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    Olbermann Watch, "persecuting" Keith since 2004


    June 12, 2006
    Who is Merkle923?

    Alex Gordan Alex Gordan is a 25 year old baseball player in the lowly Kansas City Royals baseball organization. Without playing a game in the majors, Gordan has achieved iconic status in the world of baseball card collecting (his rookie card is selling for thousands of dollars on eBay) by failing in the world of professional baseball (failing to make the Royals 25-man roster and being sent to the minors).

    Enter Keith Olbermann, baseball card collector extraordinaire.

    We here at OlbermannWatch prefer to confine ourselves to Keith Olbermann's public life - what he says and does on TV and in the press regarding his public persona. We've known for some time that Keith is a major league baseball card collector (pardon the pun) and active eBay'er but have left that issue off the table because it's a private matter. In fairness to Keith, he's worked very hard to build his reputation on eBay (he is graded as one of the best buyers on eBay) and there was no reason for OlbyWatch to muck around with that.

    Recently, however, Keith's personal passion has erupted in a very public controversy which has the baseball card collecting world abuzz with speculation, wondering whether Keith Olbermann may have connived with Topps, a publicly traded company that is, among other things, the oldest of the MLB licensed manufacturers of baseball cards, and retailing giant Walmart. The aim? To peak renewed interest in baseball card collecting by creating a run on unopened boxes of Topps cards at Walmart and boosting sales of Topps cards. There's no telling whether there is any merit to these claims but Olbermann certainly has more than a passing interest in all of this. Not only is KO an avid collector who would stand to benefit from a run up on baseball card prices but he is (or has been) employed by Topps as a writer and an "advisor".

    So who is Alex Gordan and what does he have to do with Keith Olbermann?

    Alex Gordan was drafted by the Royals in 2005 (#2 overall pick) after leading the University of Nebraska baseball team to the College World Series championship. He did not sign a contract until last September. Meanwhile, about a year ago, the Major League Baseball Players Association decided that card manufacturers could only make rookie cards for players who either made the 25-man roster or played in a major league game the season before. Gordon didn't qualify on either count. Topps apparently did not get the memo. They printed a limited number of the Alex Gordon card number 297 and shipped them to Walmart. When the mistake was discovered, Topps was forced to pull the card from its set, turning Alex Gordan's "rookie" card it into a coveted "error card".

    Tuff Stuff, a leading card collecting "zine", recently questioned whether Olbermann had sought to artificially inflate the value of the Gordan card.

    MSNBC's Olbermann pursuing Topps Gordon cards

    [Olbermann] paid $7,500 in an online auction for a BGS 9.5 version of the Gordon Topps No. 297 card that was pulled by Topps because of the new rules concerning what constitutes a "rookie card."...Olbermann has spent more than $60,000 in the past month. Since he's entered the bidding for Topps Heritage cards, he's helped drive the final price from auctions closing at around $100 all the way up to $275 in the past couple weeks. He's purchased eight of the last 11 sold on eBay and a total of 10.

    "Well, clearly I didn't 'single-handedly pump' the 2006 Topps No. 297," Olbermann told Tuff Stuff in an e-mail. "But, obviously, after I started buying copies the hobby realized the actual scarcity and implications of Topps withdrawing an already-published number, which they've never done before."

    Tuff Stuff apparently based its reporting on the activities of eBay User ID Merkle923, one of the most aggressive buyers of baseball cards on eBay. Merkle923 has been buying on eBay for more than seven years, completing close to 600 transactions and leaving in his (or her) wake a trail of satisfied eBay sellers. Merkle923 has completed 572 transactions with 99.7% of eBay'ers leaving positive feedback such as "Great transaction", "Very fast payment" and "a pleasure to deal with"

    So, is Merkle923 actually Keith Olbermann?

    To understand this question you need to know more about Fred Merkle. According to Wikipedia, the former New York Giants first baseman, committed an "infamous baserunning gaffe that cost the Giants the 1908 pennant" that became known as Merkle's Boner which ""can be used to describe any mental error that costs a team the game". In a game against the Chicago Cubs on September 23, 1908 ("923"), Merkle was on first base when a base hit scored a runner from third base. With the winning run safely home, Merkle failed to run all the way to second base, instead turning and running off into right field towards the Giants clubhouse as delirious Giants' fans stormed the field. Cubs second baseman Johnny Evers called for the ball and stepped on second base. After an appeal, umpires ruled Merkle "out", negating the run, and ending the game in a 1-1 tie. When the Cubs and the Giants finished the season tied for first place the game was replayed, the Cubs won (4-2) and took the National League pennant (they lost to the Detroit Tigers in the World Series).

    So what does "Merkle's Boner" have to do with Keith?

    Beyond being a recognized baseball historian (the list of first and third base coaches he compiled in his school days now sits at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY), KO is apparently fascinated with this play, even writing a foreword to the book "More Than Merkle: A History of the Best and Most Exciting Baseball Season in Human History" by David Anderson. Who knows? Maybe KO feels a special kinship with Merkle after his own "baserunning error" - a serious injury that occurred when KO banged his head running for the number 7 train at Shea Stadium (the Mets were MLB's "replacement" for Merkle's Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers. NOTE: the Mets team colors combine Dodger blue with Giants orange).

    Certainly, eBay sellers and Topps traders believe merkle923 is Keith.

