A Tour Of History With ‘Hawk’ and Christie’s

LaTroy Hawkins (l) and Simeon Lipman

LaTroy Hawkins (l) and Simeon Lipman

In his home, above a second-floor pool table, 21-year Major League pitcher LaTroy Hawkins has a mural featuring Negro League stars, including Josh Gibson, Hilton Smith and others. Among the players most cognizant of baseball history, Hawkins met up this week with Simeon Lipman, pop culture consultant for Christie’s (and you may know him as the sports/pop culture expert on “Antiques Roadshow”) to review some highlights of The Golden Age Of Baseball, Selections From The National Pastime Museum, which the famed international auction house will be conducting Oct. 19-20 at its 20 Rockefeller Plaza headquarters.

Hawkins shared the story of the Hall of Famers who look over him in his gaming room, and one about how his trips to Kansas City during his career, which concluded with his retirement following the 2015 season, included side stops at the Negro League Hall of Fame with young players in tow. Even someone as in tune with baseball history as Hawkins, who will serve as coach for the Brazil team in next weekend’s World Baseball Classic qualifier in Brooklyn, was taken aback at the breadth and depth of the pieces Lipman displayed.

Among those were a Jackie Robinson signed ball, in about as good a condition as any available, along with bats, balls, photos, contracts and other ephemera from stars spanning more than a century. Hawkins took a few practice swings with Shoeless Joe Jackson‘s bat, one of only two game-used Black Betsys known to exist, leafed through Sol Adams‘ History of Colored Baseball (1907) and pored over 20 or so choice photos while Lipman dutifully provided historical narrative on many.

Comprised of a remarkable assemblage of game-used bats, letters, contracts, memorabilia and a treasury of vintage baseball photography, Part I of the sale is devoted to memorabilia and Part II is devoted to photography. With 485 lots in total, estimates start at $300-500 for photographs and memorabilia, while the top lot of the auction is the Jackson bat, estimated at $500,000-700,000. The contents of the auction are from the National Pastime Museum, which is an online museum based on a private collection of baseball artifacts.

The public exhibition of the full collection will be open to New York area fans at Christies, Oct. 13-19.

Yogi Berra, Don Larsen Collections in On-Line ‘Fall Classic’ Auction at Steiner Sports

yogi-uniformThe family of the late, iconic New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra, and Yankees “Perfect Game” pitcher Don Larsen will sell pieces of their personal baseball memorabilia collections in an on-line auction through Steiner Sports Memorabilia. The “Fall Classic Auction” will begin today (Tuesday, September 13), and continue through October 23, it was announced today by company CEO Brandon Steiner.

Visit http://auction.steinersports.com/ to bid.

The treasure trove of memorabilia, called by Steiner “our biggest auction in history,” that includes 2,500 gems for collectors highlighted by Berra’s 1953 World Series Championship ring, which was the only one of his 10 title rings that the legend actually wore after winning five straight Fall Classics from 1949 through 1953; as well as both his National Baseball Hall of Fame ring and plaque which were presented upon his induction in 1972, and a vintage,1961 game-used, home pinstripe #8 jersey; Larsen’s “Babe Ruth Award,” which was presented to the hurler as the 1956 World Series Most Valuable Player in recognition of his historic Fall Classic performance, heads the Larsen lot.

The Berra collection also includes a bevy of photographs, his driver’s license, credit cards, signed checks, signed contracts, signed baseball cards and other personal documents.

Berra’s sons Larry, Tim and Dale Berra decided to give their father’s legion of fans the chance to own a piece of history. “It is a pleasure and honor for the Berra family to share dad’s history with his many followers,” said Dale Berra, “because they are responsible for his legacy.”

“His ’53 championship ring is a real collector’s item because it has a diamond ‘Five’ on it,” added Dale. “It was given to the few players like dad and Phil Rizzuto who had won five World Series in a row. That’s a very special piece.”

Many of the Larsen pieces are connected to his 1956 World Series Perfect Game, including a 1956 letter from President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and 2006 letters from Governor George Pataki and Mayor Rudy Giuliani of in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the “Perfecto.”

