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Category Archives: Baseball

Panini’s Black Friday Starting To Shape Up

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By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

We are barely a week away from the biggest shopping weekend of the year and collectors are gearing up for Panini America‘s annual holiday season tradition – their ever-popular Black Friday promotion.

Over the past couple of weeks, the company has been leaking out details about their 2014 Panini America Black Friday promotional set and packs are expected to loaded with cards that are sure to be heavily chased and may even become the cornerstones of some collections.

Starting on Friday, November 28, collectors will converge on hundreds of their favorite card stores in order to participate in the program and bust some packs or they can visit iCollectPanini.com if they do not have a hobby shop that is participating in the program. Naturally, there is an opportunity to pull autographs and memorabilia along with tough parallels from the worlds of baseball, basketball and football.

What does Panini America have planned for hobbyists on Black Friday? Find out after the jump. Read More »

Box Busters: 2014 Panini Classics baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Derek Ficken as they rip into boxes of 2014 Panini Classics in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Sources: Panini close to near-exclusive in college card market

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Analysis

The changes coming to the college trading card landscape in 2015 are going to be even more dramatic than anticipated, according to industry sources.

Panini America‘s wave of new deals signed with top schools in the last few weeks has reportedly gotten even larger. Industry sources tell Beckett Media that nearly all of the country’s 60-plus major colleges and universities — and nearly 300 schools in total — have signed multi-year deals with Panini, positioning the Dallas-based manufacturer to operate under a near-exclusive in the college-card market for the rest of the decade. That expansion would effectively end any broad collegiate engagement for Upper Deck, which has held an exclusive Collegiate Licensing Company license for the past five years.

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Top 5: Japanese players in MLB history

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

The final game of the Japan Series is scheduled for Thursday with MLB and Japan splitting the first six games.

That got us thinking — who are the top players in MLB today and in MLB history?

Who’s No. 1? We’ll let you decide … after the jump.

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USA Today examines Panini America’s college push

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Panini America‘s push into the college ranks includes more than 220 schools that will allow the company to use their trademarks on rookie and prospect cards as well as produce college-specific card sets.

Panini VP of Marketing Jason Howarth offered insight on how the deal works to USA Today Fields of Green’s Nick Zobel, who took a look at the deal.

“The way the process works is that the rights we have with the school are tied to utilizing the school logos and marks,” Howarth said in the piece. “That means school insignia and mascots. The partnerships do not give us rights to players.”

That means all those college stars from those schools in football and basketball will have their first Rookie Cards arrive (once their college careers are over) with views as seen on the field or court. That means the baseball players from those schools will appear in hobby staples such as Elite Extra Edition just as they were seen on the diamond.

What that doesn’t mean is that Panini can make any card it wants of any player in the history of the school — at least not without that person’s permission and, of course, not before they are done playing.

Top 5: Early Pablo Sandoval cards to chase

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

The Boston Red Sox are pursuing free agent slugger Pablo Sandoval. 

Now take a second to imagine a lineup — and the damage that could be done on the basepaths — with Panda and Big Papi David Ortiz both rumbling toward a catcher. That’s enough to make Buster Posey wince.

Sandoval’s cardboard presence is a unique one — here are five early cards to consider grabbing before he signs somewhere.

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T206 Honus Wagner headlines next SCP Auction

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Holy Grail of baseball cards is heading to the auction block tomorrow via SCP Auctions.

It’s a PSA 1 copy of the T206 Honus Wagner baseball card and it’s the highlight of a sale that runs through Dec. 6. It’s a grouping that also includes Jackie Robinson‘s Hall of Fame plaque — and one of only two confirmed 1949-season game-used bats — as well as parts of three notable collections.

The Wagner is estimated to command as much as $400,000, according to the company. It is a new find and was graded on the floor of the National Sports Collectors Convention this year.

