Skip to content

Bears Necessity: Panini America to Produce First-Ever ‘Bad News Bears’ Trading Cards

June 11, 2013

Panini America Bad News Bears Autos (11)

It’s hard to believe almost 40 years have passed since the seminal spring/summer blockbuster “The Bad News Bears” first graced the silver screen. The surprisingly raw 1976 comedy about a ragtag bunch of low-talent little leaguers and their hapless hired-gun manager gave eternal hope to underdogs everywhere and remains a cult classic more than three decades later.

Later this month, Panini America officials will bestow upon one of the greatest sports films of all time collecting’s version of a lifetime achievement award: The historic first “Bad News Bears” trading cards and autographs inside the 2013 Golden Age Baseball release.

The late Walter Matthau was pitch perfect as Coach Morris Buttermaker, the former minor leaguer turned heavy-drinking pool cleaner brought in to coach a gaggle of little-league misfits including star pitcher Amanda Whurlitzer (played by Tatum O’Neal), bad-boy phenom Kelly Leak (played by Jackie Earle Haley) and fellow oddballs Ahmad Abdul Rahim (played by Erin Blunt), Mike Engelberg (played by Gary Lee Cavagnaro), Rudi Stein (played by David Pollock) and Toby Whitewood (played by David Stambaugh).

Those last six scene-stealers are at the heart of Golden Age’s “Bad News Bears” content that includes base cards, mini parallels and the all-important on-card autographs.

“We wanted to add some element of the ‘The Bad News Bears’ from the earliest planning stages of the second Golden Age release, and we began working on that even before 2012 Golden Age was shipped,” says Panini America Brand Manager Mike Payne. “That film is a classic and fits perfectly into the Golden Age brand. Licensing became the biggest hurdle, and deals with studios can take some time to reach an agreement. Once that was completed, Paramount provided imagery of the six principles we were in negotiations with, including Tatum O’Neal and Jackie Earle Haley. It wouldn’t have been the set we wanted without Amanda and Kelly Leak.

“There was some concern that Tatum might not want to be a part of the project, but she was great throughout the entire process and even sent a thank-you note with her cards that read, ‘Everyone, Thanks so much for everything! I really appreciate it.’ She then signed with an ‘XO’ next to her name. It’s a little thing, sure, but still a nice gesture.”

Cavagnaro, who lives in the Dallas area, has visited Panini America headquarters on two different occasions during the last few weeks signing his cards for the set. Stay tuned to The Knight’s Lance for an exclusive interview with Cavagnaro in which he shares his recollections on filming a movie that most definitely stands the test of time.

You can check out a complete gallery of the history-making Bad News Bears cards coming to the late-June release of 2013 Golden Age Baseball below. But before that, we’ll leave you with this gem of a memory that Cavagnaro shared with Payne.

“He’s got great memories of making the film, including how hot it was during filming and how the field was actually built for the film in an area where there wasn’t much around,” Payne says. “He recalls Tatum pitching the ball over his head a couple times, then turning around and shaking his head when he’d hear Tatum’s father – actor Ryan O’Neal – shout ‘Good pitch! Great job!’ to his daughter.”

21 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrew McKay permalink
    June 11, 2013 2:17 pm

    Very cool, loved this movie growing up.

  2. Ben permalink
    June 11, 2013 2:25 pm

    No Tanner?

    • I Named My Son Tanner permalink
      June 12, 2013 10:47 am

      EXACTLY! No Tanner?

  3. Mal permalink
    June 11, 2013 2:28 pm

    It’s hysterical that Jackie Earle Haley gave his uniform number with his autograph. Man! That makes me really, really like him.

  4. June 11, 2013 2:30 pm

    Shame you don’t have a Walter Matthau cut auto for this product…

  5. g2-b8d1f6bcff77042868a0f7ac2ef9e727 permalink
    June 11, 2013 2:47 pm


  6. June 11, 2013 3:07 pm

    No Tanner = FAIL

  7. June 11, 2013 5:35 pm

    I liked 2012 Golden Age. I am anticipating liking 2013 Golden Age even more!!

  8. June 11, 2013 6:42 pm

    Outstanding, I even love how they framed the pictures in classic baseball stylings. What’s really sad is that a movie like this could never be made today. There are vaild reasons why that’s not a bad thing, but it still makes me sad.

  9. Chris permalink
    June 11, 2013 6:49 pm

    Tanner Boyle got snubbed. And what about the Luper?

  10. June 12, 2013 3:25 am

    Love the autographs and Tip Top cards.

  11. Sport Card Collectors permalink
    June 12, 2013 4:51 am

    Great additions to this outstanding product. Can’t wait for its release!

  12. hudsonfan15 permalink
    June 12, 2013 5:39 am

    Very nice to see this storied film included in a product, it’s been far too long. Golden Age is shaping up as a great entertainment product. Thanks Tracy!

  13. July 2, 2013 12:18 am

    Tanner wants NOTHING to do with Bad News Bears.

  14. Terrance "Scoody" Thornton permalink
    July 9, 2013 4:32 pm

    Where are the trading cards for those of us that played in the BAD NEWS BEARS sequel the BAD NEWS BEARS GO TO JAPAN?


  1. Anonymous
  2. The Missing Links: Life-Sized Life » Razaky
  3. Bits and pieces, June 12
  4. Teaser Gallery: Panini America Breaks Early Box of 2013 Golden Age Baseball | The Official Panini America Blog
  5. The Panini America Interview: ‘Bears’ Actor Gary Lee Cavagnaro Talks Cards, Co-Stars | The Official Panini America Blog
  6. 989 Design » Topps Adding ‘Major League’ Players to 2014 Set

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: