Topps Card Delivers A Special Message For Ailing Baseball Fan: A New Kidney From His Wife…

Steve Winfree and his wife Heather have been through a great deal in their marriage, most of it tied to Steve’s rare health issues. Once an elite athlete whose problems were first diagnosed at 18 when he was readying to play basketball for Maryville College outside of Knoxville, Tennessee, Winfree has the rare combination of three diseases, rare to have together, chronic kidney disease, gout attacks — painful inflammation in the joints caused by uric acid and adult-onset type 1 diabetes, which reacts to his other ailments and adds to the pain.

The combination of the three diseases means that while his body overproduces uric acid, he’s allergic to the only medication to relieve his gout attacks. Dialysis was the last and only resort for him, as he is now 31. That and a kidney transplant.  The disease had even forced the couple to lose their two foster children, due to Steve’s fast growing disability (although they stay in close contact with the pair).

Through it all, Steve has remained upbeat and active in his community and is still a diehard sports fan, especially supporting The University of Tennessee and the Atlanta Braves. This presented Heather with a unique way to bring Steve some great news. She decided to break the news to Steve that SHE had decided to donate her kidney to him, with a card hidden in a pack of Topps Bowman Platnum Series cards. The Topps Company allows fans to create their own cards with their own images and the card was delivered today.

The operation will take place in the coming weeks but with the MLB All-Star Game on the horizon, it is a pretty special way to help tell a story through the magic of sports, and technology.

Game-used Aaron Judge Jersey From MLB debut on Steiner Auctions Block

New York Yankees rookie sensation Aaron Judge blasted a home run in his first Major League at-bat last August 13th, and that game-used jersey worn by the All-Star outfielder spearheads a multitude of baseball memorabilia on the auction block in the Steiner Auctions “2017 Mid-Summer Classic” auction. The on-line auction continues through Saturday, July 29 at 1:00 pm. Visit steinerauctions.com to bid and for more information.

Bidding on the uniform No. 99 Judge jersey from his debut quickly surpassed $13,000.

A bevy of immortal All-Star collectibles are on the block including the legendary Mickey Mantle, whose 1957 All-Star Game Used and Signed Bat has a current bid $30,250, as well as Ty Cobb (Rare Bold Sweet Spot Signed Official American League baseball), Carl Yastrzemski (Rawling’s Career 7-Time Gold Glove Award), Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig (Dual Signed Official American League Baseball), just to name a few. A baseball signed by 18 iconic All-Stars including Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax, Stan Musial, Tom Seaver and 10 other greats is sure to spark spirited bidding.

In addition, the collection of fabled Brooklyn Dodgers outfielder Cookie Lavagetto, whose pinch-hit double broke up Bill Bevins’ no-hitter in Game 4 of the 1947 World Series against the Yankees, goes on the block in a consignment by his son Ernie Lavagetto. That collection includes: Lavagetto’s Game Used Glove, Circa 1940’s, possibly used in ’47 WS; his 1948 Oakland Acorns Pacific Coast League Championship Ring; his personally owned Brooklyn Dodgers Team Signed Baseball with Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, and others; and a Dwight D. Eisenhower single signed baseball.

2017 Topps® Baseball Series 2 Releases with Autographs, Relic Cards and Ultra-Hot Rookie Cards

With the 2017 Major League Baseball season heating up, The Topps Company, the exclusive trading card partner of MLB, is thrilled to release 2017 Topps® Baseball Series 2, the continuation of its MLB flagship brand – which hits shelves today.

Topps Baseball Series 2 includes cards of top stars, incredible achievements and collectible rookies, including Kris Bryant, Carlos Correa, Bryce Harper, Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and New York Yankees sensational rookie Aaron Judge throughout the base, insert, autographed and relic cards. It also continues the popular Ultimate Card Giveaway where original cards from throughout Topps’ 66-year history will be randomly inserted into Series 2 packs.

“The release of one of our flagship products is always an exciting time at Topps,” said Clay Luraschi, Topps Vice President of Product Development. “We get to honor all that makes baseball great with a nod to its history while also celebrating its upcoming stars.”

The new release also includes a celebration of the Midsummer Classic with a look at past Home Run Derby champions, All-Time All-Stars and All-Star Most Valuable Players, including the likes of Cal Ripken Jr., Ken Griffey Jr., Ichiro Suzuki, Pedro Martinez, Derek Jeter and more.

