Oh ****! Panini America readies first official Bad News Bears baseball cards
By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor
That seems only fitting as the foul-mouthed ball-playing kids of The Bad News Bears are coming to cardboard for the first time — and they’re coming soon.
Panini America announced its plans to include several cast members from the 1976 classic on Tuesday, and they’ll be found in packs of 2013 Golden Age, a retro-styled second-year brand that arrives on June 26.
While Walter Matthau, aka Morris Buttermaker, is no longer alive, several members of the original team will have autographs in the product as well as base cards. Among them will be Amanda Whurlitzer (played by Tatum O’Neal), Kelly Leak (Jackie Earle Haley), Ahmad Abdul Rahim (Erin Blunt), Mike Engelberg (Gary Lee Cavagnaro), Rudi Stein (David Pollock) and Toby Whitewood (David Stambaugh).
The six Bears also will appear on tobacco-sized mini parallel insert cards, which are seemingly always popular with collectors.
Panini couldn’t get this kind of an inclusion done without licensing from Paramount Pictures, which added another layer of licensing and approvals.
“We wanted to add some element of the The Bad News Bears from the earliest planning stages of the second Golden Age release, and we began working on that even before 2012 Golden Age was shipped,” Panini America Brand Manager Mike Payne said in a company statement. “That film is a classic and fits perfectly into the Golden Age brand. Licensing became the biggest hurdle, and deals with studios can take some time to reach an agreement. Once that was completed, Paramount provided imagery of the six principles we were in negotiations with.”
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.