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Category Archives: Baseball

Preview Gallery: 2014 Topps Dynasty baseball

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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 Nov. 19 release and here is a selection of new images released since the last time we checked in on the brand.

The brand is 2014 Topps Dynasty and its single-pack boxes are currently pre-selling somewhere in the $375 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.”

Check out a gallery of images from Topps and let us know what you think … after the jump.

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Fan’s Twitter question lands a Kris Bryant bat

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

It started with a simple question on Twitter last week — a question from a collector to a promising baseball prospect.

It ended on Thursday with a game-used bat in that collector’s hands.

The player? Chicago Cubs hopeful and Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year Kris Bryant — one of the best prospects in the game today and a guy who hit 43 home runs and drove in 110 RBI this past season. The bat? A Chandler Model D24 Maple — signed and inscribed “To Mike” with a “Game-used 2014″ notation.

For Michael Kennedy, a 37-year-old collector from Las Vegas, it’s been a whirlwind of Twitter attention and interviews — and it all started because he went straight to the source, Bryant, to find out if an $850 game-used bat he was eyeing on eBay was truly real. The future Cub saw his tweet — and offered to send him a bat.

“I was stoked when Kris replied back. I was really just hoping he would say ‘Yeah that’s one of my bats from this year,'” Kennedy said Thursday night. “[Then] I would buy it and that would be the end of it. When he said he would just give me one I was floored.”

He’s a bit of a prospector as a collector — but the bat of this prospect isn’t going anywhere.

“I was just floored by his kindness and generosity. I honestly to this day can’t believe I own a bat that was part of his 43-home run season,” Kennedy said. “It’s by far my favorite item I own. I’ll never sell it. I’ve always been a fan and talked to Kris a few times. I’ve collected a bunch of his cards. I was lucky and my Blue 2014 Chrome auto graded BGS 10-10. Have his 2013 Bowman Draft auto and his Aflac as well.”

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Auction Watch: Auburn gem, Jeter’s glove & BGS

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A Collegiate Shocker | Chris Davis’ 2013 Iron Bowl helmet
One of the most-outrageous finishes in college football the last few years can be found on the field of the 2013 Iron Bowl — aka the Alabama-Auburn rivalry. This helmet was worn by former Auburn Tiger Chris Davis, who is now a San Diego Charger, during his endzone-to-endzone shocker to win the game. College football fans can be rabid — especially in the SEC — and this helmet is a high-priced example when it hit the auction block via Goldin Auctions. It collected 21 bids and sold for $47,190.

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BGS Diary: Rookie Cards, Moneyball & Watergate

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Card grading is big business for the companies involved as well as for many collectors and dealers who supplement their hobby or their business by slabbing.

The reasons collectors slab cards vary as much as their tastes in cardboard. Some, like myself, do it to primarily protect cards that they they value. Some do it to make it easier to sell — and potentially get more for their money. Some do it for their registries and their interest in pop reports. All of these things are valued in varying ways by various collectors.

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. Today, I got back my batch of five cards from October, so I figured it might be a time to try creating a BGS Diary entry. See which five cards I decided to submit … after the jump.

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Top Choice: Five Clayton Kershaw cards to own

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Baseball’s awards season began this week with the Players Choice Awards — a player vote that should help predict what’s coming with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America awards later this month.

This month’s Beckett Baseball cover star, Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, picked up a record three awards this week, winning the NL’s Outstanding Pitcher, the Player of the Year award and the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award as well. No player has ever won three awards in a single year.

Here are my picks for five Kershaw cards to own …

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Topps adds baseball twist to Garbage Pail Kids

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Topps is adding a touch of the national pastime to its Kids.

They’re the Garbage Pail Kids as the company revealed that it will be meshing baseball with those memorable characters from the non-sports world in 2015 Topps Garbage Pail Kids, which is set to arrive on March 18.

There will be three types of baseball-related stickers to be found regularly — All-Stars (past Kids found playing the game two per box), 10 Mascot stickers and 10 cards with nods to the 1985 Topps baseball design.

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Box Busters with Slipknot’s No. 3

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Before metal band Slipknot hit the stage Friday night here in Dallas for the latest stop on their “Prepare for Hell” tour, there was one thing on the minds of two members from the Grammy-winning band and one of its photographers.

They wanted to visit Beckett Media.

Why? Because when they aren’t masked musicians putting on a show Shawn Crahan (aka Clown or No. 6) and Chris Fehn (aka No. 3) are serious baseball card collectors along with their creative cohort Bobby Tongs, who helps document things along the way.

