Category Archives: Baseball

Tony Gwynn memorabilia to be sold by SCP Auctions

 

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The memorabilia collection of one of baseball’s greats is headed to the auction block next week.

SCP Auctions will have more than 100 lots of awards and memorabilia for Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn up for sale beginning Wednesday. Gwynn died June 16 at age 54 after a long battle with cancer. A part of the money from the actions will go to the Tony and Alicia Gwynn Foundation, which is based in San Diego.

“Tony had a wonderful baseball career,” said Alicia Gwynn, Tony’s widow, in a prepared statement. “But he was also a man of honor and integrity who really wanted to make a difference in this world. This auction will serve two objectives: to share his baseball memorabilia with the fans who loved him and to give something back to the city that treated us so well.”

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First Look: 2015 Panini Prizm baseball cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A new year of Prizm is coming — and it’s bringing more color and variety than ever before.

Panini America formally unveiled its 2015 Panini Prizm baseball card set on Tuesday, a brand that’s been inked hot and heavy the last few weeks as part of the Panini America Spring Training Road Trip, a multi-day, multi-state tour to collect autographs from some of the biggest names in the game.

New as part of the Prizm rainbow this year are Tie-dye cards and Pink-ribbon Prizms to be found when the brand arrives on May 13.

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Evan Gattis has a collecting confession

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

ORLANDO, Fla. | Evan Gattis might have one of the most-unique nicknames in MLB today, but El Oso Blanco has a couple of confessions that card collectors might relate to — one more child-like and one that stings no matter how old you are.

PaniniRoadTrip“Yeah, I collected as a kid but not for value or anything like that.,” said the Houston Astros catcher-outfielder. “My room was actually wallpapered — I stapled cards to my walls. My entire room was completely covered in baseball cards. I loved it.”

Gattis was on hand during Day 3 of the the Panini America Spring Training Road Trip, a multi-date, multi-leg excursion that recently wrapped things up in Florida and heads to Arizona this weekend. He was signing Monday night in a Marriott conference room prepared for signings not long after he helped his Astros with a two-run homer in a high-scoring affair against his old team, the Atlanta Braves, in Kissimmee.

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MLB All-Star Josh Donaldson talks cards during Panini America Spring Training Road Trip

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 Toronto Blue Jays star Josh Donaldson and MVP Sports Group’s Joe Vignier listen to a story while signing during a stop on the Panini America Spring Training Road Trip.

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

TAMPA, Fla. | He’s been a college star, a first-round draft pick, an MLB All-Star and a “bringer of rain” but before all of that Josh Donaldson was one thing.

A baseball card collector.

The Toronto Blue Jays third baseman, acquired in a November trade with the Oakland Athletics, was one of the big-league veterans on hand for the Panini America Spring Training Road Trip, a multi-date, multi-leg excursion that recently wrapped things up in Florida and heads to Arizona this weekend. It’s where thousands of autographs are signed by newcomers and established stars faster than a Felix Hernandez fastball.

PaniniRoadTripOn this day, the former Auburn Tiger’s assignment was to sign a couple hundred autographs — a combination of Auburn logo patches and stickers — before ripping into wax boxes. As he signed, he chatted with those sitting around the table at a Hilton whose main conference room had been converted to an autographing epicenter. Meanwhile, newcomers elsewhere in the spacious room posed for photos in their MLB team’s jerseys and sat down at other tables to sign cards that will end up in 2015 Panini Prizm packs.

“Oh yeah, oh yeah, I remember gum in packs. I remember to get an autograph was unheard of back then,” said Donaldson, who hit .255 with 29 home runs last season. “When I was young, you pretty much just wanted the Rookie Cards. When I was getting back into it, I got back into it collecting a bunch of the oldschool guys. Then I started busting open some of the new football.”

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Prospects soak up signing experience during Panini America Spring Training Road Trip

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Houston Astros prospect Brett Phillips poses for his first Panini America baseball cards.

 

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

ORLANDO, Fla. |  It’s no secret that potential sells a lot of cardboard — but potential also helps create some of it, too.

