Monthly Archives: May 2011

First look: 2011 Topps Heritage Minor League Baseball

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

The long-running Topps Heritage baseball line is taking a trip this summer.

A trip down to the farm.

Topps unveiled the basic product information and preview images for a new Minor League Baseball line on Tuesday afternoon, 2011 Topps Heritage Minor League Edition, which will arrive in mid-September with three very notable inclusions.

Bryce Harper, Bryce Harper’s autographs and Bryce Harper’s first professional non-1/1 game-used Relic cards. (And they won’t be easy pulls.)

Each 24-pack box of this hobby-only product that carries the design of the 1962 Topps set will contain two autographs, one Relic and four numbered parallel cards. It’s only the second overall product line used for MiLB cards by Topps since it landed the exclusive license beginning last year.

Read more and see additional images after the jump.

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Upcoming Goodwin Champions baseball set includes paintings, presidents … and even more bugs

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

We’re in the heart of the baseball season, so Upper Deck is right in the thick of its baseball release calendar as well.

First, 2011 SP Legendary Cuts arrives this week but on Tuesday Upper Deck pulled back the curtain a bit further on a product that will arrive on July 5, packing a whole lot besides baseball.

It teased a bit more about 2011 Goodwin Champions.

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Danica Patrick’s car, diecast will honor 9-11 victims

By Chris Olds | BSCM Editor

Danica Patrick‘s No. 7 Chevy will sport nearly 3,000 stars on its black paint scheme for a Sept. 9 NASCAR race, according to images released Tuesday by Lionel NASCAR Collectables.

The Sept. 9 Nationwide Series race will take place at Richmond International Speedway in Richmond, Va., just two days before the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Each star is to represent those who died during the attacks.

As with most of her cars, there will be diecast replicas made for the No. 7 with a 1:24 scale Elite model selling for $129.95.

Patrick will not be the lone driver with a 9-11 paint scheme that weekend as Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray, Josh Wise and Tony Stewart also are set to drive American-themed stock cars.

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

Latest non-sport set from Leaf packs pop, unfortunate circumstance and more …

By Chris Olds | BSCM Editor | Commentary

No matter what you think of Hollywood, there will be plenty to think about when 2011 Leaf Pop Century arrives this week.

Pick a name you might have read about in the news … Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Mickey Rourke, Britney Spears … they’re in there as autographs.

Also in there will be a 1/1 dual cut autograph booklet of President John F. Kennedy and the man who murdered him, Lee Harvey Oswald … a card that also includes a piece from the limo driven on that infamous day in Dallas.

And the product also includes an autographed card of Jeff Conaway, the former Grease actor, who died Friday after battling drug problems for years.

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Tim Tebow — as a Gator — hits toy stores in June

By Chris Olds | BSCM Editor

Tim Tebow‘s days as a quarterback for the Florida Gators are over, but there will be another way to see him in that uniform besides DVDs and YouTube clips starting next month.

The Denver Broncos quarterback dons his Gators blue once again — well, in miniature plastic form —  in the third series of McFarlane ToysSportsPicks college football figures.

The eight-figure series includes Tebow as a Gator, Michigan’s Charles Woodson, Ohio State’s Chris “Beanie” Wells, Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh, Rutgers’ Ray Rice, USC’s Troy Polamalu, Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson (for a second time) and LSU’s Joseph Addai.

It’s not a McFarlane debut for Tebow, who had a Denver Broncos figure released last September.

See more of each figure after the jump.

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Report: Michael Eisner may be shopping Topps

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

A “Heard on the Street” item published by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday suggests that Michael Eisner may be looking to sell Topps, the longest-running manufacturer of baseball cards.

“We overhear the former Walt Disney chief may be looking to sell Topps. The firm is famous for its baseball and football trading cards, not to mention Bazooka Joe bubble gum and Ring Pops. Mr. Eisner teamed with Madison Dearborn Partners to buy Topps in 2007 for about $385 million.

