Monthly Archives: January 2010

NBA & Flip Video team up for camcorder line

The NBA and Flip Video unveiled on Monday a new line of NBA-branded camcorders that fans can take with them to the big game and then take video off of with the ease of a USB port.

While we’re sure this doesn’t fall into the typical sports card and memorabilia category, there are more than a few fans (and perhaps bloggers) who might find such a gadget handy when on the hunt for their latest finds, chasing autographs or preparing their latest in multimedia presentations.

The Flip Mino camcorder will be found with all 30 NBA teams’ logos (an exclusive deal with the league) printed on their metal casings beginning today. The company’s cameras start at $149 depending on options and can be found here, though the NBA cameras also are available in a higher-end model, which records HD footage. Those are $229 (free shipping).

The cameras record a maximum of 120 minutes of video, depending on options, which users can share via email, mobile devices and televisions.

See designs of several teams’ cameras after the jump.

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eTopps Announces 1956 Football Tribute

Topps officials today released information on eTopps’ newest offering, a tribute to the landmark 1956 Topps set, the company’s first devoted to the NFL.

The product, which went on sale beginning at noon CST today, honors superstars from yesterday and today, including the likes of Barry Sanders, Roger Staubach, Tom Landry and Tom Brady, to name four.

Additional players will be offered for sale in coming weeks. For more information, visit the eTopps website.

— Tracy Hackler

More details on USA Baseball box set released

While the USA Baseball boxed set arrives on Jan. 18, little has been revealed about what will be inside the annual fund-raising product — other than the confirmed inclusion of a few Bryce Harper cards — until now.

The standard set will include the National Team, the 18U National Team and the 16U National Team, while each set will include seven autographs per box — five of those being on-card autographs. Each set will include one inscriptions card as well as a Q&A, Big Signatures, Starting Lineup or team roster card.

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2010 Topps National Chicle Baseball: The artists react

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor

While we’ve talked about the reactions to some of the surprise inclusions in the 2010 Topps National Chicle Baseball set in the wake of their preview’s release on Friday, one group of people we hadn’t yet heard from are the artists.

You know, those who are bringing those National Chicle cards to life.

Whether you love or hate their work, they probably have a different perspective than the typical collector — they also are the ones working on deadline and the ones who bear some of the brunt of reactions to their assignments from Topps.

They also can have distinctly different styles of work, ranging from paintings that carry almost a sketch quality to paintings that carry more of a folk-style aesthetic — some of which may not spark the same types of reactions from different collectors.

The artists also the ones whose names are attached to the work at the end of the day. It’s a challenge but an opportunity just to be a part of something they just might carry a life-long interest in — a set of baseball cards.

Paul Lempa, who was profiled in Beckett Baseball No. 42 last year for his work on Topps’ Sketch Cards, is one of the artists on board for Chicle.

And it’s his Babe Ruth card that’s drawing the ire of some collectors.

“Exciting stuff,” said Lempa to the reaction in an email to Beckett Media. “I am flattered that my artwork could cause such an uproar. I would rather my paintings be discussed and deliberated, than skipped over, that’s for sure.”

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Babe Ruth is an Atlanta Brave on a baseball card? It must be a sign of the apocalypse (Really, I swear.)

The reaction online to a handful of 2010 Topps National Chicle baseball card preview images continues to amaze.

While art cards are not going to be for everyone, paintings do allow for things just like this Babe Ruth card to be possible. Yes, he was never an Atlanta Brave — he was a Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees legend before briefly capping his career with the Boston Braves in 1935. (A franchise which, by the way, is part of the Atlanta Braves lineage.)

And yet the reactions from many a collector has been akin to the slow, torturous massacre of countless small fluffy animals along with allegations of artist mistakes to (gasp!) body-swapping Chipper Jones and Babe Ruth based on the red alternate uniform and, of course, the eye black. (Two effective modern touches that sold the old-is-new concept quite well.)

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Not all Blaster Boxes are made alike, either

Note: Interestingly, the mocked-up Blaster Box above notes “One autographed prospect card in every box.” That’s not the case on the boxes examined below … they have a Purple Refractor tease instead.

I recently examined the differences between pack odds between Blaster Box packs, standard packs and rack packs for Topps‘ throwback Topps 206 baseball card set and the results weren’t all that pretty.

And with the arrival of 2009 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects baseball cards at retail, the curiosity bug got me again while in the card aisle at my nearby Target store … were the odds dramatically higher in the Blasters once again?