When a young star emerges deep in the minor leagues, there’s more attention and more opportunities off of the field — you know, autograph appearances and baseball cards for starters. For Houston Astros prospect Brett Phillips, a .310 season with 17 homers and 68 RBI last year also meant more of one other thing.

Agents.

The six-foot, 175-pound center fielder didn’t sign with one since he knew his slot value for going 189th (sixth round) in the 2012 Draft, but a strong season in Class A-ball this past year changed all of that. It’s led to 24 different baseball cards (so far) and an invitation for a roster spot during the 2015 Panini America Spring Training Road Trip — a multi-date, multi-leg excursion that recently wrapped things up in Florida and heads to Arizona this weekend. It’s where thousands of autographs are signed to help create upcoming cardboard thanks to the work of newcomers like Phillips and big-leaguers who stop by to join Panini’s traveling caravan of collecting.

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“I appreciate you guys having me here. It’s awesome,” said Phillips, talking with Panini’s crew before going through a photo shoot in an orange Astros jersey and sitting down to sign about 200 autographs during the tour’s stop in Orlando. In a hotel ballroom prepared with Panini displays, a catered spread so rich it might make some athletic trainers cringe, piles of company T-shirts and wax boxes up for grabs for agents and players to rip into once they were done, Phillips talked collecting and cardboard as he signed.

First, though, he had a bit of a confession.

“To be honest, I didn’t really collect cards much at all as a kid. I collected a little bit — but I wasn’t a hardcore collector,” he said. “I kind of wish I would have been looking back at it now, but I didn’t collect much.”

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Box Busters with Houston Astros’ Evan Gattis

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PaniniRoadTripBeckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds catches up with Evan Gattis of the Houston Astros for this episode of BoxBusters featuring some 2015 Donruss during Day 3 of the Panini America Spring Training Road Trip Monday in Orlando, Fla.

What will they pull? Find out by watching the video …

The first leg of the Road Trip ends Tuesday night in Port St. Lucie.

Photo Gallery: Scenes from Day 2 of the Panini America Spring Training Road Trip

 

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

TAMPA, Fla. | Day 2 of the Panini America Spring Training Road Trip included nearly 20 rookies, prospects and even a few established big-leaguers signing for the forthcoming 2015 Panini Prizm baseball card set and more as part of a multi-day, multi-state trek that includes thousands of autographs.

PaniniRoadTripThis stop included appearances from several New York Yankees hopefuls as well as players from several other teams. One of them? Toronto Blue Jays star Josh Donaldson. Another? Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco.

On one end of a room, players posed for photos in their MLB jerseys. On another, an agent’s son tore into boxes of Donruss basketball cards, sorting his superstars as his dad’s clients signed autographs somewhere in-between.

See all that and more … after the jump.

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Future stars get spotlight during Day 1 of Panini Spring Training Road Trip

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

FORT MYERS, Fla. | Day 1 of this year’s Panini Spring Training Road Trip may have started with a 9:25 a.m. flight out of Dallas and ended with an inscribed 1/1 card of a future star some 14 hours later, but there’s one reality about the baseball card industry’s biggest attempt at a rookie photo shoot/autograph session.

It was months in the making.

PaniniRoadTripThousands of autographs were signed by about a dozen players during a four-hour evening session here in the home of the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox with top prospects and rookies such as Byron Buxton, Kennys Vargas and Mookie Betts alongside guys that Panini thinks might be on the cusp of big-league greatness. The product of the moment was 2015 Panini Prizm, a prospect-loaded brand in its fourth season of packing ink and reflective-chromium rainbows into wax boxes — this year with some new inclusions — and Day 1 of the event was the culmination of some serious planning. Five members of the Panini America crew juggled all the work of unpacking a crate of signage, cards to be signed, jerseys to be worn for photo shoots and wax boxes and Panini shirts for players who wanted them. At least one, Betts, even arrived with boxes of cards in hand from previous products that he had signed — all ready for collectors awaiting them.

Vargas, the final signer of the evening, was asked about his favorite player while working through his cardboard. He answered without hesitation but with a big smile as his wife sat nearby, helping speed along the assembly line process of signing while he occasionally marveled at the different colors and textures of the Prizm rainbow.

