Tuesday, March 31, 2009

SLAM! Wrestling -- the book -- coming this fall

Congratulations to a colleague of mine Jon Waldman who has authored a book on professional wrestling.

TORONTO -- After years of being an online-exclusive, SLAM! Wrestling is proud to announce that it will be entering into the print media world with the release of its first book, SLAM! Wrestling: Shocking Stories from the Squared Circle.

Founded by Greg Oliver and John Powell, SLAM! Wrestling changed the way North America’s true favourite pastime was presented on the Web. With the backing of Sun Media and Canoe, SLAM! Wrestling brought pure journalism to the muddy waters of the pro wrestling media coverage. Never in the Internet Age had the squared circle been viewed with a keen eye by reporters and analysts who broke down the philosophy of wrestling and feted its legends, while also not being afraid to show the very human side of the locker rooms that are hidden from the plain eye inside the world’s biggest arenas.

"When I hear the words 'SLAM! Wrestling', I think of how significant it is in terms of wrestling news," says Scott D’Amore, owner of Border City Wrestling and a former agent with TNA Wrestling. "Not just in Canada though; it is probably the best source in the world for Canadian wrestling news, but around the world.

"SLAM! Wrestling: Shocking Stories from the Squared Circle takes readers on a journey through SLAM! Wrestling’s first dozen years and the often all-to real world of professional wrestling. From WWE to the independent leagues that dot North America’s landscape, SLAM! Wrestling gives the unique view of the reporter’s eye as history unfolds, including interviews with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, John Cena, "The Rock" Dwayne Johnson, Trish Stratus and many others.

From the celebration of WrestleMania XVIII in Toronto, to the tragic death of Owen Hart and many others, SLAM! Wrestling has covered it all and now brings the history of the mat wars straight to your bookshelf.

SLAM! Wrestling: Shocking Stories from the Squared Circle, published by Toronto’s ECW Press, will be edited by Winnipegger Jon Waldman, a veteran SLAM! staffer who has worked for the website since 2000, and produced by co-founder and Torontonian Greg Oliver, whose prior works include three volumes of the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame series, also available from ECW Press.

SLAM! Wrestling: Shocking Stories from the Squared Circle is expected to hit store shelves in Fall 2009.
Media Contact:Publicity, ECW Press – publicity@ecwpress.com

2009 Upper Deck Spectrum Contrary Views

I totally disagree with Russ on just about every aspect of this product. He is a bit more lenient on value then I am because in the cost of the box he includes the "chances" of pulling check-listed content as part of the products' inherent value.

Hear the rest from someone who likes this product.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The 1960 Version of Topps Heritage Baseball Has…

1960 cut signatures, autographs signed on cards, original 1960 cards, gum, and a shoebox to hold them all. What could be better?

Collectors can expect one autograph or memorabilia card in each box, and for $79 dollars the price is right. In this box I got two relics but I’m not sure I was lucky even though I beat the odds.

My two “Clubhouse Collection” cards have that “vintage feel and the card backs are tremendous in both content and design. Ok I got a bat card of Miguel Tejada. He’s a good player, even with what has transpired with him, but he’s not my cup of tea.


Must See TV- Blackhawks vs. Canucks Line Brawl

Going into last night's game the Hawks had a 2-point advantage over the Canucks for the 4th and final home ice playoff spot. The Canucks have a much better home that road record and with the young team Chicago has, home ice is going to be HUGE for my team.

Regardless it appears that these two teams will be facing off against each other for 7 games come April 12th when the NHL's postseason starts.

I haven't seen a full line brawl in a l-o-n-g time. This was great!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

MLB Pre-Season Predictions

With Opening Night a week from today, the 2009 season promises to be filled with close pennant races, a dark horse, disappointments, unexpected injuries, and other high drama. I thought it appropriate to make my picks for the following:

American League East Division Champion- New York Yankees

American League Central Division Champion- Detroit Tigers

American League West Division Champion- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

American League Wild Card Winner- Tampa Bay Rays

American League Champion- New York Yankees

American League MVP- Evan Longoria

American League Cy Young- CC Sabathia

American League Home Run Leader- Alex Rodriguez


National League East Division Champion- New York Mets

National League Central Division Champion- Chicago Cubs

National League West Division Champion- Arizona Diamondbacks

National League Wild Card Winner- LA Dodgers/Philadelphia Phillies for a 1 game playoff. Winner- Dodgers