    Clicking through the past seven years of transaction history, feedback includes the following: "Keith, I hope you enjoy your PSA 7 Old Judge....more than your others! : ) A+ps~", "thanks for fast payment Keith!", "Keith is the man! thanks a million, a asset to the ebay community", "Keith was Enfuego with this transaction. Super fast. An asset to Ebay !!!!!!!", "Excellent Repeat Buyer! Thanks Again Keith!", "Very fast payment!!!!! Thanks Keith. Good luck on completing the set.", "Extremely fast payment..Asset to ebay & FOX sports..thanks Keith!!!!!!", "Fast Payment & A Class Act from a Great Sportscaster - THANKS AGAIN!!", "great transaction. quick payment thanks!! a++ FOX sports rules", "One of the fastest on Ebay! Great to deal with! A+++ Thanks Keith", "# 1 as a Sports Show Host >>>>> #1 as an eBayer.Thanks for the Honor kind Sir.", "Fast Payment..great transaction..hope to deal with again...Thanks Keith", "I see a promising future in sports journalism for this young man", "Smooth Transaction! Thanks Keith", "Extremely prompt with the payment! Thank you Keith! Keep up the great lines!", "very fast payment!!! Keep up the good work at Fox!!! Thanks Keith", "Keith is proof that no one is too busy to enjoy eBay. Nice to connect with you.", "Very fast payment!!! Excellent ebayer!! Thanks Keith!!", "Fast Pay! Good Communication! Would Reccommend! Thanks Keith!" "Very professional, fast payment, A # 1 no matter what dan patrick says", "Very timely payment, a pleasure to deal with !!! --- thanks Keith...", "fast payment thanks Keith", "He hits the ball real hard! Thanks Keith it was a pleasure!", "I BLINKED AND PAYMENT WAS HERE....THANKS KEITH ! AAA+++", "Another smooooooth transaction from a GREAT repeat bidder!! Thanks Keith!!", "VERY FAST PAYMENT! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY THIS EBAY SELLER! A++! THANKS, KEITH!",

    Could all these eBay'ers be mistaken?

    Perhaps, but the most telling evidence is contained in the ebay Member User ID history for merkle923 which reveals that on May 30, 1999 merkle923 changed his User ID from "olbermann". More interesting is this feedback from eBay User ID "billy1954packers4yankees7pongo18", one of a handful of negative comments about merkle923:

    "ITEM PERFECT,STATES HEWORKS FOR NBC,CANT GIVE FEEDBACK,SO HE NEG'S ME,NICE GUY...LIAR,SAYS HE WORKS FOR NBC,BIG SHOT,THREATEDSME FOR FEEDBACK,BEWARE,SCAMMER,DUMM...BEWARE LIAR THREATING EMAILS,NBC EMPLOYEE,SHOULDBE FIREDRUDE DUDE NBC BIGSHOT AS..."

    Works for NBC? Playing the big shot? Threatening people?

    Hmmmmm. Sound like anyone we know?

    There seems to be little doubt that merkle923 is, in fact, Keith Olbermann. The real question is whether there is any merit to the speculation out there that Keith some how conspired with Topps or Walmart to drive up prices. One certainly has to wonder whether KO leveraged his "insider" status with Topps to gain any unfair advantage in the high-priced world of rare baseball cards.


    Posted by Robert Cox | Permalink | Comments (57) | | View blog reactions

    57 Comments

    What a load of horse manure.

    Gordon was a "hot prospect" that Topps thought was going to make the 25-man roster. Kansas City is a very thin team and it was not outside the realm of plausibility for him to jump straight to the big leagues. Since he could have made the team, Topps made a card of him (as they do with every player with a good chance of making a major-league roster).

    In 1988, Topps made a similar mistake. Steve Carlton was scheduled for the set, but when he was released by the Twins the card plate was destroyed and his place in the set was taken by Shawn Hillegas. However, several checklist cards from that year have Carlton listed as card #455 instead of Hillegas.

    In 1989, Fleer accidentally allowed an obscenity to remain visible on Billy Ripken's card. Speculators drove the price through the roof (at one point a card with the obscenity visible commanded $250 in the market). Today, you can get any one of the four "Ripken bat" variants for $10 or less.

    The point is that the card process is still a very human-controlled process (IIRC, Topps still does most of their proofing by hand with people using jeweler's loupes to examine prototype sheets), so this type of error is not unexpected. The fact that it is a hot prospect with a good chance of becoming a star is what's pushing the market, not someone trading on inside information.

    "There seems to be little doubt that merkle923 is, in fact, Keith Olbermann. The real question is whether there is any merit to the speculation out there that Keith some how conspired with Topps or Walmart to drive up prices. One certainly has to wonder whether KO leveraged his "insider" status with Topps to gain any unfair advantage in the high-priced world of rare baseball cards."

    I would compare this to the Enron or WorldCom scandals. I hope this wasn't the e-mails people were posting about last week. I can see the headlines Olbermann caught up in baseballcard scandal. Baseball cards don't effect peoples retirments. I can't wait to see all the media coverage on this. So he got a bad review on ebay. My goodness can you believe that. I bet he is the first person in the history of ebay to get a bad rerview. RCox you are better than this. Your postings usually have more revelence than this one. C'mon man you can do better than this.

    Do you really hate KO enough to post this? You're making something out of nothing.

    "There's no telling whether there is any merit to these claims"

    I remember when posters publically proposed the notion that FOX News had Voxant alter O'Reilly's transcript about Malmedy and admitted they had no proof. They got torn up by the anti-Olbermann crowd here because they had no proof for their allegations.

