Category Archives: Baseball

Bat brands get spotlight in 2015 Topps Tier One


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

I’ve always had a soft spot as a collector for game-used bats, which are perhaps the most-personalized pieces of equipment for a player.

The wear and tear that a bat shows only adds to a bat’s mystique, its intrinsic value. The same can be said for players’ choices in modifications — and with all of the bat companies out there these days approved for use by MLB players a brand of bat can be directly tied to a player, too, beyond just a specific model that they’re always known to use.

One type of game-used bat card in 2015 Topps Tier One, which arrived in hobby shops today, is the Limited Lumber set. It is a tad different from those typically found in packs. This time, at least on some cards in the set, the center brand of a bat gets the nod as the showcased piece of lumber in the 1/1 creations.

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First Look: 2015 Topps Heritage ’51 baseball cards


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

There’s a new addition to the Heritage baseball card line — and it’s from 1951.

Topps revealed the newest retro brand on Friday, and it’s 2015 Topps Heritage ’51 — a boxed set homage to the 1951 Topps red-back and blue-back cards that predated the company’s flagship arrival the following year.

Set to arrive on Oct. 28, there will be 104 base cards, one autograph and a mix of 21 parallel cards per set. There will be 24 sets per case.

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GTS Helps Group Breaking Go Global


By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

GTS Distribution has sent some of the hobby’s most prominent professional breakers to the Asia-Pacific region to help trading card shops build their business through group breaking utilizing some new Topps products that are exclusive to that market.

The wholesaler has partnered up with the Ripping Wax team and will be meeting with dealers in both Taipei, Taiwan and Tokyo, Japan to run breaks in their shops and show off what can be pulled from packs from the recently-released Asian editions of 2015 Topps Tier One and 2015 Bowman Baseball. Collectors in the United States also have an opportunity to take part in these events, which run until May 21.

“We have all seen the impact breaking has had in the North American card market, and while the Asia market typically mirrors what happens here in terms of product reception and performance, we feel there is substantial growth opportunity for all involved by helping this method of product delivery to the end-consumer take hold with our partners overseas,” said GTS Vice President Lloyd Kee in a press release. “We couldn’t be happier to be working with Ripping Wax. They’re among the best in the business and add tremendous value to what we are trying to achieve.”. Read More »

Box Busters: 2015 Panini Prizm baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into boxes of 2015 Panini Prizm in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Box Busters: 2015 Topps Chipz

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

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Hobby challenge: Build an autographed card set


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

We all want the best player possible as the autograph every single time we open a box, but we should realize that’s not possible.

Why? Simple economics.

Every time a card company puts a card of The Iconic Veteran Player into a pack of cards that sells for $5, it’s actually losing money on that pack and the box that it’s in. Why? Because the player dictates his cost of signing — you take it or leave it — and that’s got nothing to do with how much the card will sell for on eBay or what your product might cost.

What do you do? Who makes it onto your checklist and who doesn’t? That’s up to you as the brand manager — but your goal is to hit your production numbers while also creating the best lineup you can that will appeal to the most people.

Do you load up on quality bargain players? Do you go for the big chase cards? Do you create a balanced product that would appeal to more people but not necessarily draw in the gambler types hoping for a crazy find?

Take our challenge … after the jump.

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Sylvester Stallone autos coming in Allen & Ginter


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The 10th edition of Allen & Ginter will pack some punch.

Topps revealed on Thursday that Sylvester Stallone will be signing cards for the 10th edition of the retro-styled baseball card set that includes other notables in the sports world.

In this case, it’s a boxer from the big screen, Rocky Balboa, who is a world’s champion. (Note the card is labeled “Balboa.”)

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Beckett 20 Questions on … having fun in the hobby


By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

The sports card world of just 20 years ago was immensely different from today, but one thing is the same for many collectors.

They just want to have fun with their hobby … right?

