Pete has had plenty of cards lately …


   A couple of months ago I wrote in one of my Sports Collectors Digest columns that Upper Deck was adding Joe Jackson to its lineup for 2010 baseball issues and suggested that wouldn’t it then make sense to consider bringing Pete Rose along as well.
   Turns out, Upper Deck was way ahead of me, and within a couple of weeks of that column company officials announced that Pete had indeed been included in their 2010 releases (shown here, courtesy of website).
   “Despite his current ban from baseball, Pete Rose’s signature and game-used memorabilia cards continue to be sought-after by baseball fans and card collectors everywhere,” said Gabriel Garcia, Upper Deck’s baseball brand manager. “We are extremely excited to have Pete be a part of our newest baseball card releases.”
   The first Upper Deck product that will include Rose’s game-used memorabilia cards is 2010 Goudey Baseball, which is scheduled to hit store shelves on March 18.
   Chuck Lumb, arguably the world’s greatest Pete Rose fan and the reader who sent me the link to the mega-cool website ( e-mailed me about my column and reminded me that Pete had indeed a lot of cards over the last three years.
   Since I had said something about how being on MLB’s Permanently Ineligible List had “reportedly kept both players from appearing in baseball card issues that carried the Major League Baseball imprimatur,” at first I thought I had made a mistake. I quickly went to the website (created by Stephen Schauer), and lo and behold, Lumb wasn’t kidding when he said there were “a lot” of Pete Rose cards over the last three years.
   Most cultures would consider 189 to be a lot, and that’s apparently how many cards Donruss-Playoff made with Pete from 2008-09. It may be quibbling to note that these aren’t baseball card issues, but it’s hardly impertinent in these weeks as we await a federal court trial next month that presumably will address the issue of MLB licensing in a big way.
   But to get back to the number, the big number … 189. Really? Am I just an old fuddy-duddy to think that’s an amazing number? I guess I need to get with the program. I’m so out of step I can’t help but feel that number is a little silly. OK, make it very silly.
   Obviously, the cards are mostly inserts with snippets of uniforms and/or autographs, and the cards themselves feature only a handful of different photographs. In virtually all of them the team logo on the batting helmet is either obscured or airbrushed, but on a handful that old Cincinnati “C” is right out there, bit as day. The backs of the cards point out that they aren’t licensed by any of the teams.
   No wonder MLB is getting grumpy about the use of its teams’ markings.
   And not to put too fine a point on it, but 189? Really?

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