There is also a look back at the 1987 Topps Baseball design, continuing a 30-year anniversary celebration that began in 2017 Topps Baseball Series 1, with the Rookie and All-Star edition. This special 100-card subset features Aaron Judge, David Ortiz, Clayton Kershaw, Sandy Koufax, Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi and other top current and retired stars.

In addition, baseball fans will get a chance to continue their chase of the MLB Network Collection with the next 10 cards in the 29-card set. Rare autographed cards are also available of the MLB Network personalities, former players-turned-analysts Eric Byrnes, Mark DeRosa, Carlos Peña and Bill Ripken, as well as including those of Bob Costas, Brian Kenny, Peter Gammons and more.

“The inserts in Topps Baseball showcase a great collection of what baseball stands for — the history and tradition and evolution of the sport,” Luraschi said. “There are so many unique cards offered in Topps Baseball Series 2, including autographed cards, cards on different technologies such as clear plastic, and rare cards that baseball fans can’t find anywhere else.”

The popular First Pitch insert set returns with another 20 subjects depicting newsworthy moments of notable people throwing out the first pitch before an MLB game.

2017 Topps Baseball Series 2 not only includes the final 350 base cards to this year’s flagship set, but baseball fans can also find autographs and memorabilia cards in random packs. These special cards give collectors a chance to own a piece of the game.

Pick up packs of 2017 Topps Baseball Series 2 in local hobby shops, Walmart, Target, Topps.com and other retailers.

Judge Rules Topps NOW… Again

The Yankees rookie sensation Aaron Judge continues to not just hit mammoth home runs, he is dominating the interest by fans in the card business as well. Topps NOW, the venture between Topps and MLB to provide the best images on cards almost in real time, today featured Judge and his mammoth 495-foot home run against the Baltimore Orioles, giving him 11 cards already this season, far ahead of the Dodgers Cody Bellinger (5) and Washington Nationals Bryce Harper (4).

Last season’s most offered cards were David Ortiz with 15 and the Cubs Kris Bryant (13), easily putting Judge on track to pass those to stars later this season (The Yankees best last year was Gary Sanchez, who had 11 cards). In addition to the top selling set of Chicago Cubs World Series cards, Ichiro Suzuki’s 3,000th hit, Bartolo Colon’s home run the day before Mother’s Day, and Ortiz’s final game at Fenway Park have been top sellers.

The latest Judge card is available on Topps.com for 24 hours and fans can order as many as they like. The platform is fast approaching one million cards sold in less than a season and a half.

Leiter, Stengel Among Irish Baseball HOF Inductees Tuesday

The Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame (IAB HOF) today announced the names of its 2017 inductees, who include accomplished former players, one of baseball’s greatest managers, and two current broadcasters.

The induction ceremony will take place on Tuesday, June 13, at Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (18 W. 33rd St.), which houses the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame. Voters include past inductees and a distinguished panel of baseball historians.

Current and Former Players

  • Al Leiter: A longtime player for the New York Mets (1998-2004) and Yankees (1987-89; 2005), Leiter was a three-time World Series champion and a two-time All-Star. He now serves as a commentator for YES Network and MLB Network.

Broadcasters

  • Pat Hughes: The play-by-play voice of the Chicago Cubs Radio Network since 1996, Hughes broadcasted the Cubs’ historic World Series victory in 2016.

Hall of Famers/Legends

  • Casey Stengel: An eight-time World Series Champion (one as a player, seven as Yankees manager), Stengel was named to the MLB All-Time Team in 1997. He also famously managed the 1962 Mets and wore the uniform of all four New York pro teams. In 1966, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
  • The O’Neill Brothers: Four O’Neill brothers — Mike, Jack, Steve and Jim — from Connemara, Ireland, played in the Major Leagues. Steve hit .333 in the 1920 World Series, won a title as the manager of the 1945 Detroit Tigers, and never had a losing season in 20 years of managing. Mike played six years for the Cardinals and Reds and was the first 20th century NL pitcher to hit a Grand Slam. Jack played five years as a catcher with the Cardinals and gave signals to his brother, Mike, as Gaeilge (in Gaelic). Jim played shortstop for the Washington Senators in 1920 and 1923.

