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Monthly Archives: August 2010

Daniel Bryan's WWE return was in the cards all along

Wrestling fans know all about the story of Daniel Bryan and his time with World Wrestling Entertainment.

First, he was a breakout star early on in the first season of WWE’s version of American Idol, a show called NXT. But couldn’t get a win to save himself and eventually he was eliminated.

Then, of course, he was fired from the company for choking out an announcer with his tie during a NXT melee — something apparently not kosher in today’s more kid-friendly WWE.

And, much to some fans’ surprise, Bryan was re-hired just this past Sunday to help combat his former NXT compatriots at SummerSlam, a return announced during the pay-per-view.

Did you get all that, non-wrestling fans?

Well, to some it was obviously a work — wrestling slang for storyline that misleads — but oddly Bryan, a long-time star on the indepdendent scene, was allowed to work for other companies during his non-compete time. (Typically, dismissed talents can’t go to work for competitors for a period of two to three months as part of their contractual obligations.)

But to truly know Bryan’s firing was a work — and that his return has been in the works for some time — one has to look no further than the brand new set of 2010 Topps WWE wrestling cards, which arrives in stores this week.

When the card set was announced, not long after Bryan’s firing a few months ago, the preliminary checklist did not include him. But ripping into a pack of cards today I made an interesting discovery — he appears on card No. 68 in the 110-card set.

According to Topps‘ compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act — information obtained by checking a code printed on the cards themselves — the cards were printed between July2 and July 16 — well before Sunday’s PPV.

So much for John Cena‘s recruiting him to help save “Team WWE” on Sunday …

Forget getting Vince McMahon on the phone all you dirt-sheet reporters. If you want the real scoop, everybody knows you have to rip into packs of 2010 Topps WWE trading cards.

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.

Rippin Retail: 2010 Topps Baseball Value Box

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Beckett Media’s Chris Olds rips into a 2010 Topps Baseball Value Box, a new item that hit retail shops this week.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out …

Gallery: Signature Moves at the 2010 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Despite the countless hours of behind-the-scenes legwork that go into preparing for any rookie photo shoot (let alone one that attracts more than 40 players like today’s just-completed 2010 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot), most collectors tend to strip the events down these days to two important questions: Will there be on-card autographs from the event and what do the photographs taken there look like?

In that order.

The captivating images that follow showcasing some of Panini America‘s 2010-11 NBA trading cards — and the young NBA superstars signing them — should provide some early answers to those two key questions.

Enjoy the gallery and stay tuned to Beckett.com for additional coverage of the 2010 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot.

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First look: 2010 Certified football cards

Panini America released the basic product information and preview images for one of its annual staples on Tuesday, 2010 Certified, which will arrive in late October.

The $10-a-pack product will include two autographs and two memorabilia cards in every 10-pack box and there also will be six insert cards per box — two each from Mirror Parallels, standard inserts and two rookies numbered to 999 or less.

Every 24-box case will be broken into three mini cases, each with one “Platinum Hot Box” inside with all base cards inside numbered to 999 or less.

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Sneak Peek: 2010-11 Limited Basketball Same Day Rookie Signatures (Unsigned)

Panini America officials are taking advantage of the unprecedented access provided by today’s 2010 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot to acquire as many on-card autographs for the 2010-11 NBA card season as possible.

Some of the cards being signed, perhaps as you read this, are these 2010-11 Limited Same Day Rookie Signatures.

Although the cards shown here haven’t been signed yet, we thought they were worth a first look.

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New York Giants legend Bobby Thomson dies at 86

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Bobby Thomson, whose dramatic home run gave the New York Giants the NL pennant in 1951 and inspired one of the most memorable calls in baseball history, has died. He was 86.

“The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” came off Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca in a playoff game to determine who would face the New York Yankees in the World Series, forever linking the duo in baseball lore and on baseball memorabilia.

Thomson, who also played for the Milwaukee Braves, Cubs, Red Sox and Orioles, played 15 seasons in the bigs, hitting .270 with 264 home runs and 1,026 RBI.

The three-time All-Star appeared on just 219 baseball cards during his career, just 25 of those certified autographs and 17 of them featuring memorabilia swatches. His Rookie Card appears in the 1948 Bowman set, which can be found for $100 or less.

Thomson was a prolific signer for baseball fans through the mail over the years and his autograph can often be found in tandem with Branca.

