Four CitiField Tosses Part Of Topps First Pitch Series 1

Kristaps_PorzingisThe popular First Pitch™ insert cards are back for 2016 Topps® Baseball Series 1. They depict celebrities and other notables who threw out ceremonial first pitches throughout the 2015 MLB season.

Four of those came at CitiField last year, with the Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis, soccer star Abby Wambach, former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and Triple Crown jockey Victor Espinoza all featured.

Last year’s debut of the First Pitch inserts found baseball fans chasing their favorite celebrities’ cards. Ceremonial first pitches are one of the most popular moments at baseball games with celebrities, past players, dignitaries and others showing up to take part in the festivities. The First Pitch cards record noteworthy moments for posterity and document great moments in baseball.

This year’s list of First Pitch cards includes 20 names with another set of notables coming in 2016 Topps Baseball Series 2 this summer.

Collect Topps to get your First Pitch cards, which hit stores today!

Topps celebrates 65 years of making baseball cards. Fans can find the newest Topps baseball cards in hobby shops, mass retailers and at Topps.com.

Check out the list of names on the First Pitch insert cards:

Abby Wambach, New York Mets®, Soccer Player
Gabrielle Giffords, New York Mets®, Politician
Don Cherry, Toronto Blue Jays®, Broadcaster
Mo’ne Davis, Boston Red Sox®, Pitcher
Evelyn Jones, Seattle Mariners™
Bree Morse, Angels®, Miss California
Jordan Spieth, Boston Red Sox®, Golfer
Kristaps Porzingis, New York Mets®, New York Basketball Draft Pick
Victor Espinoza, New York Mets®, Jockey
James Taylor, Boston Red Sox®, Singer
Bud Selig, Milwaukee Brewers™, Former MLB® Commissioner
LeVar Burton, Chicago White Sox®, Actor
Hayley Atwell, Kansas City Royals®, Actor
Bill Withers, Seattle Mariners™, Singer
Carrie Brownstein, Seattle Mariners™, Actor
Tony Hawk, San Diego Padres™, Skateboarder
IronE Singleton, Miami Marlins®, Actor
Rebekah Gregory, Houston Astros®
Johnny Knoxville, Los Angeles Dodgers®, Actor
Steve Aoki, Los Angeles Dodgers®, Musician

Severino Rookie Card Part Of Topps Series 1 For 2016

SeverinoYankees starter Luis Severino, who compiled a 5-3 record and 2.89 ERA (137 ERA+) in 11 starts in 2015, will be one of the featured rookies in the 2016 Topps baseball Series 1 set, releasing Wednesday.

Severino, who will turn 22 on February 20, fanned 56 and walked 22 in 62 1/3 major league innings, permitting just 7.7 hits per 9 innings.

Severino totaled 151 2/3 innings combined between Trenton (AA), Scranton/Wilkes Barre (AAA) and the Yankees, putting him on track for an approximate innings limit of 180, though today at the Topps offices he indicated he could go as many as 200.

Topps is celebrating 65 years in baseball. Series 1 is available at all local retailers and hobby shops.

Yanks, Mets Featured In Six Of 11 ESPN Sunday Night Telecasts Through Mid-July

SN-BaseballESPN has set is early-season slate of Sunday Night Baseball telecasts, with the Yankees (yawn) and the Mets (!) featured three times each among the first 11 scheduled contests, through July 17.

The Mets take on the Royals on Opening Night (very prescient of the schedule makers!) on Sunday, April 3 (8:30 p.m. ET). The Yankees at Tigers matchup on April 10, Yankees at Boston on May 1, Red Sox at Yanks a week later, Dodgers at Mets on May 29 and (ahem) Red Sox at Yankees on July 17 complete the Gotham-based teams in the determined schedule.

Billed as the 27th season of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell, the schedule to date and opening day schedule can be seen here.

Yanks’ Miller, McCann, Mets’ Familia Among Thurman Munson Award Honorees

Jeurys Familia (credit: Arturo Pardavila III on Flicker)

Jeurys Familia (credit: Arturo Pardavila III on Flicker)

The 36th Annual Thurman Munson Awards, which remember the late, great Yankees captain and catcher, will be presented at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on Tuesday night, February 9, 2016, and the honorees announced today are:  New York baseball’s two premier closers – the Yankees Andrew Miller (36 saves) and the Mets Jeurys Familia (team record-tying 43 saves) – will be joined by former Yankees “No-Hit” pitcher Jim Abbott, who has been an inspiration to people with disabilities, current Yankees catcher Brian McCann, and 1986 Mets World Series champion reliever Jesse Orosco. The AHRC New York City Foundation, which assists children and adults with disabilities, benefits from the gala.

