Conforto Gets First Topps NOW Card

Mets left fielder Michael Conforto‘s blistering start may have been overshadowed by another rookie outfielder across town, but that didn’t stop Topps from issuing its first Topps NOW card, coming off Tuesday’s two-homer, four-RBI day vs. San Diego.

Fans can purchase the card through 3 p.m. on Thursday at https://www.topps.com/collectibles/trading-cards/topps-now.html/.

Before Saturday’s Jose Reyes card, the last Met honored was Noah Syndergaard on April 20.

Topps Now To Offer Special Jeter Card on Monday

Topps, through its ToppsNow partnership with MLB, will issue a special card Monday for fans to commemorate Derek Jeter’s number retirement on Sunday at Yankee Stadium prior to the game vs. the Houston Astros. The card, which will be available on topps.com for 24 hours, will show all the images from Sundays ceremony and will arrive to fans within 48 hours. There is no limit to the number of cards fans may order.

ToppsNow is in its second year, and the highly popular program, which gives fans the opportunity to purchase cards the day after key events take place in baseball, is fast approaching over 1 million cards sold in just a year. The Yankees Aaron Judge has had the most popular cards thus far this season, with several thousand ordered following his historic home runs.

The card image will be revealed on Monday.

1876 Founding Documents and Original Constitution of Major League Baseball Go Up for Auction May 24

In the wake of its record-breaking $3.26 million sale last April of the 1857 “Laws of Base Ball” documents, SCP Auctions now unveils the recently discovered and never-before-offered 1876 “Founding Documents and Original Constitution of Major League Baseball,” a hand-written, 74-page sports artifact of unprecedented historical significance.

“This, the founding document of Major League Baseball, is a central piece of Americana, inaugurating an institution that would come to be a defining aspect of American culture,” says Dan Imler, vice president of SCP Auctions.

Baseball first became an occupational endeavor in 1869, when the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first team to pay its players a salary. The dawn of professional baseball, however, was plagued by a lack of governance that seeded corruption and instability. Teams folded regularly due to the unregulated and often crooked practices of players and owners alike. By the end of the 1875 season, the future of professional baseball was in peril. In 1876, its saviors emerged and Major League Baseball was born.

In a meeting held on Feb. 2, 1876, at the Grand Central Hotel in New York City, Chicago White Stockings owner William Hulbert persuaded a carefully assembled group of baseball luminaries to join his effort to bring order, dignity and profitability to the fledgling sport. Supported by fellow visionaries such as Albert Spalding, Harry Wright, Nicholas Young, Morgan Bulkeley and others Hulbert set forth his blueprint for the destiny of professional baseball.

Offered here are those very pages, the central handwritten documents crafted by Hulbert and his supporters in 1875-76 that established what endures today as America’s oldest professional sports league. The groundbreaking documents go up for auction on May 24th at www.scpauctions.com. The new association was called “The National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs” and consisted of just eight teams: the Boston Red Stockings, Chicago White Stockings, Cincinnati Reds, Hartford Dark Blues, Louisville Grays, New York Mutuals, Philadelphia Athletics and the St. Louis Brown Stockings. The first page of the original handwritten Constitution states the new league’s objectives as follows:
· to encourage, foster and elevate the game of base-ball;
· to enact and enforce proper rules for the exhibition and conduct of the game;
· to make base-ball playing respectable and honorable;
· to protect and promote the mutual interests of professional base-ball clubs and professional baseball players; and
· to establish and regulate the “Base-Ball Championship of the United States.”

“Nearly 150 years ago William Hulbert saw the future of what baseball could be,” says Imler. “He set a new standard for the game and created a professional baseball league that has not only lasted, but has blossomed into a global institution. The forum he created fostered legends from Cap Anson to Babe Ruth to Mike Trout and all the superstars of today. These men owe their identities to Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball owes its existence to Hulbert and this foundational set of documents.“
The documents have never been offered publicly. The sports world has known very few transcendent foundational documents that have surfaced in original form for public offering. In addition to the aforementioned 1857 “Laws of Base Ball” sold by SCP Auctions ($3.26 million), there are James Naismith’s “1891 Original Rules of Basketball” (sold for $4.3 million) and “The 1859 Original Rules of Soccer” (sold for $1.4 million).

Adds Imler: “We’ve sold some incredible baseball artifacts before – from Babe Ruth’s 1920 Yankees jersey for $4.4 million to Kirk Gibson’s 1988 World Series home run bat for $575,000 – but this artifact trumps them all. Without these documents, such objects would not exist.”
Bidding is open to registered bidders only at www.scpauctions.com beginning on Wed., May 24, and closing on Sat., June 10. For more information on how to participate and take part in the bidding, please call 949-831-3700 or visit www.scpauctions.com.