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.

Beckett On Location: The 2010 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Beckett correspondent Michael Eisner (no, not that Michael Eisner) is on location today inside the MSG Training Center in Tarrytown, N.Y., covering the 2010 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot and Panini America‘s cardmaking exploits there.

The big news of the day so far: Panini America President Mark Warsop confirmed to MSNBC’s Darren Rovell that the company has signed No. 1 overall pick John Wall to a one-year exclusive.

Eisner’s got his hands full attempting to track down, interview and photograph more than 40 of the NBA’s brightest young players, but he managed to file a few quick snapshots during a harried lunch break.

His task this afternoon is to get as many close-up card pics as possible. So stay tuned . . .

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Round 5 Readies New-Line Sneak Peek for UFC Fan Expo

Renowned UFC figure-maker Round 5 has a surprise for those MMA fans attending the UFC Fan Expo in conjunction with UFC 118 later this month in Boston: A sneak peek at the company’s Ultimate Collector Series 4 line.

Due out in time for the 2010 holiday shopping season, the new lineup incorporates one legendary fighter (UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie), two current champions (heavyweight Brock Lesnar, light heavyweight Mauricio “Shogun” Rua), one former champion (light heavyweight Quinton “Rampage” Jackson), one up-and-comer (heavyweight contender Cain Velasquez) and two larger-than-life UFC personalities (president Dana White and “Veteran Voice of the Octagon” Bruce Buffer).

“We are pleased to be introducing our latest series of new figurines to fans at UFC Fan Expo,” said Damon Lau, Round 5 president and co-founder. “There are some completely new athletes, including Royce Gracie and Cain Velasquez, and our first ‘Ultimate Collector’ non-fighters in Dana White and Bruce Buffer.”

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In the Minors: But will they get baseball cards?

This one’s definitely from the “kids, don’t try this at home” category.

You might know the Savannah Sand Gnats for having one of the coolest logos in baseball, but it was pretty hot on the basepaths Saturday night in Georgia.

That’s because stuntman Ted Batchelor rounded the bases … on fire.

I’m not going to even try to make sense of this minor league publicity stunt … but all I can say is if this doesn’t get him a baseball card in the Sand Gnats’ team set, I don’t know what would.

But we’re not done there …

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First look: 2010 Bowman Sterling football cards

Topps unveiled its latest football offering, 2010 Bowman Sterling, on Monday, a rookie-loaded high-end product chock-full of autographs and memorabilia cards.

Set to arrive in mid-December, Sterling will include 12 Rookie Cards, four autographs, two autographed Relics and a dozen more Relics in every six-pack box. Also included will be a dual Relic box-topper card.

Every five-card pack will include two RCs, one autograph and two Relics, while every eight-box case includes one dual autograph.

As with most Topps products, and past editions of Bowman Sterling, there are several parallels of each card to be found — SuperFractors and printing plates as well as Refractors (Gold, Black, Blue and standard).

Among the notable rookies on the autograph checklist are Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy, Jordan Shipley, C.J. Spiller, Ndamukong Suh and others, while the veteran autograph lineup includes Eli Manning, Percy Harvin, Chris “Beanie” Wells, Ray Rice, Drew Brees and others.

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In the Game celebrates a century of hockey cards

In The Game teased its latest forthcoming hockey card set during the weekend, Ultimate Memorabilia Series 10th Edition, which will include a C-56-style base set and redemption cards for original cards from the  famed first hockey set.

The original C56 checklist includes 36 cards — 20 of those players in the Hall of Fame — and In The Game will hope to capture some of that retro magic with its 2010 set.

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Panini America Inks T-Wolves' Wesley Johnson to Exclusive Deal

Bright and early Monday morning, Panini America officials tipped off what promises to be a busy week by announcing that they have reached an exclusive trading card agreement with No. 4 overall pick Wesley Johnson.

To launch the relationship, Panini has arranged for Johnson to visit ESPN headquarters for an extensive media tour Monday that will include stints on seemingly every ESPN platform.

Johnson, drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves out of the University of Syracuse, last season earned Big East Player of the Year honors and was a First Team Associated Press All-American. His first mainstream NBA trading cards will be available late next month in Panini’s 2010 NBA Prestige product.

“We are excited to add Wesley Johnson as an exclusive Panini athlete,” said Scott Prusha, Panini America’s Director of Marketing. “Wesley excited Syracuse fans in college and we expect him to do the same for the Timberwolves fans. We look forward to introducing Wesley to NBA trading card collectors.”

