Remaining '94 card sets on schedule despite strike

MEMORABILIA

August 21, 1994|By Ruth Sadler | Ruth Sadler,Sun Staff Writer

Major-league baseball players are on strike, but, for collectors, the season continues.

The baseball card calendar still has entries for the 1994 season, and the manufacturers say these cards will be out on schedule.

Donruss' Studio comes out this month, and a new high-end card, Leaf Limited, makes its debut in September. Fleer's remaining baseball sets are super-sized Extra Bases (this month), Fleer update (September) and Flair's second series (September). For Pinnacle, the remaining sets are rookie and traded sets for Score September) and Sportflics (November). In September, Topps will have Topps traded and the debut of Bowman's Best. Upper Deck will wrap up 1994 with SP (this month), American Epic campanion cards to the Ken Burns "Baseball" documentary (September), All-Time Heroes (September) and Top 10 holograms (October).

Work has begun on 1995 cards, the first of which will appear during the holiday shopping period.

Donruss' Vince Nauss says the biggest challenge in producing the 1995s would be if the strike ends in time to play the last two weeks of the season. Card companies, he reasons, would be scrambling to photograph the September call-ups who would be eligible to appear on '95 cards. Donruss' first cards will be shipped in late January.

According to Rich Bradley, Upper Deck cards are on a 40-week schedule. Collector's Choice, scheduled for November, "is in the works. . . . The key thing is they're going to have the complete '94 stats," says Bradley. And they can't do the card backs until the season is declared final.

Topps considered the possibility of a work stoppage when it began preparing for its 1995 cards.

"Topps had a lot of extra photographers," says Bob Ibach. "We had them shoot a little more in depth [in spring training]" to get many of the players who might be called up.

Fleer plans two sets for December: Fleer and Excel, a minor-league set. Marketing director Ray Abrahamsen says: "We have a management group that is devising contingency plans [if the strike isn't settled]. . . . Right now [1995 cards are] part of our current plan."

"We are going ahead full steam," says Marty Cramer, director of operations at Pacific, whose first series of '95s will be shipped in January. "We paid extra attention to the rookies in spring training."

Nauss and Abrahamsen wonder about collectors.

"I think the biggest challenge is if the strike lasts and wipes out the World Series," Nauss says. "Then it starts to have an effect on sales."

Football by the book

NFL Properties and Marvel Comics have developed an eight-page comic book guide to collecting football cards, "The Ultimate Trading Card." It features nine members of the Quarterback Club and a group of young fans (racially mixed, all male). The comics will be available in Marvel comics and September issues of Boy's Life, 3-2-1 Contact and Tuff Stuff.

Bigger packaging

Action Packed is putting its cards in a bigger package. The company says one reason is that the 4-by-5 pack will be more difficult for thieves to hide. The front panels feature one of six cards (members of the Quarterback Club), and the cards are protected in a recessed tray.

Coming events

Saturday, card show and auction, Arbutus Volunteer Fire Hall (5200 Southwestern Blvd.), 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (expected guest is the Green Ranger), (410) 437-9927.

Friday-Sept. 9, silent auction of autographed shoes to benefit the South Baltimore Homeless Shelter (shoes include those from Cal Ripken, Jim Palmer, Don Mattingly, Mike Devereaux, Dave Winfield, Dan Jansen, Ruben Sierra and John Unitas), Hess Shoes, Towson Town Center. Catalogs available at all Hess stores. (410) 243-3790.

CARD OF THE WEEK

Classic's 1994 minor-league set includes three players who have played their first games in the major leagues this season: the Mariners' Alex Rodriguez (shown), the Mets' Jason Jacome and the Astros' Orlando Miller. There are 200 cards, as well as inserts and autographed cards.

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