National League Champion- New York Mets

National League MVP- Albert Pujols

National League Cy Young- Cole Hamels

National League Home Run Leader- Ryan Howard


World Series Winner-

New York Yankees in 7 Games

World Series MVP- Andy Petite

Friday, March 27, 2009

2009 Razor Letterman- Keep the Stickers

Product Specs: Pack out: 10 boxes per case, 5 packs per box, 1 autographed Letterman card per pack
Current SRP: $85 per box, $20 per pack

Product Highlights: Randomly inserted redemption cards for complete game used jerseys from former Team USA members including Buster Posey, Billy Butler, Alex Gordon and more.

Product Description: Coming hot on the heels of their 2008 release of Draft Picks Signature Series, Razor capitalizes on the popularity of manufactured letter cards to produce the largest checklist of autographed letter patches ever assembled in a singular product.

Player Highlights: Tim Beckham, Jason Castro, Pedro Alvarez, Buster Posey, Kyle Skipworth, Gordon Beckham, Brett Wallace, Aaron Hicks, Justin Smoak and more.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Current Events at SCD

My recent comments regarding SCD's inability or ineptitude when it comes to actually conducting an invetigative report of interest to the collecting community should convey that I don't in anyway think they are above reproach.That being said, SCD currently has 2 interesting interactive opportunities on their website. Providing us bloggers and collectors a way to let our voices be heard.

1) National Survey
The publishers of Sports Collectors Digest have commissioned the University of Mississippi to conduct a national survey of current and former collectors of trading cards and sports memorabilia for information on what they like, and don 't like, about the hobby.There is no cost to participate in the survey, and your input is confidential. It will take about 15 minutes to complete. Take the survey.

2) Design A Card Contest
Ever think you could design a better-looking baseball card than what 's already available? Well, here 's your chance. Sports Collectors Digest presents the Sports Card Design Awards, where you can get your work displayed on the cover of SCD, plus win an assortment of quality autographed memorabilia from some of the greatest that have ever played. Complete details.

Topps Attax Rules and Game Demonstration

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

McFarlane MLB 25 Set to Release in June

This is a slightly dated PR but I don't remember seeing info posted anywhere else and only mention it because 5 players make their debut and they make reference to an announcement about chase figures. Links go to figure photos.

McFarlane's Sports Picks delivers MLB 25. This classic six-figure lineup features five players making their Sports Picks debuts -- and a return to our "classic" chase figures in alternate uniforms.

JOSE REYES, New York Mets

Original Press Release

TS O'Connell, SCD, Mastro, FBI

Please read the following blog post and it's comments before mine are deleted. He vaguely responds to the questions raised by myself and others regarding the FBI investigation into Mastro Auctions originally commented on here.

The thing that I find so infuriating about this issue is that SCD acts like there are several competing publications for their ad dollars and other than Beckett there simply isn't. Mastro/Legendary would be foolish to pull advertising out of their publication.

I may be making too many assumptions but in my heart of hearts I know this is the crux of why SCD won't tackle this issue head on.

UFC Video Highlights

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum

There is a special place in my collecting heart for Shoeless Joe Jackson and despite Donruss' recent exploitation and over-production of his bat cards, I still love the story of Joe Jackson and his time with the Chicago White Sox.

I have always wanted to go to the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum for the sake of nostalgia and the experience. It's not Cooperstown but the narrator in this video displays a level of enthusiasm as if it were. I would too.

WBC Finale

With nothing else on after the Bulls game last night I turned on the WBC coverage on ESPN. This was my first viewing experience all year and I have to say I was entertained. I caught the game in the 8th inning and watched a great finish that saw Japan beat out South Korea 5-3. I really enjoyed watching the small ball employed by both teams.

However, I still think this event would be better served being played in the Fall after the World Series. You are always going to have people who won't compete in an invitational exhibition but there would certainly be less team pressure on players given the longer window for injury recovery.

That said, I'm ready for the real thing. April 5th can't get her soon enough.

ITG Between the Pipes- Canceled?

An end to the rumors. Direct from Dr. Brian Price.

It is well known that the current economic conditions are very difficult for collectors and manufacturers alike. Unfortunately, for In The Game, this resulted in very disappointing sales for the 2008-09 Between The Pipes.

