Hobby Gone Hollywood: Baseball Cards of Baseball Movies
The Bad News Bears cards in 2013 Panini Golden Age and Major League cards in 2014 Topps Archives have proven that baseball cards of baseball movies can create a lot of buzz. You'd think there'd be lots out there that are similar. But that's not the case.
Relatively few baseball movies have cards. And those that do, most are promos and premiums that can be tough to find.
With that in mind, here's a list of baseball movie cards collectors can hunt down. We cheated a little and included some additional cards from a baseball-themed TV show and even a Broadway play.
This card came as a part of a sheet in an issue of Topps Magazine. It doesn't cost much, although it doesn't show up on its own very often. The edges are perforated, so be careful to check for condition if that's a concern.
Although not an official Babe trading card, it's pretty obvious that Upper Deck is touching at the bio-pic. It's also one of the most valuable entertainment autographs to appear in a baseball card product. Expect to pay several hundred dollars to add one to your collection -- if you can find it.
Babe Comes Home
Babe Comes Home is a seldom-seen baseball film from 1927. Its not just the age that has sent it into obscurity. It's not the most exciting movie. Breygent used the attractive poster as the basis for a memorabilia card than includes a piece of a brick from Yankee Stadium.
Babe Ruth (TV)
Topps produced a set of 11 cards in conjunction with this made-for-TV movie. The promo cards use the same design as the base 1991 Topps Baseball set. Although the movie is overlooked, there are a couple of significant things to note about this set. The first is Rod Carew's Zubaz fashions. Because it's not connected to MLB, it also includes a card of a post-ban Pete Rose who appeared as Ty Cobb in the film.
Babe Ruth Story
This set, which is based on the life of the legendary slugger, has 28 cards. While Ruth appears on several of the cards, the focus is more on William Bendix, Ruth's on-screen alter ego. This extends to an offer where collectors could send away for an autographed Bendix photo. As you'd expect, cards with Babe Ruth command a significant premium.
Bad News Bears
Panini went all-in for its Bad News Bears cards in 2013 Panini Golden Age Baseball. It starts with six cards in the base set: Jackie Earle Haley (Kelly Leak), Tatum O'Neal (Amanda Whurlitzer), David Stambaugh (Toby Whitewood), David Pollack (Rudi Stein), Gary Lee Cavagnaro (Engelberg) and Erin Blunt (Ahmad Abdul Rahim). Because they are part of the main set, each has several mini card versions as well.
All six also signed autographs for the set. Finally, Haley and O'Neal can be found on a couple of the set's inserts.
This is an over-sized set of four cards that came polybagged with a packet of Gatorade powder. Crash Davis, Ebby Calvin "Nuke" Laloosh, Annie and Millie are all included in the set. Cards have red and blue outer borders and come with two character images.
So it's not an official Bull Durham card, but it might as well be. Star included Kevin Costner into both of their 1988 (red border) and 1989 (orange and blue border) Durham Bulls team set. They also squeezed the Oscar winner into a 21-card manager-focused set (gold border). A final 1988 late-issue card has a blue border.
Perhaps no movie has appeared on more promo sets than Bull Durham. And yet, none of them are very extensive. This six-card set was produced, presumably, to promote its release on home video. Besides a card of the poster art, there are cards dedicated to Crash Davis, Ebby Calvin "Nuke" Laloosh, Annie Savoy, Millie and Max Patkin. Card backs have write-ups about the players including quotes.
This set is for the Broadway production, not the 1958 movie. It came in pack form with each housing the entire 20-card set. There's also a promo card with Jerry Lewis that's number 21.
Eastbound & Down
To help promote the debut of Eastbound & Down, HBO produced a pack of five cards (and a piece of gum) featuring the show's lead, Kenny Powers. Collectors might find some familiarity in the cards as they closely resemble Topps and Bowman designs. This set remains quite popular and available today.
Eight Men Out
Whether you're a fan of the film or the history surround the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, this is a fantastic set. It blends fact and fiction, combining elements from both the movie and the events it covered. It's notable for being a rare release licensed by MLB to have "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. Many collectors have also taken to it for having the first Charlie Sheen and John Cusack cards. 1988 Pacific Eight Men Out can be found in both box and factory set formats.