“Unveiling a fresh T206 Honus Wagner card is a dream scenario for any hobby professional,” said SCP’s Dan Imler. “The known supply of T206 Wagners will never begin to quench the exceeding collector demand for what is not just the most famous baseball card in the world, but one of our nation’s most-celebrated treasures. And to have it be a part of such an immense and diverse find of previously unknown T206s makes this one of the most exciting tobacco card finds in recent years.”

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First look: 2014 Topps Chrome Update + Megabox

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps Chrome Update is back — and so is the “holiday megabox.”

A new collecting twist that began last season is back for another run as a retail-only edition of 2014 Topps Chrome Update will be found in boxes arriving in stores now. Each box includes five packs of 2014 Topps Update and two packs of Chrome Update for $14.99

The Chrome Update set will consist of 55 cards, while there will be 25 All-Star Stitches Chrome Relics to be found and 10 All -Star Stitches Chrome Relic Autos as well. The only other inserts will be 20 World Series Heroes cards.

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Card Gallery: 2014 Topps Heritage High Number

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

It’s 1965 one last time this Wednesday.

That’s when 2014 Topps Heritage High Number arrives in hobby shops with a season-capping edition of rookies and traded players who did not make it into the hobby staple earlier this season.

The 100-card set includes more than 60 Rookie Cards with both Rookie of the Year winners, Jose Abreu and Jacob deGrom among the players on the basic set as well as the 34-card autographed checklist. (There will be one autograph per factory set.) Interestingly, Abreu actually has two different autographed cards in this release.

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The Bambino powers 2015 Topps’ in-pack game

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps is turning to the biggest name in the game to power its 2015 Topps Series 1 in-pack game element.

The Sultan of Swat, The Bambino … Babe Ruth.

While in past years, the company had used an online code game as part of its product, the game in the upcoming set will be of the scratch-off variety atop a code to enter online. The Babe Ruth Call Your Shot game will allow collectors to do just that and scratch off one of three fields to reveal a potential prize entry.

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Top 5: Shelby Miller Rookie Cards to own

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

The Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals pulled the first blockbuster trade of the off-season on Monday with a four-player deal that sent pitcher Shelby Miller to Atlanta and All-Star outfielder Jason Heyward to the Cardinals.

Miller, 24, has gone 26-18 in parts of three seasons, winning in double-figures in the last two. He’s got a 3.33 ERA and 312 strikeouts in 370 innings as a big-leaguer. Heyward, on the other hand, has a .262 average and 84 homers in five seasons since his dramatic early season showing during his rookie season in 2010. He’ll be 25 next season.

Miller appears on 1,232 cards in the Beckett database with 416 of those being certified autographs. Excluding rarities, his cards are worth $10,660. Heyward checks in at $17,697 for 2,129 cards in the system with 624 autographs and 11 Rookie Cards.

The winner in this one on cardboard might be Miller — and here are my picks for his five best Rookie Cards (he has 20 total) from  2013.

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Beckett 20 questions on … MLB prospects

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RELATED >> WIN OUR KRIS BRYANT BOWMAN CHROME AUTO

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The next issue of Beckett Baseball is all about our top prospects for 2015, so this edition of 20 Questions is all about prospects. (Don’t worry if that’s not your thing — we snuck in a few rookie, licensing and Draft questions, too.)

Give us your assessment of MLB’s prospecting crop with our 20 Questions below and feel free to leave any comments if necessary.

1. Which of these prospects is your No. 1 in 2015?

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2. Will you be buying more or less prospect-based products in the coming year?

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See the rest of the questions … after the jump.

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Top 5: Giancarlo Stanton baseball cards to own

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Just call him the $325-million man.

The Miami Marlins and Giancarlo Stanton have agreed to a 13-year, $325-million contract — the biggest in MLB history, solidifying his place in Florida, and perhaps the game, making him more than a young slugger seemingly always on the trading block.

