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Monthly Archives: May 2011

“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 Beckett.com 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 Beckett.com 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 WWEShop.com. 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 Beckett.com 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?

Players’ use of social media at NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere might change things for the hobby

Mark Ingram shows off his jerseys at the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere.

By Chris Olds | BSCM Editor | Commentary

In the days of instant gratification, the NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere autograph and photo shoot weekend is a must as collectors demand to see the players in their uniforms on their Rookie Cards as soon as possible.

But the players’ use of social media — even in the days of uncertain labor strife where it can make a positive connection with fans — might make some higher-ups cringe.

And it’s not really the advanced card collectors who might react badly — many know what goes on with event-used memorabilia at events like this — but the card companies and the league might not like seeing the future New Orleans Saints running back and former Heisman winner wearing enough jerseys to make him look like he’s doubled (or more) in size on the chicken dinner circuit as he wears countless jerseys all at one time all in the name of event-used memorabilia.

“Haha I’m at the #rookiepremiere and I have on like 17 Saint[s] jerseys,” wrote Ingram as he Tweeted the photo to his 45,976 followers. He later added a side view showing his girth below the jerseys to be used as a heavy component in all card products — high-end and low-end — this coming season.

An image like the one of Ingram destroys the perception of scarcity for even the rarest of rare patch cards to be found from jerseys such as these — something that the card companies probably don’t like. Yet, at the same time, not much will quash demand for the key cards of rookies as this has been done for years, though with less publicity.

Sure, there will can only one 1/1 logo shield made from each jersey. But how many jerseys can a guy wear at once? How many times will a wearing like this take place for each of the card companies — Topps and Panini America that are there?

The same could be said for the large volume of autographs signed during the weekend, but, like the jerseys, they are spread out throughout the season so that helps soothe the burn when one might realize that there are a lot of other cards out there just like theirs. (Oh, and i’s also worth noting that Ingram hasn’t been assigned a uniform number … so the No. 80 jerseys will likely bug a few detail-minded collectors.)

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Topps announces 2011 Bowman Mystery Autograph Redemptions

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

Collectors who ripped into boxes of 2011 Bowman may have found an autograph redemption with no name attached but Topps cleared that mystery up today.

The autograph will be one of five potential signatures, the company announced.

The player will be revealed when the card is redeemed and can be: Freddie Freeman, Aroldis Chapman, Darin Mastroianni, Jarred Cosart or Lars Anderson.

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 look: Topps unveils MLB Sticker Collection

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

We all know that sports memorabilia can be a sticky business, but on Wednesday it got a bit stickier for Major League Baseball.

As in stickers.

Topps unveiled its plans for its 2011 MLB Sticker Collection, a 300-plus sticker release that just might entice collectors of all ages — ok, maybe younger ones — to peel and fill up an album full of today’s stars, yesterday’s legends and more. Each album will come with six free stickers, while the 309-sticker set will be found in eight-sticker packs for 99 cents. Each sticker box will include 50 packs when it arrives in August.

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Topps, Majestic land Joe Dimaggio licensing deals

By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

“Joe, Joe DiMaggio … we want you on our side.”

That’s the chorus of a tribute song for the New York Yankees star released in 1941, but it might be Topps‘ theme as well as the estate for “The Yankee Clipper” has agreed to license DiMaggio’s likeness for use on baseball cards.

As part of a licensing and commercial push as part of the 70th anniversary of the 56-game hitting streak, Joe DiMaggio LLC has announced that two companies have been selected as licensees thus far: Majestic Athletic/VF Corp. for jerseys and T-shirts and Topps for trading cards.

The commemoration of the streak will include a substantial online presence with a Facebook page, Twitter account and more along with the merchandising deals. These deals are the only presently signed.

“Joe DiMaggio LLC has entered into a license agreement with Topps,” said Michelle Alfandari, a managing partner, in confirming the deal. “We do not have a license deal with Upper Deck.”

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Latest from UDA has LeBron James’ right-hand stuff

By Chris Olds | Basketball Editor

Upper Deck Authenticated would like you to give LeBron James a hand.

No, not for advancing in the playoffs with his carefully crafted dream team … UDA wants you to give a hand as a gift to a collector — a Tegata hand print.

Just like his idol, Michael Jordan, James has inked a limited number of the Japanese hand prints which UDA is offering for sale. Each print is a unique print of James’ right hand, signed and limited to 26 copies. Each 36-by-36 framed display sells for $2,999.99 on Upper Deck’s website.

“LeBron’s first season with the Heat provided us with a great opportunity to introduce one of our top exclusive spokesmen in this unique way,” said Steve Sloan, director of UDA. “What better way to christen LeBron’s first year in Miami than with an original ‘Tegata,’ which is considered the highest form of recognition for athletes in Japan.”

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