Who’s on your Allen & Ginter autograph dream team?


By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor | Commentary
(Note: The card above is 133 percent fake … But you had to see how cool it could look!)

One spring ritual for baseball card collectors is wishing for a certain baseball player or non-athlete to appear on a Topps Allen & Ginter autograph card — whether it be via a traditional signing or via the cut autograph route.

While many players — and some very notable athletes from other sports — have appeared on cards in the popular baseball card line since its arrival in 2006, there are some who have yet to appear on framed mini autographs in the product based on the 1880s cards of the same name. And, given the popularity of the brand — or at least this writer’s obsession with mini-sized tobacco cards — that’s a shame.

This year’s example of Ginter autograph discussions popped up on Twitter recently with collectors offering up their top-five picks for whom they’d want to see on Allen & Ginter cards in the future. For me, the No. 1 Ginter autograph card is easy — and easily predictable if you’re a regular reader here — it’s one of New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher.

Rather than just tweet my top five — in 140 characters or less — I figured I’d rather be windy about it and present my top five. The 2008 Swisher above is a melding two past Ginter cards so I can make my case visually. Would I like to see it happen? Of course, but I know that things happen when it comes to dreams of collectors — their demands may not be as universal or essential to a majority of collectors — meeting realities of budgets, time constraints and players’ signing habits/fees.

I didn’t whip up cards for the remainder of my Top Five (all living and available signers) — but you can see who and why I picked the five that I did … after the jump.

1. Nick Swisher — OF, New York Yankees
The All-Star is a bit of a cult hero in New York with his Swisher Salute to the Bleacher Creatures and his fan-friendly, easy-going attitude but he’s never landed on a Ginter autograph. He has had Ginter Relic cards three times — 2006, 2007 and 2009 — and is slated to have a Relic in the 2011 set when it arrives in July. But no ink for my favorite player. I’m patient … he’ll come around — or maybe myself and his other 1,303,134 followers on Twitter should prod him (and Topps) to make it happen.

2. Jose Canseco — former OF, Oakland A’s
The former Bash Brother and thorn in MLB’s side probably won’t be appearing on many — if any — MLB-approved cards any day soon. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a significant place in the history of the game. In fact, he’s perhaps more important in baseball history as the guy who helped bring the sport’s performance-enhancement drug issues into the forefront of daily discussion than he was as a borderline Hall of Fame-caliber player. I would lose bladder control if I opened a pack and saw an inked mini of him Bashing forearms with a former Oakland A’s teammate. (Doesn’t even need to be Mark McGwire … but pencil him in as No. 2b on this list.)

3. Pedro Cerrano — OF Cleveland Indians (aka Dennis Haysbert, actor)
I’ve written about Major League way too many times in the past — and waxed poetic about the absolute need for a movie studio-approved card tie-in with some of the best baseball movies ever made in the pages of Beckett Baseball — but there’s no doubt in my mind that true baseball fans would get a kick out of seeing some of these guys on autographed minis. I mean, heck, Jobu has to be a Creature of Legend, Myth and/or Joy, right? Haysbert has signed for card companies in the past — as has Roger Dorn (Corbin Bernsen) and Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) — so they’re familiar with the game. Then again, it could be a challenge … I pulled a redemption for a Harry Doyle autograph years ago and he (Bob Uecker) has never signed … maybe that’s a sign. Then again, a different (more positive) sign would be Sheen’s lone past autograph showing up on the Baseball Hot List of Beckett Sports Card Monthly … it’s an absolute winner these days.

4. Bud Selig & Donald Fehr — MLB Commissioner/former MLB Players Association Executive Director (dual autograph booklet)
We’ve seen a few baseball executives on cardboard through the years — for example former MLBPA Executive Marvin Miller was on a Ginter card last year — but this duo would be a classic inclusion. Selig has appeared on a handful of obscure baseball cards through the years, even signing some autographs, while Fehr has just one. Pairing these two negotiating combatants probably will never happen, but it would be special for those who appreciate the history of the game.