How serious? Their tour just began last week and they’d already rocked a few card shops — so much so they had an extra room at the Dallas Ritz-Carlton Thursday night purely for pack-ripping. (Rock n’ roll!)  Another example? Fehn carried four yet-to-be-scratched Topps redemption cards in his wallet, and he brought a box full of new pulls — some of which ended up in BGS slabs this afternoon. Meanwhile, Tongs got his 2014 Bowman Chrome Jose Abreu autograph slabbed — and it came back a Pristine 10. Clown brought with him a baseball signed by future Hall of Famer — and Rolling Stone photographer — Randy Johnson that will end up in a BGS balldome.

It’s not every day we get rock stars who have sold 16 million albums with a No. 1 album on the charts showing up at Beckett — and they talked cardboard, music and more for three-hours plus with everyone who was interested. We might have rocked their world — they left very happy — but they rocked ours, too, because they’re big collectors.

Here’s Beckett Baseball Editor Chris Olds ripping some wax and talking cards and music with No. 3 in our latest episode of Box Busters. 

Alex Gordon’s cut-out card gets another look

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If you’re a veteran collector or a regular reader here on Beckett.com, you probably know all about the Alex Gordon Topps cards from 2006 that should not exist.

SB Nation takes a more in-depth look at the cards via a former Topps employee.

“I was working a low-level editorial job at Topps at the time,” wrote David Roth, “and watched The Great Alex Gordon Destruction of 2006 happen out of the corner of my eye, while pretending to do other work. What I remember about the experience was everyone being extremely nervous.”

 

Check out this piece by Roth here.

Madison Bumgarner: 5 Key Cards

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Coming as a surprise to no one, Madison Bumgarner culminated his outstanding 2014 postseason in fitting fashion – by collecting the 2014 World Series MVP trophy. Bumgarner finished the postseason with 4-1 record with 45 strikeouts and a 1.03 ERA. In the World Series, he was 2-0 with 0.43 ERA and a save in the Series clinching seventh game.

Bumgarner cards have been smoking hot for the last several weeks, as collectors have been clamoring to add some Bumgarner cardboard to their collections. But with nearly 1,500 cards in the Beckett Online Price Guide,  sifting through the secondary market looking for Bumgarner gold can be a daunting task.

Below, you’ll find five key Madison Bumgarner cards. Some are autographed, some are not. Some are expensive, some are inexpensive. All are worthy of a spot in your collection.

 

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Madison Bumgarner arrives in full

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

If there were any questions about who was The Star of this year’s World Series, this guy answered it Wednesday night.

If there were any questions about the newest household name in MLB as a result of this year’s World Series, this guy answered it.

If there were any questions about who is The Man to collect after this year’s World Series, this guy answered it.

His name is Madison Bumgarner.

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New Podres: A sign sticker autos can be good?

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

This year’s edition of Topps Supreme baseball cards arrived in hobby shops on Wednesday with the newest lineup of  autographs from today’s players, future stars and past greats.

One of them? Former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Johnny Podres — a lefty who won 148 games in 15 seasons as well as three World Series rings.

What makes this unusual? He died at age 75 on Jan. 13, 2008 — more than six years ago.

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Barry Bonds autos return in National Treasures

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The ink of baseball’s home run king is coming back to packs.

Barry Bonds‘ first certified autographs in some time will arrive in Panini America‘s 2014 National Treasures set soon as the company teased his presence online. How long has it been? Seven years ago — 2007 — was the last time he played a big-league game as well as the last time he signed cards directly for a card company.

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Panini details Jeter buyback auto plans

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

As teased during the weekend, new Derek Jeter autographs are coming to baseball card packs.

Now we know more as Panini America unveiled its plans Wednesday — and it’s a multi-set and multi-year campaign that begins with buyback cards in the upcoming 2014 Classics product which arrives on Nov. 19. The cards in that one will be from the 2001 and 2002 Classics sets.

A selection of past Donruss/Playoff brand cards have been signed and authenticated with a Steiner Sports sticker. The buybacks date back to 1999. Panini promises them to be released in an “extremely limited” volume and there will be more to come in the company’s 2015 releases.

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Bloomberg TV talks shop with Topps

Topps‘ Manager of Marketing and Product Development Jeff Heckman appeared on Bloomberg TV’s Street Smart with Matt Miller this week to discuss the company’s latest ways of venturing out to find collectors beyond just baseball cards.

“This is a product that’s geared toward the baseball fan,” said Heckman, noting the items in front of him while also discussing kids and cards, Topps Bunt and more.

The segment shows off one of the Topps Archive boxes, which we first showed off to you back in April. 

Check it out.

