Monthly Archives: September 2010

First look: 2011 Topps baseball cards

Topps released the first look at its 2011 baseball card set on Thursday with the above image of an Albert Pujols card from its Diamond Anniversary set, which will arrive in early 2011.

As with the last few releases, Topps has opted for a white border and a subtle use of foil stamping in its design. The look has a similar feel to last year’s base set, but with a larger photo frame and a slightly smaller presence for the team logos as Topps enters its second season as the official licensee of MLB cards.

We’ll have more on this upcoming product in the coming days.

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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.

Detroit Lions RB Jahvid Best Named 'Topps Rookie of the Week'

Topps kicked off its season-long Rookie of the Week program earlier this week by naming Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best as its Topps Rookie of the Week on the strength of Best’s debut two-touchdown performance against the Chicago Bears.

The program is being conducted all season long at participating Topps Home Team Advantage, or  HTA, hobby shops.  Customers in those stores who purchase 2010 Topps football products are eligible to receive Rookie of the Week redemption cards.

Every Tuesday during the NFL season, Topps will name a new “Rookie of the Week.” Holders of redemption cards for that particular week can log onto the program website to receive their free Player of the Week card.

Topps fills in 2010 Bowman Draft Picks autograph checklist — but there's no Bryce Harper … yet

When Topps released its 2010 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects preliminary checklist recently, it appeared that “The Home of the Rookie Card” was populated by one not-so-popular player named TBD — To Be Determined.

While TBD still exists in its lineup, the lone fully licensed manufacturer of Major League Baseball cards released an updated version of the checklist for the always anticipated prospect-laden product, helping soothe the concerns of prospectors buying in bulk, hoping to bank on the big-name prospects with the most promise inside those heavily broken mylar wrappers.

While the biggest name of them all — Bryce Harper — is still nowhere to be found — not even on an Aflac autograph as he has apparently not yet signed — Topps has confirmed the following players for Bowman Draft as Chrome Autograph Prospects:
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First look: 2010 Topps WWE Platinum

Topps‘ latest WWE wresting card set will have a bit more high-end feel — but with a “vintage” read on the card backs.

The lone licensee of WWE trading cards revealed on Wednesday its plans for 2010 Topps WWE Platinum, which will include one autographed Relic card, one autographed card and an additional Relic in every 24-pack hobby box.

The card backs in the 125-card base set will be written by Raw announcer Michael Cole, whose calls and style have been known to rile up a few wrestling fans. But it will be this product’s higher-end approach that should get wrestling collectors riled up even more when it arrives in late-December.

As with the last Topps WWE release, there also will be signed Relic cards as well as 1/1 Red parallels and printing plates.

Each hobby box also will include a dozen insert cards and four serial-numbered parallels, while every six-box case will include a triple Relic limited to 99 or fewer copies.

See more images and highlights from the preliminary checklist after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2010 Topps UFC

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Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler and Bryan Hornbeck as they have their way with an early box of 2010 Topps UFC cards in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

This Michael Jordan basketball card remains a real gem

Most of you probably remember the Skybox Metal Universe sets of the mid-to-late 1990s and cringe.

But the card above, which is numbered to just 50 copies,  is one reason why those older wax boxes and wax packs should still be considered when wandering the aisles of a card show or digging around at your local card shop.

Why?

You’d be surprised what it recently sold for.

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First Impressions: 2010 Topps UFC

One of the most buzz-worthy product lines in the sports card universe over the last two years is on the verge of striking another solid blow when 2010 Topps UFC, the company’s fourth full-blown installment with the exclusive UFC license, releases to the masses next week.

Although some of this newest product’s pioneering elements — the UFC’s first book cards, fighter-worn hand tape cards and dual-signed cards featuring UFC president Dana White and his most popular athletes — will be tough to come by, that doesn’t stop 2010 Topps UFC from shining at the box level.

Topps unveiled the product in limited form at the UFC Fan Expo a few weeks back in Boston, but it will be available nationwide on Wednesday. Be sure to visit Beckett.com on Monday for a must-see episode of Box Busters. Until then, here’s hoping these first impressions and jaw-dropping images can tide you over . . .

