Minor League Team Sets & Browsed Through My Collection Today

This afternoon I decided to go through one of my football boxes where I store a bunch of chrome rookies and various serial numbered inserts.  I was looking for my Chris Johnson rookie cards I knew I had put away in there.  I consider myself pretty lucky because I never seem to have a problem finding certain cards I’m looking for.  I’m either really organized or perhaps I have a photographic memory.  It didn’t take long for me to rediscover my two Johnson rookies.  They aren’t anything too special.  Just two plain base rookies from ’08 Upper Deck and ’08 Bowman Chrome, but I wanted to find them since he has a good chance at rushing for 2,000 yards this season.

After putting the box back, I saw two red albums on my shelf and remembered inside were some of the first minor league team sets I ever purchased.  Inside the front cover of the first album was the beginning of the 1996 Harrisburg Senators Team Set I bought while attending my first baseball game back in 1997.  Whats special about that set is that it includes Vladimir Guerrero.  At the time I had no idea who Guerrero was just like a lot of people, but over time he became a pretty popular player to collect as his career grew.  From that day on, I’ve always picked up a team set whenever I attend a minor league game.

What surprises me the most is how well the value of the Guerrero card has held steady over time.  Guerrero’s most popular rookie is from 1995 Bowman’s Best, and can easily be found for $10.00 – $20.00.  The Guerrero from the 1996 Harrisburg Senators Team Set sells for about the same amount which to me is mind blowing.  For many years minor league cards issued by teams haven’t been considered that collectible.  I can only think of a few players that have seriously desired minor league cards.   I think its impressive for a minor league card issued in 1996 to be worth about the same as a card issued in 1995 by a major manufacturer.  In one way it makes perfect sense for this to happen.  Yes, team issued cards aren’t made by large manufacturers but they can be harder to obtain because they are issued regionally.  I know Topps now has the exclusive rights to produce MiLB licensed trading cards, which means TRISTAR will have to do something spectacular to keep people buying their MiLB products next year.  I’d like to see Topps produce team sets specifically for each minor league team.  Ones that can only be purchased directly from the team.  Perhaps that would draw more attention to minor league team sets.  How cool would it be to buy a team set at the game, open it while eating a hot dog, and pull an autograph and/or relic made by Topps specifically for that team?


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