“No word on what Topps could fetch now. The company denies it is on the market. But it likely would draw some interest.”

Topps is the exclusive official licensee for Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, USA Baseball, WWE and Ultimate Fighting Championship trading cards while also holding licenses for the NFL and other non-sport properties.

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

Press Pass readies National Sports Collectors Convention promo cards

By Chris Olds | BSCM Editor

The National Sports Collectors Convention is little over two months away but that hasn’t stopped Press Pass from unveiling its promo card plans for the annual event.

And the folks at the Charlotte, N.C.-based company are bringing some style to the show … 3D style.

Nine of the company’s 10-card Hot Pursuit promo cards will be included in the gift bag of any collector who buys a VIP admission package … the final card — of Dale Earnhardt Jr. — along with an ultra-necessary pair of 3D glasses will be available at the Press Pass booth during the event.

The other drivers who’ll appear in the set include Danica Patrick, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Mark Martin and Kevin Harvick.

This year’s NSCC is set for Aug. 3-7 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill. For more on the event, click here.

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

WNBA all-time blocks leader Margo Dydek dies at 37

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Former WNBA player Margo Dydek died on Friday after being placed in a medically induced coma after suffering a heart attack last week. She was 37.

Dydek led the league in blocks nine times. The 7-foot-2 center, who was once the tallest player in WNBA history, remains the league’s all-time leader in blocks with 877.

This is a sad story coming out of Australia, where she lived. Dydek was pregnant with her third child.

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Weekly Highlights (May 23 – May 27)

Box Busters

First looks and sneak peeks of the week

Rookie Premiere plethora

Collector thoughts

This week in redemption readiness

Extra credit

Card galleries

Just for fun

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First look: 2011 Topps Prime Football

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

On the eve of Memorial Day weekend, Topps released details describing its upcoming 2011 Prime football brand.

Slated to hit shelves in late September, it’s a product that should arrive after a few weeks of regular season play. Whether the lockout remains or recedes by then, 2011 Topps Prime will make its hobby debut.

On to the details. Read More »

First look: 2011 Topps Update baseball cards

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

The baseball season isn’t even at its midpoint — and Topps Series 2 hasn’t yet arrived — but that means one thing with new product news.

It’s time for 2011 Topps Update to be unveiled.

Topps released the basic product information and preview images for its season-capping set on Friday, a 330-card set that will arrive in early October.

The first half of the 2011 season will be recapped with 55 new rookies, recently traded players and highlights from this year’s All-Star Game all among the checklist.

New this year will be Hope and Cognac Diamond Parallels with base and base variation cards from the first two series in these packs as well as Glove Leather cards, 1/1 player-produced sketches, All-Star autographs and Relics and, of course, Silks and other inserts that we have seen this season.

Each 36-pack hobby box will include one autograph or Relic, while the 10-pack HTA Jumbo boxes will include an autograph and two Relics.

Read more and see more images after the jump.

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Your Turn (Beckett Baseball No. 65) — Who is the player you are prospecting right now?

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

You may have seen the Your Turn page in nearly every issue of Beckett Baseball where we showcase stuff that is all about you. You can see your comments on hobby topics and get chances to win cool stuff in contests all on one page. While we used to run this prompt for replies on the message board, we’re going to try it out here …

Here’s the next Your Turn question for issue No. 65, which will focus on prospecting:

Who is the player you are prospecting right now … and why? (BASEBALL ONLY)

Please include your name and location with your comment below — we will only run items with that information. A selection of your answers will appear in the next issue along with our next batch of contests and giveaways found only in the magazine.

Redemptions ready in 2011 Press Pass Legends Football

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Following a previous announcement regarding the readiness of a few redemptions in 2011 Legends, Press Pass confirmed today that all outstanding autographs have now been signed and returned by the players in question.

