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Panini America Inks Trading Card Deal with CMG Worldwide, Gains Access to Legends

by Tracy Hackler

Panini America, the world's largest sports and entertainment collectibles company, announced today that it has inked a trading card agreement with CMG Worldwide.

The deal, effective immediately, gives Panini America rights to incorporate 12 of CMG Worldwide's most legendary baseball names in its newly licensed Major League Baseball Players Association products including: Jackie Robinson, Jimmie Foxx, Johnny Mize, Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott, Rogers Hornsby, Roy Campanella, Thurman Munson, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Shoeless Joe Jackson and Jim Thorpe.

That legendary list of players will be featured in several of Panini America's future baseball card sets, beginning with 2011 Panini Prime Cuts available in March at hobby shops nationwide.

"We are truly excited to partner with CMG Worldwide on a deal that will significantly strengthen our baseball product roster by giving us access to some of the greatest players in baseball history," said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop. "Utilizing our unrivaled expertise in the areas of innovation and collectibility, we'll show these all-time greats to fans and collectors in a whole new light."

Added Phillip Korkis, CMG Worldwide's Director of Sports Licensing & Legal Counsel: "We have the pleasure of representing some of the greatest players in baseball history - it was a natural fit to work with one of the global leaders in the trading card industry, Panini America. Panini has an innovative and exciting product vision and we are looking forward to having our clients be a part of that."

In September, Panini America acquired a trading card license from the Major League Baseball Players Association to become the only company in the world that manufactures licensed trading cards and stickers for the NBA, NFL, NFL PLAYERS, NHL, NHLPA, MLBPA and FIFA World Cup. The company also owns exclusive entertainment licenses with Disney, Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson, and more than 600 global licenses with other sports and entertainment properties.

Panini America became the exclusive trading card partner of the NBA beginning with the 2009-10 season. The Panini Group purchased the industry's second-oldest trading-card company, Donruss, in March 2009 and formed the new subsidiary, Panini America, Inc. Since that time, Panini has taken significant steps to fortify its leadership position in the sports and entertainment collectibles arena.



One of the nation’s largest online auctions of highly prized sports memorabilia and cards is underway.

The SCP Auction is featuring valuable items from many CMG legends like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Roy Campanella, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, Knute Rockne, Jim Thorpe, and Honus Wagner.

Some of the coveted items include: a flawlessly penned single-signed Babe Ruth baseball; a bat used by the "Georgia Peach" himself, Ty Cobb; a very rare bat used by Walter Johnson; an exceptional 1952 World Series bat used by Roy Campanella; a very rare key card from the 1910 Ju Ju Drum Candy issue, featuring Ty Cobb; an exquisite Lou Gehrig 1930s autographed photograph by George Burke; an eye appealing rookie card of legendary Brooklyn Dodger Hall of Famer, Jackie Robinson; a Notre Dame football signed by legendary coach, Knute Rockne; a beautiful Jim Thorpe trading card from the 1955 Topps All American football series; and a signed check by Honus Wagner.

The SCP Auction will run Thursday February 4th. To learn more about the auction and to bid on some of the most desirable sports memorabilia click here.


Walter Johnson’s Single Signed Ball Attributed to the “Last Out” of the 1924 World to be Auctioned Off

On Tuesday, June 5, 2007, Sotheby’s and SCP Auctions will offer three unprecedented single-owner collections: The Estate of New York Baseball Legend Casey Stengel, The Collection of Mitsuhiko Fujita featuring memorabilia from the 1934 Tour of Japan and the finest private collection of Hall of Fame basketball jerseys ever to come up for auction. Included in the auction is the baseball attributed to the last out of the 1924 World Series.

To this day, the seven-game World Series victory of Walter Johnson’s Washington Senators over the powerhouse New York Giants in 1924 represents the pinnacle of baseball in the Capital City. This baseball is attributed as the ball that was used for the last out of the seventh and deciding game of that historic “Fall Classic” played in Griffith Stadium. It marks the Senators first and only World Championship. It has been consigned by Walter Johnson’s grandson, and was passed down to him by his mother, Johnson’s daughter.

Before the 1924 season, Johnson announced that he would be winding down after 17 years as the major league’s premier pitcher. At the age of 37, the “Big Train’s” engine was finally slowing. Despite routinely winning more than 20 games and leading the league in strikeouts and ERA throughout his career, the Senators could only manage to win 90 games twice, and finished within 10 games of the pennant only twice.

In 1923, under manager Donie Bush, the Senators couldn’t even break .500, going 75-78 despite Johnson’s 17-12 record. So, no one, least of all Washington’s long suffering fans, thought that the Senators could even compete for the 1924 American League pennant - particularly with Ruth’s defending champion Yankees and Cobb’s Detroit Tigers playing tough ball. However, Washington’s owner, Clark Griffith, named 28-year old second baseman Bucky Harris as the fourth Senators manager in four years.

“I liked Harris’ cockiness,” Griffith said. “He told me he thought he knew as much baseball 'as that old buzzard (John) McGraw,' even if it was his first year as a manager.”

