Category Archives: Baseball

Panini turns back clock to 1981 next week

HarperNew

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Are you ready to turn back the clock again? If so, Panini America is ready for you next week.

That’s when 1981 arrives all over again.

How? The 2015 Donruss baseball set includes a 50-card subset of 1981 Donruss-styled cards within its distinctly modern wrappers.

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Heritage gets jumbo treatment as Topps wall art

Ortizprint

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

One day after its release, 2015 Topps Heritage is going big-time.

Big as in 10-by-14 prints of 450 cards in the set as part of the 2015 Heritage Baseball wall art series that are only available on Topps.com beginning today.

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20 Questions on … Topps Heritage baseball cards

TroutRetro2

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The annual trip down Memory Lane to the past is here with the arrival of this year’s Topps Heritage and we’ve seen plenty of reactions to some of the surprises found inside.

You know, like bubble gum-damaged cards made on purpose.

With all that talk about Heritage, we figured now’s the time for a new edition of 20 Questions … all about Heritage.

1. Are you a fan of Topps Heritage?

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2. When did you first discover Topps Heritage?

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Click “read more” to see and respond to the rest of the questions … 

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Box Busters Preview: 2015 Topps Heritage + links

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds as he rips into two boxes of 2015 Topps Heritage in this Box Busters Preview video.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out …

MORE HERITAGE

ERRORS: Click here to see confirmed error and traded-player variations. (Will update as confirmed.)

VISUAL GUIDE: Click here to see who has action photo, retro photo or color swap variations. (Will update as confirmed.)

WITH GUM? Topps puts bubble gum back into packs … sort of

20 QUESTIONS: Read & react to Topps Heritage here

WALL ART: Heritage goes big-time day after release

Topps puts bubble gum back in packs … sort of

Stained

 

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Collectors ripping into packs of 2015 Topps Heritage today will have a chance to find something they haven’t found in packs of baseball cards in some time.

Bubble gum.

Well, sort of. Topps has created “gum damage” versions of cards in the set where an area of white residue exists on the back of the card. If it’s scratched, it smells like bubble gum — just like when Topps first arrived with this look back in 1966.

According to Topps, there are three different patterns to the stains and can be found on all 500 cards in the basic set.

MORE: Click here to see confirmed error and traded-player variations. (Will update as confirmed.)

MORE: Click here to see who has action photo, retro photo or color swap variations. (Will update as confirmed.)

What do you think of bubble gum-stained cardboard?

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Will you scratch your cards?

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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 @chrisolds2009.

Card Gallery: Babe Ruth in 2015 Diamond Kings

Ruth5

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Babe Ruth‘s presence in 2015 Diamond Kings will be simply Ruthian when it arrives in April, and Panini America has teased some of its plans for the baseball legend’s inclusion in the product.

The company will have a cut autograph, game-used cards and plenty of base cards and parallels in the product, which is the first for the brand — as well as Ruth — since the 2005 brands released by Donruss/Playoff. (Click here for our First Look on this product.)

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Visual Guide: 2015 Topps Heritage variations (updated)

Abreu-color

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

This year’s Topps Heritage officially arrives on Wednesday with three types of variations for collectors to chase — throwback uniforms, action images and color swaps.

The throwback uniforms will include different photos showing player in retro-styled uniforms as they are commonly used in MLB today. Action images will showcase action photos instead of the portraits commonly used in past sets and re-created here. The color swaps will alter the color scheme on the stripes of the card fronts.

After the jump is the previously released checklist of those three types of cards. We will detail and update the list to include images of each card as they are discovered by collectors this week.

Check out the checklists … after the jump.

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Chicago White Sox star Minnie Minoso dies at 89

Minoso

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Another Chicago icon is gone.

Orestes “Minnie” Minoso, who might be best-remembered as the first black player on the Chicago White Sox and a player who played in an MLB game in five different decades, died Sunday. He was 89.

Minoso played in 17 big-league seasons, making his debut with the Cleveland Indians at age 23 in 1949. He finished his career with 1,963 hits and a .298 average, driving in 1,023 runs in 1,835 games. He was a nine-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove winner in his career, which was mostly spent in Chicago. His playing days ended in 1964 but he was famously signed to short-term deals with the promotion-mined Sox in 1976 and 1980. At age 54 in that final season, he went 0-for-2, to become only the second player to play in five decades. (The other was Nick Altrock, a pitcher from 1898 to 1924 who had single at-bat performances with the Washington Senators a few years up to 1933.)

