Monday, March 31, 2008

A Card With A Blessing In Disguise

This was one of the lesser publicized chase cards in 2007 Allen & Ginter. It's still amazing that this card exists. But should it?

This is a gray area in baseball cards for me. I do like the variety that non-baseball subjects bring, but I also do not like the infiltration of these people into a sport specific release.

Do I need a card of a poker champion in my baseball card release? Not really. I seem to be one of the few people left on the planet who still thinks that watching poker on television is less exciting than watching paint dry. I never got it and I don't think I ever will. I can even sit through the game show "How Much Is Enough?" until the end. All that is is watching a counter move up and down.

I wonder what Mother Teresa would think of her signature being used in such a way. I doubt that she would be flattered by the prospect of her autograph being used to drive sales of an entertainment product. Who knows though, maybe she'd be cool with it. We will never know.

What exactly is the market for a card like this? Would it be the devout churchgoer? Would it be an autograph collector? A historian? A seven year old who bought a pack from his or her local card shop? Heaven only knows.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

1976 Topps Traded #74T - Oscar Gamble

The hair! My God, the hair!

Oscar certainly wins the prize for largest major league afro in 1975. His airbrushed cap can barely hold on to Oscar's head. Does that hair come with it's own gravitational pull?

Oscar almost looks like he's getting a migraine from all that hair sitting on top of his head. I do believe that the Yankees had to take an insurance policy out on those locks. Maybe he secretly wanted to be a backup singer for the Commodores.

Oscar Gamble may have been the modern day equivalent of Samson. Once the hair was gone, so was Oscar's strength. His statistics seemed to mirror his afro length.

This has to be one of the most recognizable cards of the seventies. The sheer volume of the hair made it an instant favorite with kids and adults alike. It would take two different stints with the White Sox before I realized the existence of this card.

Now, like the Doobie Brothers episode of What's Happening, I must bow down to the awesomeness of this card. I wonder what would happen if a player came out with a card like this today? I doubt that a player would sport this kind of hairstyle today. The current philosophy seems to be either shaved or some hairdo worthy of the Predator. This is truly a snapshot of the mid-seventies.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Card

One of the things that I really dislike about the hobby today is the graded card. I understand the principle behind grading. Its main goal is to preserve, or that should be the main goal. This can lead to discrepancies among collectors. Many errors in grading have been found.

In some cases, the same card has been graded multiple times, with different grades as the result. What should the final grade be? How can a card that received a grade of 5, get a grade of 7 the second time it was submitted to the same service?

I just finished reading The Card. It's a fascinating look at the history behind the world's most famous (and expensive) card. After hearing rave reviews from other bloggers in the community, I decided to check out my local library for a copy. Sure enough, they had one on the shelf. I am the fifth person to check out this book since August.

The first thing that struck me after finishing the book is that most of the action took place around my neck of the woods. A lot of the action takes place in Burr Ridge and Oak Park, Illinois. That really opened my eyes. A good chunk of was orchestrated place right under my nose. It was very surprising to me.

At first, I thought an entire book about one card would be a boring read. It would have been, had it not been for the people involved. Friendships were ruined, collectors were stabbed in the back, people were screwed over and deception ruled most of the stories.

There are also personal accounts of the man himself, Honus Wagner. Learning more about the Flying Dutchman was worth the read alone. I feel like I grew up around him as I read about his hometown and his habits and haunts.

This book also documents the rise of baseball cards and memorabilia. It shows the reader how a hobby transformed from a few fanatic collectors writing letters to the beast that it was in the nineties to the premium cards of today. All thanks to one card.

In my estimation, this Gretzky Wagner should not be worth as much as it is. The credit for the inflation should be given to each owner of the card since 1985. Each owner has added to the legacy of this one card. Not many are willing to openly talk about the origins of the card.

The origins are debated and the reasons are argued for each. The only thing that I didn't like about the book was the feeling of anger at how some owners blatantly manipulated future owners. It's also humbling and sad to think that the card may not be all that it claims to be.

The most interesting story comes from two unexpected players who can't seem to catch a break. Although, it seems like they are their own worst enemy. For each step they take forward, they seem to shoot themselves in the foot and hop three steps back.