Big Papi,” he said.

Later, the Twins slugger from Puerto Rico who hit nine homers in 53 games as a rookie last season was asked about his favorite ballparks from last season — then which ones he wants to see.

“I want to play in Fenway Park,” he said with another big smile, noting that he likes the big crowds more than smaller ones found in some American League cities.

So it wasn’t a surprise, after posing for photos and about three hours of signing, to see what he wrote alongside his name on his 1/1 Black Finite Prizm card.

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Topps Addresses Tribute Auto Issues

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Collectors who are unhappy with scratched or bubbled autographs found in packs of 2015 Topps Tribute baseball cards when it arrived in hobby shops on Wednesday may have a solution to their newly purchased problem.

The company issued the following statement on Friday addressing the product and its plans for making good on the damaged cards that were issued.

Dear Valued Topps Collectors and Customers,

Topps has been investigating complaints regarding the quality of the autographed cards in the just-released 2015 Topps Tribute Baseball and has confirmed that many autographed cards are damaged due to a UV contamination on the card.

As a result of our investigation and to rectify the situation, Topps is initiating a complete recall of the product.

Those in possession of unopened boxes should return them no later than Friday, March 27, 2015 to the authorized distributor or store from which the box was purchased for a full refund.

In addition, between now and June 30, 2015, anyone in possession of a damaged autographed card (not in pack) can exchange the card by contacting Topps Customer Service.  Exchanges will be made for another card of equal or greater value, plus a bonus autographed or relic card (valued at the company’s discretion).

Topps appreciates your understanding in this matter.  We stand firmly behind all our products and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
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Topps revives Bowman’s Best and plans changes to Heritage High Number, release schedule

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps will be shaking up its prospecting lines later this year and bringing a non-prospecting brand back into packs, the company announced Tuesday at the Industry Summit in Las Vegas.

First, this year will mark the return of Bowman’s Best, a brand that has been on the shelf since 2007. It was introduced in 1994 and was a hobby mainstay for years before taking a break in 2006 and then returning for a one-and-done campaign as an autograph-driven product eight years ago. The brand was also one that Topps used in football, basketball and hockey through the years.

Also returning to the Bowman fold will be a Series 2  of the standard Bowman line, which will allow the product a wider array of players and a checklist with more continuity, particularly if there are two series of Bowman along with Bowman Draft. It was 1999 when Bowman was last split into two in-pack series. That had been a common practice during the late-1990s, though it was not done on a yearly basis.

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Derek Jeter is focus of Topps’ first Cardboard Icon series release

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Captain is the first Icon.

Retired New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is the first player showcased in what will be a new series of online card collections from Topps as it unveiled the Cardboard Icon series Tuesday.

Found exclusively on Topps.com, the collection includes 23 5-inch by 7-inch cards of Jeter — oversized reprints of all of his standard Topps cards made during his career from his first card in 1993 to his final card as a player issued this year.

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Card Gallery: 2015 Topps Opening Day Mascot Autographs

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

When this year’s edition of Topps Opening Day officially arrives on Wednesday it will include one of the more-unique card sets in the hobby today — a simple five-card set that packs plenty of punch and plenty of fun.

How? Mascot autographs.

Yep, certified autographs of the famous furballs that can liven things up at the ballpark from time to time. They get their due here with a set of regular cards — and can sometimes be found in other sets such as Topps Stickers — but they go big-time in this one with ink.

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Your Turn: Should there be more St. Patrick’s Day cardboard?

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Today’s the day where one of the sports world’s simpler traditions happens without a whole lot of fanfare — St. Patrick’s Day jerseys.

Sure, for some teams — the Oakland A’s or the Boston Celtics, for example — there’s not much all that special about donning your team’s colors with extra green involved. But for other teams it’s something quite different from the norm and also a way to sell more merchandise.

Today, many MLB teams will wear green uniforms — and it’s something that we don’t often see make its way into cardboard. Sometimes there will be a photo here or there in a set. Other times, a swatch from a jersey will be found in a game-used memorabilia card — and that can sometimes create confusion despite the fact that the green swatches are inherently more unique than others because they are often only worn once a year.

