The Autograph The Hobby Deserves

On Friday, I was fortunate enough to have a few minutes to talk with Leaf Trading Card’s Brian Gray. Towards the end of my conversation, Brian threw in the typical “if you ever need anything” I hear everyone say at one point or another in my day to day conversations with my corporate office. Most of the times, it is usually a empty offer but I jumped at the opportunity. I told Brian I was a fan of Leaf Pop Century and there was one signature that was missing from his brand.

In case you missed it, Brian caused a small uproar last week when he announced that Leaf would have Ben Affleck certified autographs in 2018 Pop Century. That’s all well and good. I am a Kevin Smith fan so Ben Affleck is near and dear to my heart but again, if you’re going to do an entertainment-themed trading card set, you have to cover as many bases as possible and in all these years of Pop Century, one man has been missing. One man who is beloved and has yet to be covered in any trading card set.

Philip Edward Hartmann AKA Phil Hartman.

For those who are too young to remember Hartman, his illustrious career was cut short by his coked-out wife and a .38 caliber. Phil was the co-creator of the ‘Pee Wee Herman’ character, co-wrote the first Pee Wee film directed by Tim Burton and played two very memorable characters on the long-running ‘The Simpsons’. However, most TV fans know him for his memorable, 9-year run on ‘Saturday Night Live’, where he spent nearly a decade making America laugh.

At the time of his murder at just 49 years of age, Phil was on a career high thanks to his amazing work on the critically acclaimed but ratings-impaired sitcom, ‘Newsradio’. He was originally meant to be play a supporting character but with every season, his role on the show continued to grow until it was HE and not the stars of the show became the main focus. His Newsradio goodbye episode still gets me every single time, even 20 years since it aired.

Not only did Brian promise to work on a Hartman cut, he also wanted to remind everyone that he is open to any and all suggestions and feedback on his products, something that no other company seems to be too concerned about. You think Topps cares that Heritage is now a set-collector’s nightmare? Good luck finding someone who to take time out of their day to listen to you in New York. Thankfully, Brian still does care and to prove it, you can email him at

Send him an email on what YOU think is missing from the hobby. I, for one think that it’s Phil Hartman with Rick Moranis a close second. Hopefully, one day both those guys will be found in Pop Century and in 2021, Leaf will be competing with Topps as a licensed baseball card company. If Leaf Pearl is any indication, Leaf Trading Cards is going to have a very strong run in 2018.



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