“We know collectors are not fans of redemption cards, and we wanted to make sure that they were aware that if they pull one from a box of Legends, they won’t have to wait long to get the actual on-card autograph in their hands,” noted Nick Matijevich, Press Pass’ Director of Product Development.

This announcement is particularly pertinent to collectors who have already pulled and sent in redemption requests for Past & Present autographs. Read More »

Meet the ‘New Breed’ in 2011 Donruss Elite Football

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Thanks to the miracle of digital photography and  the convenience of the NFL Rookie Premiere, the hot-handed design team at Panini America already has a handle on some of the hobby’s newest inserts.

Set for a mid-June release with 2011 Donruss Football, “New Breed” inserts feature recently snapped shots from last week’s draftee extravaganza. This marks — electronically, at least — the first opportunity to see top draft picks on cards sporting their respective team jerseys.

Numbered or not, these uniforms offer a good glimpse at the upcoming player apparel to look out for in the hobby and on the field.

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Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts Baseball arrives in June with no redemptions

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Upper Deck isn’t out of the baseball market yet. The company teased SP Legendary Cuts Baseball on Wednesday with a product that featured more than baseball players.

SP Legendary Cuts Baseball is also coming out in June – and with no redemptions.

Each box will contain just one cut signature card. The single-player cuts are considered part of the 200-card base set. All cuts are hand-numbered to 35 or less. SP Legendary Cuts will feature 91 Hall of Famers such as Roberto Clemente, Ty Cobb, Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth.

Upper Deck unveiled photos of some of the historic cards collectors can obtain.

See a full gallery after the jump …

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Keith Olbermann revives bit of baseball card trivia on new autograph cards from Topps

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

Keith Olbermann is known for a few things in the political and sports arenas but one of his newest baseball cards revisits a bit of cardboard trivia from his past.

That nugget of information has everything to do with a card seen above — a relatively worthless 1981 Topps card — something most collectors don’t know about unless they read card-related publications years ago.

“I am also on the 1981 Ken Landreaux card,” wrote Olbermann on a few of his 60th Anniversary autographs that will be placed into packs of upcoming Topps cards. “Happy birthday Topps! Keith Olbermann.”

Yep, that’s his right leg and arm …

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Box Busters: 2011 Prestige Football

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Join Beckett Football’s Andrew Tolentino and Dan Hitt as they rip into a pair of 2011 Prestige football boxes from Panini America in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters Preview Gallery: 2011 Prestige Football

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

As soon as we finish processing and posting the video, you’ll be able to watch our massive, two-box break of Panini’s 2011 Prestige.

Now live, the first fully-licensed 2011 football product delivers both quantity and quality  in each 24-pack (eight cards per pack) box. It’s a lovable line, loaded — most importantly — with the earliest Rookie Cards of the season, insert variety and other hits worth showing off. Surprise players from last year, like Danny Woodhead and Jordy Nelson also supplement the nuance of the newest football cards on the market.

Since we busted not one, but two 192-card boxes on camera, we figured, “why not scan a few?” After the break is an 18-card look at the hits and some highlights from my half of the break.

Here’s one more, before the jump.

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Upper Deck combines manufactured letters with plastic autos in upcoming basketball release

By Chris Olds | Basketball Editor

Upper Deck is taking one part UD Glass and one part past letterman releases and meshing them together in its next basketball product with one name that’s pretty big in the basketball card world.

Michael Jordan.

The company’s 2011 All-time Greats set will arrive on June 14 with Letterman autographs as seen above encased in PETG plastic and signed on the smooth surface instead of the fabric. Each four-card box will contain three base cards and one autograph — each of the same player — with just 20 players on the product’s checklist. Each case includes just three boxes.

The base set will consist of 200 cards, while the insert lineup will include Storybook Career booklet cards, One-on-One Dual Signatures booklets, the Lettermen autographs and All-time Nine signatures, which are 1/1s. There will be no sticker autographs in the product, according to the company.

