Monthly Archives: April 2014

Collector Column: A divide seen on cardboard

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Editor’s note: This piece originally appeared in Beckett Baseball No. 94 (January 2014).

By Ben Aguirre | Guest Commentary

During my two-plus decades of collecting Rookie Cards, I’ve come across some interesting facts about players I’ve never known. Sometimes it’s the facts that come as a surprise, and then other times it is the actual player whose existence was previously unknown to me.

Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of learning something from both ends of the spectrum, and it was particularly timely with the release of the movie 42, the tale released in April depicting Jackie Robinson’s entrance into Major League Baseball in 1947 effectively breaking the color barrier that had stood for more than half a century.

When it comes to collecting RCs, ones featuring single players typically are more desirable than those featuring multiple players. In fact, most players really have RCs featuring just themselves. Jackie Robinson has two: 1949 Bowman and 1949 Leaf, both of which feature just Robinson.

But in the case of teammate and Hall of Famer Pee Wee Reese, who is always depicted as being an ally of Robinson, he has two Rookie Cards — one featuring just himself, and then another showing him and another teammate. Reese’s “true” RC is the 1941 Play Ball issue, which has a colorful rendition of the second base- man. But I’d argue that the sepia toned 1941 Double Play XRC is historically more important — and should be more desirable — because of the irony of who else is pictured on the card, fellow Dodger Kirby Higbe.

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Leaf creates Johnny Manziel predictor cards

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Football Editor

What team is going to draft Johnny Manziel?

Who knows? But Leaf Trading Cards is making contest out of it with 2014 Leaf Johnny Manziel Predictor Packs.

And the only place to get these cards is on eBay.

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First look: 2013-14 Panini Signatures Basketball cards

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Basketball Editor

The sophomore release of 2013-14 Panini Signatures will include seven new autograph subsets, but finding them won’t be easy.

Each box will come with two packs with just two cards in each pack. Every box will have will have two autographs, a Film card, a Chase insert, and a 2014 NBA Draft Exchange Card good for an XRC of a rookie from the 2014 draft.

Autographs in Panini Signatures include Film Rookie Autographs, featuring 25 2013-14 newcomers. There are also unsigned versions of these cards, and Hall Hopefuls. Of the seven new autographs inserts, Panini has included History of the Hall of Fame and Franchise Graphs.

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First look: 2013-14 In The Game’s Lord Stanley’s Mug hockey cards

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Hockey Editor

The biggest celebration in hockey happens when a player finally gets to hold The Stanley Cup Trophy high above his head. There might be no greater moment in hockey.

In The Game is celebrating hockey’s championship with 2013-14 Lord Stanley’s Mug.

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Panini hosts World Cup party with soccer star Cobi Jones

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

NEW YORK CITY – Brazilian music. Shimmying dancers. Martial artists.

It was a party. Yet not the type you wold expect when it comes to sports collectibles. But with the World Cup in Brazil this year, it might be the only way to celebrate.

Panini hosted a World Cup party at Modell’s in Time Square on Thursday. The event featured everything soccer fans needed to get pumped for the international sporting event from lively entertainment to soccer stickers.

But the event represents more than a marketing moment for Panini. It signifies the growth of soccer in the United States by having a party in the middle of Times Square, showing that the sport isn’t in the background any longer.

“Even this is different,” said U.S. soccer star Cobi Jones. “Panini is putting out stickers and not just in the Spanish-based stores. This is another example. People want to be part of the World Cup experience.”

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Beckett acquires fantasy sports platform

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Beckett Media is entering the fantasy sports world, bringing fans closer to the game.

Beckett has announced the acquisition of WPS Fantasy, an online and mobile platform for fantasy sports based in Lexington, Ken., on Friday.

“Our mission is to facilitate trade and lead the collectibles industry with our dynamic products and services, keeping the core interests of our valued customers in mind,” said Sandeep Dua, President of Beckett Collectibles. “With this acquisition, we move one step forward in getting the collector community together to engage with another brilliant piece of technology, all on one unified platform.”

