Category Archives: Baseball

Oscar Taveras auction to benefit his family


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A serious collector of a prospect gone too soon is selling his collection to benefit the player’s family.

Nine prime pieces of Oscar Taveras memorabilia will hit the auction block in January via West Berlin, N.J.-based Goldin Auctions with the proceeds from the nine lots going to the family of the former St. Louis Cardinals rookie. Taveras died on Oct. 26 during an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His blood-alcohol level was five times the legal limit at the time of the accident. He was 22.

A consensus No. 3 prospect in all of baseball from Baseball America, and Baseball Prospectus entering this season, Taveras was a highly watched prospect on both the field and in the hobby. He made his big-league debut with the Cardinals this past season, hitting .239 with three home runs and 22 RBI in 80 games. In six minor-league seasons, he hit .320 with 53 homers and 324 RBI in 436 games.

Among the items up for grabs? The ball Taveras hit for his first MLB hit, which was a home run, his 2010 Appalachian League championship ring as a member of the Johnson City Cardinals, a 2011 Midwest League championship ring as a member of the Quad City River Bandits, his signed game-used jersey from this past postseason, a signed game-used bat, the cleats from his MLB debut, a pair of batting gloves, another bat and his fielding glove from his MLB debut, too.

Read More »

BGS Diary: Saban, Cerrano, Hawk, Animal & practice


By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Commentary

For the last few months, I’ve submitted five 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 December — so here is my latest BGS Diary entry. See which five cards I decided to submit … after the jump.

Read More »

Former Topps executive Sy Berger dies at 91




By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A baseball card pioneer has passed.

Sy Berger, the man who designed the 1952 Topps baseball card set and personally signed players to contracts the company for years, died Sunday in Rockville Centre, N.Y. He was 91.

“His greatest friend may have been Willie Mays, but he had beloved friendships with thousands of players,” said Marty Appel, who announced the news on behalf of Berger’s family. “Getting one’s picture on a Topps baseball card meant you had ‘made it.’ Football followed, based on a handshake with NFL Commissioner Bert Bell — and then basketball and hockey.

“Sy handled entertainment products, too, including The Beatles. He flew to London to meet with Brian Epstein, greeted him in Yiddish, and made a deal. There was Elvis, Michael Jackson, and much more.”

Read More »

Box Busters: 2014 Topps High Tek baseball cards

YouTube Preview Image

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

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …


Your Turn: Which legends would you want paired?




By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

We all know Roger Maris‘ story of 61 in ’61 and we all know whose record he toppled.

Today, Topps‘ high-end Five Star brand arrived with a Relic pairing Maris and Babe Ruth — something that, believe it or not, hasn’t happened all that often in the modern era of cardboard. In fact, the players have only been paired up on 50 items in the database.

Want memorabilia cards? On that front there are only 30 previous cards to choose from and nearly all of them are limited to far fewer than 50 copies per card.

It’s an impressive one and it got us thinking … which duos would you like to see on a card?

Tell us in the comments 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 Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

“Wild Thing” Ricky Vaughn among Five Star surprises


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps‘ third edition of Five Star arrives Wednesday and it’s packing a few surprises worthy of a high-end brand.

One is “Wild Thing” Ricky Vaughn in the Relic lineup — something that already has an impressive array of bat knobs and nameplates to be found for past stars as well as MLB legends.

A second one?

MLB-related autographs for legends who aren’t known for their time on the baseball diamond. Get a glimpse at them all — as well as a checklist — after the jump.

Read More »

Hobby Q&A: David Cone revisits his perfect game


By Will Levith

NEW YORK | For years, Steiner Sports has been thinking outside of the box when it comes to memorabilia (Yankees Stadium dirt, anyone?), so when the company unveiled its latest product, the “In Their Own Words” autograph line, on Tuesday morning at Michael Jordan’s The Steakhouse N.Y.C. in Grand Central Terminal, it pulled out all the stops.

As previously reported, the line features photographs of famous moments in sports history inscribed (and then signed, of course) by the athletes who experienced them.

Founder and chief executive officer Brandon Steiner brought together a star-studded cast from all of the major sports to talk about their moments. Attendees included baseball legends Frank Robinson, Mookie Wilson, Bill Buckner, David Cone and Keith Hernandez; basketball greats Magic Johnson, Dennis Rodman and Larry Johnson; hockey stars Brian Leetch and Mike Eruzione (of “Miracle on Ice” fame); David Tyree, the recipient of “The Catch” in Super Bowl XLII, and several others.