Infused by Harris’ confidence and Johnson’s turn-back-time season where he once again won the pitcher’s Triple Crown award, the Senators found themselves still in the race in September of 1924. Shocking all of baseball, they swept the Yanks in a late series to win their first ever pennant by two games, with a 92-62 record.

Posting a 23-7 record, Johnson was unquestionably the year’s most dominant pitcher. He was also the sentimental favorite entering the World Series, prompting Will Rogers to devote an entire newspaper column to the nation’s love affair with the “Big Train.” It was simply entitled, “Everyone’s Pulling for Walter.”

However, it appeared that fate would deliver a cruel blow to the hopes of millions when McGraw’s Giants, winners of four straight pennants and two World Series, sent Johnson down to defeat in his first two Series starts. But the Washington club fought back to tie the series, setting the stage for a seventh and deciding game on October 10, 1924. President Coolidge was just one attendee in a packed house of 31,000 that would see one of the greatest games in baseball history.

In a dramatic twist no novelist would ever dare try to put over, the final game went into the ninth inning tied and the Senators were out of available pitchers. The tense crowd roared in disbelief upon seeing Johnson, their greatest star for two decades, stroll to the mound. The “Big Train” promptly revved up his engines and held the Giants’ powerful lineup in check for four nerve wracking innings. Finally, in the bottom of the 12th, Nats catcher Muddy Ruel slapped a single with one out. Up next, Johnson himself hit a single as well. With runners on first and second, Senators rookie Earl McNeeley (who had batted .330 in 43 regular season games) stepped up to the plate. McNeely hit a grounder that caromed off a pebble right over the leaping arms of third baseman Freddie Lindstrom and into left field. Ruel, Washington’s slowest runner, somehow lumbered around third and scored the winning run. Washington won their one and only World Series.

Even Walter Johnson could not contain himself, failing to hold back tears on the field amidst the celebration that ensued. The following day the Nats were greeted with a hero's parade down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House where they were hailed by President Coolidge and 100,000 ecstatic fans.

This ball is signed by Johnson on the sweet spot and notated “World Series 1924” in his hand as well. It is further distinguished by an “X” mark on a side panel. According to Johnson’s heirs, the “X” was added as a means to unmistakably distinguish this ball from any other. This keepsake, one of only three balls personally saved by the Washington Senators pitcher, is being offered for the very first time. As though the historical importance and lineage of this treasure were not enough, the vigor of Johnson’s handwriting upon it gives it a presentation quality that is beyond reproach. In addition to authenticating the penmanship, PSA/DNA has assigned the writing a grade of 9.

Visit www.scpauctions.com for more information.


CMG Worldwide Baseball Legends Featured in Traveling Cooperstown Exhibit

When the Clark Foundation dedicated the National Baseball Hall of Fame on June 12, 1939, organizers put their faith on the museum increasing tourism to the village of Cooperstown ? a village doubly damaged by the great Depression, which decimated the local tourist trade, and Prohibition, which destroyed the local hops industry.

More than 65 years later, the National Baseball Hall of Fame stands as more than just a museum. For hundreds of millions of baseball fans it has become the destination ? a living and breathing shrine dedicated to the gods of baseball. And while the story of Abner Doubleday inventing the game of baseball in Cooperstown is far from being true, the village has become an international hot spot for both the baseball purist and the casual fan.

Residents can thank the likes of Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson for increasing the traffic flow to the city, whose present-day population is less than 3,000 people. These giants of the diamond helped transform the game from a mere recreational sport to a national pastime celebrated for representing the very best qualities of the human condition. It?s because of their contributions to the game that these players became baseball?s first Hall of Fame inductees in 1936.

Today, visitors to the museum can bear witness to some of the game?s most storied and treasured items. The items speak softly, but they tell the tales of the men (and women) who throughout the games history shed their own blood, sweat and tears simply to bask in an ounce of baseball glory.

Sadly, not all baseball fans are able to make the trek to upstate New York to visit the museum. With that in mind, in March of 2002 the National Baseball Hall of Fame decided to hit the road for a four-year, cross-country excursion. Think of it as Cooperstown on wheels.

?Baseball As America,? the Hall of Fame touring show that has been on the road for more than three years now, sends chills of delight down the spines of baseball fans who can?t afford or don?t have the time to make the actual trip to Cooperstown.

Organized into seven awe-inspiring themes ? which range from ?Our National Spirit? to ?Weaving Myths? ? the exhibit showcases some of the games most prized possessions.

There?s Jackie Robinson?s 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers jersey, the record-setting bats used by Babe Ruth, a time-tested glove used by Walter Johnson and a ball used during Don Larsen?s perfect game in the 1956 World Series. Even Norman Rockwell has a home in this exhibit, as his paintings depicting umpires on a rainy day have been included in the mix. The granddaddy of them all however, is the T206 Honus Wagner, 1909 baseball card. The cards estimated value? A whopping $1.26 million.

Fans who want to witness what the exhibit has to offer need to hurry, however, as the show is on the final leg of its 10-city tour. Currently taking up residence at the Oakland Museum of California where it will stay until January of 2006, it heads to the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit for one final stop in March. After that, the exhibit makes the 500 mile journey back home to Cooperstown.