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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If I had a Baseball Hall of Fame vote … 2011 Edition by Chris Olds

By Chris Olds | Editor | Commentary

The Baseball Writers Association of America released the 2011 Hall of Fame ballot this week, a list of eligible players that includes some likely Hall of Famers, some guys still waiting their turn and some guys who’ll get the Vince McMahon Entrance Music Award as they’ve got “No chance … ”

While we have to wait until Jan. 5 to see who was picked on 75 percent of all ballots, here’s my rundown — with an emphasis on the player’s place in cardboard.

Of this year’s new crop, I have several I’d vote for but I don’t see too many getting in. I’d vote for the likes of Fred McGriff, Larry Walker, Jeff Bagwell and Barry Larkin while marveling at those who cast their votes for the likes of Mark McGwire and first-timer Rafael Palmeiro.

See my full rundown after the jump.

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If I had a Baseball Hall of Fame ballot … by Chris Olds

With this year’s baseball Hall of Fame voting results set to be released on Wednesday, there’s plenty of talk about who’ll be in, who’ll be out and who’ll get snubbed.

There are 26 players on the 2010 ballot — from Roberto Alomar to Todd Zeile there’s quite a selection. And while there are always worthy candidates, one thing’s for certain — it’s not easy to get 75 percent of the vote.

And it probably shouldn’t be — even though baseball could use an image-brightening crop of players who are free of steroid and performance-enhancement questions that will plague the game’s most-successful stars (and eventual Hall of Fame candidates) for the next decade and beyond.

Perhaps this will be the Cooperstown class where players who don’t have any question marks get more attention? Doubtful, but we can hope.

Here’s a rundown of who I’d vote for among the notable players  … if I had a ballot.

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