Monthly Archives: June 2010

USA Baseball records strong showing on first day of draft

USA Baseball cards.

The dedicated prospectors who are fans of baseball — moreso than just Chrome and dollar signs — know their value, their place in the collecting game.

But on Monday evening the USA Baseball devotees like me who have an affinity for a player’s first baseball card — period – had something to point back at others who eschew the red, white and blue classics as being more minor-league material when it comes to cardboard.

Eight of the top 10 picks in the 2010 MLB Draft were USA Baseball alumni. After that, there were seven more USA Baseball alums taken as first-round or first-round supplemental picks.

And for the ninth year out of the last 10, the No. 1 pick has donned the red, white and blue with many having a baseball card well before making the bigs.

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Some New York newspaper — and baseball card-related — trivia

The Yankees’ Mark Teixeira is struggling this season so the New York Daily News ran with this sports cover today.

Here are two pieces of random trivia:

1. Topps liked it — so much so they sent it out.

2. I once worked for one of the Daily News’ rivals’ chains  (The New York Times) and had interest from another (The New York Post) but my path took me elsewhere (see below).

Man, just think where I’d be if I could only hit .211 …

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.

2010 Topps Rookie Premiere Autographs: Part 1 of an Exclusive Gallery

Has it really been 11 years since Topps first introduced the modern masterpiece known as the Rookie Premiere Autograph? It seems like just yesterday that the company first pulled the curtain back on something so revolutionary that we dubbed it the “Immaculate Collection” way back in May of 2000.

More than a decade later, Topps’ annual manufacturing marvel — photographs are taken and the cards are printed and signed all in less than three days — is still wowing collectors while annually providing one of the principal chase elements in base-brand Topps Football.

Late last month at the 2010 NFL Players Rookie Premiere, Topps officials maximized their day in the sun with the likes of Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Jimmy Clausen, C.J. Spiller, Jahvid Best, Ryan Mathews, Dez Bryant and 27 other young stars to procure the penmanship necessary to produce the 2010 Rookie Premiere Autographs insert.

Not yet included on these preview images is the foil sequential numbering that will grace the cards for the first time (singles will be numbered to 90, duals will be numbered to 25).

This year’s installment, slated to release in late August with 35 single-signed cards and five duals, is shaping up to be one of the most coveted in years. As a means of piquing the interest of football collectors everywhere, Topps officials released to Beckett Media late Monday a most impressive 40-card image gallery.

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How can you win a box of 2010 Bowman baseball cards?

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How can you win a box of 2010 Bowman baseball cards? Watch and find out …

Were you a winner on Free Stuff Friday?

Another Free Stuff Friday has come and gone so we have another batch of winners to announce.

Were you one of them?

Find out after the jump …

If you weren’t, check back with us again at the end of the week for more cool stuff …

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It’s official: Stephen Strasburg will appear in remainder of 2010 Topps baseball products

Once Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws his first pitch on Tuesday evening in Washington, he will be eligible for a Rookie Card.

Topps couldn’t wait even that long to announce that fact and its plans for the rest of the year.

Will the much-heralded rookie be in Allen & Ginter? Could he be in Triple Threads? Or would the deadline crunch be too much?

The last line of a company statement on its blog outlined the big news of Monday after detailing a program that will accelerate getting a Strasburg card into some collectors hands:  “Strasburg Rookie Cards will appear in the remainder of Topps 2010 baseball products starting with the release of Topps Allen & Ginter baseball.”

Let that sink in a minute … especially the Triple Threads part.

First, though, Topps is making the first Strasburg available on toppsmillion.com, where collectors have been entering codes to win cards from the past. Now, they have a chance to find cards that are all about baseball’s future.

And they won’t be easy finds. (And, because of their distribution, they technically won’t be Rookie Cards, but I digress … )

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New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies players unveil Signature Series apparel

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball

Five members of the World Series champion New York Yankees and five members of the runner-up Philadelphia Phillies have designed their own T-shirts, caps and jerseys as part of a new Major League Baseball clothing line unveiled last week.

Players Choice Signature Series apparel brings a slightly different take to the baseball gear we’re all pretty familiar with but with a player-centric twist on the apparel made by VF/Majestic and Twins/Banner 47 with the assistance of the MLB Players Association.

