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Monthly Archives: May 2010

You know you’re a collector when … Bryce Harper edition

My issue of Baseball America arrived on Friday afternoon, the 2010 Draft Preview issue, with Bryce Harper on the cover.

It wasn’t the headlines that I noticed, it wasn’t the color choice that the designer made and it wasn’t the Bo Jackson-style portrait of Harper with his bat across his shoulders that I noticed.

First, it was the zig-zag tape job on his bat … but then I noticed the nameplate of his Marucci CU26 Pro Model.

It reads “Luke 1:37″ where the player’s name typically appears.

Its meaning? “For nothing is impossible with God.”

Those who are well-read about the teenager, who should have been a junior in high school this season but instead got his GED and enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada where he hit a school record 23 homers, this probably isn’t a passage reference that is anything new.

But for a collector of game-used baseball bats, it might be something new — something not quite seen before.

In fact, off the top of my head the only other players I can think of who have used bats without their names appearing on them are Ken Griffey Jr. (“Swingman”) and Roger Clemens (“Rocket”). It’s common for nicknames, phrases, numbers, etc., to be found as extra markings on bats, particularly the knobs, but not as part of the burned-on nameplate.

I’m sure there are others, though … anybody have any come to mind?

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

NFL Players Rookie Premiere Photo Gallery: Day One

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Thursday marked the unofficial start to the 2010 NFL Players Rookie Premiere with Panini America and Topps getting a head start on acquiring autographs and photography in advance of Saturday’s extravaganza at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Panini America and Topps were situated in adjacent meeting rooms at the Loews Santa Monica Beach hotel as players stopped by throughout the day and into the night as they arrived at the hotel. One of the night’s last arrival’s — Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow — created the biggest splash and seemed genuinely happy to be there. In fact, with precious few exceptions, the more than 20 players arriving Thursday were lighthearted, engaging and admittedly appreciative of the opportunity. The true test, of course, will be if they still feel the same way late Saturday evening.

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Tim Tebow can't get enough of Beckett Football

Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler and Jon Gold will be at the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere this weekend with all sorts of things that will interest football card collectors.

But on Thursday night it was Beckett Football No. 234 and the buying habits of collectors that got the attention of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.

You”ll never guess who’s No. 1 on the Hot List, Tim-mah

Look for more from Los Angeles later today and throughout the weekend right here.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Stephen Strasburg will grace cover of next Beckett Baseball

Stephen Strasburg had another dominating performance on Wednesday night in Rochester, N.Y., striking out nine batters in 6 1/3 scoreless innings in just his third start for triple-A Syracuse.

For the season, he’s 6-1 and he hasn’t given up a run in his last 17 2/3 innings while striking out 20 — all stats that will undoubtedly keep his newly released 2010 Bowman autograph cards scorching hot in anticipation of his big-league debut.

It goes without saying that he’s appearing more than primed for a call-up very soon — one where fans will quite possibly see him starting in Washington, D.C. for the first time on June 4.

But readers of Beckett Baseball won’t have to wait that long as he’s slated to appear on the cover of the next issue (No. 53) that arrives in hobby shops beginning next week.

The cover story focuses on powerful pitchers — perhaps still an overlooked segment of the hobby these days — with San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum, Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay and the New York Yankees’ CC Sabathia sharing the front cover.

The back cover, though, belongs solely to only one pitcher — perhaps the most dominating power pitcher so far this season, Strasburg.

In the issue, collectors also will have the chance to win one of three boxes of red-hot 2010 Bowman baseball cards as well, so there are a few reasons to keep an eye out for the issue.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

If You're in Oxnard on Friday with Nothing to Do . . .

One of the biggest weekends of the 2010 football card season will kick off early Friday afternoon at the Walmart Supercenter on Rose Avenue in Oxnard, Calif. From 1 to 3 p.m. PST, at least 15 of the 35 rookies in town for Saturday’s NFL Players Rookie Premiere will mosey on over to Walmart to join Panini America and NFL Players in interacting with customers, engaging in pack wars, signing autographs and generally generating awareness of football cards.

The current list of attendees — although subject to change — is headlined by Colt McCoy, Golden Tate, Ryan Mathews, Joe McKnight, Eric Berry, Toby Gerhart, Gerald McCoy, Eric Decker, Jermaine Gresham and Jordan Shipley.

Stay tuned to Beckett.com all weekend long for complete coverage of the NFL Players Rookie Premiere.

Box Busters: 2010 Topps Series 2 baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a box of 2010 Topps Series 2 baseball cards about a week before its official release in this episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside this insert-laden and always-popular product?

Watch and find out.

For more on what’s in this product, click here, here, here, here and, finally, here.

Topps' "You Sketch It" cards bring interactivity to a new level

Collectors often clamor for more interaction with trading card companies — feeling the need to tell them their demands while also telling them what they don’t like, telling them what they do like and more.

Sometimes, for varying ego-related reasons, individuals insist they should appear on a card inside a Topps wrapper, too.

Now, they can … sort of.