"Last week I had to make a decision based on the advanced sales of Between The Pipes, whether or not to cancel the release of this product, or not" reported ITG President Dr. Brian H. Price.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

March Madness- Sweet 16

Well normally 13-3 wouldn't be too bad but I'm in an office pool with over a hundred people and about 20 people went 14-2 or 15-1.

These first 4 days of the tournament are one of my favorite times of the year. In year's past I have even taken Thursday and Friday off to fix brunch and drink Bloody Mary's with some of my buddies.

With opening day just a couple of weeks away, NHL and NBA playoffs around the corner, Spring is in the air and I couldn't be more thrilled.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ripken RC Collection- COMPLETE!!

I am so excited. This week I added the final Cal Ripken Jr. RC I needed for my collection. The coveted 1982 Topps Traded. Ahhh completion . . . it's like a drug.

20th Anniversary Mail Day!!- Big Thanks

Just a quick thank you to http://garveyceyrusselllopes.blogspot.com/.

He was kind enought to send me 2 more cards from the monstrous UD 20th Anniversary set I am tackling.

Thank you!!

Murad T-51 Box Break Highlights

How's Your Bracket?

Wow!! What a first round of the tournament. The concluding games (Sienna vs. Ohio St. and Wisconsin vs. Florida State) both went to overtime, with the Siena/OSU game going to double overtime!

Not only that but (2) #12's, (2) #11's, (1) #10 and (1) #13 teams pulled upsets.

The key to bracketology is getting through the first round with the bulk of your Sweet Sixteen teams and your Finals winner still in it. In that regard mission accomplished.

I went 24-8 with 13 of my Sweet Sixteen teams still alive including my NCAA Champion pick Louisville.

Wake Forest, West Virginia, and Florida State were my 3 losers from my Sweet Sixteen picks.

How did you do?

Friday, March 20, 2009

More Panini/Donruss News

Much like a newspaper reader with their morning coffee, one of the first things I do after logging onto my computer at work is catch the headlines at Sports Collectors Daily . In an email interview, Panini Group Licensing Director Peter Warsop, answers several questions including the decision to retain Donruss/Playoff's entire staff. Good news for fans of their product.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

NCAA Tourney Quiz

You've printed your bracket. You've decided which 12 seed will upset which 5 seed. You've even started fake coughing to make it seem slightly more plausible when you call in sick on Thursday. While you're waiting for the tip-off of the play-in game, let's see if you can figure out where these 12 tourney-bound schools are located.

Take the Quiz

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2009 Bowman Introduces Stars of the WBC

The much-anticipated 2009 Bowman Baseball, which ships the first week of May, will feature 20 Exclusive World Baseball Classic Rising Stars (BCW1-BCW20) including the very first card of highly-touted Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish.

“If you think Daisuke Matsuzaka was special, wait until you see the upgrade.”- Los Angeles Times

See the complete WBC checklist.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

2008-09 UD ICE Review

2008-09 Upper Deck ICE is finally here with its tradition of delivering another year’s crop of coveted rookie cards printed on acetate. These long-time collector favorites, fall at a rate of 4 per hobby box and are sequentially numbered in four different quantities ranging from 1,999 to 99. Past RC’s of recent phenoms Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, Dion Phaneuf, and Jonathan Toews are still highly sought after on the secondary market, years after their release.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Topps UFC Round 1- Bloody Violence Now Collectible

Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Rampage Jackson, Forest Griffin, Anderson Silva; some of the greatest mixed martial artists in the world are presented by Topps in all their bloody glory with UFC Round 1. The Ultimate Fighting Championship or UFC is quickly making boxing obsolete with regards to its ability to draw a Pay-Per-View audience. The notoriety the league has received has made headline news for its violent, no holds barred fighting style. Once thought of as a risky venture with only fringe interest from the mainstream the UFC has quickly proven to be a very profitable venture for its President Dana White.

News of the Ridiculous: Ballpark-injury ruling bad for baseball

A state Supreme Court ruling that allows a Bettendorf woman to sue over injuries her daughter suffered when she was struck with an errant bat at a minor-league baseball game threatens the spirit of America's pastime, according to a judge who said his fellow justices have "taken a mighty swing ... and missed by a mile."

