The Beckett Blog

Teaser gallery: 2011 Topps Pro Debut Series 1 minor league baseball cards (with poll) by Chris Olds

Topps unveiled a selection of preview images for its second year of manufacturing Minor League Baseball cards on Tuesday — 2011 Topps Pro Debut.

Pro Debut will have a few more touches next year — a new addition being dual autographs — but we’ll wait for the full preview information to come later this week.

Until then, feast on the photos and tell us whether you like what you see … after the jump.

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ITG President Dr. Brian Price’s “Welcome Letter” to Panini by Tracy Hackler

In The Game President Dr. Brian Price had an interesting post on his PrezSez blog Sunday regarding alleged language in Panini America‘s NHL player agreement letters that he finds rather objectionable.

Price cited specifically the following paragraph, which he says a player agent brought to his attention:

“Player shall be restricted from providing autographs on Cards for other comapanies unless such Cards are licensed by the National Hockey League Players’ Association (the “NHLPA”) at the time such autograph is provided.”

Price’s response?

“These agreements are being sent out to players who might be playing in the AHL and the CHL next year [and are] clearly trying to effect our contractual relationships with the AHL/PHPA and CHL. Since the NHLPA no longer permits exclusives, this clause is an attack against ITG.

“Is it legal? We certainly will find out very soon.

“Panini should worry about competing with Upper Deck but it seems they are more concerned with us, should I be flattered?”

For the full post, visit Dr. Price’s blog.

In the Minors: But will they get baseball cards? by Chris Olds

This one’s definitely from the “kids, don’t try this at home” category.

You might know the Savannah Sand Gnats for having one of the coolest logos in baseball, but it was pretty hot on the basepaths Saturday night in Georgia.

That’s because stuntman Ted Batchelor rounded the bases … on fire.

I’m not going to even try to make sense of this minor league publicity stunt … but all I can say is if this doesn’t get him a baseball card in the Sand Gnats’ team set, I don’t know what would.

But we’re not done there …

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Hey everybody… Tonight is Rojo Johnson Bobblehead Night! by Chris Olds

The Round Rock Express can’t get enough of their one-pitch wonder.

Tonight, the first 2,500 fans who enter the gates for the Houston Astros’ Triple-A affiliate’s game against the Memphis Redbirds get a free bobblehead doll of the pitcher who made quite an impact earlier this year, Rojo Johnson.

Also known as Will Ferrell, Johnson also now appears on at least two fully authorized minor league baseball cards and he will have certified autographs coming  later this year for charity.

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

Rojo Johnson gets another baseball card; Will Ferrell autographs coming, too by Chris Olds

Rojo Johnson made a memorable debut for the Round Rock Express not long ago here in Texas, which meant he also would likely appear on a baseball card.

Now, he’s a Pacific Coast League Top Prospect.

The league unveiled its 36-card set with Johnson mixed in with names like Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Brett Wallace, Logan Morrison and Jason Castro.

Will Ferrell, aka Rojo Johnson, authorized the card appearance as a way to further lend his support for Cancer for College, a charitable foundation that grants college scholarships to cancer survivors.

Later this year, 500 special Rojo Johnson cards — as well as 100 numbered cards signed by Ferrell — will be available for a donation on the foundation’s site.

Ferrell does not appear on a certified autograph card but has appeared on a sports card — a promo card of Jackie Moon made for his basketball movie, Semi-Pro.

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

Rojo Johnson’s baseball card arrives by Chris Olds

While we teased you guys about Rojo Johnson‘s baseball card awhile back, there was nothing firm to indicate that the mysterious pitcher would, indeed, appear on cardboard.

Now, he does.

The first 2,500 fans who attend tonight’s game against the Nashville Sounds receive a 2010 Express team set which features the card above showing Will Ferrell in his brief minor league baseball appearance.

The promotion is sponsored by Equipment Depot — no word on whether he’s signed on as a spokesman or whether tickets are still available. (The game starts in five minutes so you might be out of luck.)

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

Chicago Cubs rookie Starlin Castro’s autographs can’t come soon enough … by Chris Olds

Forget Billy Ray “Rojo” Johnson, baseball has a new phenom whose autographs can’t get here fast enough — it’s Chicago Cubs rookie shortstop Starlin Castro.

Castro’s first certified autograph card of any kind arrives in 2010 Bowman next week, so other cards of his are getting a little love right now. (Have you entered to win a box of Bowman by the way?)

So, while he’s one more red-hot reason to buy Bowman, the attention his memorabilia is getting after his six-RBI MLB debut, which included a home run in his first at-bat, is focused on his debut prospect cards from 2009.

However, Just Minors announced on Saturday that it has a limited number of signed baseballs and bats available signed by Castro, with prices that won’t break the bank An autographed baseball runs for $49.95, while a signed bat costs $69.95 (there are limits to how many can be ordered). The company did a signing with him just a few weeks ago.

You can find more information by clicking here.

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