Pacific's bilingual cards make big hit with Latin baseball fans

There's nothing particularly remarkable about Pacific's Crown Collection baseball cards -- until you look at the back.

The primary text is in Spanish, with English beneath. Pacific's license with Major League Baseball is to produce bilingual trading cards, and this is the fifth year for the cards.


There are 450 basic cards and six insert sets in the 1996 Crown Collection, and many of them feature Spanish-surnamed players.

"We do focus on the Latin players with the bilingual cards," said Pacific's Mike Monson. "There's a really large percentage of talented Hispanic players to include."


The cards are marketed heavily in New York, Southern California, Chicago, Florida and Texas, which have large Hispanic populations. Cards are also sold in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

This winter, Pacific sponsored Carlos Baerga's annual charity softball game in Puerto Rico, and company officials gave away cards and visited hobby shops.

"The kids were so excited because they could read what was on the cards," said Monson. "We visited most of the hobby shops on the island. . . . The hobby shops were real familiar with Pacific."

Monson said reaction from players has also been positive.

"We get calls from so many players," he said. "The players get a tray of their own cards. . . . They were so happy to have baseball cards in their native language."

Spanish teachers are big fans, too.

Monson said they contact the Seattle company every time there's a story about the bilingual cards. "The teachers definitely use them as learning tools," he said.

Note to Orioles fans: Roberto Alomar is card No. 450, but he's in a Toronto Blue Jays uniform.


Six-pack basketball

Signature Rookies' Supreme Basketball comes in a six-pack -- six six-card packs in packaging resembling a six-pack of soda, with eight guaranteed autographs in each six-pack. There are 30 basic cards and seven insert sets featuring rookies who had played at least 200 minutes by Jan. 1.

Topps Basketball II

Topps Basketball Series II includes regular cards of members of the NBA expansion Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies. There are 110 basic cards and three insert sets.

Colts history at auction

A notebook filled with documents relating to the first incarnation of the Baltimore Colts is being offered at auction by Mr. Memorabilia of Sykesville. The notebook, from the estate of former publicity director Paul Welsh, contains blueprints and photos of artists' renderings of two air-supported domed stadiums (baseball and football) designed in 1945. There are also minutes and memorandums of the attempt to bring an All-America Football Conference team to Baltimore and articles on that, as well as on the proposed stadiums. Bidding ends at midnight Friday. Call (800) 230-4312.


Metal cards, coins

Highland Mint's newest offerings include its first NBA-licensed, medallions of Scottie Pippen, Larry Johnson and Chris Webber. Other new products are Mint Cards of Michael Jordan, Gale Sayers and Bill Elliott; Mint Card sets of Ken Griffey and Frank Thomas and Grant Hill and Jason Kidd, and medallions of Jaromir Jagr, Brett Hull, Mario Lemieux, Dan Marino, Hideo Nomo, Joe Namath and Brett Favre.

Coming events

Through March 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), mall hours, (410) 529-1624.

Today, Tuff Stuff Winter Sports Classic Card Show, Exhibition Building, State Fairgrounds, Richmond Va., (800) 899-8833.


March 15-16, 15th annual Olympin Festival (Olympic pins), Olympic Complex, Lake Placid, N.Y.

March 29-31, "Senators of Griffith Stadium Reunion" card show (expected signers include Harmon Killebrew, Chuck Stobbs, Roy Sievers, Mickey Vernon and Jim Lemon), Essex Community College, March 29 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., March 30 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., March 31 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., (516) 676-3302.

Card of the week

Score's 1996 Baseball Series I has 275 basic cards and five insert sets (Cal Ripken appears in all five), as well as a Ripken tribute card. (Shown is Arundel High graduate Denny Neagle of the Pittsburgh Pirates.)