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NFL PLAYERS President Keith Gordon Discusses Rookie Premiere with Panini America

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By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

Many readers may have already seen this interview on Panini America’s blog. But at the at the Rookie Premiere, as Tracy Hackler notes, “Of all of the players [Keith Gordon, NFL PLAYERS President] is the most important.”

A primary key holder to those NFL Rookie Cards that collectors continue to crave, Gordon sat down with the major licensee to discuss the significance of the event and gush over a few of football’s newest faces.

“Macho Man” Randy Savage, err Randy Poffo, may not have had a baseball card but … I found something else

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor | Commentary

After I watched the news of “Macho Man” Randy Savage‘s unfold via Twitter on Friday morning  — first with an unusual one-word expletive tweet from one current WWE wrestler and then a I-hope-the-rumor-is-untrue tweet from another — I immediately started writing.

Summing up an iconic person’s life isn’t always an easy task, particularly within minutes — and I briefly pondered whether I really should include a Slim Jim reference in the story — but I brainstormed about what I knew of the former WWE champ and childhood icon of many. Former minor league baseball player. Memphis wrestling. Miss Elizabeth. WrestleMania III. “Ohhhhh yeah” …

I searched the database for Randy Poffo, his real name, knowing full well that he didn’t appear on a single baseball card — it was searched long, long ago under more casual and trivial times. One should really know better than to expect an early 1970s Rookie League team to have a card set, but I looked once again, anyway. I called up his baseball stats — half-surprised they were actually documented — linked and kept writing. Then I searched for “Randy Savage” where I found his stats as a wrestler, the most pertinent piece of information for collectors and finished up my piece.

Then, on a whim, I hit eBay, wanting there to be a long-omitted baseball card to be there waiting for me. After all, I had never even seen a photo of Savage as a ballplayer — it’s the stuff of Internet wrestling lore, kind of like that epic image of Triple H with 1980s Flair Hair. It’s out there — I’ve seen it — but I can’t seem to find it when I need it. (You know, I’ve got important emails that need to be sent.)

It wasn’t to be … but I did find something else for Randy Poffo.

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First look: 2011 Topps Marquee baseball cards

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

Topps unveiled a new  baseball card line on Tuesday, a product that will include an autograph or Relic in every pack, as well as include the previously reported return of “Joltin'” Joe DiMaggio to Topps when it arrives in late August.

Topps Marquee will include four mini boxes per display box with 12 display boxes per case in a product Topps says will feature “something for everyone at a mid-range price point” with on-card and multi-piece Relic autographs, jumbo and patch Relics and more in the mix.

Each box will include one on-card autograph, on autographed multi-piece Relic, one jumbo Relic and one quad Relic.

In every case, there will be a Museum Collection autograph card which is placed into a metal frame and limited to just 10 copies.

The base set will consist of just 100 cards with three cards found in every pack. The are four parallels of each card — a 1/1 Platinum, Golds (/99), Coppers (/199) and Blues (/299).

The Monumental Markings autographs will include 75 rookies and veteran players as well as an autograph of boxer Manny Pacquiao. Among the notable signers here are Albert Pujols, Hank Aaron and Sandy Koufax as well as many retired and Hall of Fame players. There will be Gold parallels limited to just five copies.

The dual Monumental Markings autographs will have two signatures with players grouped by position or team. That’s a deep checklist as well.

Read more and see more images after the jump.

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Sneak peek: 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Highlight Sketches

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

This year’s Allen & Ginter baseball card set from Topps doesn’t arrive for about two more months, but we’ve got a new tease of what you’ll find inside the packs thanks to sports artist Dave Hobrecht.

As you might have seen in The Art Issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly, which is in stores now, he has produced 25 pieces for the Baseball Highlight Sketches set found in the product. While there were four exclusive card previews in that issue, here are a few more — this time featuring Roy Halladay, Stephen Strasburg, Matt Garza, Trevor Hoffman and Ubaldo Jimenez. They’re not the final cards, just the final artwork that will be featured in the product.

