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Category Archives: Baseball

Pete Frates, the man behind the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, gets his own Topps baseball cards


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Employees of Topps took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Thursday in New York City and the former college baseball player who inspired the viral video movement as part of his own battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis now has something he never had before.

He has a few Topps baseball cards.

Pete Frates, the former Boston College captain, now appears on five new wall art offerings from Topps — cards featuring photos of Frates from his playing days and designs from the Topps archives.

“Topps is honored to take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness and money for ALS charities,” reads the description in the store. “All proceeds will be donated by Topps to fund ALS research to find a cure for this disease. #StrikeoutALS.”

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First Look: 2015 Topps MLB Sticker Collection


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

New year, new stickers.

Topps revealed the lineup for its 2015 Topps MLB Sticker Collection on Thursday, giving beginners — and maybe even collecting veterans — a simple option for the new year at just $1 a pack.

Set to arrive on March 4, it will include 50 packs per box and 16 boxes per case, while each album will include 32 pages and a sheet of six free stickers.

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Box Busters: 2014 Bowman Platinum baseball

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

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2014 Topps Finest baseball cards

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

What will they find inside? Watch and find out.

A half-day where the magic happens … visiting Panini America’s headquarters


By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

IRVING, Texas | Monday marked the first day of school for many down here in The Lone Star State, and on Tuesday I felt the exact same way by setting foot in a place I hadn’t been before to learn a thing or two.

I spent a half-day at Panini America‘s headquarters.

There were no first-day jitters, there was no daydreaming at what was going on outside in the 100-degree Texas heat. There was plenty inside that was piquing my collecting interest as some of the company’s plans, products and strategies were discussed for future pieces and the collectibles ideas flowed like water. My teacher list included names I had known from years of ripping packs and writing about the hobby — and a few of them were mentioned on the backs of cards that can be found in my stash. (They’re probably on yours, too.)

From the outside, the simple white building in an industrial park adjacent to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport could be easily missed with some simple signage that blends in well with its neighbors — companies perhaps without the kind of magic among their inventory and readied on their own loading docks nearby. But with just a quick walking tour of Panini’s place, though, it was apparent that this spot has perhaps the perfect combination of collecting and commerce, a blend of bold ideas and brash business sense — you know, something strong, something energetic and also something intangible in the mix — to make it all happen.

It’s a place where collecting comes to life daily.

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First Look: 2014 Panini Immaculate baseball


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Panini America is going high-end on its next baseball card set — and it’s coming soon.

How soon? Less than a month.

Company officials officially pulled back the curtain on 2014 Panini Immaculate on Monday, preparing for its arrival on Sept. 24 when it will be found packing five autograph or memorabilia cards in every six-card pack with the remaining card a base card limited to just 99 copies. There will be just eight boxes per case.

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First look: 2015 Topps Heritage baseball cards


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Next year’s Topps Heritage baseball set means it’s 1966 all over again.

Topps unveiled the first looks at its long-running baseball card brand’s next edition on Monday with 2015 Topps Heritage being a brand that arrives on March 4 with one autograph or Relic in every 24-pack hobby box.

The model here is largely the same as past Heritage releases with 425 cards in the base set capped by 75 short-prints. Returning for next year are throwback team uniform photo variations as well as action image variation cards that will only be found in hobby boxes. Also back will be mini versions limited to just 100, Chrome cards with Black (/66) and Gold (/5) parallels. The back variations from the last few years continue with blue being the ink of choice for this year.

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First look: 2015 Topps MLB Chipz


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Chipz will fall where they may in the spring.

Topps‘ third MLB product reveal on Wednesday afternoon is 2015 Topps MLB Chipz, the third go-round for the round collectibles that feature today’s baseball stars.

Each pack will include four Chipz with 36 packs per gravity box when it arrives in April. A firm release date was not announced.

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First look: 2014 Bowman Chrome Mini baseball sets


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Bowman Chrome Mini factory sets are back.

Bowman Chrome cards are getting shrunken once again and packed into factory set form as Topps announced Wednesday that 2014 Bowman Chrome Mini sets will arrive in December.

Set to arrive the week of Dec. 24, each factory set will include 330 cards and each eight-set case will guarantee a 1/1 Superfractor card or printing plate. Also new this year will be image variations for some players, while every factory set will also include 30 Refractor parallels.

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First Look: 2015 Topps Tribute baseball cards


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The first high-end line of 2015 will be Tribute.

Topps released the first images of 2015 Topps Tribute on Wednesday, a hit-per-pack high-end brand that the company promises will be “revamped to incorporate your feedback, suggestions and ideas” while including the “same upper-echelon technology the has made Tribute a collecting staple.”

Like past years, it will include three autographs and three Relics per six-pack box when it arrives on Feb. 19.

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Randy Johnson SuperCollector adds a more personal item to his stash at the National


By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Rod Lawrence is a serious collector of The Big Unit and at the recent National Sports Collectors Convention he added perhaps his biggest piece of personal memorabilia of them all.

He got Randy Johnson to sign Page 32 of the July issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly. 

Why? That’s the spot where Lawrence was picked as a SuperCollector.

