Ball Player Siting

Today I went down to Lancaster and spent most of the day with my aunt and grandmother.  We decided to go out for lunch to a local marketplace that has a ton of great food.  Going through the front door, my aunt said “hello” to a woman and her husband, but I didn’t pay attention to who it was until we were inside and they were out near their car.  After sitting down I found out that she was talking to Tom Herr and his wife.  My aunt use to work for a clothing store in Ephrata where Herr’s wife would shop a lot.  Herr played for the Phillies from 89-90, was an All-Star in 85, and won the World Series back in 1982 with the Cardinals.  Currently he his a bench coach for the Lancaster Barnstormers in the independent Atlantic League.  Last year I met Herr while attending the Philadelphia Sports Card & Memorabilia Show in Reading and obtained his autograph.   

Have you ever seen a pro athlete at a non-sports related event?


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.


Unlikely Autograph Find

Ever since I attended my first minor league baseball game back in 1997, I have always picked up a team set while visiting the gift shop.  A few years ago back in 2006 when I attended a Williamsport Crosscutters game I purchased a 2006 team set.  Even though I had a good idea of what was in the set, the pack ripper inside always takes over and makes me want to open it to see what is inside.  I started going through the set card by card inspecting the fronts and backs.  When I reached about the middle of the stack, I came across an insert.  Not just any insert either, but an autographed insert of Brad Eldred serial numbered to 23.  At that time the Crosscutters were the single A affiliate of the Pirates.  Eldred isn’t the most collected player in MLB, but I still think its cool to pull an autograph from a minor league team set.  After holding on to it for awhile, I moved it into another person’s collection.  Thats one autograph I’ll never forget, because it came from an unlikely place.


A Christmas Story

About two years ago my parents wanted me to put together a Christmas list.  On the list I put a few packs and boxes of products that I was interested in.  Just for the heck of it I put a box of 2006 Topps Sterling on it, not expecting to get a box because our two local card shops usually don’t carry something with that kind of price tag.  When Christmas morning came I received a lot of great gifts incluing a Jim Brown / Barry Sanders / Walter Payton Triple Jersey #’ed/50, but the last gift was a little heavy.  As I ripped off the paper and looked at the box, it said 2006 Topps Sterling Baseball.  I was so happy to have received that box.  I quickly went over to the kitchen table and dove into it hoping to have a good box.  When I lifted the lid and removed the Mystery Pack I saw the words “Barry Bonds” on the wooden box.  I opened the box to see a Barry Bonds base card #’ed/250, beneath that I received another base #’ed/250, and finally the moment had arrived.  I looked down to see a Barry Bonds 2006 Topps Sterling Quad Memorabilia Autographed card serial numbered 1/1.  I was so excited I couldn’t contain myself.  I ended up selling the Bonds card about 8 months later the week he broke Hank Aaron’s homerun record.  One of our local shops purchased only 1 box to sell in their shop.  In my opinion, I think that 2006 was the best year for Topps Sterling.  All of the autographs were on-card, and the checklist only contained players that were retired and/or in the Hall of Fame.   That was one Christmas I will never forget.


The Agony of Defeat

Last night before turning off the computer, I placed a bid on a Tony Sparano 2008 Bowman Chrome Superfractor #’ed 1/1.  My maximum bid was $22.00 and the price of the auction was at $12.50 when I left the auction.  This morning I was hoping to see that I won, but instead found out I got outbid by $0.01.  The card ended up selling for $22.01.  That would have been my very first Superfractor.  Maybe an autograph of his will popup for sale soon.  Have you ever lost an auction that you really wanted to win?

What a cool name – “Rex Hudler”

There have been a lot of baseball players with cool names, but Rex Hudler has to be one of my favorites.  I actually met him once back in the late 90’s at my first Phillies Caravan in Harrisburg, PA.  I remember it so well because while waiting in line to get autographs, one of the employees of the Phillies came up to me and asked if I would like to go upstairs to visit with the Phillies instead of waiting in the very long line.  I said “sure”, and we made our way up the elevator.  In the media room the Phillies were in I met John Vukovich, Mike Lieberthal, Wayne Gomes, and Rex Hudler.  That was the day I became a huge Phillies fan.  The name Rex Hudler just sounds like a baseball player’s name.  I wish they wouldn’t made more cards of him.  He has an autographed card from 1996 Leaf Signature.  I know for a fact they never made any memorabilia cards.  Over his 14 years as a professional, he had a batting average of .261, 461 hits, and 56 HR’s.  


Do you remember your first MOJO?

