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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Five Questions … Roger Clemens: The B-12 needle and the damage done?

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Roger Clemens was found not guilty on all counts on Monday in his perjury trial, meaning he won’t face any more time in a courtroom as has been the norm for the last several weeks.

But, right or wrong, the questions in the court of public opinion — questions of whether he might have cheated baseball and himself — remain.

Being suspicious about amazing achievements we have seen on the baseball field in the last 20 years should be nothing new as we’ve seen angry denials before and we’ve seen tear-filled confessions, too. It’s been predictably the same in the past, but this time it’s different. His needles were apparently B-12 vitamin shots. His trainer of a decade apparently was dirty but Clemens was not. His performance defied his age as he became quite possibly the greatest pitcher in the history of the game.

Believe it or not.

There’s no denying the outcome on the field — it happened — and there’s no denying that it came against players who have admittedly cheated. But does this change anything for Clemens? It’s an interesting question — and the comments in various online outlets show that Clemens is probably going to be a bit of a polarizing figure for some time despite the outcome. (Need a Clemens checklist or OPG? Click here.)

I know how I feel on the issue — and I have my opinions on the Clemens case — but we’re interested in what you think about it and what it might mean to Clemens’ cardboard. Take a moment to answer our five questions after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2012 Marvel Beginnings II

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Beckett Sports Card Monthly‘s Bryan Hornbeck and Andrew Tolentino tear into two boxes of 2012 Marvel Beginnings II by Upper Deck. Watch to see two grown men nerd out over the Marvel Universe. Oh, and the cards are awesome, too.

First Look: 2012 Topps Strata Football

By Andrew Tolentino | Football Editor | Commentary

I’m not going to lie. These are some of the sweetest football cards (mocks of football cards, at least) I’ve seen in a while.

Making Monday a little more manic, Topps debuted its 2012 Strata football line, boldly noting its promise “to deliver the most cutting-edge technology collectors have ever seen.” But before everybody gets their panties in a wad, neither video screens nor other gadget gimmicks are involved here. Just old-fashioned cardboard with some dramatic die-cut twists and printing surface surprises.

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The NSCC: Who’s signing in Baltimore this year?

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

We’re presently prepping The Show Issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly, which will include all the pertinent details about this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention set for Aug. 1-5  in Baltimore, Md.

There will be more than 80 former sports stars will be on hand at this year’s NSCC to sign for fans during the week. Here’s the rundown of who and when and their starting autograph fees for a basic item. (All times are p.m. unless noted with *)

On Friday, the NSCC and TRISTAR, the organizer of the autograph pavilion at the show, announced that New York Yankees relief pitcher and MLB career saves leader Mariano Rivera has been added to the lineup.

See all the signers — and see their starting fees — after the jump.

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Giants’ Matt Cain throws perfect game


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

San Francisco starter Matt Cain blanked Houston for just the 22nd perfect game in MLB history — and second this season — as his Giants rolled to a 10-0 victory over the visiting Astros Wednesday night.

The other perfecto was thrown by Philip Humber on April 21.

Cain struck out a career-high 14 batters in the game, which was just the 14th no-no in Giants history. (Need a Cain checklist or OPG? Click here.)

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Topps unveils NSCC promo card plans

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

You can see Bryce Harper at the 2012 National Sports Collectors Convention.

On Topps baseball cards, that is.

On Wednesday, the company unveiled its plans for the NSCC, which is set for Aug. 1-5 in Baltimore and they will include a pair of wrapper redemption programs featuring an entire card set for one program and a mix of NFL and MLB rookies in the other. (Need a Harper checklist or OPG? Click here.)

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First look: 2012 Topps WWE

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Topps is back in the wresting ring again.

After a long wait, the lone licensee of World Wrestling Entertainment cards released the first glimpses at its newest set showcasing the squared-circle in 2012 Topps WWE, a $2-per-pack product that will arrive on Sept. 26.

Each 24-pack hobby box will include  two hits — one shirt Relic and either an autograph or a Relic specifically from this year’s WrestleMania event which was headlined by The Rock vs. John Cena.

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ESPN’s “Mint Condition” looks at NBA Finals, cards

This week’s ESPN “Mint Condition” has arrived and this week they’re exploring the NBA Finals and the latest products from Panini America. Check out the video …  after the jump.

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Will you take the $10 Card Shop Challenge?



By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

It’s time for another version of the $10 Card Shop Challenge Are you ready? The deadline is Friday, June 15 …

Here is the back story — and the instructions are after the jump.

An after-work card shop visit long ago prompted a challenge to one of my Twitter followers, so I sent another message to the masses curious few who enjoy hearing not much from me 140 characters a time on my Twitter feed. I issued a collecting challenge. It’s time to do it again.

A few replied seeking details, but this time I’m taking it a step further as I want to see what many of you can come up with by hitting your local card shop. (If you don’t have an LCS, hit a retail store.) Call it the $10 Card Shop Challenge.

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Panini confirms short-print autos in 2011-12 Hoops

By Chris Olds | Beckett Basketball Editor

If you’ve had a tough time finding certain autographs from 2011-12 Hoops, there might be a reason.

