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Category Archives: Baseball

More mem than ever: Memorabilia card total jumps 35 percent in less than three years


By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Analysis & Commentary

You might think that we’re seeing fewer game-used memorabilia cards in our packs these days as collector tastes continue to evolve and new creations capture our attention.

You’d be wrong.

A basic examination of the Beckett.com database shows that there are 1,001,558 different memorabilia cards of the game-used (or event-used) variety out there for collectors to chase.

It’s an impressive number (and the total volume of cards would be much higher), but what’s more impressive is that it’s a dramatic increase in less than three years, the last time we revisited these stats for a Game-used Issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly. In the February 2012 issue, which was prepped at the end of 2011, there were 738,395 unique memorabilia cards. That’s a 35.6 percent increase. (That surprise does come with a caveat — it’s possible that we’re seeing fewer total memorabilia cards but with more unique cards made having smaller serial-numbering … but I doubt it.)

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Beckett Auctions lands Babe Ruth-Harry Frazee dual cut autograph



A one-of-a-kind autograph card linking the two principles in the sale of Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees in 1920 highlights the October 2014 Beckett “Legends of Baseball’’ Auction.

The 2005 SP Legendary Dual Cuts Autograph numbered 1/1 features cut signatures of Ruth and former Red Sox owner Harry Frazee, the man who sold Ruth to the Yankees for $125,000 along with a reported $300,000 in loans that Frazee used to help finance one of his Broadway plays. The deal remains the most lopsided in baseball trade in history. The year he was sold, Ruth went on to slug 54 home runs – then a single-season record. Frazee died in 1929 and his signature remains in high demand to those wanting a piece of this unique history.

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THE DANDY DOZEN: The priciest* Bowman Chrome baseball autographs


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Ever wonder which Bowman Chrome prospect/rookie autos (excluding parallels*) are the most expensive?

Mike Trout is the second player of the bunch to have his standard Bowman Chrome debut auto top the $1,000 mark — and he’s the only one to do it that’s not serial-numbered. Tops on the list, of course, is Albert Pujols‘ 2001 card that is limited to just 500 copies.

The rest of the crew is a who’s who of recent hot players — from Nats teammates Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg to Dodgers Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig. You also can’t forget a pair of cards from this year’s biggie, Kris Bryant.

Here are the top 12 cards …  after the jump.

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Box Busters: 2014 Topps Chrome baseball cards

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Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into boxes of 2014 Topps Chrome in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …


First Look: 2014 Panini Hall of Fame 75 Years baseball cards


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Panini America‘s annual Hall of Fame baseball card set is going high-end.

The company formally revealed the basic product inclusions and images for 2014 Panini Hall of Fame 75 Years on Tuesday, and it’s a single-pack box that includes twice as many autographs per box than its predecessor, Cooperstown.

This time around, Hall of Fame will include 12 cards in a box with two Hall of Famer autographs, four cards numbered to 75 or fewer copies and six other cards — one Elite Series, one Dominator, one Crusade, one Diamond King and two other cards — per box. It is set to arrive on Oct. 8.

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Beckett 20 Questions on … Hot baseball players, hot prospects & more


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

As the regular season winds down and the pennant races heat up, this year’s true movers and shakers will begin to emerge on cardboard.

With our latest 20 Questions, we want to know what you think of the hobby’s key players, key cards and key product developments.

1. Who is your hobby MVP this season?

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2. Who gets your Hobby Rookie of the Year vote?

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See the rest of the questions … after the jump. (Click “Read More” … )

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Upper Deck to Release 25th Anniversary Set

25th Woods

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Hockey Editor

This week, collectors heading to their local card store or particiating in an authorized group break featuring Upper Deck products are in for a surprise treat coming in the form of special 25th Anniversary Promo Packs.

The five-card packs will contain a special 110-card base set from several sports designed in the same manner as the landmark 1989 Upper Deck Baseball release. Seeded once per pack is one of 40 different additional 1989 Themed Rookie Cards that include such young talents as Byron Buxton, Nathan MacKinnon and Johnny Manziel.

If that was not enough, there are over 70 different Autograph Parallel cards to track down and they are limited to between 25 and 125 copies each. Combined with the ever-popular Printing Plates, they will be coming out of packs at an attainable 1:17 rate. Read More »

Trading Card Industry Tackles ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Magazine Exchange owner Roger Barry is doused Thursday by his sales staff. Barry’s Ice Bucket Challenge came from Panini's Vice President of Sales, D.J. Kazmierczak.

Magazine Exchange owner Roger Barry is doused Thursday by his sales staff. Barry’s Ice Bucket Challenge came from Panini’s Vice President of Sales, D.J. Kazmierczak.

Individuals from throughout the trading card industry – and even groups of staff members from Upper Deck and Topps – have invested in the wildly successful ALS Ice Bucket Challenge during the past few weeks.

As you would expect, the videos are priceless.

The highlight so from an engagement perspective has been a head-to-head challenge from Upper Deck that was accepted by The Topps Company. Take a moment after the jump to watch and consider making a donation of your own as the post ice-bath expressions from Topps Vice President and General Manager, U.S. Sports & Entertainment, Doug Kruep and Upper Deck’s Senior Marketing & Social Media Manager Chris Carlin are incredible. Read More »

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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