The book also exposes many problems in the system created by these "pioneers" that set up the card auctions and started the grading systems. If the mystery and thriller elements don't hook you in, the talk of cards and the industry definitely will.

This card has certainly had a great journey since its "discovery" in Hicksville. I'm still waiting for the definitive story of how it got there in the first place.

I still say that grading cards is evil. Cards should be allowed to breathe. I can see one or two of each card being graded for preservation sake, but not for collecting.

1995 Stadium Club - Wilson Alvarez

My first impression of this card was, "What's with the multi-colored polo shirt?"

Isn't Wilson a little old to be in his good clothes looking for a pick up game on a street corner? Apparently not. There he is on a Sunday afternoon shaking kids down for money. The billiards hall wouldn't be open for hours, so he had to kill time by hustling kids on the street.

"I bet you can't hit my fastball", said Wilson.

"I bet you ten bucks that I can, old man", said some snot nosed punk kid.

Wilson then proceeded to blow the kid away with three pitches. He made ten bucks and sent the kid home crying. This is what multi-millionaires do when they are on strike. The 1994 strike hurt more than baseball, it hurt real live people. Major League players were forced to take to the street to practice their craft. It was a sad time indeed.

I suspect Wilson could only fool a handful of kids in 1994. He was famous enough to where he could be recognized. He threw a no-hitter a few years before and made the playoffs last season. His team was primed to head back to the playoffs. He wouldn't be a man to fool many. He took whatever money he could get.

This card painfully reminds us that the strike had an impact on even the most talented players. I hate to think what the common players did to make ends meet during this time. I would imagine it wasn't pretty.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

1910 S74 Silk - Lee Tannehill

Cards made out of silk? It happened. I have been able to find very little information about these cards. What I have found, these were issued as tobacco premiums, much like the T-206 cards or the original Turkey cards.

This seems like an unusual idea that would be relegated to the annals of history. It would certainly appear so, but wait, there will be silk cards in 2008. Topps has taken it upon themselves to resurrect the silks as super limited inserts in the Series 2 hobby and HTA boxes. They will be limited to 50 and feature a checklist of 100 cards.

So, why do silk at all? I guess it's something different to put a baseball player on. I'm not entirely sure why someone would make a card out of silk. They do look cool though. Isn't the idea of silk supposed to be a touchable material? I don't understand why a touchable material would be used for something that is typically untouchable in this day and age.

I would imagine that I will not own an original silk card in my lifetime. The best I could hope for would be the 2008 version. I am a bit excited at the prospect of a silk card, but I'm not certain why. Could it be the alternative to paper that has me excited? Could it be the memory of silk against my skin that holds fond feelings? Maybe it's the oddity of the whole thing. Whatever it is, it should be interesting to see the public reaction to silk cards.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Surfin' San Diego

There's nothing worse than a gremmie out of control.

I've never visited San Diego. It's on my list of places to visit. There's the world famous zoo. The Wild Animal Park. Sea World. Old Town. Lots of museums. Lots of beaches. The Padres.

I'd love to take in a Padres game in San Diego. One thing has me worried though. Although I've never heard about it, apparently there is a rollicking surf inside the ballpark. Cowabunga dude! Let's hang ten or whatever they call it now. Yeah, I've never been surfing either. It's hard to do in Lake Michigan.

I can admire an athlete who can surf. Especially one who can surf at his job. His job on dry land. I've never been able to stay on a skateboard for more than five seconds, let alone a surfboard. Roller skating is a complete joke on me, but for some reason I think I would do well with roller blades, but I've never tested that theory.

You'll never see me in ice skates. Ice and I have a touchy relationship ever since I fell through the ice in grade school. It was not fun riding my bike over two miles home, in the dead of winter, drenched from head to toe. It's an experience that I'd not like to repeat. Ever.

This is the kind of card experience that I will miss. With Fleer gone from the landscape, I will never again see surfboards or snakes on baseball cards of actual major leaguers. Not that Fleer had those things in their sets in the past few years. It was nice to know that those types of photos could show up, if someone really wanted them to.