“This year’s ballot includes a popular modern player, four Irish-born Major League brothers, an award-winning radio announcer, and ‘Baseball’s Greatest Character’, Casey Stengel,” said Shaun Clancy, owner of Foley’s, which features one of the country’s most extensive public displays of baseball memorabilia.

The IAB HOF will also present its Pete Caldera-Duke Castiglione “I Didn’t Know He Was Irish” Award, given to an honoree whose Irish roots are not widely known. This year’s honoree is Mike Siano of MLB.com.

Foley’s created the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame to recognize players, managers, executives, journalists, and entertainers of Irish descent. Inductees are chosen based on a combination of factors: impact on the game, popularity on and off the field, contributions to society, connections to the Irish community, and, of course, ancestry.

The game of baseball has welcomed immigrants from its earliest days, when an estimated 30 percent of players claimed Irish heritage. Many of the game’s biggest stars at the turn of the 20th century were Irish immigrants or their descendants. Some of them included Michael “King” Kelly, Roger Connor (the home run king before Babe Ruth), Eddie Collins, Big Ed Walsh and managers Connie Mack and John McGraw. Today, major league teams regularly sign players born in Latin America, Japan, Canada, and elsewhere.

Shaun Clancy created the Hall after learning about the rich heritage of Irish Americans during the sport’s infancy. He decided to celebrate his roots and those who helped make the game great by creating a shrine to Irish Americans in baseball in 2008.

Baseball Stirs Colorful Memories for Wounded Warrior Project Veterans

The Tampa Bay Rays-Miami Marlins baseball game was a relaxed setting where Wounded Warrior Project veterans and their families shared experiences, created new memories, and learned about how WWP programs can heal their bodies and minds. (PRNewsfoto/Wounded Warrior Project)

As Mike Jernigan emerged through a portal from one of the darkened hallways onto Tropicana Field, his senses were aroused by a mix of lasting baseball memories and eruption of bright colors.

“You never forget the colors of green grass, red clay, and white lines,” the Marine Corps veteran said.

Although blinded by an improvised explosive device 13 years ago during combat, Mike said a recent Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) outing to a Tampa Bay Rays-Miami Marlins game allowed him to relive some of the best moments of his life – including the vivid colors.

“I was sighted for 25 years, so I still remember everything in color,” he said. “They are just as bright now as they used to be.”

WWP program events like this give wounded warriors an opportunity to experience firsthand what is possible at social gatherings that get them out of the house and connect them with fellow service members and their communities.

“Going to see the Rays helped me get out of the house and be with other warriors,” Mike said. “Sometimes you can be a little isolated, and you lose connection. Wounded Warrior Project brings us all back together.”

The ball game was a relaxed setting where veterans and their families shared experiences, created new memories, and learned about how WWP programs can heal their bodies and minds.

Attending the game and connecting with fellow warriors became another important – and necessary – step in the healing process for Army veteran William Pontes.

“During my first tour, I made three silent promises to myself while I was sitting on the roof of an old Iraqi building,” William said. “One of them was to see more baseball. When I got home, I realized large crowds made it nearly impossible to see the game I love. Because of the programs and therapy I got from Wounded Warrior Project, I can enjoy ball games again.

“Wounded Warrior Project helped me get my life back – and fulfill the promises I made to myself.”

Mets Announcer Cohen, Yankees Superfan ‘Bald Vinny’ Get TOPPS Cards

Gary Cohen, longtime voice of the Mets, and “Bald VinnyMilano, the head of the “Bleacher Creatures” at Yankee Stadium, will adorn new TOPPS card as part of a special set which goes on sale on Wednesday.

Cohen, a Queens native, has served as the play-by-play-announcer for all regular-season SNY produced Mets telecasts since 2006. He also participates on SNY’s sports and entertainment programs and is a contributor to the network’s website, www.sny.tv.

Milano, a lifelong Yankee fan, found his home in Section 39 (Row B, Seat 18) in 1998 and has averaged 75 Yankee games per season since. The Bleacher Creatures are known for their strict allegiance to the team and their merciless attitude to opposing fans.

The “Topps Archives Baseball” set also includes media standouts Peter Gammons, Joe Castiglione and Ken Rosenthal, featuring designs from throughout Topps’ history including 1959, 1969, 1982, 1992 and more.

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.