Notebook: Topps Hires New CFO, Tanaka Rookies, Our New Column, Brother-Sister Store, Junior Mothers

The Topps Company is getting a new Chief Financial Officer.  John Mueller who served as CFO of the XO Group (formerly The Knot) until November of last year, has been named to the post effective April 7.

John MuellerTopps Company logo“John is a seasoned executive with a wealth of experience across consumer products, finance, and the digital space, and we believe his financial and strategic skills will be an incredible resource to draw upon as we continue our growth,“ said Michael Brandstaedter, Topps President and Chief Operating Officer.

Mueller began his career at Kimberly-Clark in manufacturing and corporate finance.  Following his time at Kimberly-Clark, he spent the next 13 years in banking with various firms including  Societe Generale, Credit Suisse First Boston and Jefferies & Company.

Mueller holds a BS in Business Administration from University of Minnesota and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Topps was acquired by Michael Eisner’s The Tornante Company and Madison Dearborn Partners in October 2007.

In confirming the selection of Mueller, Eisner said, “John Mueller’s accomplishments at XO Group, the broad depth of his experience in finance and manufacturing, and his business savvy, will make him a key player in executing our vision of growth and momentum at Topps.”


Masahiro Tanaka rookie cardStarting with next week’s release of 2014 Gypsy Queen, the Yankees’ newest overseas arrival, Masahiro Tanaka, will start to appear in the company’s Major League Baseball card products.

Fans and collectors will find Tanaka rookie cards, parallels and inserts in Bowman, Topps Archives and Topps Series 2.

We’re really excited to have David Cycleback on board, writing a regular series of columns/articles.

David’s first story on using black lights to examine authenticity of paper collectibles such as vintage baseball cards was really well received.

He’s an expert on authenticity and fakes and forgery detection of everything from trading cards to art prints to photographs.  He’s very well respected in the hobby—and in the art world– and his column will offer helpful hints, tips and information on those topics.


Thanks, too, to Brian Kong, whose artwork keeps him busy creating trading cards and other cool stuff.

Brian created the new Rich’s Ramblings logo and we think it looks more like Rich Klein than Rich Klein does.


Steve Heidi Gerber Sportscard PlaygroundWe’ve seen husbands and wives manage card stores.  Sometimes fathers and sons or best friends are in charge.  At Sportscard Playground in Hatboro, PA, it’s a brother/sister act.

Steve and Heidi Gerber have been in business since the 1990’s, riding the ups and downs of the business.

The shop was the outgrowth of a mail order business Steve started.  His sister came aboard once the shop got off the ground.

It’s been hard work, but also a labor of love as they work to make their customers happy according to this story in the Midweek Wire.


Has it really been 25 years?  Last night marked the silver anniversary of Ken Griffey Jr.’s first big league game.  The 19-year-old was already sort of a superstar with high expectations taking all forms.  Upper Deck, of course, made him the #1 card in their debut set.

Other Griffey cards were issued that season, though, including a west coast exclusive four card set sponsored by Mothers Cookies.  You think Junior looks young on that Upper Deck card, take a gander at those four.

Junior, by the way, doubled off Dave Stewart in that first game in Oakland April 3, 1989.