Read the rest of the story

God help us

Sunday, March 15, 2009

2008-09 UD ICE- Box Break Video Highlights

Super Rarity Truly Appreciates

One of the highest graded examples in existence of Action Comics #1, which features the first appearance of SuperMan, sold at auction this weekend for an unprecedented, $317,200. Only 100 or so copies are know to exist of this issue which is described by collector's as the Holy Grail of comic books. The winning bid for the 1938 edition of Action Comics No 1 was submitted by John Dolmayan, the drummer for the rock band System Of A Down who is also a dealer in rare comics. The previous and orginal owner acquired the comic back in the 1950's at the age of nine from a used book store for the paltry sum of . . . . $0.35c.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

T-51 Murad- A Histroy Lesson

Before embarking on a review of this, at first glance, odd appearing set, a history lesson is in order. The Murad College Series, originated as a tobacco or cigarette card, and were originally issued from June 1909 through September 1910. The original set consists of 6 groups of 25 cards. These cards are cataloged as the T51 series and measure 2 1/16" x 2 11/16”. The cards depict pennants and seals of 150 different colleges and universities. The majority of the cards showcase a picture of athletes competing in one of numerous sports or some other recreational activity. The first two series, #1-25 and #26-50, had a second edition produced in the fall of 1910 through 1911. Most of the cards are stamped on the back with a distributor’s number and each pack came with a coupon that could be exchanged for a larger version of the first series once the consumer had accumulated 15 coupons.

Most collectors consider the four cards in the set depicting basketball and featuring Northwestern, Xavier, Williams, and Luther colleges, to be the very first basketball cards . . .

Ripken Dreams

These are the kinds of things a Ripken collector like myself dreams of owning.

See the auction here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Topps 3D- The Ultimate Gimmick or Refreshing Innovation? You Decide.

T.S O'Connell Loses Hobby Credibility

Below is a comment I left in response to the weak-assed, gushy, industry collusive post made by O'Connell on his blog Infield Dirt .

"It would be nice to see someone at SCD actually conduct a hard-hitting investigative piece updating the events that took place at the National last summer.

There has been scant news on that topic for several months, and then we come to find out that Mastro Auctions is dissolved and VP of Acquisitions Brian Marren is out.

These are only some of the questions that need answers:

What is going on with the FBI's investigation?

Have any charges been filed?

Was the dissolution of the company and release of Marren done to avoid charges ala a backroom plea deal?

Come on, give us some sports collectibles journalism that only someone with your credentials and contacts can provide the consumer and the collecting public.

If the industry media isn't going to be a watch-dog to the alleged criminal activity and abuse of public trust that Mastro Auctions has been accused of, who will?"

Now It's Official Panini Buy's Donruss CEO Statement

The Panini Group CEO commented; “Panini's vision of the future is simply to grow the North American trading card market considerably, this determination is demonstrated clearly by the acquisition of the Donruss sports card business. There is considerable talent within the 50 plus strong Donruss team and a fine legacy from which we can grow the product category and attract new collectors. Our priority now is to integrate the team, supplement it where necessary with the extra help required to manage the enlarged business and complete the work already started on the development of our enlarged publishing program."

Complete Press Release

The NCAA Tourney: The Most Wonderful Season of All- A Parody

As a huge NCAA Tournament fan and in honor of Selection Sunday, a parody song:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
When bubbles are bursting
and teams are all thirsting
for their chance to cheer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

It's the hap-happiest season of all
with everyone careening
For the number 1 seeding
what fans have come to call
the hap-happiest season of all

There'll be parties for hosting
Plenty of toasting
And screaming at the TV
There'll be old war stories
And tales of the glories
as told by Dickie V

It's the most wonderful time of the year
There'll be much office pooling
And fans will be drooling
When their team is near
It's the most wonderful time of the year

Thursday, March 12, 2009

2008 UD Ultimate Collection Football Review

Guest Review- Russ Cohen

For around $95 dollars most collectors can afford to buy just one box. Although there are a lot of case incentives, that’s more for the high-end dealers. If you are one of them the 1997 Legends autos are being inserted at a one per case rate.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mastro Auctions No More

As reported by Sports Collectors Daily the Burr Ridge, IL based company has ceased operations and a new company, headed by some members of Mastro, including president Doug Allen, has reformed in its place under the name, Legendary Auctions.