That means the Swisher Salute, Nick Swisher‘s ritual acknowledgment of the Bleacher Creatures during their pre-game roll call, can appear on his jersey. That means Shane Victorino‘s status as “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” can be celebrated and noted. That means that Jimmy Rollins, who is from Oakland, can have Athletics colors — and more — on his Phillies jersey.

Oh, and Raul Ibanez can have a jersey with that more fan-friendly name on it … “Rauuuuuul.” (Yes, with six u’s.)

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Rojo Johnson’s baseball card arrives

While we teased you guys about Rojo Johnson‘s baseball card awhile back, there was nothing firm to indicate that the mysterious pitcher would, indeed, appear on cardboard.

Now, he does.

The first 2,500 fans who attend tonight’s game against the Nashville Sounds receive a 2010 Express team set which features the card above showing Will Ferrell in his brief minor league baseball appearance.

The promotion is sponsored by Equipment Depot — no word on whether he’s signed on as a spokesman or whether tickets are still available. (The game starts in five minutes so you might be out of luck.)

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.

Bustin’ some retail: 2010 Bowman baseball

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Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds busts some red-hot 2010 Bowman jumbos and even more retail Bowman packs on a weekend.

How much? What might he find?

Watch and see. (Part 1 above, Part 2 after the jump.)

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John Wooden leaves an immense legacy

John Wooden‘s basketball legacy speaks volumes. His victories, his championships, his proteges who share a place with him in the Hall of Fame where he was inducted twice — as a player and as a coach — pale in comparison to the other ways he found success in life.

He was one of the world’s greatest coaches — if not the best — but that’s not how he saw himself.

“What am I?” he once asked. “Just a teacher — a member of one of the great professions in the world.”

The former UCLA Bruins coach died Friday evening at age 99. However, for all of his successes on the court — among them 10 NCAA championships including seven in a row from 1967 to 1973 as well as a record 88 consecutive victories — it was the life lessons that he instilled in players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton and Sidney Wicks that many say makes his legacy much, much greater.

For years after he retired, “The Wizard of Westwood” was a fixture at UCLA games. And for years he was as mighty with his pen as he was with his “Pyramid of Success,” which was included on a signed fold-out business card of his (above) with every through-the-mail autograph request he received. (Click on the image at right to read his advice on life.)

Wooden signed regularly through the mail for collectors and fans until his health and heavy volumes of requests forced him to curb the practice.

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Kobe Bryant, Rajon Rondo Primed to Soar in NBA Finals

One of the greatest rivalries in sports resumes tonight when the Lakers battle Boston in Game 1 of the 2010 NBA Finals.

A fifth ring for Lakers legend Kobe Bryant will most certainly send his already-ascending top cards to even higher heights. A second one for Celtics scorching superstar Rajon Rondo will do the same for his best issues.

(Of course, a fifth ring for Kobe also will bring him within one of matching Michael Jordan, the hobby king himself, in that category. Oh, and it would give him exactly five more rings than LeBron James has.)

I took some time this afternoon to pick the brain of Beckett’s Senior NBA Market Analyst Keith Hower (OK, it was a short conversation) about trends to watch as the Finals begin.

Here are some of his highlights . . .

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What was it like to pull a Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck rookie card back in 1989? I don’t know … I never did

It’s collecting confession time.

I never pulled a 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card from a pack in 1989. In fact, I never pulled one until early last year.

Why? Where I lived at the time of its release it was a two-hour drive to the closest card shop. And when I got there, the packs were an unheard of $3 apiece and I could only afford a few.

While I own hundreds of thousands of cards today, I only own one Griffey — what some are calling the most iconic baseball card ever made. (I’m close to agreeing — it’s in my top three for sure. And it’s the only one of that three that I could ever afford)

Above is an item torn from the pages of Beckett Baseball from last April, where I finally found one of those famed Star Rookies upon his return to Seattle.

Read all about it after the jump …

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Panini reveals 2010 Prestige football short-prints

Panini America revealed on Thursday afternoon the short-print list for rookies in its 2010 Prestige football card set.

See them all after the jump …

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Cardboard icon Ken Griffey Jr. retires

We all know the card.

And we probably all have one.

But on Wednesday evening, just minutes ago, times officially changed … an era ended.

“The Kid” called it quits as Ken Griffey Jr. opted to retire in the midst of his 22nd big league season, ending a Hall of Fame career with 630 home runs. He ranks fifth on the career list in an era marred by steroid allegations but perhaps first as a player who never faced such scrutiny and as one who was a first in one more significant way in collectors’ hearts.

