Category Archives: Baseball

First Look: 2015 Topps Triple Threads baseball


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

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

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

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

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Sunday Conversation: Card artist Mike James




By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

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

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

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

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Beckett Auctions lands Texas t-card find


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

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

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

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

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Five Questions … about Topps Heritage



By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

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

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

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

1. Are you typically a fan of Topps Heritage?

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

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3. Will you be buying Topps Heritage?

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

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

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Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Artist uses game-used baseballs to make dress

Game-used dress

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

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

It’s a game-used dress.

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

Yep, game-used baseballs.

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Your Turn: Does this A-Rod autograph matter?


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

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

Some fans.

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

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

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

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


By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

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

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

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

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Jeffrey Maier’s glove hits auction via Heritage


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The kid’s glove can now be bought.

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

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

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Elemetal readies next round of T206 legends


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

It’s time for a Cy Young — or three.

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

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

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First Look: 2015 Topps Chrome baseball


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The vibrant color of 2015 Topps will be Chromed.

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

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

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Five MLB vets make new-team card debuts today


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

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

How? On Topps’ Spring Fever cards.

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

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First Pricing: 2015 Topps Series 1

Rusney Castillo


By Brian Fleischer | Beckett Baseball Senior Market Analyst

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

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

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


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

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

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

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First Look: 2015 USA Baseball Stars & Stripes


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

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

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

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

Read More » by the numbers: 2015 Topps Series 1


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

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

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

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San Francisco Giants selling World Series lockers via MLB Auctions


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

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

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

Bidding on each locker opened at $500.

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Heritage Auctions to sell only known signed “Shoeless” Joe Jackson baseball photo


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The only known baseball photograph signed by “Shoeless” Joe Jackson will hit the auction block later this month via Heritage Auctions.

The image was taken by Frank W. Smith, a photographer for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio, when Jackson was a member of the Cleveland Naps between 1910-15. The photograph was discovered in a photo album compiled by Smith in 1911. The album is estimated to sell for more than $170,000.

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Box Busters: 2015 Topps Series 1 baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a box of 2015 Topps Series 1  in latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …


Visual Guide: Short-printed photo variations and Sparkles

First Pitch celebrity cards

Box Busters Preview video 

Card gallery

First Look (debut story from August)

Beckett Online Price Guide/Organize

Beckett Marketplace

What’s it worth? Final 2015 Topps mystery gets answer Wednesday


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

It’s been out less than a week, but not all of the mysteries out of 2015 Topps have been solved.

You’ve seen the Derek Jeter farewells, you’ve seen the celebrity First Pitches. You’ve seen the photo variations and you’ve seen the sparkles. But there’s one remaining mystery and one million-dollar question, though.

What’s it worth?

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Topps’ latest art line is Black & Gold jumbos


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The first Topps baseball wall art offering of 2015 is something we’ve seen before — and we may not see it for long.

It’s 2015 Topps and the Series 1 Black & Gold Edition won’t last long as 303 cards from the set that arrived Wednesday have been blown up to 10-by-14 size on card stock and they’re much, much rarer than anything you’ll find in a wax pack.

How rare?

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Box Busters Preview: 2015 Topps Series 1

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds as he rips into a box of 2015 Topps Series 1 on opening day for the product in this preview edition of Box Busters.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out …


Sparkles, photo variations return in 2015 Topps


Note: Lists will continue to update as more are discovered by collectors.

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

This year’s first baseball card set officially arrives on Wednesday in 2015 Topps Series 1, a release that packs more cards and a more-colorful design than in recent past.

Among the inclusions are First Pitch cards of celebrities at MLB games — a first for the brand — but two things collectors will be hunting are back from past releases.

Sparkles and photo variations.

The total number of short-printed cards remains unknown — and Topps has yet to confirm any certain cards — so this work in progress is compiled based on discoveries by dealers and collectors online as well as those who have put their discoveries up for sale on eBay.

See all that have been found so far … after the jump. We’ll continue to add confirmed variations to the list in the coming days.

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BGS Diary Predictor (Feb.): What will he 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 February 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?

February BGS Diary Predictor: What will Olds submit?

  • 2000 Absolute #195 Tom Brady RC /3,000 (77%, 98 Votes)
  • 2014 Immaculate Collection Immaculate Ink #16 Nick Swisher /15 (57%, 73 Votes)
  • 2014 Topps Allen and Ginter Mini Metal #352 Bob Gibson (45%, 57 Votes)
  • 2006-07 USA Baseball Sig. Jersey Green #19 Todd Frazier /2 (36%, 46 Votes)
  • 2015 Country Music Signatures Blue #40 Sara Evans /299 (32%, 41 Votes)
  • 2014 Pop Century #BAJLA Joey Lauren Adams (31%, 39 Votes)
  • 2000 Playoff Contenders #113 Shaun Alexander AU RC (30%, 38 Votes)
  • 2011 Panini Gridiron Gear #243 Chris Matthews RC (27%, 34 Votes)
  • 2012 Leaf Metal Draft Army All-American Bowl Prismatic Silver #ATATJY T.J. Yeldon AU /50 (22%, 28 Votes)
  • 2005-06 Topps Style Fan Fav. Auto Chrome #JJ J.J. Johnson /10 (17%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 127

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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?

Card Gallery: 2015 Topps baseball cards


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Card No. 1 in the 2015 Topps Series 1 set is above, and it’s retired New York Yankees great Derek Jeter celebrating the final hit of his career at Yankee Stadium — one last base card for now.

It’s a card that seems to have struck a chord with some collectors and a card that has had others asking questions. (That’s perhaps the sign of a quality card.)