This announcement comes quickly on the heels of an article by Michael O'Keeffe of the NY Daily News earlier last month, stating that Mastro Auctions was having cash flow issues and had contacted co-signers of it December auction and asked them to post-pone cashing their checks until they could resolve "a banking error". You can read the article in its entirety

In addition, ongoing research on my part, regarding allegations of shill-bidding, card doctoring and other issues of fraud, originally brought to light from a late summer
subpoena issued by the FBI on the floor of last year's National, has resulted in little update to this issue in comments either publicly or privately by the people I know at Mastro. Most notably of these is former VP of Acquisitions, Brian Marren, who has left the company as a result of the changes referenced earlier.

More details as they become available.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

2009 Upper Deck Series 1 Baseball Covers The World

Guest Review- Russ Cohen

Upper Deck Series One baseball has a lot of great rookie cards and it has some great achievable autograph and memorabilia cards in each box (one auto and two memorabilia cards per box on average). For about $70 the value is there and the Team USA cards are the icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned. The card shown deals with the USA win in Beijing in the Summer Olympics over Chinese Tapei and I think with the World Baseball Classic going on right now, even though these players weren’t major leaguers, this tournament has that same feel to it.



Was in the hospital getting IV's recovering from flu.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Special Thank You to BoxBusters.net

Will was kind enough to send me some UD Series 1 Baseball inserts from his recent break including a few of from the 20th Anniversary Set that I have begun to assemble. If you haven't seen it www.BoxBusters.net is currently having a "Name the New Slogan" Contest and the winner gets $25 in wax!!

My personal favorite so far is "Because a good bust is better than a nice rack (pack)" :)

Thanks Again!!

Hobby Journalism

Not that it's any big suprise, but 78% of hobby shops report decline in sales in 2008, according to the results of Card Trade’s 12th annual retailer survey as reported by SCD.

It's this type of news that still warrants them as a viable alternative to Beckett (Sucks) despite their own use of an antiquated pricing model. I have always found their editorial, both online and in print, to be much more compeling and informative.

Few of us, if any, would be able to have direct access to this kind of data.

Know the Source

The uproar created by Autograph Alert’s recent allegations against Upper Deck and Razor and their use of suspect Presidential cut autographs made we want to do a little research to find out exactly who is the author and operator of that website. Knowing first hand how cut-throat the autograph authenticity industry can be, I’m glad I did because as it turns out, Steve Koschal is a very disgruntled industry “expert” tied to numerous allegations of fraud, forgery and deception. Once a well respected industry insider with notable credentials, Mr. Koschal has run into some serious criminal allegations.

The International Autograph Collectors Club and Dealers Alliance or
IADA-CC confirms that Autograph Alert is run by Mr. Koschal.

A search engine inquiry provides too many results to provide a concise synopsis, but suffice it today that it is always important to know the source of an allegation before finding someone immediately guilty. For those wanting to learn more about who is exactly behind the so-called "news" at Autograph Alert, please feel free to do your own research by reading any of the following articles:

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/more_sports/2007/07/15/2007-07-15_lack_of_intent_seen_in_flubs_at_auctions.html The testimony of two experts hired by Daniels to testify that some of the autographs on the photos were forgeries was excluded by the judge. Kincaid said neither Richard Simon nor Stephen Koschal "possess sufficient skill, knowledge or experience in the fields in which they were asked to render opinions."

http://www.uacc.info/page18.html successful lawsuit against Koschal
http://www.uacc.info/page15.html censure of Koschal
http://www.stephenkoschal.com/drseuss_sp_cat.html fakes include
http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/426/RipOff0426764.htm http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/424/RipOff0424885.htm (http://autographdealernews.com/Articles.aspx?article=11
http://www.iada-cc.com/NewsDetail.asp?NewsID=131 Koschal was the President now he is kicked out and shunned
http://www.uacc.info/page66.html http://www.sptimes.com/2004/06/06/State/Sale_of_Chicago_seria.shtml
http://www.collectspace.com/ubb/Forum6/HTML/000330.html koschal published fake Armstrongs as real so he could sell his forgeries
http://www.collectspace.com/ubb/Forum6/HTML/000332.html more of the same