I've gotten a little nostalgic for Fleer. I don't like things taken away that shouldn't be taken away. Fleer was the ugly stepsister, whose heart was in the right place. It tried and tried, but it just couldn't look pretty on a regular basis. The few times that Fleer got gussied up enough to take the collectors' notice, it just didn't suit Fleer. Fleer was comfortable being ugly.

I know, that sounds like a bad sitcom or a cheaply made modern teen movie. You know it's true though. Fleer could be like the French exchange student, who fakes not speaking English in order to not get noticed. There's inner beauty just underneath the surface, just waiting for John Cusack's black Camaro to come along to show her the ways of street racing in broad daylight and skiing on one ski.

Truth be told. Fleer is probably most like Long Duk Dong. It's not much to look at. It has a bunch of cheesy lines. It also likes to party and comes out a winner despite itself. It also scares easily when the Topps and Upper Deck come looking for Fleer. Now because of Upper Deck's recent decision, there will be no more Yankee of Fleer's wankie. Fleer is now lying on the parkway, passed out. Sadly, it may never get up again.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

2007 UD Black - Coco Crisp

I don't know about you, but I think I'd be a little pissed if I paid $200 for a box containing two cards and this was the best card I pulled. Nothing against the breakfast cereal that is Coco Crisp, but this card wouldn't really excite me if I were a Red Sox fan. Maybe if I was a Coco Crisp super collector, it would be different. It's hard to tell.

I don't mean to sound cynical, but $200 is a lot of money for me. If I'm dropping that kind of cash on two cards, at least one of those cards should be able to "WOW" me. This card does not do the trick for me.

The card looks boring and obscene at the same time. Please, allow me to explain. Upper Deck could have picked a better head shot of Coco Crisp. He looks like the photographer just woke him up or he's just getting over an exhausting case of exploding diarrhea.

The swatches of the uniform look absolutely boring. It's plain white. No stripes. No variations. No stains. Nothing. Just plain vanilla. In a premium product, I would expect a little oomph in the presentation. Maybe part of the red stripe along the collar or part of the letter patches. I'd expect to pull something like this from Fleer Ultra.

Take a look at the autograph. Closer. Closer still. Now focus your eyes on it. It looks like some illegal, lewd sex act is about to take place. I don't even want to take the time to analyze the signature. Maybe someone should add it to their collection of obscene cards.

Even though this is numbered to 50, is there a reason why I should care about this card? I'm drawing a blank as to why I should. It's nondescript and bland. If I were to buy a box of Upper Deck Black and I were to pull one of these 50 cards, my other card had better be a Cal Ripken Jr. or a vintage Yankee player that would pay for the cost of the box.

With all of that out of the way, this actually is a nice looking card. I just don't think it's worth $100, which would be half the cost of the box in a hobby shop. Would anyone pay $100 for this card? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Friday, March 21, 2008

2008 Topps Heritage Relic - Lance Berkman

I went to Target today to pick up a few supplies and they finally had some packs of 2008 Topps Heritage available. I picked up a few, hoping to add to my set. I did get a few for my set and a few for the doubles pile. Plus, I got an unexpected jersey card of Lance Berkman.

I have a soft spot for the Astros, ever since I laid eyes on those rainbow uniforms when I was a kid. They are ugly as sin, but it made quite an impression on my young mind. There are some teams that I could never truly dislike because of some weird association with them as a child. The Astros are one of those teams.

I follow them a little bit now. Nothing like I used to, but I do keep my eye on them. The only time I really didn't like them was in the 2005 postseason. It was a nightmare come to life to see the Astros against the White Sox. Of course I was rooting for the White Sox all the way, but a part of me wanted the Astros to at least do well.

To their credit, the Astros put up one hell of a fight. Any one of those games could have gone either way. As it turned out, the Astros were swept. They kept in each game though. You have to admire a team like that. They wouldn't roll over and die, they fought tooth and nail until the final out.

I usually can't catch Astros games because of where I live. If they aren't playing the Cubs or on a national broadcast, I can pretty much forget seeing them. Sometimes they don't even make the Sportscenter or Baseball Tonight highlights.

I can remember going to a game in Detroit, with a friend, to see the Tigers take on the Astros. A third of me wanted to see the Astros, another third wanted to see the Tigers brand new stadium and the other third wanted to see a baseball game outside of Chicago. All three thirds of me enjoyed the experience of watching the Astros win in a battle of interleague last place teams in a brand new stadium in a strange city.

