The long-promised catalog still isn't ready, but fans of the Colorado Silver Bullets can buy merchandise by phone as well as at the ballpark.
In April and early May, a fairly limited assortment of items was selling briskly at the team's training headquarters in Winter Haven, Fla.
"We can't keep shirts in stock," assistant general manager Kevin Lewis said last month. He said the biggest sellers were shirts, which were on their third shipment, and pen bats.
Lewis said that the players were a hit with high school players attending a baseball camp in Orlando, Fla., during spring break when the Silver Bullets were practicing at Tinker Field there. He said the boys would stop by to watch the women, buy caps and shirts and then get the players to autograph their bats or gloves.
Meanwhile, older fans were joining the waiting list for schedules and merchandise catalogs. Lewis estimated that he had between 500 and 700 names before the Silver Bullets began their exhibition season.
With the season in full swing, the merchandise line has expanded. According to Joyce Edson of Coors, which sponsors the team, collectors have their choice of three styles each of caps and T-shirts, sweat shirts and lapel pins. The high-end item is a satin jacket at $56. For collectors on budget, plastic beer mugs (of course), key chains, pens, pennants and bumper stickers are under $5.
Soon, says Edson, the Silver Bullets will have trading cards of their own, and logo baseballs in holders are also in production. The catalog is also expected shortly.
Call (800) 443-8242 for information. It's Coors' merchandise number. For Baltimore-area fans who don't want to wait, the Silver Bullets will be in Frederick Friday and Bowie Saturday.
Action Packed minor-leaguers
Action Packed's first minor-league set, Scouting Report, will be shipped in mid-June. The 72-card set includes: Chan Ho Park, who started the season with the Los Angeles Dodgers; 1993 top draft pick Alex Rodriguez; J. T. Snow, recently recalled by the California Angels; Brien Taylor, the top 1991 pick; and ex-NBA superstar Michael Jordan. There is also a five-card subset commemorating the 40th anniversary of Roberto Clemente's U.S. professional baseball debut. Orioles farm hands in the set are Curtis Goodwin, Alex Ochoa and Rick Krivda.
The July issue of Collector's Sportslook has an excellent article, "The 38 most asked questions about sports collectibles." Questions deal with price guides, cards, autographs, buying and selling memorabilia, grading cards and other topics.
Select for hobby only
Pinnacle says its Score Select baseball will be a hobby store-only issue of 4,950 numbered cases. The first series, due in late June, will contain 210 cards. There will be a nine-card insert set of top rookies (including Jeffrey Hammonds) and insert cards of Cal Ripken and Dave Winfield.
Patches of the month
Willabee & Ward is offering replica baseball uniform patches. Collectors can subscribe to "125 Years of Official Baseball Patches" and receive two patches a month for $12.95 each plus $1 shipping. Each patch is mounted and includes its history. Call (800) 367-4534.
Action Packed Racing Club
Action Packed has started a club for racing card collectors. Members, who pay annual dues of $99.95, receive an uncut sheet of cards, a T-shirt, a membership card, prototype cards and opportunities to purchase merchandise available only to members. For information, write: Action Packed Racing Club, P.O. Box 493, Itasca, Ill. 60143-0493.
For collectors who can't get enough Jordan, there's Upper Deck Authenticated's latest catalog. There are signed baseballs signed basketballs ($699), replica jerseys, cards and magazine covers. Now fans can get personalized autographed greetings from Mickey Mantle, Joe Montana, Larry Bird and Wayne Gretzky. For information, call (800) 456-2007.
New baseball art
Bill Goff Inc. has eight new prints for collectors who like baseball on their walls. The pictures include Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, Game 5 of the 1993 World Series, autographed balls of the first five Hall of Fame members and Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. A set of postcard reproductions of the first 74 prints costs $35. For information, call (800) 321-4633.
Through Oct. 31, "Sheriff and His 'Boys,' " exhibit on Sheriff Fowble, who helped develop major-leaguers Al Kaline, Ron Swoboda and Tim Nordbrook, Babe Ruth Museum, 216 Emory St., (410) 727-1539.
Through Dec. 31, "The UnFOURgettable Years" exhibit opens, featuring events from years ending in 4, Babe Ruth Museum, 216 Emory St., (410) 727-1539.
July 8-12, Upper Deck All-Star FanFest, Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh.
CARD OF THE WEEK
Upper Deck is teaming with the NHL Players Association for a 45-card set. "Be A Player" features some of the NHL's top players and young stars and shows them in some of their favorite off-ice activities. There will be 25,000 numbered sets. (Shown is Mike Gartner.)