The Beckett Blog

If you’ve got a big head, New Era just might have a surprise for you, too by Chris Olds

I sit in a pretty good seat in the ol’ hobby these days, but it’s one that also includes a flame-filled one-liner or two sent my way from time to time.

I’ve been told a few things — and called a few others — on occasion.

And I’ve been told I have a big head.

Don’t I know that.

I know that every time I see the latest cool cap from New Era, the official manufacturer of on-field MLB caps.

Continue reading

Evolution of autographs: Which ones do you remember? by Chris Olds

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball

Imaging getting paid $20, $50 or $100 for a single swipe of a pen … for your autograph.

Collectors know all about the practice of autograph signings for cash — we see it all the time at shows. However, have you ever put yourself in an athlete’s shoes?

For a multi-millionaire, a private autograph signing might be work — if an athlete even bothers because, after all, time is money. (Meeting and signing for fans? That’s another story. Many athletes have no worries about doing those events — or signing for free if it’s the right place and right time.)

And, when you think about it, signing autographs is work in a different way, too. Can you imaging sitting down and signing your name 500 or 1,000 times with only a break or two?

Many collectors don’t — and that’s why they complain when they get autographs that look like chicken scratch. (To some degree, I understand why they sometimes look the way that they do.)

We all have heard about the “give-up graph” — and we all know about the checkmark autograph of former Houston Texans running back Vernand Morency — but there’s another type of autograph out there that has always interested me.

It’s the “early” autograph — the one where an athlete either hadn’t yet adopted a shorter version of an autograph or a rarer signature where we just don’t commonly see it on items signed in bulk.

Continue reading

Dallas Braden’s perfect game caps historic week in baseball by Chris Olds

What a week it was in baseball…

Dallas Braden, a 27-year-old lefty for the Oakland A’s best known for jawing with Alex Rodriguez over his sacred territory, threw a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

Braden holds a 17-23 career record in four seasons with a 4.62 ERA, but on Sunday he became just the 19th player in MLB history to achieve perfection with his 4-0 victory. It was the first perfect game for Oakland since Jim “Catfish” Hunter did it in 1968.

Braden appears on just 142 different baseball cards with 45 of those autographed and only eight of those are Rookie Cards. His most valuable card is just $15 — a trio of 2007 Exquisite Collection autographs share that distinction.

Continue reading

Calling all supercollectors … Beckett Baseball wants you! by Chris Olds

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor

It’s been awhile since we last dedicated an issue of Beckett Baseball to the player collector — in fact it was April 2007 — but we’re confident that there are supercollectors out there who haven’t been found.

Why? Because we keep hearing about you guys in the pages of Beckett Sports Card Monthly where we profile supercollectors each and every month.

But the collections we want to showcase in a future Beckett Baseball issue — or perhaps issues — (later this summer) are a bit different. You see, the bar was set pretty high last time around. For example, the Ichiro Suzuki supercollector from that issue owned more than 4,100 cards valued at more than $97,000 at the time. Bruce’s goal? “To have an Ichiro collection like no other.”

It was that then as it probably is now — and we’ll check in with some of those past supercollectors to see how things look in 2010.

But it’s not about the money as we search for the latest batch of baseball supercollectors for Beckett Baseball in 2010. We want to see the most outrageous collections — perhaps it’s your stash of some prospect gone awry that you still keep up with for some odd reason or perhaps it’s your stash of 47 of 50 Gold Refractors of “Player X.” Or perhaps it’s your collection of 97.3 percent of all Brook Jacoby cards that exist … we want to know about it.

I’ve always had rules about my collecting habits and my very different collections for two players — a pair of former Oakland A’s outfielders who wore No. 33, Jose Canseco and Nick Swisher — reflect that. They also reflect how my rules of collecting have changed over time as well.

Continue reading

This could only happen to the Oakland A’s … by Chris Olds
January 22, 2010, 1:33 pm
Filed under: Beckett Media | Tags: , , , , ,

Prospectors don’t often have to deal with this one, but it seems like it’s always something if you’re an Oakland A’s fan these days.

