Topps to feature U.S. women's basketball 24-card set gives each player 2 cards

THE BALTIMORE SUN

In part thanks to increased exposure on television, female athletes are becoming better-known.

But they haven't been seen often on trading cards. That's because the major manufacturers concentrate on professional team sports and the best-known female athletes tend to be in tennis, golf, track and field, gymnastics and figure skating. There have been women on tennis and Olympic cards, and some college basketball teams have issued cards.

The U.S. women's soccer team was featured in a subset of Upper Deck's 1994 World Cup set.

But this week a women's team gets a set of its own from a major manufacturer.

Topps is issuing a 24-card set of the U.S. women's national basketball team. Each of the 11 players will appear on two cards. The other two cards in the set feature coach Tara VanDerveer and a team photo. One of the player cards shows the athlete in action in her USA Basketball uniform, and the card back has biographical information and statistics. The other player cards have facsimile foil autographs on the front and questions and answers on the back.

"When I was growing up in Massachusetts, my favorite player was Larry Bird," says 1995 collegiate Player of the Year Rebecca Lobo. "I'm just excited that the women on our team will be recognized on trading cards. Hopefully the national team will be able to be role models for young girls now and in the future."

Cards come in packs of 10 and include Lobo, former Texas Tech star Sheryl Swoopes and three-time Olympian Teresa Edwards.

Ripken inserts

Score's 1996 baseball has five insert sets -- and Cal Ripken is featured in all of them, plus a tribute card honoring his consecutive-games streak. Ripken also is No. 60 among the 275 basic cards in the set, which is scheduled for release this month.

Ripken tribute

Topps 1996 baseball Series I has 220 basic cards and six insert sets, including 19 Mickey Mantle reprint cards. One of the basic cards commemorates Ripken's record 2,131st consecutive game with five photos from the game.

Maxx Medallion

For the second year, Maxx ends the NASCAR year with its premium Medallion set. There are 99 basic cards plus insert sets featuring SuperTrucks, transporters and a nine-card puzzle of Jeff Gordon.

NFL team bobbers

Sports, Accessories & Memorabilia has bobbing head dolls of all 30 NFL teams. S.A.M.'s newest character bobbers are of Brett Favre, Lou Gehrig, Mike Schmidt, Kirby Puckett, Rod Carew, Drew Bledsoe, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Brian Leetch. Call (800) 483-2643.

Coming events

Through Dec. 31, "The Faces of Baseball," exhibit featuring more than 40 photographic portraits of baseball's most famous faces, Babe Ruth Museum, 216 Emory St., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 727-1539.

Today, card show, Hunt Valley Mall (I-83, Exit 20A), (expected signer is Boog Powell, Saturday 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.), (410) 529-1624.

Today, Greg Zaun will sign autographs (free with museum admission) from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Babe Ruth Museum, 216 Emory St., (410) 727-1539.

Today-Jan. 2, card show, Golden Ring Mall (I-695, Exit 34), mall hours.

Friday-next Sunday, card show, Essex CC (expected signers include Robin Roberts, Rich Ashburn, Rollie Fingers and George Kell), Friday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., next Sunday 10 am. to 5 p.m., (800) 542-3976.

Friday-next Sunday, card show, State Farm Show Complex East Building, Harrisburg, Pa. (I-83, Exit 23), (expected signers include Jim Edmonds, Mo Vaughn and Rich Ashburn), Friday 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday-next Sunday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., (717) 939-1075.

Saturday, card show, Earleigh Heights Fire Hall, Severna Park, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 672-5859.

Card of the week

Pacific is getting into the Pro Bowl spirit with a die-cut insert set in its 1995 Crown Collection II Crown Royale. There are 144 basic cards and two other insert sets. (Shown is Rod Woodson of the Pittsburgh Steelers on his Pro Bowl card.)

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