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Box Busters: 2010 Topps Platinum Football

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Join Beckett Media‘s Dan Hitt and Tracy Hackler as they have their way with an early box of 2010 Topps Platinum Football. It’s safe to say that one of them pulls one of the “Best” autographs in the product. Watch to find out which one.

Box Busters: 2009-10 Panini Hall of Fame Basketball

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Join the Beckett Basketball tag team of Keith Hower and Tracy Hackler as they get handsy with two boxes of the legends-laced thrill ride known as 2009-10 Panini Hall of Fame Basketball.

Completely Random Friday Poll: Which Would You Rather Pull From a Pack of Cards . . .

Mostly because polls are just so darn easy, revealing and fun to take (and partly because it’s Friday), we figured now was as good a time as any to get your take on another hot hobby issue. This time, we want to know . . .

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First Impressions: 2010 Topps Platinum Football

Football collectors, buckle your chinstraps. It’s about to get bumpy.

There’s an honest-to-goodness new-product free-for-all – you know, the thing that happens when you have more than one manufacturer in a given sport? – going on all around us, just in time for the start of football season.

Some might call it “Christmas in September.” Mostly, though, we collectors just call it awesome.

Indeed, the just-days-old 2010 Panini Threads and two-week-old Topps are about to be joined by the third new product in as many weeks: 2010 Topps Platinum, due out next Wednesday.

We managed to get our hands on an early couple of boxes earlier today. We’ll save one for a Friday-afternoon episode of Box Busters. As for the other one, well, we busted it so we could bring you these random thoughts and revealing images:

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The NFL's Must-Collect Players for 2010

Man, we thought the 2010 NFL season would never get here. I mean, it seems like forever ago that Drew Brees and the Saints – yes, the Saints – were winning Super Bowl XLIV, setting off a celebration in the Gulf Coast region that still hasn’t ended.

Everywhere else, the euphoria quickly subsided, vanquished by the dark recesses of something called the off-season. But now that a new season has arrived, officially starting Thursday night when New Orleans hosts Minnesota in an NFC Championship Game rematch, happy days are here again.

In honor of that, we present some of our choices for the must-collect players of 2010. We’ve profiled five players here. For the complete list of 10 – you know, 10 for ’10 – check out the October issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly, on sale everywhere next week.

Some of our selections are no-brainers, a few will leave you scratching your head and one or two will likely have you questioning our sanity (if you don’t already). Perhaps the rationale behind each pick will help our case.

Either way, here’s to another fantastic NFL season. And by all means, if you disagree with our list send us yours (readersrock@beckett.com) and you might be profiled in a future issue of the magazine.

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Box Busters: 2010 Wheels Main Event Racing

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Beckett Media‘s Tim Trout and Tracy Hackler are joined by special guest Jesse Leadbetter, Press Pass Brand Manager, to bust the first box of 2010 Wheels Main Event.

What did they pull? Well, you’ll just have to watch and find out.

First Look: 2010-11 Donruss Hockey

In a hockey trading card season that promises to be full of history-making firsts and grand reintroductions, Panini America provided a sneak peek at the latest one Wednesday afternoon: 2010-11 Donruss Hockey.

Indeed, for the first time since the 1997-98 season, there will be a Donruss-branded hockey set for diehards to devour, complete with its own throwback Donruss logo and everything.

Due out in mid November, the product (five cards per pack, 24 packs per box, 12 boxes per case) carries a $4 pack SRP.

Returning to the product are longtime product standbys (50 Rated Rookies, Press Proof parallels and the Les Gardiens, Elite and Ice Kings inserts) and venerable brand staples such as Fans of the Game. Of course, there are plenty new-generation bells and whistles, too, including the Tough Times insert honoring the most fearsome enforcers of the 1980s (including on-card-autographed parallel versions) and Line of the Times memorabilia cards.

