Yanks’ Sanchez Among 2017 Topps #1 Card Nominees

sanchez-topps-nowYankees fans now have the opportunity to help make one of their new favorite players the face of baseball — or at least the face of Topps baseball cards, for 2017. (Strangely, no Mets made the cut…)

Gary Sanchez, who burst on the scene and made an immediate huge impact on the sport this summer, is one of 16 players nominated by the card company to be its iconic #1 card in Series One in 2017. Voting on the Topps Blog (click here to vote) began this week and continues through Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 11:59 p.m. Fans will be able to either “retweet” or “like” a tweet assigned to each of the sixteen nominees which will count as a vote. Thousands of online votes poured in last year, with Mike Trout the eventual Card No. 1 winner.

Previous players to achieve this prestigious honor in consecutive years include Ted Williams (1957-58), Hank Aaron (1973-76), Nolan Ryan (1990-92), Alex Rodriguez (2005-06 & 2008-09), and most recently Ryan Braun (2011-12).

Sanchez erased several rookie records during his 2016 campaign, slashing .299/.376/.657 and hitting 20 home runs in 201 at bats.

The list of 2017 Topps Baseball Card No. 1 nominees:

Adrian Beltre
Mookie Betts
Kris Bryant
Miguel Cabrera
Carlos Correa
Josh Donaldson
Bryce Harper
Clayton Kershaw
Francisco Lindor
Manny Machado
Yadier Molina
David Ortiz
Buster Posey
Gary Sanchez
Corey Seager
Mike Trout

New Exhibit Celebrates Art of LeRoy Neiman At Yogi Berra Museum

neiman-frontrev91Renowned for his brilliantly colored paintings, posters and sketches, LeRoy Neiman was perhaps America’s most prolific and recognizable artist of his time.  His works celebrated heroes in sports and entertainment and the good life, and remain prominently displayed in major museums and collections around the world.

Neiman was an eye-catching figure himself with his wide mustache and ever-present cigar. And he was a familiar fixture at prize fights, Olympics, Super Bowls and World Series throughout the second half of the 20th century, his drawings often made on the spot.

Celebrating the strong bond between art and athletics, the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center recently opened “LeRoy Neiman’s Fall Classics,” a new exhibit showcasing the iconic artist’s original drawings of World Series subjects, including the Museum’s namesake Yogi Berra.

The exhibit opening coincides with the advent of baseball’s 2016 postseason, and will run through March 2017.

Though Neiman passed away four years ago at age 91, Museum visitors can connect with him by putting on a portable mustache and taking selfies next to a Neiman self-portrait.

The Museum will also honor his commitment to art and excellence with upcoming programs for aspiring sports artists. On Oct. 23, award-winning pencil artist Jerry Winick of Pencilworks in Little Falls, NJ, will conduct a workshop (12 noon to 2:30 p.m.) at the Museum for ages 6-13. And the Montclair Art Museum’s traveling art truck will be on site Nov. 5 from 1 p.m.-3 p.m., for youngsters to create their own masterworks.

The Neiman works were provided by the LeRoy Neiman Foundation and the McMullen Family. Included in the exhibit is a large portrait of the late John McMullen, former owner of the Houston Astros and New Jersey Devils with one of the three Stanley Cups under his stewardship.

Mets Cards Among Extended Topps Postseason Sets

grandy-cardThe Topps Company, Inc. will be adding to their exciting Topps Now™ program with the release of Topps Now Postseason Team Sets celebrating each teams journey to the MLB Postseason. A team set will be created for each Postseason team. Whenever a team clinches a Postseason birth, that team’s Topps Now set is available for purchase the very next day.  In a unique twist to the traditional 24-hour time frame offered to order daily Topps Now cards, these Postseason sets will be available until the first Postseason game of the divisional round, beginning October 6th at 1pm EST, exclusively on Topps.com.

Each Topps Now Postseason Team Set will consist of 15 player cards highlighting a team’s regular season triumphs which led them to Postseason glory. Special card numbering separate from the flagship Topps Now daily series numbering will be used along with a first  time ever MLB Postseason logo on each card. As an special extra bonus, fans who order a set of a team which wins a postseason series will be shipped one free bonus card. A total of three additional free cards will be created for the team that wins the World Series.

“With the postseason upon us, we are excited to offer a special Topps Now Postseason Team Set today.” said Jeff Heckman, Director, New Product Development and eCommerce Marketplace. “This is a logical extension to our daily Topps Now cards to be able to offer a special collector’s set for fans with a free bonus card for each time a team wins a Postseason series.”

Topps Now, a Topps.com-exclusive physical card product, celebrates greatest moments and milestones from the 2016 Major League Baseball season  as they happen. The physical cards are available the very next day to purchase through Topps.com, but for only 24 hours, and will not be available for purchase again.

John Franco At Empire City Casino’s Dan Rooney’s Sports Bar Friday

franco-head-shotFormer Mets hurler John Franco, one of baseball’s all-time great relief pitchers, will meet and great fans at Dan Rooney’s Sports Bar at Empire City Casino on Friday night, September 30, when the Mets play the Phillies in what is expected to be a pivotal game in the National League wildcard race.

The Brooklyn native who ranks fifth on the all-time saves list with 424 and is first among lefties, will be on hand from 7:00 to 9:00 PM to pose for pictures and sign autographs for the first 100 fans, and then watch the game with Mets zealots.

Food and drink specials will be on the menu, and fans will have a perfect view of the game on Dan Rooney’s large-screen TVs.

During a 21-year major league career with the Mets, Reds and Astros, Franco appeared in 1,119 games in his career to rank third all-time, and first in National League history. He played college baseball at St. John’s University before being drafted by the LA Dodgers in 1981. He was traded to the Reds in 1983 and was called up to the big leagues the following year. The four-time All Star and three-time NL saves leader, Franco was honored with the National League Relief Man award twice. He became the third Mets captain in history, from 2001-2004, and was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 2012.

Colon, Young Yankees Boost TOPPS NOW Rookie Season

Bartolo-HR-CardTOPPS launched its NOW baseball platform in April to highlight individual and team achievements each day of the season. Nearly 500 moments have been captured on cardboard to date, with the Yankees and Mets well represented throughout the year.

Bartolo Colon‘s first career home run on May 7 in San Diego is one of the highlights of the season, and Mets fans responded by purchasing more than 8,000 copies of the card, depicting the 40-year-old mid-swing. Colon has been featured four other times, joining several Mets who appeared on multiple cards, including Curtis Granderson, Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard, Wilmer Flores and Jay Bruce (!).

Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin have been part of the Yankees’ youth movement since the August 1 trading deadline; their August 13 back-to-back homers in consecutive at bats sold more than 5,000 . Judge has appeared on two other cards since his debut, and the Yankees’ total of 28 cards to date is third in MLB behind the Cubs (38) and Red Sox (36).

Overall, the program has surpassed 300,000 cards.

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.