The Beckett Blog

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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Topps brings minor leagues into eTopps fold by Chris Olds

With Topps’ first official minor league baseball card release set to arrive this week, the company helped usher in its MiLB cards with its announcement that it is adding eTopps to the fold as well.

The first public offerings for eTopps minor league cards are of New York Yankees prospect Jesus Montero and Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez. Each card will be limited to just 749 cards with an IPO price of $4 per card.

Topps will only issue a player on a minor league card once and will award eTopps users who own eTopps Minor League cards of players who are named the MVP of their respective league’s 2010 All-Star Game with reward points which can be used to receive other prizes. The eTopps users who own a card of a player who is called up to the majors for the first time between April and August will receive points, too.

Topps official: Minor League deal will not affect Bowman lines by Chris Olds

With Toppsannouncement earlier today that it will be the exclusive licensee of cards for Minor League Baseball beginning in 2010, there’s a common question brewing among many prospectors.

What does this mean for Bowman? Could Topps entering the MiLB card market impact the prospect-packed Bowman lines?

Nope, according to Topps’ Clay Luraschi.

“Business as usual with Bowman,” Luraschi told Beckett Media on Monday afternoon.

Luraschi did offer more details for Topps’ inaugural release, 2010 Topps Pro Debut Series 1, which will arrive in March.

Luraschi confirmed that the MiLB products from Topps will include autograph and memorabilia cards (something a Minor League release quite possibly could have gone without) and that a second series for Topps Pro Debut will arrive sometime in the summer.

The MiLB deal, which operates under a blanket agreement, allows Topps to make cards of any player — so those looking for the first fully licensed cards of No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg just might find him there.

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

Preview: 2009 TRISTAR Obak baseball cards by Chris Olds


TRISTAR‘s Jeff Rosenberg will be stopping by Beckett Media headquarters on Thursday morning for a special edition of Box Busters on to discuss his company’s latest minor league baseball card set, Obak.

Read more about the set here, here, here and here.

It’s a set that’s rich in baseball history — a lesson in the game as well as a nod to the early 1900s tobacco cards of the same name — and is a set that’s chock-full of variations. Several cards in the base set have card back variations — three based on the 1910 design, one based on the 1911 — while others have photo variations.

According to the in-box checklist, for example, Atlanta Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson has five versions of card No. 16 as does No. 12 — Gordon Beckham — as well as Tom Seaver (No. 39), Ted Williams (No. 41) and U.S. President Barack Obama (No. 100)  among others.  Other cards in the set merely have photo variations.

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TRISTAR’s upcoming Obak Minor League Baseball card set just might be a game-changer itself by Chris Olds

078fWhile many baseball card companies have added pop culture personalities and icons as well as historical figures to sets in recent years in an effort to draw more mainstream fans (or non-collectors) into trading cards, they haven’t achieved anything close to what TRISTAR‘s upcoming Obak set delivers.

And it’s so simple. They’ve been there all along.

You see, Obak, which is a modern-day nod to the tobacco cards of the same name from a century ago, arrives next Monday and it includes a 25-card set of “Game Changers.” They’re people who influenced the game we see today in stadiums around the country — and really the globe, though they are showcased on the smaller stage of a Minor League Baseball set.

It’s a set that includes promising prospects of today, some of the game’s greatest Hall of Famers in their farm-team threads, past MiLB Player of the Year winners, a crop of Minor League Baseball’s legends that you’ve likely never heard of but have rich and storied careers.

But the Game Changers especially caught my eye.

Who are they?

Some are pioneers you’ve never heard of. Others are ones who have influenced the very habits you have if you’re reading about baseball cards today.

Check out just a few of them in our exclusive early sneak peek at the checklist:

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TRISTAR brings tobacco card aesthetic to minors with Obak set coming soon by Chris Olds


TRISTAR‘s foray into the genre of tobacco card styled baseball card sets begins later this month as its Obak set is now scheduled for an Aug. 31 release.

The set will include a rich list of players from the past and the present in Minor League Baseball as well as a few other surprises. The product also will include variations and various card back styles as was the norm with old tobacco cards.

For past previews of the set, click here and here. For a few more preview images, click below.

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First Look: 2009 TRISTAR Obak minor league baseball cards by Chris Olds


TRISTAR is turning back the clock with its latest minor league baseball set, Obak, which brings the tobacco card aesthetic to the masses with a limited-edition set that’s loaded with interesting cards for collectors to discover.

The base set consists of 114 cards — and there will be only 3,600 hobby boxes made — a lower number than TRISTAR’s already limited 2009 PROjections sets.

The autographs, which will be found two per20-pack box, will feature current minor leaguers as well as retired stars who made an impact down on the farm. All of the autographs in the set are numbered to 200 or fewer copies.

There will be three short-printed cards in each box, which are, according to the company, 77 percent more scare than standard cards.

The set consists of eight subsets as follows:

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