This product was a bit more stable comparing the retail odds (table below) but that wasn’t the lesson learned this time. While last time around was a somewhat negative lesson this one had more of a positive payoff — at least statistically — as three blaster boxes yielded much, much more than they should have. (Something that will undoubtedly fuel the fire that Blaster Boxes are more “loaded” this year.)

First, the odds…

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2010 Topps National Chicle Baseball includes surprises (updated)

Three cards that were part of the 2010 Topps National Chicle preview have drawn the ire of a few collectors here and there as being a bit unusual.

Why? Ichiro Suzuki appears in a Seattle Pilots uniform, Tyler Flowers (presumably since Frank Thomas is nowhere to be found on the checklists) on Thomas’ famed 1990 no-name error card and Babe Ruth shown as an Atlanta Brave.

It appears that these cards will be part of subsets in the 330-card base set (Ichiro appears on two cards in the base set and nowhere else) as part of the Vintage Veteran, Rookie Renditions (2010 rookies on throwback cards) and Retired Stars Revisited subsets. The particular cards are noted on the sales materials as seen above.

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First look: 2010 Topps National Chicle Baseball cards

Update: Read more on Chicle right here.

Topps revealed its 2010 National Chicle baseball card set on Friday — a nod to the memorable 1930s football card set and “Batter Up” baseball line and a product that showcases work from several sports artists.

There will be two autographed cards and one Relic card per 24-pack hobby box with all autographs signed on-card. Chicle is scheduled to arrive in late-April.

The base set will consist of 330 cards (55 short-prints), while the autograph lineup consists of 35 National Chicle Autographs (with printing plates, and four parallels) along with 10 dual-autograph cards. There will be 40 players on Relic cards with four parallels of each.

The preliminary autograph checklist looks strong — headlined by Stan Musial, Carl Yastrzemski and Ryan Howard but also including several young stars and prospects like Buster Posey, Gordon Beckham, Rick Porcello, Andrew McCutchen, Neftali Feliz and Madison Bumgarner.

See a full package of preview images and preliminary checklists after the jump.

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Beckett Media's Alabama National Champs commemorative issue set to hit newsstands Monday

The celebrations have only just begun for Crimson Tide football fans as the University of Alabama football team knocked off the Texas Longhorns for their 13th national championship on Thursday night in Pasadena, Calif.

And we want to make sure we can help the Alabama fans celebrate.

Beckett Media‘s Alabama National Champs commemorative issue will start arriving on newsstands on Monday with its dual-covered 80 full-color pages highlighting not only the Crimson Tide’s 37-21 victory, but also the team’s run to a perfect 14-0 season. Order your special issue today by clicking here.

Inside, fans can find a recap of the SEC Championship Game, the Iron Bowl and every other matchup this season. In addition, the issue also contains a look at the team’s biggest stars — including Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram — as well as a rundown of some of the biggest names in Crimson Tide history and a look at their memorabilia.  You know, legends like Paul “Bear” Bryant, Joe Namath, Bart Starr and many others.

Get a sampling of what can be found inside the magazine after the jump.

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World Junior Hockey Stars Honored in ITG Heroes & Prospects

One of the most thrilling battles in the history of the IIHF World Junior Championship took place just two days ago, when Team USA brought home the gold medal after a hard-fought battle with a strong Canadian team.

Collectors will soon be able to obtain new cards honoring many of the players who took part in the annual tournament with the upcoming release of 2009-10 ITG Heroes and Prospects. Many of the players currently star in the AHL and CHL and come from several of the nations that participated.

“We want to offer our sincere congratulations to members of the American team on their gold medal victory,” said ITG President Dr. Brian Price. “Additionally, we also want to recognize the hard work of the Canadian players as they fought hard to force overtime and put forth an incredible effort. The Canadian team has been a force in recent years and they should be congratulated on their amazing streak of five consecutive titles.”

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Topps' Star Wars Galaxy 5 changes shape of sketch cards

Topps‘ latest in its long line of rather forceful Star Wars sets arrives in February adding a new twist on the Sketch Card market.

Some of the Sketch Cards are die-cut.

Star Wars Galaxy 5 will include Sketch Cards shaped like Darth Maul and like Emperial soldiers (right) as well as Manga-style sketches. In all, more than 100 artists will contribute to the Sketch Card lineup in the product that revolves around an artistic look at the sci-fi franchise.

The base set (sample card above) will consist of 120 cards — past notable artwork as well as newly commissioned pieces — and there will be foil cards found in four versions: silver, bronze, gold and 1/1 prismatic styles.

See more cards — and get a closer look at some sketches — after the jump.

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Box Busters preview: 2009 Bowman Sterling baseball cards

Our Box Busters episode for 2009 Bowman Sterling is in the microwave, but we wanted to give you guys a taste of what’s in store with a preview gallery.

