Pin Highlight: 2022 Little League International Congress Pins

For the first time since 1989 the Little League International Congress will be held in Williamsport, PA June 10-13, 2022.

What is the Little League International Congress? Held every 4 years, the Little League International Congress brings together volunteer District Administrators (along with many other Little League officials) in an effort to help improve the Little League program. Various rule and regulation changes are voted on among other items of business.

Pins and Little League go together like peanut butter and jelly. Most of the individuals who attend the Little League International Congress are pin collectors. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if lots of people bring their own pins along to do some trading.

The Little League Store in Williamsport has a few new pins made for the 2022 Congress.

During the late 1800’s Williamsport was known for being the “Lumber Capital of the World”. At one point in time Williamsport had more millionaires per-capita than anywhere in the world. This is why Little League’s mascot Dugout is seen dressed as a lumberjack. Nothing is more frightening than a chipmunk/beaver hybrid swinging a baseball bat with an axe head mounted on the end.

(2) 2021 Topps Big League Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Collector Type: Set

Big League Baseball is a blast to open. The retro design (not based on a past set) is refreshing. I think it would be fun to see it get a limited online-exclusive Chrome release.

The base set consists of (300) cards. Four subsets make up the overall base set – Veterans & Rookies, Big League Best, Award Winners, and Highlights. Parallels include Electric Blue (blaster exclusive), Orange (1 per pack), Rainbow Foil #’ed/199, Green Foil #’ed/75, Black & White #’ed/50, Blue Foil #’ed/25, Black Foil #’ed/15, and Red Foil #’ed 1/1.

Nice to see a manager card. We don’t see them as often as we use to.

Autographs include Base Autographs Electric Blue (blaster exclusive), Art of the Game Artist Autographs, Big League Autographs, Defensive Wizards Autographs, Opening Act Autographs, Souvenirs Autographs, and Wanted Autographs.

Inserts include Art of the Game, Defensive Wizards, Home Team Traditions, Souvenirs, Wanted, and Value Blaster Box Cutout Cards.

In addition to blasters and hobby boxes, fans of the Big League Baseball brand also have Collector’s Boxes. A Collector’s Box contains (1) exclusive Super7 action figure. There are (4) types of package variations that you can pull – 1983 Topps Cardback Design, 1983 Topps Cardback Design Image Variation, 1959 Topps Cardback Design, and 1959 Topps Cardback Design Image Variation. Each of these has a Gold parallel #’ed 1/1.

Topps has worked with Super7 in the past. 2020 Big League Baseball also offered Super7 figures. Other Topps properties that Super7 has made figures for include Garbage Pail Kids and Mars Attacks.

For a product that doesn’t guarantee any hits per box, I think I did pretty well for two boxes. The easiest autographs to pull (Big League Autos) fall 1:65 packs. Between two hobby boxes I had (36) packs. That gave me less than a 50% chance at pulling one autograph. I ended up pulling three. Lets not forget a few numbered parallels too. I really beat the odds on these to hobby boxes.

Fun and very affordable.

Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Autos:

  • Dylan Cease Big League Auto
  • Ramon Laureano Big League Auto
  • Jose Urquidy Big League Auto

Parallels:

  • Max Kepler Blue Foil #’ed/25
  • J.P. Crawford Green Foil #’ed/75
  • Wil Myers Rainbow Foil #’ed/199
  • Alejandro Kirk RC Orange #231
  • Sixto Sanchez RC Orange #142
  • Anthony Rizzo Orange #202
  • Kenta Maeda Orange #244
  • Carlos Carrasco Orange #197
  • Bryan Reynolds Orange #243
  • Luis PatiƱo RC Orange #174
  • Ha-Seong Kim RC Orange #85
  • NL Batting Leaders Orange #246
  • Alex Verdugo Orange #168
  • Mike Brosseau Orange #152
  • Trevor Story Orange #101
  • Elvis Andrus Orange #120
  • Sonny Gray Orange #79
  • Gerrit Cole Orange #8
  • Rafael Marchan RC Orange #181
  • Mookie Betts Orange #67
  • NL Saves Leaders Orange #265
  • Keibert Ruiz RC Orange #143
  • Walker Buehler Orange #92
  • Austin Hays Orange #46
  • Adonis Medina RC Orange #216
  • Brandon Woodruff Orange #62
  • Brandon Lowe Orange #47
  • Austin Meadows Orange #133
  • Shohei Ohtani Orange #114
  • Michael Conforto Orange #49
  • Marcell Ozuna Orange #208
  • Pete Alonso Orange #16
  • Kyle Schwarber Orange #7
  • Daz Cameron RC Orange #166
  • Blake Snell Orange #194
  • Yu Darvish Orange #146
  • Cavan Biggio Orange #78
  • Willson Contreras Orange #111
  • Evan Longoria Orange #44