After five big-league seasons, he has a .271 average, 154 homers and 399 RBI in 634 games. He finished second in the NL MVP vote while leading the league with 37 home runs. But for collectors, he’s not quite a million-dollar man as his 1,950 cards in the Beckett.com database are valued at only $19,780, excluding rarities. He has 389 autos, 398 memorabilia cards and just nine Rookie Cards from the loaded 2010 lineup.

Here are my picks for five cool cards to track down … after the jump.

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Win our Kris Bryant Bowman Chrome autograph

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

It’s no secret that Chicago Cubs prospect Kris Bryant is among the top MLB prospects for 2015 — so much so he’s likely going to grace our February 2015 issue of Beckett Baseball when it heads to the printer early next month.

It’s no secret that he’ll be No. 1 on our prospects list as well.

But here’s a secret we’re going to let you in on right now in advance of the issue where you’ll find this exact same contest. We want the card above — his BGS 9.5 2013 Bowman Chrome Draft auto — to be yours.

How? Tell us in the comments below which MLB rookie or prospect you’re watching closest for next season.

Be sure to include your name and email address (can’t contact you if you win without it) and we’ll pick a winner at random from all entries received here (and via the instructions in the next issue of Beckett Baseball) before Feb. 1.

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.

Leaf releases SP list for upcoming Valiant

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

This year’s edition of Leaf Valiant includes your typical autograph rainbow but the standard versions of the cards will not all be easy to find.

Some are short-printed.

Leaf Trading Cards‘ latest arrives on Friday with many of this year’s top baseball draft picks, but you can find the list of short-prints … after the jump.

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Johnny Manziel Padres autos coming in Bowman set

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Move over Johnny Bench, there’s a new Johnny in the game.

Well, sort of … Johnny Manziel will be found as a San Diego Padre in upcoming packs of 2014 Bowman Draft, baseball card set, which arrives on Dec. 10, according to an announcement from Topps on Sunday.

Why? Manziel was drafted by the Padres in the 28th round of this year’s MLB Draft back in June.

Tell us what you think with our poll and in the comments below.

Your take: Johnny Football's baseball card

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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.

Card Gallery: Takahiro Norimoto BBM cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A team of MLB All-Stars were no-hit by Samurai Japan Saturday, but you won’t find any of the four pitchers who worked the gem on any World Baseball Classic baseball cards.

But where you will find Takahiro Norimoto baseball cards are in 2013 releases from BBM, the major card-maker for Nippon Professional Baseball. His Japanese Rookie Cards show him with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles — the team that New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka played for before coming to MLB.

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Factory sets make comeback with two Donruss sets

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Don’t call it a comeback — but it is.

Panini America is offering its 2014 Donruss release in factory set form and a second boxed set as well — 2014 Donruss The Rookies.

Both are scheduled to start arriving next Wednesday (Nov. 19) but both are available now for pre-ordering on iCollectPanini.com.

The Donruss factory set includes 356 cards — 255 standard cards from this year’s Series 1 and Series 2 releases along with none Rated Rookies Materials card or one The Rookies Signature Update per set. Also included will be 60 Diamond Kings and 40 Rated Rookies, which were a tad shorter-printed in wax pack form. The set is $100. Among the signers for this one will be National League Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom, Jon Singleton, Jace Peterson, C.J. Cron and Joe Panik. Players with Rated Rookies Materials will be Masahiro Tanaka, Jose Abreu, Oscar Taveras, Gregory Polanco, George Springer, Yordano Ventura and Billy Hamilton to name a few

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Rare memorabilia pieces get rides in Classics

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Sometimes, the rarities are right in front of you — and it’s got nothing to do with serial-numbering.

That’s the case with a handful of cards that Panini America teased Friday from its forthcoming 2014 Panini Classics baseball set that arrives next Wednesday. (Click here for our First Look.)

