Card of the Day: Travis Jackson 1980-87 SSPC HOF Baseball Immortals #180

Is Pete Rose Back In Major League Baseball?… Kinda, Maybe, Probably Not

Pete Rose’s banishment from MLB for gambling on baseball while playing for and managing the Reds will go down in history as one of the most debated sports topics.  Should the banishment be forgotten allowing him entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame?  This is a question that plaques the minds of many baseball fans today, and will continue to do so for years to come.

Legendary baseball player, and sometimes controversial pop-culture figure Pete Rose hasn’t appeared on an MLB-licensed Topps baseball card since 1989.  The last time he was featured in a licensed product showing team names and/or logos comes from 1994 Upper Deck: The American Epic.  Since then he has been seen countless times in other non-licensed baseball products made by Leaf and Panini.

Collectors opening 2020 Topps Series 2 Baseball are finding a familiar looking fellow on the Philadelphia Phillies Decades’ Best insert.  With his back turned, no team name and/or logos visible, you can just make out the cockeyed name across the back of the jersey which says “ROSE”.  Other players on the card include Steve Carlton and Bob Boone.

This isn’t something that Topps made a point to alert collectors about.  Collectors are discovering this all on their own.  Self-discovering moments such as this add a bit of excitement to the brand.  Pulling a card out and saying “I wonder if anyone else has noticed this?” can be fun.

In no way is this card rare.  Topps didn’t issue a corrected version.  Each one, including the parallels, looks just like this.  That won’t stop some folks from attempting to sell their cards for a premium.  This reminds me of the 2019 Topps Stadium Club Shane Bieber “error” which calls him Justin on the back.

2020 Onyx Vintage Premium Baseball Box Break & Review

What’s this?  Another baseball card product from Onyx?  You bet!

Earlier this year collectors received a glance of 2020 Onyx Vintage Premium Baseball in the form of short-printed inserts found in 2020 Onyx Vintage Baseball.  Now the high-end inserts have a set all to their own.

This product is setup similarly to 2020 Onyx Vintage Baseball.  A box of the Premium version comes with (3) cards.  One of which will be signed on-card.  Production of the Premium set is much lower, coming in at around (100) cases.  The cards are of higher quality too as they’re printed on thicker stock.

Looking at the checklist you’ll notice its relatively small.  The base set consists of (34) cards, while the autograph checklist stands at (31) cards.  Subjects range from top minor league prospects, 2020 MLB rookies, and Hall of Famers.  Even popular prospects such as Carlos Colmenarez and Cristian Hernandez have autographs in here.

Every year there comes a new batch of “must have” prospects.  The real big one for 2020 is Jasson Dominguez who is in the Yankees organization.  I’m happy to say that 2020 Onyx Vintage Premium has autographs of him via redemption.  According to Onyx, they have them in hand and are ready to ship upon being redeemed.

The on-card autographs really look nice.  Various ink colors indicate rarity – Blue #’ed/90 or less, Green #’ed/20 or less, Red #’ed/10 or less, and Black #’ed 1/1.  Its also possible to find full-name and nickname inscriptions as well.

Fun rip!

Here is what I pulled:

Auto

  • Luis Patino Green Ink Auto #’ed/20

Base

  • Ronny Mauricio
  • Alexander Canario

Interview: Artist Graig Kreindler Talks About The Negro Leagues Legends Baseball Card Set

Renowned artist Graig Kreindler is the artistic genius behind the artwork found in the new Negro Leagues Legends Baseball Card Set.

Coming in at (184) cards, this set plunges you into the deep history of the Negro Leagues.  Cards highlighting the Negro Leagues aren’t absent from the hobby, but this could very well be the most detailed set ever produced on the subject.

2020 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Negro Leagues.  It officially was founded on February 13, 1920 at Kansas City’s Paseo YMCA.

Card fronts feature Graig Kreindler’s art, while the backs come with quite extensive bios.

Sold in factory set form, these boxes are individually serial numbered to 5,000 copies.

Negro Leagues History is selling sets for $59.95.  The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame is also selling them a few different ways.  One package comes with the set and a mystery bobblehead for $80.  Another comes with the set, mystery bobblehead, and Negro Leagues centennial postcard set for $100.  Lastly, for $120 there is a package which has the set, mystery bobblehead, Negro Leagues centennial postcard set, and Negro Leagues Mount Rushmore postcard set.  All artwork done by Graig Kreindler.

With the help of fellow sports artist Monty Sheldon, I was able to snag an interview with Graig Kreindler and ask him about this new project.

How did you get involved with this project?