“Our organization and our city have suffered a heart-breaking loss today,” said Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf in a statement. “We have lost our dear friend and a great man. Many tears are falling. … When you talk about the top players in the American League in the 1950s, you talk about Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and Minnie Minoso.”

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Sunday Conversation: Topps’ Jeff Heckman

JeffHeckman

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Jeff Heckman is a manager of marketing and development for Topps Digital, which helps bring all of the company’s offerings to life via Topps.com. He’s also the subject of this week’s Sunday Conversation.

Q: We last caught up with you last summer for the Beckett Sports Card Monthly Art Issue to take a look at Topps’ new wall art. How busy has the division been during that time and has it grown?
A: We have been very busy developing wall art concepts for Topps.com. Once we made the decision to start offering limited edition wall art in late March 2014, the wall art category really exploded for us. We found the sweet spot of offering a limited number of prints using classic designs from our Archives. The category grew exponentially vs. 2013 to the point where we had demand for two-to-three new wall art offerings per week.

Q: Which lines of wall art were the standouts in the last year? Any that will go back to drawing board for refinement?
A: We were fortunate to have more standouts than flops last year. The biggest standouts were the following collections: Movie pin-up posters, For Mayor, ’59 Logos, Major League, MLB All-Star, Finest 1/1, Past & Present, Concert posters and MLB playoffs. There were definitely a few collections that didn’t live up to our expectations such as Illustrations, because we really liked the design and quality. The real positive from last year is that we were able to get real-time data based on designs, players and teams that we used to improve our wall art collections as the year progressed. We plan to continue to apply these learnings to our 2015 offerings.

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30 days, 30 teams, 30 contests: Milwaukee Brewers

30days

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The start of a new baseball season is not far away and we wanted to add some march madness of the MLB variety to collectors’ routines leading up to the new season.

Today, we’re launching 30 contests for 30 teams that will last for 30 days.

Each MLB team will have a contest and a winner on that team’s Opening Day. How can you find out more? How can you enter? Click “read more” below for all your instructions.

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30 days, 30 teams, 30 contests: St. Louis Cardinals

30days

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The start of a new baseball season is not far away and we wanted to add some march madness of the MLB variety to collectors’ routines leading up to the new season.

Today, we’re launching 30 contests for 30 teams that will last for 30 days.

Each MLB team will have a contest and a winner on that team’s Opening Day. How can you find out more? How can you enter? Click “read more” below for all your instructions.

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30 days, 30 teams, 30 contests: Minnesota Twins

30days

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The start of a new baseball season is not far away and we wanted to add some march madness of the MLB variety to collectors’ routines leading up to the new season.

Today, we’re launching 30 contests for 30 teams that will last for 30 days.

Each MLB team will have a contest and a winner on that team’s Opening Day. How can you find out more? How can you enter? Click “read more” below for all your instructions.

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30 days, 30 teams, 30 contests: Washington Nationals

30days

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The start of a new baseball season is not far away and we wanted to add some march madness of the MLB variety to collectors’ routines leading up to the new season.

Today, we’re launching 30 contests for 30 teams that will last for 30 days.

Each MLB team will have a contest and a winner on that team’s Opening Day. How can you find out more? How can you enter? Click “read more” below for all your instructions.

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30 days, 30 teams, 30 contests: San Francisco Giants

30days

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The start of a new baseball season is not far away and we wanted to add some march madness of the MLB variety to collectors’ routines leading up to the new season.

Today, we’re launching 30 contests for 30 teams that will last for 30 days.

Each MLB team will have a contest and a winner on that team’s Opening Day. How can you find out more? How can you enter? Click “read more” below for all your instructions.

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30 days, 30 teams, 30 contests: Miami Marlins

30days

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The start of a new baseball season is not far away and we wanted to add some march madness of the MLB variety to collectors’ routines leading up to the new season.

Today, we’re launching 30 contests for 30 teams that will last for 30 days.

Each MLB team will have a contest and a winner on that team’s Opening Day. How can you find out more? How can you enter? Click “read more” below for all your instructions.