Steiner played the part of MC, roasting many of the athletes himself. One of which was Cone, who played first for the New York Mets before donning pinstripes and pitching the “moment” he ended up inscribing — a perfect game on July 18, 1999, at a packed Yankee Stadium.

“[It was] Yogi Berra Day,” remembered Cone. “Yogi and George Steinbrenner had a feud that had gone on for 15 years or so, they finally made peace, there was a big No. 8 painted behind home plate, and the next thing you know it, at the end of the day, I finished with 88 pitches. If you believe in baseball gods and the mystique of Yankee Stadium … I mean, this is all in the [inscribed] photo. It was an incredible day.”

Beckett had a chance to talk to a number of the players on hand at the press conference (look for a feature in an upcoming magazine), but we wanted to give you a little taste beforehand. Here’s our Hobby Q&A with Cone …

Read More »

First look: 2015 Topps Series 2 baseball cards




By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps‘ second series of its 2015 flagship set is already in production.

The longest-running manufacturer of MLB-approved cardboard offered the first looks and basic details of 2015 Topps Series 2 on Tuesday, which will arrive on June 17 packing one autograph or Relic in every 36-pack box. HTA Jumbo boxes will pack one autograph and two Relics per box.

Like its Series 1 predecessor slated to arrive soon, it will be a larger set than in recent years with 350 cards in the series.

Read More »

Auction Estimator: How much will this Mantle fetch?


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

It’s one of the most-iconic baseball cards of all time — but don’t call it a Rookie Card.

The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle is one of the hobby’s most-coveted cards of the bubble-gum era, an iconic want of Baby Boomers and younger baseball fans alike.

This BGS-graded card is one of only 11 cards with the “B” variation to be slabbed — and it’s the highest of the bunch. It’s headed to the auction block this weekend via Beckett Auctions where it should grab some attention.

But right here, right now, we’re curious about what you think it might sell for.

How much for The Mick?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

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 Look: 2014 Elite Extra Edition baseball



By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

A prospecting staple returns in January.

Panini America released the first looks and basic details for 2014 Elite Extra Edition on Monday, the foilboarded home of baseball’s top prospects for more than a decade. This time around, there will be six autographs per 20-pack hobby box when it arrives on Jan. 7.

Read More »

Steiner readies ‘game-changer’ autograph line




By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Steiner Sports says it’s going to change the autograph game with a line that it’s unveiling on Tuesday in New York City.

The project is the In Their Own Words Collection, and it will showcase more than a dozen pieces with descriptions of memorable plays or performances inscribed onto the autographed pieces. The line will be unveiled at a news conference on Tuesday with more than a dozen athletes on hand. The Dec. 9 event will at Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C. in Grand Central Terminal. Among those in attendance will be Magic Johnson, Dennis Rodman, Dereck Whittenburg, Mookie Wilson, Bill Buckner, David Tyree, Mike Eruzione, Doug Williams and many more who have had iconic moments and are part of the line.

“Collecting is all about having a piece to recall your fondest memories,” said Brandon Steiner, the founder of the company. “‘In Their Own Words‎’ will change the business. It used to be about the moment, now it’s about the entire story. The players will describe in their own words how they felt at that magical moment.”

Read More »

Box Busters & Gallery: 2014 Panini USA Baseball

YouTube Preview Image

Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds as he rips into a 2014 Panini USA Baseball box set in this edition of Box Busters.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out …

After the jump, you can see a full gallery of card images — front and back — from the set. It’s literally everything except the hits found in this particular set.

Read More »

Detailing Topps Tek’s patterns

Topps High Tek Box


By Brian Fleischer | Beckett Baseball Senior Market Analyst

After examining thousands of images on eBay, we believe that some of the patterns found in 2014 Topps High Tek are exclusive to  the American League players, others are exclusive to the National League players, while others feature players from both leagues. Multiple email requests for confirmation from Topps have gone unanswered, so we’re reaching out to the Beckett community to confirm or dispute our findings.

Now, it’s only been a few days since the product went live, so it’s possible for some of our conclusions to be found untrue, but there are hundreds of examples of some of these patterns on the secondary market and we’ve yet to find one that disputes what we’ve found.