My Phone Conversation With Brian Gray- Full Story

Proving that there truly are two sides to every story, Brian Gray contacted me directly in response to my email, asking him for a response to the aforementioned article on AutographAlert.com. First and foremost, Brian made it very clear that they “stand behind their product.” Asking him what that specifically means, he stated that all autographs are authenticated by either PSA/DNA or JSA. He freely acknowledged that mistakes can be made and especially when dealing with the “in-exact science of autograph authentication”. Knowing that this is certainly true, I proposed the idea of utilizing a panel of 3 authenticators and an autograph being excluded from future product inclusion if it was deemed suspect by any one of them. His response was, “the extraordinary cost of autograph authentication would prohibit this on anything but a high end product, but for something like Oval Office, it probably is a good idea and something they will consider if they were to do something like this in the future. The problem is the additional cost would be around $300 and have to be absorbed by the consumer”. My response to that was simply, “Any collector able to afford this product isn’t going to blink at that price increase if it aides the authenticity.” On that point he agreed.

Brian Gray also stated in our conversation that the suspected auto-pen signature of Richard Nixon was created before his tenure at Razor started and that by taking a proactive stance and getting in front of the issue he hoped that people would realize they truly do stand behind their product. The collectors in possession of the two cards in question have already resolved the issue. When asked what that specifically meant, Mr. Gray stated, “We are letting the individual owners of the card decide how they want Razor to handle this from a public relations stand point. One of the owners happens to be a celebrity and the other is a very high profile collector well know in the industry. It will be up to them to decide if they want us to publicize how we handle the issue once the cards are re-authenticated.”

To date there has been no response by Upper Deck to this issue and I commend Brian for his transparency and accessibility. Time will tell how the collecting public feels about the long-storied history of autograph authentication but suffice it to say in my research on the subject there is a tremendous amount of libel, slander, politics, back-stabbing, here-say, innuendo, and propaganda that goes on between the so-called “experts” that it’s really hard to know who to believe when it comes to autograph authenticity. There is simply too much money involved and so many people want their piece of it at any cost.

My Conversation With Brian Gray

Part of being a man and a person of integrity is admitting when you are wrong or having to retract something erroneous. In all fairness, I probably hadn't given Brian enough time to respond to my email, before making my last post, because less than 48 hours later, I just concluded a nearly 30 minute phone conversation. I will fill you in on the full details later today but one thing I'll share quickly is that Razor has tracked down the two cards mentioned in the article on Autograph Alert from March 3rd and an agreement has been reached between the company and the two collectors in possession of the cards, to have both cards reauthenticated by an agreed upon 3rd-party. In addition Autograph Alert has provided an update to its own story today, having been directly contacted by Brian Gray.

More to come later today.

Brian Gray Responds to "Razorgate"

Brian Gray choose his forum to respond to the recent allegations made by Autograph Alert concerning the inclusion of suspect autographs in it's Oval Office product. If I was in his shoes I would have done the same thing and reached out to a former colleague and that is exactly what he did today in the form of a phone call to Steven Judd at The Sports Card File . While he did not respond directly to my email, it was nice to see Brian utilize the same viral marketing forum that gained his company and its products such noteriety, to handle damage control. I do find it funny that he was more than willing to be interviewed, emailed, or phone called by just about anyone to promote his product but selectively choose who to speak with regarding this latest drama.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

MLB Transactions

Atlanta Braves Sent- RHP Anthony Lerew outright to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Los Angeles Dodgers- Re-signed OF Manny Ramirez to a two-year contract.

Milwaukee Brewers- Invited OF Lorenzo Cain to spring training.

Toronto Blue Jays- Sent RHP Bryan Bullington and LHP Fabio Castro outright to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Baltimore Orioles- Signed RHP Adam Eaton to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training.

Kansas City Royals- Signed LHP Bruce Chen to a Minor League contract.

Chicago Cubs- Signed 3B Corey Koskie to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training.

Kansas City Royals- Signed RHP Juan Cruz to a two-year contract with a 2011 club option. Designated INF Esteban German for assignment.

Kansas City Royals- LHP Neal Musser cleared waivers and was released.

New York Mets- Signed LHP Ron Villone to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training.

Philadelphia Phillies- Released RHP Adam Eaton.

Atlanta Braves- Placed RHP Tim Hudson on the 60-day disabled list.

Los Angeles Dodgers- Signed INF Doug Mientkiewicz to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training.

Arizona Diamondbacks- Reassigned RHP Reid Mahon to Minor League camp.