This isn't officially an Eight Men Out card, but the artwork clearly shows the actor as in his role from the film.
Hustle is an already forgotten Pete Rose made-for-TV bio-pic starring Tom Sizemore. ESPN created a promo card for the film that features the movie's art. The back is designed like a traditional baseball card back but acts as an ad for the date and time of the premiere. This card shows up very infrequently.
Similar to his Eight Men Out card, Leaf has a second autograph card of Charlie Sheen in the set, this time with a striking resemblance to Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn. It's not an official Major League card, but it's still notable.
2014 Topps Archives Baseball has the first readily available cards from Major League. Fully licensed, the set has four inserts, five autographs and lots of parallels. Very popular at the set's release, signers include Sheen, Corbin Bernsen and Tom Berenger. You can see all the cards in the set here.
2014 Topps Major League 25th Anniversary Over-Sized Cards
Released shortly after the Topps Archives inserts, this set of jumbo cards was originally available exclusively through the Topps website. It reprints the five Archives cards (minus the autographs) and includes a sixth of Jobu. They also come in a wax wrapper. Full details on the set are here.
The Natural has had many DVD releases over the years. The 2007 Director's Cut included a gift set that came with lots of swag including a ball and a cap. For card collectors, it also has the only licensed cards from the movie. It's a five-card set that includes Roy Hobbs, Pop Fisher, a 1939 New York Knights Team Photo, Hobbs on the cover of Life Magazine and a Max Mercy Classics comic. The gift set was originally a Best Buy exclusive and is now out of print.
An unlicensed card from The Natural has been making the rounds for years. It's a copy of a Roy Hobbs card shown in the film. It might not be worth anything, but it is a neat piece nonetheless.
This is another set of promo cards that you got by buying the movie. Packaged with the 20th Anniversary Blu-ray, The Sandlot set has eight cards featuring different characters from the movie. A full set comes with the movie. You can get full details on the set here.
This is a basic promo card designed to promote the comedy at the time of its theatrical release. It was likely handed out at theaters. The front recreates the poster with Bernie Mac as the focal point. The back has detailed stats for his character, Stan Ross.
Outside of the Donruss Magnum P.I. set from back in the day, Tom Selleck hasn't appeared on many trading cards. Sorry Quigley Down Under fans. However, there is one very notable exception, a Mr. Baseball short print from 1992 Upper Deck High Series Baseball. Not only does it have Selleck, but there's a young Frank Thomas in pinstripes. Although popular at the time of release, it can be found for a couple of dollars today.
The Pride of the Yankees
The Pride of the Yankees is used for three affordable Babe Ruth relics in 2009 Breygent Classic Movie Posters. One is a traditional card with a small bat sliver. A second has both a both piece of bat and a small bit of Yankee Stadium brick. The third is an over-sized card with a bat piece.
This card comes with single- (Gary Cooper) and dual- (Gary Cooper and Teresa Wright) swatch versions. There's also a rare Triple Materials card numbered to 15 that adds Babe Ruth to the mix. None of the cards have memorabilia from the actual movie. Rather, they're from items worn by the actor. No matter where the pieces come from, the front has a nice image of the poster. The swatches are side-by-side on the back.
The Slugger's Wife
Today, The Slugger's Wife is largely forgotten. However, Topps produced a card of the main character from the film, Darryl Palmer, that has surfaced on the secondary market. It's extremely tough to find and considered one of the gems as far as baseball movie cards.
Did we miss some cards or a movie? Please let us know so that we can add it. Also, which baseball movies or shows would you like to see cards of?
2009 HBO KENNY POWERS EASTBOUND AND DOWN CARD #19
2009 HBO KENNY POWERS EASTBOUND AND DOWN CARD #00
2009 HBO KENNY POWERS EASTBOUND AND DOWN CARD #12 BOSTON RED SOX
2014 Topps Archives Major League #MLC-RV Ricky Vaughn