This project was the brainchild of Jay Caldwell, a collector based out of the Pacific Northwest.  He approached me at one of the Nationals (I believe in 2016) with the hope of commissioning me to paint some Negro League players for his personal collection.  It started out as just that, a series of portraits for a private collection.  But as Jay got a little bit more carried away in his thinking, he posed the idea of putting together an exhibit of the paintings and some of his artifacts to celebrate the upcoming centennial of the Negro National League’s formation.  The hope was that it would be something that the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, MO would be interested in showing in conjunction with the celebration of the anniversary.  I was very much on board, as it was kind of a dream project for me.  What started out as around 20 paintings suddenly became 50.  Then 75.  100.  150.  200.  And finally, 230.  The list of players just grew and grew, as Jay wanted to tell the story of not only the Negro National League, but the independent leagues that preceded it, as well as many Latin American teams (which often had many African American players during the winter-time months).

Over the course of three years or so, I worked on these paintings for Jay’s project, while I tried to balance all of the commission work I had going on at the time.  But in the end, I found myself at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on February 13, 2020 celebrating the centennial with Jay, the folks at the museum, many other baseball fans, and all of those portraits on the wall.  It was truly surreal.  And wonderful.

What would you say is the most challenging aspect when it comes to painting these historic baseball legends?

The most challenging aspect of this project definitely was the research component.  For one thing, there aren’t a ton of photographs left of these ballplayers.  Whether it’s the stuff that never survived up to the modern day, or because the teams were mostly covered by African American newspapers that were weekly publications, it’s just tough to compile a complete visual history of these leagues.  I think in general, though baseball is the best documented sport in history, it almost seems like it’s the opposite for the specific Negro and Latin League clubs—finding proper information for jersey styles and colors was usually a fruitless search.  Granted in the 1930s on, there was more to draw from (pardon the pun).  But once you get back to the first twenty years of the 20th century, it became much harder.  And then the 19th century?  Forget it.  To this day, I estimate that my color choices for about 50% of the paintings were educated guesses, which are leaps of faith I HATE to make.  I’m sure I’ll uncover proper information regarding some of that stuff at some point, and then I’ll try to get those paintings back so I can correct them.

Who is your favorite Negro Leagues subject to work on, and why?

It’s hard to pick a favorite Negro Leagues subject—there are a lot of things about each of the players that I love.  I think visually, it’s cool to paint somebody like Satchel Paige because of all of the different teams he played for, as well as the insane length of his career.  The same kind of thought process applies to Rube Foster, though in a different way.  He went through a pretty big physical transformation over the course of his career, what with his weight and all.  But also cool is that he became a magnate, which he might be better known as.  So having imagery of him just starting out with the Chicago Union Giants or the Philadelphia Giants—when he was comparatively svelte—is pretty special when it gets coupled with the images of him in fine suits.  There’s just so much cool visual stuff in the leagues though, whether it’s a player’s face or build, or a cool uniform, it makes it hard for me to settle on a single subject that rose above the rest.

What is the most important part of Negro League Baseball history you think fans should know?

Perhaps one of the more important parts of the history of the league is that though it was separate from the majors, it was still incredibly successful up until the 1950s.  Buck O’Neil always claimed that during its heyday, it was one of the most successful black businesses in the country.  Seeing that these teams drew so many fans to watch them play, whether it was barnstorming through some podunk town in the Midwest or selling out Comiskey Park, I don’t think that Buck was exaggerating.  With that in mind, the fact that these men and women were shut out from the white leagues and became entrepreneurs in their own right is just an amazing story of perseverance.

What lesson(s) can we learn from the existence of the Negro Leagues?

I think one important lesson that we can take from the existence of the Negro Leagues is just the fact that it existed.  And it shouldn’t have.  The fact that these men and women were shut out of professional baseball because of the color of their skin and/or ancestry is a vile thought.  And it’s important to make sure we never go back there again.  But, as I had mentioned in the previous answer, it’s also crucial that we celebrate these men and women for the athletes and civil rights trailblazers that they were.

Who is publishing the cards, and what is the process of turning your paintings into cards?

The card set is being sold by Jay’s company, through his website, negroleagueshistory.com, as well as a few other vendors (the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and buythatcard on eBay, for example) around the country.

In terms of the process of putting the cards together, Jay—who has high-res scans of all of the paintings I’ve done for him—has a designer he worked with who put everything together visually.  Jay also consulted with noted Negro Leagues historian Gary Ashwill, who helped with the information on the back of the cards.

We went through a couple rounds of designs, proofreading, and fact checking.  Once everything was where he wanted it to be, the cards were printed, boxed, and shipped to Jay, who handles the disbursement among the direct buyers.  It’s a pretty small operation, as I think all of the packing happens at Jay’s home in the Pacific Northwest.

Has your work ever been featured on trading cards before?

My work was first featured on official baseball cards last year (2019), when I did twenty paintings for Topps’ 150 Years of Baseball set.  They were the only artist renditions of the batch, and were only available through their website.  It’s a bit similar to the Topps Project 2020 model, but mine were available for a week rather than 48 hours.  Actually holding a Topps baseball card with one of my paintings on it for the first time was a REALLY cool feeling.  It’s kind of like coming full circle in a way, since I spent a portion of my childhood trying to replicate some of the Topps and Bowman issues from my father’s collection (or what was left of it).

Is it true this set was almost produced by Topps?

