Buzz has spent a lot of the off-season watching MLB Network because there’s plenty going on when it comes to transactions, baseball chatter and there’s always time for documentaries.
And there’s Intentional Talk, too.
But watching a lot of the Network also got Buzz wondering about autographs of many of the people on the air bringing the news to us. Many are former players who have certified autographs that were placed into packs of baseball cards — but there are some who have far fewer cards than others. Who might cost you the most between Billy Ripken, Kevin Millar, Sean Casey and Peter Gammons? It might be surprising — but the first challenge is to just find a signed card from some of them.
It’s surprising that a card company hasn’t attempted some type of card set focusing on the Network (signed or not). An unsigned set would immediately become a favorite of through-the-mail autograph seekers — and probably a good piece of marketing for MLB, too.
Keep reading for a rundown of the MLB Network roster when it comes to certified autos …
The Haves — You can find these MLB Network personalities on certified autographs that were placed into packs of baseball cards in the past.
Eric Byrnes — This 11-year MLB veteran has more than 50 different certified autos from sets made from 1999 to 2007. An affordable auto once you track one down.
Sean Casey — “The Mayor” played 12 seasons and appears on more than 2,500 different baseball cards. More than 400 of those include his autograph on them. You can find many of those signed cards for $10 or less.
Bob Costas — This broadcasting veteran has had a few card appearances through the years but just one came with an autograph. It was in the 2011 Topps American Pie non-sports set. It may cost you a few bucks if you can find one.
Ron Darling — A 13-year veteran who Buzz swears sounds like actor James Woods on the mic, he appears on more than 20 different certified autograph cards. All of them have come in recent years. He’ll cost you a little bit with the Mets ties and the lack of choices, but not too expensive.
Ryan Dempster — You’ll have to dig back to 1996 Bowman to find his only Rookie Card, but one of a handful of his autos might be tougher. His easiest autos came from Best (as a minor-leaguer) and Fleer as a big-leaguer. His 2001 Fleer Autographics cards might be easiest to find.
Cliff Floyd — This 17-year MLB veteran has more than 1,800 different baseball cards and more than 100 of them can be found with an autograph. Plenty to choose from here — and he’s even appeared as a signer in a few 2015 Topps releases. He’s an affordable one.
Peter Gammons — It’s been more than a decade since this Hall of Fame-honored journalist and broadcaster first appeared on cardboard. Nearly half of his cards are certified autos with Upper Deck, Donruss/Playoff, Panini America and Topps among the companies he signed for. Most of them from Upper Deck are quite rare, but others can be found.
Jim Kaat — His Rookie Card is from way back in 1960 Topps and he’s got nearly 300 different baseball card appearances since then. Of those, more than 50 are signed. He hasn’t signed for a card company since 2008 so they might cost a little more.
Al Leiter — What Buzz wants is both versions of his 1988 Topps Future Stars Rookie Card (one doesn’t show him) signed, but there are nearly 40 different certified autos out there for collectors to choose from. Until he signed for Topps some this year, it had been nearly a decade since his last autos.
Mike Lowell — He’s got more than 2,800 different cards and his autograph can be found on more than 300 of them, beginning back in 1998. He hasn’t had any autos from signings for companies since 2009.
Pedro Martinez — One of the pricier autos here comes from this Hall of Famer who appears on more than 9,000 different baseball cards. Around 750 of those are signed — the earliest are as an Expo in 1996, while Topps, Leaf and Panini all had ink from him this past year. There’s plenty to choose from here and costs will vary with release and scarcity.
Joe Magrane — This former Cardinals pitcher has just one autograph and it’s in 1996 Leaf Signature Series Extended.
Kevin Millar — He’s well-known as a member of the Boston Red Sox but he doesn’t have a whole lot of baseball cards — fewer than 250 total. Of those, about 30 come with an autograph attached. His first autos are in 2005 Topps Finest, while he’s been found most-often in Panini America products since 2013.
Dan O’Dowd — His only autograph is from the 2012 Topps Update General Manager Autographs set when he was GM of the Colorado Rockies. These retail-only cards weren’t easy to find and can be pricey in some instances.
Carlos Pena — He’s got more than 1,500 different cards and more than 100 different certified autographs. His 1999 Topps Traded auto is probably the best early one. Many of his cards are low-volume so some may sell for more than you might expect. Generally, they shouldn’t be too pricey.
Harold Reynolds — He’s been on TV as a player and a broadcaster for a long time, but he’s got fewer than 400 different baseball cards and fewer than 60 autographs. Those seem surprisingly low and would definitely be lower had Panini America not landed him for sets since 2013.
Billy Ripken — We all know he’s known for that one card (one of the most-famous baseball cards in history), but a tougher find is a certified auto of Ripken. He has just 10 and all but one are from releases in 2004-05 Donruss/Playoff sets. It shouldn’t be expensive but it might be because he has so few to choose from. (Finding an auto of his Hall of Fame brother is infinitely easier yet more expensive … go figure. To reinforce this point, this dual is the only one Buzz could find online. Again, go figure.)
John Smoltz — The Hall of Famer has been a signing machine in recent years it seems and more than 600 of his 5,000-plus different cards are found signed. His earliest auto is from 1996 but you can find him in several new releases.
Dave Valle — His only autograph is in the 1996 Leaf Signature Extended Series set. It won’t be expensive when you find one but having only one will make it tougher than some other players.
The Have Nots — These MLB Network personalities haven’t signed any cardboard … yet.
Greg Amsinger — No autographs or cards for the MLB Network studio host.
Scott Braun — No autographs or cards for the studio host and reporter
Fran Charles — No autographs or cards for the host.
Mark DeRosa — He’s got more than 300 different baseball cards (his only Rookie Card in 1998 Fleer Tradition Update) but none came out of packs with an autograph.
Jon Heyman — Zilch for the MLB Network insider.
Brian Kenny — Zilch for the MLB Network host, though Buzz is sure there’s some analytics formula to justify why he’s the top underrated candidate for cardboard here.
Tim Flannery — You’ll find his Rookie Card back in 1980 Topps — a card he shares with Brian Greer and Jim Wilhelm — but none of his 80-plus cards came autographed.
Kelly Nash — Nothing for the host.
Dan Plesac — He appears on more than 200 different cards and you can find some of his first cards in the loaded 1986 Topps Traded, Fleer Update and Donruss Rookies sets. (Homes for Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Will Clark, Bo Jackson, John Kruk … )
Chris Rose — Nothing. Not even anything from his Best Damn days. (You’d think somebody out there would want a dual auto with Millar, right?)
Ken Rosenthal — Nothing for the MLB Network Insider.
Christopher Russo — “Mad Dog” is cardless, though you have to wonder what the autograph might look like based on the, um, energetic persona …
Sam Ryan — Nothing for the host and reporter.
Joel Sherman — Nothing for the MLB Network Insider.
Matt Vasgersian — He doesn’t have any certified autographs but he does appear on a pair of Milwaukee Brewers Police cards from 2000 and 2001.
Tom Verducci — Nothing for the MLB Network Insider, but did did appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated once back in 2005.
Heidi Watney — Nothing for the studio host.
Matt Yallof — Nothing for the studio host.
Follow Buzz on Twitter @BlowoutBuzz or send email to BlowoutBuzz@blowoutcards.com.
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