There are a lot of World Baseball Classic cards a lot of Refractors and a lot of autographs to be found in Bowman Sterling.

Check ‘em out …

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Box Busters: 2009-10 Limited Basketball

Beckett Basketball’s Keith Hower and Tracy Hackler, two men with extremely limited attention spans, dismantle two quick boxes of 2009-10 Limited Basketball.

What did they pull? What can you win? Watch the video and find out.

First look: Bryce Harper's 2010 USA Baseball box set cards

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor

A USA Baseball official confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that Bryce Harper will appear in this year’s commemorative boxed set of baseball cards and provided images of Harper’s cards exclusively to Beckett Media.

The annual fund-raising product is scheduled to arrive on Jan. 12 but other details on the set produced by Upper Deck are few and far between (the company can’t market the product before release because of the athletes’ status as amateurs). A checklist, price and other details have not yet been announced.

“I can confirm that Bryce Harper will be featured in the USA Baseball National Teams Box Set on both game-used equipment and autograph cards,” said David Perkins, USA Baseball’s Director of Marketing and Licensing.

Harper,  a 17-year-old who hit .626 with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs in high school this past season, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated last summer and was tabbed “Baseball’s chosen one ” and “the most exciting prodigy since LeBron.”

Harper received his GED and enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada in June with an eye on being selected in the 2010 MLB Draft where he’s expected to be taken with the first pick by the Washington Nationals.

Harper’s other baseball cards — from last year’s USA Baseball set and Topps’ Aflac All-American Game promo cards — have been some of the hottest in the hobby in the last year.

See more images of Harper’s cards after the jump.

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Orange You Glad You Like Hockey?

By Russ Cohen

When Canadians go grocery shopping in the coming days they might be surprised to find Upper Deck Hockey cards in their bags of oranges. Sunkist has partnered with UD to create a promotional set that includes special cards of NHL superstars such as Sidney Crosby, Martin Brodeur Jarome Iginla and Rick Nash.

Other players in the set include Mike Richards, Vincent Lecavalier, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Getzlaf, Scott Niedermayer and Jay Bouwmeester.

What’s more, six of the stars have signed 400 of each of their cards that will be randomly inserted into bags of oranges. A great checklist, certified autographs and a wonderful dose of vitamin C, too? That’s a tough combination.

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Box Busters Preview: 2009 Bowman Sterling baseball cards

For those still awaiting the 2009 Topps Tribute episode of Box Busters, don’t worry … technical difficulties won’t get in the way of your viewing the results of our three-box bust.

And hot on the heels of that video will be a two-box bust of 2009 Bowman Sterling seen above.

What will we find inside? Wait and see …

Upper Deck signs autograph deal with Pete Rose

This is another of those benefits of being unlicensed.

Upper Deck announced Wednesday that it has signed all-time hits leader Pete Rose to an autograph deal to include him in the company’s 2010 baseball sets.

He will make his debut alongside “Shoeless” Joe Jackson in 2010 Goudey Baseball, which is set to arrive on March 18.

Like Jackson, Rose is on baseball’s ineligible list after he was banned for life for gambling. Because of this, Rose cannot appear on any cards or memorabilia licensed by Major League Baseball Properties. Upper Deck’s 2010 cards are only licensed by the MLB Players Association.

Because of this, Rose has appeared on just one card produced by Upper Deck — a card in the the 1994 Upper Deck: The American Epic set (above). His only appearances on cards since 1989 (not many) have been in products that were not licensed by MLB Properties.

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Andre Dawson is lone Baseball Hall of Fame inductee

The Baseball Writers Association of America has voted and only former Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson will be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum this summer in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Bert Blyleven came up just short of the mandatory 75 percent at 74.2 while Roberto Alomar got 73.7 percent. (See my previous predictions here.)

“The Hawk” appears on 2,495 baseball cards with his lone Rookie Card his 1977 Topps card seen above. He has signed for 671 different certified autographs and appears on exactly 800 memorabilia cards.

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Topps unveils Topps Sterling Baseball cut autograph checklist

Topps unveiled the cut autograph checklist for its 2009 Topps Sterling baseball set on Wednesday and it appears that the lineup of cuts falling one per case includes not only legends of baseball but also legends of other sports and icons of pop culture and American history.

The cuts will be found one per 10 packs and Topps is touting it as “one of the most extensive and value-added cut sig lists ever offered.”

See the full list after the jump.