Please note that it appears the Wave and Spiral Bricks patterns are widely available and are likely to be combined into one base set in the Beckett Online Price Guide, as will the parallels. Also, based on how they are pictured on their base cards, Topps has considered Robin Yount, Jon Singleton and George Springer AL players, while Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Jean Segura and Ryan Braun are considered NL players. Taking into account what league they were in during their careers, this would make sense.

Read More »

Topps to put case break contest cards in packs


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

If you haven’t dabbled with the trend of case breaks you can — simply by ripping into a pack of 2015 Topps Series 1.

Topps announced on Friday that it will be placing redemption cards for case-break slots done by the company — 21 different case breaks during 2015.

The breaks will be streamed on YouTube via the ToppsTV channel throughout the year. The products will include 2015 Topps Dynasty Tier One, Triple Threads, Supreme, Heritage and other products with a loftier price tag than the flagship brand.

Redemptions will be for specific teams in specific products based on the company’s preview information.

Do you like this idea?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

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 look: 2015 Topps Stadium Club baseball




By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Stadium Club will return next year with a new format but the same strong visual formula.

Gone are the mini boxes but the showcase of strong photography remains as Topps revealed 2015 Topps Stadium Club on Thursday, which arrives on June 24 with two autographs in every 16-pack box.

Read More »

Panini adds Ichiro Suzuki to autograph roster




By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

First it was Derek Jeter. Then it was Barry Bonds.

Now it’s Ichiro Suzuki‘s autograph that is back in packs.

Panini America officially detailed its plans for buyback autographs of the Japanese baseball legend on Thursday — his autographs are the first he’s ever signed for the company.

Read More »

How much did this Willie Mays rookie sell for?


This SGC 92 (8.5) specimen of Willie Mays1951 Bowman Rookie Card was big hit at the auction block this week through Goodwin & Co. because there’s only one copy out there that grades higher from that company — and, of course, because it’s a Mays RC.

How much do you think it sold for? Tell us by taking the poll below.

How much did it go for? (Pick the one you think is closest.)

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

You can find out its final sale price in Auction Watch in the next issue of Beckett Baseball.


Breaking down the 2014 Topps High Tek patterns

Topps High Tek - Wave

By Brian Fleischer | Senior Market Analyst

The newest edition of Topps Tek released today in the form of 2014 Topps High Tek and with it comes a base set featuring 12 different background patterns — some more difficult to find than others.

While secondary market information is still sparse, we’ve scoured eBay and have been able to determine 11 of the 12 background patterns. Please note that the descriptions listed below are subject to change. The cards are printed on clear acetate, so the blue and black colors shown are the background of the scans, and not printed on the actual card. We will update this post as more information becomes available.

Read More »

First look: 2015 Topps Finest baseball cards




By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Finest will return in 2015 with some new features but the same iconic feel and format that it’s carried for years.

That was the main thought Tuesday as Topps teased 2015 Topps Finest, which arrives on June 3 with two autographed cards in each master box. Each mini box will contain six packs of five cards.

Read More »

BGS Diary Predictor (Dec.): 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 December 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?

December BGS Diary Predictor: What will Olds submit?

  • 2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Autos #NS Nick Saban, $200 (57%, 81 Votes)
  • 2011 Limited Lumberjacks Bats #2 Joe Jackson /199, $100 (46%, 66 Votes)
  • 1989 Score #257 Barry Sanders RC, $30 (45%, 64 Votes)
  • 1988 Wonderama NWA #341 Road Warriors, 60 cents (37%, 53 Votes)
  • 2005 Absolute Memorabilia Tools of Trade Swatch Double #176 Roger Maris J-P/50, $60 (35%, 50 Votes)
  • 1996 Score Board Autographed BK Autos Red #1 Allen Iverson /400, $150 (32%, 46 Votes)
  • 2004 Leather & Lumber Fans of Game Autos #2 Dennis Haysbert, $30 (32%, 45 Votes)
  • 2003 Playoff Prestige Sig. Impressions #46 Barry Larkin /15, N/A (27%, 38 Votes)
  • 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini #364 Ken Griffey Jr. EXT, $80 (20%, 28 Votes)
  • 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini #361 Ichiro Suzuki EXT, $80 (17%, 24 Votes)

Total Voters: 142

Loading ... Loading ...