As of now, the Fans of the Game autograph lineup includes such celebrity hockey fans as Pamela Anderson, actor Michael Ontkean and folk singer Stompin’ Tom Connors.

Each box of 2010-11 Donruss Hockey should deliver two memorabilia or autograph cards, six Rated Rookies, three Boys of Winter, two Ultimate Draft, one Press Proof, one Les Gardiens, one Tough Times and one Fans of the Game.

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Press Pass Five Star Kicks High-End NASCAR Collecting into Another Gear

NASCAR collectors just thought Press Pass Showcase was as high-end as a racing card set could get when it launched to rave reviews just two years ago. In hindsight, they haven’t seen anything yet.

In late November, on the day before Thanksgiving, the company is releasing 2010 Press Pass Five Star, a super-premium product sure to give well-heeled racing enthusiasts plenty of things to be thankful for.

Each five-card wooden box of Five Star will deliver:

* A base card numbered to 35 or less
* A dual, triple quad or oversized memorabilia card numbered to 25 or less
* A certified autograph card numbered to 35 or less
* An autographed memorabilia card serial numbered to 50 or less
* A Classic Compilations book card featuring either an autograph, a piece of memorabilia or both

Two pieces of memorabilia incorporated in Five Star sure to command collector attention are Wrangler firesuits — one worn by Dale Earnhardt Sr. in 1981, the other worn by Junior during his 2010 victory at Daytona — that will be paired together on a historic Classic Compilations card.

Other drivers included on the Five Star roster include Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Bill Elliott, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Danica Patrick.

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First Look: 2010 Limited Football

Panini America officials recently pulled the curtain back on 2010 Limited Football, one of the company’s most-anticipated higher-end products that’s due out in mid November packing three autograph or memorabilia cards numbered to 199 or less in each seven-card, $100 box.

Highlighting Limited once again this season are a pair of the set’s calling-card cornerstones: Material Phenoms autographed memorabilia Rookie Cards numbered to 199 or less and the legend-laced Limited Cuts autograph insert that includes such names as Bob Waterfield, Bobby Layne, Red Grange and Walter Payton to name four.

New for Limited in 2010 are the America’s Team Signatures and Autographed Materials cards (#’d to 100 or less), a continuation of Panini’s season-long, cross-brand tribute to the Dallas Cowboys’ 50th Anniversary team.

According to preliminary release information, a typical case of 2010 Limited (15 boxes) should deliver at least seven cards from a stacked insert roster (NFL Shield, NFL Shield Signatures, Rookie Lettermen, Limited Cuts, Jumbo Prime Signatures and Material Phenoms) or a stacked autograph guest list (Dan Marino, Tim Tebow, Tony Romo, Sam Bradford, Peyton Manning, C.J. Spiller, Brett Favre, Ryan Mathews, Troy Aikman, Dez Bryant, Tom Brady, Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Emmitt Smith, Joe Namath, John Elway, Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson).

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First Look: 2010 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Football

Packing a familiar name and an altered, all-college makeup, 2010 Ultimate Collection Football is slated to arrive in January, highlighted by the continuation of Upper Deck‘s landmark 1997 Legends program, this time with on-card autographs from the college-clad likes of Dan Marino, John Elway, Drew Brees and Troy Aikman.

See an extensive preview gallery after the jump.

The high-end offering delivers four cards per pack/box, with one guaranteed to be either an autographed card, an oversized memorabilia card or a multi-swatch memorabilia card. 1997 Legends Autographs are seeded one per case; autographed memorabilia cards are seeded two per case.

UD’s enlightening Personal Touch autographs return, with players providing inscriptions relating to their favorite cars, television shows, dream dates and more. Other key insert sets include College Shout Out Signatures, Rookie Super Jersey Autographs and Legacy Super Patches.

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First Look: 2010 Upper Deck World of Sports

Upper Deck officials recently unveiled preliminary information and images for the company’s newest multisport product, Upper Deck World of Sports, due out in December.