Many of the signed cards are very short-printed.

Panini America confirmed on Tuesday that 131 of the cards in the 174-card set are shorter than the others and that 48 of those are limited to 25 — or fewer — copies. In all, the group carries a value of more than $6,800, according to the Beckett.com database. (Need an OPG or checklist? Click here.)

Interestingly, Oklahoma City Thunder star James Harden has just one copy of his autograph made, meaning just one person might be able to complete a set.

See the full list after the jump.

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Box Busters Retro: 2008 Topps Heroes Series 1

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Join Beckett Media’s Chris Olds as he rips into a box of 2008 Heroes Series 1 from Topps in this retro non-sports edition of Box Busters. 

What will he find inside … besides a 1/1 sketch card? Watch and find out …

(Need a checklist or an OPG for one of the past Heroes sets from Topps? Click here.)

Kings claim The Cup: New royalty by the numbers

By Andrew Tolentino | Beckett Hockey Editor

For the first time in franchise history, the Los Angeles Kings are Stanley Cup champions.

As the Staples Center in Los Angeles continues to echo from Monday’s history-maker, the hobby tips its hat to the newly crowned Kings. Under the leadership of head coach and hockey great Darryl Sutter, the Kings dominated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game 6. A major victory for a major media market team — a potentially powerful popularity booster for the sport itself.

Using the Beckett.com OPG, let’s take a look at where the latest Cup kissers stand in the hobby right this second. Expect some spikes in the weeks to come.

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How did your dad pass the trading card torch?

By Andrew Tolentino | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Unlike many collectors I’ve heard from, my dad and I never had that “passing the torch” moment with a single sports card — or any sports cards for that matter. In fact, short of a microscope, a rock cleaning kit and an army-issued shovel (which may or may not be street legal), he never really gave me any of his personal relics at all.

Do I resent him for that? Absolutely not. How could I?

As much as I’d like to talk about some *Pulp Fiction-esque moment when a Christopher Walken-like figure handed over my father’s cardboard bequest, I just can’t. Even though he never dusted off some old shoebox and handed me some dog-eared heirloom, my dad still helped me find my way as a young collector. (*Explicit language)

With Father’s Day coming up, I’d like to invite collectors to share their dad-related hobby memories, with or without the Hallmark moment. I’ll kick things off with a few of my own. Read More »

Thunder cards heat up in march to NBA Finals

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

The Oklahoma City Thunder are in the NBA Finals for the first time in history. While this young group of stars is making a name for itself on sports highlight tapes and articles, many of the players are no strangers to card collectors.

On the Thunder’s roster, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant immediately jump out. Two of the best players in the league and they’re getting a chance to show it on a national stage against the Miami Heat.

But other guys are helping OKC on this exciting run. Here’s a look at some of the Thunder players and their cards:

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Box Busters: 2012 Topps Series 2

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a box of 2012 Topps Series 2 cards in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Press Pass releases National show card plans

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Press Pass has unveiled its plans for this year’s National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore in early August and it’s one that will include a bit of mystery.

Mystery packs … and mystery locations for finding them (at least for now).

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Panini bringing rarely done relics to NBA cards



By Chris Olds | Beckett Basketball Editor | Commentary

When it comes to game-used memorabilia, not much is more iconic for a basketball player than his shoes.

Unlike other sports, where there’s more equipment that can be used and customized to show a player’s unique touches, basketball fans ultimately only have jerseys, shorts, warm-ups, basketballs and shoes as their game-used choices. That also translates into a few options when it comes to game-used cards.

Panini America is aiming to change that.

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Box Busters: 2012 Bowman Signatures football

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Join Beckett Football‘s Dan Hitt and Andrew Tolentino as they rip into a pair of 2012 Bowman Signatures boxes in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

ESPN’s “Mint Condition” talks MLB Draft

The latest edition of ESPN’s “Mint Condition” highlights five players from the MLB Draft who already have cardboard.

Upcoming Topps Tier One will let you hobnob with elites via massive bat knob set


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again — nothing is perhaps more perfectly symbolic of a home run hitter than a game-used baseball bat.

And, unlike cards, jerseys and other pieces of memorabilia, the more beaten and worn out a bat is, the more impressive it is — as long as it remains complete.

For card collectors and game-used cards, bats are not always as impressive. It’s not always a love-love relationship. But Topps is intending to change that with its upcoming Tier One release arriving later this month. While bats can yield hundreds, if not thousands, of anonymous-looking wood chips to be placed into cards, the most-special pieces of chopped up gamers are the nameplates — the spot on the barrel where the player’s name is burned into the bat — and the bat knob where a player’s perhaps most-personalized touches can be seen via numbers, initials or sayings.

In Tier One, there will be a 100-card set of 1/1 knob cards for collectors to chase, including some of the biggest names in the history of the game. It’s not an accident, said Topps Vice President Mark Sapir.

“The goal was to add special content, over-deliver value on this release,” Sapir said Tuesday night. “To create buzz and excitement in hobby, provide a special chase.”

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