October: Rookie Cards, Moneyball & Watergate

November: Vintage, booklets Dr. Beckett & more

Topps adds Rusney Castillo & more to Tribute



By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps is already adding to the lineup for next year’s edition of Topps Tribute. 

One of those additions is Boston Red Sox rookie Rusney Castillo, who is now in the fold for autographs.

Another expanded lineup in this one, according to the company, is the Milestone Baseball Relics list that will include 40 players with game-specific memorabilia swatches complete with MLB Authentication stickers. They will include baseballs from Masahiro Tanaka’s first start, Albert Pujols’ 500 home-run game, and Clayton Kershaw’s debut game to name a few as well as World Series baseballs for Buster Posey and World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner. 

Read More »

Preview Gallery: 2014 Topps High Tek


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

One of the more-unique creations of the late-1990s is back on Wednesday and it’s Tek from Topps.

This time, it’s called Topps High Tek and it will be a hobby-only release with an autograph in every one-pack box.

You can see a selection of preview images as well as a few autographs from early online sellers — after the jump.

Read More »

Sunday Conversation: Panini’s Jason Howarth



By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Jason Howarth is the Vice President of Marketing for Panini America. We caught up with him for a brief Q&A about the industry, its challenges, his New England Patriots and plenty more.

Check it out in our Sunday Conversation. 

What’s the most-interesting trend you have seen in the industry lately — and what makes that stand out?
I’d say this was a trend — but it has evolved into the creation of a whole new segment in the hobby and it’s here to stay — case-breaking. I know some people feel that case-breaking is bad for the hobby, but you have to give the guys that are doing it right their due. They open volumes of product and showcase cards in programs that previously might have been overlooked. Case-breaking also brings in lapsed collectors back into the hobby and reignites their passion to collect.

Read More »

BGS Diary: Vintage, booklets, Dr. Beckett & more


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

For the last few months, I’ve submitted five 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 of five cards I got back from BGS for November — so here’s my latest BGS Diary entry. See which five cards I decided to submit … after the jump.

Read More »

Box Busters: 2014 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft

YouTube Preview Image

Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into boxes of 2014 Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

First look: 2014 Topps Dynasty baseball checklist


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps continues to tease what is its priciest single-card pack of baseball cards in the company’s history for a Dec. 3 release and the latest information released Wednesday is the most-important one of all for collectors deciding whether or not to dig in on the premium brand.

The autograph subject checklist.

The brand is 2014 Topps Dynasty and its single-pack boxes are currently pre-selling somewhere in the $370 range online. Every card is an encased autograph or a cut autograph. (Click here for our First Look at the product.)

The company touts it as having “the most carefully curated subject list in trading card history” and as being the “most-premium Topps product of all time.”

See — and grade — the autograph subject checklist … after the jump.

Read More »

Breaking: Online Price Guide Plus released


Beckett Media is pleased to announce its most significant Price Guide development in a decade – Beckett Online Price Guide Plus.

Subscribers to Beckett Online Price Guide Plus will gain full access to our extensive raw market sales information database through their standard Online Price Guide interface. But what does this do, exactly, for the collector or dealer?

Thousands of bits of raw card sales data are accumulated every day inside the Beckett database. This raw information forms the basis for the data analyzed by pricing staff to produce and publish Beckett Price Guides. For nearly three decades, the pricing information released in our print and Online Price Guides was enough to satisfy the majority of collector and dealer demand for market pricing. While Beckett pricing data is still the best source of information for buyers and sellers, there have been an increasing number of cards released into the market that fall outside the scope of our traditional coverage — hence the need for Beckett Online Price Guide Plus.

Read More »

Black Friday contest: Win our 2014 Donruss set


Black Friday is coming and we want this limited-edition 2014 Donruss factory set from Panini America to be yours.

How can you own it?

Tell us your favorite player in the set in a comment below. (Yep, it’s that easy.)

We’ll randomly select a winner from all entries received before next Tuesday (Dec. 2).

Inside this sealed set will be an autograph or memorabilia card as well as all of the standard cards from the two-series release.

While you're here ... grade this set!