    Baseball cards? I thought Olbermann was a disgrace before I read this. Now I want to vomit. A man with the mind of a ten year old boy has his own cable show.

    Although Robert Cox may not be a reliable OBSERVER of Olby's work--as the comment attributed Olbski on the sidebar of the homepage states, he appears to be a reliable commentator on Olbertwit. So, I am sure that this is correct. Moreover, Keef is such a smarmy base-tard that I believe he would do something like this. He apparently can make himself money, but not his employers.

    "Do you really hate KO enough to post this? You're making something out of nothing."

    Based on this, Olbermann Watch probably hates Keef less Keef hates Ann Coulter or George Bush or the Republican Party. Especially on the latter two, every show, just about, contains innuendo-laden venom towards them. And, the comments about Coulter that he hasn't meet her when she has been dressed in women's clothing, but he can't comment about whether he has met her in men's clothing or that she is angry about having her male organ dismembered. Like or dislike Coulter, Olbermann's ad hominem attacks on her are pretty brutal.

    Olbermann's attacks are brutal, but a woman who disgraces America with her anti-9/11 widow nonsense deserves no better.

    Cox, you seem to have spent many many hours of your life working on on this "report" of yours, and I have just spent far too many minutes of my life reading it.

    And believe me, my minutes are worth more than your hours. I at least have the chance to be with a woman instead of wasting my time here on Olbermannwatch.

    But anyway, what is the point? What is the scandal? What are you alleging? What here is your own work? Why should I care? Why isn't the picture of YOU in the front page rotation anymore? Why don't you get in shape?

    So many questions...so few minutes.

    No wonder Olby's not married.

    "Olbermann's attacks are brutal, but a woman who disgraces America with her anti-9/11 widow nonsense deserves no better."

    Coulter doesn't speak for anyone but herself, so America cannot be disgraced by her. And, if those sorts of attacks are frowned upon by Olbski then Keef should attack Gore for referring to the right as the extra chromosome right, right?

    I love how this is spun. I don't know where to start. Let me start with one of the most obvious: Merkle923 is probably Keith Olbermann...so? Secondly saying that Olbermann is conspiring is a nice way to pass off the truth that it's really a conspiracy theory against Olbermann.

    Buying up rare baseball cards that no longer exist isn't a "conspiracy," it's the cornerstone of baseball card trading and collecting. If I had the money Keith does I'd do it too, the cards he's paying around 5,000 dollars for will be worth four times that once Gordan becomes a great in baseball, and even if he doesn't the card will still be worth a ton considering it is an error card.

    I don't get what's so juicy about this story. A baseball card collector is buying rare baseball cards.

    You're missing the point here. There's a belief in the baseball card trading business that Olbermann has conspired with one of his employers to artificially drive up the price on this one particular card and to spark more interest in baseball card collecting itself which has been waning of late. Does that sound like something a "honest", "ethical" and a half-dozen other glowing adjectives you Olby lovers have ascribed to him would do? No. And it speaks to the sheer dishonesty of this man and if you can't see a problem with that. . . . it explains so very much about your mindsets (i.e., Olbermann can do no wrong). If the man took out a gun and shot someone on air you'd find reasons to defend him. He is not an honorable man. He is not a truthful man. He is not an honest man. And if all of you can't see this and can't see the larger point of Bob's piece on this it also speaks to your basic lack of intelligence and common sense.

    Dear fans,

    Yes, Keith does collect baseball cards, bottle tops, hello kitty and barbie paraphernalia, comic books, star wars figurines, snow globes, hallmark plates, miniature cat figurines, bobble heads, pez dispensers, star trek paraphernalia and just about everything M.I. Hummel. However, I can assure you that Keith has never done anything that resulted in a profit. Not his baseball card collecting, not his TV show, not his sports show, not anything. His is (unlike the execrable Karl Rove) completely innocent. Viva la Revolution!

    Sincerely,

    Keith's spokesman.

    "There's a belief" that "Olbermann has conspired with one of his employers"?

    I love it! The Crazy Cox-spiracy theories begin!

    There's a "very public controvery" (on a blog called "stalegum" that referes to "Krazy Keith", so it must not have any kind of agenda : eveyone should be sure to click on that link, if for no other reason than to see what Crazy Cox's idea of a "good source" is)

    that Keith is conspiring with one of his "employers" ("As a disclaimer, I am an unpaid consultant to Topps" - Keith Olbermann 4/4/2006)

    to spend his own money to...to what? "artificially drive up the price on this one particular card and to spark more interest in baseball card collecting itself which has been waning of late."

    So... he spends his own money, pays 10 times the real value of this silly little baseball card, then hopes somewhere down the road someone will pay him MORE for it. Non Crazy Cox-spiracy theorists call that "collecting". (if not "stupid")

    Oh, and hopefully people will hear about this in a very public place like "stale gum" and those three readers will re-energize the baseball card collecting industry, bringing enough riches to Keith Olbermann that he can finally build that Death Ray and hold the world hostage for...

    One MILLION Dollars!!!!

    Robert: I've read your post several times trying to figure out where the story is. It all seems pretty flimsy to me.

    On an unrelated note, I sure hope KO shows up for work tonight. With Karl Rove now officially cleared, I can't wait to see Keith cry on national TV. That is, if he mentions it. He loves the "great leak case," but is very selective about what he tells us.

