The Beckett Blog

Panini America Inks T-Wolves’ Wesley Johnson to Exclusive Deal by Tracy Hackler
August 16, 2010, 8:00 am
Filed under: ESPN, NBA | Tags: , , ,

Bright and early Monday morning, Panini America officials tipped off what promises to be a busy week by announcing that they have reached an exclusive trading card agreement with No. 4 overall pick Wesley Johnson.

To launch the relationship, Panini has arranged for Johnson to visit ESPN headquarters for an extensive media tour Monday that will include stints on seemingly every ESPN platform.

Johnson, drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves out of the University of Syracuse, last season earned Big East Player of the Year honors and was a First Team Associated Press All-American. His first mainstream NBA trading cards will be available late next month in Panini’s 2010 NBA Prestige product.

“We are excited to add Wesley Johnson as an exclusive Panini athlete,” said Scott Prusha, Panini America’s Director of Marketing. “Wesley excited Syracuse fans in college and we expect him to do the same for the Timberwolves fans. We look forward to introducing Wesley to NBA trading card collectors.”

Stay tuned to for additional information on this story, including an exclusive interview with Johnson.


Market Analyst: LeBron James to Miami ‘Would Set Off a Frenzy’ by Tracy Hackler
July 8, 2010, 11:01 am
Filed under: ESPN, NBA | Tags: , , ,

Basketball collectors just thought LeBron James was hot before.

According to Beckett NBA Senior Market Analyst Keith Hower, they haven’t seen anything like the scorching he’s about to set off on South Beach if indeed the reportedly Heat-seeking wunderkind with the $12,000 Rookie Card chooses to sign with Miami.

In addition to painfully concluding one of the most overwrought, drama-filled, Twitterific free agent signings in sports history, James’ expected announcement tonight that he’s joining the Heat will also send NBA cardmaker Panini America hustling to produce the first cards of James with his new team.

When those hit the market in a matter of months, Hower insists they’ll be instant must-haves.

“LeBron going to the newly dubbed ‘Heat Superteam’ will help the card values of every player on that team, especially those of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and, of course, James,” Hower says. “The first Heat cards of LeBron will set off a frenzy on the entire team.”

And in the event that James shocks the world tonight live on ESPN and chooses a team other than the Heat . . .

“If LeBron doesn’t go to Miami, the best places for him to end up hobby-wise are New York and Chicago,” Hower says. “Both teams are rich in hoops history and their legacies will feed LeBron’s newfound popularity. Cleveland is not the ideal market for an NBA superstar.”

Strasburg SuperFractor buyer: “Negativity has driven me out” by Chris Olds

See two previous interviews with Robert J. Power here (the card’s sale) and here (discussing why he sold).

By Chris Olds | COMMENTARY

Stephen Strasburg probably never intended to be a polarizing figure in sports. By nearly all accounts, he’s a confident, quiet superstar in the making – and the results of his first five big-league games reinforce that.

Although the 21-year-old Washington Nationals pitcher sports just a 2-2 record, he’s got a 2.27 ERA and 48 strikeouts in his first 30 or so innings of work – good for second place in the history books for the start of an MLB career. By all accounts, this is Major League Baseball’s dream story – a highly successful college power pitcher arrives in a big-market baseball town that’s had little success on the field and becomes the talk of a nation; a “national treasure” as Sports Illustrated screamed from its cover.

But among the collecting community, where many have watched thousands of dollars in Strasburg cards sold – and even more money spent on boxes and packs of 2010 Bowman baseball cards — where Strasburg made his big-league cardboard debut — the story of the year resonates quite differently, particularly online.

Strasburg’s cards have generated resentment, hatred and vast conspiracy theories.

As well as harassment.

Continue reading

Strasburg SuperFractor buyer talks about card on ESPN’s First Take by Chris Olds
June 21, 2010, 4:22 pm
Filed under: ESPN, MLB, Stephen Strasburg | Tags: , ,

Robert J. Power appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” show to talk about buying the Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor not long after talking about the card with Beckett Media.

Check it out …

A Kobe Kind of Year by Tracy Hackler

For those counting at home, the Los Angeles Lakers‘ just-won 16th NBA championship gives transcendent superstar Kobe Bryant five titles for his career. That’s five more than LeBron James, one more than Shaquille O’Neal and just one shy of Michael Jordan.