Atlanta Braves- Signed OF Garret Anderson to a one-year contract.

Cincinnati Reds- Agreed to one-year contracts with LHP Bill Bray, C/IF/OF Wilkin Castillo and IF Paul Janish.

Milwaukee Brewers- Reassigned 2B Jason Bourgeois and C Martin Maldonado to Minor League camp.

Seattle Mariners- Re-signed OF Michael Wilson to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training.

Washington Nationals- Released LHP Odalis Perez.

Cleveland Indians- Agreed to one-year contracts with the following players on the club's 40-man roster: Josh Barfield, Shin-Soo Choo, Aaron Laffey, Jon Meloan, Adam Miller, Anthony Reyes, Tony Sipp, Jeremy Sowers and Wyatt Toregas.

Los Angeles Dodgers- Signed 2B Orlando Hudson to a one-year contract.

Minnesota Twins- Agreed to terms with 3B Joe Crede on a one-year contract. Placed RHP Pat Neshek on the 60-day disabled list.

San Diego Padres- Signed Mexican League RHP Walter Silva to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training.

Seattle Mariners- Released OF Mike Wilson.

Texas Rangers- Signed RHP Kris Benson to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training.

Arizona Diamondbacks-Sent RHP Jailen Peguero outright to Triple-A Reno and invited him to Spring Training.

Atlanta Braves- Re-signed LHP Tom Glavine to a one-year contract.

Chicago Cubs- Released LHP Bill White. Invited RHP Brian Schlitter to Spring Training.

Tampa Bay Rays- Signed RHP Jason Isringhausen to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training.

Cleveland Indians- Acquired RHP Juan Salas from the Tampa Bay Rays for INF Isaias Velasquez. Salas had been designated for assignment on Feb. 12. Designated 3B Andy Marte for assignment.

Kansas City Royals- Claimed INF Tug Hulett off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. He had been designated for assignment on February 15. Designated LHP Neal Musser for assignment.

Tampa Bay Rays- Signed 2B Adam Kennedy to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training.

Toronto Blue Jays- Sent LHP Brian Burres and LHP Reid Santos outright to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Top Ten Reads

Here I present, in my opinion, the definitive Top 10 Reading List for baseball and baseball cards. Each link goes to the book's product page on Amazon.

1. ?????????????????????? Gotcha! You Decide . . . . .

A Look at Autographs From Outside The Hobby

Thanks to a recent article on WorthPoint.com titled, The Scandal of Clipped Autographs, it occured to me as a collector inside the Hobby, I have had a preconceived notion of what presidential cut signatures were actually worth, particularly with regards to exemplars from our country's founding fathers.

This notion was easy to establish because common sense dicates the thought process of, "How many can actually exist?" Meaning, it's natural to assume that a genuine George Washington autograph would be extremely rare, right?


Cut signatures of George Washington can apparantely be found from several reputable dealers in the Autograph collecting hobby for $3,500.

I wrongly assumed that a George Washington autograph is currently worth much more than that based on the recent sale of this card.

It seems as if a fast one has been pulled on us, because from the article it seems that those in the know outside the Hobby are laughing at us "cardboard collectors".

1972- The Year in Hockey Product Preview

Product Preview-

In The Game's newest product 1972 - The Year in Hockey belongs to the collector. Collectors in an online survey conducted by In The Game voted 1972 as the most significant year in hockey history and In The Game is committed to creating a product based on the results of this survey.

Once the year was determined, In The Game went to collectors to get their opinions on how they would like to see the product designed and configured.
Never before has a trading card company made a product conceived, configured and designed by collectors.

Here are some of the preliminary product spec:

200 base-card checklist including two checklist cards, 50 different non-memorabilia inserts featuring; Rookies, Born in '72, Past and Present and two other insert sets to be determined, hard-signed autograph cards, game-used memorabilia cards featuring; Game-used Jerseys, Game-Used Emblems, Game-Used Numbers, Lumbergraphs, Forever Linked and others. Famous Fabrics™ inserts including; Scoring Leaders, Playoff Match-Ups, All-Star Teams, Trophy Winners. Designs and checklists will be available in the next few weeks.

"I have had a great time working with collectors on the design and configuration of this product," said ITG President, Dr. Brian H. Price. "This product will be a one-of-a-kind."

Check back at ITG for more information.

