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SPORTS COLLECTIBLES: Signed baseball 'common'

by BABE WAXPAK Scripps Howard News Service on April 21, 2013 1:20 AM

Dear Babe: In 1989 when I was 15, my dad and I went to an Oakland A’s game with Rick Bosetti, the former major league outfielder. Rick was able to get us into the dugout and on the field before the game during batting practice. We talked to several players, but were not allowed to get autographs. Just before we left the field for our seats, Dave McKay, then the third base coach, yelled out to me, “Hey, kid,” tossing a ball to me. There are 30 autographs. Some of the more notable players were Carney Lansford, Dave Parker, Dennis Eckersley, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Tony La Russa, Terry Steinbeck, Dave McKay, Rick Honeycutt, Rickey Henderson and Greg Cadaret. It is in very good condition — in a plastic case for years.

— Ryan Barry, Redding, Calif.

Who can forget the World Series of 1989, which was interrupted by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit the San Francisco Bay area?

The A’s were in the middle of three-year run of American League titles, but 1989 was the only time they were able to win it all. The Loma Prieta quake occurred during the televised warm-up practice for the third game of the Series between the A’s and the San Francisco Giants.

Of course, some of the luster has worn off that A’s team’s legacy because two of its starters, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco — the Bash Brothers — have been tainted by steroid revelations.

These kinds of balls are “quite common,” said Mike Gutierrez, consignment director for Heritage Auctions (www.ha.com). “The value is anywhere between $350 and $700, depending on who needs one at the time it’s offered.”

o o o

Dear Babe: I have a couple of cards signed by former Giants Rod Beck and Matt Williams. The Beck card is a 1995 Upper Deck card No. 86. Williams signed a 1990 Mother’s Cookies card.

— C. R., Palo Cedro, Calif.

Signed cards that aren’t certified by a card manufacturer have little value.

Beck died in 2007 at age 39. Often when a player or former player dies young there’s a premium for his autograph, but that doesn’t appear to the case with Beck.

Da Babe says a buck or two for each one — if you can find a buyer.

o o o

BABE NOTE: Taco Bell Panini cards are now available. A five-card pack comes with the purchase of a kids’ meal at participating restaurants.

The 150-card set includes updated photos of many players in new jerseys as well as “Rated Rookie” logos on top of first-year player’s cards.

The updated photography for several star players whose offseason team changes were not captured in the mainstream 2012-13 NBA Hoops release includes Ray Allen (Miami Heat), Steve Nash and Dwight Howard (Los Angeles Lakers), Joe Johnson (Brooklyn Nets), Jason Kidd (New York Knicks), Andrew Bynum (Philadelphia 76ers), Landry Fields (Toronto Raptors), Jeremy Lin (Houston Rockets) and Andre Iguodala (Denver Nuggets). The promotion runs until May 22 or while supplies last.

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