Original Yankee Stadium Blueprints Among New Steiner Auction

The original complete set of blue prints to architect the new Yankee Stadium construction; a tennis racket used by Pete Sampras in his first U.S. Open and Grand Slam victory in 1990; Mickey Mantle’s career 10 K gold ring in its original Balfour box; and game-used bats by such baseball greats as Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, Elston Howard, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Mike Trout (first MVP season) are among the highlights of a treasure-trove collection on the auction block in the “Spring Fever Auction” presented by Steiner Sports Memorabilia from now through May 6.

The wide array of memorabilia up for grabs also includes a Barry Bonds game-used Pittsburgh Pirates glove (circa 1990); the most prolific, multi-signed Hall of Fame bat featuring signatures of more than 60 greats; a baseball signed by 27 members of the old Brooklyn Dodgers; and rare autographed and game-used memorabilia from such baseball icons as Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig, just to name a few.

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

The auction’s lynchpin collectibles also include: the prolific autographed bat which has five dozen signatures includes Aaron, Ted Williams, Sandy Koufax, Mantle, Willie Mays, Willie Stargell, Catfish Hunter, Tony Gwynn, and Stan Musial; the Brooklyn Dodgers signature baseball which includes Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, and Gil Hodges; a dual-signed, Ruth-Gehrig Goldsmith Semi Pro League Baseball; and an Aaron cracked game-used Adirondack professional model bat with heavy use.

A home plate set from historic Fenway Park signed by the Boston Red Sox 2007 World Series Champions; a game-used baseball from Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star pitcher Clayton Kershaw’s first Major League start (vs. San Francisco Giants); and a game-used first base set from the 2004 ALCS signed by David Ortiz (inscriptions: ’04 ALCS MVP’ and Final Out 2004 ALCS) are among the other memorabilia pieces highlighting the hundreds of collectibles on the block.

“This is a statement auction for Steiner Sports,” says company founder Brandon Steiner. “Past auctions have been led by rare and remarkable memorabilia such asJackie Robinson’s game-used World Series Glove and Don Larsen’s Perfect Game Uniform, but never before has there been a lineup like this! We expect spirited bidding.”

Appel Talks ‘Stengel,’ Latest Biography

Stengel BookMarty Appel‘s acclaimed biography of “The Ole’ Perfessor,” Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character, hit bookstores virtual and otherwise this week, and Gotham Baseball was fortunate enough to score an advance copy. There are great reviews here and here and here (and elsewhere), and Appel took out a few minutes in between radio and TV spots to talk to us about Stengel and some of the background on the excellent work.

Gotham Baseball: Coming off writing your epic definitive history of the Yankees, what made Casey Stengel your next book topic?
Marty Appel: It was a suggestion from the publisher, and MLB Network named him Baseball’s Greatest Character … so I thought, yes, sounds like a project I’d enjoy.

GB: It’s been more than 30 years since Robert Creamer’s landmark biography of Stengel. What did you learn in your research that readers will find markedly different from what Creamer wrote?
MA: I always thought Bob Creamer’s book was a masterwork. I was fortunate enough to write mine in the Internet age, when I could visit the archives of small newspapers from minor league towns he played and managed in. A lot of material there was not available 30 years ago. And then the family gave me an unpublished memoir by Casey’s wife Edna, which was a wonderful find. It showed a side of Casey we never knew about.

GB: Do you think “turning 70” was the primary reason Stengel was let go after the 1960 season and, in hindsight, wasn’t keeping Ralph Houk the right move?
MA: The move was very much prompted by a fear of losing Houk to either Boston or Detroit (two teams he actually later managed!). They thought, “well, Casey’s 70, he’ll retire in a year or two, but if we let him go now, we keep Houk. I think that prompted it. We’ll never really know what would have happened had he won that seventh game in Pittsburgh.

GB: Would Casey Stengel have been completely forgotten today if he didn’t get the call to leave Oakland, or might he have gotten another MLB managing job and still ended up well-known?
MA: I think he might have disappeared from memory. We don’t really recall who won minor league championships, as he did with Oakland. And at 59, not sure there was another major league job coming his way. He’d be remembered like Charlie Grimm perhaps – only by serious fans.

GB: What do you think is the net effect of Stengel’s time with the Mets on his legacy?
MA: The fan base of today is largely built on what he did with the Mets in four seasons. The ‘Amazins’ is still used; he rallied the fans to chant “Let’s Go Mets” and he made it fun to root for that team. The Mets got a lot right when they started – the mascot, the logo, the song, the uniform, the fan involvement – but mostly, hiring Casey was genius.

