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‘Bad News Bears’ get their own baseball cards

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(Panini America)

Because your baseball card collection is sadly void of Kelly Leak, you'll be happy to know that a set of "Bad News Bears" baseball cards are coming soon from Panini America.

According to Panini's blog post announcing the cards, this will be the first ever "Bad News Bears" set, which seems kinda odd. But considering the original "Bad New Bears" flick came out in 1976, it makes sense that the merchandising-mania we're used to with movies never went back in time to give the "Bad New Bears" their due.

The "Bad New Bears" cards will be released later this month as part of the 2013 Panini Golden Age Baseball set — those of you who haven't bought baseball cards in a while, might be interested to know that Panini bought out Donruss in 2009.

As is common these days, there will be special autographed "Bad News Bears" versions inserted in packs that collectors can chase. So cross your fingers, Bears fans, that you'll get a Kelly Leak card autographed by actor Jackie Earle Haley or an Amanda Whurlitzer card signed by Tatum O’Neal. There are also cards for Ahmad Abdul Rahim (played by Erin Blunt), Mike Engelberg (Gary Lee Cavagnaro), Rudi Stein and Toby Whitewood (David Stambaugh).

Per the Panini blog:

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(Panini America)

“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."

Panini's Golden Age set includes pop culture-referenced cards in addition to baseball cards. All with a bit of history. According to Cardboard Connection's rundown of the set, you can expect cards featuring Al Kaline, Evel Knievel and the Three Stooges in Golden Age packs.

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