    How do you know for sure he's spending his own money? You have no proof for that. The original question was not raised by Cox but by a very reputable baseball card expert. Do you people honestly think Olbermann is perfect? Have you just chosen to ignonre all of the many things out there written about him which document his mental instablity, his difficulty in getting along with others and his very questionable decisions in both his personal and professional lives? Maybe you all should get an actual life, or see if you can go buy a clue on Ebay along with your good buddy there, Olbermann, Merkle923.

    Hmmm. Reading through the comments, it appears I have struck a nerve with the OlbyLoons:

    "What a load of horse manure"

    "You're making something out of nothing"

    "what is the point?"

    "What is the scandal?"

    "What are you alleging?"

    All fine questions from the OlbyLoons. Too bad they don't ask the same questions each night watching Coutndown.

    For me this story boils down to one thing:

    Olbermann collects baseball cards.

    Does he sit at home laminating them instead of doing research for his show?

    "Cox & Balls" wrote a funny post. The funniest part was:

    >"As a disclaimer, I am an unpaid consultant to Topps" - Keith Olbermann 4/4/2006

    An UNPAID CONSULTANT to a baseball card company! How 'bout that? Olbermann is basically an "unpaid consultant" for just about everything -- the leftist bloggers, ESPN radio, leftist politicians, Michael Musto, Mo Rocca and Larry O'Donnell. Why pay when Keith is giving it away for free?

    Poor Keith will soon not only be "unpaid" but also "unemployed." Well, at least he'll have his precious baseball card collection to fall back on. The more I hear about the guy, the more I think he is the evil version of Steve Carrell in "The 40 year old virgin."

    Keith is such a second-rater that he needs to try to make money on baseball cards. I heard he gets paid by MSLSD in "Secaucus Bucks" which can be used in three nearby Jersey towns on food items only, and NOT for liquor or cigarettes.

    Non, get real. How many $30,000 baseball cards are there, exactly. How many were printed after 1940? For that matter, how many $7500 cards are there?

    This reeks of artificially inflating the price of the card to help sell Topps cards, and specifically Topps cards at Walmart. While the implication in Bob's post and others that it is KO doing this almost single-handedly, it really doesn't matter who Merkle is. There are only a handful of cards selling at that price, mostly of Hall of Famers long since passed on.

    We know this isn't being done as an investment, because this card has almost no chance of signinficantly rising in price except for those who got in early. It's not an "error card", it's not going to be his official rookie card, even if he is called up tomorrow; it's a card printed and distributed in violation of the agreement Topps has with MLB.

    Let us re-write an Olbermann piece, shall we?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6210240/

    June 7, 2006 | 6:25 p.m. ET

    "Now, this is a real scandal"
    (by Keith Olbermann's Conscience)

    It is the “Perfect Storm” of baseball scandals.

    It has the potential to make the Barry Bonds steroid scandal look like an isolated incident and the disastrous congressional hearing of last year — the St. Patrick’s Day Massacre — look like a couple of guys who missed the cup while giving their urine samples.

    Federal agents raided the home of a 50-year old loner, seeking evidence that might identify him as a contributor in an illegal baseball card price-enhancing scheme.

    Worse yet, the loner has broadcast with seven different stations and been a co-worker of seemingly everybody in cable television. And perhaps worst of all the loner has no family, and has financial ties — to Topps Baseball Cards!

    He is Keith Olbermann, who is a member of the MSLSD CableFarts franchise. In April, agents — led by an IRS special investigator — had found a shipment of Alex Gordan rookie cards in Olbermann's home. They said that at that time he had cooperated — confessed to bidding them up, and taking antipsychotics, and amphetamines. He named other Topps executives whom he suspected of being bidders and suppliers. He even phoned his supplier of cards and let the feds listen in.


    Now, THAT is the story I want to read!

    "As a disclaimer, I am an unpaid consultant to Topps" - Keith Olbermann 4/4/2006

    Keith collects Topps baseball cards.
    Keith grades Topps baseball cards.
    Keith works for Topps, Inc.

    It doesn't take a genius to figure this out.

    BTW, Alex Gordon never led Nebraska to a College World Series Championship. Nebraska made it to the CWS in 2005, but did not win.

    Jack,

    Thanks for the correction, I will noted it above.

    I have to admit I am not a big fan of Nebraka sports or the College World Series.

    Thank you Scott for seeing the big picture here. Several other collectors sites have called into question Olbermann's artifically inflation of the prices on these cards. No one thinks they are worth that: no one, except Olbermann and the people at Topps who are probably thrilled to have the press for this. And no doubt it feeds into Olbermann's massive ego to have himself referred to at all in the press, even if it is for something stupid (and shady) like this.

    Thank you Scott for seeing the big picture here. Several other collectors sites have called into question Olbermann's artifically inflation of the prices on these cards. No one thinks they are worth that: no one, except Olbermann and the people at Topps who are probably thrilled to have the press for this. And no doubt it feeds into Olbermann's massive ego to have himself referred to at all in the press, even if it is for something stupid (and shady) like this.

    Look, this "speculation market" is no different than what happened last winter when the XBOX 360 came out. Speculators purchased the first shipment of the consoles so that they could then sell them far above retail to consumers. (I saw one XBOX 360 sell for $8500 over its retail price.) Once the initial "flurry" ended, the market stabilized.

    All things written negative about Olbermann come from conservative blogs with an agenda. I'm sure you could find one newspaper or credible, nonpartisan source that will make the same accusations as stalegum, olbermannwatch, or any other right-wing website.

    Mr. Cox, you did a good job at highlighting some questions; you just forgot to answer them.

