Monthly Archives: June 2012

First look: 2011-12 Panini America Dominion Hockey

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Panini America is bringing back Dominion for a second year.

The company was impressed by the product’s debut with company spokesperson Tracy Hackler wrote on the Panini blog: “Given last season’s highly decorated debut of as the newest super-premium superstar on the sports collectibles landscape, it would be no stretch at all to call easily one of the most anticipated releases of the season.”

One of the reasons fans could get excited by the release is it marks the debut of Gordie Howe memorabilia in Panini products. Panini announced the signing of “Mr. Hockey” in January.

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Now you can be one of the Garbage Pail Kids

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Have you ever pictured yourself as a character from Garbage Pail Kids? Stinky Sam or Tearful Theresa?

Topps is giving GPK fans a chance to become an authentic character in a future release.

In October, an original GPK series will be released, which was announced on Beckett in April with a slate of photographs. Golden tickets will be randomly inserted into the new product for lucky winners.

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First look: 2012 Panini Signature Series baseball

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A favorite from the Donruss stable is back in baseball for the first time in more than a decade.

Panini America unveiled plans for 2012 Panini Signature Series, an autograph-driven product that will include three autographs in every six-card pack and include few prospects compared to its previous baseball releases this year when it arrives in late August.

Oh, and it includes a heavy on-card autograph presence,  too.

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TRISTAR doubles up the cuts in SignaCuts Baseball

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

TRISTAR‘s next baseball card line will be twice as nice for some collectors who rip into the cut-autograph product.

How? Every 24-box case of 2012 TRISTAR SignaCuts will include 10 dual-sided cut cards when it arrives at the National Sports Collectors Convention Aug. 1-5 before a traditional hobby-wide release on Aug. 15.

Among the notable pairings? Babe Ruth and Charlie Root, who served up the “called shot” in the 1932 World Series for one. Jimmie Foxx and actor Tom Hanks, whose character Jimmy Dugan in “A League of Their Own” was based on Foxx, is another. A third — of many in the product — will pair Nolan Ryan and Josh Hamilton, while another will pair New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig with legendary stadium voice Bob Sheppard.

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Don Larsen’s perfect-game uni headed to auction

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

NEW YORK – Don Larsen stood next to a mannequin draped in an old-time New York Yankees uniform, smiling for the assembled cameras with his wife, Corrine, by his side.

Flashes popped in their faces.

“That’s a lot of lights, huh?” he asked, leaning over to her.

Even after throwing a perfect game in the 1956 World Series, Larsen is still a simple man reveling in the amount of attention his feat has drawn. No other pitcher has ever thrown a perfect game in the World Series, and just one no-hitter has been thrown in the playoffs after all these years.

Larsen was in front of all the cameras on Thursday to talk about the uniform he wore that day when Yogi Berra jumped in his arms. The 82-year-old is auctioning off the full uniform – jersey and pants – through Steiner Sports in part to support his two grandsons, who are 20 and 14.

“It’s for them. It’s for their education,” Larsen said. “If there’s anything left after that, maybe I’ll take the family on a little trip.”

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Upper Deck unveils its NSCC VIP card set

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Upper Deck is headed to Baltimore for the National Sports Collectors Convention and it’s bringing along some cards for you.

Well, if you’re a VIP that is.

The company will produce a six-card show-exclusive set for the event set for Aug. 1-5 in Baltimore, and it showcases some of the biggest names in the company’s athlete spokesman stable.

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Hall of Famers of all types in Panini Cooperstown

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

When Panini America‘s latest baseball card set arrives in late August, it will include many — if not all — of the residents of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Hence the product’s name, Cooperstown.

So, while that means we’ll have more cards of the pitchers and catchers of the Hall of Fame world, we’ll also have cards — and autographs — for a few others.

Who? Sportswriters. Broadcasters. Umpires. Managers. General Managers.

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USA Baseball memorabilia giveaways return

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

If you remember USA Baseball‘s Nine Innings of Summer last year, then the video above will make sense — well, at least after the Don West bit.

If not, simply put, the organization is giving away autographed memorabilia once again but in a smaller fashion this year. It starts big — and it starts today — with an autographed Trevor Bauer cap going out to a collector.

Bauer, a first-round pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks last year out of UCLA, was 11-1 with a 2.23 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 93 minor-league innings this season. Tonight, he makes his MLB debut as a starter facing the Braves in Atlanta.

Watch the video to find out about more — and how you can win the Bauer.

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

Memory Lane to display Babe Ruth cards at NSCC

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Bambino is going back to Baltimore.