I wore my White Sox hat. My friend wore his Cubs hat. Everyone was friendly and welcomed us to Comerica Park. We were expecting to be the strange highlight for this interleague game that no one cared about. ESPN never showed a clip. They just showed a quick score and on to the commercials.

When I see certain players from that 2000 Astros squad, I always think of that game. The five hour drive and the hotel bathroom that was bigger than the actual room. I suppose this card gets me that much closer to the game that I saw that July night in 2000. I can live with that. Lance, your jersey wasn't cut up for nothing. It sparked wonderful memories.

2006 Fleer #277 - Rob Mackowiak

Sure this is a base card, but it shows an annoying trend in the past few years. It shows the player listed on one team while showing him in another team's uniform. This is just plain lazy. I could even appreciate the effort to airbrush the new uniform on, even if it looks bad. This card looks like there was no thought or effort put into it.

Rob deserves a better card than this. He finally lands on his boyhood team and they still show him in a Pittsburgh uniform. Not only did Rob state many times that the White Sox are the team he grew up with as a fan, I know that first hand.

Rob is from my hometown. I went to high school with the man for three years. We were in the same grade and we had a couple of conversations about the White Sox. We were both big fans of the team. He played for them and I write about them on my other blog. Such is life.

I don't claim to have been his best friend. I don't even claim to have been friends with him. He was in my gym class and we talked a few times. That's it, nothing more. The only way I remember him is from our conversations about the White Sox. One of my friends met him at a White Sox neighborhood park function and asked Rob if he remembered me. He didn't have a clue, nor did I expect him to.

I was too busy in the art room. I was busy drawing my cartoon strips on notebook paper. It's funny about who becomes famous, even if it is fringe fame. You never know who is going to be written about in the papers, good or bad. It's one of the joys in life.

One of the joyless things in the life of a team collector is cards like this one. This is one of the main reasons why I started my first blog. I was sick and tired of seeing players in a White Sox uniform being listed on a different team and vice versa. I wanted to create a place where those things are sorted out and written down for all to see.

I don't consider a team set complete unless every card that features a player in that team's uniform or a player listed as being on that team is gathered together. Yes, I'm strange about my collecting habits, but at least it's consistent. This trend makes it harder for the team collector to collect the team. I'm hoping that this is something that will slowly fade away.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The George Washington DNA Relic

This card was talked about in every collector's magazine, blog and online venue. It featured an authentic strand of hair from the first recognized President of the United States. There have been many others before George Washington to hold the title of President of the United States. For arguments sake, we'll just say Washington is the first President.

I don't know about you, but the prospect of this card is a little creepy. It feels like grave robbing. In the 21st century, it's hard to imagine owning a strand of hair from a world famous person that died less than a month before the start of the 19th century.

Who would want to collect a card like this? Can we expect a card of Babe Ruth's follicles in the next few years? Will this lead to a flurry of authentic hair cards? The closest thing I can compare this to would be a CD that Mancow was selling that featured a little bag with a few strands of his beard. I didn't know what to do with that and I don't know what to do with this.

Mancow's hair giveaway with every CD was a joke. A poor joke about cloning if I remember correctly, but a joke nonetheless. This card is no joke. Maybe Topps will come out with a JFK hair strand card this year. Where do you draw the line though? Would a Michael Jordan hair card have more of an impact than George Washington? Would a Thad Bosley hair card have any collectors?

These are questions that I can't answer. I hope they are never answered. When I first heard of the George Washington card, I thought it was pretty cool. A piece of history. Then reality sunk in, the more I thought about it. What is the attraction here? Shouldn't this be in some museum or a presidential library? Why would this be included in a baseball card set? Baseball wasn't even invented in its modern form when George Washington was alive.

This would be a perfect fit for Donruss Americana. I just don't see how it fits in with Allen & Ginter. The only connection to Allen & Ginter that I can see would be smoking. I've heard rumors that George Washington used to smoke tobacco, marijuana and opium. There is no concrete evidence that he smoked anything, but he did grow tobacco.

