The Beckett Blog


How much would you pay for Josh Hamilton’s MLB-authenticated ginger ale bottle? by Chris Olds

By Chris Olds | Editor

Generally speaking, the value of an autograph often rests with what type of item was signed — the more appealing the item, the more money one would expect to pay.

In this case, maybe not.

Among the items on the MLB.com auction block as part of Major League Baseball’s “2010: The Year in Review Auction” is an MLB-authenticated autographed ginger ale bottle.

It’s signed by American League MVP Josh Hamilton.

It’s just the latest in unusual memorabilia to have an MLB authentication sticker on it as everything from dirt to on-deck circles have been examined, described stickered and sold.

While it’s actually been customary for MLB to note empty champagne bottles from World Series celebrations, Hamilton’s case is different. This is perhaps one of the more unique items out there for a Texas Rangers fan who holds Hamilton’s life story and his struggles with sobriety close to them.

What’s the story? After the Rangers won Game 6 of the ALCS, knocking off the Yankees, they celebrated in a fashion that included their star slugger’s lifestyle concerns, eschewing the typical champagne showers for one that included ginger ale.

The rest, as they say, is MLB-authenticated history.

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The Giants are World Series champs: Who’s tops on cards? by Chris Olds

By Chris Olds | Editor

The San Francisco Giants have downed the Texas Rangers for the franchise’s first World Series title since 1954, when the team was in New York and center field was patrolled by one Willie Mays.

The pitching staff is one of baseball’s best, led by two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, but is one comprised of largely unappreciated players when it comes to their baseball cards. The team’s bats, at least on cardboard, are undoubtedly paced by rookie catcher Buster Posey.

We want to know, though … who do you think the big winner will be when it comes to San Francisco Giants baseball cards now that they are world champs?

Take our poll …

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.



Home-grown heroes seemingly always get more hobby love by Chris Olds

By Chris Olds | Editor | Commentary

I’ve always felt that there is a disconnect in the hobby with championship-winning players who aren’t home-grown.

In other words, when a player like Cliff Lee or Josh Hamilton lights things up for a team like the American League champion Rangers — but have Rookie Cards from several years ago picturing them with the Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays — they just don’t carry the kind of maximized appeal when it comes championship time.

With Game 3 of the World Series under way as I write this, it’s a battle of largely home-grown Giants (at least among the players who should be of most interest with San Francisco collectors) vs. the Rangers, a more liberal mix of home-grown and acquired players among their hobby stars.

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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.

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Jays’ Shaun Marcum flirts with history on Opening Day by Chris Olds

Bob Feller can rest easy knowing that he’s still the only Opening Day no-hit man in baseball history.

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Shaun Marcum, who missed all of last season with elbow issues, flirted with a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers Monday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, throwing six hitless innings before giving up his first walk, to Josh Hamilton, and a three-run homer to Nelson Cruz in the seventh inning to lose his historic bid as well as a 3-0 lead.

Marcum, who last pitched in an MLB game on Sept. 16, 2008, appears on just 146 baseball cards — only 18 of those certified autographs. He’s appeared on zero memorabilia cards during his cardboard career.

He has just two Rookie Cards, 2003 Bowman Draft and 2003 Bowman Chrome Draft, which can be had for a total of about $2. His 2003 Bowman Chrome Draft Gold Refractor sells for $30.

Feller’s Opening Day gem came against the White Sox in 1940 as his Cleveland Indians topped Chicago, 1-0.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.



***NOW CLOSED*** FREE STUFF FRIDAY (3-26) Contest No. 5 — A lot of eight 2010 Topps Attax baseball foil cards (including rare Legend card) by Chris Olds

We’re back with another Free Stuff Friday our weekly ritual where we try and get some cool stuff into the hands of our readers just for answering some simple card-related trivia.

How 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 …

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Ron Washington’s type of apology should get noticed in MLB by Chris Olds

By CHRIS OLDS | Beckett Baseball Editor

Ron Washington‘s career and his image within Major League Baseball changed forever on Wednesday as he apologized for using cocaine one time while manager of the Texas Rangers last season.

He’s the first MLB manager known to fail a drug test, something he’ll now always be known for, despite a career beginning its fifth decade as a player, coach and manager this season.

Why was the revelation made public?

Because Washington has completed completed MLB’s drug rehab program and passed all subsequent drug tests. Remarkably, Washington admitted his mistake even before his drug test, which he was randomly selected for by MLB, took place. He offered his resignation right then and there last summer — which the Rangers didn’t take him up on — and he admitted his wrongdoings in a public manner multiple times on Wednesday.

There was no finger-pointing denial followed by a subsequent failed test. There was no sudden lack of speaking ability. There was no Ari Fleischer-coached tear-enhanced, rhetoric-laced sit-down with Bob Costas.

Instead, the 57-year-old manager — a career baseball guy who made his big-league debut as a Los Angeles Dodger nearly 33 years ago — doffed his cap and addressed his family, the media, his bosses, the fans and all of baseball. He wasn’t hiding behind prepared phrases, he wasn’t hiding behind a pair of designer sunglasses like some star slugger.

“I’ve learned a lot about myself personally, and I recognize that this episode was an attempt to dodge personal anxieties and personal issues I needed to confront,” he said. “That was the wrong way to do it. It was self-serving, and believe me, not worth it. I know you will ask, and so here’s the answer: this was the one and only time I used this drug.

“I made a huge mistake, and it almost caused me to lose everything I have worked for all of my life.”

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