    Scott, I don’t see your point. How is this a scandal? Olbermann paid a large amount of money for rare baseball cards, so? You make some allegations of a conspiracy theory to help sell Topps cards, but do you refuse to accept that Olbermann is a card collector and knows a rare card when he sees one? We’ll see if it’s a bad or good investment, but either way it’s not a conspiracy between Topps and Keith Olbermann to get people paying more for baseball cards.

    And to see KfK try to attack Olbermann at any chance he gets (for no apparent reason) really makes me think about how pathetic he is. I won't call him a terrorist, but I can at least say that he's crossed the line between just a loon with a grudge to a pathetic loon with a grudge.

    Non, I made no judgement as to whether or not Merkle is KO or Bob Merkle, former USA for Middle District of Fl. What I am saying is that it seems wrong.

    First and foremost, the card should have never been distributed, and Topps has jeopardized its licensing agreement with MLB by allowing it. Yes, a recall sucks, but it happens, alot.

    The card is being vastly overpriced. Take a look at some recent "rare" card prices:

    1952 Mickey Mantle Topps #311
    $9152./$9,999./10,100.
    Old Judge Ewing Tobacco Baseball Card
    $25,099.
    1954 Dan-Dee Mickey Mantle PSA 8
    $9211.
    1953 Topp Willie Mays #244 PSA 8
    $9211.
    1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle #253 PSA 7
    $7877.
    Old Judge Corcoran Tobacco Baseball Card
    $7856.
    1987 Fleer Barry Bonds #604 Rookie
    $7353.
    1948 Babe Ruth Leaf #3 PSA 8
    $6250.
    1909 Dockman & Sons E92 Christy Mathewson PSA 6
    $4827.
    1909-11 T206 Chief Bender - Portrait PSA 8
    $3,150.
    1941 Play Ball Joe Dimaggio #71 PSA 5
    $910.
    1911 T205 Walter Johnson PSA 4
    $645.

    Now tell me how a card, not an error card, but a card that shouldn't have been printed, for a guy who has never seen a pitch in the majors, could possibly be comparable to these. The Gordon card isn't rare. It was printed in the standard quantities. Someone is overpricing the card. The question is why.

    I agree, people seem to be paying obscene amounts for the card, but to each his own. To jump to the conclusion that this is some conspiracy theory wherein Topps Card Company asks Olbermann to pay a lot of money for the cards is insane.

    If people want to pay a lot of money for a card they deem valuable they're entitled to do so.

    As noted above, I have not "answered" questions merely reported what questions are being asked in the baseball card collecting community. These people are not asking those questions because of some political difference with KO. In fact, they are not even asking those questions because they are being "denied" the ability to buy Alex Gordan cards. They may have some other agenda. Regardless, they ARE raising these questions and OlbyWatch readers are free to make of this what they will.

    Blogs, forums and zines in that world are putting forward the idea that there is something fishy about the way the cards were distributed (e.g., normally new sets are shipped to the dealer/hobby stores first and the large retailers), who they were distributed to (apparently all the Alex Gordan cards were shipped to one retailer - Walmart) and the exorbinant prices merkle923 has been paying to "corner the market" (as noted above $7,500 his high for ANY card).

    If you don't understand the nature of the "conspiracy theory" being forward by these sites let me explain:

    Keith buying up Alex Gordan cards has driven collectors into Walmart stores (and only Walmart stores) to buy up as many unopened boxes they can find in the hopes of pulling out the equivalent of Wonka's Golden Ticket. The hope is to pay a few dollars to get a Gordan card and then sell it on eBay to Merkle923 for thousands of dollars. In other words, Keith's bidding up Gordan cards has turned buying Topps cards into a form of gambling. And everyone wins: Topps sells more cards and shores up their relationship with Walmart, Walmart sells more cards and gets new customers in their stores, Keith wins because he was buying Alex Gordan's "low" and is putting himself in position to sell "high". Also, the speculative buying creates more interest in trading cards as an investment/financial gambit which increases the overall value of baseball cards in which KO reportedly has a very large stake.

    Given this and the stringent "conflict" issues at news organizations one has to ask whether KO might have crossed a line here. Has he exploited his relationship with Topps to determine how many error cards were printed, or what type, where they were shipped or anything else. Does KO own stock in Topps, a publicly traded company. Does any of this constitute a form of "insider trading" or "market manipulation" of Topps stock (the trading card market is unregulated but the stock market is regulated). What is the nature of KO's relationship with Topps or Walmart now and what has it been in the past?

    We don't know but it is certainly not the case, as some have claimed, that "t�s not a conspiracy between Topps and Keith Olbermann to get people paying more for baseball cards."

    We have no knowledge of any collusion between anyone here and KO is certainly free to pay through the nose for a card few believe will ever be worth what KO has been paying for it. That's not the same thing as reporting that there is a buzz running through the card collecting world over Olbermann's aggressive buying of the Alex Gordan card. There is and that's the story.

    A final note, to the commenter who quoted KO saying 2 months ago that he was an "unpaid advisor" to Topps. That may well be true (although KO saying it hardly makes it true) but that is not the same thing as saying that he was never paid for anything by Topps or what form any compensation he might have received might have taken. We don't know. And for now, KO ain't talking.

    Now tell me how a card, not an error card, but a card that shouldn't have been printed, for a guy who has never seen a pitch in the majors, could possibly be comparable to these.