It’s true that Topps was one of the companies we talked to about publishing the set, and they had originally agreed to put it out, but for whatever reason, at some point in the process it just didn’t pan out.  It’s possible that the business with COVID messed things up in the end, but I’m not certain about that, and I wouldn’t want to speculate too much.  Either way, I’m just happy that these cards were able to see the light of day regardless!

I Told You It Was Coming

Sports Card Info is the Magic 8-Ball of the card industry.  On May 18th I wrote a piece called Is 2020 Bowman Sapphire Edition Baseball On The Way? after some Lency Delgado 2020 Bowman Chrome Atomic Orange Refractor Autographs popped-up on Instagram.  Well… it looks like my prediction has come true.

Available next week as an online-exclusive, 2020 Bowman Sapphire Edition Baseball will contain (1) prospect autograph per box.  Expect them to go fast.  I can already hear people complaining that they weren’t able to get a box, the secondary market prices are too expensive, only certain people were able to buy them, etc…  GET OVER IT!

Topps 582 Montgomery Club & 1952 Bowman Baseball Card Pack Pins Arrived This Week

This is just a quick post to show-off my latest trade.  I was able to acquire a set of (3) Little League pins that look like packs of 1952 Bowman Baseball.  They’re large in size, but nowhere near as big as the 1954 Bowman Baseball pins I received not too long ago.  I made this trade through the Little League Pin Traders Club group on Facebook.  Very cool!

Members of the Topps 582 Montgomery Club began to receive their collectible pin this week too.

You Know What’s Cool? Little League Pins That Look Like Packs Of 1954 Bowman Baseball Cards

With the cancellation of the 2020 Little League World Series, I’ve been looking around for some alternative sources to obtain new pins this year.  eBay has always been an option, but the Little League Pin Traders Club group on Facebook can be an equal or even better source.

Everyday collectors are posting pictures of their pins looking to trade.  Upon joining, I came to realize how many pins I didn’t know existed.  That’s the thing about Little League pins.  You can go many years without knowing that certain pins exist.  There is no official release date and/or checklist.  In addition to that, the quantities are all different.

Did you know there are some Little League pins that look just like packs of old baseball cards?  Organizing a trade using one of my Sports Card Info pins, I was able to obtain (2) pins that look like packs of 1954 Bowman Baseball.  One of them is green, and the other is red.

These pins aren’t small either.  They’re made of metal, and are about the size of a normal pack of cards.  High-quality and very heavy.  I had no clue they existed until I joined this group.  Other baseball card pack pins I’ve seen include 1952 Bowman Baseball and 1963 Topps Baseball.

Its interesting when the sports card hobby collides with the pin collecting world.

Q&A: What Is The First Baseball Card?

Question: What is the first baseball card?

Answer: The answer to this question can vary depending on how a person defines “the first baseball card”.  In my opinion, this 19th century game card is what I view as the first card depicting what looks to be some form of baseball.

Based on bat and ball drawings from the 18th and 19th century, baseball historians have dated this card to around the 1830s.  During that time, children’s educational card games were popular in both England and the United States.  The picture shows three boys – one at bat, another pitching, and in the background a boy looks as if he’s standing on what would be first base.  Several other cards came in this set, but none of them deal with sports.

I wish this card was talked about more often, but it just isn’t.  If it dealt with a specific player or team I believe it would be.  Rarely do they ever show-up for sale.  When they do, its usually with an auction house.  Not many examples are floating around.

Is 2020 Bowman Sapphire Edition Baseball On The Way?

Over the weekend an interesting photo popped-up on Instagram.  The photo shows a bunch of Lency Delgado 2020 Bowman Chrome Atomic Orange Refractor Autographs.  What has people talking is the Atomic Orange aspect of the picture.

As far as we know, 2020 Bowman and 2020 Bowman Chrome will not have Atomic Orange Refractor Autographs.  Its also too early for 2020 Bowman Draft.  So what product will these cards be used for?

Its very possible Topps could be gearing-up for a 2020 Bowman Sapphire Edition Baseball online-exclusive release.  These cards look very similar to 2019 Bowman Draft Sapphire Edition.  Collectors/flippers have been all over these Topps online-exclusive products, especially when they pertain to prospects and rookies.

2019 Bowman Draft Sapphire Edition initially cost $35/box.  They are now selling for close to $200/box.  2020 Bowman 1st Edition cost $360/24-pack box.  Currently they’re selling for almost $700/box.  Its extremely fun to watch, and even more fun if you’re fast enough to get in on the action.  I’d never suggest using modern-day sports cards as a wise investment though.

As a member of the Topps 582 Montgomery Club, I hope club members get a crack at buying a box first.  If in fact these cards are meant for 2020 Bowman Sapphire Edition Baseball.  Trying to compete with the general public can be brutal.

Have you noticed how much people complain if they’re not fast enough when it comes to getting their order in with online-exclusive products?  They complain even more if they do get their order in, but the product doesn’t sell out immediately after.

Card of the Day: Michael Jordan 1991 Upper Deck Baseball #SP1