While first-time memorabilia card appearances of Hall of Famers such as Roger Bresnahan and Gabby Hartnett were touted by the company, there were a few other players among its teaser images who are rarely on memorabilia cards at all — added silent bonuses for those who find them. With vintage players, the memorabilia pieces can be much harder to find, leading to far fewer memorabilia cards than collectors might think.

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Fab Five: Rare Mike Trout autographs to chase

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

One thing’s probably certain in today’s baseball card landscape — Mike Trout autographs won’t be getting easier to land any time soon.

When the Los Angeles Angels outfielder became a Topps-exclusive card-signer last month, that was one sign that he’ll be signing less — and probably for more money per signature. Another sign that more rarity should become a reality was when he was named the youngest unanimous American League MVP in the history of the game.

Not bad for a 23-year-old who hit 36 homers and drove in 111 runs while hitting .287 in just his third full season.

It’s a no-brainer that Trout has quickly become the king of the hobby — at least among current players — an unquestioned diamond king today.

Here are my picks for five cool Trout autographed cards — not the most-important cards, just impressive ones — after the jump.

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BGS Diary Predictor: What will he submit?

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We recently introduced the BGS Diary (click to read) and it seems like a few of you liked hearing about what — and why — Beckett Baseball Editor Chris Olds submitted what he did for grading.

That was last month’s BGS submission. For this month, we’re getting a bit interactive. He’s prepared his five cards for grading and we want to see if you can predict which of his cards will end up slabbed. Of the 10 cards listed below, five are headed to BGS today for his next BGS Diary.

Can you predict which ones they will be?

November BGS Diary Predictor: What will Olds submit?

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The File: AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The File on … American League Cy Young Award-winner Corey Kluber as seen in this month’s Beckett Baseball.

Corey Kluber
Starting Pitcher, Cleveland Indians
2014 Stats: 18-9, 2.44 ERA, 269 strikeouts, 51 walks, 235 innings pitched

Quick, name a pitcher in recent Cleveland Indians history to strike out more batters in a single season than this right-hander did this year. The only way you might be right is if you said Ricky Vaughn because his stats are a bit hazy. Nobody on the Indians’ real Major League field has struck out more batters in recent years or recent decades. Kluber posted the best Indians season since 1970 and the sixth-best in the history of the franchise.

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First look: 2014 Panini National Treasures

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

National Treasures is back in baseball.

Panini America revealed the first looks and details for 2014 Panini National Treasures on Wednesday, a second edition of the high-end brand that will pack eight autographs and/or memorabilia cards in every box when it arrives on Dec. 17.

Every box will include at least four autographs and one booklet card. There will be eight types of booklet cards for collectors to find, while Panini also touts that it will have more on-card autographs than the landmark 2012 release.

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Panini America adds Texas Longhorns to licenses

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Panini America hooked ‘em.

The University of Texas Longhorns are the latest major college to sign on with Panini America as its push to become an industry leader in the college ranks continues. The school’s logo will now be used in the company’s baseball, football and basketball products on an exclusive basis with Longhorns-focused multi-sport products also on the tarmac beginning in the spring.

“We are very happy to have The University of Texas join Panini as an exclusive partner. The Longhorns have such a great heritage and continue to produce top student-athletes that go on to very successful professional careers,” said Mark Warsop, Panini America CEO in a prepared release. “We look forward to getting started and producing great products for Longhorns fans.”

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First look: 2015 Topps Tier One baseball cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Tier One is back for another high-end run.

Topps revealed the first glimpses and basic details for 2015 Topps Tier One on Wednesday, a high-end brand that returns for a fifth season in the lineup from the longest-running MLB card manufacturer.

It will pack two autographs and a Relic in every box — and every fourth pack will have a pair of Relics. The standard autographs in this hit-based brand will be from New Guard (one per pack), Tier One (one per case), Acclaimed autos, Clear Ones, Duals or Triple auto sets when it arrives on May 20, while there also will be autographed Relics in the mix, too.

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