Pro football fans aren't the only ones who try to predict the NFL draft.
Trading card manufacturers engage in this game, too.
For the fourth straight year, a card manufacturer was at the NFL draft in New York with a card of the first player chosen.
This year, Classic Games Inc. did the honors and, when Drew Bledsoe was chosen first, whipped out cards showing the quarterback in his Washington State uniform and a vertical strip with his name and that of the New England Patriots.
"Similar to many fans across the country, we held our breath before the No. 1 pick was announced," says Classic's Seth Toporek. "We were very pleased to have the correct . . . and first . . . card in the draft."
Of course, to be on the safe side, Classic also made cards that turned out to be incorrect. Two showed Bledsoe as a pick of the Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs. The cards are basically the same, but the strips are color-coordinated for the teams and the blurb on the back mentions the team.
Classic covered other top picks, too. Notre Dame quarterback Rick Mirer is on cards showing him drafted by the Seahawks (what happened), Patriots and San Francisco 49ers. The fourth pick, linebacker Marvin Jones of Florida State, is shown as the No. 1 selection of the Patriots and the New York Jets (who did pick him). Alabama defensive tackle Eric Curry was projected by Classic as a Patriot or a Jet. He was taken sixth by Tampa Bay.
If it appears that Classic was showing off on draft day, it was. It distributed the Bledsoe card, which is a preview of the 1993 Classic NFL Pro Line Live series, to those in attendance.
In June Classic will issue its 100-card draft pick set, the first draft-pick cards to be licensed by the NFL. Toporek says that 12,500 10-box cases will be produced. The set will also have insert cards, including1,000 randomly inserted autographed Troy Aikman cards.
Shani Moore of Capitol Heights won an uncut sheet of SkyBox cards as one of the 10 regional runners-up in SkyBox's essay contest. DamonTaylor of New York was the grand-prize winner, and he and his family will get to meet David Robinson and attend a San Antonio Spurs playoff game.
Monday night preview cards
Action Packed is looking at TV with an 84-card Monday Night Football set. The cards will preview each game on the schedule by featuring the top players and matchups. The cards are Action Packed's first horizontal ones, so players appear to be on TV. They have gold-foil backgrounds, and card backs are vertical in format. The announcers have their own cards, too. Cards will come six to a pack, and there will be no factory sets. Look for them in the fall.
Megacards is so fond of No. 934, which shows Walter Johnson and Nolan Ryan shaking hands, that it has made it into a poster. The picture exists through the magic of technology since Ryan was born six weeks after Johnson died and is based on a photo of Johnson shaking hands with Lou Gehrig.
Through July 11, "The Artist and the Baseball Card," Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wil mington, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, (302) 571-9590.
Through Oct. 31, exhibit "The Babe, The Birds and Baltimore: An All-Star Tradition" and exhibit on Rex Barney's 50-year sports career, with memorabilia from his Brooklyn Dodgers days, Babe Ruth Museum, (410) 727-1539.
Today, card show and auction to benefit Essex Community College (expected signers include Leo Gomez, Tom Matte, Bruce Laird and Larry Stewart), Essex CC Fieldhouse, May 1 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., May 2 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., (410) 780-6832.
Saturday, card show to benefit American Cancer Society, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and United Cerebral Palsy Association, Pikesville Armory, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., (703) 425-2988.