5. Vince McMahon — Chairman & CEO, World Wrestling Entertainment
We all know that Mr. McMahon is a ruthless villain on-screen, but off-screen the  65-year-old is as hands-on as it gets. In short, he’s a busy man — one who even oversees WWE Magazine (imagine this guy as your publisher). All that said, he’s definitely too busy to sign autographs — he’s never appeared on a certified signed card at all — but he’s definitely a “world’s champion” in a few ways worthy of inclusion if you consider some of the unusual names who have made the Ginter cut in the past. Love him or hate him, he’s a business — and wrestling — icon.

Who are your Allen & Ginter dream autographs? Let us know via a comment below …

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


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  1. nick 6 April, 2011 at 17:40

    Actually Vince is a decent signer I met him 3 or 4 times and he always singned im sure he would do it for Topps if the asked.

  2. Jon Maus 6 April, 2011 at 17:58

    My top five would be:

    -Brian Wilson P, SF Giants Closer
    -Willie McGee OF, St Louis Cardinals Favorite
    -Dennis Leary, Actor (The Sandlot)
    -Donald Trump, Billionaire (Possible Presidential Canidate)
    -Ralph Macchio, Actor (The Karate Kid, DWTS Season 11) The card would have to feature the famous crane kick!

  3. Kevin Reid 6 April, 2011 at 18:46

    1) Sandy Koufax. Why? Because topps has him on board and he is one of the greats. Remember when Ginter had hall of famers in them…alot of them? We want more of that
    and less of…..guys like Nick Swisher!

    {From Olds: Boooooooooooooooooo}

    2) Sugar Ray. Ginter was always about champions and none better than in the sport of boxing. They started off 06 and 07 with a few greats. Sugar Ray would be nice

    3) Tom Brady. When I think of greats I think of Tom Brady. Brees was nice, now topps should
    include one current football star each year.

    4) Michael Johnson. Talk about dominant.

    5) Phil Mickelson. Why topps hasn’t tapped golf is beyond me. Forget Tiger.

  4. brad 6 April, 2011 at 19:08

    1. Joe Paterno – was supposed to be on a Topps Mayo auto card a few years ago and then it never happened. Don’t think he has any certified auto’s on the market.

    2. Rickey Henderson – doesn’t sign much, getting him would be tough, but highly coveted. What may be even tougher is fitting Rickey’s somewhat elongated signature on a small card, but it would be sweet.

    3. Pete Rose – maybe in the same category as Canseco as far as MLB is concerned, but still loved by many. Other than sportkings, no certified auto’s on market.

    4. Vince McMahon – great suggestion Olds, I’ll second that one.

    5. Bobby Knight – Who wouldn’t want a A&G auto of The General? Maybe do a game thrown-chair piece card too!!

  5. Mark 6 April, 2011 at 19:10

    -Dale Murphy, OF, Atlanta Braves Favorite
    -Bill Simmons, ESPN’s “Sports Guy” (the column going with the product release would be awesome)
    -Pete Rose, 2B/OF/3B/1B/MGR/Gambler, Cincinnati Reds (unfortunately, not going to happen in a MLB-licensed product)
    -Garry Kasparov, Chess Champion
    -Michael Schumacher, 7-time F1 Champion

  6. Matt Riggins 6 April, 2011 at 19:12

    Cool topic! My 5 are:

    –Gene Hackman (use a photo from Hoosiers)
    –Robert Redford (photo from The Natural)
    –Gene Wilder (not sports related, but an image from ‘Wonka)
    –John Mayberry Sr.
    –Lee May (both are sluggers from the 70’s & 80’s and neither have a certified auto if I’m not mistaken)

  7. nick 6 April, 2011 at 19:24

    My top 5

    Brian Cashman
    Denzel Washington
    and someone who has 1 certified I believe David Wells

  8. Kevin 6 April, 2011 at 19:45

    My top five would be:

    Bret “The Hitman” Hart
    Alyssa Milano
    Trot Nixon
    Tim Wakefield
    Roy Hobbs (a/k/a Robert Redford)

    Pretty cool and unique group. Milano would do it due to her love of baseball, Trot & Tim are two of my favorite Red Sox. Roy Hobbs would be cool on the same level as some of the Major League characters. Some classic Red Sox would be cool too: Dwight Evans, Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Luis Tiant, etc.