See them all after the jump.

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Beckett Football NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere Q&A: Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton

Heisman Trophy winner and No 1 overall draft pick Cam Newton signs for Panini America at the NFL Players Rookie Premiere on Saturday in Los Angeles. (Panini America photo)

Beckett Football‘s Jon Gold was in Los Angeles for the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere this weekend where he caught up with more than a few first-timers as they signed autographs and posed for photos in their new threads all in the name of football cards.

You’ll find more from the event in the next issue of Beckett Football, but here’s a quick Q&A with a guy you might have heard of … Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall draft pick Cam Newton.

What’s it like to see yourself on a card?
“It’s somewhat of a surreal moment to see yourself on a card, but at the same time, you can’t get complacent, because it’s one thing to be on a card, and it’s another thing to have your card have value.”

Do you have any idea what you’re cards are worth right now?
“I thought you were gonna tell me…”
It’s a lot.
“For real? What’s a lot?”
I think one just sold for about $350.
“Whoo! Heck no! Quite frankly, I’m about to doggone renegotiate my contract with Panini. For real, it’s something that every kid dreams about. I was just wiling to see myself on Sports Illustrated. Now I have the opportunity to see myself on a card? On posters? That’s cool. That’s crazy.”

Did you used to collect?
“Collect them, no. But I used to get them; I remember numerous times when I had lots of cards. But I was organized enough at a young age to say I’m going to collect these.”
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Box Busters: 2011 James Bond Mission Logs

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Join Beckett Media’s Andrew Tolentino and Bryan Hornbeck as they rip into a box of 2011 James Bond Mission Logs trading cards from Rittenhouse Archives in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2011 The Tudors Seasons 1-3

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Join Beckett Media’s Andrew Tolentino and Bryan Hornbeck as they rip into a set of 2011 The Tudors cards from Breygent Marketing in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Oh my, oh me, 2011-12 O-Pee-Chee

By Andrew Tolentino | Hockey Editor

Complete with facial hair fun, 2011-12 O-Pee-Chee Hockey is set to arrive in late September.

Upper Deck recently revealed some basics about its beloved brand — including, but not limited to new Playoff Beard insert variations. While the manufacturer is bound to unveil more as the release date approaches, hobbyists can only benefit from the hairy details.

Box breakdown

Undertaker headlines this year’s WrestleMania autograph plaque lineup from WWE

By Chris Olds | BSCM Editor

The arrival of this year’s WrestleMania — the Super Bowl of professional wrestling — on DVD means more than just another chance to watch The Undertaker win once again.

It also means the arrival of autographed ‘Mania-used memorabilia plaques — aka one of those rare chances to own an autograph from the man who has never lost in 19 matches at the WWE’s premiere event.

While Undertaker has only signed two certified autograph cards for card companies though the years — a 1994 Action Packed card and a 2001 Fleer Raw is War Booty card — he has signed a limited number of these plaques through the years, which are sold on This year’s version, which is 15-by-17 inches and includes a piece of the ring rope from the event, is limited to just 500 copies and is presently available on pre-order for $99.99.

It’s not the only plaque commemorating this year’s event, which marked the return of The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) to the WWE fold, either.

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Rookie Premiere means first look at players in their NFL unis, autographs & more

By Chris Olds | BSCM Editor

We’ll have plenty more from this year’s NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere that’s winding down today in Los Angeles in the next issue of Beckett Football but we’re not going to make you wait that long.

Here’s a gallery of images from Beckett’s Jon Gold, who is at the event, as well as images released by Panini America and Topps, the official NFLPA card licensees, who are at the Premiere to get work done that will last throughout the football card season.