Do you remember your first major card pull that made you jump in the air screaming MOJO?  In March 2003 I was a junior is high school and I took my second trip to the Fort Washington Expo Center card show.  I remember preparing the night before because this was a large show.  I had to get my wallet, hat, and a few cards out that I planned to take for grading.  That day I wasn’t really looking for anything special.  I just wanted to see what the dealers had and open up some wax.  When we got there we went over to one of the dealers that owns a local shop where we live to say ‘hi” and check out what he had for sale.  After a few more moments of browsing I came across a dealer that had a huge wall full of boxes.  I refered to it as the “Wall of Wax”.  I saw that they had packs of 2002 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts baseball cards, which I was familiar with because a few months back I pulled out a Mark McGwire game used bat from that product.  I decided to purchase a few packs and go over and eat lunch.  After we ate lunch I started to open the five or six packs I bought.  When I was a few packs into the break with nothing but base cards I noticed something a little different.  This one card stood out to me.  On the back it said “Redemption Card” in big bold letters, and on the front it said “Priority Signing Mark McGwire”.  I wasn’t too familiar with cards like this and almost threw it out because I thought it was just an advertisement.  When I was done ripping through the remaining packs we put the redemption card in a penny sleeve and top loader and took it over to the dealer we knew and asked him if he knew anything about it.  He, his wife, and other collectors took one look at it and started going crazy.  He told us that if we scratch off the front and get the code we could send in any item we want to Upper Deck and they would have Mark McGwire sign it.  He also said that the card was worth probably $500.00 – $1,000.00.  That was the day I had my first MOJO card pull.  I never redeemed the card.  A few weeks later I sold it on eBay.  Never in my life did I think that I would pull a card so rare and valuable.

Hey look, an autograph

Back in 1997 when I was still very early into collecting, I heard about a new card shop that had opened up around my area.  It was called the Penalty Shot, and was the first card shop that I had ever been to.  It became a regular thing for me to go every weekend or two and check out what they had.  When walking in they had a ton of team boxes, glass cases, and a dollar wall.  I became a huge fan of the dollar wall because I was young and didn’t have a lot of money to purchase cards.  One weekend while I was there I saw they had a new football product called 1997 Upper Deck Legends.  The owner of the shop was really excited about the product so I decided to try a few packs.  On the way home we stopped for gas and a hotdog.  While I stayed in the car when my father pumped gas, I started going through what I picked up at the shop.  I opened the first pack of Legends which had a Marquee Matchups card of Franco Harris.  In the second pack I pulled a  Lem Barney autographed card.  I was so excited because this was the first autographed card I had ever pulled from a pack.  When I went back to the shop a few weeks later I told them what I pulled out from only a few packs.  Because I did so well they gave me a free redemption card as a gift.  The redemption was for a Dwight Stephenson 1997 Upper Deck Legends autographed card.  I sent it in and since it took Upper Deck so long to fill it they gave me a free Mike Haynes autographed card.  That is one trip to a card shop I will never forget.   

The Card Chase

I am a huge Phillies fan.  I have been watching them for many years.  While I was attending the last Reading, PA card show I came across a dealer that had a bunch of Phillies cards.  Browsing the table I saw a Chase Utley 2001 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects Futures Game – Game-Worn Jersey Rookie card.  I looked at the price tag and it said $60.00.  I didn’t think that was too bad so I asked the dealer, “what would you want for it?”.  He said, “I can do $40.00.”  I thought that was a great deal and I took it.  I had been wating this card for awhile but never encountered any, not even online.  This card is one of my favorite Phillies cards.  Chase Utley is having one of his best years ever.  His cards are going through the roof, and it can be tempting to sell.  Right now, these cards are selling for $80.00 – $100.00.  I could make a nice little return for a $40.00 investment, but I will not be selling.  This card will reman in my personal collection for a long time.  Is it possible for a prospector to also have a personal collection?  Or does everything have a price?  Personally, I have never been that big into prospecting.  I’m just glad that I was able to get a great deal on a card that I really wanted.

Scott Rolen Blue Jays Cards

I have not seen any Scott Rolen autographed or memorabilia cards yet in his Blue Jays uniform.  I have been a really big fan of Rolen for quite sometime since he was signing autographs at the first card show I ever went to.  It was back in 1996-97 when Rolen was just working his way up the minor league system and I was just getting into collecting.  I heard there was a card show at the mall and I decided to go.  I didn’t really know what to expect since I had never been to one before.  When I got there I saw a bunch of tables and dealers.  Before I browsed the show I wanted to get my baseball signed by Scott Rolen.  As I walked back towards the end of the line, one of the people working at the mall and helping to prepare for Rolen to sign told me to wait near the front of the line and I could go first.  I was so excited!!!  I saw Rolen walk in and everyone was so happy that he was there.  Before he even sat down to sign autographs he came over to me and signed my ball.  He asked, “Would you like me to put your name on the ball?”, I said, “No thanks, your signature alone is fine”.  After that, I looked around the show for awhile and picked up some packs.  At that time I would pick up old packs from the late 80’s to early 90’s for some reason.  It was a great first show experience.  I really hope they start to make some Rolen autos and memorabilia cards in his Blue Jays uniform.  I have only seen a few cards of him in his Blue Jays uniform, 2008 Topps Heritage, and 2008 Bowman.  I bet they could make some sick multi-colored Blue Jays patch.