GB: Will you ever reveal if that’s a Mets or Yankees hat on the cover of the book? Which would Casey have wanted?
MA: He was a Mets fan til the end, but he wore Yankee underwear. He probably would have wanted that cap with all the logos he wore at Old Timers Days. It’s a Mets cap – but it’s the face that won over the designers. It’s a great photo. We didn’t want anyone to think it was a “Mets book” or a “Yankees book.” It’s the story of a baseball lifer – 55 years – who was, as they said, the game’s greatest character.

GB: Any other book projects, Yankees or otherwise, upcoming that you can talk about?
MA: Waiting for the next big idea. Maybe Gary Sanchez!

Cool Luis Guillorme Bat Catch Gets First Mets Topps Now Card of 2017

The amazing one-handed bat catch by Mets prospect Luis Guillorme has become the team’s first Topps Now card of the year, available through Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

As seen in the above video, Guillorme nonchalantly grabbed the bat thrown when Marlins SS Adeiny Hechavarria lost control of it on a swing. Though his Mets teammates scatter in the dugout, Guillorme made the easy grab.

Fans can learn more and purchase the card here.

Sanchez Takes Mantle’s Vaunted No. 7 Topps® Card

Sanchez2Yankees star catcher Gary Sanchez, who hit 20 home runs in 53 games in his rookie season in 2016, may or may not be the next Mickey Mantle in the Yankees lineup. But the powerful 24-year-old is following in The Mick’s footsteps in another way for Yankees fans and card collectors—the storied No. 7 card in the recently released Topps® 2017 Series 1 Baseball set.

Card No. 7 had been reserved for Mantle since his death in 1995. Beginning with the 1996 flagship set, Card No. 7 had been either Mantle or, for a few years, no one. That meant a gap in the checklist for the years in which Topps did not have an agreement with the Mantle estate to include his card in that particular year.

Enter Sanchez, whose exploits earned him runner-up status in the American League Rookie of the Year voting, despite playing less than half the season in pinstripes.

“Baseball fans are witnessing a great time in baseball right now with an impressive young group of players,” said Kevin Eger, Topps Brand Manager. “We felt it was time to offer Card No. 7 to a young, emerging star, but we still wanted it to be a New York Yankee. Gary Sanchez is part of the re-emergence for the Yankees, helping to bring that certain mystique back to the team. He felt like a natural fit for Card No. 7.”

The Sanchez card was issued earlier this month along with N.L. MVP Kris Bryant’s No. 1 card, the “Ultimate Card Giveaway” of two million cards from throughout Topps’ 66-year history and a series of First Pitch™ insert cards in its Series 1.

Dent, Nettles To Be Honored At Munson Dinner Feb. 7

dent-from-his-websiteA pair of clutch-hitting,  two-time New York Yankees World Series champions have been added to complete a powerhouse starting lineup of honorees for the 37th Annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner on Tuesday night, February 7, at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. In celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Yankees 1977 championship, Thurman’s teammates on the left side of the infield – third baseman Graig Nettles and shortstop Bucky Dent will be feted by the AHRC New York City Foundation.

Both starting players on the ’77 and ’78 World Champs, Nettles will be presented with the Munson Legend Award, while Dent joins Yankees phenom Gary Sanchez, Mets fan favorite Wilmer Flores, and Giants Super Bowl champion Victor Cruz as recipients of “Thurmans” at the benefit which has raised nearly $15 million for programs to assist the disabled. The gala remembers the beloved, legendary Yankees captain and catcher.

For tickets and information on the Munson Awards Dinner call 212-249-6188 or email jennifer@emgbenefits.com. Tickets may be purchased on line at www.ahrcNYCfoundation.org/events.

The Thurman Munson Awards are presented for success and inspiration on the fields of play, and community spirit off the field.

During a 22-year major league career including a decade with the Yankees, Nettles was regarded as one of the finest defensive third-sackers of all time, and an outstanding clutch hitter. A six-time All-Star, his best campaign was in ‘77 when he won received the Gold Glove Award and enjoyed career highs in both home runs, 37, and RBI, 107, while leading the Bronx Bombers to the world title against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nettles clobbered 390 home runs and 1,314 RBI in 2,700 games during his two-decade career, and his flashy glove compiled a .964 fielding percentage.

A three-time All-Star, Dent was the World Series MVP in ’78 after vaulting the Yankees into the post season with his epic three-run homerun over Fenway’s “Green Monster” to down the Red Sox in the pennant tie-breaker that is indelibly etched in Yankees lore. He hit .417 in the World Series.

A long time community servant, Dent launched the Legends on the Links Golf Tournament 32 years ago to assist local sports programs in Florida. In tribute to his late wife Marianne’s Embraced with Love charity, Dent assists cancer patients in a wide variety of initiatives.