Defining “fun” will vary from person to person (see our Your Turn post’s comments section for examples) and we know that. One example of fun from back then was a Michael Jordan baseball card — his time as a minor-league player sold a lot of cardboard and it was fun to chase them simply because they were different and there were plenty available. And one brand of baseball cards back then was Upper Deck‘s Fun Pack, a kid-focused line that ultimately didn’t last.

It’s curious that it didn’t — there were surely a lot more kids (and others) buying cards then — but it does reinforce today’s manufacturing challenge of trying to decide what works and what doesn’t for collectors.  Kid-focused sets still exist, but that word fun remains hard to define when it comes to cards.

Despite this, we’re exploring the subject of fun and cardboard right here, right now in our latest 20 Questions. Tell us what you think on each one — and tell us more in the comments if you must.

1. Are you having fun in today's hobby?

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2. Which of these best describes you?

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See the rest of the questions … after the jump.

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Your Turn: What makes the hobby fun?



By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

What makes the hobby fun?

It’s not an easy question to answer because so many different people collect for different reasons. It’s also a challenge because there are so many perspectives on what’s cool and what’s not when it comes to cardboard.

A simple card like that of the Rally Squirrel, a short-printed variation found in packs of 2012 Topps showing something that actually happened on an MLB field during an MLB game, can cause just as many groans as it does chuckles. But there’s no doubting that, no matter where you stand, it’s a fun card.

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Ichiro Suzuki to make Topps auto debut in Ginter


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

He’s appeared on more than 10,000 different baseball cards as a star in both Japan and Major League Baseball. He’s working his way toward 3,000 hits in MLB despite not arriving until he was 27 years old.

But there’s one thing that Ichiro Suzuki has never done before — sign a baseball card to be placed into Topps packs.

All that changes this summer when 2015 Allen & Ginter arrives from Topps with the company’s first autographed cards in packs. He’ll appear on a card as a member of the Seattle Mariners, another as a New York Yankee and a third as a Miami Marlin.

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Box Busters: 2015 Bowman baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into boxes of 2015 Bowman in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out.

First Look: 2015 Topps Heritage Minor League

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Baseball card collectors will get another chance to revisit 1966 this year as Topps‘ annual retro minor-league set arrives in September.

Topps released the basic details and first images of 2015 Topps Heritage Minor League on Friday, and it’s a farm-team twist on the 1966 Topps design that will pack two autographs and one Relic into every 24-pack hobby box when it hits on Sept. 16. This will be a hobby-only product.

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Getting “Up Close” with 2015 Bowman baseball



By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Tear into a pack of the recently released 2015 Bowman baseball cards from Topps, and I’ll guarantee you one thing.

You might not get your favorite player. You might not get rich. You might not pull an autograph. But one thing that’s for sure when you open a pack — no matter how knowledgeable you are about the game you are or how many years you’ve collected cards — is that you’ll learn something.

No, seriously, you will learn something.

Get “up close” with card No. 26 and you’ll learn that Washington Nationals infielder Anthony Rendon is a “huge fan of Double Decker Tacos.” Not only that, but he “eschews social media,” likes The History Channel and plays guitar.  You can see for yourself above — and he’s hardly alone with some of the unusual things found on his card.

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Ripping Retail Retro: 1979 Topps baseball cards

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Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds joins Reed Kasaoka of Baseball Card Exchange to open packs of 1979 Topps baseball cards in this Ripping Retail Retro video.

We’ll have a series of Ripping Retail Retro or Box Busters Retro videos to come in the following weeks where they rip and discuss packs from the past — packs as far back as the 1970s.

What Retro video would you want to see next?

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Topps creates Twitter-exclusive Refractor packs



By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Are you on Twitter? If not, Topps has a reason for you to be there.

All 150 prospects in the 2015 Bowman product — a crop that includes Kris Bryant and Carlos Rodon — will be found with Blue Refractors that are only available via Twitter giveaways by the @BowmanCards account. Oh, and there’s an autograph — a card limited to only three copies — in every pack, too.

The nine-card packs and the cards will be limited — only 150 packs were made.

