The Beckett Blog

New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies players unveil Signature Series apparel by Chris Olds

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball

Five members of the World Series champion New York Yankees and five members of the runner-up Philadelphia Phillies have designed their own T-shirts, caps and jerseys as part of a new Major League Baseball clothing line unveiled last week.

Players Choice Signature Series apparel brings a slightly different take to the baseball gear we’re all pretty familiar with but with a player-centric twist on the apparel made by VF/Majestic and Twins/Banner 47 with the assistance of the MLB Players Association.

That means the Swisher Salute, Nick Swisher‘s ritual acknowledgment of the Bleacher Creatures during their pre-game roll call, can appear on his jersey. That means Shane Victorino‘s status as “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” can be celebrated and noted. That means that Jimmy Rollins, who is from Oakland, can have Athletics colors — and more — on his Phillies jersey.

Oh, and Raul Ibanez can have a jersey with that more fan-friendly name on it … “Rauuuuuul.” (Yes, with six u’s.)

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Corey Haim’s career also reflected on cardboard by Chris Olds
March 10, 2010, 3:18 pm
Filed under: NFL, Upper Deck | Tags: , , , , , ,

Though some collectors might argue with the point, one of the good things about the trading card explosion of the last 20 years is that sports card sets aren’t the exclusive domain of just athletes any longer.

Actor Corey Haim, who was found dead on Wednesday at age 38, appeared in a pair of Upper Deck sports card sets  last year as a tribute to his role in “Lucas” — a film where he played an unlikely football player.

Now that fans of some 1980s teen movies (and more) look back at a career that also included “The Lost Boys” and “License to Drive” they might be looking for a piece of memorabilia. Why? Just because. It happens all of the time.

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***NOW CLOSED*** FREE STUFF FRIDAY (3-5): You have 15 chances to win — and one chance to lose — right now! by Chris Olds


Free Stuff Friday is back once again — we’re starting our sixth month of weekly contests — so you have the chance to add some sports memorabilia to the ol’ collection by merely answering some questions whose answers can be found on

Here’s the rundown of this week’s contests after the jump …

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Licensing decisions impact all collectors by Chris Olds

ChicleFootballHobbyBoxBy CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor

If you thought 2009 has been a wild ride, just wait for 2010.

There have been countless changes in the hobby in the last 11 months just with licensing — the rights to create, market and sell official sports cards.

In January, the NBA chose an exclusive licensee in Panini, dropping Topps and Upper Deck. In August, MLB Properties opted for just Topps to create its fully licensed baseball cards, while a new licensee for Minor League Baseball  has yet to be announced after TRISTAR’s deal expired. And Upper Deck’s exclusive with the Collegiate Licensing Company? It affects every sport and will dramatically curb companies’ options starting next spring. The latest news on Monday is no different —  Players Inc, the licensing group of the NFL Players Association, dropped Topps as one of its football card makers.

All of these things can impact our hobby — your collection — even if you don’t buy one of the sports that is affected. Why? It affects the industry’s players, the companies that bring the cards to you.

Just like the baseball announcement, there are a lot of disappointed collectors with the Topps football news. And yet at the same time, there also are a lot of questions about whether the longest-running manufacturer of trading cards in the United States will create any type of football products in 2010 and beyond. (It doesn’t appear likely — unless you count its Premier League soccer cards.)

Some collectors took that a step further asking whether Topps can make it on just baseball and MMA alone — but that’s where we need to take a step back. There’s no question that baseball, despite its issues in recent years, remains the top dog of collecting. And MMA is the new kid on the block with Topps’ UFC lines among the most popular releases ever considering original costs vs. current values.

However, Topps has never survived on cards alone.

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Topps reveals latest in American Heritage line by Chris Olds


Topps released the basic product breakdown and preview images for the latest installment of its American Heritage series, the American Heroes Edition, a 150-card set loaded with notable people — who it deems the “the most courageous, valiant, progressive and enlightened American women and men in our nation’s history.”

The product will arrive in early August with a combination of two autographs, cut signatures, patches, Relics or stamp cards in every 24-pack hobby box. It looks to be a product heavy on political memorabilia as well as NASA memorabilia for all you space fans.

The base set will utilize famous Topps designs from the 1960s and the 1980s — focusing again on Miltary Heroes (card Nos. 1-10), Political Heroes (11-20), Civil Rights heroes (21-30), “The Bravest” (31-40), “The Finest” (41-50), Heroic Groups and Movements (51-60), Heroes of Medicine (61-70), Humanitarian Heroes (71-80), Diplomatic Heroes (81-90), “Pen is Mightier than Sword” (91-100), Heroic Events (101-125), and finally Kindred Heroes — a 25-card set pairing Barack Obama and Abe Lincoln.

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Mark “The Bird” Fidrych dead at 54 by Chris Olds


Major League Baseball  lost its third family member on Monday when former Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark Fidrych was found dead on Monday afternoon after an apparent accident. He was 54.

“The Bird” burst upon the scene as a 21-year-old rookie with the Tigers in 1976, going 19-9 with a league-leading 2.34 ERA and 24 complete games. He was an All-Star and the AL Rookie of the Year that season but also something of a cultural phenomenon as he was animated — someone who would talk to the baseball, a pitcher who was a character long before “being Manny” was somewhat commonplace.

Fidrych was found underneath a truck he had been working on on the same day that Hall of Fame Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas died and just days after Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed in an auto accident.

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The best way to get a (sort-of) free autograph? Book signings by Chris Olds
October 22, 2008, 11:58 am
Filed under: Collectibles | Tags: , , , , ,

If you’re patient and have plenty of time to wait in line, there’s one sure-fire way to get autographs of top sports figures and celebrities.

Book signings.

Any time someone famous decides to write a book, there’s almost always a tour.  Often you just have to be in the right place at the right time, but some larger independent stores will sell signed copies of books in advance of or just after autograph appearances. (Or, if you know where to shop, you can find books that were signed without appearances because the owners have good contacts or know the authors personally.)

I have obtained books signed by football legend Joe Namath, former baseball commissioner Faye Vincent, WWE star Batista, steroids whistle-blower Jose Canseco, To Kill A Mockingbird author Harper Lee and Forrest Gump creator Winston Groom in this way just to name a few.

No show fees. No authentication fees. No personalization fees. Just the cost of a book — and not even always that. Is it worth it? Have you seen what signed anniversary copies of Mockingbird go for? Go look… I’ll wait.

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