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Latest Topps wall art line meshes Finest with metal

FinestMetalTrout

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The latest line of MLB wall art from Topps is one that takes a popular brand from the past and blows it up onto metal prints.

The brand is 1993 Finest and there are 162 new offerings all printed on metal beginning today only on Topps.com.

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First Look: 2015 Diamond Kings baseball cards

DiamondKings2

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

After a decade-long break, the standalone Diamond Kings brand of baseball cards is back and it’s bringing with it one of the biggest names in sports history.

Panini America revealed the first glimpses at a revisited DK set on Tuesday as 2015 Diamond Kings is set to return in late April packing two autograph or memorabilia cards in every 12-pack hobby box. But among its biggest inclusions? Diamond Kings will mark the first appearance of Babe Ruth in a Panini product.

Yep, that guy.

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First Look: 2015 Topps Heritage checklist

2015Cano

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

The checklist for this year’s Topps Heritage baseball card set is here from Topps and the trip down memory lane will include some surprises as we revisit 1966 in the packs of today.

Among them? Cut autographs of Dick Clark, Fats Domino and Red Skelton alongside autographs of Bryce Harper, Mariano Rivera, Rusney Castillo and Sandy Koufax.

Back this year will be action image variations and throwback uniform cards where photographs showcase retro threads worn regularly in MLB. Also back from a few years ago are color swaps where the color design is altered on some rarer cards.

At retail there will be 15-card tributes to Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax — A Legend Begins will be Ryan cards in Target packs, while Koufax will have his A Legend Retires cards found at Walmart.

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What errors might be in 2015 Topps Heritage? (Update: Confirmed SPs now listed)

 

Error-sale

Updates: See bottom of story for the latest error and traded variations to be confirmed.  Click here for lists of the other three planned variation types.

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

With the release of the final checklist for 2015 Topps Heritage coming any day now in advance of the product’s arrival next Wednesday, we’ll know a bit more about the ways Topps is adding a chase to this year’s throwback issue, which is a re-imagining of the 1966 Topps brand.

We already know that we’ll have throwback uniform and action image variations on top of the more-standard 75 short-printed cards in the set. We’ll find out precisely what those cards are the second a checklist arrives.

But the rarer error variations? Those aren’t typically revealed, so now it’s time to guess on which cards in this year’s set will have variations based on mistakes made back in 1966.

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First Look: 2015 Topps Triple Threads baseball

TripleNEw

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The 10th edition of Triple Threads might have more in store than ever — and some cards do.

Topps revealed the first glimpses at 2015 Topps Triple Threads on Monday and it includes four “Deca” sets that include 10 swatches among multiple-panel booklets as a nod to this being the 10th edition of the long-running memorabilia-loaded brand.

It will arrive on Sept. 16 with the familiar two-pack box format and, like in past years, there will be two types of packs. Version 1 will include three base cards, two parallels, a Triple Relic and a Unity auto Relic. Pack Version 2 will include three base, two parallels, one signed Triple Relic and a Unity Relic.

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Sunday Conversation: Card artist Mike James

 

James1c

 

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Mike James is a veteran sports card artist who has had his work appear in several different card sets through the years. We caught up with him for a brief Q&A for our latest Sunday Conversation

mug-MikeJamesHow long have you done sketch cards and what is your art background?
The first set that I worked on for a card company was for Be A Player back in 2003-04. It was an insert set called Brush With Greatness — not exactly sketch cards — they were a series of paintings that were made into a card set, but still a very cool thrill for me. I have been doing on-card art for various sets for the past three or four years now. Up until the past six months or so, the sets that I worked on were for In The Game and Famous Fabrics. Some of the coolest original art cards I did for them were for Ultimate Memorabilia (starting with Ultimate 11), Sportkings and Famous Fabrics’ Music, Music, Music. I also got to do some really unique 1/1 cards for the Industry Summit. I have degrees in both fine arts and graphic design — both of which have served me very well.

How would you describe your style or your approach — and what makes you different than the next artist?
For the most part, I try to make my art as realistic as possible. I have always been very particular about trying to get in as much detail as I can with the portraits that I do. As for what makes my work different than any other artist — I think it all comes down to style. I’m sure every artist has a different approach to their own work, but there are so many fantastic artists creating work with so many different styles. It’s pretty amazing to me, really, how much good solid work is out there now … especially given the small format required for the finished pieces — 2.5 by 3.5 is not a lot of space to capture the details, especially where there are other graphic elements on the cards!

