Topps has signed an exclusive memorabilia deal with No. 1 overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg.
The multi-year deal grants the longest-running manufacturer of baseball cards and the lone fully licensed maker of cards for Major League Baseball exclusive rights for autographs, game-used memorabilia cards as well as Strasburg’s image use on packaging and advertising.
In addition, Topps will also offer a line of autographed memorabilia.
It’s safe to say that landing Strasburg was likely not easy as other companies have tried to land the Washington Nationals pitcher, but instead have gone without him or made cards without using his name and image and included a small number of cut autographs in products.
Upper Deck‘s foray into baseball cards without full licensing could have had a serious impact on Topps had the California-based company landed Strasburg and Topps had not.
In its formal announcement, Topps Sports & Entertainment GM Warren Friss praised the college star who went 13-1 with a 1.32 ERA at San Diego State last season and won the Golden Spikes Award.
“Stephen is a very special talent,” Friss said. “When a phenom like him comes along, you do whatever you can to make them part of your team.”
In the coming weeks, Topps will unveil card designs and products featuring the Scott Boras client. And, like many collectors, even the pitcher can’t wait.
“I can’t wait to see myself in uniform on my first Topps card,” Strasburg said. “That’s when I know I will have truly made it as a baseball player.”
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Graded Card Investor. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.