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Beckett 20 Questions on … a bit of everything


By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

It’s a busy time of year with a new wave of baseball coming, the Super Bowl on tap and plenty of new cardboard arrivals.

For this latest edition of 20 Questions, we’re tackling, well, a little bit of everything. Tell us what you think below …

1. What percentage of your cards do you buy at auction?

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2. Which of these auction platforms do you use most?

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See the rest of the questions … after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2014 Elite Extra Edition baseball

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into boxes of 2014 Elite Extra Edition from Panini America in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Topps’ 1951 Tribute includes Berger, top stars


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps recently lost a pioneer in former executive Sy Berger, who helped create the famed 1952 Topps set.

Now, collectors can get him on a new card as part of the 1951 Sy Berger Tribute Collection, an offering in Topps’ wall art series.

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First Pricing: 2014 Elite Extra Edition

EEE CastilloJPG

By Brian Fleischer | Beckett Baseball Senior Market Analyst

First pricing for 2014 Elite Extra Edition baseball is now live for all subscribers to the Beckett Online Price Guide.

Loaded with prospect autographs and parallels, collectors have been clamoring for Kyle Schwarber, Alex Jackson and Rusney Castillo’s cards, all of which have the potential to be Hot List candidates in the coming months. For the third year in a row, USA Baseball jersey and autographs have been included in the product. A top prospect in the 2015 draft and son of former Major-Leaguer Mike Cameron, Daz Cameron‘s USA Baseball 18U Signatures card — limited to just 199 copies — is priced at an impressive $40.

For complete Elite Extra Edition baseball pricing, access your Beckett OPG account or sign-up here for a new subscription:

Baseball loses a legend: Ernie Banks dies at 83


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

“Mr. Cub” is now undoubtedly playing two.

Ernie Banks, the face of the Chicago Cubs for nearly 20 years as a player and for decades after that, died Friday night. He was 83.

A two-time MVP and 14-time All-Star, Banks was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1977 after a 19-year career spent all with the Cubs. He retired with 512 home runs and 1,636 RBI — a career where his statistics were as matched by his enthusiasm for being at the ballpark, his “Let’s play two!” phrase one that identified a career. Banks was named to the MLB All-Century Team in 1999, and, in 2013, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It was that attitude and perseverance that was noted by the Commander in Chief as the baseball legend received the highest civilian honor.

“That’s ‘Mr. Cub’ — the man who came up through the Negro Leagues, making $7 a day, and became the first black player to suit up for the Cubs and one of the greatest hitters of all time,” said President Barack Obama. “In the process, Ernie became known as much for his 512 home runs as for his cheer and his optimism, and his eternal faith that someday the Cubs would go all the way.”

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First Look: 2015 Donruss baseball cards


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Donruss is back for 2015, too.

Panini America revealed on Friday the first glimpses at and the basic details of 2015 Donruss, a follow-up to the surprise release of a year ago that prompted two series of cards after several years on the bench.

Set to arrive on Feb. 25, it will include three autographs or memorabilia cards in every 24-pack hobby box with buyback autographs of Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki, Ken Griffey Jr. Cal Ripken Jr. and Don Mattingly in the fold.

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First Look: 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter baseball


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps‘ run with Allen & Ginter baseball cards turns 10 this season and the company isn’t holding much back when it comes to the unusual inclusions that have made the brand a staple.

The company’s first reveal of 2015 Topps Allen & Ginter on Friday includes buyback autographs from past Ginter releases, a new helping of autographs from past Ginter signers and even a 10th anniversary parallel.

Each 24-pack hobby box will include a mix of three autographs, Relics, cut autos, buybacks or Rip Cards per box with the rips falling one per case when it arrives on July 22.

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Kolek, Schwarber are Heritage mystery redemptions


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Two mysteries from last year’s Topps Heritage Minors baseball card set have been solved.

Topps announced Thursday that top draft picks Tyler Kolek and Kyle Schwarber are the players who will be heading out to collectors who found mystery redemptions in packs of Heritage Minors this past season.

Kolek, the No. 2 pick in the draft, is a pitcher in the Marlins organization and he’ll be going out to those who redeemed mystery card No. 1. Card No. 2 will be of Schwarber, the Cubs catching prospect who went fourth in the draft. Each card is a first for the players in their minor-league uniforms.

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 Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

First pitches are first surprises in 2015 Topps


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Dude and a seven-nation army might be impressed.

A 15-card set of ceremonial first pitches will be among the baseball cards to be found when this year’s first set of cards, 2015 Topps Series 1, arrives on Feb. 6.

Among them are actor Jeff Bridges, musicians Jack White and Eddie Vedder, Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney and even 50 Cent, whose notoriously bad first pitch at a New York Mets game has become the highlight reel of legend.

Each of them recently threw out the first pitch at a game and should appear in MLB jerseys as the company released their names and team affiliations on a checklist Tuesday. Click here for the full product checklist.

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First Look: The 2015 Topps Series 1 baseball checklist


Topps released the checklist for it 2015 Topps Series 1 baseball card set today, which arrives on Feb. 6.

You can click the link below to see and examine its contents as released by the company. We may add some analysis of the inclusions here soon. — Chris Olds

Click here for the checklist.


First Look: 2015 Topps Pro Debut baseball cards


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Once again, Topps will let many minor leaguers make their pro debut in Pro Debut

That’s 2015 Topps Pro Debut, the first release of the year for Minor League Baseball — a brand where we get the look and feel of the big leagues with the logos and players still down on the farm.

Set to arrive on May 27, Pro Debut will include two autographs and two Relics as well as a 200-card base set with four parallels per card — Gold, Orange (/25), Red (/5) and 1/1 Blacks. Also to be found are printing plates.

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