I am a big fan of ITG and Dr. Price and hate the fact that UD holds a psuedo monopoly in my second favorite sport. You may have noticed I don't normally post press releases, but occasionally I will in support of ITG.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Awaiting Brian Gray's Response

Dear Brian,

I was recently alerted to an article on http://www.autographalert.com/news.html .

It makes some pretty damning allegations and I was hoping that you could shed some light on this, particularly with regard to the question of who handles autograph authentication for the Razor Oval Office product?

While their have been numerous opinions posted on message boards and blogs, some founded some unfounded, there appears to be some genuine credibility in their allegations and it seems only fair that the collecting public hear your side of the story.

I'll keep you updated.

Thanks to Mario for the post and link in his updates section .

Card Corner Club TV: USA Baseball Part 2

Contenders Baseball Could be a Sleeper Set

Guest Review: Russ Cohen

Donruss Contenders Baseball is a great set but it is not going to be for collectors who want an immediate payoff. All the players are rookie minor league stars, most have just finished one season of rookie class or short season baseball. The reason is that the majority of them also played for their colleges last year.

Read More

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mario Made It on the RSS Feed for Sports Collectors Daily!!!

Check it out.

Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey Review

Guest Review- Russ Cohen

For $60 dollars this set may be the best value on the market! Game jerseys are inserted at 1 per box, Rookie Materials are the same and then you have your high-end chase cards like autographs, acetate rookie cards and patch cards. Well I hit the mother lode in this box but the built in value gives most collectors that same chance.

A Note to Card Companies- These are NOT Quad Material Cards

No you see, this is a legit quad materials card

Ok so this card may be ugly,
(it's the only example I could find in a pinch).
You see a real quad materials card is
4 different pieces of material, or memorablia.
A quad is NOT a large swatch of jersey,
die-cut into 4 seperate pieces.

Auction Sniper- Snipe It Now, on eBay

A lot of times I put something in my watched items on eBay and end up forgetting to bid and miss out. I have also see shill bidding take place on eBay for items that should go for less than the selling price as a result I am an unashamed sniper.

I use a service called AuctionSniper and down on the left navigation, towards the bottom, under "Insert Cheap Plugs Here" is a banner link. If you sign up please click thru this banner as I can earn free snipes.

Anyway the real reason of this post is to tell you about a new feature available directly thru eBay called Snipe It Now. For more information, AFTER clicking my banner link, come back and click this link to learn how to set up your browser to use Snip It Now.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Book Value Quiz- Football Style

You can lead a horse to water . . . another brainwashed Book Value Geek

Thanks to Gellman for pointing out a heck of fairly articulate debate on book value and the opportunity to chime in with my 2c over at Ninth Inning.

I wasn't necessarily going to comment until the offending Book Value Geek took a swipe at my Junk Wax How To Video

No Jay that would be me assigning value to the over produced crap from the 80’s and 90’s by burning them. Pick any card from 87 to 92, find the “value” in your precious price guide and then find one place anywhere online where the real price is equal to the Beckett (Sucks) Value.

All to often collectors like yourself overvalue their collection based on the prices arbitrarily set by Beckett (Sucks). The only correlation that exists to put a monthly price on a card product is directly proportional to the amount of advertising that products manufacturer spent in said issue.

If you can’t see the obvious manufacturer collusion, conflict of interest in grading and auctions there is no point even arguing the point. You are going to believe what you want to believe because you have been spoon-fed the Beckett (Sucks) kool-aid for the majority of your collecting life.

Also the honorable Dr. James Beckett has been so far removed from this publication for years prior to his death that it doesn’t even make sense to reference him.

In all actuality your collection is only worth about 30-40% of what you think its worth and that is something you CAN NOT and WILL NOT accept because it would shatter the fragile sense of reality you have created for yourself by putting an arbitrary overvaluation on your collection.

Also it has only been recently that they have incorporated auction pricing into their supposed value equation. Typically and for several years after the creation of a peer to peer secondary market system called the Internet, Beckett (Sucks) relied on a couple of dozen pricing “contributors” from around the country. These contributors ,to a man, were all hobby shop owners and their card sales reflected the inherent mark-up associated with any retail venture, cards being no different.

So what is your card worth?

What Beckett (Sucks) says it is or what you can sell it for at any given moment you choose to sell it?