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Beckett Auctions lands Texas t-card find

texasfind10

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A collection of more than 60 rare tobacco and caramel baseball cards has been unearthed by a Texas collector with the cards graded via Beckett Grading Services in advance of a Beckett Auctions sale that launches next month.

The find includes several rare Hindu Red-backed T206 cards along with many big names from baseball’s past — many are the only or highest-graded cards to be encapsulated by BGS, the grading division of Beckett Media. Also included in the find are a pair of 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth cards.

“This ‘Texas T-Card Find’ belonged to the consignors dad’s uncle,” said Rob Springs, the business lead for Beckett Auctions, the auctions division of Beckett Media. “He was born in the early 1900s and was pretty much a bachelor all his life, so upon his death, all of his collection went to the consignor’s dad. He collected all of the cards himself and since he worked for Hershey’s, he did a lot of traveling and collecting along the way, which is where they believe a lot of the cards came from.”

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Five Questions … about Topps Heritage

 

2Heritage

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Up next for Topps on its 2015 baseball card release calendar is Topps Heritage, a hobby powerhouse that has been going for 15 years now on the simple idea of replicating past with today’s players.

This year’s design is from 1966 — and it arrives on March 4 with the look and feel of yesteryear but with today’s better printing, autographs and memorabilia cards, too.  While we still have plenty of time before its arrival — or even the first look at a checklist — we were curious to hear your thoughts on Heritage this year as well as past years.

Take our poll and feel free to leave your comments below.

1. Are you typically a fan of Topps Heritage?

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2. How would you grade the design for the 1966 set?

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3. Will you be buying Topps Heritage?

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4. Will you be buying more or less Heritage this year?

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5. What has been your favorite past year redone via Heritage?

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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.

Artist uses game-used baseballs to make dress

Game-used dress

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Spring training is the home of surprises — and we have our first for the year.

It’s a game-used dress.

Fans who attend New York Mets home spring games at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, Fla., beginning on March 6 will have a chance to own this dress, which is made from the leather shells of 130 game-used MLB baseballs.

Yep, game-used baseballs.

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Your Turn: Does this A-Rod autograph matter?

Rodriguez

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Alex Rodriguez has signed plenty of autographs during his 20-year career in Major League Baseball but the one he penned on Tuesday might be the most important one of all for some fans.

Some fans.

On Tuesday, the New York Yankees slugger released a hand-written letter apologizing for his actions of the last few years with the Biogenesis case, his suspension and the public rancor he has caused with his team.

“I served the longest suspension in the history of the league for PED use,” Rodriguez wrote. “The Commissioner has said the matter is over. The Players Association has said the same. The Yankees have said the next step is to play baseball.

“I’m ready to put this chapter behind me and play some ball.”

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BGS Diary: Chasing Amy, metal minis, USA Baseball green and, of course, Crimson Tide

BGSDIARY-Frazier2

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

For the last few months, I’ve submitted a few cards a month to Beckett Grading Services to finally get some of the cards I like into slabs. Selecting which cards to submit has been easier said than done — and the results can be interesting, too.

Here is the batch I got back from BGS for February — so here is my latest BGS Diary entry. See which five cards I decided to submit … after the jump.

2006-07 USA Baseball Signatures Jersey Green #19 Todd Frazier /2, $N/A
This year’s USA Baseball set is one that I ripped in volume — as in multiple cases. I managed to track down one last case of this one recently and pulled a pretty notable card of the Cincinnati Reds infielder during what turned out to be a career year. These cards can be somewhat condition sensitive with their high-gloss and their colored edges and the inset cut autograph, so I figured this one would simply “feel” better to me if it were in a slab. It’s a rare green-ink version and the auto graded a 10.
Pop Report: Since there are only two copies of the card, this one has little competition. The pop report shows it being the lone slabbed card, though I swear I saw its twin in a BGS slab on eBay earlier this year.

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Jeffrey Maier’s glove hits auction via Heritage

JeffreyMaierGlove

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The kid’s glove can now be bought.

