Last year, Cal Ripken's breaking Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games generated a plethora of collectibles.
The "2131" hoopla is over, but there will still be a lot for Ripken's fans to collect in 1996.
"We've received a record number of proposals this off-season," says Ira Rainess of the Tufton Group, which handles Ripken's appearances and licensing. "Every company that distributes baseball collectibles wants to be licensed with Cal."
Rainess says most items won't be available until baseball season. Already out, in addition to baseball cards, is a set of prepaid telephone cards from Classic with long-distance values from $2 to $100.
This spring, fans can put Ripken in their wallets -- on a credit card.
It will be the first credit card featuring a player for MBNA Bank, which has issued cards with the logos of professional teams.
Rainess says the Orioles are planning several exclusive collectible offers that will be detailed next month. The price range will tend toward the high end.
Bradford Exchange, which did a 2131 commemorative plate, will have another plate this season.
There will also be a LeRoy Nieman for the walls of well-off collectors before the year is out.
"LeRoy Nieman contacted us," says Rainess. "I guess it's pretty flattering when he calls. . . . Usually people call him."
But the biggest collectibles action could take place in June, when Ripken could break the consecutive-games streak of former Japanese star Sachio Kinugasa.
"I've got a lot of stuff involving Sachio Kinugasa, and I don't know what to do with it," Rainess says. "We haven't licensed anything. . . . If Cal breaks his record in June, we'll review the proposals." Rainess says some items would also be marketed in Japan.
Fleer's Jerry Stackhouse insert set continues in Ultra Series Two. (The other cards featuring the Philadelphia 76ers rookie are in other Fleer NBA second series, and the set will conclude with two cards in Fleer 1996-97 Series One.) There are 150 basic cards and five other insert sets.
Stadium Club Hockey
Topps' Stadium Club Hockey returns this week with 225 basic cards and six insert sets.
Upper Deck with Magic
Upper Deck Basketball Series Two has 180 basic cards, including unretired Magic Johnson and rookie stars Joe Smith, Kevin Garnett, Damon Stoudamire and Ed O'Bannon. Two subsets feature celebrity fans talking about their NBA favorites and members of the U.S. men's Olympic team. There are also six insert sets, including the continuation of the Michael Jordan Collection, which is available throughout Upper Deck's basketball lines.
More Score baseball
Just in time for the exhibition season, Score's Series II baseball will be shipped in early March. There are 242 basic cards and four insert sets.
Through March 31, "The Faces of Baseball," exhibit featuringmore than 40 photographic portraits of baseball's most famous faces, Babe Ruth Museum, 216 Emory St., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,(410) 727-1539.
March 15-16, 15th annual Olympin Festival (Olympic pins), Olympic Complex, Lake Placid, N.Y.
March 29-31, "Senators of Griffith Stadium Reunion" card show (expected signers include Harmon Killebrew, Chuck Stobbs, Roy Sievers, Mickey Vernon and Jim Lemon), Essex Community College, March 29 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., March 30 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., March 31 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., (516) 676-3302.
Card of the week
Fleer brings its Metal line to hockey with a 200-card set. There are also four insert sets and an exchange card. (Shown is Jeremy Roenick on a sample card.)