Inserts:

  • Kyle Lewis Wanted #5
  • (2) Mookie Betts Wanted #2
  • Jackie Bradley Jr. Wanted #9
  • Kevin Kiermaier Wanted #14
  • Christian Yelich Wanted #4
  • Mike Yastrzemski Wanted #11
  • Juan Soto Wanted #15
  • Christian Yelich Souvenirs #18
  • Fernando Tatis Jr. Souvenirs #24
  • (2) Javier Baez Souvenirs #7
  • (2) Alex Bregman Souvenirs #14
  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Souvenirs #27
  • Mookie Betts Souvenirs #16
  • Rafael Devers Souvenirs #6
  • (2) Sixto Sanchez RC Art of the Game
  • Gleyber Torres Art of the Game
  • (2) Alec Bohm RC Art of the Game
  • Austin Meadows Art of the Game
  • Ke’Bryan Hayes RC Art of the Game
  • Shane Bieber Art of the Game
  • Fernando Tatis Jr. Defensive Wizards #10
  • (2) Francisco Lindor Defensive Wizards #5
  • Yadier Molina Defensive Wizards #7
  • Willson Contreras Defensive Wizards #15
  • Javier Baez Defensive Wizards #2
  • Cody Bellinger Defensive Wizards #13
  • Anthony Rizzo Defensive Wizards #9
  • Nolan Arenado Defensive Wizards #4
  • J.T. Realmuto Defensive Wizards #6
  • Matt Chapman Defensive Wizards #3

Pin Highlight: 1998 Little League World Series Honda Sponsor Pin

Taking place between August 23-29 was the 1998 Little League World Series in South Williamsport, PA. Toms River, NJ took Kashima, Ibaraki, Japan to the cleaners winning the championship game. Future MLB All-Star and Home Run Derby champion Todd Frazier was on the Toms River team. He went 4-4 with a lead-off home run, and was also the winning pitcher.

Pins have always been a huge part of the Little League World Series. Even when the games were cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 corporate sponsors and local businesses released pins. Each Little League World Series brings a new wave of pins to collect. Without an official pin checklist it makes the hunt even more exciting.

Honda has been a sponsor of Little League for over 20 years. Their corporate booth on the Little League campus is constantly busy when the World Series is taking place. Eager collectors lineup early in order to get their hands on the latest Honda pins.

One of the most coveted Little League pins was released by Honda in 1998. Due to a lot of rain, Honda decided to pack up early and go home. Before doing so they handed out only a few hundred of their pins. Those factors have led this pin to become very rare. On the secondary market these have been known to reach close to $300.

What Does An Authentic 1988 Cal League Ken Griffey Jr. San Bernardino Spirit #34 Baseball Card Look Like?

A massive wave of new people entered the hobby over the last few years. Things that might be common knowledge for veteran collectors may not be so common for all of the newbies. Scammers are just waiting to take advantage of these naive new collectors. So many fraudsters have been exposed so far this year with many more on the way.

I recently watched someone spend over $100 on a handful of unlicensed/fake 1988 Cal League Ken Griffey Jr. San Bernardino Spirit #34 baseball cards. Its sad that this still happens.

Reinforcing the fundamentals of this hobby can’t hurt. Especially with all of the new people. Below is what you should be looking for if you’re in the market for an authentic 1988 Cal League Ken Griffey Jr. San Bernardino Spirit #34.

Authentic front
Authentic back

In the early 90’s an unlicensed version of this card began to surface. The overall layout and design is similar to the authentic version, but the dead giveaway is the different photo. As you can see there are two unlicensed cards floating around. Both utilize the same photo, but the text and placement of the text are a little different. The card number on the second example is a bit fatter as well. You never see these unlicensed fakes graded by PSA, BGS, or SGC because they aren’t authentic. The secondary market has been filled with them for years. You’ll notice they are always cheaper when compared to the authentic version. Its funny to see that one was pictured on a bobblehead in 2019.

Unlicensed front
Unlicensed back
Unlicensed front
Unlicensed back

Card of the Day: LeBron James 2003-04 Upper Deck – 2003 Holiday Season – Winter League Card

2021 Topps Heritage Minor League Baseball Hobby Box Break & Review

Collector Type: Set/Autograph/Minor League Baseball fans

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. A lot of people have a better connection with Minor League teams because in many cases its the only opportunity they have to see a professional baseball game in person.

The base set consists of (200) cards. Parallels include Blue #’ed/99, Green #’ed/75, Black #’ed/50, Flip Stock #’ed/25, Gold #’ed/18, and Red #’ed 1/1.

Cards #201-#220 are Short Prints.

There are two types of variations to watch out for – Image and Frame Color. Image variations have a CMP code that ends in #900. Whereas the Frame Color variations have a CMP code that end in #901. The Frame Color variations also state “Frame Color” beneath the card number on the back.