Beckett 20 Questions … on the World Series

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The World Series all comes down to one game on Wednesday night — the winner take all in Game 7.

In our latest 20 Questions, we want your assessment of the best from the two teams this season — the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals and to hear your take on the bests in their histories, too.

1. Which team do you think is more collectable?

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2. Which team do you personally like more?

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Answer the rest of our questions … after the jump.

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Hobby Notebook: New caps, big trips & bounties

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

It’s a busy time in the sports world as well as the hobby — here are some quick takes on a few things popping up that might be of interest for both collectors and those within the industry. Let’s take a look in the Hobby Notebook …

– Serial-numbering Not Just for Cards: Topps revealed a new line of “Card Patch Hats” on Tuesday that pair custom-made caps with a patch showing a memorable baseball card on the side. The caps can be found with colors for seven memorable teams from the past and every single one of them has a stitched serial-number inside the headband. These are limited to just 99 caps per model and are $39.99 on Topps.com. Some of the teams found here include the 1972-74 Oakland A’s, the 1977 New York Yankees, the 1984 Detroit Tigers and the 1986 New York Mets.

– Busy Days at Panini America: The news out of Irving, Texas, last week affected all sports as Panini America signed deals with three major universities to use their trademarks in all upcoming products as well as produce school-specific card sets. There’s more to come on that front in all sports, but baseball alone is a busy sport, too. Between now and the end of the year, Panini also has six new baseball products scheduled to arrive – at least one will include Derek Jeter autographs — and some of them haven’t even been formally announced yet. But to come before that? A substantial number of Panini America employees are headed to the parent company’s headquarters in Italy for meetings. What do all of these things have in common? They aren’t cheap to pull off — so business must be going pretty well.

Vintage Cardboard Bounty: Collecting century-old cardboard can have its challenges — like even knowing if cards truly exist. Tustin, Calif.-based Memory Lane Inc. has issued a $500 reward for anyone who can help find eight cards from the 1912 Plow’s Candy E300 set. The cards with a bounty are missing from the major population reports and feature Bobby Byrne, Hal Chase, Red Dooin, Larry Doyle, John Lapp, Fred Merkle, Martin O’Toole and Tris Speaker. Contact the company at the link above if you have any information.

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.

Real life reflected in a redemption card

TaverasRedemption

By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

I’ve written it many times throughout my career writing about cardboard — every card has a story.

Whether it’s a regular card, an autograph, a game-used card or even a redemption, the face of a card — and who appears on it — can spark interest, emotion and response from collectors. Not all reactions are alike, either.

When I first heard the news of the untimely death of St. Louis Cardinals rookie Oscar Taveras on Sunday night, one of the first things that popped into my mind was a redemption card that I had left sitting — unscratched — on my desk at home. It was from a hobby box of 2014 Topps Stadium Club that I had purchased and filmed just 20 days ago. It was the rare instance where I had left a card sitting and hadn’t redeemed it, figuring I would get around to it when I wasn’t so busy with projects.

At the end of the video, after it turned out that my Taveras was probably the only real highlight from my box, I recapped it all with this thought.

“The Taveras, once I have it in hand, should be a decent little card,” I said in the video. “I don’t have his autograph, so that’s a win for me.”

Sunday night, though, the card just seemed a bit different — perhaps a bit more important to me for different reasons. It wasn’t about his promise on the field now and there were no added dollar signs in my mind. The card was my personal way that the Taveras news touched home because I had just pulled it for my collection. I had never really wanted to land a Taveras card — I certainly hadn’t stockpiled them like many prospectors have — but the card now just seemed different.

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Cardinals rookie Oscar Taveras dies in accident

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

One of baseball’s top prospects is gone.

St. Louis Cardinals rookie outfielder Oscar Taveras died Sunday after an auto accident in his native Dominican Republic. He was 22.

A consensus No. 3 prospect in all of baseball from Baseball America, MLB.com 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.

“I simply can’t believe it,” Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I first met Oscar when he was (16 years old) and will forever remember him as a wonderful young man who was a gifted athlete with an infectious love for life who lived every day to the fullest.”

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Panini readies Derek Jeter buyback autographs

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Derek Jeter autographs are coming to Panini America products soon.

The company teased the fact Saturday morning via its Instagram account with a photo of a 2002 Donruss Studio card bearing the signature of the recently retired New York Yankees shortstop whose next baseball appointment awaits in Cooperstown in five years.

Jeter hasn’t had any new certified autographs in any meaningful kind of volume since 2010 when Upper Deck bowed out of the MLB card market after losing its MLB Properties license and settling a trademark infringement lawsuit. (The company did release Jeter autographs in 2012 SP Signature Edition but those did not show him on the actual cards.)