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Panini’s Black Friday Starting To Shape Up

Parker P

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Basketball Editor

We are barely a week away from the biggest shopping weekend of the year and collectors are gearing up for Panini America‘s annual holiday season tradition – their ever-popular Black Friday promotion.

Over the past couple of weeks, the company has been leaking out details about their 2014 Panini America Black Friday promotional set and packs are expected to loaded with cards that are sure to be heavily chased and may even become the cornerstones of some collections.

Starting on Friday, November 28, collectors will converge on hundreds of their favorite card stores in order to participate in the program and bust some packs or they can visit if they do not have a hobby shop that is participating in the program. Naturally, there is an opportunity to pull autographs and memorabilia along with tough parallels from the worlds of baseball, basketball and football.

What does Panini America have planned for hobbyists on Black Friday? Find out after the jump. Read More »

Box Busters: 2014 Panini Classics baseball cards

YouTube Preview Image

Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds and Derek Ficken as they rip into boxes of 2014 Panini Classics in this latest edition of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

Sources: Panini close to near-exclusive in college card market


By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor | Analysis

The changes coming to the college trading card landscape in 2015 are going to be even more dramatic than anticipated, according to industry sources.

Panini America‘s wave of new deals signed with top schools in the last few weeks has reportedly gotten even larger. Industry sources tell Beckett Media that nearly all of the country’s 60-plus major colleges and universities — and nearly 300 schools in total — have signed multi-year deals with Panini, positioning the Dallas-based manufacturer to operate under a near-exclusive in the college-card market for the rest of the decade. That expansion would effectively end any broad collegiate engagement for Upper Deck, which has held an exclusive Collegiate Licensing Company license for the past five years.

Read More »

Top 5: Japanese players in MLB history


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

The final game of the Japan Series is scheduled for Thursday with MLB and Japan splitting the first six games.

That got us thinking — who are the top players in MLB today and in MLB history?

Who’s No. 1? We’ll let you decide … after the jump.

Read More »

USA Today examines Panini America’s college push


Panini America‘s push into the college ranks includes more than 220 schools that will allow the company to use their trademarks on rookie and prospect cards as well as produce college-specific card sets.

Panini VP of Marketing Jason Howarth offered insight on how the deal works to USA Today Fields of Green’s Nick Zobel, who took a look at the deal.

“The way the process works is that the rights we have with the school are tied to utilizing the school logos and marks,” Howarth said in the piece. “That means school insignia and mascots. The partnerships do not give us rights to players.”

That means all those college stars from those schools in football and basketball will have their first Rookie Cards arrive (once their college careers are over) with views as seen on the field or court. That means the baseball players from those schools will appear in hobby staples such as Elite Extra Edition just as they were seen on the diamond.

What that doesn’t mean is that Panini can make any card it wants of any player in the history of the school — at least not without that person’s permission and, of course, not before they are done playing.

Top 5: Early Pablo Sandoval cards to chase


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

The Boston Red Sox are pursuing free agent slugger Pablo Sandoval. 

Now take a second to imagine a lineup — and the damage that could be done on the basepaths — with Panda and Big Papi David Ortiz both rumbling toward a catcher. That’s enough to make Buster Posey wince.

Sandoval’s cardboard presence is a unique one — here are five early cards to consider grabbing before he signs somewhere.

Read More »

T206 Honus Wagner headlines next SCP Auction


Update (Dec. 12): The Wagner sold for $403,664.

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The Holy Grail of baseball cards is heading to the auction block tomorrow via SCP Auctions.

It’s a PSA 1 copy of the T206 Honus Wagner baseball card and it’s the highlight of a sale that runs through Dec. 6. It’s a grouping that also includes Jackie Robinson‘s Hall of Fame plaque — and one of only two confirmed 1949-season game-used bats — as well as parts of three notable collections.

The Wagner is estimated to command as much as $400,000, according to the company. It is a new find and was graded on the floor of the National Sports Collectors Convention this year.

“Unveiling a fresh T206 Honus Wagner card is a dream scenario for any hobby professional,” said SCP’s Dan Imler. “The known supply of T206 Wagners will never begin to quench the exceeding collector demand for what is not just the most famous baseball card in the world, but one of our nation’s most-celebrated treasures. And to have it be a part of such an immense and diverse find of previously unknown T206s makes this one of the most exciting tobacco card finds in recent years.”

Read More »