Pitchers and catchers, with 12 days until they report, may have begun to think about packing. But it's midseason for baseball cards.
Collectors can add Upper Deck, Pinnacle and Fleer Series 2 to their score cards.
Score is bringing its mid-priced Pinnacle line back for a second season. The first series, 310 cards, will be available this month and the second series in June.
Preview cards have strong action shots from games of players as you think of them -- Deion Sanders running the bases, John Kruk getting ready to make contact, Cal Eldred coming over the top. The color scheme is still basic black, and subsets and insert sets abound.
The popular subset, Team Pinnacle, with paintings by Christopher Greco, is back and will be replaced by Rookie Team Pinnacle in Series II. Each of the 10 cards features the top player at his position in the National League and his American League counterpart on the other side. Among the other subsets are Hometown Heroes -- 12 players, including the Orioles' Cal Ripken, who play for their hometown team -- and Now & Then (rookie and current photographs of 15 players, including Robin Yount and Nolan Ryan). Player cards of those taken in the expansion draft will be portraits, but expansion player cards in Series II will feature game action.
Pinnacle comes in 15-card packs and 27-card packs. There is also a 30-card Team 2001 subset, randomly inserted in large packs, featuring players expected to be stars in that year.
Upper Deck's Series I has something new: a nine-card lithogram insert set called Then & Now. It features major-leaguers with at least 10 years' experience, including Ripken, shown in a current hologram pose against a backdrop of his team's city plus his rookie-year photo. Ryne Sandberg's rookie photo shows him in a Phillies uniform, a trading-card first.
Other insert sets in the 420-card set feature Willie Mays, a return of the Homerun Heroes and Triple Crown contenders. Series I appeared last month, and Series II will be out in May.
Fleer's first second series will be available this month. There are 360 cards plus insert sets. Notables in this series are Ripken, Ryan, Greg Maddux and Rafael Palmeiro.
Orioles fans will find Harold Baines in an Oakland uniform and Harold Reynolds shown as a Seattle Mariner. Sam Horn, Bob Milacki, Joe Orsulak and Bill Ripken are making their final appearances in Orioles uniforms. Don't look at this as an update set because most free agents are shown with last season's team.
The Tom Glavine insert set returns. According to Fleer, a production error resulted in different backs on eight of the 12 cards from Series I wax packs. Card Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9 and 10 differ from those in rack and magazine packs. All auto graphed versions are correct as well. Fleer says it will not correct the Series I cards but will insert correct versions of the cards in Series II packs.
More gold from Topps
For its 1993 baseball cards, Topps has a new design, better paper and color photos on the back. Gold-foil cards, which Topps has inserted since last baseball season, are back, one to each 14-card pack. There is also a 44-card, specially numbered set called ToppsBlackGold. Photos are set on a black background. Collectors might get a ToppsBlackGold card or a card redeemable for ToppsBlackGold cards instead of the regular gold-foil card.
Upper Deck salutes the NBA's All-Star weekend with a 40-card boxed set available only to hobby dealers and at the All-Star weekend card show. Cards are borderless, coated and have silver-foil highlights. The set features perennial all-stars of the past and present, hot new stars and five great moments in All-Star history.
Through Oct. 31, exhibit on Rex Barney's 50-year sports career with memorabilia from his Brooklyn Dodgers days, Babe Ruth Museum, (410) 727-1539.
Saturday, card show to benefit Babe Ruth Museum (expected signers are members of the 1983 Orioles world-championship team), Oriole Park at Camden Yards, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 727-1539.
Saturday, card show to benefit Our Lady of Victory basketball program, Our Lady of Victory School hall (4416 Wilkens Ave.), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 242-6814.
Feb. 20, card show to benefit North East Elementary School PTA, North East Fire Hall (Mauldin Avenue), 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 287-3954 or (410) 287-6067.
Feb. 21, card show to benefit Essex Girl Scout Troop 561, Essex Elks Lodge No. 1866 (1007 E. Hamburg Ave.), 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., (410) 780-3037.
Feb. 27, card show to benefit PTSO, Bates Middle School (701 Chase Ave., Annapolis), 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., (410) 268-4309 or (410) 266-8015.
Card of the Week
Action Packed is back with another All-Madden team. The 55-card set includes a card featuring the Madden Cruiser and its drivers. Mike Singletary makes his final All-Madden appearance. Foil packs of seven were shipped late last month, and sets will be shipped next week.