A landmark collection of PSA-graded Babe Ruth baseball cards will be on display for collectors to see during this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention Aug. 1-5 in Baltimore thanks to Memory Lane Inc.

The collection is owned by Don Spence and is the finest in the PSA registry with many of the cards having a population of 10 or fewer copies in their top grades — a collection that includes more than 140 cards including a 1916 Sporting News card, Ruth’s 1933 Goudey Rookie Cards and more from throughout his career. Memory Lane will give all visitors to its booth a free calendar/poster showcasing some of the best cards from the lot.

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Box Busters: 2012 Topps Tier One + Big Contest

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into 2012 Topps Tier One in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? What can you win? Watch and find out …

Answer the two questions in a comment below — and include your name and email address — or you won’t be eligible.

We’ll pick as many as five of the most-creative answers — and let you guys vote for a winner of the big card next week.

(Need a checklist or OPG for this one? Click here.)

Box Busters: 2012 Prestige football cards

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Join Beckett Football‘s Andrew Tolentino and Dan Hitt as they rip into a box of 2012 Prestige football cards from Panini America in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2011-12 Panini Rookie Anthology

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Join Beckett Hockey’s Dan Hitt, Dave Sliepka and Andrew Tolentino as they rip into a pair of 2011-12 Panini Rookie Anthology boxes in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Topps unveils rookie auto plans for Bauer, Middlebrooks

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Trevor Bauer fans only have to wait until Thursday for the former UCLA star to officially become a rookie.

They’ll have to wait a bit longer for his first Rookie Cards and RC autographs.

Topps announced on Wednesday that the Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher will make his RC debut in Topps Finest, which arrives on Aug. 8, as part of an update on a few newcomers who will be appearing on cards soon.

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First Look: 2012 Certified Football

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

As hype and hullabaloo continues to swell over today’s 2012 Prestige release, Panini made sure to add another anticipation maker to the hobby hot list.

As the manufacturer noted, “2012 Certified Football doesn’t arrive for another 11 weeks or so,” but there’s never any harm in having a look behind the curtain.  Shall we?

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Paralyzed player gets first NFL card in Prestige

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

On May 5, Eric LeGrand, the former Rutgers standout who was paralyzed on the field of play two years ago, tweeted showing off his new NFL jersey was going to be available to the masses soon with the proceeds going to spinal cord research.

Today, with the first glimpse at a card from the upcoming 2012 Prestige from Panini America, he has something else to tweet about.

His Rookie Card.

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True Blood trading cards are on the way

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor | Commentary

For someone who doesn’t have cable, it’s tough to get into television shows that aren’t on Hulu or NetFlix. (Yeah, I’m one of those people who hasn’t had cable in years.) So what do people like us do?

Well, when we get to stream TV shows, we watch. I buy a couple of shows on Amazon too if it’s something I love watching. But books are big. I read a lot.

That’s how I first got into True Blood. I read the books by Charlaine Harris that started Sookie Stackhouse’s life among the vampires. As I read the books, I pictured Sookie and Eric and Bill looking the characters from the show because that’s how I know them.

However, there is a difference with the television show and the books. The stories have diverted and True Blood is becoming a completely different world with the same characters. Good thing too because I think the books are geared toward women.

True Blood has become a show that appeals to both genders and that makes Rittenhouse’s new set easy to make because of the widespread appeal. Read More »

At last, a college football playoff: What say you?

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor

For years now, we’ve been hearing this statement (or something like it) at bars, friends’ houses, college campuses, and even across bathroom stalls. “Man, the BCS needs to figure it out, scrap the bowls, and get a playoff system in place.”

As of late yesterday evening, the wait is over. Meeting adjourned. The committee has spoken. College football will have a playoff system.

Starting in 2014, the college football championship will be decided by a four-team playoff. According to the Associated Press,  “the new format will create a pair of national semifinals. No. 1 will play No. 4, No. 2 will play No. 3.” Details are still rolling in, as far as where games will be played and exactly how the new system would work, but as collectors and sports fans we’re curious to hear your thoughts. Take the poll below and comment to let us know what you think of the decision.

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Your Turn (Beckett Baseball No. 78): What do you miss in the hobby?

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

It’s been quite a year in baseball with plenty of surprises, emerging stars, new arrivals and more. On cardboard, it seems to be just as frenetic but we feel like there might be something missing.

We want to know … What do you miss in the hobby?

Maybe it’s the bubble gum, or maybe it’s the idea of something for nothing? Maybe it’s the challenge of building a set in packs or maybe it’s something else? Simply put, we want to hear what you feel is lacking in the hobby and want to see it return.