Mets Personality Alexa Datt To Host “The Morning Run” On 120 Sports

MichaelAlexaToday, 120 Sports, the OTT network, announced Michael Kim and Alexa Datt as its leading talent team for the newly relocated ‘Morning Run,’ the live-produced, national sports show that combines game highlight video, live guests and social interaction in a quick and easy format. Kim and Datt will co-host the daily show from 8-11 a.m. (EST) from its new location at the Major League Baseball Advanced Media studios in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market.
Kim, who is an original 120 Sports host dating back to its launch in June 2014, moves with The Morning Run from Chicago to New York. Prior to his move to 120 Sports, Kim spent more than 17 years at ESPN.  In addition to his duties as an anchor on Sportscenter, the network’s flagship news show, Kim was one of the lead anchors on ESPNews and Sportscenter on ESPN America.
“This move is the best of both worlds for me,” said Kim. “I’m really going to miss Chicago.  It’s a beautiful city with wonderful people.  Fortunately, I remain in the 120 Sports family and I’ll be back in Chicago from time to time.  Also, the move allows me to spend more time at home with my family.”
The newest addition to 120 Sports is Alexa Datt, a rising star in sports reporting. Datt serves as the full time in-stadium host at Citi Field for the Mets as well as the Mets preseason sideline reporter for SportsNet NY. Datt has worked as a sideline reporter across many sports for the past seven years and has guest hosted for Bleacher Report and appeared on the Players Tribune radio show on Sirius XM. Most recently, Datt started the widely popular “Datt’s What She Said” podcast, a mix of sports talk, comedy and exclusive interviews that has featured such stars as Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, Katie Nolan, Jim Lampley and Victor Cruz.
“By taking the electric personality we see in Datt’s podcast along with her natural ability for hosting native digital sports content and pairing it with Kim’s wealth of experience on the national sports stage, The Morning Run will continue to offer sports fans everything they are looking for in a national morning show,” said 120 Sports Executive Producer, Joe Riley.
Expanding the production footprint of 120 Sports to include New York will allow deeper integration with 120 Sports partners, leading to greater access to different voices and experts to discuss the timeliest topics in the world of sports and entertainment in real-time. Kim and Datt will be joined by diverse special guests and reoccurring contributors on a daily basis.
“I am thrilled to join the 120 Sports family, and co-host The Morning Run with Michael Kim, an amazing sports broadcasting veteran,” said Datt. “I am excited about the unique format of the show which incorporates traditional and new media platforms for what is sure to be an amazing, integral sports experience for our viewers.”
The remainder of 120’s daily programming lineup will continue to be produced out of Chicago and conclude each evening at 2:00 a.m. (ET).

N.Y. Items Stand Out In Christie’s Baseball Auction

1912 Giants BallThe New York Gotham’s National League membership application. A Lou Gehrig game-used bat. Sandy Koufax‘s rookie card. Joe DiMaggio‘s Yankees contract.

Those are just four of the dozens of items with New York ties in The Golden Age of Baseball, Selections from the National Pastime Museum, a two-day auction on October 19-20 at Christie’s New York.

It’s the largest collection of baseball items to appear at an international auction house in more than 15 years, and with 485 lots that include game-used bats, letters, contracts, memorabilia and a treasury of vintage baseball photography, it’s a trove of goodies that any baseball fan will love to peruse.

Luckily for New York fans, in addition to the auction, the full collection can be viewed at Christie’s (20 Rockefeller Plaza) from October 13-19, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily (except Oct. 16, when the hours are 1-5 p.m.

Some other notable New York pieces include:

  • An 1887 N172 Old Judge baseball card of Hall of Famer John Montgomery Ward
  • Original black & white print from the 1894 Temple Cup between the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Giants
  • Game-used bats and/or signed balls and photos by Frank “Home Run” Baker, Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Fred Merkle, Zach Wheat, Frankie Frisch, Derek Jeter and many others
  • Nolan Ryan/Jerry Koosman rookie card

Estimates start at $300-500 for photographs and memorabilia, while the top lot of the auction is a “Shoeless” Joe Jackson Professional Model Bat, estimated at $500,000-700,000. The contents of the auction are from the National Pastime Museum, which is an online museum based on a private collection of baseball artifacts.

The collection is notable for some of the greatest artifacts extant relating to the Negro Leagues and its most celebrated stars such as Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and Oscar Charleston. Another feature of the collection is the significant amount of items and photographs detailing the history of Cuban baseball, including Cuban Cigarrillos cards and items signed by Martin Dihigo.

Brian Kenny Discussion/Booksigning At Yogi Berra Museum on Sept. 27

ahead-of-the-curve-9781501106330_hrMLB Network host and analyst Brian Kenny will discuss all things baseball and his acclaimed new book, Ahead of the Curve: Inside the Baseball Revolution at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center on Sept. 27 at 7 p.m., followed by a booksigning.