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Royals fan Paul Rudd gets Topps baseball card

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Actor Paul Rudd is a big Kansas City Royals backer and baseball fans have seen plenty of him on television as his team has marched to the World Series.

Now, thanks to Topps, they can get his baseball card — and all the company had to do was trade him a 1975 Topps George Brett Rookie Card to seal the deal.

Rudd has been added to packs of Topps Bunt baseball cards — the mobile app for iPhone and Android that has let collectors hunt for virtual cards and in some cases turn them into real money. (Yep, those who can’t pull them from packs buy the rights to them in online auctions just like the real cards.)

“Pretty fired up to be able to give Paul Rudd his own card in @ToppsBUNT!” tweeted Chris R. Vaccaro, who is the head of app operations for Topps Digital. “Awesome working with Paul to get this done.”

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Upper Deck issues statement on CLC status

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Upper Deck‘s exclusive card license with the Collegiate Licensing Company that began in 2010 will remain in place into next year, the company said in a statement Friday — a response to the news that Panini America had signed a trading card agreement with three major universities.

“Upper Deck continues to be fully committed in creating the most innovative, high quality collegiate trading cards ever produced. Previously, collegiate cards were only interspersed into professional trading card sets by the large manufacturers, and referred to as ‘Professional Prospect cards,'” the company said in a statement posted on its blog. “Over the last four years, Upper Deck has taken collegiate cards to a whole new level … In addition, Upper Deck has expanded well beyond the boundaries of traditional college sports to include a wide array of both men’s and women’s athletic programs that have never been featured on trading cards.”

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Panini signs deal with three universities

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Sports Card Monthly Editor

Panini America is going back to school.

The card company has signed exclusive deals with three major universities — the University of Georgia, the University of Kentucky and the University of Miami — and will use their trademarks in upcoming card products that include NBA, NFL and MLBPA releases. According to a company release, there will be more schools’ deals announced soon.

“This is a significant announcement not just for us, but for the entire trading card industry,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop in a prepared release. “Some of the most-collectible players that we work with across all sports are closely associated with these three universities and we’re genuinely excited to be able to honor their collegiate accomplishments in our products.”

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Welcome to my jungle, Axl

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

Patience.

It’s a word that’s very appropriate for redemption cards — and it’s one even more appropriate for Axl Rose redemption cards. It’s also one that’s appropriate for me today as I finally received my 2013 Topps Allen & Ginter Autograph inked by the Guns N’ Roses singer who’s notorious for taking his time with everything from album releases to concert times.

It took 441 days from after my purchase and subsequent redeeming of the card to arrive — something not Topps’ sole responsibility and something far from my longest redemption wait because I have them outstanding from other companies that will probably never arrive. Why? At least one of the other companies no longer exists.

Patience is a word that also probably resonates well with Topps as the company reportedly had to reprint cards to suit the musician’s liking more than once because some detail wasn’t quite right for him — that’s his right — though they likely had already gone through approvals before being printed. That’s probably why Rose’s Heavy Metal auto from Archives doesn’t have the same logo as the rest of the cards in the set. That’s probably why his Ginter autos are, oddly, a dark background when the rest of the cards in the nine-year history of the brand are white.

Rock stars. You’ve got to love them.

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Does Gerald Posey have MLB’s best nickname?

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor  | Commentary

From the Just for Fun file … 

Sometimes a baseball card can create questions … like what might the San Francisco Giants’ All-Star catcher look like as a Kansas City Royal?

In 2012 the Royals hosted the Midsummer Classic and this Topps card with a piece of Gerald Dempster Posey III‘s All-Star jersey was the result. Now, with the Fall Classic in K.C., we have a different question for you …

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Cards can be solemn reminder of life

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By Ben Aguirre | Guest Commentary

There are certain events in life that will never be forgotten, but rarely are those moments captured on a single baseball card.

Such was the case in the 1990 Score baseball set on card number No. 701, which has a black-and-white aerial shot of Candlestick Park, the former home of the San Francisco Giants. This card serves as a solemn reminder of the events of Oct. 17, 1989, the date that my life changed and I realized that life was indeed more than about sports and baseball cards. This was the day that a 6.9 earthquake struck Northern California, killing some 60 people and postponing a much anticipated World Series matchup of two local teams, the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants.

For much of the country, I can imagine that the natural disaster that was the Loma Prieta Earthquake was nothing more than a speed bump that delayed the conclusion of the World Series. But for myself and others in the Bay Area, this was indeed a date that will forever be remember, including this year, which marks the 25th anniversary of the events.

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