Stay tuned to Beckett.com for additional information on this story, including an exclusive interview with Johnson.

Tim Tebow Justifies Early Collector Interest in Preseason Debut

OK, so Tim Tebow‘s unbelievably ballyhooed NFL debut during the second half of Denver’s preseason opener in Cincinnati on Sunday night wasn’t necessarily Phil Simms in Super Bowl XXI.

Still, the polarizing project passer from the University of Florida did provide a few highly improbable outcomes: He made an NFL preseason game legitimate must-see TV, he outperformed fellow rookie classmates Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy, and he gave all those collectors throwing crazy cash at his Rookie Cards the right to say “I told you so” — if only for one week.

Granted, Tebow wasn’t exactly facing the Steel Curtain, the Purple People Eaters, the Monsters of the Midway or Doomsday, but neither were Clausen, McCoy and Bradford. Tebow threw for more yards than the other three first-year QBs, and was the only one of the four to complete better than 60 percent of his passes and produce a touchdown.

Here’s how the four stacked up statistically during their respective NFL preseason debuts:

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Gallery: 2010 Aflac All-American Classic baseball cards

This year’s Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic is just a few hours away, starting at 5 p.m. at PETCO Park in San Diego, but the annual favorites are already prepped and ready for collectors’ hands.

The Topps Aflac All-American baseball cards, which were produced in just the last couple of days.

While attendees will receive three cards selected at random, there’s no doubt that there will be collectors trying to scoop up all 38 cards — and perhaps get some of them signed — well before the cards ever appear in Topps packs.

See all 38 cards from this year’s set after the jump.

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Aflac baseball card set a quick turnaround for Topps

The West squad's Christian Montgomery works away at his stack of cards to sign on Saturday in advance of today's Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic.

By Theo Chen | for Beckett Baseball

Hurry up and wait. That’s the name of the game for Topps each year when the company produces its highly sought after Bowman cards featuring players in the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic.

The Classic is today at Petco Park in San Diego.

Jim McKenna, Topps’ assistant brand manager for baseball, has helped plan the company’s Aflac effort for the past four years and said it starts with coordinating the player schedules with the event’s organizers. And then, after that, there’s one key aspect — finding a printer in San Diego who can turn around the entire job on a lightning-fast schedule.

“We get bids from printers weeks in advance – they like the notoriety of saying they worked with Topps,” McKenna said. “Then we have our photographer set up at the hotel to take photos of the players as they arrive on Thursday and are fitted for their uniforms. We choose the best pose to fit the card design and do color correction.”

Topps is one of several corporate sponsors of the game, but Aflac runs the show, and the players have a busy four days once they arrive in San Diego including meetings, practices, a children’s hospital visit, an awards dinner and other events.

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Card Gallery: 2010 TRISTAR Obak baseball cards

The latest edition of TRISTAR‘s retro baseball card line, Obak, has arrived and it’s full of eclectic inclusions that explore the history of baseball and the sports world instead. (See the Box Busters video right here.)

While you might not recognize some of these names at a glance you undoubtedly are familiar with their creations or the ways that their achievements are reflected in sports.

Literally every card can be a story in Obak, but we figured that a picture’s worth a thousand words — and we also figured that firing up the Google to learn a bit more about the history of the game might not be a bad thing on a hot Sunday afternoon.

We’ll tell you a bit more about some of the cards you’ll see after the jump … after the jump.

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Card gallery: TRISTAR TNA Icons wrestling cards

You’ve probably seen the Box Busters episode, but we wanted to make sure you got a closer, sharper, look at some of the cards to be found in the latest Total Nonstop Action wrestling card set from TRISTAR, 2010 TNA Icons.

The design of the autograph cards seems to be stepped up and the photography, as always, is rich with a mix of studio and action images from TNA’s official photographer, Lee South.

See a selection of the cards from the set that arrived in hobby shops last week after the jump.

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First look: 2010 Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic cards


Beckett Baseball‘s Theo Chen will have the latest in the behind-the-scenes action from this year’s Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic festivities, which took place in Saturday afternoon in San Diego, here soon.

Until then, here’s the first look at the cards that Topps prepared for the event.

The game, which features some of the best prep talent in the country, is set for Sunday at PETCO Park.