Diana Munson, Thurman’s widow, will attend her 36th consecutive benefit, having been involved since its inception. The Thurman Munson Awards Dinner has raised more than $14 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 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 and community outreach off the field.

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.

Topps adds New York Yankees Luis Severino to Topps Authentics™ Lineup

SeverinoTAThe Topps Company, Inc., the exclusive trading card partner of Major League Baseball, has added New York Yankees pitcher Luis Severino to its Topps Authentics lineup with an exclusive memorabilia deal.

Severino’s autographed memorabilia will be sold exclusively through Topps Authentics, which will include baseballs, jerseys, oversized cards and more.

“I’m very excited to start this new venture with Topps,” said New York Yankees pitcher Luis Severino. “I have been working with them since my first year in the minors and their products are always exciting and top of the line.”

Severino gained high praise during his rookie season in 2015. He made his Major League Baseball debut with the storied New York Yankees where he went 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts. He struck out 56 batters in 62.1 innings. Baseball America had ranked Severino the number-one Yankees prospect following the 2014 season.

“We are excited to have a player of Luis’ caliber join the Topps Authentics program,” said David Leiner, VP & General Manager of North American Sports and Entertainment for Topps. “He’s a great, young player with a high ceiling. He’s the type of player – on and off the field – that we love to work with.”

The Topps Authentics catalog features signed memorabilia and unique oversized cards that cannot be found anywhere else. Severino joins Houston Astros short stop and American League Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa in the Topps Authentics line up.

Look for Severino’s autographed items to be offered through Topps in the coming weeks.

Yogi Berra Museum to Host “What’s It Worth” Sports Memorabilia Appraisal Day on December 12

Cobb-Cabinet-CardCollectors of vintage sports memorabilia can learn more about their value at “What’s It Worth?,” a special appraisal day at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Little Falls, N.J., on Saturday, December 12 from noon to 4 p.m.

John Brigandi of Brigandi Coins & Collectibles in New York City, one of the nation’s preeminent memorabilia dealers, will appraise items and collectibles from visitors (with a limit of three items per person). The free appraisal is offered to all ticketed Museum guests ($6 per adult, $4 per student).

Brigandi Coins & Collectibles is a family owned and operated dealer of rare coins and collectibles since 1959, and widely recognized for its industry-leading knowledge, integrity and trust. John Brigandi has been featured as an expert in numerous media outlets and national broadcasts, including ESPN, Forbes, History Channel, YES Network, PBS, National Geographic and more.

“As a family business of 55 years, in its third generation, we are always interested in finding the right opportunities to help collectors and preserve the industry through fair appraisals,” said John Brigandi. “We’re excited to see the one-of-a-kind collectibles that come through the Museum doors on December 12, along with the personal stories behind them.”

For anyone wondering whether the “junk” gathering dust in the attic or sitting at the neighborhood garage sale is valuable, Brigandi and his team will help educate visitors and inform them “what it’s worth.”

MLB Hedges Bets Against Illegal Gambling With New Partnership

peteroseThe Black Sox, Pete Rose, even recently the Yomiuri Giants, all involved in the dark side of baseball and gambling. With Daily Fantasy continuing to be a controversial topic, and the specter of legal sports gambling and its millions of dollars in revenue coming more into focus, how can fans, and the game be assured that all goings-on, legal or illegal, DFS or not, is on the up and up so scandals are avoided?

MLB appears to have taken a big step in that assuredness on Wednesday, announcing a partnership with London-based integrity monitoring company SportIM, to monitor all global activity that could potentially be tied to any illegal goings on. works with the EPL, Euroleague Basketball and the Football Association, among others, tracking millions of live and pre-match odds and betting activity around the world.

“This partnership will be an essential part of our initiatives to protect the game’s integrity,” said MLB Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem said in a release this morning.

“We are proud to be able to begin the expansion of our business in North America and look forward to a long relationship with MLB. It is reassuring to know that forward thinking organisations such as MLB are actively taking steps on how to best safeguard their competitions and implement effective measures in this environment to prevent any issues,” added Mark Locke, CEO at SportIM.

