Panini America signs Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg to exclusive autograph deal

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The ace of the Washington Nationals has a new home.

Panini America announced on Tuesday that it has signed Stephen Strasburg to an exclusive autograph deal.

Terms of the multi-year agreement were not disclosed. The right-hander was previously a Topps-exclusive player beginning in 2010, when he captivated the baseball world with his dominating debut that was later derailed by injury.

“Stephen Strasburg is one of the most dominant pitchers in the game today; and one of baseball’s most popular and collected players,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop in a prepared release. “His exclusive presence in our licensed MLBPA trading card releases is a huge development for us and will add even more excitement to our roster of products. We’re honored that Stephen has entrusted us – exclusively – to represent and protect the integrity and collectability of his autographed trading cards.”

Strasburg, a 15-game winner last season, will have his first autographs in 2012 Prizm, which arrives in April. There, he will appear in his USA Baseball uniform. Panini also has the USA license locked up exclusively.

Strasburg appears on 942 different baseball cards from his career valued at more than $24,700. He appears on exactly 150 certified autograph cards. (Click here for an Online Price Guide or checklist.)

“I’m excited to announce my relationship with an innovative company like Panini and deliver my autographs to baseball collectors exclusively in Panini trading card products,” Strasburg said. “I’m looking forward to working with Panini and joining the ranks of their other exclusive athletes for trading cards.”

Strasburg is the company’s first exclusive baseball player. He joins the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving from the NBA and Andrew Luck of the NFL, who is a Panini Authentic(memorabilia) autograph-exclusive player.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

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  1. Nutshell278 19 March, 2013 at 14:31

    I can see this turning into a mess….Topps locks up the MLB license and Panini and Upper Deck will start locking player autographs through MLBPA……..nobody wins

  2. RJ 19 March, 2013 at 17:52

    Well, even though they’re not MLB licensed, maybe some form of competition will be good … although, seems to me most of Panini’s previous baseball stuff has not moved the needle much. Stras will probably help.

  3. Tom Waldron 19 March, 2013 at 18:46

    WOw and the drain continues guess we might get a pic of ol STRASS in High school photo’s.
    crazy this is the worst it’s everyone for themselves hate to meet him at the field to sign a ball probably have the Panini secrest service jump you and say no he’s ours you pay big bucks now go away.
    Seriously. So now this is an issue on can they use his likeness but no auto’s or mem?
    boy you really feel the love brough to you by the MLB AND MLPA.
    Nobody should buy this crap seriously Sorry

  4. mattmaldre 19 March, 2013 at 20:10

    Oh wow. I thought Topps had the corner on the market for this. I guess it’s just trading cards that Topps has the monopoly on. Well, good then. I’m happy for Panini. Time for Topps to move over to the side in the area of autographs.

  5. KayZee 20 March, 2013 at 02:44

    Wasn’t it Panini a while back that cried about all the exclusives Upper Deck had on Hockey players, and now they’re doing everything to freeze everyone else out!! Seriously, NHL had to step in and void exclusive contracts because of all the whining from Panini! This is a huge waste since Panini can’t make REAL baseball cards without a MLB license.

  6. Gary 20 March, 2013 at 07:31

    The last thing I want is another USA card of Stras! Especially now that he is an established MLB player. I have collected Stras since day 1, and have all of his Big Auto’s…. Unfortunately, my collection will not grow any longer as i cannot see paying big bucks for a NON MLB Licensed card of him in street clothes or whatever they come up with!
    Why cant MLB just give everyone a license so we can get back to real collecting? I wish the days would come back like when you could go to the hobby shop and decide what products you wanted and you had MANY choices! Topps, Upper Deck, Score, FLeer, Leaf, pinnacle, Donruss….and so many more!

    Sad how Money can KILL a Hobby!

  7. RJ 20 March, 2013 at 12:42

    Man, I remember the Bowman craze of 2010 … he was THE FACE of Topps … how long did that last, a year?

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