Hobby Musings: Which sports movies deserve card sets? – A few weeks ago, Topps announced their intent to create trading cards featuring subjects from the film “The Sandlot.” A popular film among baseball fans, this is one that some people have been clamoring for over the past few years. Topps has upped its game with movie baseball cards in the past few years. Including big names from Bull Durham and Major League as autographs in various Archives products has helped to create some instant hits with collectors. They aren’t alone though as Panini included many actors from the original Bad News Bears movie in Golden Age a few years ago. Upper Deck and Leaf have also included many well-known actors from sports movies in various sets.
These cards got me thinking of sports movies that deserve their own card set. Deliberating among a number of well-known movies, I eventually narrowed it down to the top five. Some of these films have already had cards made based on them, but could still be big hits with a larger product.
For the purposes of this story, I’m operating on a pie-in-the-sky assumption that all actors from the films would be willing to sign autographs for the set. In addition, they’d also be willing to provide inscriptions to add some spice to their signatures. I’m also assuming that film-used prop material will be available for relic cards to help augment the checklist.
Any Given Sunday
This is one I had originally left off my list until my friend Pete reminded me of the sheer star power in this movie. Headed by Al Pacino, a trading card set would also feature autographs from the likes of Jamie Foxx, Dennis Quaid and Cameron Diaz. James Woods, LL Cool J and Aaron Eckhart are among the other notable cast members. The late Charlton Heston is also in the cast and would make for a cool cut autograph.
Beyond the actors, several former professional football legends made appearances in the film. With a Hall of Fame checklist that includes Lawrence Taylor, Dick Butkus and Johnny Unitas, Any Given Sunday may sport the best cast of former NFLers in any movie. Between regular autographs and cut signatures, the entire cast makes for a fairly impressive autograph checklist. There’s also good potential for memorabilia cards from Sharks jerseys.
This one isn’t as far-fetched as you may think given that Leaf has already gotten Pacino to sign cards for them. Most of the football players have also signed several cards or are available as cut autographs. Another benefit is that the set wouldn’t require any type of NFL licensing as none of the logos or team names are used in the film. With his proclivity for getting big name actors in products like Pop Century, this would be a perfect product for Brian Gray to tackle.
Any card set here would start and stop with autographed cards of Robert Redford. Film-used relic bat card of “Wonder Boy” would also be immensely popular with collectors. The same would also be true of any film-worn jersey cards.
Beyond Redford, an autograph checklist would include Robert Duvall, Glenn Close and Kim Basinger. A potential checklist would also include cut autographs of Darren McGavin, who may be better known to fans for his roles in A Christmas Story and Kolchak the Night Stalker.
Slapshot is by far the better and more iconic hockey movie. The Hanson Brothers are some of the most well-known sports film characters of all time, and I think there would be a heavy demand for a card set based on the film.
That being said, Mighty Ducks is nostalgically ingrained in the way The Sandlot is. I’m cheating a little bit and going with all three films for a card product instead of just the first one. An autograph set would be headline by Coach Bombay himself, Emelio Estevez, hopefully with a “Quack quack” inscription.
While you may not realize it, there have been quite a few notable actors in the three films. Besides Joshua Jackson, Saturday Night Live’s Kenan Thompson is also an alumni. Fans of The Walking Dead may remember that Michael Cudlitz/Abraham had a part in the third film. While he is not as well-remembered for his role in D3, his recent notoriety from TWD would make him a worthwhile add to the checklist. I’d love to see a dual autograph card of Elden Henson as Fulton and Aaron Lohr as Dean Portman. They may not be McGwire and Canseco, but this would be a Bash Brothers autograph card that fans would enjoy.
Given the different types of Ducks jersey and other memorabilia in the film, there is no shortage of potential relic cards. Film-used goalie gloves of Goldberg and Julie “The Cat” Gaffney would be fun. Also, if Upper Deck was able to put this together, it would be cool to see if they would include autographs from NHL stars, including Wayne Gretzky and Mike Modano, that made cameos in the films.
Like The Mighty Ducks, I’m cheating here and including all of the films in the franchise. Sylvester Stallone has already signed cards as Rocky Balboa in the recent past. However, he’s a tricky enough autograph that there are still plenty of fans out there for sufficient demand. Throw in autographs of actors like Carl Weathers/Apollo Creed, Hulk Hogan/Thunderlips and recent Michael B. Jordan/Adonis Creed, and you’ve got a pretty impressive autograph checklist.
The multi-subject autograph possibilities in a Rocky product would be extensive and impressive. Getting Weathers and Jordan together for a dual Creed autograph would be sweet. Stallone could pair up as a dual signature with virtually anyone in the franchise. Even more impressive would be the inclusion of Burgess Meredith/Mickey Goldmill cut autographs. Either way, if this product became a reality, I think it would be one of the top pop culture products of all time with the right ink.
As for relic cards, any of the fighter robes/gloves would make for interesting possibilities. Stallone actually auctioned off a few of them a few years ago, so it would be hard to imagine them becoming available. However, if they did, they’d be pretty cool collector items for both sports and movie memorabilia fans.
League of Their Own
Like Any Given Sunday, this film includes a pretty packed star checklist. Led by Tom Hanks, the ink would also include Madonna, Geena Davis and Rosie O’Donnell among others. Director Penny Marshall, who previously signed cards for one of Panini’s Golden Age products, could also be part of the autograph checklist. A requisite for me though would be Tom Hanks inscribing “There’s no crying in baseball” on his autograph cards.
It would also be fun to see a company include autographs of players from the real All-American Girl’s Professional Baseball League the film was based on. Some of the former players have set up at the National in previous years, as well as other shows. Including them in a product based on the film would not only provide some different autographs, but it would also provide a new spotlight on an important part of sports history.
Agree or disagree with my list? Please feel free to weigh in with your own opinions or ideas.
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