One of the game’s most eloquent and passionate observers, Kenny uses stories from baseball’s present and past to examine why fans sometimes choose ignorance over information, and how tradition can trump logic, even when directly contradicted by evidence. His book frames the new way in which baseball insiders are thinking about the game, and why fans, journalists and organizations should embrace straightforward logic.

In Ahead of the Curve, Kenny talks about finding the next competitive advantage through statistical analysis, the merits of the current All-Star Game format, the importance of keeping pace of play moving, and more.

Kenny has been at MLB Network since 2011 and currently hosts “MLB Now,” a one-hour panel discussion that covers breaking news and the most recent trends in the game. He previously worked at ESPN, where he was an anchor of “SportsCenter” and “Baseball Tonight.”

Books are available for purchase at the Museum. To RSVP call (973) 655-2378.

Austin-Judge Debut Team For TOPPS NOW Card

Austin-JudgeA lot of firsts at Yankee Stadium on Saturday… and a new one from Topps to mark the occasion.

Yankees rookies Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge’s historic debut, in which each hit home runs in their respective first at bats—back-to-back, no less—have earned them their first Topps Card as part of the highly successful ToppsNow Card program, which provides fans with daily card cards for purchase.

Whereas fans in previous years would have had to wait months for the card, they can order an unlimited number for the next 24 hours at Topps.com and receive the card within 3-5 business days.

TOPPS NOW was launched at the start of the MLB season and has been a tremendous hit among fans with hundreds of thousands of cards ordered to date.

Ichiro Suzuki set a one day sales record of over 11,550 cards sold for following his 3,000th hit last week. New York Mets’ Bartolo Colon is the second-most most ordered TOPPS NOW card of 2016 with over 8,000 cards delivered following the All-Star pitcher’s unbelievably glorious home run against the San Diego Padres in May.

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox has the third-most demanded card to date with over 4,500 cards ordered for his memorable All-Star Game helmet tip. The TOPPS NOW Ichiro commemorative relic card marked only the second time such a TOPPS NOW relic card has been offered.  The first TOPPS NOW commemorative relic card offer which featured All-Star Game MVP Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals sold out in just 20 minutes.

Tanaka, deGrom Among Topps ‘National Baseball Card Day’ Set

topps-degrom-333Topps, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) have announced that they are joining with hobby stores to celebrate National Baseball Card Day on Saturday, with limited edition six-card packs available at participating shops around the country.

The 2016 National Baseball Card Day card designs and checklist was unveiled Wednesday during the 37th National Sports Collectors Convention. These unique cards feature some of today’s best players, such as Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and David Ortiz, with an additional card available as a gift with a $10 Topps purchase at local participating hobby stores.

Yankees on the Checklist include Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino (base cards) and Greg Bird (autograph card). Mets in the series are David Wright, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom (base; deGrom also has a card in the autograph series).

“We are always looking for ways to introduce or reintroduce the local hobby stores to consumers and National Baseball Card day is an exciting new avenue we have to do this,” said David Leiner, Topps’ GM and Vice President of North American Sports and Entertainment. “It’s great to partner with Major League Baseball and the Players Association for the day to amplify the whole event as well.”

As part of the celebration, fans can also visit participating hobby retailers for special gifts with select purchases, contests and giveaways throughout National Baseball Card Day.  Fans can follow along with the day’s happenings across the official social channels of Topps, MLB and the MLBPA using #BaseballCardDay. Related online contests and giveaways are also planned throughout the day and during the week leading up to the event.

Major Leaguers will demonstrate their support of National Baseball Card Day on Friday, August 12, when players in select ballparks will be giving away some sample packs from the field prior to games that day.

“National Baseball Card Day is an opportunity for fans to enjoy the time-honored tradition of card collecting in the middle of a very competitive MLB season,” said Steve Armus, MLB Senior Vice President, Consumer Products.  “With cards featuring MLB’s top exciting young stars and David Ortiz in his final season, this set has plenty to offer baseball card collectors.”

“National Baseball Card Day is a great way to celebrate the rich tie between fans and Major League baseball players,” said Evan Kaplan, Director, Licensing and Business Development at the Major League Baseball Players Association. “There’s a special feeling when opening a pack of baseball cards and finding your favorite player.”

Ultra Pro will also be supplying a limited number of “one touch” card cases as an additional purchase incentive. National Baseball Card Day packs will include a special Topps BUNT promotional code card for baseball fans to experience the digital side of card collecting and Topps has also randomly inserted autographed cards in select packs.