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.

Ruth family photos hit auction block through Shulte Auctions

A collection of autographed Babe Ruth photos originally owned by his sister and never seen by the public have hit the auction block through SchulteAuctions.com.

The collection consists of five original photos and an inner book cover, which was signed, dated and personalized by The Bambino to Mamie Margaret Ruth-Moberly. The items have been consigned by the family and have never before been publicly available.

Adding to the allure of some of the items are photos from the Ruth family as well. The exact signed photo above, for example, can be seen in a photo of Mamie, which will come with the piece. That photo can be seen at right.

In addition, there also is a photo signed by Lou Gehrig, which also is personalized to Ruth’s sister.

The auctions are active now though the Woodstock, Md.-based company  and continue until Aug. 31.

Each of the photos have been certified by either James Spence Authentication or PSA/DNA.

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Box Busters: 2010 TNA Icons wrestling cards

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Beckett Media’s Chris Olds and Bryan Hornbeck rip into a pair of 2010 TNA Icons wrestling card boxes from TRISTAR in this episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

EA Sports' Madden 11 Hype Includes Limited-Edition Panini Card

Panini America and EA Sports will begin teaming up next week to generate a little football card awareness among some of the most respected and read sports business and videogame writers in the country. To help celebrate the August 10 release of Madden 11, the latest installment of the most popular videogame franchise in the world, Panini created a limited-edition card inspired by the game’s box art and the man on it – Madden 11 cover boy Drew Brees.

Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback and Super Bowl XLIV champion, signed each of the 50 cards – with on-card signatures, by the way. In the coming days, those cards are sure to be making lasting impressions on folks who may be exposed to the thrill of an autographed football card for the first time in a long time, or perhaps for the first time ever.

For Panini officials, ever eager to spread the football card gospel by any means possible, the promotion was a no-brainer.

“Given our relationships with EA and Drew Brees, we thought this would be a memorable way to commemorate the release of Madden 11 while help build hype for football cards on a potentially much larger platform,” says Scott Prusha, Panini America’s Director of Marketing. “Through the Madden 11 launch we’re able to provide significant exposure for our trading cards in particular and for the entire category in general.”

Box Busters: 2010 Obak baseball cards

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Beckett Baseball’s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer rip into boxes of 2010 Obak baseball cards from TRISTAR in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside these boxes

Watch and find out.

See Part 2 after the jump …

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First look: 2010 Topps Prime football cards

Topps teased a brand new football card line on Friday, one that promises to bring some new touches to NFL fans and collectors.

Its name? Topps Prime.

This $10 a pack product will include one autographed Rookie Card, one signed multi-piece Relic and two additional Relic cards in each 10-pack box when it arrives in late November.

The Prime Relics cards will include as many as six pieces per card with each noting what the item is: wristbands, gloves, footballs and jerseys (home and road) will be used.

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First look: 2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects baseball cards

After teasing a few card images on Thursday, Topps released the basic product breakdown for  its forthcoming 2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects baseball card set on Friday morning.

Scheduled for release in mid-December, it will include one Chrome autograph per 24-pack hobby box and each 12-box case will include just one 16U USA Baseball team autograph card.

The Draft Picks & USA Baseball Stars checklist includes 110 cards each with Red and Blue standard Bowman parallels along with the full run of Chrome parallels as well (SuperFractor, Red, Orange, Gold, Blue and standard). The Rookies checklist includes 110 players with both standard and Chrome cards to be found.

The Chrome autograph checklist includes 43 players  — 25 prospects and 18 members of the 16U USA team. Each of these cards will be found with the standard parallels, while a Stephen Strasburg Chrome autograph card is listed as a rookie variation card.

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First look: 2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Stephen Strasburg Autograph

Topps is apparently taking a different  approach with what could be the biggest Chrome autograph card in recent years — if not ever — as it teased the card image for Stephen Strasburg‘s 2010 Bowman Chrome Draft RC on Thursday.

Interestingly, it doesn’t feature an action photo — instead a curtain call from his big-league debut game on June 8.

That’s a move that might make some collectors cringe but is perhaps one that will stand out among the countless cards Strasburg has this season.

Does it help or hurt a card like this? Thoughts on this move? Let us know in the comments and take the poll below.

[polldaddy poll="3612362"]

FOR A GALLERY OF IMAGES FROM THE SET, LOOK AFTER THE JUMP.

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