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BGS Diary: WWE Divas Paige & Lana, Harmon Killebrew, Sandy Koufax and Sy Berger, too

 

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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 March — so here is my latest BGS Diary entry. See which five cards I decided to submit … after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2015 Topps Heritage baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a box of 2015 Topps Heritage in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2015 Topps MLB stickers

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a box of 2015 Topps MLB stickers in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Not our next Beckett Baseball cover … yet

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Will Ferrell‘s efforts to raise awareness — and funds — to fight cancer are just getting started with game-used memorabilia from each of the 10 MLB teams he played for headed to the auction block soon and an HBO special from Funny or Die coming later this year.

RealCoverwhiteToday, we’re sending the May issue of Beckett Baseball to the printer, and it will arrive in hobby shops soon with a certain hot pitcher on its cover.

No, it won’t be Ferrell, though he retired the only batter he faced on Thursday night when he was a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. It will be Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets — his first Beckett cover.

But with all the buzz about Ferrell’s mesmerizing skills on the diamond — best outfield arm ever — and all his transactions (they’re even officially listed) I had to do more than imagine what he might look like on a Beckett Baseball cover.

It’s likely to just remain a fantasy as his spring training appearances have come and gone, his playing days over, but there’s still a chance that the former Mariner, Athletic, Cub, Angel, Red, Diamondback, Giant, Dodger, Padre and White Sox star will appear on some baseball cards later this year. I’d even boldly predict he’d appear on a Beckett Baseball Hot List if that were to happen — even though I don’t even compile that.

If it happens, though, we’ll have it covered — and we might have a cover ready to go, too.

RELATED >>> Now is the time for real Will Ferrell baseball cards

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.

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Texas find of tobacco and caramel cards highlights Beckett’s Graded Treasures auction

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A collection of rare tobacco and caramel cards discovered in Texas has been broken into singles, has been graded and is now on sale in Beckett AuctionsMarch 2015 Graded Treasures Auction, which began Thursday and runs through March 22.

The Texas T-Card Find includes more than 60 cards that belonged to the consignor’s father. Among the cards are several T206 cards and caramel cards from 1909-11. Seven Ty Cobb cards have been graded and placed in the auction, as well as two “newer” cards — a pair of 1933 Goudey Babe Ruths.

“This is a significant find for any auction,” said Rob Springs, business lead for Beckett Auctions. “And when going through the collection the names were huge: Ruth, Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Cy Young and a lot more.”

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Past, present and future collide in 1971 homage

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Stars from the past, present and future are in the spotlight in the newest release from Topps.

It’s the Past, Present & Future Collection which was released on Thursday only on Topps.com – the latest line of wall art and oversized cards from the company.

There are a few options for collectors with this one, the first being a 5- by 7-inch complete set of postcards that is hand-numbered to only 99 copies. It will include all 16 cards in the 1971 Topps homage for $39.99.

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Donruss returns with rare variations

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

This year’s edition of Donruss baseball cards from Panini America arrived on Wednesday with a distinctly retro inclusion that still gets the attention of collectors to this day.

Variations.

Sixteen top names in this year’s set have at least one variation card of their basic card in the product, according to the checklist released by the company. Some have already been confirmed to have more than one.

For Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout, that means a reversed-negative error card — a nod to countless times from the last where an image was inadvertently flopped. For Ichiro Suzuki, that means one card as a Seattle Mariner and one as a Miami Marlin. For San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, that means a batting photo that reads “There’s a Dynasty in the Bay Area” below his photo where a team name is normally found.

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Now is the time for Will Ferrell baseball cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Let’s hope the comedy leads to cardboard.

We’ve seen him as Ricky Bobby driving in NASCAR. We’ve seen him in the ABA with the Flint Tropics. We’ve seen him in the Winter Olympics. We’ve seen him as a mysterious minor-leaguer, too.

But tomorrow we’ll see Will Ferrell on an MLB field.