I guess that if there are cards of uniforms, bats, gloves, baseballs and jackets, this shouldn't be so far fetched. It's just too much of a leap from things used in a baseball game. Someday there will be skin peelings from Trot Nixon from a sunburn that he got from playing the field. I hope not, but I wouldn't doubt it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

1992 Fleer #713 - Dave Justice

I can remember these cards being really popular with my friends. I thought they were pretty cool, but I didn't really see the huge deal about them. They were cartoons.

It was by this point of the nineties where baseball card saturation seemed at its highest. This is probably why I didn't care about them that much. There were so many card choices in 1992. Every company seemed to come out with a baseball card set that year. Topps, Upper Deck, Fleer, Donruss and Score all came out with huge sets. At least it seemed that way at the time. The main companies all started to branch out with sister card releases. Even companies that had nothing to do with cards were releasing cards. Ziploc and Denny's come to mind.

1992 was the year that the bubble started to burst. It had finally reached a breaking point. Cards were everywhere. They came in gas stations, grocery stores, hobby shops, breakfast cereals, snack cakes and boxes of kitchen products. It was insane! Cards even came in magazines that didn't have much to do with baseball cards.

When the bubble burst shortly after 1992, there was chaos. The public started not caring. By this time, every company imaginable had jumped on the bandwagon and broke it. Cards were not special anymore. I got fed up and bought my last few packs in 1994. I wasn't happy with the product I saw. I couldn't justify the money for less product that looked cheesy. 1993 Score Select comes to mind.

1992 was the year I cut my collecting in half. In 1993, I collected about half of what I did in 1992. After 1994, I didn't pick up another pack until 2007. Over saturation of the market and the strike helped that decision a lot.

In 1992, I still had hope that things would turn around in the hobby. I thought that these cartoon cards were a step in the right direction. I was still a teen and obsessed with drawing, so these types of cards offered a unique perspective into the players. They looked different, but they were nothing more than a gimmick.

As a teen, I saw this card of Dave Justice and thought it looked so cool. He had a tomahawk for a bat and he had a sly smile like he was about to hit a three run homer to win the game. He seemed larger than life juxtaposed against a blue sky with wispy clouds. Replacing Dale Murphy was hard for a rookie, but homer happy Dave made the casual fans forget about Dale.

I look at this card today and I see Dave with a slightly deranged look on his face with a weapon. It's funny how you look at things many years later and have a completely different reaction to it. These cards don't seem as special today. They don't even particularly stand out anymore. For a brief period of time, they stood out among younger collectors.

Monday, March 17, 2008

1992 Upper Deck #SP4 Frank Thomas - Tom Selleck

A card from 1992 with Frank Thomas on it? That's pretty common. A card with Tom Selleck on it? That's a little less common. Did Magnum P.I. even have trading cards? Probably. A card with Frank Thomas and Tom Selleck on it? OK, that's probably even less common. They're both wearing Yankees uniforms? OK, I give.

Actually it's an Upper Deck short print card featuring a scene from the movie Mr. Baseball. Unless something monumental happens, I guarantee this will be the only time you will see Frank Thomas in a Yankee uniform.

This was a card that I have never owned. Not because it's not a White Sox card. Mostly because it was hard to find when it first came out. The dealers who had it, wanted a fortune for it. I can find this card for under a dollar now, but I just haven't been motivated enough to purchase it. It would be a tacked on card on a big order.

Mr. Baseball is one of my guilty pleasure movies. It has been on cable all week. I've caught it three times, but never at the beginning. I always seem to catch it when he gets to Japan. Even though I've seen the movie dozens of times, I still stick with it when I run across it. It's hard not to like this movie.

It's more realistic than Major League and more plausible than Rookie Of The Year or Little Big League. Plus, it's less sappy than Angels In The Outfield. You can pretty much sit me in front of any baseball movie and I'll be entertained. Mr. Baseball seems to get lost in the mix. Tom Selleck is pretty believable as a superstar forced to play in Japan. It also has a Major League movie connection in Dennis Haysbert. He's the one who played Pedro Cerrano in Major League.

The truth is that I've known about the card since 1992. I just keep forgetting about it. With my obsessive collecting of the White Sox and any card of Harold Baines and Carlton Fisk, a Frank Thomas card featuring him fictionally on the Yankees is not a top priority. It doesn't mean that I will never obtain it. It's just not an absolute must have. I have other team sets and cards that I'm seeking that have a higher "now" value than this Frank Thomas/Tom Selleck card.