The poster boy for the modern era of baseball cards, the guy who despised the “kid” nickname as an adult and yet often was seen with his cap on backwards and with a childlike disposition on the field, the face of the first 1989 Upper Deck baseball card … is no longer a part of the game.

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Massive Photo Gallery: 2010 NFL Players Rookie Premiere

If a picture truly is worth a thousand words, what are almost 60 pictures worth? That’s purely a rhetorical question, but while you’re contemplating an answer, take the time to enjoy the massive photo gallery that follows chronicling the 2010 NFL Players Rookie Premiere.

Indeed, just in case you missed our break-the-budget coverage of the star-studded, football-card affair showcasing the top 35 rookies of 2010, we’ve provided this exhaustive image gallery from the three-day extravaganza. Some of these you’ve seen before; most of them you haven’t.

(Between us, we finally got around to unloading our camera memory cards and our iPhone photo inventories. Sorry for the delay in posting. Enjoy.)

Upper Deck selects Paul Meyer as new president

Upper Deck announced on Tuesday evening that it has hired Paul Meyer as its new president.

“I’ve been following Upper Deck for years and I am confident I can provide the kind of senior leadership the company needs, given my background in consumer products and operations improvement,” said Meyer, who most recently served as President and Chief Operating Officer for Shuffle Master Inc., a gaming company.

During his five years with Shuffle Master, Meyer helped grow the company’s revenue from $58 million to $200 million. He also helped expand the company’s international presence.  Meyer previously served as president of the Integrated Solutions Division of Concurrent Computer Corporation. He has worked in several industries, including toy manufacturing, video game developing and publishing and turnaround/restructuring consulting.

Meyer’s track record made him a terrific candidate for Upper Deck owner and CEO Richard McWilliam.

“Paul is a proven leader who possesses enormous experience in a broad range of businesses, which made it compelling for me to bring him on board as our new President,” said McWilliam. “As a company, we look forward to having Paul help lead us during 2010 and beyond.”

Video Vault: The 2010 NFL Players Rookie Premiere

It took us more than a week, but we finally finished downloading all of the great behind-the-scenes video footage we shot at  the 2010 NFL Players Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles late last month. Our apologies for the delay.

We hope you find the following clips both entertaining and worth the short wait. Oh, and don’t be surprised if we post a few more late-arriving videos here in the coming days.

From Tim Tebow signing autographs and posing for pictures to Dez Bryant going uncovered to an impromptu trading card discussion between new teammates Sam Bradford and Mardy Gilyard, there should be something here for everyone.

See all the videos after the jump.

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I can has Mariners Cheezburger bobblehead?

Just when you think you have seen it all, comes this in-game promotion from the Seattle Mariners set for Thursday at Safeco Field.

It’s “Cheezburger Night” as in the “I Can Haz Cheezburger” LOLCats image that started the entire online phenomenon of placing poor grammar in context with fuzzy little animals.

What does it have to do with baseball?

Who cares when the bobblehead of the cat comes wearing a Seattle Mariners cap…

Get the full details straight from the Mariners after the jump.

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Were you a winner on Free Stuff Friday?

Another Free Stuff Friday has come and gone, getting cool stuff into collectors hands just for answering card-related trivia on Beckett.com.

Were you one of this week’s winners? Find out after the jump.

If not, stop back by here again on Friday…

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Bryce Harper’s latest baseball card a Rocky Mountain gem

Update: There has been a price change since this story was published.

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball

The JUCO World Series began on Saturday with 10 NJCAA divisional championship-winning teams squaring off in a bracket-style tournament high in the Rocky Mountains.

But one player, perhaps more than most, is known among those playing in Grand Junction, Colo., (population 53,662) this week. You might have heard of this member of the Region XVIII champion College of Southern Nevada Coyotes as he’s expected to be the No. 1 pick in the Major League Baseball draft on Monday.

He’s 17-year-old Sports Illustrated and Beckett Baseball coverboy Bryce Harper. (How impressive has his play been this season? Click here…)

And it’s only in Grand Junction — well, there’s one other place, but we’ll get to that — where fans can find Harper’s latest baseball card, one that will cost collectors a whopping $5 to obtain him and the rest of his teammates.

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