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First Beckett Auction Services monthly auction launches Sunday

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Beckett Media is proud to announce the launch of its first online auction on Sunday, April 13.

Based in Dallas, Texas, Beckett Auction Services will offer monthly online consignment auctions, as well as eBay consignment services. Monthly auctions begin April 13 and a preview can be seen at http://auctions.beckett.com/catalog.aspx

Featured items in the first auction include an autographed Ronda Rousey UFC Championship belt, a Derek Jeter game-used batting glove, a Dallas Cowboys triple-signed seat back from Texas Stadium autographed by Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman and Tony Romo, a Yu Darvish 2012 Bowman Chrome Rookie Autograph Gold Refractor, a Pee Wee Reese cut signature, a UFC No. 1 poster, three Panini Gold Standard Solid Gold 1/1 cards and much more.

The monthly online auctions will include sports cards, non-sports cards, graded cards, memorabilia and more, with a focus on high grade modern/vintage cards as well as low print run modern cards and sports memorabilia.

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First look: 2014 Leaf Bettie Page Collection

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

One of the most popular pin-up models of the 1950s has been featured on a number of trading card products. The latest will be 2014 Leaf Bettie Page Collection.

Each box will include 24 packs with six cards in each pack, and one hit per box. Each base set will contain 72 cards with two inserts: Queen of the Pinups (a 16-card set) and Calendar Girl (12-card set on a calendar design).

The hits will include cut autographs (one or two per case) to Hair cards, Wardrobe cards, and 1-of-1 Sketch cards.

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WWE Hall of Famer Ultimate Warrior dies at 54

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Less than 24 hours after appearing on World Wrestling Entertainment‘s Raw and just days after his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, the Ultimate Warrior has died. He was 54 and a cause of death was not announced.

“WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior,” read the company’s statement Tuesday night.

Known for his other-worldly persona and spiritual-yet-eccentric promos, Warrior was born James Hellwig but legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993. The move was in part to help his battles for ownership of his wrestling character and his trademarks, which originated as the Dingo Warrior in the 1980s while working for Dallas-based World Class Championship Wrestling. He worked for WWE, then-WWF from 1987 to 1991, winning the WWE title from Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI in 1990. He returned to the company briefly in 1992 before retiring and then again returning in 1996. He also worked for WCW briefly in the late 1990s.

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Ripping Retail: 2014 Topps Gypsy Queen baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds as he rips into a blaster box of 2014 Topps Gypsy Queen cards in this latest edition of Ripping Retail.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out …

Forty years ago tonight … Hank Aaron became MLB’s home run king

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Forty years ago tonight, Hank Aaron passed Babe Ruth to become MLB’s home run king with his 715th career home run.  Card No. 1 in the 1974 Topps set ($50) predicted and commemorated this milestone.

Topps announced Tuesday that the first Mystery Redemption in 2014 Topps Tribute is an autographed card commemorating this anniversary. (The second redemption is for White Sox rookie Jose Abreu.)

While he’s no longer the king, we’d like to hear your thoughts on the anniversary and Aaron’s place in the game below.

Do you own this card?

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Do you own Hank Aaron's autograph?

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

Topps readies Ricky Vaughn-Charlie Sheen jersey cards for upcoming high-end baseball card brands

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Ricky Vaughn just went high-end.

Topps teased on Tuesday that it has acquired a Major League 2-style jersey worn by Charlie Sheen and that it intends to cut up the jersey to release memorabilia cards in at least three forthcoming baseball products.

According to a post on the company’s Instagram page, the Relic cards will appear in 2014 Topps Triple Threads, Five Star and Topps Dynasty — a new high-end product.

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Panini entertains Dallas crowd with college basketball favorites

By Derek Ficken | Beckett Radio & Market Analyst

The NCAA National Championship wraps up today with the University of Kentucky against the University of Connecticut. Panini America got sports fans ready for the national title game with Panini March Memories Brunch, a roundtable discussion with six college basketball favorites at the House of Blues in Dallas.