Found in packs of the upcoming 2010 Topps Series 2 baseball cards will be Topps “You Sketch It” cards that have blank fronts that can be drawn upon and sent back to Topps for the chance to possibly win a prize (according to sales materials) and potentially have their sketch cards inserted into future Topps products for collectors to discover.

Talk about interactive and potentially influential for a product. A crowd-sourced baseball card set? If they’re good, it could be interesting. Who wouldn’t want to find their card in a pack?

Here’s what the back of the card says:

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Topps goes back to the future with a pair of insert sets in 2010 Series 2

Critics might say that Topps spends too much time looking into the past for its products, but a pair of new insert card sets in the forthcoming 2010 Topps Series 2 baseball card set shows that they’re doing that again as well as looking into the future.

It’s fair to say that collectors spend plenty of time looking to the past as well, so it’s a practice that’s justified. After all, baseball history is reflected in Topps’ history. But with a legacy that will be marked by Topps’ 60th anniversary of making baseball cards next year, it’s really more than justified.

A part of that legacy can be seen in the 25-card Vintage Legends collection where old-time players appear on card designs distinctly not from their playing eras — Babe Ruth on a 1999 Topps card, Cy Young on a 1987 card, Lou Gehrig on a 1958 card, Mel Ott on a 1989 card and so on. We’ve seen these designs re-created in recent years in the Fan Favorites and Topps Archives sets, but not with this crop of players (many of them players whose rights it acquired in a massive deal with CMG a few years ago). These cards are found one in every four packs.

Could it be a sign of a sweet return for Fan Favorites, perhaps one that adds some elite-level cut autographs into the mix? This collector wishes, but we’ll have to wait and see.

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Box Busters preview gallery: 2010 Topps Series 2 baseball cards

We’ve cracked the first box of 2010 Topps Series 2 baseball cards for an upcoming Box Busters video, but until that arrives here’s a gallery of what can be found inside the packs.

(There are a couple of new insert sets that we’ll also examine later today.)

See ‘em all after the jump.

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Topps' Million Card Giveaway includes T206s in Series 2

With 2010 Topps Series 2 arriving next week, we get the second wave of the overwhelmingly popular Million Card Giveaway, which includes original T206 tobacco cards in this series.

Our Box Busters box has been, well, busted and the video is on the way.

Call it journalistic curiosity — or a MCG addiction — but we really couldn’t wait to see what could be up for grabs with the six MCG cards we got in what has to be the first box of Series 2 that’s been opened.

What did we find? Was it extra special? Were the codes … loaded?

Find out after the jump.

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First look: 2010 Press Pass Showcase racing cards

Press Pass has revealed more images and released more set information for its sophomore high-end release, Showcase, which will include an autograph or memorabilia card from top NASCAR drivers in every pack.

Each six-box half-case of the forthcoming product will include one Danica Patrick autograph or memorabilia card as well as a 1/1 autograph and a race-used memorabilia instant win card.

New for 2010 are a pair of autograph sets printed on plastic, which include Classic Collections, a 10-card set featuring groups of drivers based on wins, teams and other achievements as well as a 12-card Racing’s Finest set of solo autogaphs.

The real draw in this one, though are the Prized Pieces Ink and the Premier Prospects Patrick Rookie Card. These cards include an autograph and a piece of memorabilia. Sheet metal (called Silver) cards will be the easiest to land, followed by firesuit cards (Gold) and then glove/shoe/other (Green) as well as rookie bumper tape cards for Patrick.

The toughest pulls (called “Melting”) will be the prime firesuit patch cards, which are 1/1s.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

See more images after the jump.

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Evolution of autographs: Which ones do you remember?

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball

Imaging getting paid $20, $50 or $100 for a single swipe of a pen … for your autograph.

Collectors know all about the practice of autograph signings for cash — we see it all the time at shows. However, have you ever put yourself in an athlete’s shoes?

For a multi-millionaire, a private autograph signing might be work — if an athlete even bothers because, after all, time is money. (Meeting and signing for fans? That’s another story. Many athletes have no worries about doing those events — or signing for free if it’s the right place and right time.)

And, when you think about it, signing autographs is work in a different way, too. Can you imaging sitting down and signing your name 500 or 1,000 times with only a break or two?

Many collectors don’t — and that’s why they complain when they get autographs that look like chicken scratch. (To some degree, I understand why they sometimes look the way that they do.)

We all have heard about the “give-up graph” — and we all know about the checkmark autograph of former Houston Texans running back Vernand Morency – but there’s another type of autograph out there that has always interested me.

It’s the “early” autograph — the one where an athlete either hadn’t yet adopted a shorter version of an autograph or a rarer signature where we just don’t commonly see it on items signed in bulk.

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NFL Players Rookie Premiere Set to Dazzle on Saturday

The 14th annual NFL Players Rookie Premiere promises to be a faster, more furious (but just as festive) affair when this year’s edition kicks off Saturday morning from the fabled Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Unlike Premieres past, the 2010 event will take place over the course of just one day. Just like in years past, three manufacturers will participate (Panini America, Topps and Upper Deck) in what annually is the single most important day on the football card calendar.