As you might imagine, the product’s key calling cards will revolve around longtime company exclusives Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Tiger Woods. But the product also is slated to includes stars from such sports as baseball, hockey, soccer, mixed martial arts, extreme sports, Olympic sports and even lacrosse.

The 400-card base set is bolstered such insert sets as Athletes of the World Signatures, Sports National Dual, Triple and Quad Signatures, All Sport Apparel and Clear Competitors.

In addition to including a stable of traditional signature inclusions (Jordan, James, Woods, Sidney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky), the preliminary World of Sports autograph checklist also calls for the likes of Pete Rose, figure skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Sasha Cohen and MMA legend Randy Couture.

Product promotional literature promises an average of two autographs and one memorabilia card per box (and one multi-signed card per case).

Stay tuned to Beckett.com for additional information on this product.

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Huge Gallery: Upcoming Basketball Gems from Panini America

Panini America officials on Tuesday afternoon provided Beckett Media with a sizable sneak peek of some of the company’s sweet hoops cards slated to debut beginning later this month.

Included in this breathtaking batch of images are some nickname-emblazoned gems from 2009-10 Panini Hall of Fame, due out next week, and some never-before-seen cards from the 2010-11 NBA Draft Class, including “octograph” eight-signature Pen Pals cards and the first peek at 2010-11 Panini Threads, featuring the company’s exclusive spokesmen, John Wall, Evan Turner and Wesley Johnson.

Stay tuned to Beckett.com for additional information on all of Panini America’s basketball plans.

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Robert Horry finally has an NBA certified autograph

Robert Horry played 16 seasons and won seven NBA championships but there was one thing he never did.

He never signed a certified autograph card showing him in a pro uniform.

Until now.

Panini America‘s new 2009-10 Season Update basketball set includes the first certified autograph card of Horry as a pro, his only second certified autograph ever as only Star Pics landed Horry on a University of Alabama draft picks card way back in 1992.

Horry has three cards in the set — cards limited to just 25, 50 and 99 copies apiece — and the first copy of the easiest card to find card that sold online went for $75. That card shows him in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform.

The latest one to hit the auction block? It’s topped $100, though one can expect that those totals will come down as more cards are found.

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Poll: The Sean Canfield Football Card Conundrum

The New Orleans Saints parted ways with Oregon State rookie quarterback Sean Canfield earlier this week, cutting the seventh-round pick on Tuesday in the name of readying the final 53-man roster.

Canfield, it should be noted, finished his first career NFL training camp with three carries, minus-3 yards rushing and 135 different trading cards. In fact, it is Canfield’s two most recent releases – Rookie Cards in 2010 Topps and 2010 Panini Threads – that got us into a poll frame of mind.

Apparently, the 239th player taken in the 2010 NFL Draft was a mandatory checklist inclusion deep into the summer. How else to explain Topps giving Canfield a suspect airbrush job (he’s wearing a faux Saints uniform while throwing an Oregon State football) and Panini America settling for a backpacking-in-the-parking-lot picture?

So, we wanted to know what fellow football collectors thought about that.

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Geeking Out on the Topps Gridiron Giveaway

It’s about time.

I finally had the opportunity this afternoon to spend some quality time with the ballyhooed football card phenomenon known as the Topps Gridiron Giveaway. I’m a better man – and collector – for having done so.

The promotion, a direct descendant of the wildly popular Million Card Giveaway that debuted in 2010 Topps Baseball earlier this year, made its pigskin premiere last week inside packs of 2010 Topps Football.

Equal parts nostalgia and new media, the program is backed by a failsafe concept – not to mention an easy-to-use website – that seems universally embraceable: Free Topps football cards.

For those who don’t know how the program works, here’s a little background: Gridiron Giveaway code cards are seeded one in six packs of 2010 Topps Football. Each of those cards includes a unique alphanumeric number on the back and is guaranteed to be a winner.

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Box Busters: 2010 Panini Threads football cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler and Dan Hitt as they rip into a hobby box of the not-even-out-yet Panini Threads football cards.

Which top NFL draft pick quarterbacks will they find inside?