Tell us in the comments below. Please include your name and location with your comment. We’ll run a selection of the best answers in the next issue of Beckett Baseball.


Your turn: Of these options, what would you want more of in the hobby?

View Results

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

Hobby’s evolution isn’t only seen in memorabilia

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Things change.

That’s the easiest way to sum up the hobby as it stands today vs. the past — whether that past is a decade ago or decades ago.

As our latest issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly is at the printer with the latest and greatest about this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention set for Aug. 1-5 in Baltimore, I couldn’t help but notice the countless differences between today and past conventions when I happened upon a few past programs from the NSCC recently in our archives.

Just like the cards and memorabilia we collect, it’s also readily apparent that the hobby has changed mightily just by flipping through a show program that’s not even 30 years old.

This, of course, is not a revelation to anyone who has collected for some time — and it shouldn’t be any type of message that today’s hobby is doomed. Far from it. In fact, one should rightfully argue that the innovations and the creations of cardboard today — ones that many a cardboard critic might sometimes bemoan as boring — are among the greatest creations in cardboard history compared to yesteryear. Today’s hobby, while perhaps not as widely accessible as it once was when “baseball cards” were a household phrase and a generation’s 401K and business plan, is perhaps better off than the past — as long as it can successfully capture the interest of a generation once again and combat the economic realities of ever-rising costs to produce licensed memorabilia and obtain autographs of today’s promising prospects and stars.

And that’s all just a basic thought prompted by the nearly 30-year-old pages of a show program.

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Box Busters: 2012 Topps Pro Debut

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a box of 2012 Topps Pro Debut in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

(Need a checklist or OPG for this one? Click here.)

Panini signs seven top NBA prospects

By Chris Olds | Beckett Basketball Editor

Panini America has seven new members on its basketball team.

The exclusive licensee of NBA trading cards announced on Tuesday that it has signed exclusive trading card deals with seven projected top first-round picks in Thursday’s draft, meaning that Panini products will be the only places to find cards of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson, Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Austin Rivers, Jared Sullinger and John Henson.

Kidd-Gilchrist was a member of the national champion Kentucky Wildcats, while Robinson was the Big 12 Player of the Year at Kansas and Barnes was an All-ACC honoree at North Carolina.

“We’re genuinely excited to add these gentlemen – the next generation of NBA superstars – to the Panini America family, and we can’t wait to get their first trading cards into the hands of fans and collectors,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop in a prepared statement. “The presence of these players in our complete line of 2012-13 products, in concert with the best rookies from the 2011-12 season, will create an unprecedented opportunity for fans and collectors to pursue a Double Rookie Card class in Panini America’s official NBA products throughout the entire season.”

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RGIII, Tim Tebow, Cam Newton featured in newest McFarlane release

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

McFarlane Toys announced SportsPicks NFL Series 31 will feature some of the biggest current stars.

This grouping includes last season’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, a Super Bowl champion and one of the most exciting draft picks. In all, seven players are coming to McFarlane Toys with new poses and new jerseys.

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Upper Deck bringing back popular inserts for Fleer Retro Basketball

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Upper Deck Fleer Retro has been pushed back to September, but for good reason as the company wants to get as many live autographs in the product as it can and limit the amount of redemptions collectors have to deal with.

The 2011-12 version will bring back some more old-school inserts that basketball fans once loved.

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Exclusive: Topps offers new details on mini set

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps offered the latest glimpses into its upcoming surprise product on Monday as it offered additional information about its 2012 Topps Mini baseball set exclusively to Beckett Media.

The product will be issued in pack form with mini versions of all base cards found in the Series 1 and Series 2 (as the case with this year’s factory sets). It also will include autographs and memorabilia cards, too — all in the smaller size a la the 1975 Topps Mini set, which was a test issue only released in Michigan and California.

“This should be a great product,” said Topps’ Mike Jaspersen. “[It's] 1975 all over again.”

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Box Busters: 2004 Alias Season 3 (Inkworks)

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Join Beckett Media’s Chris Olds as he rips a box of 2004 Alias Season 3 cards from Inkworks in this retro edition of Box Busters.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out …

(Need a checklist or OPG for this one? Click here.)

R.A. Dickey’s auto supply is low & demand is high

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

One of the most-interesting stories in baseball this year might be the emergence of New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey, a guy who has the best record in MLB and some of the hottest cards around.

And he’s perhaps languishing in your commons boxes.

Dickey has an 11-1 record with a 2.00 ERA with 103 strikeouts in 99 innings, and he’s got just two Rookie Cards and a total of just three certified autographs despite making his cardboard debut way back in 1997.

