Who would sign for my version of Golden Age? How about these five for starters …




By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

A new baseball season is officially here, though on cardboard we’ve been going for a few months now. We’ve seen the newest from Topps Heritage, Museum Collection and more from the fully licensed Topps offerings, while Panini America has been a tad quieter on the baseball card front with the just popular revival of Donruss active and plenty of teasers for its next set, Prizm, telling us that it’s on its way.

That got me thinking, though. We’re also likely to soon see teasers for the next chapter of Golden Age, the third installment of cards featuring the “nation’s greatest athletes, entertainers and newsmakers from the Golden Age of America.” It’s that added extra in there — entertainers and newsmakers — along with an autograph (or two) in every single box that’s made the brand one of my favorites the last couple of years.

That got me thinking … which five autographs would I want to see in this year’s set?

Well, here goes …

Pete Rose — When it comes to quality ballplayers from the past and newsmakers (good or bad), this willing and available signer covers both bases well for the era. On the field, he did plenty. Off the field, well, he did what he knows he never should have done by gambling on his sport, albeit not during the Golden Age years. Since Rose can’t appear on MLB-approved cardboard but can appear in other sets, he’s a mainstay for those products without a MLB Properties license. I’m surprised he hasn’t signed for the first two sets, so here he must-do for me. (An image of his first Golden Age card with some added ink is above … along with my next pick.)

Joe Namath — Golden Age isn’t just about iconic baseball players, it’s a place for notable athletes from all sports. “Broadway Joe” was just that during his Hall of Fame career with the New York Jets, and few players from the past are as beloved as Namath. He’s not a cheap signer, but he’s a big one — and there are many ways he’d fit in well here. I guarantee it. Perhaps he could appear on a non-traditional type of signed card for extra kicks — maybe something from a TV show or commercial appearance?

Ted Giannoulas, aka The San Diego Chicken — The Chicken is no stranger to cardboard appearances with a rich history of appearing on Donruss cardboard off and on since 1982. This ballpark mascot is an iconic one who would fit in perfectly in a brand such as Golden Age. Sure, other mascots came first in baseball, but the San Diego Chicken helped change the field for ballpark buddies in sports beginning back in 1977.

John Schnatter, aka Papa John — Sure, we’re stretching the Golden Age timeframe here as his pizza chain was founded in 1984 (Golden Age generally stops before 1980), but when it comes to sports food pizza is a fundamental choice. Schnatter is the most-visible founder of a food company on the sports scene these days, too, so it would be a fun card to see while many fast food (Americana) icons are no longer living or not well-known publicly. Other obvious sports food icon options here would have been  Teressa Bellissimo, the inventor of the Buffalo wing, but she died in 1985, and the inventor of the sundae in a miniature baseball helmet. That person’s identity remains a culinary mystery, though. (Maybe the ballpark sundae in a helmet should just get a base card … just for fun?)

How about a choice away from sports? After all, Golden Age has plenty of that …

Jann S. Wenner — The editor and publisher of Rolling Stone, an iconic magazine that helped shape its time beginning in 1967. Sure, the musical and publishing landscapes are different now, but he certainly would be an interesting inclusion here. It’s a card that would be chased. (And, unlike big names in the musical field such as Bob Dylan he might be affordable enough for a card company to sign.)

Who’ll make the cut in this year’s set? We’ll find out soon.

Who do you think is interesting or important enough to sign for a Golden Age set? 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 colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


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  1. David 31 March, 2014 at 19:46

    I’ve got number 6 for you, Chris. How about Reggie- the real Reggie- not Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck but Reggie Jackson- “Mr. October” I’m surprised he is not on your list…………………………..

  2. Chris Harris 1 April, 2014 at 12:32

    1. Ben Stein
    2. Daft Punk
    3. Bill “Spaceman” Lee
    4. Penn & Teller
    5. Trey Parker & Matt Stone
    6. Sid Vicious & Nancy Spungen (Cut sigs, obviously)

  3. Richard 1 April, 2014 at 14:32

    The brilliant thing about golden age is that you got autos that were not available before,
    like the bad news bears. Joe Namath and Pete Rose are readily available.
    Find an all star player, a rookie of the year, etc. that has never signed before, and collectors
    will be interested.

    Hard signed only, no redemptions that will disappoint by not getting fulfilled.

  4. chrisolds 1 April, 2014 at 15:01

    David: No need.

    Richard: Perhaps, but I think there are a lot of signers in past sets that had autos before somewhere. With my list, I went for two significant names that hadn’t signed for the set but were big names for the timeframe and are still readily available.

  5. Ed 1 April, 2014 at 20:02


    Is the time frame for this set the 1960s-70s?

    Is that what we are calling the “Golden Age” now? If so, that’s a drag!!

    I was hoping the Golden Age were people like Dizzy Dean, Teddy Roosevelt, Jesse Owens ….


  6. Mike Pereira 2 April, 2014 at 12:39


    Mr. Charlie Sheen as Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn. I would love a fire flames border parallel of that auto. Or a leather patch from the Wild Thing leather vest.

  7. J.R. 3 April, 2014 at 21:48

    I dig some of the names thrown out, but here are my 5 I would love to see from the baseball world, which seems to dominate the signature set, and 5 more from outside of the baseball world:

    Bill “Spaceman” Lee
    J.R. Richard
    Mike Schmidt
    Roy White
    Vin Scully

    Hulk Hogan (technically started in WWF in 1979, I think!)
    Betty White
    Janice Pennington (look her up, really interesting)
    Ace Frehley
    George Takei

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