All that math got us to thinking about what a banner year it’s been for Bryant — and how Beckett’s been there every step of the way.

Here’s how Beckett Basketball started the 2009-10 season:

Continue reading

Beckett Media joins forces with ESPN’s Page 2 by Chris Olds

It’s a busy time here at Beckett Media as we continue to prepare all of the sports card magazines and books you’ve come to expect — as well as a more than a few extra magazines here and there, too — but we’re not done there.

Beckett’s Tracy Hackler and Chris Olds have signed on to provide occasional sports card and memorabilia items to’s Page 2. So in case you haven’t bounced around online to see what’s going on in the hobby enough, now there’s another possible destination.

Why? It’s a chance to get the hobby some added widespread exposure, perhaps drawing back some of those collectors who’ve left cards behind and forgotten the likes of Topps, Upper Deck, Panini, Press Pass and others.

Here’s a quick rundown of what we’ve done for Page 2 so far …

We’ll update this list every so often after additional items are published.

Dec. 29Justin Bieber featured in Donruss hockey set

Dec. 25Tebow, now starting, racking up football cards

Dec. 21 Brett Favre’s memorabilia surely grabbing attention

Dec. 12Wonder Years‘ Jason Hervey is on wrestling cards

Dec. 1Unlike fakes, Derek Jeter already has Red Sox card

Nov. 30Leslie Nielsen appeared on 2009 Upper Deck card

Nov. 20Football pioneer has first memorabilia card made

Nov. 18Bryce Harper’s first pro jersey up for auction

Nov. 12Help Topps pick 60 greatest baseball cards

Nov. 4With passing of Andy Irons, interest in card rises

Oct. 30How about a Yankee Stadium office chair?

Oct. 27Collectors eye first LeBron James card with Heat

Oct. 19Rookies & legends set to appear on hockey cards

Oct. 9Bryce Harper card sells to investment banker

Oct. 3Topps to give away diamonds with baseball cards

Sept. 27 Logan Morrison goes from card shop to majors

Sept. 26Topps readies for 60th anniversary

Sept. 11Robert Horry signs 1st NBA card

Sept. 5 Yes, that Pamela Anderson has a baseball card

Aug. 31 — Tim Tebow, John Elway join up for trading card

Aug. 29Strasburg created buzz on cards

Aug. 27MMA announcer Bruce Buffer makes name for himself

Aug. 16New Obak set looks at game changers

Aug. 1 Alex Rodriguez appears on nearly 18,000 cards

July 29Tim Tebow’s name is on everything

July 20 LeBron James’ first Heat card

July 19“Major League” manager Lou Brown passes away

July 18James-Wade-Bosh card surges in value

July 11 Even Bob Sheppard had a baseball card

July 10 Jordin Sparks, Stuart Scott in card set

July 3Kobayashi beats Chestnut! — in trading cards

June 28Baseball fan cracks code, gets card

June 23Landon Donovan’s trading card value rises

June 22For Tim Tebow, it’s the sign of the times

June 16Strasburg card buyer is sold on pitcher

June 8Harper, Strasburg see cards rise

June 4Tim Tebow trading cards rise in value

May 31Pat Tillman’s football cards not forgotten

May 29Is this Stephen Strasburg card really worth it?

May 22 — Fans can draw their own trading cards

May 15Athletes marketing own memorabilia

May 8Tony Hawk jumps into the trading card game

May 5In NHRA, Forces to be Reckoned

May 2Even celebrities have trading cards

April 23Tim Tebow’s first “card” in NFL is valuable

April 21Hogan, Flair autograph cards for TRISTAR

April 16UFC interim champ Shane Carwin collects cards

April 12You can have a piece of Texas Stadium

April 6So glad Arena League has returned

March 29 Cards correctly predicted WrestleMania winners

March 27 Kobe loves trading cards … seriously

March 27 WrestleMania winners in the cards

March 19 Abraham Lincoln appears on a baseball card

March 17UFC cards are all the rage

March 9No bull here as you can get PBR trading cards

March 7 “Blind Side” heats up Michael Oher’s cards

March 2 —  Apolo Anton Ohno’s baseball card takes off

March 1You’ll be bugged by these baseball cards

Tracy Hackler is the Editorial Director at Beckett Media, while Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to Hackler at or Olds Follow Olds on Twitter by clicking here. Follow Hackler on Twitter by clicking here.