Topps to release a “Pride & Perseverance” card set


Topps just announced that they’re releasing a “Pride & Perseverance” special insert set in their latest update series, the purpose of which is to “celebrate Major League players from the past and present, who have triumphed in spite of disabilities that have come their way.”

Included in the set:

  • Cubs pitcher Jon Lester and first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who are both cancer survivors;
  • Giants pitcher Jake Peavy, who is legally blind without his corrective lenses, which I don’t think I ever knew;
  • Astros outfielder George Springer, who has overcome stuttering, also something I didn’t know;
  • Mets reliever Buddy Carlyle, and A’s outfielder Sam Fuld, each of whom have diabetes;
  • Yankees and Angels pitcher Jim Abbott, who threw a no-hitter in 1993 and had a fine overall career, despite being born without his right hand;
  • Former Phillies, Royals and Marlins outfielder Jim Eisenreich, who played 15 years in MLB after overcoming Tourette’s syndrome;
  • Former outfielders Curtis Pride and William Hoy, each of whom played despite being deaf; and
  • St. Louis Browns outfielder Pete Gray who played despite having lost an arm in a childhood accident.

In a statement issued by Topps, its VP & General Manager, David Leiner said “These men had to overcome great odds to not only make it to the Majors, but at times with what could have been a disadvantage. Instead, they are an inspiration and we are honored to showcase them in our product.”

Very nice move, Topps. They’re on sale today. Go out and get ’em.

Orioles sign OF Aaron Hicks, put Cedric Mullins on 10-day IL with groin strain

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles signed outfielder Aaron Hicks less than 24 hours after Cedric Mullins went down with a strained right groin.

Mullins went on the 10-day injured list, but the Orioles are hoping Hicks can help defensively in the spacious outfield at Camden Yards. Hicks was released last week by the New York Yankees with more than 2 1/2 seasons left on his contract.

“We had noticed that he was a free agent even before the injury,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias said. “When the injury occurred and it became pretty clear this was going to be an IL, it seemed like a good fit even more so at that time.”

The Orioles are responsible for paying Hicks just $483,871, a prorated share of the $720,000 minimum salary. The Yankees owe him the rest of his $10.5 million salary this year, plus $9.5 million in each of the next two seasons and a $1 million buyout of a 2026 team option.

The 33-year-old Hicks hit just .188 in 28 games for the Yankees this year.

“We have stuff that we look at from a scouting and evaluation perspective,” Elias said. “It’s very different from just looking at the back of a baseball card, and we hope that we get a bounceback from anyone we bring here.”

Hicks batted .216 last season.

“Hopefully that’s a good thing for him,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the Baltimore deal. “A lot of time here and a lot of good things happened for him here. I know the last couple of years have been a struggle. But hopefully it’s a good opportunity for him and certainly wish him well. Not too well being in our division and a team we’re chasing, but hopefully it’s a really good fit for him.”

Mullins left a loss to Cleveland after he pulled up while running out an infield grounder. Outfielder Colton Cowser – the fifth pick in the draft two years ago – is hitting .331 at Triple-A Norfolk, but he went on the IL in the past couple weeks.

“Certainly he was building a case towards promotion consideration prior to his injury and prior to Cedric’s injury,” Elias said. “We’ll just see where we’re at.”

Hicks was active for the game but not in the starting lineup. Austin Hays, normally Baltimore’s left field, was in Mullins’ usual spot in center.

When the wall in left at Camden Yards was pushed significantly back before last season, it made left field a bigger challenge defensively.

“In this park … you really need two center fielders,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Aaron’s got a lot of center-field experience. Played left field here before also. Brings the defensive aspect and then the switch-hitting.”