If you’re a card collector, it doesn’t matter if it’s baseball, football, or even basketball…sooner or later you will find youself in the hole because of an enormous missed opportunity. I remember like it was yesterday going into my favorite card store in the late 90’s, Florida Frank’s, and watching a man pull out three $100 bills for a stack of 50 Pinnacle rookie cards of Ryan Leaf. I don’t know where that man is today but I am certain that he is somewhere in South Florida living out of his DeLorean, drinking Crystal Pepsi that he won off Yahoo! Autions, and using Pets.com stocks as toilet paper.
Heck, it’s not like I’ve never made that mistake myself. After watching Mark McGwire hit 58 home runs in 1997 something inside of me told me I should pick up his rookie card, an ugly-looking 1985 Topps with a weird wet-spot next to his neck. At the time it was only booking for $30 on Beckett so I picked up two from Florida Frank’s for $50. The rest was history.
Just two years later Big Mac held the single-season home run record and the once $30 card was at $250! I had two choices at that point. I could have cashed in and made close to, if not $500 or I could have stuck with the cards. After all, the very next season he hit 65. He probably had a good 3 or 4 years left in him and then it was the all-time home run record. After that, Hall of Fame . And after that? A nice down payment on a 2002 Monte Carlo SS. Nothing could stop Big Mac & I!
Well, unfortunately, that was not the case. Mark retired abruptly at 37 and then when subpoenaed on steroid abuse in baseball in 2005 the man clamped up and almost began crying in front of the world, all while refusing to “talk about the past”. Mark lied to the nation that embraced him and his record. He never reached the all-time mark (no pun intended) and his single-season record was taken by another Juiced-up freak, Barry Bonds.
Today, the card that was once worth 1/4 of a grand is worth exactly $30 again. I never did get my Monte Carlo SS. Today I drive a beat-up 2001 Pontiac Grand Am with all the hubcaps missing and 150,000+ miles on the motor. I wonder what my life would have been like if I sold….I wonder…..I wonder.