Autographs include Real One Autographs, Real One Dual Autographs, 1972 Topps Pack Cover Autographs, Base Image Variation Autographs, and 1972 Topps Baseball Poster Card Autographs.

Inserts include 1972 Topps Boyhood Photos of the Stars, 1972 Topps Pack Cover Cards, 1972 Topps Venezuelan Stamp Cards, and 1972 Topps Baseball Poster Cards.

With the price of sealed wax at an all-time high, a box of 2021 Topps Heritage Minor League Baseball might just be the most affordable choice. A hobby box contains (18) packs, and guarantees (2) on-card autographs. As of this writing, a box will run you under $70.

Checklist

Here is what I pulled:

Autos:

  • Endy Rodriguez Real One Auto
  • Jose Tena Real One Auto

Parallels:

  • Gabriel Moreno Green #’ed/75

Short Prints:

  • Max Meyer #213
  • Liover Peguero #204
  • Noelvi Marte #202

Inserts:

  • Riley Greene 1972 Topps Venezuelan Stamp Card
  • Austin Hendrick 1972 Topps Venezuelan Stamp Card
  • CJ Abrams 1972 Topps Venezuelan Stamp Card
  • Mick Abel 1972 Topps Venezuelan Stamp Card
  • CJ Abrams 1972 Topps Baseball Poster Card Box Topper
  • Garrett Mitchell 1972 Topps Baseball Poster Card Box Topper
  • Max Meyer 1972 Topps Baseball Poster Card Box Topper
  • Joe Mauer 1972 Topps Boyhood Photos of the Stars
  • Willie Mays 1972 Topps Boyhood Photos of the Stars
  • Paul Konerko 1972 Topps Boyhood Photos of the Stars
  • JJ Bleday 1972 Topps Pack Cover Cards
  • Ed Howard 1972 Topps Pack Cover Cards
  • Tyler Soderstrom 1972 Topps Pack Cover Cards
  • Adley Rutschman 1972 Topps Pack Cover Cards

Card of the Day: Clete Boyer 1989-90 Topps Senior League Baseball #4

Card of the Day: Ricky Van Wolfswinkel 2017-18 Topps Chrome UEFA Champions League Refractor #97

2021 Little League World Series Pin Pickups

Pins! Pins! Pins! Williamsport, PA is flooded with people from all over the country thanks to the Little League World Series. They, and many local businesses have lots of pins available to buy/trade.

So far for 2021 I’ve added (24) new pins to my collection. Stops made in Williamsport included Dunkin’ Donuts, Dairy Queen, Winner, Rise and Shine Nutrition, Genetti Hotel, Clothier, Lycoming County Visitors Bureau, Dolly’s Diner, Buffalo Wild Wings, Robert M. Sides, and Taco Bell. One of the major pin manufacturers, Infiniti Pins, is setup in a conference room at the local Holiday Inn. Tons going on in there. People making trades, and freebies.

Even though the official Little League Store & Museum is closed (despite the Little League World Series taking place) merchandise for this year’s games can be found at the Lycoming County Visitors Bureau, and online.

When it comes to Little League pins, I follow the Little League Pin Traders Club on Facebook. People are constantly showing off new pins they’ve found, and updating lists of places that have pins. Very good resource.

Honestly, I’m surprised we haven’t seen PSA, BGS, and SGC grading Little League pins yet. Vintage pins have been graded for years. It seems like an untapped market along with bobbleheads.

Although it wasn’t the plan at first, I began to purchase duplicate pins to flip. Except for a few, most Little League pins need to be obtained in person. Buying them directly from the source online isn’t really an option. If you’re a collector and not in the area, eBay and trading groups are you’re best places to go. The best pins to flip are newer ones which haven’t been listed for sale yet. Doing this while the Little League World Series is going on helps a lot too.

Pin Highlight: 2020 Little League World Series ESPN Robo Cam Pin

Thanks to COVID-19 the 2020 Little League World Series did not take place. That certainly didn’t stop individuals and businesses from making their pins for fans to collect.

Pins have been a big part of the Little League World Series for years. Some of the more desirable pins come from various people who work for ESPN. When, where, and who distributes them is a total mystery to me. They just seem to popup and find their way into circulation.

A staple ESPN pin that seems to comeback year to year are the ones in the shape of the robo cams. The pin pictured below is what would have been making it’s rounds at the Little League World Series in 2020.

What makes this pin so special is the logo. This is the only pin that I’ve seen which contains the logo which would have been used for the 2020 Little League World Series. Usually the Little League store would sell logo merchandise, but they did very little of that last year. No pins for sure. Little League chose to use the same logo for 2021. The main difference is the year change.

Two of these pins have popped up for sale so far. Both auctions could easily have been for the exact same pin, and sold for close to $50 each time.