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Box Busters: 2015 Panini Diamond Kings

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Justin Grunert as they rip into boxes of 2015 Panini Diamond Kings in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Will Ferrell autographs coming in Topps Archives


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

First, Ferrell took the field — and now he’ll be taking over the hobby.

Topps teased on Wednesday that there will be Will Ferrell certified autographs in 2015 Topps Archives when it arrives on June 10.

In fact, there will be 10 different cards — one for each of his MLB teams — and there will be regular cards to chase, too. Ferrell, who is historically not an easy autograph to obtain, signed 10 copies per card. These will be his first certified autographs.

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Win our autographed Kris Bryant baseball bat


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

TroutCover2We’re finalizing the July issue of Beckett Baseball this week — one that will examine notable past players, cards and sets for USA Baseball — but we couldn’t wait to get things started for one inclusion in the issue.

A contest where one lucky reader will get to own this USA Baseball bat signed by Chicago Cubs rookie Kris Bryant.

He’s a former USA Baseball Collegiate National Team member and he was the winner of the 2013 Golden Spikes Award, which goes to the top amateur player in the country. (Hence the “GSA ’13” inscription.) Right now, of course, Bryant is the top player in the hobby and that makes this item straight from the USA Baseball archives one that we couldn’t help but pass along to one of you.

How can it be yours?

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BGS Diary Predictor (May): What will Olds submit?


We recently introduced the BGS Diary 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.

He’s prepared his five cards for grading in March and we want to see if you can predict which of his cards will end up slabbed. Of the 10 cards listed below, a few are headed to Beckett Grading Services today for his next BGS Diary.

Can you predict which ones they will be?

May BGS Diary Predictor: Which cards will Olds submit?

  • 1965 Topps #122 Joe Namath SP RC, $1,800 (62%, 105 Votes)
  • 2015 Topps WWE Black #46 Lana, $30 (45%, 77 Votes)
  • 2008 USA Baseball National Team Starting Lineup Signatures #SL9 Danks, Forsythe, Alvarez, Smoak, Wallace, Paramore, Flaherty, Mercer, Kieschnick, Matusz, $N/A (35%, 60 Votes)
  • 1975 Topps Mini #63 Steve Swisher RC, 75 cents (34%, 58 Votes)
  • 1994 Fun Pack #170 Michael Jordan RC, $10 (34%, 57 Votes)
  • 1987 Topps Tiffany #620 Jose Canseco, $6 (32%, 55 Votes)
  • 1986-87 Fleer #120 Spud Webb RC, $15 (26%, 45 Votes)
  • 2002 Bowman Chrome Draft Gold Refractors #71 Curtis Granderson, $125 (24%, 40 Votes)
  • 2013 Bowman Draft Draft Picks Purple Ice #BDPP19 Aaron Judge, $N/A (18%, 31 Votes)
  • 1992 Star Pics Autographs #27 Robert Horry, $80 (16%, 28 Votes)

Total Voters: 170

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– October: Rookie Cards, Moneyball & Watergate

 November: Vintage, booklets Dr. Beckett & more

– December: Saban, Cerrano, Hawk, Animal & practice

– January: Bull Durham, Star hoops, “Macho Man” … and Bill Murray’s baseball card?

– February: Chasing Amy, metal minis, USA Baseball green and, of course, Crimson Tide

– March: WWE Divas, The Killer, Koufax and a cardboard icon 

– April Seeing gold, stickers … and furry autographs?

First Look: 2015 Topps Five Star baseball cards


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A reconfigured look for Five Star means two new things — a lower price and two autographed cards per pack.

Topps revealed the details for the latest edition of the company’s high-end brand on Friday, confirming its plans previously announced. When Five Star arrives for the fourth time in baseball card history on Sept. 30, it will include a mix of players from the past and present as well as some new inclusions.

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It only took Marquis Grissom 25 years to sign …


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

It only took 25 years, but Marquis Grissom has a certified autograph card.