“I wanted to let you know that I met Randy Johnson today at the National Card Show in Cleveland and had him sign the Beckett article,” Lawrence wrote in an email. “I thought you’d like to see the pictures … This was awesome and very special. Thank you very much.”

On the page in the issue, which has been authenticated with a TRISTAR sticker, Johnson wrote “To Rod, My SuperCollector. Best Wishes, Randy Johnson.”

In all, Lawrence owns more than 7,700 Johnson cards including more than 3,900 unique cards and more than 700 memorabilia cards of the future Hall of Famer.

While we showcase a SuperCollector nearly every month in BSCM, our annual SuperCollector showcase is coming up later this year.

How can you be showcased in the issue for your collection of any kind or sport? See below.


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.


First look: 2015 Topps baseball cards

2015Topps base cards

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The new year is here.

Topps released the first glimpses and basic details for the 2015 Topps Series 1 baseball card set on Thursday, a base set that is the largest for the company in years with 350 cards in the initial release.

Set to arrive on Feb. 4, there will be 36 packs per hobby box with 10 cards per pack, while jumbos will have 50 cards per pack and 10 packs per box for HTA. There will be one auto or Relic in each hobby box and a guaranteed auto and two Relics in every jumbo as has been the pattern in recent years.

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At the National: Talking Wax and vintage cards with Reed Kasaoka of Baseball Card Exchange

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Have you ever seen a $49,000 case of baseball cards? You can if you visited the Baseball Card Exchange booth at the National Sports Collectors Convention.

Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds caught up with BBCE Director of Acquisitions Reed Kasaoka to talk about vintage wax and more on the show floor.

At the National: A legendary autograph lineup — the 1927 New York Yankees

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Collector Alan Zimmerman stopped by the Beckett Media booth during the recent National Sports Collectors Convention to show off a rather legendary pull from Topps Five Star.

Check it out …

Your Turn: Which new rookies will you collect?

Panini VIP Manziel

By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

With a new NFL season coming quickly, we’re getting our first glimpses of the latest players in their new threads on the field.

Johnny Manziel, Jadeveon Clowney, Teddy Bridgewater and more newcomers from this year’s draft have taken their first plays against exhibition opponents, giving us our first chances to gauge their cardboard superiority against something concrete. Some might have wowed us, some might not.

For the upcoming second-helping of a Rookies Issue of BSCM this year (the first was just a few months ago), we want to know who you’re collecting for newcomers in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB.

Tell us which rookies you’re collecting in the comments below … we’ll run a selection of your answers in the upcoming issue.

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.


Box Busters: 2014 Donruss Series 2 baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Justin Grunert as they rip into boxes of 2014 Donruss Series 2 in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Beckett Auctions Puts Pieces of Hobby History Up For Bid in August

Epic 1

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

With each passing month, Beckett Auctions continues to pick up momentum as many major pieces of hobby history are on the block and ready to go to the highest bidder.

The August 2014 Sportscards & Memorabilia Auction is loaded up with some true treasures that are sure to get some serious attention from collectors around the world. Among the highlights are 21 different bat barrel relic cards that have been consigned and each card is a one-of-one. Unique memorabilia cards of some of baseball’s greatest names are up for grabs, including a dazzling 2006 Upper Deck Epic Four Barrel featuring Hall of Fame home run hitters Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott and Eddie Mathews.

After the jump, we’ll learn more about some of the tremendous items collectors may bid on starting at noon Central on Aug. 10.
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2014 National Treasure Hunt: Sunday Edition

Bradshaw Franklin

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

With another National Sports Collectors Convention coming to an end, most attendees are hopefully returning home with items that they have desired for years.

The quest for the perfect collectible is a challenge most hobbyists embrace and there is a good chance that many walked away with positive feelings about their experiences over the past few days in Cleveland. The Beckett Media team certainly enjoyed meeting with collectors from all over the world and hearing about their experiences.

The 2014 National Treasure Hunt closes with five more unique items and you can read more about them after the jump.

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2014 National Treasure Hunt: Saturday Edition

Mantle Raw

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

As the 2014 National Sports Collectors Convention keeps rolling along, many great items are turning up on the show floor and commanding the attention of the crowd.

One of the greatest things about the National is the diversity of collectibles that can be bought, sold or even traded for. Since the beginning, it has always been about baseball items, but fans of other sports are well-represented as well.

Let’s take another look at some of the treasures that popped up over the course of the show on Saturday after the jump.

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Old cards help create Exquisite Lebron tribute at National Sports Collectors Convention


By Ben Aguirre | Contributing Writer

CLEVELAND | When one thinks of the most-iconic basketball card of the last decade, there is likely one that comes to mind — the 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite LeBron James, an autographed patch Rookie Card.  Only 99 copies exist, but with the help of Tim Carroll, an elementary school teacher from South Carolina, there soon will be a 100th of sorts.

Carroll, the man who famously cut up 1989 Upper Deck baseball cards to create a giant tribute of the famed Ken Griffey Jr. RC, has been at the National Sports Collectors Convention this week making his latest creation, his version of the famed James card.

“I’m using nothing but Upper Deck brand Cleveland Cavaliers cards to recreate the modern Holy Grail of basketball cards,” Carroll said as he held a glue stick in one hand preparing to place a shiny piece of 1995-96 SP card into the area that surrounds the head of James on his creation.

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