  9. Mike Colt 6 April, 2011 at 19:51

    1> Christopher Wallace AKA Biggie
    2> Jeff Gordon
    3> Lou Gehrig
    4> Quentin Tarantino
    5> Danica Patrick

    From mod: Patrick had a card in the 2006 set

  10. kevin 6 April, 2011 at 20:24

    ill just tweek your top 5 a hair couldnt care about bud or nick sorry. your other 3 im in i would replace those 2 with. stone cold and r2d2

  11. george elgart 6 April, 2011 at 20:44

    I would love to see Garry Kasparov, Murray Gell-Mann, Bobby Orr, Coach K, and President Bush or Clinton.

    They were all the best or at the top. It would be fun to see autos of these all time greats.

  12. Devan James 6 April, 2011 at 21:16

    Mark Zuckerberg, iJustine, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Leonard Nimoy and Brett Favre are my picks. Pedro Cerrano has a great baseball card collection on his locker, including a 54 Hank Aaron RC.

  13. J.R. 6 April, 2011 at 22:34

    I would take baseball stars from cinema…

    1- Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn (Sheen)
    2- Roy Hobbs (Redford)
    3- Kevin Costner (pick a movie)
    4- Willie Mays Hayes (Snipes)
    5- Mr. Baseball (Selleck)

  14. Mark 7 April, 2011 at 00:25

    Here’s my 5…..

    5 Marilyn Manson (shock rocker legend)
    4 Willie Mays (negro league uniform preferred)
    3 Jim “Mudcat” Grant (negro leagues/MLB pitcher)
    2 Slash (Guns N’ Roses guitarist)
    1 Frank Thomas (modern, not “the original”)

    I love a&g every year and like pulling the non baseall autos and relics. I think they need to tap more into the movie/music scene if they’re going to continue the non sport chain. I think (even though donruss did it) a Marilyn Monroe/ Joe D dual relic would be awesome too

  15. Charles Faires 7 April, 2011 at 02:37

    mine whould have to be a comb of cuts and on card

    Jimmy hendrix cut because i’m a voodoo child

    Willie Horton detroit tigers not a big player but was my hero growing up

    julia Childs could be the first cook

    Jack Lalane Mr. health

    Bruce Lee cut sig 1/1

  16. STEVE EMERICK 7 April, 2011 at 06:53


  17. noille 7 April, 2011 at 07:30

    Ali, Julius Erving, Mcgwire, Leonard Nimoy, Peter Cullen, Gene Simmons (full makeup), Hugh Hefner, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Jim Davis (or some other illustrator),

  18. Marc Noel 7 April, 2011 at 07:35

    My top 5 would be:

    1) Edgar Martinez
    2) Willie Mays
    3) Nuke LaLoosh (Tim Robbins)
    4) Arnold Palmer
    5) Crash Davis/Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner)

  19. Adam 7 April, 2011 at 07:48

    Seconding a couple already posted, and adding a couple…

    Rickey Henderson
    Tom Brady
    Roger Federer
    Macho Man Randy Savage

  20. David Johnson 7 April, 2011 at 08:28

    I agree with the person who suggested Alyssa Milano. My other picks would be:
    1) Gary Carter
    2) Keith Hernandez
    3) Urban Meyer
    4) Mikhail Baryshnikov

  21. Don Bernhard 7 April, 2011 at 09:09

    Ali the Greatest
    Shaq my favorite
    Tony Soprano ( maybe he could sign it Tony Gandolfini Soprano )
    Bryce Harper ( just for the prospector in me )
    Don Bernhard my autograph as the BEST MAILMAN EVER and….