That’s no joke. In fact, the actor will be taking to the field in five spring training games tomorrow in Arizona, playing every position, and playing for 10 different MLB teams.

No, really, he’s intending to play for 10 teams — and every position — in a single day.

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Panini Previews Industry Summit Black Boxes

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 By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

The 2015 Industry Summit is just days away and Panini America will once again be providing attendees with their popular Black Boxes which have been a show staple for over a decade.

Once the company finishes its corporate address to the crowd next Tuesday, they will be handing out these hobby treasures out and the content inside is sure to generate some excitement among recipients and collectors. This afternoon, Panini previewed some of the base Private Signings cards along with some other the other content that will be popping out of boxes.

What else can attendees expect to find in their Black Boxes? Check out a gallery after the jump. Read More »

Are we overlooking potential of stickers?

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

They’re inexpensive, printed on paper and packed in pouches only to be peeled and slapped into albums.

While they’re mass-produced and might be cut less precisely than our cardboard, they’re also affordable — something that goes a long, long way with getting people involved. They are, by most accounts, the entry point for kids in the industry and something that card companies can bank on because unlike the other stickers we’re used to — you know, sticker autographs — they’re much less expensive to create.

Many stickers probably meet a demise more random than the album, though, being affixed to random items in life by younger collectors. Meanwhile us older and “more advanced” ones don’t even touch them at stores even though there’s far fewer boxes and packs than the “more-important” stuff that we collect.

But do we — the “advanced” collectors — have it all wrong?

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Spring training is focus in Topps Bunt sets

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Spring training means new faces in new places, new players hoping to make a mark and new cardboard.

While we’ve seen new cardboard with the release of three new baseball card sets as of Wednesday, that’s not all that’s new for collecting.

There has been a lot of spring training-related virtual cardboard to collect on Topps Bunt, the company’s trading card app.

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Topps Heritage hooked me in its first week

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

At the beginning of this baseball card season, I told myself that I was going to be more selective about how much wax I rip into, making sure that at least a few of my bigger-picture focuses were justified by ripping into a wax box.

That notion lasted for two products. (What can I say, willpower is something I’ve not had a lot of when it comes to cardboard — and I’m missing the ol’ sorting and organizing gene, too.)

My favorite player didn’t make an appearance in 2015 Topps Series 1, so it was easy to limit my buying to a jumbo box and a small quantity of loose retail packs — enough to get a feel for the brand’s inclusions and improvements but not so much that I had issues of where to put stuff when I was done ripping packs.

Topps Heritage, though?

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Panini prepares for spring training road trip

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Spring training means plenty to the baseball world and baseball fans even if the results in the standings don’t count.

For Panini America and baseball card collectors it means even more.

In 11 days, Panini’s Spring Training Road Trip begins — it’s an 11-day adventure that will include stops in several cities in both Florida and Arizona for card signings and social media interaction with some of the top young names in the game.

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Your Turn: Are you a fan of stamped buybacks?

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

When ToppsAllen & Ginter arrived back in 2006, one of the cooler cards I found inside one of the many boxes I ripped that year was a Rip Card — a card with a miniature card inside of it.

There was no hesitation that I was going to rip the card — I had visions of an autograph or maybe a 1/1 Dick Perez sketch inside. At worst, I’d find a rarer base card mini, right?

Wrong. Inside, I found a vintage 1800s non-sports Allen & Ginter card — a cool find but ultimately a very inexpensive card that had no identifiable features that made it any different than another of the cards from the set. It was a card I could find for far less than $10 had I thought to look.  All these years later, I still have it — and I sometimes wish that it had some type of marking, some type of notation that said where it came from to make it feel different.

Fast-forward to today, and there seems to be a healthy debate out there among collectors and dealers when it comes to Topps’ foil-stamped buybacks found in boxes of 2015 Topps Heritage. A card like the Mickey Mantle 1966 Topps card probably isn’t the norm — but it was in there. It’s presently on eBay with a premium price tag beyond a Mantle in its condition likely because of the “Topps Original” foil stamp.

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Panini turns back clock to 1981 next week

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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

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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

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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

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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.)

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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

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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)

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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

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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-minded 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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