Nettles serves as a board member on his teammate Roy White’s foundation which provides financial assistance to children and young adults to further their education; has assisted inner city youth in his former residence in Knoxville, Tennessee, and is active on the charity golf circuit, including Dent’s annual tournament.

The AHRC New York City Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that supports programs enabling children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead richer, more productive lives, including programs of AHRC New York City. AHRC New York City is one of the largest organizations of its kind, serving 15,000 children and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injuries and other disabilities.

Diana Munson, Thurman’s widow, will attend her 37th consecutive benefit, having been involved since its inception.

Sanford J. Schlesinger, Founding Partner, Schlesinger Gannon & Lazetera LLP, will be the recipient of the “Corporate Hero” Award.

Michael Kay, the “Voice of the Yankees” on YES Network and ESPN NY Radio 98.7 FM host, will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

Sanchez, Flores Win Munson Awards

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 27:  Gary Sanchez #72 of the New York Yankees poses during Photo Day on Saturday, February 27, 2016 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Robbie Rogers/MLB Photos via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Gary Sanchez

TAMPA, FL – FEBRUARY 27: Gary Sanchez #72 of the New York Yankees poses during Photo Day on Saturday, February 27, 2016 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Robbie Rogers/MLB Photos via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Gary Sanchez

The 37th Annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner, which remembers the late, great Yankees captain and catcher, will be presented at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on Tuesday night, February 7, 2017, and the honorees announced today are: New York Yankees sensational rookie catcher Gary Sanchez, popular New York Mets infielder Wilmer Flores, and New York Football Giants Super Bowl champion wide receiver Victor Cruz. The AHRC New York City Foundation, which assists children and adults with disabilities, benefits from the gala.

Sanford J. Schlesinger, Founding Partner, Schlesinger Gannon & Lazetera LLP, will be the recipient of the “Corporate Hero” Award.

Diana Munson, Thurman’s widow, will attend her 37th consecutive benefit, having been involved since its inception. The Thurman Munson Awards Dinner has raised nearly $15 million for programs that serve New York City children and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Michael Kay, the “Voice of the Yankees” on YES Network and ESPN NY Radio 98.7 FM host, will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

For tickets and information on the Munson Awards Dinner call 212-249-6188 or email jennifer@emgbenefits.com. Tickets may be purchased on line at www.ahrcNYCfoundation.org/events.

The Thurman Munson Awards are presented for success and inspiration on the fields of play, and community spirit off the field.

The AHRC New York City Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that supports programs enabling children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead richer, more productive lives, including programs of AHRC New York City. AHRC New York City is one of the largest organizations of its kind, serving 15,000 children and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injuries and other disabilities.

Nineteen Newcomers Join Bagwell, Hoffman, Raines Among 34 On Hall Of Fame Ballot

tim-rainesA total of 19 players, most prominently Vladimir Guerrero, Jorge Posada, Manny Ramirez and Ivan Rodriguez, join 15 holdovers on the 2017 Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame ballot, as announced today. The strongest potential selectees, Jeff Bagwell, Trevor Hoffman and Tim Raines, are now on the clock, each having received more than 67$ of the vote but less than the 75% required for enshrinement last year.

The results of the BBWAA election will be announced on Jan. 18. Winners will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 30, 2017.

Some quick facts on induction, per the National Baseball Hall of Fame:

– Last year marked just the fifth time in voting history that as many as five (Bagwell, Hoffman, Raines plus inductees Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza) had received 67% or more votes

– Every player who has ever cleared the 65-percent threshold in any one BBWAA election has eventually been inducted into the Hall of Fame, save for Jack Morris – who exhausted his BBWAA eligibility in 2015 and will not be eligible for the Modern Baseball Era Committee consideration until the fall of 2017.

– Twelve other players will return to the BBWAA ballot this year, including (in order of their 2016 vote percentage): Curt Schilling (52.3 percent), Roger Clemens (45.2), Barry Bonds (44.3), Edgar Martínez (43.4), Mike Mussina (43.0), Lee Smith (34.1), Fred McGriff (20.9), Jeff Kent (16.6), Larry Walker (15.5), Gary Sheffield (11.6), Billy Wagner (10.5) and Sammy Sosa (7.0). Smith is making his final appearance on the BBWAA ballot.

– Also debuting on the BBWAA ballot this year are Casey Blake, Pat Burrell, Orlando Cabrera, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Carlos Guillén, Derrek Lee, Melvin Mora, Magglio Ordóñez, Edgar Rentería, Arthur Rhodes, Freddy Sánchez, Matt Stairs, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield.

For bios on each player on the ballot and more info, visit http://baseballhall.org/hof/2017-bbwaa-ballot.