    It won't be, in the long run. You're talking about cards that have had decades to accumulate their value, whereas all of the "value" in the Gordon card is speculative due to the manner in which it was produced.

    Topps will not be sanctioned by MLBPA for what happened - they have destroyed the Gordon card plate. In terms of release, only a handful of cards got out (out of the millions of cards that Topps prints). In addition, any attempt to "recall" the Gordon cards will simply drive the price higher (similar to the price escalation surrounding the 1933 Double Eagle coin).

    Sounds like anon knows a lot more than I do about the basebcall card trading biz but not so much about how finances work. Anon is the same person who posted the opening comment about my brilliant post being "horse manure".

    As a good socialist I am sure anon doesn't care to know about things like "net present value" or "discounted future cash flows" so I won't bore him with the silly details of all that "money talk". Let me just say that his statement about how cards "accumulate their value" is...well...without value:

    He agreed with a previous commenter that the Gordan card will decline "in the long run" but wants to defend Keith's buying spree nonetheless.

    "You're talking about cards that have had decades to accumulate their value, whereas all of the "value" in the Gordon card is speculative due to the manner in which it was produced."

    Cards don't "accumulate" value because they are not interest bearing or sold at a discount to some nominal price (a "par amount"). Price is determined by something called "supply and demand". The lower the supply of a card the less demand required to drive up the price. Older cards in mint condition, especially those from before the early seventies, are relatively scarce because most cards were collected by kids who flipped them, traded them and carried them around in their pockets. It was until card collecting first took off as a business that cards were commonly placed under lucite or otherwise protected and maintained.

    In the case of Gordan, even if were to wait 50 years and he turned out to be the next Mickey Mantle the inflation-adjusted value of Gordan's rookie card would still be LESS than Keith is paying for it now if we compare it to Mantle's rookie card today. The problem is that post-1970's cards will NEVER have the same long-term value as pre-1970's cards.

    Now, the 297 card is not actually Gordan's rookie card because it was pulled. This is somewhat analagous to the The T206 Honus Wagner Card which was pulled because Wagner demanded to be paid for his likeness on the card. That card has traded at over $1,000,000. Of course, Wagner was one of the greatest shortstops to ever play, the card itself has a mythical status and it was printed almost 100 years ago. It may well be that KO believes the Gordan card has the potential to be the "next T206 Honus Wagner Card" which means he only has to wait until the year 2110 to cash in...or roughly about the same time that he'll catch Bill O'Reilly in the ratings at his current pace.

    There is one good reason for KO to bid up Gordan cards. He already owns at least 10 of them and most were purchased at prices well below $7,500. So, establishing a new price at a higher level sets KO to dump some cards back on the market and net a nice profit. All he needs to do is find people dumb enough to keep bidding up prices long after he has gone from buyer to seller. This is also known as the "greater fool theory" of investing (I'm not kidding, that's what it's called) which says that no price is to high if I can find someone else to pay me even more. This works for a while but, if taken to extremes, results in speculative bubbles which ALWAYS end badly for those without a chair when the music's over. That Keith Olbermann, of all people, would be counting on the Greater Fool theory seems perfectly plausible to me.

    Crazy Cox with another one of his tin-foil hat conspiracy theories ... what a looney moonbat.

    ALL ASKED WAS TO GIVE ME SIMPLE FEEDBACK, AND HE STARTED THE RUDE EMAILS,THREATING ME WITH A NEGATIVE FEEDACK,STATED HE COULDNT GIVE FEEDBACK BECAUSE OF HIS JOB,,I HAD NO IDEA WHO HE WAS,WERE HE WORK,NOTHING, AND THE NEXT DAY THERE IT WAS, RED NEGATIVE..NICE GUY...THEN THE WAR OF EMAILS STARTED,CONDEMING ME , THE WORKING MAN, DOWN GRADING WHERE I LIVED, THAT I WAS DUM,THAT I COULDNT SPELL CORRCTLY, AND ECT..TERRIBLE PERSON THIS KIETH IS,BEWARE TO EVERYONE..BAM..

    Who cares. This Olbermann clown is a goofy teleprompter reader from ESPN who entertains 100 to 150 far left moonbats nightly on the least watched "news" show of all time.

    Frankly, it's amusing that a clown who spent several years saying "Back, Back, Back, Gone" is somehow now qualified to discuss issues of national interest. The clown is a sports clown and will always be one. He will never win credibility in America.

    He's an Assclown.

    Nonfactor wrote:

    >And to see KfK try to attack Olbermann at any chance he gets (for no apparent reason) really makes me think about how pathetic he is. I won't call him a terrorist, but I can at least say that he's crossed the line between just a loon with a grudge to a pathetic loon with a grudge.

    Well, Non, thanks for not calling me a terrorist! Of course, there is no conceivable reason for you to do so, but that never stops you Olbyites. Thusfar I have been called a racist, sexist, homophobe, pervert and (almost) a terrorist, all because I find Olby abhorrent. Amazing what disliking Olbermann implies nowadays! You guys aren't wackos at all!

    As for "attacking" Olby "for no reason," I am afraid you are mistaken. I point out Keith's lack of standards and propensity to lie, as well as his immature behavior, because he is a public menace and a danger to himself and others. Just look at how he encourages people like you Non! You were ready to give Rove a ride to Federal prison based on the Krazy One's confabulations.

    "I point out Keith's lack of standards and propensity to lie."

    Good for you.

    Keith, the 'main stream media', currently 70 percent of the US population and 99 percent of the rest of the world have decided to point out our administrations lack of standards and propensity to lie.

