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Upper Deck, the Official Sports Trading Card of Little League Baseball(R), Names 'Rip Into It & Win' Champ

Junior Squad Wins Junior Griffey Skills Clinic

Rattlers Give City of Tucson, Ariz. Back-to-Back Top Prize Wins

Four Maitland, Fla. Little League World Series Players on Regular Season Teams That Participated in Program

While the world's top youth baseball teams battle it out for the Little League World Series title, one non-tournament squad has already won its once-in-a-lifetime experience: a skills clinic from Cincinnati Reds slugger and 10-time Gold Glover, Ken Griffey, Jr.

That team: Tucson, Ariz.'s AAA Rattlers, which took the top prize in Upper Deck's "Rip Into It & Win" program by purchasing and sending in the most trading card pack wrappers from the company's nine baseball-specific sets.

The Rattlers beat out teams from 44 U.S. states, Canada and Puerto Rico for its skills clinic this fall, to be held at Disney World's Wide World of Sports(TM) Complex in Orlando, Fla.

This is the second year Upper Deck, the official sports trading card of Little League Baseball(R), has run its popular program -- and the second year a team from Tucson, Ariz. has won the grand prize. The city's AAA Diablos took home the title in 2004.

The program's top four leagues received a runner-up prize of a top-of-the-line Jr. JUGS pitching machine. They were: Continental Ranch L.L. (Tucson, Ariz.); Union (N.J.) L.L.; Maywood (N.J.) L.L., and Rio Caleveras League (Stockton, Calif.). The Continental Ranch, Union and Maywood leagues also won a machine last year.

According to Upper Deck, this year's contest saw a threefold increase in wrappers redeemed, with the most popular set collected being its 2005 MLB Upper Deck Series 1. Coincidentally mirroring Griffey's age during his breakout Little League year -- when he had only one out at bat all season -- the set features 11 Griffey cards.

'Rip Into It & Win' Little League World Series Connection

Four members of Maitland, Fla.'s Little League World Series team, one of eight U.S. finalists involved in the championship tournament, were on regular season squads that participated in the "Rip Into It & Win" Program (Maitland Yankees, Red Sox). One of its pitchers, Skip Kovar, has tabbed Griffey as his favorite MLB player.

More on Upper Deck/Little League Baseball Partnership

In addition to the prizes involved in its "Rip Into It & Win" program, Upper Deck provided league managers and concession booth operators the chance to sell its cards.

"Upper Deck's partnership has provided local Little Leagues an opportunity for fundraising while helping keep affiliation fees as low as possible," said Stephen D. Keener, president and CEO of Little League Baseball.

In 2004, Upper Deck's "Rip Into It & Win" program involved nearly 3 million Little Leaguers, 200,000 coaches and 6,500 leagues.

More on 'Rip Into It & Win' Program

  • Three of the program's top-10 teams are from Arizona (two from Tucson; one from Mesa);
  • Six of the top 13 teams are from New Jersey, with Union Little League having three;
  • Two of the top four leagues in the program are from California and New Jersey. Both states are also the home to the most U.S. Little League World Series champions, and;
  • In addition to the skills clinic and pitching machines, 17 weekly prizes - such as baseball gear, autographed memorabilia, video games, and CD players -- were awarded to the teams that sent in the most wrappers.

About The Upper Deck Company

Founded in 1988, The Upper Deck Co. is a premier global sports and entertainment-publishing company that delivers a portfolio of relevant, innovative and multi-dimensional product experiences to collectors, sports and entertainment enthusiasts.

Source: The Upper Deck Co, LLC
Date: August 26, 2005

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