Grant Desme, an outfielder in the Athletics organization who hit .288 with 31 home runs and stole 40 bases last season, is retiring at age 24.


Continue reading

Will Mark McGwire’s return to baseball mean his return to baseball cards? by Chris Olds

With Mark McGwire finally deciding to “talk about the past” and returning to Major League Baseball as hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, does that mean that his certified autograph might re-appear in packs of 2010 baseball cards?

Maybe and maybe not.

Continue reading

Something I found digging through a different collection by Chris Olds

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor

Baseball card collectors know the joy of going through a dusty old box and finding something that they hadn’t seen in years, something that sparks a memory. They also know the joy of the cardboard equivalent of finding a $20 bill in their coat pocket — when a once-unknown player’s card is found in one of those boxes and it’s worth a lot more than they remembered.

Well, as a long-time collector, I’ve got plenty of baseball cards — but as a long-time writer about cards I’ve got a different collection of sorts, too. Some writers call them clips, while others call their past work a portfolio. But for me it’s just a different collection — one that’s unfortunately no more organized than any other in my possession.

But, like boxes of baseball cards, sometimes when you go digging around you find something that’s interesting, something that’s different or something that might make you cringe. It’s something that takes you back to a place in time — when things were perhaps a bit different than they are today.

My recent find isn’t one of those cringe-worthy items — but the tales of the last few years in the baseball world certainly have changed, making much of what I wrote impossible but ironic in some instances given the context of history.

It’s the column I wrote for The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News on the evening of Monday, May 13, 2002 — the evening my favorite baseball player, Jose Canseco, decided it was time to retire.

It’s a piece penned well before “performance-enhancing drugs” were a near-everyday part of the baseball vocabulary. It’s one penned before Canseco’s book, Juiced, and one from well before many an accusation, failed test or denial ever took place.

It was written well before Canseco got just six votes (or just 1.1 percent) on his Hall of Fame ballot, permanently leaving him for the Veterans Committee as the only option (and not a likely one) for consideration in Cooperstown.

You can read it all (unedited) — and more — after the jump …

Continue reading

***NOW CLOSED*** FREE STUFF FRIDAY (12/4) contest No. 7 — A James Harden autographed promo card courtesy of Panini America by Chris Olds

NOW CLOSED. Look for a new contest in the next 15 minutes or so… Click here to see the newest contests once you’re done here.

We’re  in the midst of Free Stuff Friday this item that can be yours right now

logoHow can you win? Follow the directions below and answer the questions below in a comment right here …  it’s that simple.

Tips: Don’t try stuffing the comments box — we’ll check IP addresses — and make sure to include your name and email address so you can be contacted if you win. (Also note that you will see your comment on your screen after posting but that does not indicate its order of posting as it has not yet been approved. WordPress’ time-stamping of comments once all are approved will determine the winner.)

Get the question(s) after the jump …

Continue reading

Oakland A’s pitcher Andrew Bailey is Topps’ third Finest Rookie Redemption by Chris Olds


Topps announced its third Finest redemption of the year on Monday and it’s Oakland A’s pitcher Andrew Bailey.

The redemptions are found one in every master hobby box of 2009 Finest baseball cards.

In 44 innings this season, Bailey has 4-1 record with a 2.23 ERA. He has 50 strikeouts and 18 walks and has become the Oakland closer of late, recording eight saves.

Topps’ second Finest rookie was announced last week — Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson. The first Finest rookie was Cleveland’s Matt LaPorta. The company will unveil the remainder of the 10 rookies throughout the season. There also are redemptions for Refractor (#’d to 199) and Gold Refractor (#’d to 50) versions.

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at

Casting Moneyball — the movie by Chris Olds

Columbia Pictures recently signed a writer and director for a big-screen adaptation of the best-selling baseball book Moneyball, which explores the unorthodox scouting and business procedures of the small-market Oakland A’s and General Manager Billy Beane.

Who’s possibly in line to play Beane? Brad Pitt.

While I’m not buying that one, I’m no casting scout so I did the next best thing — I scoured the Internet for some mug shots (not the cards below) and went to and used its Celebrity Face Recognition software to cast the flick …

Continue reading