The news comes 10 years after his last of 17 seasons in MLB — a career where he was a two-time All-Star, a four-time Gold Glove winner, a two-time NL stolen bases champ and a World Series winner with the Atlanta Braves back in 1995.

The .272-lifetime hitter is one of seven 1990 rookies who are revisited on flashback cards in 2015 Bowman, which arrived on Wednesday from Topps. Grissom now has five certified autographs in the Beckett database (click here for a complete checklist) with each player on the checklist signing a standard card, a Gold Refractor (/50), a Red Refractor (/5), a standard Refractor (/99) and a 1/1 Superfractor.

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20 Questions on … USA Baseball cards


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

We’ve recently seen the arrival of just the second standalone USA Baseball product in packs — 2015 USA Baseball Stars & Stripes from Panini America — and we’ve seen the big-league arrivals of three notable USA Baseball players in Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Carlos Rodon.

With the July issue of Beckett Baseball being prepared right now — one focusing heavily on the Red, White and Blue of cardboard — we also figured that now might be a good time for a USA-focused edition of 20 Questions.

From the early days to the modern day, there seems to be a little bit of everything for everyone possible with a USA Baseball collection. Tell us what you think and test your knowledge with the questions below …


1. Which of these players was in the 1985 Topps USA Baseball subset.

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2. Which of these brands included 1988 USA Baseball players besides the Topps Traded set?

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Five questions on … Superfractors


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

They’ve been the source of some of the biggest sales of modern cardboard in hobby history that don’t include a cut signature or a piece of game-used memorabilia. They’re the most sought-after of all the colors in the Bowman Chrome rainbow.

They’re Superfractors.

With the arrival of 2015 Bowman today, we have a new batch of Supers that the Chromies are chasing — both signed and unsigned. That got us curious about your thoughts on Superfractors — tell us what you think below.

How important is the Bowman Chrome Superfractor to the hobby?

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Do you own any Superfractors?

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Topps releases Bowman jumbo cards and wall art


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Bowman is back — and it’s bigger than ever before.

With today a national holiday of sorts for prospectors, Topps added a new element into the Bowman mix this year with a pair of jumbo card sets and even larger wall prints for 33 rookies in the 2015 Bowman release.

Only available on, each rookie in the 2015 Bowman wall art collection is available on a pair of 10-by-14 prints on trading card stock — a standard version limited to only 99 copies for $29.99 and a 1/1 Gold version for $99.99.

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Who will you be chasing on 2015 Bowman autos?


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

This year’s first Bowman release is here with the newest crop of Chrome prospect and rookie autographs as well as a strong selection of insert autographs showcasing some of the biggest names in the game.

We’re curious who you think will be standouts among those on the Chrome auto and the retail auto checklists. You can check them out — and tell us who you’ll be chasing in the comments — after the jump.

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Honus Wagner sells for $1.32 million at auction


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The hobby’s biggest card recorded another big sale this weekend.

It’s a PSA 3 copy of the 1909 T206 Honus Wagner and it was part of the annual Robert Edward Auctions sale that ended Saturday night. After 42 bids, it sold for $1.1 million and that excludes a 20-percent buyer’s premium that raised the sale to $1.32 million.

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College student becomes baseball player for day


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

For the third time in as many years, a collector of baseball cards became a member of a minor league baseball team for a day.

How? By collecting cards and entering the Topps Make Your Pro Debut contest.

Earlier this week, 21-year-old University of Georgia student Tyler Badger became a member of the Corpus Christi Hooks, the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros.

“It’s truly an experience of a lifetime,” Badger told Topps. “I love the essence of Minor League Baseball and how each team has roots within its community. That’s certainly true with this great organization and I’d just like to thank Topps, Minor League Baseball and the Hooks for such a tremendous experience.”

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Gypsy Queen gets jumbo wall art treatment


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps is making its latest baseball card release even bigger — as wall art.

This year’s edition of Gypsy Queen, which arrived last week, has been given the online wall art treatment as Topps has unveiled the Gypsy Queen collection on

There are 599 different print options and one set offering in this one — all from the fifth edition of the retro-styled line.