Watch and find out … Part 1 is  above and Part 2 is after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2010 Topps football cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler and Dan Hitt as they split a box of 2010 Topps NFL cards in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out.

Part 1 is above and Part 2 is after the jump.

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First look: Pamela Anderson's baseball card

A week ago, we brought to you the news that actress and former Playboy model Pamela Anderson will appear on a baseball card in the upcoming Donruss Elite Extra Edition baseball set from Panini America.

Well, now here’s the first look at the card itself.

It’s No. 100 in the base set and she will be signing 35 copies of the card for inclusion in packs.

Will there be other Fans of the Game since Anderson is noted as being one?

I’d bet so, but we’ll have to wait and see.

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.

First Impressions: 2010 Panini Threads Football

Perhaps more than any other product on Panini’s pigskin roster, it is Threads that has struggled the most to gain a definitive identity with collectors, tossed about in the company’s sea of venerable brands that includes Prestige, Elite, Classics, Contenders and Certified.

While that likely won’t change when the 2010 edition of Threads goes live next Wednesday, give company officials the highest possible marks for knocking conventional card design on its side – literally – with the industry’s most memorable horizontally oriented base set in quite some time.

It’s a rather small accentuation in the grand scheme of things, but it feels revolutionary from the first pack because collectors are so accustomed to pulling just another vertical base card.

Not in 2010 Panini Threads.

The horizontal card fronts place a premium on mostly stunning photography that offers more than normally meets the eye. For vivid examples of this, check out the base-card images below.

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Box Busters: 2010 Topps Attax football cards

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Join Beckett Media’s Dan Hitt and Tracy Hackler rip into a box of 2010 Topps Attax football cards in this episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside?

Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2010 Topps WWE wrestling cards

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Beckett Media’s Chris Olds and Bryan Hornbeck rip into a pair of hobby boxes of 2010 Topps WWE wrestling cards in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Part 1 is above. See Part 2 after the jump.

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Card Gallery: 2010 Topps WWE Superstar Swatches

The 2010 Topps WWE set has been out for a short while now, and there’s one set that should grab the attention of a few wrestling fans because of the energy and the uniqueness that nearly each of these cards brings to the hobby.

They are the Superstar Swatch cards, which feature an ornate jumbo swatch from the most identifiable pieces of memorabilia in wrestling today — the shirts that the stars wear to ringside and then are seen on countless fans in the crowd.

These event-used jumbo-swatch cards are another example of how the recent Topps WWE cards are getting better and better with each release, though these cards largely remain bargains despite being limited to just 30 copies apiece. None of the cards seen here topped $100 on the secondary market, despite having multi-color pieces and patterns that would make many a collector in other sports blush.

Check out a selection of the cards after the jump.

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An Exclusive Interview with Dallas Cowboys Receiver Dez Bryant

FIRST IN A CONTINUING SERIES OF EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS WITH THE TOP 2010 NFL ROOKIES

By Tracy Hackler and Jon Gold

Most pre-draft buzz pegged Dez Bryant as a guy with top-five skills and a Mr. Insignificant attitude. Still, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made no bones about wanting him. That Jones got his man – he seemingly always does – means that Bryant landed on football’s most collected team. That, of course, sent Bryant immediately ascending to the top of the rookie hobby heap.

But then he goes and suffers the dreaded high ankle sprain early in training camp and essentially goes undetected all summer by all but the most astute collectors or Cowboys fans.

That’s all about to change in a big way.

Bryant is ridiculously talented and really, really good. Certainly he’s too good to be lugging Roy Williams’ shoulder pads around and at some point sooner rather than later, he’ll be too good not to be in Dallas’ starting lineup.

The former Oklahoma State standout only improves an already-stacked offense that also includes Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Jason Witten, Felix Jones and Marion Barber.

Even without the benefit of a full training camp, Bryant is an early favorite – along with San Diego’s Ryan Mathews – for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Hot List appearances later this season are virtually guaranteed.