If they ever come out with cards featuring the players from the movie Major League, I'll be all over that! Until then, this Mr. Baseball card will suffice.

1993 Milkbone - Brett Butler

Puppies for sale. Two rambunctious dachshunds who love to play and cuddle. Named after a little cartoon blond boy and a sea serpent.

This is a cute idea for a card. Major League players and their dogs. What could be more American? Brett's mom needs to be behind the chair holding an apple pie to be more kitsch.

This reminds me of the WGN Sunday Afternoon Family Classics set from the early eighties. Somehow I can picture Brett hosting the movie at commercial breaks.

"And now we return to 'For The Love Of Benji' on Family Classics."

Somehow, when I think of Brett Butler, I don't think of cardigan sweaters, leather chairs and wood paneling. I think of a pesky slap hitter, who was a thorn in the side of many National League teams.

I can definitely see a reason for the product to exist. What better way to showcase a dog biscuit than to show cards of dogs. Cards of cute dogs doesn't really grab people. Let's put some baseball players on the cards and they can hold their dogs. Brilliant!

This was clearly the way to go with this card set. I really can't see a card set of famous dogs. Would there be two cards of Higgins? One for Petticoat Junction and one for Benji? How many Lassie cards would there be? One for each dog or one representing all the dogs who played Lassie. Would they draw the line before the set would include Santa's Little Helper, Astro and Dyno-Mutt?

Baseball players and their dogs was the way to go with this set. Now, we have a kitschy oddball set of some of our favorite players from the early nineties. Included in the set are Brady Anderson, Craig Biggio, Brett Butler, Ken Caminiti, Will Clark, Rob Dibble, Tom Foley, Joe Girardi, Tom Glavine, Wally Joyner, Barry Larkin, Ben McDonald, Mark McGwire, Paul Molitor, Rafael Palmeiro, Cal Ripken Jr., Bill Swift, Larry Walker, Matt Young and Todd Zeile. Not too bad for an oddball set.

Friday, March 14, 2008

2008 Topps Heritage Chrome - John Lackey

I recently ran a contest over at my other blog featuring premium and shiny things that came in my 2008 Topps Heritage hobby box. There was a buyback card, a box topper, a relic and four chrome cards. I wouldn't mind winning any of them myself.

One card lasted through 8 contests. The John Lackey card. But why? He was the AL ERA champ in 2007. He went 19-9 for the Angels last year. He went to the All-Star game too.

Could it be that nobody loves John Lackey? He does look sort of sullen on this shiny card. Definitely not a look that goes with shiny, happy things. He's even numbered 598/1959. Not that it means much nowadays. He's shiny and wants to be loved. He's so shiny that you can see your own reflection in the card. Nice.

The winner of one of the earlier contests decided he didn't want a prize, so he declined. That left the door open for a bonus contest after the original 7 had been completed. The winner of the seventh contest was so underwhelmed by the prizes, I assume, that he has yet to contact me about claiming the prize. The winner of the bonus contest had their choice of prizes. That was not supposed to happen.

The winner of the bonus contest had a difficult time selecting between John Lackey and Billy Wagner. He ultimately chose Billy Wagner. So, that leaves John Lackey to be awarded to the seventh contest winner by default. That's the sweetest win of all, isn't it?

There was even one would-be participant who was so disgusted by Billy Wagner and John Lackey, that he refused to type the answer because he didn't want to win either card. Wow. I've never ran into so many people that declined free stuff. One of two things is supposed to happen when you hear free stuff. Either you want whatever it is or you are immediately suspicious.

Poor John Lackey. He will find a home, but will it be a good home? I have a feeling that wherever he ends up, he will be loved. Not at first, but 19 game winners have a tendency to grow on you. Especially hard luck pitchers.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

2008 Moments & Milestones Blue - Pedro Martinez

What's the latest gimmick from Topps? Well it's actually on its second set this year. Topps Moments And Milestones. Where every card is numbered. EVERY CARD. That's cool and maddening at the same time.