The company also announced an exclusive agreement with NBA prospect Dante Exum, who attended the Sunday event. Exum’s basketball cards will only appear Panini products, and he agreed to sign a number of memorabilia items for Panini Authentic.

Panini gathered many former players, including Danny Manning, Ralph Sampson, Christian Laettner, Clyde Drexler, and coaches Jim Boeheim and Nolan Richardson as the panelists. The hour-long discussions ranged from great NCAA moments to game-time preparation to advice for Exum.

One of the topics hit on the University of Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison who sank a 3-pointer with 5 seconds left in Saturday’s national semifinal to send the Wildcats to the championship game.

“Those big shots coming from a freshman are remarkable and I was lucky enough to hit some shots like that maybe in my career, but it was when I was a sophomore and a senior, and I missed some big shots as a freshman,” said Laettner, who is no stranger to big shots during his days with Duke.

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Panini discloses short-prints for 2013 Contenders Football

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Football Editor

One of the details that belongs to Contenders Football is that many of the cards are short-printed (and super short-printed). But Panini America kept most of that information secret until now.

Panini released the exact production numbers for base Rookie Cards in 2013 Contenders Football.

If a player is not listed below, the card is not an SP.

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Gallery: Upper Deck shows off newest cards from 2013-14 Fleer Showcase Hockey

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Hockey Editor

Upper Deck’s Fleer Showcase Hockey will hit the shelves in less than two weeks. Upper Deck got some of the cards in hand and showed off a number of them including Precious Metal Gems, rare inserts and patch cards.

Check out the gallery below to see the latest additions to 2013-14 Fleer Showcase Hockey.

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Panini America teases more inclusions in upcoming 2014 Prizm baseball set

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(Updated with additional details on April 7.)

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Panini America‘s next baseball set will feature a lower suggested-retail price and more on-card autographs than ever for the brand.

It’s 2014 Panini Prizm, and it will include two autographs in every $60 hobby box. At least one of those will be signed directly on the card when it arrives in May.

This year, the autograph rainbow will include Purple (/99), Mojo (/75 or fewer copies), Gold (/10) and 1/1 Black Prizm cards for collectors to chase. USA Baseball Signatures cards will be found in three colors with standard Prizms limited to 25, Golds limited to 10 and Blacks being 1/1 creations.

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Cryptozoic previews Breaking Bad autograph cards

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Breaking Bad was one of the most popular television shows of 2013. It ended last year with millions of fans watching the end of Walter White’s time as a drug king.

Cryptozoic Entertainment recently announced it obtained the license to create trading cards for the TV show. The cards should be out in late June.

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Leaf Originals Football recalls 1948, 1960 designs

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Football Editor

Leaf’s football products seem to be a hit with collectors with its early 2014 offerings. Of course, the 2014 NFL prospects may help with that.

It recently released 2014 Leaf Originals featuring the 1948 Leaf design and keeping the colors simple like the original, and the 1960 Leaf design.

Johnny Manziel is easily the top player in the set with many of his autographs selling for more than $100. However, most other autographs have sold below that threshold unless the card is a 1-of-1. But getting $50-$75 for an autograph of Jadeveon Clowney or Teddy Bridgewater for a non-licensed product is not bad.

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Box Busters: 2014 Topps Museum Collection baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Justin Grunert as they rip into boxes of 2014 Topps Museum Collection in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2013-14 SP Authentic basketball cards

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Join Beckett Sports Card Monthly‘s Chris Olds and Derek Ficken as they rip into boxes of 2013-14 SP Authentic basketball cards in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2013 Fleer Retro football cards

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Join Beckett Sports Card Monthly‘s Chris Olds and Derek Ficken as they rip into boxes of 2013 Fleer Retro football cards in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2014 Topps MLS soccer cards

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Join Beckett Sports Card Monthly‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into boxes of 2014 Topps MLS soccer cards in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

 

Upper Deck creates Heroic Inspirations trading card for cancer survivor

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Upper Deck has been making trading cards of everyday people. They don’t need to be a celebrity, throw a ball well or skate the ice with blazing speed. Instead, Upper Deck is honoring others for dealing with harrowing situations or the way they give back to their communities.

