Panini America Signs Nationals Ace Stephen Strasburg To Exclusive Autograph Deal
**Hat-tip to reader Matt for passing this story over to me.
By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor
The ace of the Washington Nationals has a new home.
Panini America announced on Tuesday that it has signed Stephen Strasburg to an exclusive autograph deal.
Terms of the multi-year agreement were not disclosed. The right-hander was previously a Topps-exclusive player beginning in 2010, when he captivated the baseball world with his dominating debut that was later derailed by injury.
“Stephen Strasburg is one of the most dominant pitchers in the game today; and one of baseball’s most popular and collected players,” said Panini America CEO Mark Warsop in a prepared release. “His exclusive presence in our licensed MLBPA trading card releases is a huge development for us and will add even more excitement to our roster of products. We’re honored that Stephen has entrusted us – exclusively – to represent and protect the integrity and collectability of his autographed trading cards.”
Strasburg, a 15-game winner last season, will have his first autographs in 2012 Prizm, which arrives in April. There, he will appear in his USA Baseball uniform. Panini also has the USA license locked up exclusively.
Strasburg appears on 942 different baseball cards from his career valued at more than $24,700. He appears on exactly 150 certified autograph cards.
“I’m excited to announce my relationship with an innovative company like Panini and deliver my autographs to baseball collectors exclusively in Panini trading card products,” Strasburg said. “I’m looking forward to working with Panini and joining the ranks of their other exclusive athletes for trading cards.”
Strasburg is the company’s first exclusive baseball player. He joins the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving from the NBA and Andrew Luck of the NFL, who is a Panini Authentic(memorabilia) autograph-exclusive player.