    No auto but a hair card of Mother Teresa, and on the other side of the spectrum a hair card of Hitler ( just to sell for big money ) , both would have a thousand bidders, 10 grand apiece probably..

  22. Ken Uher 7 April, 2011 at 09:43

    My DREAM Allen & Ginter Autos would be:
    1. Mike McCready
    2. Jeff Ament
    3. Stone Gossard
    4. Matt Cameron
    5. Eddie Vedder

    Yes, it’s PEARL JAM, in a booklet would be SICK!! They are celebrating their 20 years as a band this year. What a better way to commemorate this AWESOME band!!!!!!

  23. George McFly 7 April, 2011 at 10:07

    My Allen & Ginter Dream Autos
    Any cast members from Back to the future, Indiana Jones, The Goonies or LOST.

  24. Bryon Pratt 7 April, 2011 at 10:45

    Matt Groening (Simpsons creator)
    Chuck Norris
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer aka Sarah Michelle Gellar
    Mark Grace
    Jon Bon Jovi

  25. John 7 April, 2011 at 10:53

    My 5.

    Trish Stratus
    Mark Calaway aka The Undertaker ( But would prefer his real name)
    Hugh Laurie aka Gregory
    Hugh Jackman aka Wolverine
    Jim Carey Not the flop goalie the real deal……

  26. John 7 April, 2011 at 10:54

    My 5.

    Trish Stratus
    Mark Calaway aka The Undertaker ( But would prefer his real name)
    Hugh Laurie aka Gregory House
    Hugh Jackman aka Wolverine
    Jim Carey Not the flop goalie the real deal……

    Sorry i forgot to add a last name. Please use this one instead of my last.

  27. chrisolds 7 April, 2011 at 11:00

    It’s interesting too see how lists become, essentially non-sports or wrestling sets.

    “World’s Champions” in the original sense was for key athletes, though we all know that has changed in the last few years when Stuart Scott (champion of “boo-ya”?) and Regis Philbin made the checklists.

    Would love to hear a justification for some of these picks… other than personal preference.

  28. John 7 April, 2011 at 11:03

    Thought of an all music top 5

    David Draiman (Disturbed)
    Jonathan Davis (Korn)
    Fred Durst ( Limp Bizkit)
    Sully Erna (Godsmack)
    and either Ozzy or Manson

  29. John 7 April, 2011 at 11:33

    Both of my top 5 are personal.

    But like Undertaker since it is out of the Wrestling sets i would like to see one with his real name.

  30. Tom Bilkie 7 April, 2011 at 11:39

    My top five:

    1) Ric Flair – I “made” one a few years ago using Photoshop.

    2) KISS Booklet – all four original members, pics from the Solo Albums. I “made” these, too.

    3) Howard Stern – the King of All Media

    4) Ray “Boom Boom” Manacini – I grew up in Youngstown, he is an icon there. “Made” one of these, as well.

    5) Tiger Woods

  31. Chris Harris 7 April, 2011 at 14:38

    As the one who started this meme, here are my TA&G 5:

    1) Juan Agudelo — The next great American soccer star.
    2) Laurie Anderson — Performance artist extraordinaire.
    3) Milton Friedman — The greatest economist America has ever produced.
    4) Henry Rollins — Because, he’s Henry Rollins.
    5) Jefferson Burdick — The man without whom Beckett, and modern card collecting, would not exist.

