Topps In Dog House Over Cancellation

Cat Osterman is no stranger to The Hobby. Having already been featured prominently in 2008 Donruss brands, fans of the Olympic medalist were thrilled to find out she had an on-card autograph in 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter.

For whatever reason, the extremely generous in-person and through the mail signer has yet to put her John Hancock on those Allen & Ginter cards and now Topps is sending out forced replacements to those who redeemed Osterman’s card.

As you can see, members of both Blowout Cards and Freedom Card Board are not taking it well. It doesn’t just end in the forums, either. Jay, a Cat Osterman collector and fellow blogger posted a long rant against Topps’ cancellation of the Cat autograph.

Perhaps the most interesting case to come out of “Osterman-gate” is Marvin, a collector who recently began collecting again after a fifteen year break. In 2009 alone he has spent thousands on Topps products and is one of those collectors being forced an unwanted replacement.

Along with a sternly-worded letter (any A.D. fans?), Marvin is shipping out a box from Texas all the way to Topps Headquarters in New York. Inside that box is every single Topps product Marvin has purchased in 2009. He’s giving up collecting for good this time.

It may sound a little nutty but it goes to show you just how damaging redemption failures can be. Having already dealt with two Topps redemption issues myself, I know how utterly frustrating it can be to spend hundreds of dollars only to not receive what was promised.

If you’re looking for Cat Osterman relics and autographs you have two options. Go with 2008 Donruss releases which feature sticker autographs or pick up an Allen & Ginter base card and have Cat sign it through the mail. It’s not exactly what collectors wanted but it will have to do for now.

Cat Osterman, a true hobby heartbreaker …




  1. My redemption pain
    “Shipment of this redemption card has been delayed
    Redemption Code: SCBBYVVYPX
    Code Entered: 01/25/2009
    Redeemed Card: Chris Perez Rookie AU
    Stadium Club
    Status: Pending”

    I have sent them 2 Emails telling them that I would take another card in place and they have yet to respond to me. Imagine if a real collector ran Topps? We could fix there problems in a matter of days….

  2. I have sympathy for the disappointed collectors, but that’s what can happen when you try to have on-card autographs.

    I think I’d rather have the card companies use stickers & do a better job of incorporating them into the card designs than they usually do.

  3. I say get em all signed prior to product release or don’t promise names of those who have not signed yet. Too many things can go wrong from point A to point Z.

  4. I have been waiting since September 2nd for a Phil Hughes auto. Looks like I could be waiting a while.

  5. Topps shafted me on a Jesse Ventura relic from their American Heritage set. I ended up getting an Erik Estrada relic instead. Their redemption website still says that the redemption is pending though which is quite odd. I’m also waiting on a WBC patch card that said it was shipped a month ago and even gave a tracking number. USPS has no record of the number and Topps informed me that it can take up to five weeks for the card to be shipped after their website says it has shipped. I understand redemptions, but if your website can’t handle the simple task of status tracking, you need to really rethink how your company operates.

    BTW I’d love to have that Keri Strug auto that Jay dismissed as worthless. As a household name and American Olympic hero (unlike Cat Osterman), one of her autos makes a very nice keepsake.

  6. Paul, that’s hardly the case.

    Topps can’t even produce their eTopps cards on time. Maybe I’m missing something, but why the hell are we experiencing delays on cards that were literally PAID UP FRONT.

    Topps, of course spouts the company line: “Due to production issues beyond our control…”

    Topps is a card company, so what exactly is an issue beyond their control? The Free World stop selling ink? Paper companies run out of trees?

    So when we’re dealing with Topps saying, crap like “due to production issues,” it’s definitely not always the ATHLETE’S Fault.

    When you’re dealing with the autographs, I’m thinking that Topps is doing a cost/benefit analysis on ’em and eventually saying screw the collector.

    Topps sticks someone like Cat O. in the product with a soft deal in place. Osterman’s marketing agency sees that the cards are selling for 100-500 bucks and says, we want more than the 10 dollars per that was floated around. Topps, knowing that the autographs are already inserted, says screw the people who bought the autographs rather than pony up the funds.

    Topps will always claim that there was a delay in shipping, or let the consumer assume that the athlete didn’t get it in on time.

    As a Travis Snider collector that purchased finest redemptions, it’s absolutely disgusting to see SP Authentic be the first to market with Snider Letter-Patches.

    Snider clearly signed for UD in 2009, so it’s not on the athlete.

  7. Look everybody….you have to realize that in Upper Deck and Topps, you are dealing with two companies that are currently being operated very poorly. Are you really naive enough to expect anything better given the quality of their management combined with all the layoffs that have taken place?

    Both companies have mediocre management and workforces that have been pared to the bone…of course you are going to have more than your usual amount of screw-ups.

  8. Shaun…I have a bunch of Topps Murad redemptions which they sent me crap (and by crap I mean 7 or the 9 autos they sent me are out of the NBA already the other two were Isiah and Webb). The funny thing is that like you they still show as pending and they sent me e-mails for each redemption saying they’ve been delayed. Don’t get me started on the phone call I had with them when they sent me the redemptions.
    I plan on waiting another month to the newest Beckett’s prices and then request something else and see what they say.

  9. Does anyone else think it’s funny that Laura Osterman almost felt bad about a signature taking “a few weeks”.

    People will mail stuff to spring training and be pleasantly surprised if it arrives before baseball season ends, yet here we have someone assuring you that you’ll get an autograph, but it may take a few weeks.

    Cracks me up a little. People would think she’s a great TTM signer if it took her a couple months to sign.

  10. Saun

    I never mentioned anything about Kerri’s card being worthless? I like Kerri Strug, and have a lot of respect for Gymnast. As a matter of fact my first cousin is Sean Townsend. He was the first American gymnast since 1979 to win the Gold Medal on the Parallel Bars at the World Championship.

    As for a household name well every household is different. My household likes Cat Osterman, your household likes well Kerri Strug.

    Kerri Strug was part of the magnificent seven the first team to ever win gold for the U.S.

    Is she a hero? My answer would be no. Was she very courageous, and continued on with a badly injured ankle yes. Was she responsible for winning the gold? I would have to say it was a team effort.

    I don’t think either of the two fall in the Olympic Hero category. When I think of Olympic Hero I think of Jim Thorpe, Jessie Owens, and most recently that bong smoking Phelps.


  11. While I appreciate Laura’s comment, that doesn’t do anything for the people who paid rdiculous amounts of money for the A&G redemptions. It’s not as if they have the card in hand to send to her.

  12. i had a redemption for a red cat osterman auto and got mia hamm. conservatively, that was a $100 kick in the nuts.

  13. Phosgene,

    If you ever want to trade that Mia Hamm card email me, and we can work a deal. I most likely have a card you would want in exchange,



  14. I am really sorry for those of you who lost $$ on this. We really appreciate all of you who follow her and want to help out if we can. We had no idea about what happened.

    Kris, thanks for the comment. I do feel bad when we can’t get stuff out quickly, but we work around her coaching and USA and Thunder duties as well as my work. (I am a teacher.) This is really a mom & pop operation here! 😉 Anyway – if you would like something signed, just send to the PO Box. Thanks all.

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