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Live from the Ice: An Update from the 2010 NHL Rookie Showcase

Editor’s Note: Beckett Hockey correspondent Gus Katsaros, the Pro Scouting Coordinator for McKeen’s Hockey Prospects and a writer for MapleLeafsHotStove.com, is in Toronto today covering the 2010 NHLPA Rookie Showcase in Toronto. Look for his updates throughout the day.

The afternoon session at the 2010 NHL Rookie Photo Shoot included a lunch for the players and gathered media (which disseminated fairly quickly after the morning skate). There is a pick-up hockey game that will end the afternoon events before the rookies take the bus back to the host hotel.

A most curious and interesting scenario, however, occurred as the rookies were taking their photos and video rolls. A bunch of young kids were using the ice for a practice. The awe in the eyes of the children as they saw their dreams and aspirations personified walking among them made for a much more spirited effort in training sessions.

Inspiration, it seems, comes from the most unlikely places and surprise times. These kids didn’t expect to see actual drafted NHL players in what was surely just a routine practice. Their surprise and elation will form a deeper root in their commitment.

Lunch intersected the sessions and the ’95-born Toronto Marlboros took to the ice for their own practice. While the interaction wasn’t as extensive as they likely preferred with the potential NHL Rookies, similar to the younger kids, the practice was high energy and focused.

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Box Busters: 2009-10 Panini Update basketball

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Beckett Media’s Tracy Hackler & Keith Hower rip into a box of 2009-10 Panini Season Update basketball cards in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Topps confirms hat variations in 2010 Topps 206

Anyone who has opened a box of the new 2010 Topps 206 baseball cards likely noticed a few bald spots, shaved heads and messy haircuts on the base cards.

It was on purpose.

As a nod to the original T206 cards from 1909-11, the company’s newest version of the set — which officially arrives in hobby shops today — features an entire base set lacking New Era’s finest headwear.

Well, except for the variation cards. The 50 short-printed cards found in the set (1:4 packs) are wearing caps or helmets in the photos on cards that actually do not feature card numbers.

See the list after the jump.

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Real-Time Photo Gallery from the 2010 NHL Rookie Showcase

Editor’s Note: Beckett Hockey correspondent Gus Katsaros, the Pro Scouting Coordinator for McKeen’s Hockey Prospects and a writer for MapleLeafsHotStove.com, is in Toronto today covering the 2010 NHLPA Rookie Showcase in Toronto. Look for his updates throughout the day.

TORONTO — After this morning’s media scrum cleared, the next phase of the 2010 NHL Rookie Showcase had players on a brief skate for action photos. As the players skated away and toward the camera, taking various shots, some rookies started showing off shooting skills on Nashville netminder Chet Pickard after Milwaukee Admirals teammate Jonathan Blum fired some preliminary warm up cannons from between the face off circles.

The cold arena, coupled with heat-wave-like conditions surrounding Toronto set up a thick fog across the ice surface that even skating players couldn’t lift. Skating through the fog gave the appearance of waif-like creatures emerging in battle fatigues, ready for action.

Players lined up in their respective organizations’ uniforms and participated in a small video roll. Florida Panthers rookies Eric Gudbranson and Jacob Markstrom participated in a hilarious video shoot, set up with various comical situations (including a funny bit with two dolls and a proposal of a female assistant on the ice) set up through the NHLPA.

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Alabama football media guide sure is subtle, isn't it?

It’s been out for some time now, but I hadn’t tracked down a copy of the Alabama Crimson Tide‘s 2010 media guide to see just how the school treated its 13th national championship and its first Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram.

Subtle, isn’t it?

Maybe not, but at a first (thumbnail-size) glance, I didn’t realize that he was holding the crowning jewel of the American Football Coaches Association trophy, the Waterford Crystal football that tops it.

Once I did, I realized that’s a pretty cool image. Having spent a few years in Tuscaloosa and, having finished school there in 2000, I can easily say that very little is this subtle when it comes to Alabama football.

And there’s nothing subtle about this media guide’s appeal. It will be a sweet item to get signed —  if one can chase down Ingram.

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.