For more information, to find your local participating hobby retailer or purchase cards, please visit Topps.com/promotions or MLBShop.com/topps.

Former Yankee Ichiro Honored By Topps For 3000th Hit

Ichiro-3000-2He may have posted only slightly more than 10% of his hits with the Yankees, but Ichiro Suzuki‘s run in pinstripes was mostly a success.

The all-time combined Japanese and MLB hit king was a fan favorite in his two-plus years in the Bronx, and more than a few Yankee fans likely followed his chase for 3,000 hits in earnest.

When he reached that goal with the best of hits—a triple—yesterday, Topps honored the career .312 hitter with a TOPPS NOW card to commemorate the event.

Cards will only be available to order for 24 hours from Topps.com and then ship to fans within 3-5 business days. TOPPS NOW was launched at the start of the MLB season and has been a tremendous hit among fans with hundreds of thousands of cards ordered to date.

Piazza to Make History Again with TOPPS BUNT Digital Signatures This Weekend

liveaction_1_blue_nym_mike_piazza_lThe TOPPS Company and their fast-growing digital platform, TOPPS MLB BUNT today announced that New York Mets Hall of Famer Mike Piazza will make history this Saturday, when he conducts a real time customized digital autograph signing this weekend as part of The Baseball Card Show in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It is the first time TOPPS will conduct a virtual signing in real time for a global audience, after a successful test of the platform during the All-Star Game in San Diego.

“Our digital fans have become more accustomed to accessing and engaging with our content in the digital world more this year than ever before, and we are pleased to be able to work with Mike and his team to create this once in a lifetime digital personalized card to Mets fans, and baseball fans, around the world this Saturday,” said Chris R. Vaccaro, Editor-In-Chief / Director of App Production for TOPPS. “This type of digital product is unlike anything that has been done before for fans, and we think will open up a new and unique way for fans to engage with the biggest and brightest stars of the game almost in real-time.”

Piazza will use an iPad and digital stylus to sign card images with personalizations and inscriptions to a select number of fans, who are able to acquire “live signature tickets” via the Topps MLB BUNT application this week. He will also sign other cards, all of which will be published for consumers within 24 hours from anywhere in the world.

Topps previously did an event Noah Syndergaard at MLB All-Star FanFest in San Diego. It was the first of its kind and was consumer facing with fans meeting the Mets star live at the event while he signed their digital signatures. Topps also did a “virtual line” of people who got shout outs on social media with their personalizations from Syndergaard.

Topps MLB BUNT 2016 features the easiest way to collect your favorite MLB teams, players and moments in the palm of your hand. New content and exclusive cards are released on a daily basis during the season, and cards can be traded within the Topps BUNT community instantly and worldwide. Players can take their cards into contests and earn points in real-time based on the card style and the player’s real-world performance.

Topps MLB BUNT 2016 is available for free on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and in the Google Play Store for Android devices. Topps MLB BUNT 2016 is officially licensed by Major League Baseball Advanced Media and by Major League Baseball Players Association.

TOPPS NOW To Highlight All-Star Game With Weeklong Set Beginning Today

Syndergaard 100 KsTOPPS NOW, the popular trading cards featuring MLB’s best moments immediately after they occur, will have a new wrinkle over the next week as they join in the celebration of the Midsummer Classic with special All-Star themed cards beginning today through Wednesday, July 13.

Each day, another set of starting players will be featured and available to fans for a limited time. Today’s launch features the American League’s starting infielders: Salvador Perez, Royals, C; Eric Hosmer, Royals, 1B; Jose Altuve, Astros, 2B; Manny Machado, Orioles, 3B; Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox, SS.

In addition to the starting lineups, Topps will launchy a commemorative Tony Gwynn/Ken Griffey Jr. card which will also be available at MLB Fan Fest, as well as cards highlighting the top votegetter, starting pitchers, Home Run Derby champ and top players from Tuesday’s game.

The daily schedule is as follows:

– Wednesday 7/6: AL All-Star starting infielders
– Thursday: NL All-Star starting infielders
– Friday: AL All-Star starting outfielders
– Saturday: NL All-Star starting outfielders
Launch of Gwynn/Griffey card that will also be available at FanFest.
– Sunday: All-Star top votegetter
– Monday: All-Star starting pitchers
– Tuesday – Home Derby champ
– Wednesday – All-Star Game cards