The latest to get a “Heroic Inspirations” trading card from Upper Deck is Jaclyn Murphy.

In 2004, when she was 9 years old, Jaclyn was diagnosed with malignant brain tumor and given a 30 percent chance of survival. During her treatments, she became friends with members of the Northwestern lacrosse team, a perfect match since Jaclyn loved the sport.

Jaclyn inspired the team while they had a positive impact on her life. Northwestern went on to win its first lacrosse national title that year.

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First look: 2014 Panini Hot Rookies Football cards

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Football Editor

Panini America is changing things with 2014 Hot Rookies Football, a hobby-only release.

It isn’t producing typical a product with typical pack configurations, but each hobby box will have four packs with entirely different makeups.

Pack 1: 32 base cards.
Pack 2: 10 Rookie Cards
Pack 3: Five inserts (including an autographed memorabilia card)
Pack 4: Three autographs

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First look: 2014 SAGE Autograph Football cards

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Football Editor

Sa-Ge is getting out at least one more product before the start of the 2014 NFL Draft.

The newest release features more than 50 prospects in 2014 SAGE Autograph Football. The prospects include Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr, Sammy Watkins, Marqise Lee, Mike Evans, Jadeveon Clowney and Michael Sam.

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First look: 2014 Leaf Best of Basketball

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Basketball Editor

Leaf is giving basketball fans a chance to get some of basketball’s top cards in its latest “Best of” line.

The card company is coming out with 2014 Leaf Best of Basketball on May 30 with a price around $275 a box.

Each box will come with one pack per box with two cards –a buyback and a 1-of-1 Original Art Card.

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Ricky Vaughn — aka Charlie Sheen — is first confirmed Major League signer for 2014 Topps Archives

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Forget about the curveball, Ricky. Give ‘em the heater.

Topps did just that on Friday, teasing its first Major League autograph to come in 2014 Topps Archives next month. The first confirmed signer for the 25th Anniversary Major League inserts is “Wild Thing” Ricky Vaughn, aka Charlie Sheen.

Sheen is no stranger to signing for card companies as he has 73 certified autographs in the Beckett.com database (click here for checklist), but this will the first to show him on an officially licensed, studio-backed Major League card. In 2011, he signed 60 cards celebrating Topps’ 60th Anniversary for the company’s American Pie release.

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Topps appoints new Chief Financial Officer

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps has a new chief financial officer, according to a company announcement made Thursday.

The company’s president and COO, Michael Brandstaedter announced that John Mueller, an executive with experience in manufacturing as well as corporate finance, will take the post beginning Monday.

“John is a seasoned executive with a wealth of experience across consumer products, finance, and the digital space,” Brandstaedter said, “and we believe his financial and strategic skills will be an incredible resource to draw upon as we continue our growth.”

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Topps unveils plans for first Masahiro Tanaka New York Yankees baseball cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Masahiro Tanaka‘s first start with the New York Yankees comes on Friday night.

His first Yankees baseball cards arrive from Topps next week.

The company announced on Thursday its plans for the Japanese pitching star who went 24-0 last season as a pro before signing a contract with New York.

In Gypsy Queen, which arrives next week, he’ll have his first Rookie Card as well as parallels, according to a company announcement. In Bowman, he’ll have an RC, parallels, inserts and a Chrome mini. In Topps Archives, he’ll have RCs and inserts, while Topps Series 2 will include his RC and parallels as well.

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

 

Panini America signs Teddy Bridgewater to autograph and marketing deal

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Panini America is banking on Bridgewater this season.

