The Beckett Blog

Box Busters: 2010 Leaf Sports Icons Update by Chris Olds
January 9, 2011, 12:51 pm
Filed under: Leaf, MLB | Tags: , , ,

Join Beckett Media’s Chris Olds and Brian Fleischer as they rip into a pair of 2010 Leaf Sports Icons Update boxes in this latest episode of Box Busters.

What will they find inside? Watch and find out …

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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The search for “Shoeless” Joe Jackson starts next week by Susan Lulgjuraj

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor

Next week, the search for “Shoeless” Joe Jackson’s cut autograph begins with the release of 2010 Leaf Sports Icons Cut Signatures.

Each box will have one pack with three cards, two cut autographs and a Jackson insert.

Only 340 master cases will be made and each case will be numbered. Some of the names in the set include Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Kennesaw Mountain Landis, Roger Maris, Jackie Robinson and Ty Cobb.

The limited set is going to offer one of four collectors the chance to win a Jackson cut autograph.

Three of the Jackson Four Leaf Clover cards will be inserted into the product, while the fourth will be given to a the collector who presents the most-completed set of 2010 Leaf Sports Icons Update. One of these collectors will win a Jackson cut signature at the 2011 National Sports Collectors Convention.

Check out pictures from the Jackson insert set after the jump.

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Hobby stories: Game-used jersey authentication an issue by Chris Olds

Here’s a look at two stories with hobby-related ties in the mainstream media recently …

Chicago Sun-Times: Shoeless Joe Jackson Hall of Fame jersey a fake

Yahoo! Sports: Sports marketer Mike Ornstein awaits sentencing on fraud charges

Olds’ Take: It’s unfortunate in the Jackson case that one of the greatest sports memorabilia collections, the Barry Halper collection, had an example of a bad item show up in Cooperstown. Even expert collectors with plenty of industry ties like the late Halper will make mistakes when buying items. (It’s no Black Betsy, but it reminds me of that one Nick Swisher game-used bat I bought … I bet you have something in your collection you’re not 110 percent certain on. Then again, our collections probably aren’t destined for Cooperstown.)

As for the Ornstein case, it’s one that is wide in scope for the NFL — but primarily for the ticket scalping scandal. The game-used jersey aspect isn’t good, either. Yet, at the same time, it probably shouldn’t be unexpected as there are a lot of modern-day game-used jerseys out there that show little to no use at all to distinguish it from another game-issue jersey. Game-issue could, in theory, be quite plentiful. The card companies have to do their homework — and they do — while buying from trusted/approved sources. Unfortunately, if a player agent isn’t a trusted source … who is? Nobody is closer to an athlete.

In an era where rookie photo shoot jerseys are used en masse on memorabilia cards — even the high-end products — this shouldn’t sting as badly as it might.

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.

Upper Deck reveals baseball SPs, two more “double take” variation players by Chris Olds

Upper Deck revealed on Friday that there are four rare retail short-prints to be found for its 2010 baseball card set and that there are two more “double take” players with photo variation cards.

The four SPs include Sarah Palin, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Pete Rose and a five-time world New York Yankeees champions card featuring Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. The Palin and Rose cards are found in packs in Walmarts, while the other two cards can only be found in packs at Target stores.

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Upper Deck signs autograph deal with Pete Rose by Chris Olds

This is another of those benefits of being unlicensed.

Upper Deck announced Wednesday that it has signed all-time hits leader Pete Rose to an autograph deal to include him in the company’s 2010 baseball sets.

He will make his debut alongside “Shoeless” Joe Jackson in 2010 Goudey Baseball, which is set to arrive on March 18.

Like Jackson, Rose is on baseball’s ineligible list after he was banned for life for gambling. Because of this, Rose cannot appear on any cards or memorabilia licensed by Major League Baseball Properties. Upper Deck’s 2010 cards are only licensed by the MLB Players Association.

Because of this, Rose has appeared on just one card produced by Upper Deck — a card in the the 1994 Upper Deck: The American Epic set (above). His only appearances on cards since 1989 (not many) have been in products that were not licensed by MLB Properties.

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Upper Deck will debut “Shoeless” Joe cards in 2010 Goudey by Chris Olds

This is one of those advantages of not being fully licensed.

Upper Deck announced Tuesday that it will include “Shoeless” Joe Jackson in its 2010 Goudey baseball card set, which is scheduled to arrive on March 16.

The set will include cards of Jackson as well as game-used bat cards and will be the first of a few 2010 Upper Deck products to include the disgraced star.

The highest-profile player in the 1919 Black Sox scandal where the Chicago White Sox threw the World Series, “Shoeless Joe,” appears on just 209 baseball cards and nearly a quarter of those were made unlicensed by Donruss in 2008.

Jackson and all other players on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list cannot appear on baseball cards licensed by MLB Properties. However, Upper Deck did include a bat card of Jackson (his first memorabilia card; above) in its 2001 SP Legendary Cuts set, which ruffled some MLB feathers at the time.

“The legend of Shoeless Joe Jackson grows every year,” said Gabriel Garcia, Upper Deck’s baseball brand manager, in a news release. “We are extremely excited to have reached an agreement with his estate that allows us to include this former baseball standout in many of our sets next year.”

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Graded Card Investor. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at