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Leaf signs Yoan Moncada to autograph deal


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Leaf Trading Cards has signed Boston Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada to a multi-year autograph deal, the company announced on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old second baseman signed a record $31.5 million deal with Boston in February. In two seasons with the Cuban National Series, he hit .277 with four home runs and 28 RBI in 101 games. He’ll begin his season with the Class-A Greenville Drive after he finishes in extended spring training.

He made his debut there last week.

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Box Busters: 2015 Topps Gypsy Queen baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Justin Grunert as they rip into boxes of 2015 Topps Gypsy Queen in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

First Look: 2015 Topps Dynasty baseball cards


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps Dynasty will be returning in 2015.

That was the revelation on Wednesday when the company teased a card of highly touted Chicago Cubs rookie Kris Bryant and released the basic information and other preview images for the product.

Last year, the brand’s debut marked the most-expensive single-card pack of baseball cards in Topps history as the company dubbed it as “the most carefully curated subject list in trading card history” and the “most-premium Topps product of all time.”

This year, every pack will once again include an autographed patch, cut auto, autographed dual Relic or a cut auto dual Relic when it arrives on Nov. 4.

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First Look: 2015 Cooperstown baseball cards


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Panini America‘s Cooperstown is back after an anniversary year that saw the company’s Hall of Fame brand go high-end. This time around, it remains high-end with the original name used in 2012 and 2013.

The company unveiled the first glimpses at 2015 Cooperstown in Wednesday — a fourth retrospective release from the company under its licensing deal with the Hall, and it’s a set that will arrive on June 17.

With 12 cards per box and 15 boxes per case, this one will pack two autographs in every box along with a mix of base cards and inserts of the biggest names in the game — and those players only.

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Draft picks sets helped shape hobby we know today


By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

Russell Maryland, Brien Taylor, Larry Johnson, Eric Lindros.

Back in 1991, this first card from Classic Four Sport was a talking point for an emerging niche of sports card collecting — draft picks sets. Back then, we often had to wait a year — or at least later in the year — to see our newest teams’ newest stars on cards, so a card like this was something dramatically different.

The fact that this card had the No. 1 picks from the four major drafts all in one place, all on one card? That might still be considered magical — and Classic pulled it off. A year later, with the company backing the arrival of Shaquille O’Neal, the game was changed and draft picks were truly a force and an option for collectors to seriously consider.

Our next issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly will explore draft picks sets in a bit of an abbreviated form — a look back at 20 big-name notables and busts from the past, a look at a few stars heading into this year’s drafts, and a look back at a handful of sets that helped define the changing times. This card didn’t make the cut for the items in the issue, but it should have. It’s perhaps a symbol of the changing times and how things were simpler — and yet still big business — even just a couple decades ago. It also shows us how different things are today.

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Mascots take over in latest Topps wall art line


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Baseball’s furry friends are taking over.

Twenty-five mascot cards found in packs of 2015 Topps Opening Day are getting enlarged to make their way onto collectors’ walls as the MLB Mascots collection is the latest wall art line from Topps.

Found only on for a limited time, there are three options for collectors who want a piece of the action showing the stars found in the stands.

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USA Baseball is common thread with emerging stars


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Kris Bryant, Carlos Rodon and Addison Russell have a lot more in common than you might think.

Sure, they’re all now MLB rookies in Chicago. They’re all now under lock and key for another season before they can be free agents (thanks, Super Two rule!) and they’re all guys who have been watched closely on cardboard for some time. But that about of time is longer than you might think. Why?

USA Baseball cards.

Each of these guys — and many, many more — appeared on USA Baseball cards in the past. They made their cardboard debuts well before they even had a professional team and professional fans to latch onto them because their team colors matched. They’ve literally had baseball cards for years — and yet I continue to wonder why these extra-early — and officially official — cards don’t seem to resonate as well as others despite them being made by Upper Deck, Topps and Panini America in the last decade or so. (Panini is the present manufacturer.)

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