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Observations from the 2010 NHL Winter Classic

By Russ Cohen

BOSTON — The NHL hosted its third installment of the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, this time in Boston’s fabled Fenway Park following previous stints in Buffalo and Chicago. The original Heritage Classic was held in Edmonton, Alberta, so I’ve had a chance to experience this type of event in all of these cities and I have to say that Boston was the best one yet, speaking from a collectibles standpoint.

This year, when visitors entered the NHL’s Spectator Plaza (free to the public), which was located across the street from Fenway, there were freebies and live music all over the place.

Comcast gave away Winter Classic binoculars and Upper Deck had its P-Card station setup so fans could get a trading card made at no charge.

“The Winter Classic is a terrific event and we were thrilled to see all the fans out here,” said Josh Zusman, Upper Deck’s Hockey Brand Manager. “There were a lot of Flyers fans and, of course, the Bruins fans. Naturally, the print card station was a big hit. Fans came out and got a free trading card of themselves in a Flyers or Bruins jersey.”

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If I had a Baseball Hall of Fame ballot …

With this year’s baseball Hall of Fame voting results set to be released on Wednesday, there’s plenty of talk about who’ll be in, who’ll be out and who’ll get snubbed.

There are 26 players on the 2010 ballot — from Roberto Alomar to Todd Zeile there’s quite a selection. And while there are always worthy candidates, one thing’s for certain — it’s not easy to get 75 percent of the vote.

And it probably shouldn’t be — even though baseball could use an image-brightening crop of players who are free of steroid and performance-enhancement questions that will plague the game’s most-successful stars (and eventual Hall of Fame candidates) for the next decade and beyond.

Perhaps this will be the Cooperstown class where players who don’t have any question marks get more attention? Doubtful, but we can hope.

Here’s a rundown of who I’d vote for among the notable players  … if I had a ballot.

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Brandon Jennings: NBA Superstar Rookie & Beckett Basketball Editor

The Jan./Feb. 2010 issue of Beckett Basketball, notable in and of itself for featuring the first solo cover appearance for Dallas Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki, also includes the journalistic stylings of the newest Beckett “employee” – Milwaukee Bucks sensational rookie Brandon Jennings.

Jennings, a leading candidate so far for the 2009-10 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, serves as the issue’s guest editor. The huge Allen Iverson fan – second among all rookie scorers with 19.3 ppg – penned a page-2 introduction to the issue, took time for an exclusive interview with the Beckett Basketball brain trust (and I use that term loosely) and even offers his thoughts on cover subject Nowitzki: “Man, that dude is amazing.”

In addition, the fine folks from Panini, who also employ Jennings as one of their exclusive company spokesmen, were nice enough to provide us with a sweet Jennings autographed card (2009-10 Rookies & Stars Freshman Orientation Materials Signatures numbered to just 25) to give away.

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First look: Hulk Hogan's first TNA Wrestling cards

Hulk Hogan‘s return to the ring with TNA Wrestling tonight on Spike TV — a live show that’s running head-to-head with Vince McMahon’s WWE flagship show Raw — already has been commemorated via two new trading cards from TRISTAR.

Only 210 copies of each card seen here will be made by TRISTAR, the exclusive licensee of cards for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.

The cards will not be found in packs of TNA wrestling products. Instead, they will be sold on TNA’s website, ShopTNA.com. as part of the “Hogan Joins TNA” photo and card package, which is $40. (One can also expect a heavy amount of Hogan merchandise as that’s  a big part of the wrestling business’ landscape.)

Hogan’s first standard-release cards from TRISTAR will be in a forthcoming TNA Icons set, which will arrive in March.  This product will showcase the top names in TNA, including Hogan as well as Sting, Kurt Angle, Mick Foley, Kevin Nash and others.

Can we expect Hogan autograph and memorabilia cards in that product as well as cards combining stars like Hogan and Sting or Hogan and Nash? It’s likely, though no details about the product have been officially announced.

See all of the card images after the jump.

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Hulk Hogan's TNA debut will also mean his debut on TRISTAR trading cards

Afternoon Update: See the cards here.

Hulk Hogan‘s much-anticipated debut with TNA Wrestling which happens tonight — in a live three-hour show on Spike TV that goes head to head with Vince McMahon‘s WWE show Raw — means one more fortunate thing for wrestling fans.

His return to wrestling cards with TRISTAR, the official card manufacturer for TNA.

Details are unclear at this point, but Hogan will have at least one limited edition wrestling card noting tonight’s debut. We can’t show you more than this top secret preview, but we do know that the cards won’t be found in packs of TRISTAR products.

They’ll be found online.

That’s all we’ll say for now … when more information is available, we’ll have it all — as well as full preview images — right here.

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 colds@beckett.com.