According to officials, there is about $720 million wagered a year legally in Nevada on baseball, trailing only the NFL and the NCAA. The amount of illegal wagering is thought to be 10 to 20 times that in the United States alone. While it does not appear right now that there is any illegal activity tied to MLB that prompted this step, the growing interest in legal gambling as well as the constant pressure to keep up with technology makes this a smart move for MLB in avoiding the issues of the past, be they decades ago or just last month in Japan.

See Ya! Charity Roast of Michael Kay Tuesday At Yogi Berra Museum

Michael Kay (Image: Chris Ptacek)

Michael Kay (Image: Chris Ptacek)

Michael Kay, the longtime Yankee play-by-play announcer and ESPN Radio host, will be roasted at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Little Falls, N.J., on Nov. 17, with proceeds to benefit the Museum’s education programs.

The charity dinner and roast will feature a number of Kay’s colleagues, including fellow YES Network broadcasters David Cone, Ken Singleton, John Flaherty, Jack Curry and Bob Lorenz along with Kay Murcer, widow of former Yankee star and broadcaster Bobby Murcer.

Don La Greca, Kay’s co-host of The Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio, will serve as emcee.

Seating is limited, tickets are $500. To RSVP, call (973) 655-2378.

Mets Wagner, Hampton, Castillo Among Newcomers On Baseball Hall Ballot

BillyWagnerThree players with strong Mets ties are among the newcomers on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America 2016 Hall of Fame ballot as announced today.

Billy Wagner, whose 422 career saves rank second among left-handers, and fellow lefty Mike Hampton, the 2000 NLCS MVP, are on the ballot for the first time along with second baseman Luis Castillo, a Met from 2007-2010.

They join others with solid New York connections returning to the ballot, including Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, Mike Piazza and Tim Raines.

Piazza (69.9%) and Raines (55.0%) were two of three candidates to receive more than 50% of last year’s voting but not get elected (Jeff Bagwell, 55.7%). Four players were inducted last year, including pitchers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz and catcher-infielder-outfielder Craig Biggio.

Ten Years Apart In Pinstripes, Two Ex Yankees Keep Inspiring

Jim-AbbottThey played in the Bronx, 10 years a part, and are now reunited through a common bond in a new special card set released by Topps this week. Jim Abbott, born without a right hand but never slowing down his passion for baseball, and Curtis Pride, once drafted by the Mets despite being deaf since birth and spending 14 years in the Majors are two of those featured in “Pride & Perseverance,” a celebration of MLB players past and present who have overcome great physical challenges to rise to the top of the game.

The set, originally proposed by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS), has everyone from Pete Gray, who played for the St. Louis Browns with one leg, to current Cubs Anthony Rizzo and John Lester, both who have beaten cancer.

“People with disabilities are often looked at for what they can’t do instead of being appreciated for what they can do. We hope these cards will help people take a closer look at the potential of people with disabilities,” said Mark O’Neal, PBATS President and Chicago Cubs Director of Medical Administration in a release. “Imagine if a child or the parent of a child with a disability, by simply opening a pack of baseball cards, discovers that one of their heroes was legally blind or deaf or has battled cancer? They would truly feel empowered and encouraged.”

Abbott began his MLB journey in 1989 after a standout career for the University of Michigan, eventually making it to The Bronx in 1993, and made history by no-hitting the Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium on September 3. He went on to pitch for the White Sox and the Brewers as well, but was never better than when he took the mound for the Yankees. Pride, taken by the Mets out of William and Mary, had his best years with the Washington Nationals, but also donned the Pinstripes, appearing in four games in 2003. He is currently the head baseball coach at Gallaudet University in Washington.

“As a game for all, Baseball is proud to be the sport of Jim Abbott, Curtis Pride and many world-class athletes who have overcome obstacles en route to success in the Major Leagues,” said Wendy Lewis, MLB Senior Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion & Strategic Alliances. “This special set from Topps is a terrific way not only to honor all individuals who have faced challenges and reached the highest level of their chosen sport, but also to inspire anyone who dreams of one day being a part of the National Pastime. We commend Topps, a longtime valued partner, for this extraordinary tribute to players who have made an enduring impact on our game.”

2015 Topps Baseball Update Series can be found in hobby shops and national mass retailers such as Walmart and Target, beginning this week.