudey cards signed by notable baseball players from the past.

Mixed in among the buyback cards, which have been a per-case staple of Goudey releases the last couple of years, will be autographed.

Four members of the Hall of Fame will have signed cards – Frank Frisch, Charley Gehringer, Lefty O’Doul and Sam Rice.

“Being able to add two exciting inserts like this to this year’s Goudey Baseball release is a great way to add value,” said Gabriel Garcia, Upper Deck’s associate brand manager for baseball. “The original Goudey cards from the ‘30s are amazing, but to pull one that is autographed by these legends is an extra special thrill.”

See them all after the jump.

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The hottest new cards?

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