    If I were you, I'd be more concerned about a corrupt white house than someone you consider a low-rated, one-hour a night journalist. But, hey... whatever floats your boat.

    In case folks missed it, the comment left in ALL CAPS is from the eBay seller who had the temerity to ask Keith Olbermann to give him a "review" on eBay and found himself on the receiving end of the WRATH OF KO.

    "There is one good reason for KO to bid up Gordan cards. He already owns at least 10 of them and most were purchased at prices well below $7,500. So, establishing a new price at a higher level sets KO to dump some cards back on the market and net a nice profit."
    I get it. Its like what Bush is doing with his friends in the Oil company. Of Course there is a bif difference I fill my car up everyday with baseball cards and not oil. If this is such a big story then why is it only on conservative blogs and a baseball card collecting message boards? Its not like he is trying to inflate the price of lofah sponges. No wait its falafels. I get so confused. I once thought Malmedy and Normanday were the same place. Hey I know maybe the republicans can run their midterm election on how corrupt the baseball card collecting business has become. I thought of it first Mr. Rove.

    KfK, you shouldn't be one to talk about someone's maturity. How about you try and go a day without name-calling or trying to demoralize someone else to prop up your sense of self-worth. It's embarrassing to see someone's hatred of a political view (in this instance liberalism) transferred towards a specific figurehead (Olbermann) and others (people who like Olbermann).

    How about you take your false rage and go do something productive. You’ve already lived your life and I’m sorry if all you have left is to berate a television personality, but don’t you think you could be doing something better with your time than insulting people you’ll never meet or being overtly partisan?

    Nonfactor, you just made the case for why most folks despise Oafermann:

    "if all you have left is to berate a television personality..."

    Like Keith's nightly berating of television personality O'Reilly?

    "It's embarrassing to see someone's hatred of a political view transferred towards a specific figurehead"

    Like Keith's "hatred" of Bill O'Reilly?

    "...but don’t you think you could be doing something better with your time than insulting people you’ll never meet..."

    Like Keith not doing something better with his time than insulting Ann Coulter, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, etc.

    "How about you try and go a day without name-calling or trying to demoralize someone else to prop up your sense of self-worth"

    Like Keith's nightly WPITW list?

    "How about you take your false rage and go do something productive."

    Like bid rig the baseball card market?

    Jack, realize that what you did right there is called a fallacy.

    KfK calls names just for the sake of calling names 1) If you disagree with him you're anti-American, etc. Olbermann exposes O'Reilly because: 1) O'Reilly bullies people he disagrees with 2) O'Reilly lies to or misleads his audience of 2 million people on a regular basis.

    But it doesn't matter, because all you engaged in, Jack, was fallacy.

    Quoting Bob: "A final note, to the commenter who quoted KO saying 2 months ago that he was an "unpaid advisor" to Topps. That may well be true (although KO saying it hardly makes it true) but that is not the same thing as saying that he was never paid for anything by Topps or what form any compensation he might have received might have taken. We don't know. And for now, KO ain't talking."

    I do remember hearing Keith say on Dan Patrick's radio show something about getting paid in cards. I remember he was sorta laughing when he said it, so I'm not sure of how truthful his statement was.

    I really hope this all boils down to nothing. I'm not an Olbermann fan, but I just don't want to think about baseball card fraud. Hmmm....Maybe I'm getting old, but I remember when collecting cards was just fun for me. I never thought of value or selling them. It was just a fun way to follow a great sport.

    Quoting Bob again: "In case folks missed it, the comment left in ALL CAPS is from the eBay seller who had the temerity to ask Keith Olbermann to give him a "review" on eBay and found himself on the receiving end of the WRATH OF KO."

    I'm not so sure I agree with you here...from what I've read in this seller's feedback, I don't think the problem falls on KO's shoulders. There have been several, shall I say odd, replies from this person.

    The people who are the Olbermann defenders will defend him no matter what he does. They don't question him critically. If they did, they'd see a pattern of dishonesty in his statements. But oh no, he's a perfect being in their eyes and he simply shouldn't be questioned at all no matter what. This is why these people were oh so very shocked when Rove was not indicted this morning. They believed all of Olby's lies and distortions and today, it came back to bite them in the butt. Thank you Robert for uncovering this and brining it to light. It deserves to be examined as does Olbermann's constant slanting of the news.

    If you use MSN search and enter Keith Olbermann Topps, there are 161 pages of entries. Even taking out the strip clubs and male escort sites, thats a lot of pages. It lead me to look at this from a slightly different angle.

    Maybe it isn't so much a concerted effort to raise the price of Topps cards to help Topps or Walmart. KO has been collecting Topps cards for like 45 years, so he has a lot. He is quoted on their website, and even has his own card, back in 2002 which I think I've seen on this site. He repeated mentions Topps specifically in interviews and on the air, and has admitted to TuffStuff that he is Merkle923.

    Maybe its more like insider trading, talking up what he's already bought to raise the prices. Bid up one or two cards hoping someone else will follow suit and you can then dump some of the cards bought at lower prices to these late-comers, who buy into the hype caused by KO's name being attached to it.

    I can't see any reason for KO to publicly acknowledge his eBay id unless for personal gain. It would seem he now has to abandon the user id and rep he built up for 7 years. BUT with a new name, people may not realize who they are paying $7500 for a card.