Now, the guy with a 52-51 career record and a 4.09 ERA just might end up starting the All-Star Game.

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Topps unveils five-card National VIP set

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

This year’s National Sports Collectors Convention is little more than a month away and the latest teaser of show-exclusive cards has arrived.

It’s from Topps and it’s the company’s VIP set, an offering of cards modeled in the famed 1952 design but with a twist.

It’s showing some legendary names in earlier uniforms than most of us remember seeing before on cardboard — Mickey Mantle with the Class C Joplin Miners for example.

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Preview Gallery: 2012 Press Pass Redline

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Some might say that NASCAR’s colorful firesuits and sheet metal means it easy to provide impressive memorabilia cards, but Press Pass‘ latest effort just might blow the engines of the most-hardened collectors.

And that’s exactly what the intent is with 2012 Press Pass Red Line as there are two autographs and two memorabilia cards in every single box of the high-end product that arrives on July 5.

As previously reported here, these tins will include at least one autographed memorabilia card, and we’ve got an extensive preview gallery of cards that will be found in the product that you can see here … after the jump.

(Need a checklist or OPG for a 2012 Press Pass racing brand? Click here.)

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After nine years, King James has his crown

 

By Chris Olds | Beckett Basketball Editor | Commentary

He’s been the chosen one since well before Day 1 in the NBA, and he’s been anointed for greatness ever since.

After nine years and 713 games, The Chosen One finally has his ring.

In other words, LeBron James … NBA champion.

The questions now, though, are … is he worth it? Is he worth even more now? They’re valid questions as countless dollars — likely millions — have been spent on his sports cards and memorabilia (signed and unsigned) and he’s now considered to be closer to complete with a ring. (Expectations will likely dictate more is necessary out of the Miami Heat guard, of course.)

So, again, is he worth it? What’s next for his basketball cards? Well, part of that is in the eye of the beholder — but the basketball card-buying masses apparently say “yes” as long as their pockets are deep in some instances.

 

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Topps teases mini baseball card line

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps‘ latest creation might make you feel like it’s 1975 again … if you’re old enough to remember it.

For those who aren’t? Well, it might be something old that’s something new.

What is it? Well, according to a teaser banner on ShopTopps.com, it appears that the company is planning a line of mini baseball cards.

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Box Busters Retro: 2006 Smallville Season 5

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Join Beckett Media’s Chris Olds as he rips a box of 2006 Smallville Season 5 cards from Inkworks in this retro edition of Box Busters.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out …

(Need a checklist or OPG for this product? Click here.)

Fringe trading cards arrive this week

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Fringe is one of the more popular shows on television. But there is a difference in fans when it comes to it and many other shows on TV.

There’s no watching Fringe just a little bit or catching an episode if you happen to be going through the channels.

It’s all or nothing with Fringe, which creates some great fans.

Cryptozoic captured the best of the show’s first two seasons on cards for a product that arrived this week.

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Upper Deck fast-tracks Signature Edition baseball

Update (June 21): This product is now scheduled for a July 3 release and will arrive with licensing/approval from the Major League Baseball Players Association, according to an announcement from the company.

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The next Upper Deck baseball set is coming soon — as in next week.

This year’s SP Signature Edition will arrive on May 1 with what the company is touting as “the best lineup of living baseball players ever offered in one product.”

Each box will carry a suggested retail price of $255 with three three-card packs and a total of nine autographed cards inside. There will be two single-signed cards and one card with multiple sigs per pack. In some cases, the company said, there will be as many as eight signatures per card.

Of course, without a league license or players association deals for baseball, the cards are likely to be without photos or logos — and no card images have been released in advance of this fast-tracked product, which will include six boxes per case. (Want a checklist or OPG for past Signature Edition sets? Click here.)

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Collector Box Busters: 2012 Topps Tier One

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds as he ventures to Nick’s Sports Cards in Dallas to watch a Box Busters of a collector tearing into 2012 Topps Tier One on its day of release.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out … and stay tuned for a hobby box break of Topps Archives after that.

First look: 2012 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects

 

Update (June 20): Topps announced on Wednesday that the product will not be released to retail channels, making it a hobby-only product.

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The MLB Draft is complete, now we can have draft picks cards.

Topps unveiled the basic information and preview images for 2012 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects on Friday, the latest installment of the annual staple that will have some of the first cards of the 2012 MLB Draft class inside when it arrives on Nov. 28.

New this year will be dual autographs pairing Top 10 picks from this year’s draft with notable top picks from the past, while there will be cards featuring the All-Star Futures Game members as well as Aflac and Under Armour All-American signatures, too.

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