  32. Richard 7 April, 2011 at 14:57

    Top 5 Active
    1) Ichiro Suzuki – Has not signed in years, and then only for upper deck.
    2) Carl Crawford
    3) Chipper Jones
    4) Albert Pujols
    5) Mariano Rivera

    Retired, living.
    1) Greg Maddux
    2) Rickey Henderson
    3) Tony Gwynn
    4) Ozzie Smith
    5) Mark McGwire

    Dead – cuts obvious
    1) Ruth
    2) Walter Johnson
    3) Cy Young
    4) Ty Cobb
    5) Honus Wagner

  33. Scott 7 April, 2011 at 18:14

    Bob Ross RIP, Albert Einstine, Bill Gates, Ronald Regan , Charles Manson and Willie Hoppe

  34. Scott 7 April, 2011 at 18:16

    Any current or former Cincinnati Reds players. Ted Kluz but he wants nothing to to with MLB anymore

  35. George Mcfly 7 April, 2011 at 21:13

    1. Mel Brooks (Blazing Saddles)
    2. George Lucas (Indiana Jones)
    3. James Cameron (Titanic)
    4. Steven Spielberg (E.T.)
    5. John Lasseter (Pixar)

    Alfred Hitchcock Cut Signature

  36. noille 8 April, 2011 at 09:16

    Alright Mr. Olds… Justification:
    Buzz Aldrin, Neal Armstrong… Space champions. (allen and ginter has had planet cards in the past)
    Ali…..none required
    Dr. J….. He is a Doctor….He was Jordan before Jordan.
    McGwire… single season home run champ…
    Hugh Heffner…. Champion to all of the guys, young and old.
    Others are just personal preference… Just like David Blane, and the Fire Breather in last years set.

  37. Andrew 8 April, 2011 at 12:01

    I like to collect mini A&G and T206 and have them autographed myself.

    Some of my favorites, all graded/auth/slabbed by Beckett/JSA:

    Carl Yastrzemski (2006 A&G)
    Frank Robinson (2006 A&G)
    Yogi Berra + Don Larsen combo (A&G Perfect Game Card, NSCN Exclusive)
    Nolan Ryan (2006 A&G)
    Harmon Killebrew (2006 A&G)

  38. Hscshooter 8 April, 2011 at 13:34

    Some really great names already listed but let’s go with soccer stars:

    1) David Beckham
    2) Wayne Rooney
    3) Alessandro Del Piero
    4) Zidane
    5) Pele

    Somebody please help Panini get European Soccer cards on board. They’re huge overseas and we could really use them in North America. Image making National Treasures with soccer stars. $$$$$$$$$$ = Huge Investment

  39. Chris H 8 April, 2011 at 15:17

    Ginter is the perfect way for Topps to cross promote. Add WWE and UFC autos! The other autos I’d love to see would be of rock icons, Ozzy, Metallica, Kiss etc…!

  40. kris burak 8 April, 2011 at 19:19

    1. johhny cash
    2. daniel day lewis
    3. stephen king (on a dark tower themed)
    4. luis royo
    5. tim burton (nightmare before xmas themed)

  41. Don 20 June, 2011 at 15:15

    I like the movie idea… get all the great baseball movies and have as many of the “standouts,” whether it is the main star or just the sidekick/oddball that only has that 20 second clip but everyone knows, and have them in their uniform (costume) with a an auto… that would be great!

    Here is my Top 5 each from the respective movie I remember them the most from (baseball movie that is) There is alot more I could add and make arguments both ways for and against but just me personally I would like to see these 5 on cards.

    1. James Earl Jones (Sandlot)
    2. Ray Liotta (Field of Dreams – Shoeless Joe Jackson)
    3. Kevin Costner (Bull Durham)
    4. Tom Hanks (A League of Their Own)
    5. Patrick Renna (Ham from Sandlot)

  42. Matt 12 September, 2012 at 16:33

    1. Penn Gillette… just for the cool factor.
    2. MSNBC’s Ed Schultz — he used to be the TV voice of North Dakota State Bison football!
    3. James Earl Jones, shown in his “Bingo Long’s Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings” jersey.
    4. Dr. Dot Richardson, who led the resurgence of fastpitch softball in the US
    5. Burt Reynolds wearing his Mean Machine jersey from “The Longest Yard” — the original.

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