The glove that New York Yankees fan Jeffrey Maier used to catch Derek Jeter‘s home run in Game 1 of the 1996 American League Championship Series is now up for sale via Heritage Auctions.

The catch made 11-year-old Maier a hero to Yankees fans after he nabbed the ball from the front row of the right-field stands in the field of play just above Orioles outfielder Tony Tarasco. The homer tied the game.

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Elemetal readies next round of T206 legends

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

It’s time for a Cy Young — or three.

Elemetal, a Dallas, Texas-based company that has fused precious metals along with sports cards, has its second subject in its line of T206 Silver Bar Baseball Greats series and it’s Young, the legendary pitcher who won 511 games in 22 seasons before he was one of the first inductees to the Hall of Fame in 1939.

It’s the second offering from the company, which launched its series with a Honus Wagner one troy ounce .999 pure OPM silver bar combined with a rendition of the famed tobacco card — all encased in a tamper-proof case — back in December.

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First Look: 2015 Topps Chrome baseball

Chrome11

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The vibrant color of 2015 Topps will be Chromed.

Topps revealed the first glimpses at 2015 Topps Chrome on Friday — the debut of a hobby staple that will arrive once again with a rainbow of Refractors for every player on Aug. 5.

Packing two autographs per box or five autographs per jumbo box, Chrome will carry a 200-card base set this year comprised of players who appeared in both Series 1 and Seires 2 of the standard Topps release.

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Five MLB vets make new-team card debuts today

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Five MLB veterans who changed teams in the offseason make their debuts with their new teams today.

How? On Topps’ Spring Fever cards.

Today’s the day where participating shop owners can begin giving out Spring Fever packs to collectors who made qualifying purchases of 2015 Topps Series 1 since it arrived less than two weeks ago. Each five-card pack has a selection of cards from the 50-card set and there are autographs randomly inserted.

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First Pricing: 2015 Topps Series 1

Rusney Castillo

 

By Brian Fleischer | Beckett Baseball Senior Market Analyst

Beckett first pricing for 2015 Topps Series 1 baseball is now live for all subscribers to the Beckett Online Price Guide.

The Online Price Guide allows subscribers to access complete and full pricing for all cards cataloged and priced in our football database. This not only includes full checklists and all pricing for all mainstream products, but also every ancillary or regional set, old and new, that we catalog. The OPG is also the first place that Beckett pricing will appear for new products and the first place price changes on older cards are published.

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Short-printed 2015 Topps variations get rarer — and bigger — as wall art

BryceHarper

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The short-printed variations in 2015 Topps Series 1 that arrived last week just got a lot rarer and a lot bigger.

They’re all limited to only 10 copies apiece in jumbo form as Topps‘ latest wall art series is all about the short-prints — they’re $49.99 apiece over on Topps.com. All 25 photo variations from Series 1 are found in the newest art offering released Wednesday as 10-by-14 prints on card stock with gloss. Each one is hand-numbered.

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First Look: 2015 USA Baseball Stars & Stripes

USABryant2

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Red, White and Blue are back in packs as a standalone product for just the second time ever.

Panini America revealed its plans for 2015 USA Baseball Stars & Stripes on Wednesday — the latest USA Baseball standalone product that will arrive in hobby shops on April 1 packing four autograph or memorabilia cards in every 24-pack hobby box. It’s the first pack-based USA Baseball release since 2013 USA Baseball Champions.

Each box will include some of the top prospects in today’s game — present-day minor-leaguers who have played for USA Baseball in the past.

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Beckett.com by the numbers: 2015 Topps Series 1

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The auctions have ended, the numbers have been crunched. The ranges have been tabulated and the prices have been posted.

The 2015 Topps Series 1 baseball set from Topps has arrived on Beckett.com. Let’s take a look inside the numbers crunched by Beckett Baseball Senior Market Analyst Brian Fleischer — and see even more — after the jump.

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San Francisco Giants selling World Series lockers via MLB Auctions

Locker

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

What do you get for the San Francisco Giants fan who has everything? What might make for one different kind of MLB memorabilia card?

The answer to both just might be on the auction block right now as the Giants are auctioning off their players’ clubhouse lockers complete with a sample World Series nameplate for each one. A total of 38 lockers are up for grabs in the sales, which have more than five days remaining via MLB Auctions.

Bidding on each locker opened at $500.

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