See plenty of images after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2010-11 Playoff Contenders hockey

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Join Beckett Hockey’s Andrew Tolentino and Tim Trout as they rip into a box of 2010-11 Playoff Contenders hockey in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Weekly Highlights (May 16 – May 20)

This week in apocalyptic possibilities and other important questions

This week in players posing

Landmark licensing deal of the week

Card galleries

Box Busters & other videos

R.I.P. Macho Man Randy Savage (click for story)

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First look: 2011 Topps Finest baseball cards

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

Topps revealed the basic product information and preview images for its 2011 Topps Finest baseball card set on Friday and there’s one notable thing missing — the manufactured letter patch autographs.

In their place? Autographs. On-card Rookie Card autographs.

Each 12-pack box will include one serial-numbered autographed Rookie Card signed directly on the card, one numbered autographed Rookie Dual Relic, two Finest Moments inserts and six parallel cards when it arrives in late September. As with past releases, Finest will have mini boxes — each with an autograph and six packs inside.

The preliminary checklist includes 19 rookie who will have the following Refractors and parallels: SuperFractor (1/1), Printing Plates, Purple (/5), Diecut Mosaic (/10), Red (/25), Gold (/59), Orange (/99), Green (/199), XFractor (/299) and the standard Refractor.

New this year are jumbo patch cards, which will have Orange (/10), Purple (/5) and SuperFractors (1/1), while there will be another helping of 60th Anniversary sigs and three insert sets: Finest Foundations, Finest Freshmen and Finest Moments.

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Randy “Macho Man” Savage dies at age 58

By Chris Olds | BSCM Editor

Former WWE world champion Randy “Macho Man” Savage — who was known for his colorful ring attire, successful career in the heyday of the 1980s professional wrestling explosion and at least one very memorable commercial endorsement — died of an apparent heart attack while driving in Florida on Friday. He as 58.

Savage, born Randy Poffo, was a two-time WWE heavyweight champ, and his match with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat for the Intercontinental title at WrestleMania III is considered one of the greatest matches in the history of wrestling’s premiere event. He was a high-flying main event performer alongside Hulk Hogan in the late 1980s glory days of the WWE (then WWF) with his wife and ringside valet Miss Elizabeth often by his side.

Before he was a professional wrestler, he briefly played minor league baseball in the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds organizations before he turned to his family’s business after an injury. His father, Angelo Poffo, was a wrestler and his brother, Lanny, also was a WWE performer best remembered as “The Genius.”

While Savage never appeared on a baseball card in the database, he does appear on 103 different cards as a wrestler. He has two certified  autographs — a 1994 Action Packed autographed promo card limited to just 500 copies and a card in the 1999 Topps WCW/nWo wrestling set, which typically sells for $150 or less.

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Next wave of McFarlane baseball figures includes Posey, Heyward debuts

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

The 28th series of McFarlane ToysMLB SportsPicks figures arrives next month with several first-time figures and a few veterans with their new teams.

Oh, and more than a few members of the Boston Red Sox.

Among the first-timers with figures are Atlanta Braves slugger Jason Heyward, reigning NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier (no offensive fingers this pose). Rounding out the list are veterans Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Daisuke Matsuzaka in their Red Sox uniforms and Cliff Lee as a Philadelphia Phillie.

The remainder of the lineup includes Kevin Youkilis – the fourth Boston player in the 11-player lineup — Ryan Howard, Mariano Rivera and David Wright, who have all previously appeared as toys.

See more images after the jump. (Click for a closer look.)

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Apocalypse tomorrow? Which card will you take to the fallout shelter?

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By Andrew Tolentino | BSCM Editor | Commentary

As if the world didn’t already have enough of an existential complex with the coming of 2012, some seem certain that Saturday, May 21 (tomorrow, around 6 p.m.) is the end of days.

Just in case Judgment Day is a comin’, we wanted to put together a checklist for the hobby fallout shelter. Assuming that there’s  plenty of food, water and other necessary rations, which card would you protect from total destruction? Which card would you want to be found by a new, possibly alien, civilization?