Red, White, and Blue

With the newly released 2009 Upper Deck USA baseball sets, I thought I would share one of my favorite stories about a USA card.  

Back in 1998 I was fairly new to collecting, and didn’t really have a lot to spend on cards.  Whenever I would go into the local card shop at the time, I usually would purchase a few $1.00 packs and maybe some commons from the boxes.  During the 1998 season, collectors saw a huge increase in price with the Mark McGwire 1985 Topps USA rookie card.  Near the beginning of the season this card could be purchased for about $15.00 at a card shop, and probably less on eBay.  As the season went on, McGwire kept belting homers one right after another and the price of his rookie just kept going up.  A once $15.00 card was now selling for over $200.00.

During this time in my collecting career, I had not really defined what I liked to collect.  I was just collecting any baseball and football cards.  Just like all new collectors, I wanted what everyone else was after, and that was this card.  I knew that I probably would never get it because they were way too expensive for me.  When Christmas came that year, I opened up a very small present.  As I ripped off the paper and looked at the back, I could see that green cardboard with the number 401.  When I flipped the card around it was the McGwire rookie.  That was the first “big” card that I ever added to my collection.  Little did anyone know that McGwire would be accused of taking steroids.  As of today this card can be purchased for less than $20.00 online.  Talk about the rise, and fall of a baseball card.


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