The Beckett Blog


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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Harlon Hill: One of 2010 Limited’s relatively unknown legends by Chris Olds

By Chris Olds | Editor

Collectors who rip into packs of 2010 Limited Football from Panini America beginning next week will find the likes of Ernie Davis, Tom Brady, Tim Tebow and more inside — a full spectrum of stars from the past, present and (likely) future.

Most of the names will ring a bell immediately, though some — like the autographed card of former Chicago Bears star Harlon Hill seen above — might not.

Hill, though, is a relatively familiar name for me — though his NFL career ended in 1962, well before I was born. You see, in Alabama Crimson Tide country there are a lot of names that get bandied about as football legends — more familiar names like Joe Namath, John Hannah, Ozzie Newsome — but Hill was an Alabama native who didn’t play for the Crimson Tide.

And he became a legend, too.

A player like Hill can be a matter of pride for some — like some of my former co-workers — in that football-crazed part of the country.

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Rippin’ Retail: 2010 World’s Greatest Card Chase Baseball by Chris Olds
November 16, 2010, 4:56 pm
Filed under: MLB, Rippin Retail | Tags: , ,

Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds as he rips into a repack box of 2010 World’s Greatest Card Chase baseball in this latest Rippin’ Retail video.

What will he find inside? Watch and find out …



‘Once Brothers’ brings back memories of a favorite player by Susan Lulgjuraj

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

On Wednesday night, ESPN premiered its newest 30 for 30 documentary “Once Brothers,” which is a story of NBA stars Drazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac. They grew up together, sharing a dream of playing professional basketball, but were torn apart by political issues from the fall of the Soviet Union.

Petrovic was from Croatia and Divac from Serbia, but before the breakup, they were both just Yugoslavian.

Petrovic was one of my favorite players growing up. I watched him on the New Jersey Nets, but it was more than just seeing a hometown hero. Petrovic was from the same area of the world as my parents and I have always felt a bond to people from the Balkan region.

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Revisiting Billy Ripken & other memorable errors in next Beckett Baseball by Chris Olds

We were all set to feature a montage of the most memorable error cards of the last 30 years or so on the cover of the next issue of Beckett Baseball (No. 54) coming your way soon.

Revisiting Billy Ripken, the unraveling mystery of the 1990 Topps Frank Thomas and more are nestled  inside its pages.

But this guy named Stephen Strasburg arrived in the major leagues and forced his way into our lineup on a few pages — and the cover of the magazine after his 14-strikeout, no-walk performance in his major league debut.

As part of those adjustments, we sacrificed some stuff there so you can have it here — one small part of that equation being a chat with a collector who is dedicated to discovering the story behind the famed Ripken error card (one of its many corrections seen here).

His name is Donovan Ryan and he lives in Bakersfield, Calif., and he’s the brains behind billripken.com, a repository for everything Ripken.

Beckett acknowledges five versions of the card — the error, a whiteout version (rarest), white scribble, black scribble and the black box. However with the cards printed at more than one location there are very minor differences between some of the fixes. Ryan notes some of those “other” versions on his site, which we will also show to you in the magazine. (Realistically, since most collectors don’t know there are differences, there’s no substantial established value for the variations of, say, the black scribble … yet.)

We posed to Ryan a few questions — one being what would he ask readers out there who might know more about the card. Perhaps one of those long-lost behind the scenes workers at Fleer finally would want to talk just like Ripken did awhile back and give the world the real story behind the card?

Or maybe what’s out there is all that’s known …

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Contest Update: And the Winner Is . . . by Tracy Hackler

You may recall that last September on Beckett.com (and on The Beckett Blog and in Beckett Football), we solicited submissions for a special 2009 NFL Season Preview card-investment contest. Essentially, we asked Beckett visitors how they would invest an imaginary $1,000 in at least five football cards for the 2009 season.

We selected 10 lucky respondents at random and announced that the one whose collection appreciates the most in value from the start of the season to the end of the Super Bowl would be crowned the winner and would receive a pigskin potpourri prize pack that includes an array of 2009 football products.

Well, at long last, the contest is over and the winner is . . . Arlington, Texas, collector David Sharp, who rode the 2009 value-increasing exploits of Ray Rice and Cedric Benson to victory. His hypothetical collection finished at a combined value of $1,130.

Sharp’s 2008 SP Authentic Ray Rice RC (#285) started the season at $60 and ended at $120; his 2005 SP Authentic Cedric Benson RC (#251) started at $60 and ended at $150.

Sharp’s reaction: “That’s awesome! Thanks to Ray Rice and Cedric Benson.”

For his value-minded prognostication, Sharp will receive a star-studded prize pack that looks a little something like . . .

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Ubaldo Jimenez remains one of baseball’s bargain-bin players by Chris Olds

There are countless baseball players who, no matter what they do, really don’t grab the attention of many a collector and remain off the radar when it comes to gaining ground on the hobby’s stars.

But after throwing the first no-hitter in Colorado Rockies history last night, Ubaldo Jimenez will get a little more attention.

For how long? We’ll have to wait and see.

The 26-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic won 15 games for the Rockies last season (while losing 12) and holds a 34-28 record after playing in parts of five seasons. He has a career ERA of 3.70 — which should impress even more considering he plays half of his games in the high-altitude launching pad known as Coors Field.

This year, he’s 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 21 innings.

So, what should collectors consider when looking into his cards? Well, he’s got just 510 total — and 112 of those are the “elusive” autograph. He’s got 43 memorabilia cards and 21 Rookie Cards — so there are a lot of choices to be made.

We’ll examine two worth considering…

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