    I don't see any reason for him to change his eBay user id. Dealers know who he is and it's not like you are going to be dealing with KO for the hell of it. You'd need to sell him a very expensive card.

    Hey I know maybe he feared that someone (no one in particular) would snoop around ebay and find out who he is. Then put his list of ebay transactions and possible user name on a blog site. This would expose the public to his involvement in the dark, seedy, liberal underground society known as baseball card collecting. You are right RCox. I don't know why he would change his eBay user name? Let me think about it hmmmmm, Nope, still have no idea!

    Brandon,
    Hey can you buy falefels on ebay? OOPS! I meant loofas. I get so confused sometimes.

    Jack,

    Nice post

    Nonfactor,

    Pathetic reply

    "Even taking out the strip clubs and male escort sites". I will let Jeff Gannon defend the male escort sites but as for strip clubs how dare you attack the strip clubs! I likes me the ladies. Is nothing sacred on this site. I demand strip clubs be left from further arguments! Duke Cunningham where are you when we need you?

    `The people who are the Bush defenders will defend him no matter what he does. They don`t question him critically. If they did, they`d see a pattern of dishonesty in his statements. But oh no, he`s a perfect being in their eyes and he simply shouldn`t be questioned at all no matter what. This is why these people were oh so very shocked when Rove was not indicted this morning. They believed all of Bush`s lies and distortions and today, it came back to bite them in the butt. Thank you Keith Olbermann for uncovering this and bringing it to light. It deserves to be examined as does O`Reilly`s constant slanting of the news.`

    Partisanship, the worst thing since prohibition.

    "Don't argue with someone who knows they're right."

    That quote pretty much sums up the problems with partisanship. Some will argue (Tom Delay) that being a partisan leads to a lively and healthy debate on national issues, and I agree--to a certain extent. But once the line is crossed between mild-mannered partisan to full blown zealot for a political cause civil discourse is thrown out the window, and all debates end in three different ways: 1. God made it happen, 2. You're a dumbass, or 3. Eye gouging.

    Tom Delay ... with his Gordon Gekko `Partisanship is good` farewell -- perfect example of the prototypically corrupt, opportunistic, whoring republican.

    Gordon was a "hot prospect" that Topps thought was going to make the 25-man roster. Kansas City is a very thin team and it was not outside the realm of plausibility for him to jump straight to the big leagues. Since he could have made the team, Topps made a card of him (as they do with every player with a good chance of making a major-league roster).

    In previous years, that is exactly what Topps did. In days of yore, Topps representatives traveled the back-roads of the minor leagues and signed just about every player they possibly could to a card contract (dubbed "steak dinner" contracts, as the player received a $5 check for signing). But new rules put in place this season by the Major League Baseball Player's Association (MLBPA) now prohibit them from including minor leaguers in "Major League" baseball card sets.

    Basically, Topps jumped the gun on Gordon. They thought, wrongly, that Kansas City would have given him a "cup-of-coffee" with the big club in '05, then have him begin the '06 season in the minors.

    For the record, Topps does include a card of Gordon in it's previously rookie-themed 2006 Bowman set, but had to exclude him from the base set. Instead, they added him in as part of the Prospects "insert" set.

    There's a "very public controvery" (on a blog called "stalegum" that referes to "Krazy Keith", so it must not have any kind of agenda : eveyone should be sure to click on that link, if for no other reason than to see what Crazy Cox's idea of a "good source" is)

    Yes, please click on the link! I could use that additional traffic.

    The card is being vastly overpriced. Take a look at some recent "rare" card prices:

    1987 Fleer Barry Bonds #604 Rookie
    $7353.

    Not all of these cards are "rare," per se. Topps estimates that about 100 copies of the Gordon card made it's way into packs -- not including the "cut-out" and "white-out" variations. And the Gordon's didn't just make it into Wal-Mart packs either. Kooky Keith paid $5900 for an unopened rack-pack with a Gordon clearly visible on top. Such packs were distributed primarily to hobby dealers.

    By comparison, Fleer printed (literally) hundereds-of-thousands of Barry Bonds rookie cards back in '87. There are also significantly more copies in circulation of the other cards cited, than there are of the '06 Topps Alex Gordon. The reason why this particular Bonds RC sold for $7353, as well as the reason why Kooky Keith paid $7500 for one of his Gordon's, is that they were both given high marks for condition and quality by a professional grader. If you don't collect baseball cards, chances are you probably won't get the concept of grading, so I won't bother. I've been collecting for 25 years and I don't get it either.

    BTW, love the site, and now I'll go back to trolling and poaching your images.

    Stale,

    Thanks for stopping by.

    This is the stupidest conspiracy theory I have ever read. It is filled with misconceptions and innuendo disguised as facts.

    In other words, this post summarizes the style and substance of this site perfectly.

    It is certainly Keith Olbermann because I (halfbreed3) have sold him a card before. It's been quite a bit, but I remember his ebay ID and he had the cards shipped to his office care of Keith Olbermann. It was a good transaction but I don't remember if he left feedback. I don't think he does leave feedback to be honest. Must be too busy even though he finds time to drop 60 grand on a several of the same piece of cardboard. I find it strange that he would spend so much on a modern day card when nobody really knows how rare the card is. There have been dozens to hundreds of this card pop up which already makes it an average hard to find card. Many cards today are limited to copies as low as 1! It is rumored there are several hundred and possibly approaching 1000 of the Alex Gordon cards which means it ain't scarce. Being so close to Topps he should know this and I imagine he does.

    This comment thread is now closed.