This year, 35 of the top 2010 rookies – including 12 first-round selections – are slated to attend an event that gets them in their NFL uniforms for the first time, all for the sake of producing some of the most collected football cards of the year and, in some cases, some of the most collected cards of all time.

“It’s the one time in the history of these guys’ careers that you’re going to get them all on one field together in an intimate setting,” says Panini America’s Scott Prusha. “It’s a special event, a special time for us to have the most marketable players from this year’s draft class together in one location – to have access to them, to take photos, to obtain autographs.”

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Inside Upper Deck's signing with "The Great One" Wayne Gretzky

Upper Deck completed a signing with NHL legend Wayne Gretzky today and wanted to show off some of the cards that will be found in upcoming products and going out for redemptions.

Among them is a 1990 Upper Deck Buyback that was a surprise redemption in packs of 2010 Upper Deck baseball cards.

Check ‘em all out after the jump …

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Your Topps Attax baseball collection isn't quite complete without the Battle of The Ages cards

Thought you were done collecting 2010 Topps Attax cards?

Think again.

Topps has introduced a new version of the gaming cards, one that caters to the parents and children playing the popular trading card game, and it’s got a whole new batch of cards.

It’s the Battle of The Ages series, which includes one “adult pack” of 15 retired player cards and two foil inserts and one “kid pack” comprised of 15 current player cards and two foils  in each specially marked tin.

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Upper Deck wants to see your "Man Cave"

Upper Deck Authenticated has produced all kinds of memorabilia through the years and now the company wants to see where it has gone.


Upper Deck is having a contest where collectors can show off their — in its words — “man cave.” (Female collectors can also show off their, in UD’s words, “she caves” too.)

From UD’s release: “Sometimes men need a place to go where they can feel like a man. A place where their sports heroes adorn all four walls, where the couches are comfortable and the big screen plays only in High Definition. These man caves provide men with the chance to recharge.”

The five-week promotion leads up to Father’s Day and all collectors have to do is submit a video or photos of their “cave” by May 31 on UDA’s Facebook page to be entered into the early bird random drawing for a Steven Stamkos autographed puck “Curve” display.

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Could Stephen Strasburg be included in 2010 Topps Triple Threads?

Topps‘ preview information for the always popular Triple Threads arrived late last week and there’s plenty to be found among the set’s high-end offerings.

But there’s also plenty not yet revealed about the product that will arrive in late August.

Perhaps we can take a look at the checklist and offer a few thoughts which starts and ends with one question …

Will Stephen Strasburg be included?
It’s just a matter of time before the No. 1 pick’s humiliation of minor league batters ends — in two Triple-A starts he’s struck out 13 and allowed just one hit in 12 innings — and most target for him as an early June arrival in Washington. While he’s not yet eligible to appear on anything but Bowman cards, the second he is eligible for anything else — rookie redemptions and every other product — you can expect that he will be on checklists faster than one of his 103-mph fastballs.

Topps should be able to get their golden child into the set — sticker autographs have probably already been signed and I’d bet at least one game-used jersey from spring training has been acquired — on RCs in the Rookies & Rising Stars Autograph Relic checklist.

That checklist presently includes 14 players listed as “to be determined,” so there’s plenty of flexibility right now.

Already on there are Jason Heyward, Austin Jackson, Ike Davis, Starlin Castro and Mike Leake, so you can bet that Topps’ exclusive deal with Strasburg will ensure he’s there (if he can be), particularly  if those other notable 2010 players are, too.

A Strasburg autographed Relic makes all that money people are paying for his Bowman autographs seem a little excessive, doesn’t it?

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Box Busters On Location: 2010 Prestige Football at Panini America

The Beckett crew does something it should have done a long time ago: Travel across town to Panini America headquarters for a stirring episode of Box Busters.

Panini America CEO Mark Warsop makes his Box Busters debut in grand style, with a surprise ending you have to see to believe.

First look: 2010 Topps NFL cards

They’re back … though they never really went anywhere, right?

Topps released the basic set information and additional preview images for its 2010 NFL set on Friday afternoon, a product that just a few months ago looked like it would never see the light of day due to a licensing decision that was since reversed.

There will be one autograph or memorabilia card in every 36-pack hobby box of this long-running staple with two autographs and a Relic in every 10-pack HTA Jumbo box when it arrives in late August.

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Olympic hockey jerseys hit auction block for charity

By Russ Cohen

Diehard hockey fans probably already know about it, but the NHLPA has a great hockey jersey auction going right now and there are some doozies. Sidney Crosby’s jersey from the Canada vs. Germany game has topped$26,000, while Chicago’s Jonathan Toews’ Canada sweater at $2,125.

Now those aren’t the only jerseys. Alexander Ovechkin’s jersey (June 8) from the Russia vs. Czech Republic will soon go on sale as well as the Patrick Kane Team USA (Tuesday, along with some of his other teammates) worn against Switzerland.

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