The Texas-based NFL card-maker announced Wednesday that former Louisville quarterback and likely top draft pick Teddy Bridgewater has signed a card and autographed deal with the company. He’ll also appear on packaging and work with the company’ marketing and social media projects.

“Fans and collectors are eagerly anticipating the 2014 NFL Draft class and Teddy Bridgewater is a big reason why,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop in a prepared release. “Rookie Cards drive the trading card industry every year and, as a result, 2014 is shaping up to be a spectacular season for sales of Panini America NFL trading cards. We’re excited about our relationship with Teddy and what that partnership will mean for our business.”

His first cards will arrive with 2014 Score coming in June.

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Orioles collector from Maine is set to make his pro debut and become baseball player for a day

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A 55-year-old IT professional and Baltimore Orioles fan is set to become a baseball player for a day later this summer as the latest winner of the Topps and Minor League Baseball “Make Your Pro Debut” contest.

His name is Alan Strout and he’s from Kenduskeag, Maine. His bosses in June will be Cal Ripken Jr. and Billy Ripken as he’ll become a member of the Aberdeen IronBirds — and that’s a duo he likely has on a card or two in his extensive Orioles card collection.

“My earliest memories of baseball were in 1964 when at the age of six I fell in love with the Baltimore Orioles, Brooks Robinson and the Oriole bird,” Strout wrote in his winning essay. “My greatest thrill would be to wear the Ironbirds uniform, be a part of their history and thus a part of my collection.”

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Your Turn: Which athletes and cards with military ties are most memorable to you?

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

When Fleer produced an 80-card set documenting the career and the life of Boston Red Sox star Ted Williams back in 1959, it included something that wasn’t all that common for sports cards at the time but is something that we’ve seen a little bit more of in recent years.

It included a selection of cards showcasing the Hall of Famer’s time in the military.

For those who don’t know, Williams missed parts of five baseball seasons — three from 1943-1945 in the Navy reserves for World War II where he learned to be a pilot and then part of the 1952 and 1953 seasons. In his second stint, he was a fighter pilot serving in the Marine Corps in the Korean War where he flew 39 combat missions.

Williams is far from alone as many stars from that era missed time serving in the military.

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Panini America issues first new Masahiro Tanaka baseball cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Panini America is the first U.S.-based baseball card company to unveil new cards of Japanese star and New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.

Tanaka, Chicago White Sox slugger Jose Abreu and Kansas City pitcher Yordano Ventura were announced as the three wrapper redemption cards from 2014 Donruss.

Collectors who trade in 24 hobby wrappers (one box’s worth) of 2014 Donruss mylar will receive a three-card pack that completes their set — card Nos. 201-203, three Rated Rookies.

The packs began shipping on Tuesday.

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Chatter Up: Your chance to discuss collecting and win a Bowman Chrome Mini team set Wednesday night

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This week’s Chatter Up Facebook chat session with Beckett Baseball Editor Chris Olds is a bit different this week as there will be 15 winners of some unique cardboard as well as an hour-long Q&A about collecting.

And you can get your shot to win all 15 team sets right here, right now.

We’re giving away 15 team sets — one for all National League team — in the recently released 2013 Bowman Chrome Mini test set. (Some of the team sets will include bonus Refractors, too.)

Yep, that means Yasiel Puig will go out with the Dodgers — and any other player in each set, too.

Stay tuned for the AL teams, which will be given away on April 16 (Olds is off next week).

 

First look: 2014 Topps Stadium Club baseball

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Stadium Club is back.

After six years on the bench, Topps‘ 1990s photography-showcasing staple will return to the baseball card field as the company released the first details and preview images for 2014 Topps Stadium Club on Tuesday.

With a new configuration of three mini boxes per overall box and six packs inside each, Stadium Club also will deliver the hits with an autograph in every single mini when it arrives on Oct. 1. It’s the first Stadium Club set since 2008, when it returned after several years on the bench. It did not return in 2009.

Each pack will include five cards from a 200-card base set with 12 boxes per overall case.

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