The Beckett Blog

Panini’s Century Collection packs big-name baseball players by Chris Olds

By Chris Olds | Editor

Panini America may not be an official trading card licensee of Major League Baseball, but you wouldn’t know that from the company’s legendary inclusions in the forthcoming 2010 Century Collection set.

No, there aren’t any MLB logos or airbrushed uniforms in the multi-sport and non-sport product — it’s high school and casual photography — but it’s clear that the autograph and memorabilia assets left over from the Donruss days are getting good use and much of it will be in the hands of collectors starting this week.

In fact, it’s that non-traditional photography that might make these cards stand out from others — whether the significance or story behind the photo is noted on the card or not. (They likely aren’t … in their place an authenticity statement.) For example, the Paul Molitor card shown above is from his behind-the-scenes tour of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., back in 2004.

The bat he’s holding? It’s a Babe Ruth gamer.

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Beckett Tip Sheet: Where can you land an autograph? by Chris Olds

By Chris Olds | Editor

It’s no secret that the autograph is key to many a sports products these days as those certified authentic slips of the pen turn cardboard into collecting gold.

But the certified autograph is not the only way a collector can land a treasured item.

In fact, many a signer of certified autographs actually signs in other ways — ways that collectors may not always think about in a world of commodified, short-print chases and dreaming of winning mylar-wrapped lotteries. It may sound like common sense, but there are other ways to track down signatures besides ripping packs and buying singles at the card shop or online.

Here’s a rundown of ways that collectors — beginners through the long-time hobby veterans — should always consider trying to land an autograph without hitting up a pack of cards or buying a certified signature straight from a trusted dealer.

These days, it’s pretty common for athletes and celebrities to have their own websites where they sell autographed items directly to the public. The signed copy of WWE Magazine above, for example, was purchased on Trish Stratus‘ website, There, the former multi-time women’s champion sells signed magazines, books, photos, posters and more. If you have your own particular item you want signed, she’ll ink it up for a $10 fee.

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Cleveland Indians legend Bob Feller dies at 92 by Chris Olds

By Chris Olds | Editor

Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, a Cleveland Indians legend known for his flaming fastball on the field and his prolific pen on the autograph circuit, died on Wednesday. He was 92.

Feller appears on a total of 1,692 baseball cards in the database — 607 of those being certified autographs and 470 being memorabilia cards.

His lone Rookie Card appears in the 1948 Bowman set, a $250 card.

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Cardboard and Beyond: Who are you Honoring on Veterans Day? by tolentinotown

By Andrew Tolentino | Assistant Editor

Instead of heading straight home after work today, I plan on taking a northbound trek to pay Veterans Day respects to my grandfather. Thanks to a spirit that can’t quit, all-around toughness and an equally gritty grandmother who vehemently monitors his medication and diet, my grandfather, aka “Chief,” is a living wealth of World War Two stories and tales from a different time.

Even with a name like Horace Narvel, he’ll probably never appear on a sports card, but I’m fine with that.

While he never hit a pitch from Bob Feller, my grandfather fought the same fight as the Baseball Hall-of-Famer. Feller, who is recognized as the first MLB player to volunteer for the military after the attack on Pearl Harbor, served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Theater. Sailing aboard different ships, they never saw combat together; but, in war, they became veterans forever. Joining the likes of their shipmates and future military personnel, Fellers and my grandfather joined a lineage of honor, unaffected by celebrity status or athletic stardom.

Putting professional sports prowess aside for dedicated acts of patriotism, players like Feller, Ted Williams, Rocky Bleier and Pat Tillman stand on the same heroic grounds as their fellow veterans. Equalized by the honor of service, every man and woman in uniform, professional athlete or not, has earned a place in our collective memory.

This is why my grandfather takes a monthly trip to the airport to greet the troops as they return home. This is why his walker dawns two miniature American flags. This is why flags are flying at half-staff today. This is why we remember the retired, the fallen and the fighting today.

As it pertains to collecting, Veterans Day presents a special opportunity to discuss veterans of war and professional play. Although cardboard could never truly tribute the patriotism of our military heroes, there are plenty of players who served in the armed forces. Drawing parallels between the pitcher and my grandfather, Fellers holds a special place in my heart.

Whether it’s a family member, a friend, or a Hall-of-Famer, who are you honoring today?

Guest commentary: Bob Feller’s 70 years of cardboard still amaze by Chris Olds
October 25, 2010, 5:00 pm
Filed under: MLB, Topps | Tags: , , , , , ,

By Stan Carlberg | Guest contributor

The recent health scare for baseball legend Bob Feller got me thinking about how much “Rapid Robert” has meant to the collecting masses, the hobby as a whole.

But before we delve into his hobby achievements, we need to go back to where his legendary career first began. Three years before Ted Williams was “The Kid,” the 17-year-old Feller took the baseball world by storm in 1936 with his blazing 100-plus mph fastball. Still attending high school in Van Meter, Iowa, Feller was Nolan Ryan, Dwight Gooden and Jim Palmer rolled into one. During his standout rookie season, he matched his age in strikeouts when he fanned 17 batters in one game. Two years later, he topped his own mark by whiffing 18 Detroit Tigers on Oct. 2, 1938.

Despite missing pretty much four prime seasons to World War II, Feller’s fabled baseball resume includes:

— The only Opening Day no-hitter (1940)

— Three career no-hitters (12 one-hitters)

— 266 victories, 2,500+ career strikeouts

— Election to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962

The only thing rivaling Feller’s diamond achievements and service to his country is his active run in the memorabilia industry. For more than 70 years, Feller has been baseball’s most prolific signer and is the only active player to appear in classic Goudey and Topps sets, spanning from the 1930s to the 1950s.

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Jays’ Shaun Marcum flirts with history on Opening Day by Chris Olds

Bob Feller can rest easy knowing that he’s still the only Opening Day no-hit man in baseball history.

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Shaun Marcum, who missed all of last season with elbow issues, flirted with a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers Monday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, throwing six hitless innings before giving up his first walk, to Josh Hamilton, and a three-run homer to Nelson Cruz in the seventh inning to lose his historic bid as well as a 3-0 lead.

Marcum, who last pitched in an MLB game on Sept. 16, 2008, appears on just 146 baseball cards — only 18 of those certified autographs. He’s appeared on zero memorabilia cards during his cardboard career.

He has just two Rookie Cards, 2003 Bowman Draft and 2003 Bowman Chrome Draft, which can be had for a total of about $2. His 2003 Bowman Chrome Draft Gold Refractor sells for $30.

Feller’s Opening Day gem came against the White Sox in 1940 as his Cleveland Indians topped Chicago, 1-0.

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.