Take for instance this blue parallel card of Pedro Martinez. It's numbered 3/10. That means that there are only 10 of this card. Sounds great, but there's a catch. There are 312 variations of this blue card and they are all numbered to 10. Doing math quickly in my head, that comes to 3,130 different Pedro Martinez cards. That's just for this blue parallel. It doesn't seem as special, does it.

There are also 313 different cards that are numbered to 150. 313 that are numbered to 25. 313 that are numbered to 1. Ouch. My head hurts. That being said, I like this product. There is something to be said about a card set that feels special, but ultimately isn't.

As long as you know what you are getting into before you purchase a pack, I see nothing wrong with this set. It is a product of its time. That time is of numbered cards and parallels. It's just the way things are now. I can't change them and neither can you. This stems from the adults of today feeling like they got a raw deal.

As kids, they were told that their cards would be worth millions. All the Jose Cansecos and Darryl Strawberrys and Todd Van Poppels would be worth a fortune when they reached adulthood. Just look at their parent's cards. Mickey Mantles and Willie Mays and Hank Aarons were worth a lot of money. So the same must be true for these cards. Right?

Flash forward 15 to 20 years. Most of the cards from the late eighties and early nineties are worth diddly and squat. The dealers and the magazines and the card companies kept telling the kids that the cards were going to be worth something. The cards from that era were all mass produced. They also had more people paying attention and caring for their cards, which cut out the handled card factor.

Stashed away in a basement, in some album with 9 pocket pages, is page after page of 1991 Score Todd Van Poppels. There must be hundreds of them. Maybe over a thousand. Almost all were purchased from dealers for some serious cash. A few were obtained in packs. A few were obtained through trades.

Let's say there are 1,000 1991 Score Todd Van Poppel cards. If all 1,000 cards were to sell at high Beckett value, it would be worth $250. But you would be lucky to find someone willing to buy 1,000 Todd Van Poppel cards for high book price. At low book price, those 1,000 cards would be worth $80. You might be able to find someone willing to take them off your hands for $50. That would be roughly what you paid for 1 page of cards, from a dealer, in 1991.

Just like with anything, you need to know when to sell with baseball cards, if that's what you are collecting them for. I have a handful of different Roberto Hernandez rookie cards because I thought he would be something outstanding. Plus, his story of getting to the majors was so inspiring to me. He did turn out to be something outstanding, just not in the eyes of collectors.

These Moments And Milestones cards make me feel the same way. On one hand, it feels like I'm part of something special. On the other, I feel like I'm getting ripped off. At least I know the logistics behind the cards. I know what I'm getting into. I like those odds.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

1990 Bazooka #13 - Carlos Martinez

I'd love to hear the story about this card! It has definitely seen better days. I received this card today, in a package from Jeff of On Base Autos and Whose Card Is It? fame.

There was a good mix of commons, doubles and a few stars thrown in for good measure. Then, the third to the last card, I run across this beauty of Carlos Martinez. Creased, bubbled corners, unidentifiable gunk, partialy torn, and possibly slight water damage. I love it!

This card represents Carlos' career. There's a lot of promise, but it just gets blocked and tossed away before anything can really be appreciated. What was Carlos' block on the White Sox? Frank Thomas.

Who would you rather put out at first base, Carlos Martinez or Frank Thomas? Yeah, I thought so. Sure, Carlos was Topps 1989 Rookie First Baseman, but when you're blocking Frank Thomas, you have to get out of the way. If you don't you're going to get knocked the @*#! out!

Carlos put up decent numbers in 1989. He hit .391 in Vancouver and .300 with the White Sox. The hits were there, but the long ball was lacking most of the time and the RBI's just didn't materialize. When you have someone who could potentially be a Triple Crown winner (and almost did on a few occasions), you're going to get sent down or traded.

I liked Carlos when he was with the Sox, but you won't hear me complaining. I prefer Frank Thomas as the Sox first baseman in the early nineties. Who wouldn't?

Carlos Martinez probably got tossed aside when the newer, more powerful model came along. His card ended up in a shoebox, tossed carelessly on a shelf in a dank basement corner. Or he ended up in a stack of commons that got knocked over and was never missed when he didn't return to the pile. Whatever Carlos' story, he has found a home.